My #Minecraft McMansion

Youngest Grandson got to spend some time with us this summer. He spent part of it tutoring me in Minecraft. I can’t get it on my Linux desktop, but I downloaded the Pocket Edition for Android onto my tablet. Youngest Grandson is rather disappointed in me because I turn the difficulty down as far as it will go. Low Difficulty = No Monsters.

He thinks it’s very boring, but I can spend hours puttering around, stalking ducks to collect the eggs, slaughtering chickens, digging mines, and learning to build.

Here is my house. It’s a poor thing, but mine own.

Two stories yo

Two stories yo

Planted some poppies out front. We’ll see how that turns out. I tried digging a garden but, when I watered it, it flooded my mine. Who needs monsters?

Here’s the view of the interior from the doorway.

MansionIn1Got an oven, a storage chest, a crafting table, and stairs to the second story. And LOTS of windows.


The Kitchen

And a bare upstairs.

MansionUpBy and by, I might tear it down and build a new one. Or abandon it, leaving a few supplies, and build a new one. It’s very relaxing and juices up my imagination. Or I might get distracted seeing what the game will let me cook with duck eggs and mushrooms.

Speaking of cooking, I’m posting at Fatal Foodies today about the dryer lint I did NOT serve my husband for supper.

Thanks, Youngest!

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Monsters or creativity?


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Preorder Other Earth, Other Stars! #BookReview #SciFi

OTHER EARTH, OTHER STARS is now available for preorder! Wheeeeee!

Many thanks to those who responded to my call for reviews. The first has come back, from Andrea Gilbey in England. Andrea warned me that she doesn’t like science fiction. In fact, this post could have the click-bait title: She said she didn’t like science fiction. When I read her review, I was in tears.

Other Earth 3cSo you think you don’t like science fiction? Let Other Earth, Other Stars by Marian Allen convince you otherwise.

Science fiction, as Marian Allen herself notes in her introduction to this short story collection, is not all about ray guns, so don’t expect baffling technical terms and hard-to-imagine settings.
Do expect humour, suspense, wit, pathos, affectionate parody, other-worldly creatures, and humanity. And yes, the last two do go together.

You can almost forget that this is a science fiction book; yes, the stories are set in other worlds or other versions of this world, with their own rules of physics and social structures, but they have a common theme, the trials and tribulations, as well as the joys, of being, whether your own particular being is human, alien, mermayd or squid.

From the steampunk styling of Three Men in a Blimp – To Say Nothing of The Automata, to the more traditional “little green men” (okay, big multi-coloured furry beings) of The Woman Who Wasn’t A Shave Tail, I loved this book, despite not being a science fiction fan, and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good story, well written, that will make you laugh, cry and think.

Literally out of this world.

Andrea, thank you so much! Best. Review. Ever.

OTHER EARTH, OTHER STARS will be available in print, but it can only be preordered for Kindle. I don’t know why. Here’s the link to preorder your copy of OTHER EARTH, OTHER STARS. Makes a great gift, too!

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character tries something they know from experience they don’t like — and like it.


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One Creepy Moment #free #ScienceFiction

I’m still shilling for pre-publication reviews for my science fiction collection, OTHER EARTH, OTHER STARS. If you’re interested, drop me a request at ma @ (minus the spaces) and tell me what format you prefer; I’ll send you an electronic uncorrected proof.

I’ve sent in my corrections, and the book should be available for pre-order in a day or so. Meanwhile, you can have a sneak peek and review it before anybody can even buy it! How cool is that! Way, that’s how!

And here’s a snippet from “Solo For Multiple Instruments,” the first story in the collection.

“Solo For Multiple Instruments”

by Marian Allen

Anouk had gone to use the “water box”, as she insisted on calling it, and to bring them an afternoon snack. Gale worked her way toward the end of the row, trimming and packing dill for the commissary.

The closer she came to the dome surface, the stronger the feeling of being watched became. Her own reflection startled her, the apprehensive eyes so much wider than usual, the features blurred by the panel’s semi-matte finish, colors leeched by the dull silver tint. It’s only me. Gale met her own hazy gaze in the gray panel. Or is it?

She stared at her image on the thin barrier between the inside and the outside, at herself-that-was-not-herself, and her heart pounded, reveling in the presence of another consciousness.

“Hello,” she said, suddenly fiercely curious about this new acquaintance. “Pleased to meet you. I would offer to trade profile locations with you, but that’s a thing of the past, isn’t it?”

“Ah, Dieu!” Anouk called from the doorway. “Don’t start talking to yourself, my friend. That way lies madness.” She handed Gale a thermal glass sipping mug of black coffee and a freshbag of three ginger snaps.

Embarrassed, Gale said, “I wasn’t talking to myself. I was talking to the gremlins.”

“I see.” Anouk nodded and took a careful sip of the hot coffee. “Now, does that make you less mad, or more mad? And will you tell Toby Barnes, or do I have to… What is the phrase? ‘rat you out’?”

TalkingToYourself“Tell Toby? Why?” But she knew why. Anouk didn’t even bother to answer. They couldn’t afford to have anybody go off the rails in a pioneer site. One lunatic in a closed environment with such a limited population, so few of whom were expendable, could be a disaster. “Projecting oneself as a separate entity” was one of the things the counselor had specifically warned them about. Any instance–any suspected instance–was to be reported to one of the mental health staff or the Project Facilitator. She wasn’t certain that one creepy moment meant her brains were scrambled, but nobody could afford to take that chance. She would have to tell Toby.


A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write about a character who begins talking to him or herself.


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