My new novel, PARIS ESCAPADE, will be published December 17, 2020, but it’s available for preorder NOW, only at Black Rose Writing:

Get a 15% discount by using the promo code PREORDER2020.

The book is a bit of memoir and a LOT of fiction. Here’s the blurb:

In the summer of 1963, seventeen-year-old Eddie Strull goes off to Europe with a supervised camp group of New York Jewish kids. But Eddie, ever the rebel, has other plans. Eddie wants to live as an adult. A writer. Right now. When they arrive in Paris, the last stop before heading home, Eddie sneaks out of the youth hostel and disappears into the bohemian labyrinth of the Left Bank. There he encounters a colorful array of artists, writers, actors, musicians, and one extraordinary prostitute who draws him into a risky adventure. Ultimately, he becomes a wanted man, sought across Europe by the police and the ruthless henchmen of Mme LaBrot, a trafficker in prostitutes and heroin. Instant Adulthood turns out to be much more than Eddie bargained for.

I, in fact, did go on a camping trip in Europe with a camp group of New York Jewish kids when I was sixteen in 1962. This formed the basis for the fantasy Paris Escapade. I made my protagonist a year older (seventeen) and the year 1963 — the year of JFK’s assassination and The Beatles. So this is more what I wish I had done rather than what I actually did. If I had gone when I was seventeen instead of sixteen, I might have actually pulled some of this crazy shit.

Review: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

I’ve just finished The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. I read it on my Kindle. If I had picked up the printed version, I’m sure I never would’ve tackled it. 650 pages! For the first three-quarters of the book, nothing much happens plot-wise. The characters are not people in whom I would ordinarily be interested. But Atwood’s prose, as always, entrances me. I continually marvel at her (seemingly) effortless elegance and her very dry, often dark, humor. By the last quarter, revelations begin to appear, and things about the characters we had only vaguely suspected come to light. Along with several shocking surprises. As with everything I’ve ever read by her, Margaret Atwood is an unapologetic feminist, and all of her major characters are women. Everything is from a female perspective and most of the men are portrayed in a much less favorable light. Being a man, that bugs me a little. She seems to have an eternal axe to grind, and that axe is never sharp enough. Also, she is the Queen of the Simile. Some of them are absolute gems, but I think she uses the device perhaps a bit much.

All that said, I can’t recommend The Blind Assassin highly enough, especially if, like me, you’re a budding author trying to acquire some chops.

A Man Without a Genre


I don’t know how you, my fellow authors, do it. Writing book after book about dragons, or one specific dragon, or the same shape-shifting private eye solving case after case, or maybe the same crew of the same space vessel blasting off on one ill-fated mission after another. If I were smart, if I was motivated by commercial success, I would follow your example. I could build a following of readers who couldn’t get enough of The Further Adventures of ________________, Book 3, Book 4, and on and on… But I just can’t do it. An idea comes into my head and I just go with it.

Because I’m writing for my own amusement, more than that of a particular audience.

My first published novel was a YA sci-fi fable starring a cat. A future cat with powers of telepathy and telekinesis. It got a big reaction from cat lovers and cat lovers who were into sci-fi, and sci-fi lovers who were into cats. I thought it was YA, but my biggest audience, it turns out, was mostly women over twenty-five who were obsessed with cats. My publisher and many of the readers who reviewed it wanted a sequel—probably more than one. I started working on one, but I just lost interest. Instead, I wrote a novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who travels to Europe in 1963 and decides to live incognito in Paris as a struggling writer.

I submitted the finished manuscript to my publisher with dread, thinking they would not be interested because of the extreme departure from my last book. But they seemed to really want it, so I said okay and it’s coming out in December 2020.

That last book was easy to promote online because it was a clear niche. Sci-fi, animals, dystopian, young adults (or so I thought)… Easy peasy. But this new one. All I could think of as a pitch was “The Catcher in the Rye on steroids, in Paris.” But who’s gonna want to read it? Who is my “audience”? I dunno. I wrote it using my young self as the protagonist going on an amazing adventure I never did.

I did go to Europe when I was sixteen. That’s what inspired this opus. I traveled with a camp group with chaperones and a tour bus. But unlike my protagonist, I never escaped into the bohemian labyrinth of the Left Bank. So this book is a flight of fancy—something I wish I had done, but didn’t. If I had actually gone when I was seventeen instead of sixteen, I might have really done some of this crazy stuff.

It’s called Paris Escapade, coming from Black Rose Writing in December 2020. End of plug.

So what do you think, my fellow writers? Am I committing commercial harikari? Or should I continue on this strange, seemingly random path?

Book Review: Fluffy’s Revolution

Thanks and salutations to Kim Cabrera for this excellent review!

Beartracker's Tracking and Nature Blog

fluffBook Review

Fluffy’s Revolution
By Ted Myers


Fluffy’s Revolution is a unique story about animals who are GAB, or have genetically altered brains. These animals can communicate with each other telepathically, and they have telekinetic powers. They can move objects with their minds. They can read books and use computers. The year is 2135 and the population of earth is threatened by an approaching asteroid that is big enough to wipe out the entire planet and everyone on it. Doomsday is 30 days away.
Fluffy is a GAB cat who lives with her dad, a professor in Kingston, the new NYC. After the climate changed and the oceans rose, Kingston is the new oceanfront. Fluffy and her dad have a good life. She gets to read and grow her intelligent mind and her dad gets the comfort of having a cat around. One day, she gets telepathic messages that…

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Young girls are coming to the canyon

This excellent blog post from Bruce Hackett brought back many fond memories for me, all of which are recalled in my memoir, Making It: Music, Sex & Drugs in the Golden Age of Rock.

Hack's Back Pages

“At first so strange to feel so friendly, to say ‘good morning’ and really mean it, to feel these changes happening in me, but not to notice ’til I feel it, young girls are coming to the canyon, and in the mornings, I can see them walking…”  “Twelve Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon),” The Mamas and The Papas, 1967


When I moved to Los Angeles in August 2011, I got in my car and started exploring the streets, the beaches, the tourist attractions and the famous landmarks that are mentioned in so many songs I listened to as a kid growing up in far-away Ohio.

The Pacific Coast Highway.  Venice Beach.  Sunset Strip.  The Santa Monica Pier.  Topanga Canyon.  Hollywood Boulevard.  The Troubadour.

tMV6BuuOne afternoon, I found myself on Sunset Boulevard, heading toward one of the nation’s meccas for every music lover and album buyer, Amoeba…

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Thank you, Dove Winters for hosting this fun interview as part of the great #OWSCyCon Bookfest!


Fluffy's Revolution by [Myers, Ted]

I asked the questions that matter of Ted Myers! Follow this link:

Good day, Ted! What is the weirdest scar you have and how did you get it?

A bald patch on the right side of my head about the size of a quarter. It’s where the forceps went through my baby skull when they brought me into the world. I was a breech birth. Never quite got over it.

What an interesting story! How did you meet your best friend? (Animals count here!)

My cat wandered into my yard meowing his head off. Around his neck was an old fashioned white plastic flea collar. On it, someone had written “feed me,” so I did. He never left.

That has a very Alice in Wonderland feel to it…What would you want to be written on your tombstone?

I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.

Leave them all wondering!…

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Book Review: WHITE OAKS by Jill Hand


A hilariously wicked read, from beginning to end.

I was expecting a typical Southern Gothic storyline in which three siblings—Aimee Trapnell and her two brothers, Trainor and Marsh—vie for the billions their cantankerous ninety-year-old father, Blanton, would be leaving them in the near future. Perhaps first vying to win his favor over the others, then, I imagined, bumping each other off. While one such murder does occur (to a much older half-sister and a very minor character), the plot takes a sudden unexpected left and leads the three surviving siblings (and us) on a quest halfway around the world and back in search of a stolen artifact which is said to possess the power to end the world.

Although this is Ms. Hand’s debut novel, she delivers this highly original and unlikely tale with straight-faced irony and the skill and confidence of a seasoned author. Many of the passages had me actually laughing out loud—and that’s really saying something. Here’s an example:

“Hillman was nearly as old as his employer. He resembled a Galápagos tortoise, with his heavy-lidded eyes and shriveled little head atop a long, wrinkled neck the color and texture of a walnut. He regarded the three Trapnell siblings with puzzlement, as if unsure of who they were. Then something seemed to click inside his ancient brain

‘Mr. Blanton wants y’all in his study,’ he said, slowly nodding his head in confirmation. ‘Right now,’ he added, more forcefully. ‘He says he wants to see y’all right now, so I come to get y’all and tell y’all he wants to see y’all right now!’ The last two words were barked out in an eerily accurate imitation of Blanton’s voice. Then he launched into a fit of deep, bronchial coughing.”

I highly recommend White Oaks to lovers of morbid mysteries, unpredictable plot twists, and dark humor. [Five Stars]

Author C.A. (Christine)Verstraete Shares a Peek Into Lizzie Borden’s Zombie World on the OWSCycon Blog Hop


Find out More About the World of Lizzie Borden, Zombie HunterBlog hopand Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall by Science Fiction/Dark Fantasy Writer C.A. Verstraete During OWS CyCon 2019

Welcome to another fantastic stop in our World-building Showcase blog hop! On this stop, we’re highlighting a story where the world changes or ends as we know it, but you can find a full list of authors and topics on the OWS Cycon website. Let’s dive in!

Welcome C.A. (Christine) Verstraete!

  1. Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, what is Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter about?

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter gives an entirely different reason for the horrific axe murders committed by Sunday School teacher Lizzie Borden on August 4, 1892.

What if Lizzie killed her parents not because of family conflicts, jealousy or greed, but because they’d become… zombies?

The book follows the trial and aftermath of real life events, along with fictionalized story line events as Lizzie tries to uncover deadly secrets and protect her hometown, and her sister, Emma, from these nightmarish ghouls.

2. Does language play any role in your world? Does everyone speak the same language, or is there variety? Did you invent any new slang or terminology during your world-building process?

If you can call grunts and moans a “new” language. Ha! Zombies don’t say much otherwise. But I did use some language and got inspiration from real-life news coverage of the day.

  1. Is there any kind of faith system in your world? Did you draw inspiration from any real cultures, living or dead?

In real life, Lizzie Borden was a Sunday School teacher and attended her congregational church. While she was acquitted of the murders and perhaps thought she could resume some of her life again, I included some events in the story like how she was shunned at church. I decided to include her need for meditation by having her drop in the local Catholic church near her home, just to sit and reflect unnoticed as she felt unwelcome elsewhere.

  1. What do people in your world do for fun? Are there sports, games, music, or other activities they do in their free time?

I hate to say there’s no fun when you’ve been acquitted of murder and still condemned by society, and when killer zombies are roaming the streets. But inside her home, as in real life, Lizzie had to enjoy quiet moments with her sister and a few friends, read, play piano and listen to music. Then there was that huge party she had in real life, which may have been part of the cause for the rift between her and her sister.

  1. What kinds of transportation and other interesting technology do your characters have access to? Are they ahead, behind, or a mix of different kinds of tech compared to where we are now?

As the book is set in 1892 and 1893, there are horses and horse-drawn carriages.

  1. Without giving away too much, what can you tell us about your world-ending event and how it led to the world of your story? Was it a distant event or does it happen as part of your tale?

In Lizzie’s case, her personal world nearly ends as she, her sister, and her self-defense instructor close in on the madmen behind this evil scourge. Then she finds out other details. But there is also huge devastation in Fall River with fires and the chaos of invading zombies destroying much of the downtown. That also is loosely based on the devastation caused by real fires in the city’s past.

Your Process

  1. When you build a world, what is your process like? Do you do a lot of research upfront, wing it completely, or something in between?

In this case, my story is based on real-life events so I researched the trial, used newspaper accounts of the time, actual autopsy reports and crime scene photos, which all are available online.

  1. How central is the setting of your story to the story itself? Is it more of an interesting backdrop, or is it integral to the events of the story?

The location and setting are integral to the story as Lizzie Borden’s life is centered in her hometown and in neighboring cities where the legal proceedings are held. Oddly enough, even after the trial, while she traveled some, she continued to live in the same city, only moving to the “better” side of town where she and her sister bought a huge home.

  1. How much of a role does realism and hard scientific fact play in your world-building? Do you strive for 100% accuracy, or do you leave room for the fantastical and unexplainable in your world?

I based the book on real events, but it definitely enter the “fantastical” realm with the addition of zombies. But if you look at the crime scene photos and autopsy reports, the theory of the father and stepmother becoming zombies is a pretty plausible explanation for the murders.

Where can people find you on the web?

Thanks for hosting me! You can stop by my website, or my blog, for more details.

For more stops on our End of the World World-building Showcase, visit the tour page on the OWS CyCon website. You can also find more great Sci Fi authors and books on our main Sci Fi event page.

Keywords: OWS CyCon, Sci-Fi, Science Fiction, world-building, zombies, apocalypse, Lizzie Borden, alternate history, axe murders

Phoebe Darqueling Shares Her Greatest Sci-Fi Gadget During OWS CyCon 2019

Greatest Gadgets bannerI’m hosting another fantastic stop in our Greatest Gadgets blog hop! On this stop, we’re highlighting awesome Sci-Fi tech, and you can find a full list of participating authors and topics for this hop on the OWS Cycon website. Let’s dive in!

Welcome Phoebe Darqueling!

Before we dive in to the nitty gritty, what is Riftmaker about?

Save his boy, uncover a conspiracy, and master opposable thumbs—a dog’s work is never done.

Buddy’s favorite thing is curling up for a nap at the foot of Ethan’s bed. Then he stumbles through a portal to a clockwork city plagued by chimeras, and everything changes… Well, not everything. Sure, his new human body comes with magic powers, but he’d still rather nap than face the people of Excelsior, who harbor both desire and fear when it comes to “the other side.”

He discovers Ethan followed him through the portal and underwent his own transformation, and it becomes Buddy’s doggone duty to save him. Buddy finds unlikely allies in an aristocrat with everything on the line, a mechanic with something to hide, and a musician willing to do anything to protect her. Using a ramshackle flying machine, the group follows the chimeras deep into the forest and uncovers a plot that could reshape the worlds on both sides of the rift.

What can you tell us about the piece of Sci Fi tech you’re featuring today?

My gadget is same as the title of the book: the riftmaker.

As Lucy explains it, “Everything in the universe has a melody, something that transcends the barriers between worlds and is unique to them. But each world is like a different instrument, and the melody sounds different depending on whether you are using a flute or piano to play it. In other words, our ‘melodies’ resonate differently depending on the parameters of the worlds they inhabit, and that resonance is reflected in one’s physical body.”

By finding the right resonance coefficient and tuning the riftmaker machine to the same frequency, rifts open and provide a passageway to “the other side.” But because of the difference in resonance, the matter of a person is rearranged into a corresponding animal and vice versa. The main character of Riftmaker is Buddy, a dog in search of his boy in a strange clockwork city plagued by monsters that feed on fear. There are traces of our world called Artefacts, which are more technologically advanced than what is native to Excelsior because movement between worlds became restricted around 1860 in our world. It’s a delicate piece of machinery, and only one man knows how to build one.

“The riftmaker was a complicated aggregate of Artefacts, brass, wires, and glass vials of chemicals. The professor had explained to Ethan that the Artefacts were actually just for show, “modifications” he had insisted the machine required to make passage in human form possible. In the Commander’s pursuit of his goal, he had his army collect everything the professor had asked for from the other side, and Fenwick had attached them all over the machine with colored wires to make them appear integral. The real work focused on the various canisters of liquid, and the wire pulled taut between them. He sat back, satisfied that he accomplished his goal. The vials were all just loose enough that the vibrations would cause the desired effect, and hopefully, their escape.”

Find out more

Where can people find you on the web?

During OWS CyCon, you can connect with me and ask questions in my author booths on the CyCon website (my books are separated into Sci Fi and Fantasy). I’m also a participant in the “Sci Fi Goes Punk” World-building Showcase.

Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook, and if are a fan of FREE BOOKS (and who isn’t?), sign up for my email list and get your copy of The Steampunk Handbook sent right to your inbox.

For more stops on our blog hops, visit the tour page on the OWS CyCon website. You can also find more great Sci Fi authors and books on our main Sci Fi event page.


My Top 5 Sci-Fi Books & Movies List


As an author participant in this online bookfair (the largest of its kind!), I’ll be participating in a number of events. Among them is listing my Top 5 Sci-Fi Books & Movies as part of a blog hop. Since my latest book Fluffy’s Revolution is sci-fi, I am (for the moment) in the sci-fi author category. This will be posted on many other author blog sites so all participating authors can cross-promote each other. So, ready? Starting with #5 here goes…

why-george-orwell-1984-back-on-best-seller-ftr 5. 1984 – George Orwell

I read this before I was in high school and it was my introduction to the dystopian novel, although I was not aware of that term back in the ’50s, and, indeed, it might be the grandaddy of dystopian novels. Influenced by the bleak world of Communist Russia, Orwell extrapolates a totalitarian society to the extreme in this dismal world of the future. It had a profound impression on me and I will never forget the scene with the cage and the rats.

220px-MoreThanHuman(1stEdPB) 4. More Than Human – Theodore Sturgeon

During my pre-high school days, I was addicted to the short stories in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which has been in print since 1949 and still is. Stories by Theodore Sturgeon appeared frequently in these and he soon became my favorite author. Stories like The Professor’s Teddy Bear set my arm hairs on end and have stayed with me to this day. So I started buying his full-length works. More Than Human is the one I remember best. The concept is amazingly original: It’s the story of a group of mutant children who each have an extraordinary ability and also a disability. They are brought together by a powerful psychic with no moral compass to form a super-being. It’s creepy, scary, and possible!

A.I 3. A.I. Artificial Intelligence – the movie directed by Steven Spielberg

Sci-fi with a heart. This moving portrayal by Haley Joel Osment traces the life and quest of a robot boy for his mother’s love over thousands of years. The epic sweep of this film, combined with the sad and haunting story makes this my favorite Steven Spielberg film, maybe because it was originally optioned and developed by Stanley Kubrick.

BladeRunner 2. Blade Runner – the movie directed by Ridley Scott

My all-time favorite sci-fi movie stars Harrison Ford at the peak of his powers as a “private eye/ assassin” hired to track down and kill runaway “replicants” — synthetic humans manufactured to work in the “off-world” regions, uninhabitable for humans. He meets his match when he tracks down the leader of escapees, memorably played by Rutger Hauer. That encounter, in addition to falling in love with a young woman (Sean Young) who may or may not be a replicant, reveals to him that these replicants have become more human than anyone anticipated.

ChildhoodsEnd 1. Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke

My all-time favorite sci-fi read.

(From Amazon): “In the near future, enormous silver spaceships appear without warning over mankind’s largest cities. They belong to the Overlords, an alien race far superior to humanity in technological development-and their purpose is to dominate the Earth. Their demands, however, are surprisingly beneficial-end war, poverty, and cruelty. Their presence, rather than signaling the end of humanity, ushers in a golden age-or so it seems.

But it comes at a price. Without conflict, humanity ceases to work toward creative achievement, and culture stagnates. And as the years pass, it becomes more and more clear that the Overlords have a hidden agenda for the evolution of the human race, that may not be as beneficial as it seems.”

Like A.I., this story spans generations and follows the human race, dominated by the Overlords, into an uncertain future.

OWS CyCon…

officially runs May 17-19 with the CyCon website and Facebook events acting as the hub for all of our events. Sign up for our newsletter or RSVP to the event to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the bookish goodness we have to offer. Plus, you can read more about our participating Sci-Fi authors and their Top 5 favorites in Sci-Fi before CyCon starts. Visit the blog hop page any time leading up to CyCon for the latest posts and your chance to enter our MEGA giveaway (open May 10).