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:

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
No comments
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
Captain Travis
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Last week I traveled to the Guadalajara Book Fair, one of the largest book fairs in the world and the largest in Latin America from what I've heard. I attended a number of events and looked around the entire grounds, but only in Guadalajara for four out of nine days of the fair.I did this with a specific purpose in mind. As an Evangelical Christian who writes science fiction and fantasy, who speaks Spanish and French proficiently and who has a Mexican wife, I was looking at the prospects of selling Christian-themed speculative fiction in Latin America. Some things I wanted to know included: 1. Are any Christian publishers already selling speculative fiction in Latin America?2. Is any speculative fiction being sold at all at the fair? And if so, by which authors? Published by whom?3. Factor X. What might I learn at the fair that I don't even know could be possible?Probably I spent the most time on point number 2. I don't know how many books were on sale at the fair, but the number was massive. I did not see every book, but I did go to every store and look around for science fiction and fantasy and/or horror, a.k.a. "speculative fiction." Since I hoped to find a Latin American publisher for translations of stories I have either written or edited, I thought it would be great to see if any publishers in the Latin American world were already producing speculative fiction.To my distress as I walked around the fair, while I kept seeing speculative fiction for sale, MOST of it was either in English from United States book publishers...or translated into Spanish, still published by US Publishers. Since getting backing by major US publishers like Harper Collins or Penguin Random House is rather hard, I had been hoping a Latin American publisher would be easier to access. I also saw a bit of UK and German speculative fiction (these countries were well represented at the fair), but not did not encounter a single publisher FROM Latin America who publishes speculative fiction, with the exception of literature for young children. (A partial exception to that is one publishing house from Brazil which publishes a number of fiction genres, including some speculative fiction.)By the way, the things most in view by the US publishers were works of fiction tied to American movies or TV series. Some American comic book translations were around (both Marvel and DC), Game of Thrones (and other G.R.R Martin books), Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. Some Divergent and Hunger Games, too. In horror books, almost exclusively Stephen King.I finally found a genuinely Mexican-owned establishment which carried a significant amount of speculative fiction. All was under the title of "ciencia ficcion" by the way, marking that term as their roll-up catch-all for speculative fiction, which surprised me. They had, like others, G.R.R Martin, but not much else fantasy. But they did have some classic science fiction, some not carried at the book fair by the American publishers (as far as I saw)--Arthur C. Clark and Ray Bradbury among them. They had Stephen King like the US publishers, but also Anne Rice. A LOT of Anne Rice. But no Harry Potter that I saw and no Star Wars. So I drew a conclusion from what I saw that it may be the case that this Mexican establishment carries science fiction to compete with US-owned publishers but carries authors for whom exclusive contracts do not exist. Maybe that's true and maybe it isn't, but if it is true that this company is searching for lesser-known books to compete with the "big boys," it may represent an opportunity. Maybe they would be willing to give books a try that other bookstores would not.Oh, by the way, the Mexican company I'm taking about is not primarily a publisher, though I think they do publish some books. It's a bookstore chain, one called "Ediciones B." I plan to contact them in the near future, but I may have to do so as a publisher in order to have books distributed rather than as an author/editor.Circling around to my point 1, I saw very few Christian publishers at the book fair at all. Tyndale was there selling Bibles, as were the "Sociedades Unidas Biblicas." But there were no other Evangelical publishers there at all, even though Mexico has some (I found out at least one was hit hard in the earthquake not that long ago south of Mexico City, and that's why they were not there). I did see some Catholic publishers, but they hardly carried any fiction at all. Some for kids and some classics, but they mostly had non-fiction.By the way, I don't know what the proportion of fiction to non-fiction would be at a book fair in the United States, Canada, or Europe, but non-fiction was HUGE at the Guadalajara Fair. Clearly a lot more non-fiction sells in Latin America than fiction. A lot was religious, not just the Catholic versions, but I also saw plenty of New Age books, plenty of tarot and mysticism and that kind of thing. (And in the category of fiction that makes non-fiction claims, I also saw plenty of Dan Brown books.) The dominance of non-fiction was a bit surprising for me, but what I saw may mean I should write more non-fiction--IF reaching the Latin American market really matters to me (which I would say it does).As for my point 3, yes, I found some surprises. A couple of things I found that I did not expect are not too surprising in retrospect. I found some e-book and audio book distributors looking for clients. It seems both formats are growing massively in Latin America. But a surprise factor was that several of these companies have English names, including Inkit, a Mexican e-book formatting and distribution company and, a Swedish audiobook company with a presence based in Spain. (It seems a name in English has the feeling of "tech" all over it in the Spanish-speaking world.)The biggest surprise was I found some governments and non-government organizations are actively seeking to promote the national literature of their countries and as a result are willing to pay for translations to and from various languages. The Sharjah Book Fair of the United Arab Emirates is especially interested in translating books to and from Arabic, something I would like to apply for concerning my books. And New Zealand is looking to fund translations of NZ books into Spanish--so I am going to see if, God willing, I can arrange the translation of some books from my friend Grace Bridges at Splashdown Books in New Zealand into Spanish or possibly Portuguese, with New Zealand footing the bill. And Argentina is funding translations of Argentine authors into English, a task which I'm capable of performing myself and would not mind getting paid to do, assuming I can find some Argentine speculative fiction I would like to publish.So overall, the experience at the Guadalajara Book Fair was a good one. I learned some important things and found a few new opportunities I'd never thought of.Got any questions or comments for me on this topic? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below. :) 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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