I’ve been asked how I come up with my ideas. I suspect most writers are asked that question. I am sure many of them are tired of answering the question. Where do any of our ideas or inspirations come from? This is not a philosophical course, just a little blog post, so I’ll steer away from some of the more ethereal options and aim for some of the tools I have used.
I grew up watching many shows on television, National Geographic Specials, Cousteau Specials, In Search Of, narrated by Leonard Nimoy. I watched a lot of PBS which gave me the ability to converse about the Dark Ages, Egyptian Pyramids, Da Vinci (before he had a Code), H.H. Crispin, Percy Fawcett and of course Baseball. My addition of the Wickenburg Massacre in Amber Gifts came from a short report I viewed a few years ago. There was a conspiracy theory that it was not Native Americans who were involved. It’s a fact that one woman and one man escaped to return to Wickenburg. Make of that what you will.
Currently my favorite tool for exploring new ideas is a show call Mysteries at the Museum. It plays on the Travel Channel and is hosted by Don Wildman. They are just finishing their seventh season. MATM shows several segments during each episode. Each segment focuses on the story behind one particular exhibit in a museum somewhere in the world. They have covered the Hunley, The Lost Colony of Roanoke, Love Canal, and so many more. It’s a tremendous wealth of uncommon knowledge and I’ve used a couple of ideas from the show already. I expect I will continue in the future.
I try not to use ideas from scripted television and movies. Nor do I want to use ideas from other fiction, fantasy, Sci-fi, or any genre. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. I remember the Afterward in Arthur C. Clarke’s novel, 3001. He was mildly distressed that he had ended the novel using a similar climatic tool as the movie Independence Day, a computer virus. When Amber Prelude is published in 2015 someone may think I took a portion of the plot from a television show but the truth is I saw the show after I wrote the story. It happens.
I am always impressed at the ability of writers to produce a good television show week after week. I have to think and research and get the information correctly laid out. I’m too slow and methodical to ever work in Hollywood. Some are able to do it though and to those I tip my hat. Well done ladies and gentlemen, well done.
Kevin B. Henry
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Time Travel
Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of Publication: February 2013
Number of pages: 99 pages
Word Count: 25,000 words
Cover Artist: Ellie Smith
After a decades long downward spiral, Mitchell is at the bottom of life’s rungs. A stranger hands him a simple, amber vial and tells him to drink it. With that one act, he is now a time traveler and when asked to help some new acquaintances, he gladly agrees. A simple request to find some items left scattered throughout time. How hard could it be?
But someone wants to stop Mitchell’s efforts and it will take more than luck for Mitchell to find all the items and survive long enough to complete his mission.
I spun in the chair. My flight instincts kicked in and I dove for the floor behind the desk. My hand grasped the vial before I escaped the target that was once a comfortable chair. I felt the second shot miss my head by inches. I gathered the package to me on my way to the floor.
“Wait. Stop!” I stammered on the way to the floor. I didn’t believe for a second that he would.
I uncapped the vial with a flip of my thumb while securing the package in my inner coat pocket. I recovered the rubber stopper in midair. My dexterity surprised me. What circus had I escaped from where I learned these tricks? I raised the vial to my waiting mouth. As I sipped, I took a quick look at my assailant. I wanted to be able to describe him to the Wilsons when next I saw them. He had bon vivant written all over him. He sparkled for the entire world like a fourth of July firework. I needed to ask about the meaning of that if I lived long enough. He dressed in a burgundy velvet smoking jacket, white tombstone shirt with a brown medallion ascot.
His face appeared cold and insensitive, if that’s possible. His blond, short-trimmed hair seemed not to move, despite his trying violently to get through the door and in a better location for the kill shot. When his mouth opened I would have sworn I saw his teeth gleam like one of those Crest toothpaste commercials. A scowl of bewilderment appeared on his face as he rushed through the threshold. Perhaps he felt as amazed at my continued existence as I. He must have taken his first shot from across the hall and through the office entryway. I didn’t understand how he managed to miss the second shot.
“Sorry, mate,” he said with an Australian accent.
He had a gun in his hand, aimed straight at my head. It appeared to be a Remington Model 95Derringer. I tend to notice deadly items pointed at me with such professional accuracy. I wasn’t going to trust my life that it was only an authentic double shot model. He had the look of someone intent on firing again very soon. How fast could he pull the trigger? How fast could I dissolve? I hate life or death experiments.
“1643,” I spoke softly. Instantly, I lay on an empty, white, sand beach.
About the Author:
From an early age, Kevin B. Henry was a voracious reader. His collection of science fiction, fantasy and mystery books bring tears of envy to the eyes of many small community libraries.
Kevin has worked as an educator, technology specialist and day laborer most of his adult life. During all that time he lived the life of a frustrated author. That it took 30 years for him to piece together Amber Gifts is a testament that the best meals need slow cooking to bring out the flavor. He feels the best stories revolve around time travel and the problems that such ability could produce. It’s no surprise that his first published work revolves around that theme. All the classics have touched on the subject; Star Trek, Doctor Who, Babylon 5, The Big Bang Theory. He hopes Amber Gifts can be added to that list.
Kevin is a natural storyteller, so it’s logical that he lectures occasionally. Topics range from the implementation of cutting edge technology hardware to the creation, modification and use of e-books within education. He constantly pursues research to expand his range of possible topics. His most recent research revolved around the aerodynamic properties of reindeer. He’s been known to include little known facts and trivia into his presentations. Did you know just 146 years ago today the Union Army marched into Atlanta? It took longer than anticipated. They were delayed by a traffic jam on I-75 and the tollbooth on Ga. 400
During other times, he travels if he can, both in time and space, but mostly to any available amusement park. He is not as fond of roller coaster type rides as he used to be. He still loves a good parade.
He lives in the mid-west without human or domesticated mammal companionship.
Web Site: www.ambergifts.blogspot.com
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