Mines of Mercury WRITING PROMPT

Shared previously on a Facebook page, the following is the writing prompt for the current project, The Mines of Mercury:


Year 3017. After the terraforming of Mars and Venus and the collapse of the former societies of those worlds, Mercury collapsed as well. The United Nations wars and the loss of trade partners devastated their economy, but the culture and technological advances of the distant past linger on, unlike on Venus and Mars.

Beneath the surface of Mercury run a series of interconnected tunnels deep enough to protect from the extreme rages of heat and cold between night and day, passageways that used to be mines, shafts that cut across the entire planet. The metals that built the panesl that provided Venus' artificial day and night, built the colony on Earth's moon, contributed to the settlement of Mars, that supplied spaceships for the exploration of the entire Solar System--these mostly came from the mines of Mercury.

The mines are a ghost of what they used to be. Only a relative handful of the robotic workers still function, the massive excavators fallen into decay from centuries of disuse. Among the few remaining mines, robots work some shafts, while in others, humans provide all the labor, in places with pick and shovel. Multiple republics cut across sections of the planet, only recently united with one another in a weak confederation. Cultures are diverse. No one language or time period is represented. The majority believe in God but without any specific devotion. Strong faith of any kind and organized religion are rare, but held on to fiercely by the small minority who believe.

Robotic workers predominate in some areas, especially in the hotter tunnels around the equator, while others are dominated by mining corporations and labor unions, while still others are littered with small stakes, pirates, and claim jumpers. Especially remote are the cold tunnels around Mercury's North Pole. The United Republics of Mercury are trying to rebuild the basis of their economies and repair the shipyards, to reclaim their heritage. They need the mines.


But in the depths of the mineshafts emerge strange beastes, genetically engineered monsters that linger in the darkness, "gifts" of the genetic masters of Planet Earth, though few on Mercury will discover this. For the Earthlings, "Earth is our mother" and living anywhere else is a violation of the natural order. They hope to force the mines of Mercury to close and the inhabitants of the planet to return home to "mother."

"Mother Earth" is a child abuser, her astounding monstrosities devouring both man and machine...

At #RealmMakers2019 conference!

Virtual Release Party for Beatitudes & Woes Anthology!

When?: July 13, 2019 at 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm CT,  Time for a (Facebook!) party!

Where?: Event on facebook: "Release Party for Beatitudes & Woes"


Beatitudes and Woes is the new anthology coming out from this weekend.

Join us Saturday evening's Release Party for fun and frivolity and even some potential to win FREE STUFF!

Parties need snacks. What kind of snacks will you be enjoying?

Submissions are still open for The Mines of Mercury!


July has brought a lot of new addtions to our books so far: A Shattered World, What Aliens Teach us About God, Writing Speculative Fiction: Adult Self-Paced Edition, and Tales of the Phoenix!

Yet to come in the near future (God willing): Mythic Orbits 3, Spanish and French versions of What Aliens Teach us About God, and Worlds of Weinbaum (based on classic science fiction short stories by Stanely L. Weinbaum).

Bear Publications is also sponsorting a LitRPG novel. And more!

Published in Arabic!

Bear Publications has managed to get one of Kerry Nietz's flash fiction stories (previously published by Havok!) translated into Arabic and printed in an Iraqi literary magazine! (WHOO!!)


Here's the a link to the  Nehreem  magazine. Scroll down to page 38 and you'll see Kerry's name in our alphabet, followed by the story in Arabic!



Realm Makers 2018!

The Bear Publications was present at the Realm Maker's conference in Saint Louis!

If you are a Christian author writing speculative fiction, find your people at Realm Makers!

For more intormation, follow this link to theRealm Makers website:



Starting with Lelia Rose Foreman's Writing Speculative Fiction, we are now publishing non-fiction and will soon be publishing novels!


(See our "Non-Fiction" tab to order Writing Speculative Ficiton: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.)

MYTHIC ORBITS cover redesign


Thanks to Mike Rogers for the reflected image on the astronaut's visor.

This cover also changed out the logo for Bear Publications and added the editor's name to the order to meet certain design specifications by Barnes and Noble.




Thanks to Kendra LaLonde for the photo arrangement within the V on the front cover.

Victorian Venus stories often comment on the long 14-day night on Venus, a.k.a. "the dark fortnight."

This cover reflects that story reality by using a dayside/nightside design...


Bear is on the Air!

In the life of a writer, sometimes lots of things happen all at once, and sometimes, nothing happens at all. Here you can listen to some of the interviews concerning Bear Publication and our Authors!



PJC Media / RadioTalkShow

Parker J. Cole, Host.

PJC Media is a network focused on real Christian talk about issues that affect every day of our lives...

Catholic Geek Radio / Radio

Declan Finn, Host

(Dragon Award Nominee, Best Horror, Honor at Stake), brings you a host of authors from the Mythic Orbits 2016 anthology, the best spec fiction from Christian authors..

The Big Idea Blog

Travis Perry writes about story ideas, the universe, and everything at his unique blog:

The cover for my romance book...A cover I helped make (I'm responsiblefor the image of the main character,which I created by combining other images, the rest by Virginia McKevitt.) As a writer and publisher of science fiction and fantasy and on occasion, horror, I know numerous other authors who write genres I don't write. Including romance. A friend of mine, Parker J. Cole, informed me back perhaps in August of a project she and another romance writer (Lynn Donovan) were working with a couple of science fiction/fantasy authors Tom Bruno and Britt Mooney (note Kerry Nietz also expressed interest in maybe writing a future novel in this series, but hasn't written one as of now) to create a series of stories that are a hybrid of fantasy, science fiction, and romance. Though mainly romance. I actually thought it might be interesting to participate. Yes, I volunteered myself to help write in a genre I neither read nor write--romance! To be frank, it wasn't just because I wanted the opportunity to do something I hadn't done before and because I had already worked with Parker on the Beatitudes and Woes anthology I published this year (and working with Parker was a great experience). It was also because I've heard how much better romance sells than the genres I usually write and I was hoping for some of those romance dollars. I didn't realize what I was getting myself into. Note I'm not mainly a novelist, at least not at this point in my life I'm not. I've written some non-fiction and short fiction. I also have two novels I've written that are currently unpublished but are planned for release in 2020 (the first of these, The Crystal Doorway, I hope to have read in early January, just a few weeks away from my time of writing). So this is only my third novel--and it's by far my shortest. But I had a very hard time writing it. For my fellow authors, you know that thing you do when you write a story in which you include elements that you like yourself as a reader? Because you know what you like, therefore you use that to build a story you hope others will also enjoy? Yeah, now imagine doing that for a genre you don't even read. Not easy! The thing though is I thought it would be easy. I like stories with romantic elements. For example, I really like The Princess Bride. (This romance novel, Entangled with a Faun, drops some Princess Bride references, by the way.) I've even read some science fiction with romantic elements, like the short stories by classic sci-fi writer Stanley Weinbaum. But perhaps the biggest difference between stories I'd read and the genre I decided to try to write is in the stories I've read with romantic elements, they generally wind up in the background. The focus is on other things and eventually, through hardship and trials, a male and female character realize at the end of the story that they are in love. That's romance, right?As I've found out, actually no. That isn't romance. Well, what I thought was romance is actually "romance-ish," or "romance-eque" maybe. Not totally wrong, but not close to right either. Because romance--well, clean romance anyway--is a genre about flirting. (Or at least that's what I think it's about, having written it once.)And I made a horrible mistake right up front with my romance--to flirt, characters needed to be together. Sort of like a buddy cop movie, but instead of teasing each other, they flirt with each other. Until eventually the flirtation becomes a serious relationship. With the romance reader reading the flirtation a bit like I would combat scenes--"oh, that was close!" "almost lost it there!" "barely escaped that one!" "oh, I know he's gonna fall, but when?" So the beats of action and escape that relate to survival of characters in the kind of fiction I read is replaced by beats of emotional closeness or separation and swirling passion and pangs of the heart. But, I'm off track--I should be talking about my mistake. My mistake was that I picked a male and female lead as part of a group of authors and also picked characters who spend little time together. She, the county sheriff, he the town librarian. A sheriff and a deputy or the sheriff and the FBI or something like that would have been a better choice, because the characters could naturally be together a lot. (Note, the group thing was a problem because once I'd committed myself I couldn't change characters since they were incorporated into other people's books.) So I had to wrestle with how romance can happen with people who don't see each other very much. Of course they think about each other. They call--or don't call. There's an occurrence of flowers being sent off (see how personal I made that sound :) ). And a few other things, like brief visits. I had to work to make it plausible, and to my genuine surprise, it actually seems to have worked. Though my story also has strong non-romance elements. There was just no way getting around it for me. I spend a little bit of time in the fantasy world and couldn't help writing some odd things there--it's what I do. I also made an action scene--in which there's real live shooting ongoing. Cause I'm very familiar with that stuff. Though I also wrote a showdown in which my main character, Lucy Spotted Wolf, is ganged up on in a conversation and made to feel very low, which is not something I would normally write.My story wound up with two main tensions--one being a general lack of respect that Lucy faces in her work, where some treat law enforcement as a "boys-only club. The other being her sense of isolation in a small, mostly white town, coupled with loneliness as a woman who has been burned by men in past romantic relationships and who has steered away from things that hurt her emotionally. Lucy has two encounters with fantasy creatures who cross over from another universe--one threatens her life, the other winds up entangled with her and her love interest and brings back to her a sense of whimsy and joy, helping restore her childhood love of fantasy that she felt for Narnia. So my book has not just one, but two separate resolutions to these issues (one right after the other).And after I had gone through feeling incompetent and wanting to quit and doubting that I could ever write anything, let alone romance and certainly not this tale, I found myself reading back over the ending of the story I'd created with an astonishing warm glow of satisfaction. Hey that was actually really good! I think I actually managed a mostly satisfying romance (with a lot of help from Parker J. Cole) with a really strong ending. And a good other story, too, with its own quite satisfying ending.That's easy for me to say, of course, and it's always so possible for any author to be blind about his or her own writing. But my experience really was one of surprise--I thought I was sunk by this project and worried for a while that I would never be able to finish the story. But when I finished it, I read back over it and thought, "Hey, this is actually good! Wow!" I actually don't feel embarrassed to recommend this book--and I was wondering about that for a while. It's a quick read and I think one that most readers will actually enjoy--even if you are a fantasy fan and not a romance fan. Or even if you are a romance fan and don't care that much about fantasy.  And I am so surprised to be telling you that! (And I'm telling you, I would not say so unless I thought so.)As you will have noticed from my post, my book is also part of a series of stories, which includes a prologue and books 2, and 3. These other stories fill in the background for my tale and make it make sense.Here's a link to the Prologue book (a.k.a book 1) on Amazon, written by Tom and Lynn: book 2, by Tom Bruno: book 3, by Lynn Donovan: finally, to my book, published as of the same date I'm writing this post (Dec 24th, 2019). Note it's a FREE read if you are an Amazon Prime member:, I hope you like the way the story wrapped up as much as I did! If you read it, write me a review and feel free to comment here about it.
Captain Travis
I'm going to talk about a story anthology I've had the good fortune to work on, but I'll get to that in a bit. First I'm going to talk about some bigger ideas (which is what this blog focuses on, after all) and work my way to the new book after a bit. So let me start out by noting that sometimes innovative ideas are complex and mind-blowing. Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are like that--it takes mental work to wrap your head around the way these principles of physics really work...and you can never be fully confident, especially with Quantum Mechanics, that you really do get what's going on. But there are other ideas that immediately strike everybody--well, almost everybody--as great ideas. Such notions hit people with the feeling, "Why didn't anyone think of that before?" Such putting meat or cheese between two slices of bread and eating it that way--believe it or not, there was a time nobody did that. In Ancient Rome, for example, you might take a hunk of bread and bite it when you still had a bite of meat in your mouth--but slicing the bread and meat and slapping them together as one product was something people simply did not do. And think just how much the idea of a sandwich, as simple as it is, has transformed modern life. How many businesses it has built. How many meals it has changed. (To include its stepchild the hamburger. And the cheeseburger.) A more personal example of this kind of simple idea making a huge difference in life comes from Afghanistan, where I was part of a US Army Civil Affairs Team that funded development projects in Afghan-land. One of the things we brought to rural, unelectrified villages were solar-powered street lamps. During the day sunlight powered up the lamps to provide 3 or 4 hours of light after dark--and such light was hugely popular in rural Afghanistan. The lights were so much superior to the kinds of lamps they had before and therefore transformed the way people lived, allowing them to stay out after dark in a way they'd never been able to do ever before. Ditto cell phones in the same country and also in rural zones of East Africa where I served. A solar-powered charger and a cell phone allowed unelectrified, unconnected villages to suddenly transform into having immediate communication with the wider world. I'm not trying to downplay the complex technology involved in building solar panels, mobile phone displays and computer chips, or the radio technology behind the towers cell phones use. But when presented to the user, the idea is simple enough--want to be able to contact people untold distances away for a relatively cheap price? Yeah, everybody could see that was a better way to do things. And everyone who could afford to do so got a cell phone and put it to use. Likewise, this story collection I've had the good fortune to edit and now publish has that kind of idea contained with it. Or one that certainly strikes me that way. On nine occasions in a row in Matthew chapter 5 (yes, of the Bible, of the Christian New Testament :) ), Jesus said "blessed are" and then told who the blessed are and why. The merciful. The peacemakers. Etc. And four times in Luke 6 Jesus said something similar, but opposite. These statements started with "woe to," such as "them who laugh now." Or are rich now. Etc. The "blessed be" statements are commonly called "beatitudes" by English-speaking Christians (mentioning that in case you didn't know, which might apply especially if your first language isn't English, since I have at least a few readers from all around the world). And the other statements, the negative ones, are of course, "woes." So here's the idea--what if a group Christian authors wrote a speculative fiction short story that illustrated or was inspired by each of the nine beatitudes and each of the four woes? Wait a minute, wait a minute--Christian authors can use verses of the Bible in Biblical order specifically to inspire a set of short stories? Short stories linked to each verse? Why didn't anyone ever think of that before! Note I've found out after talking about this book on another site that some other people in fact did think of this idea before--or something very similar. But this notion still isn't too common. And I think it should be. Jesus illustrated many spiritual principles with stories, a.k.a. parables. Why shouldn't Christian writers of fiction also use stories inspired by Scripture, not as parables per se, but as original, interesting stories, which still work their way around to being about the verse(s) the stories were drawn from? And why not speculative fiction? Science fiction and fantasy look at the world as it isn't but as we can imagine that it could be. And many parts of the Bible, including especially the beatitudes and woes, talk about the world not as it is now, but as it will be in the future, a time we don't and can't completely know--but which we can speculate about. And we can also use our power of speculation to make points that more down-to-earth fiction would struggle to express. Yeah, speculative fiction is perfect for this. The lovely cover of the Beatitudes and Woes anthology. Which led me to think: Wow--this should be a regular thing, a common thing. This is such a great idea that Christian writers should be doing it all the time! Oh, by the way, it wasn't me that came up with this idea. It was a friend and fellow author, C.W. Briar who suggested it. And on a Facebook group a bunch of Christian authors piled in, volunteered, and wrote stories which I edited with the help of my friend Cindy Koepp. And I directed this work into getting a really good cover and all that vital stuff and voila! (After almost 6 months of work, here we are, a new short story anthology is born.) This post likely (God willing) will be active long after the release of this book, but today, the day of my writing this post, there's going to be a "release party" online on Saturday, July 13th (in honor of the 13 authors), in which we announce the book is ready for the world and give out prizes and such. Search for it on Facebook (Beatitudes and Woes release party) if you're interested. (And I think you should be interested--it will be worth your time for the prizes alone.) Also of course if you are interested, buy the book--as of this moment the Kindle version is available for pre-order (and as of tomorrow the same link will bring you to the page to buy the book immediately). But even more than grabbing up for yourself what is (I think) an expression of a powerful and simple idea that is going to amaze and amuse you in so many ways, consider the idea behind the book. Using Bible verses in a row as focal points for a series of stories. That's brilliant, even though it's simple--if you're a Christian writer of fiction, maybe you should consider using the same method yourself! ttp
Captain Travis
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I happened to see Star Wars, The Last Jedi yesterday in a very clean and inexpensive theater in Monterrey, Mexico (just here for a short time this trip). Watching a moving in the United States increasingly seems like a waste of money, but I digress from my point...which is commentary on the movie itself. While I am going to commit some SPOILERS they will be of a general nature. I am not going to reveal how the story ends or some of the key bits of information the tale gives out. I do share some story details, but deliberately out of context. And while this is also a general review, I am going to focus on one aspect of the story that caught my attention that may not be the first thing most people think of with this movie. Note that I had several problems with Episode Seven that I hoped this movie would not repeat. I felt The Force Awakens 1) copied far too much from the Star Wars A New Hope, 2) presented an insufficiently powerful villain in Kylo Ren, 3) an over-powered new character in Rey--she should not have been victorious so easily in my view, 4) and sometimes just did not make any sense. Why did R2D2 sleep until the end? How did Poe reappear after disappearing? Why did the First Order gain so much power in the first place? (and plenty of other issues) The Last Jedi addressed these concerns of mine pretty well, as if the producers had listened to some of their critics (I was far from the only person to be concerned about the things I just mentioned). While the story has some elements that resonate with familiarity to what happened in Empire Strikes Back, this movie is far, far, different from that tale. Kylo Ren got stronger by the end but paid some consequences for screwing up prior to that. Rey was still super powerful for someone completely untrained, but in some ways showed some more limitations and vulnerabilities, which I thought was good for her character development. Though, yes, the story still makes no sense at times, but improved in that department when compared to The Force Awakens. Though you do see some things that make no sense. Like bombers being used in, think about that for a minute...why is a bomber not going to work in space? Or how could they be so sure that only one ship was tracking them? How would they know? And how would they know the ONLY way to get filthy rich is to sell weapons? Er, since when? And some other things. But for once a harebrained attack idea actually totally failed and the replacement plan nearly totally failed as well. Which is more realistic than Star Wars has been before. So I saw that as improvement. I would say as a negative criticism that this story did not have the strong emotional resonance with me that The Empire Strikes Back did. But it had some high moments, including especially Luke Skywalker finally doing something to help the other characters in their dire situation.  Overall, it proved to be an entertaining movie. A pretty good story. Not really great in my book, but definitely worth seeing. One thing that struck me about the story though is that on both the First Order side and among the Resistance, the younger, more impulsive types were continually rebelling against their older superiors. As in not following orders. Or even more so, actively overthrowing those in power. And that mostly worked for the younger characters. I mean, they faced few consequences of their actions. Generally, they wound up in greater positions of trust AFTER resisting authority than they had been beforehand. Poe disobeying General Organa went the did his later actions against the female commander who replaced her temporarily. But still, in the end, he is seen as a leader and is followed. Everyone respects him. He does not really feel much guilt about his actions and suffers no serious consequences. Rey does not really need Luke (though Luke does not prove to be totally useless in the story). Kylo resists Snoke. Fin battles Captain Phasma, his former commander. Pretty much in every case it all works out for the good for these characters. Rebellion is rewarded, even though the BIG rebellion, the Resistance itself, does not do very well in the confines of this movie. It might seem I am nit-picking here, but consider how different this was to what happened in Empire Strikes Back. Luke Skywalker, though likable, was in fact a bit of an ignoramus who needed some stern discipline on the part of Yoda in order to even begin to straighten out. The master knew more than the pupil, as was also true when Luke learned from Obi Wan.  When Luke rushed off early to face Darth Vader, fans seeing the conflict for the first time could hope Luke could pull off a victory, but he in fact failed rather miserably, losing his hand, NOT saving his friends, only spared by Vader due to a terrible truth he was unprepared to face. The elders really did know something he did not--Yoda really was the master and Luke the student. With Rey and Luke Skywalker--without giving away anything specific--let me say that is not the relationship at all. While he does know a few more things than her, he is mired in his own point of view, one shown to be in effect "just Luke" and not reflecting any special wisdom. While Luke and Leia do know a few things that the younger generation does not, they are not especially wise. Resisting their advice does not come with especially sharp consequences. In the end of The Last Jedi, the collected wisdom of the Jedi proves to be disposable--the story could and did do away with it and no negative consequences came about as a result.  Perhaps I can be accused of looking for negative issues, searching for bones to pick. I probably am, though by force of habit rather than deliberate choice. While the clearly deliberate efforts to replace male authority with female in the overall arc of the new tales and to establish greater racial balance than past stories could perhaps be criticized as bowing to modern opinion first and caring about storytelling second, such things only mildly caught my attention in The Last Jedi. The storytelling actually was pretty good and essentially believable, Social Justice Warrior influence (however much it may have been) notwithstanding. But why was it that this new movie consistently showed older people and past tradition in a negative light, something do be defied, or worked around, a rebellion upon the rebellion portrayed against the First Order?  I don't know. But it bothered me a bit. ttp

From the Art Files

Cool images that were part of the process to build covers or other key artwork that you won't see elsewhere. Enjoy!


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