Archive for the ‘anthology’ Tag

Announcing An Anthology   Leave a comment

My short “Redemption, Reformatted” has been accepted in this year’s Agorist Writers Workshop anthology “Fire and Faith”.

“Redemption, Reformatted” is a retelling of the Prodigal Son story, focusing on the voluntary nature of fulfilling obligations as a product of personal redemption.

Unbound #fantasy #book   Leave a comment

Unbound (The Clarion Call Book 3) by [Workshop, Agorist Writers']Agorist Writers Workshop, of which I am a contributor, launched its latest anthology yesterday – Unbound (Clarion Call 3)

#agorist #libertarian #anthology

Coming Soon!   Leave a comment

I am a contributing author to the Agorist Writers Workshop 2017 anthology:


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I should be announcing its launch date in the next week or so.

Announcing New Project   Leave a comment

Grand Chart BannerBreakwater Harbor Books author Lela Markham’s short “Grand Chart” has been accepted into the Agorist Writers Workshop’s 2017 anthology project Unbound. Watch for this libertarian fantasy featuring 15 authors in November.

“Making voluntaryist principles work in a feudal society with a strong fantasy element was a fun challenge as a writer,” Lela said. “Although this short was more in my wheelhouse than the alternative history short ‘A Bridge at Adelphia’ was last year, it still challenged me to write a short story that includes nontraditional elements for a fantasy, which is what makes these anthology projects enjoyable. Plus, Kath – the main character — is from the Daermad Cycle universe, so fans of the series can learn something about this minor character’s past.”

Lela also reports that she is in the editing phase of her next full-length novel A Threatening Fragility (book 3 of Transformation Project). Are you ready for the government to reassert itself? How do you think the residents of Emmaus will respond? Watch for it around October with a cover reveal event August 30. Join her and sign up for the RaffleCopter giveaway.

Alternatives   1 comment

I recently read about an assistant professor at St. Mary’s College outside South Bend, Indiana. He used to live in the Pilsen area of Chicago at the time University Village was undergoing development. Feeling a loss of history and community, he asked for old family photos and learned there weren’t many. Being an artist, he set about to recreate the community he wanted to remember.

Ian Weaver created Black Bottom, an imaginary Chicago neighborhood adjacent to Maxwell Street by drawing maps for its streets, documents for its residents and also creating quilts and other faux artifacts.

“I wanted to create this heroic history that might have been,” he said. “I think of it as a nostalgic wish fulfillment — one with a foot in reality.”

Alternate histories and parallel universes present us with familiar worlds where the details are unfamiliar.

It’s not a new idea. In 1931, a popular history book titled If It Had Happened Otherwise asked scores of historians to imagine the fictitious outcomes of actual events. Winston Churchill was a contributor. He pictured what would have happened if the Confederacy had won the Civil War. Science fiction writers do this all the time – envisioning what a different world we might have lived in if world events had played out differently. What if Hitler had been accepted to art school or Oswald missed JFK.

At its most benign, alternative histories are stories about roads not taken: The lovers in “La La Land” head off on a different path, their future happy and romantic. Then again, if you look at the 2016 presidential election, it sure looks like our everyday world consists of two alternate universes. We seem to live in two side-by-side universes that see things in very different ways.

I hear that classic alternative-universe fiction has made a revival since the election — books like The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick and Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here are flying off the digital shelves over at Amazon. In Dick’s tale, the Nazis won the Second World War and America is an occupied nation, divided between the Japanese on the West and the Nazis on the East. There’s a current series being adapted with more up-to-date themes. It shows an America where people are willing to sell out their neighbors for a promise of security.

The thing that strikes me about this is that viewing who in the current scheme of thing plays what role really depends on which America you live in. We as a national community are more separated by basic ideas that we were in the past. We lack certain common beliefs. Some of us think it’s okay to kidnap and torture mentally disabled men, while others believe it’s okay to murder babies in the womb. On the other hand, there are those who think it’s okay to force other countries to live by our ideals or to force our neighbors to “do things our way” without even exploring what makes “our way” the right way for our neighbor.

Sinclair Lewis wrote It Can’t Happen Here in 1935 when many social commentators saw the New Deal as a mixed blessing for poor Americans. (What? You didn’t know that. Go read some history. No, seriously. This blog post will be here when you come back to continue this discussion.)

Lewis watched as fascism took over Europe and he worried that the United States might turn to dictatorship. His book features a crass, plain-spoken East Coast businessman who wraps totalitarianism in the flag, demonizes his enemies, and then defeats Roosevelt for the presidency. Congress, bashed by the president and the people alike, doesn’t respond quickly as the President declares war on Mexico. The hero, a complacent Vermont liberal, flees to Canada, but (inexplicably) attends a campaign rally for the erstwhile president-to-be. The violent, race-baiting rhetoric startles him.

Lewis always wrote about the uncomfortable truths of American society. He admired American ideals, but he didn’t like the people of America very much, considering them greedy and ignorant. He was a “blue zone” liberal living in his own bubble, certain that the unwashed masses would destroy the country if allowed to have a voice. You can find the alternative to his vision in The Hunger Games, where the educated elites of the Capital have silenced the unwashed masses to solidify their own power.

When history is a matter of opinion, your version of reality is as good as any other. There’s danger in that sort of belief. But there’s also freedom. Sometimes when we go back to look at history, we find that we’ve been sold a bill of goods by the teachers and the shapers of public opinion. George Washington never chopped down a cherry tree. The US didn’t need to get into the FDR was not as beloved as his biographers made him out to be. Hillary Clinton wasn’t the peace-nic she wanted us to believe. The economy did not heal under Barack Obama’s massive spending. And we don’t know that Donald Trump is a modern-day Hitler. Some of us may suspect it, but that’s not the same thing as having actual evidence.

I am officially a scoffer of multiverses. While I can easily see how a change in a certain point in history could make massive changes to the world as we know it now, I don’t believe that is reality. History is linear. A road not taken cannot be returned to. The concept that everything that ever happened — every chance taken, and avoided — exists somewhere, alongside every other possibility is science fiction and fiction isn’t real. Scientists don’t actually embrace the multiverse theory although some historians do. That might be reasonable.  You can’t read certain documents and not wonder … what would have happened if George Washington’s letter to Alexander Hamilton had been intercepted before the ratification of the US Constitution? How would the world or at least the United States be different?


Echoes of Liberty contains several authors’ ideas of how things might be different if one of those roads not taken had actually been taken. A libertarian-themed anthology, it includes “A Bridge at Adelphia” in which I explore what might have happened on the Ohio frontier if that letter had been intercepted. It’s pretty explosive stuff because Washington appears to agree to Hamilton’s desire to anoint him as king and, had that gotten out in the public, the Constitution, which barely won ratification, might never have passed. I suggest it might provide new hope for peace between the settlers and the Indians because … well, power corrupts and the Constitution provided a great deal more power to the government than had previously existed. What if that power had not been available? What might the settlers have done?
Check it out.

Interview #2 with Bokerah Brumley   1 comment

Bokerah BrumleyI’m welcoming back Bokerah Brumley to the blog. When I interviewed Bokerah in April, she and I were probably both writing pieces for the Agorist Writers Workshop’s anthology Echoes of Liberty which asked for an alternative history short with a twist … focusing on agorist, libertarian, voluntaryist themes. When my short was accepted, I offered to interview the other authors and then discovered Bokerah’s name in the list. Welcome back.

Thanks, Lela! It’s great to be back. I was happy to see your name on the list, too. I’ve poked around your blog, and I like what I see, so I was very much: “Oh, oh! Yay! I know her!” J


You write fantasy, so you’re clearly interested in speculative fiction. Agorist Writers Workshop has produced two anthologies that are speculative fiction focus on libertarian themes. Tell me what first attracted you to the Agorist Writers Workshop?

I write mostly clean fiction (i.e. no excessive swearing or graphic sex) and a whole lot of hope all under the Speculative Fiction heading. It’s my favorite because I can make up the world. I think Alternate Histories sort of falls under that umbrella, too. I wasn’t in last year’s anthology, but it sounds like it would have been right up my alley. Mostly, I write fantasy and science fiction. I’ve been on a fantasy stint this year, but I think I’m going Sci-Fi next year. Give me some space ships and ray guns. Shiny.


For this Echoes of Liberty piece, Marilyn Reimagined, it was actually a bit of a circle-around that got me involved.


Random day-in-the-life of me:


In my world, we’re big fans of home education, and my five kids and I watched the 2002 movie adaption of The Count of Monte Cristo over our lunch break—the one with Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, and Richard Harris. When Edmond asks who will get the letter, it’s to be given to Monsieur Clarion.  Out of curiosity, I chased that word, Clarion, down on Google.


A day or so later, the Clarion Call account followed mine on Twitter. So I followed the social media trail, and I was intrigued by the premise of the anthology. I had a delicious idea, but I didn’t know if I could pull it off.


Funny aside: it’s because of The Count of Monte Cristo movie that my nine year-old middle son flubs a bit on Kokomo by The Beach Boys. He sings, “Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I want to take you to Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama. Key Largo, [Mondego], baby why don’t we go…”


I found myself challenged by the alternate history aspect of this project. I love history, I write fantasy, but I’d never done them together before. I eventually loved it, but it is definitely a different genre that isn’t done as much as others. What about you?


I’ve never written alternate history before, but I love history, too. And all the what-ifs and how ONE PERSON can make a huge difference that ripples through time. I’ve made up all sorts of things mentally before (I might have a hint of conspiracy theorist in me), but I’ve never tried to get one down in a cohesive story. This was the first time I did that, and I loved it.



Talk a little about your philosophical beliefs. Why libertarian, anarchy, agorism, voluntaryist?


To be honest, I’ve been circling around some of these ideas for a long time.


I don’t want a government that defines things like marriage for me. That isn’t their business. I’m not one side or the other. I’m the one over here, hollering, “Don’t you see the problem with this? The government shouldn’t think they have the right to define it AT ALL.”


Besides, in my opinion, if the government opted out of defining anything, it’d be more fair anyway. But, as we know, the government never downsizes voluntarily. Not really. Not for Red or Blue or Purple.


{I like teal. Can I be teal?}


I don’t require politicians to define it all for me. That’s between me and Yahweh. I believe in the right of self-governance from conception. And protecting that right for any and every soul until they are able to self-govern.


I’m not an anarchist, but I do think local people can locally govern themselves better than a Fed-sized government can. I hate that the Fed defines everything, employs the most people, and manages my healthcare. I don’t need them to do that.


The government does not give me my rights. My Creator did that already.


Do we need some laws? Yes. Absolutely.


But, I think, as it is with our food systems, it is with governance. The farther away from the point of origin we get, the LESS healthy it is.


I don’t need dudes in D.C. defining my life or making up rules that I break by accident because nobody knows them all until I’m slapped with a fine or whatever.


It’s convoluted, and we want out. We want our kids out. We want our food outside of this messed-up, cardboard calories manufacturing system. We want our healthcare to come from beyond this dumbed-down, medicate-the-symptoms system. We don’t want to stand in line for a law-mandated injection, and we demand the liberty to decline participation. We’d rather use whole foods, herbs, vitamins, etc. And we should have the right to be out of the system without being penalized.


We can argue about which laws and context and whatever until we’re red or blue in the face. Primarily, I want local politicians governing locally. I want to know where my food comes from and where my mayor lives. That’s what I want. And that’s why this anthology appealed to me.


One person, one difference can change so much.



Marilyn Monroe. That’s not like way-back history and I don’t think libertarian when I think of her. Without giving away too much of the story, how’d you come to picking Marilyn Monroe?


I love Marilyn Monroe and JFK. Since the sixties, there’s always been a distinct attempt to romanticize this elitist idea of a Kennedy’s Camelot. And, historically, Marilyn wasn’t Libertarian. But I wondered if I could write a successful fiction using these historical pieces, but re-imagined inside a different framework. I hint at A LOT in my short, but this was how I satisfied the perimeters for the anthology and was still able to use a couple of my favorites from history. I suppose it went well. J



Echoes of Liberty (The Clarion Call Book 2) by [Walsh,Richard, Andersen,Diane, Brumley,Bokerah, Knowles,Joseph, Markham,Lela, Chiavari,Lyssa, Biedermann,Heather, Schulz,Cara, Johnson,Mark, Mickel,Calvin]The libertarian anarchists I know here in Alaska don’t vote, which is why I can’t quite claim I am one. But, this being an election year, what do you think of the shenanigans that we’re witnessing? If you vote at all, would you vote for any of them and why?


I do vote.


Ugh. That’s all I’ve got. UGH.


Yeah, me too. I feel voting is the only way that we’re allowed to make changes that don’t lead to bloodshed, so stopping just cedes that power to the the elites and will eventually lead to bloodshed. Certainly, I can’t reasonably vote for Trump or Clinton and I don’t think Gary Johnson is my perfect candidate … but I’m going to vote for him because I think he’ll do the least damage and nobody had to cart him off a stage where he’d been told he wasn’t welcome. But UGH! This has been a difficult year and the political mess has pushed me closer to becoming an anarchist than reading anarcho-capitalist literature ever has.

Where do readers find you and your books?



Echoes of Liberty   Leave a comment

echoes-of-liberty-coverEchoes of Liberty – Out September 27 Watch for Interviews with some of the authors of this liberty-minded anthology right here on the Aurorawatcher Alaska blog.


Lela Markham is a speculative fiction author whose 4th publication Objects in View will be out October 4. If you’re interested in reviewing this apocalyptic tale, contact the author at for an advanced review copy.

Gateways #btiwob   Leave a comment

gateways-coverFeaturing gripping Independent authors from around the world, GATEWAYS is the second collection of short works published by Breakwater Harbor Books. Compiling heart-pumping tales of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Crime are nine stories that will thrill you, rivet you, and some will even make you sleep with the light on.

Gateways is a step into the novel realms of Breakwater Harbor authors. Each work is a standalone, giving a gateway into the larger work it was inspired by.

#btiwob, #followfriday


Gateways Anthology Now Available   1 comment

Gateways – a step into the novel realms of Breakwater Harbor authors

This is a collection of short stories by Breakwater Harbor Books authors in the speculative fiction genre. There are some great stories in here, including my first short in 25 years.

All stories are standalone shorts related to the larger universe of the author’s books. I chose to explore a pivotal event in the past of some of my main Daermad Cycle characters.

The Libertarian Ideal

Voice, Exit and Post-Libertarianism


Social trends, economics, health and other depressing topics!

My Corner

Showcasing My Writing and Me

The Return of the Modern Philosopher

Deep Thoughts from the Shallow End of the Pool


Jacqui Murray's

Steven Smith

The website of an aspiring author


a voracious reader. | a book blogger.


adventure, art, nature, travel, photography, wildlife - animals, and funny stuff


The Peaceful Revolution Liberate Main Street

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