The Official Website of Author L.A. Mitchell

Category: time travel

P90x for the Vortex: Principle 2

2nd March


In this, week two of beefing up the Vortex’s online presence, I’m tackling Principle 2: Participate in Communities Where Your Audience Already Gathers.

By nature, I’m a wallflower. So this will be a challenge.

First, I Googled keywords: time travel blogs, time travel authors, thriller author blogs, time thriller writers, thriller readers…you get the idea. I picked ten that sounded like something I would be interested in being part of-after all, I write what I love to read. I made an arbitrary list of ten, subscribed or otherwise bookmarked to ensure I would be able to frequent these sites, and tried his step 2 suggestion: expanding my list of ten using web-based  tools. Double Click Ad Planner was no help. I’d have rather flossed Abe Vigoda’s teeth during those ten minutes.

Of course, this is only half the plan. I need to sink my toes a bit in each community, make thoughtful comments and find time to participate. Easier said than done, but I did find some fun places I can’t wait to return to, like the t=time blog. Who knew there were other bloggers out there who loved all things time travel?

Are you participating in online communities where your blog audience gathers? Give us your best find so we may share in the awesomesauce.

Have a super weekend, everyone!

Watch Out For That First Step. It’s a Deeeeeewsey.

2nd February


You might think today I’d be thinking of cute, furry little creatures or even the sneeze of an impact Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction had on today’s activities, but you’d be wrong. Mostly I was thinking of the Bill Murray variety of Groundhog Day. And while you may not care to know that I’ve had an irrational crush on him no matter how long in the tooth he gets, here are some fun things via you may not know about the movie:

In one scene, Connors throws himself from the bell tower of a high building. This building is actually an opera house in Woodstock, Illinois. Local legend has it that a ghost of a young girl haunts the building since a girl once fell off of the balcony section inside the opera house and died.

Bill Murray was bitten by the groundhog twice during shooting.

On the DVD, Harold Ramis states that the original idea was for him to live February 2nd for about 10,000 years. Later he says that Phil probably lived the same day for about 10 years

Originally, Phil was supposed to murder the groundhog in his lair. This was changed, however, since it seemed too much like Caddyshack.

The idea comes from ‘The Gay Science’, a famous book by Friedrich Nietzsche. In his book, Nietzsche gives a description of a man who is living the same day over and over again.

Harold Ramis considered Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and John Travolta for the role of Phil Connors, but he considered them as “far too nice” compared to Bill Murray.

There are exactly 38 days depicted in this film either partially or in full.

And if that wasn’t enough, there’s more.

Have a great Groundhog Day, everyone!

Einstein Was Not An Impotent Word Slut

16th January


This week’s helpful critique by a non-industry, non-reader of why I have yet to score a major publishing deal: “You aren’t using them big words are you? Society is dumber than it used to be.”

Now that we have our mental juices warmed, I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am that the time travel goodness is overflowing. Who else is going to spoon-feed you this stuff?

The Time Travel Mart, which we Vortexers have patronized before, is now offering a set of devotional candles by artist Mickey Duzyj depicting the holy trinity of time travel physicists: Hawking, Einstein and Mallet. Lauded as patron saints of time travel, these beauts each contain the artist’s rendering of the scientist, a quote about time travel and information regarding each man’s contribution to time travel. $35.00, all proceeds to charity.

Speaking of Stephen Hawking, two fist-bumps and a snap for his smart aleck response to a reporter asking him for a time travel formula.

One of seven Delorean prop cars used (only three survived) in the Back to the Future film series was sold at a charity auction for $541,000. All proceeds benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the largest private funding organization dedicated to Parkinson’s research.

Scholastic, the powerhouse behind the phenomenally successful 39 Clues empire, will launch its newest multi-author, multi-publishing platform venture titled Infinity Ring in September 2012. The series, pitched as an alternate history time travel series targeted at the 8-12 year old market, will feature bestselling author James Dasher for books one and seven.

Check out Julia Wood, a forty-two year old woman who renovated her Victorian-era home down to the smallest detail and walks the walk of a Victorian spinster. If I were eccentric enough to pull this off, it wouldn’t be in a corset.

Remember when we talked about the artistic merge of an old photograph with the exact same setting in present day? Taylor Jones has created Dear Photograph, a website that features these time travel-ish photos that followers send in each week. Best part? The notes below them.

This week, I’m backing away from my Words With Friends addiction. Apparently, I am the only random opponent who uses WORDS THAT EXIST. I don’t like the practice of slutting up any old combination of letters until something sticks for sixty-three points. I suspect Mr. Sheen may be one of these impotent word sluts. Withdrawls and DTs (dialogue tremors) may ensue, but I assure you I’ll be far less linguistically frustrated this time next week.

Vortex Drinking Game

9th January


I know. It’s Monday. How inappropriate to be thinking of spirits so early. But I was catching up on my DVR-ed Person of Interest eppies and had an epiphany: Reese shoots people in the leg. All. The. Time.

This may not sound like a grand revelation; and if you are familiar with his Batman-ish vigilante code, you would understand why this is significant, but it started me thinking about what else we can count on with regularity here at the Vortex (It certainly isn’t my posts-ha!). Here’s your game:

Vortex Drinking Game

Every time you look at Jim Caviezel and cannot help thinking Jesus Christ!, take a shot.

Every time you wish you had a time machine to take you back to before you put your foot in your mouth, take a shot.

Every time someone alters “MacGyver” into a new part of speech (as in “I Macgyvered that dryer vent with duct tape”), take a shot.

Every time you watch Terra Nova and are tempted to feed the Shannon family to the dinosaurs so you can have Jim all to yourself, take a shot.

Every time you see man-titty on a novel cover, in homage to Fabio and Romancelandia, take a shot.

Every time you’re watching a movie that tiptoes dangerously close to the creepy-older guy/too young girl romance (ala Thorn Birds, Portrait of Jeannie, Harum Scarum), take a shot.

Every time you wish Lost would come back, take a shot.

Every time you see a red telephone booth, take a shot.

Every time you see a chatchke that feeds into the Elvis Presley estate machine, take a shot.

Every time you hear a Keith Urban song and wish to go down under (take that how you will), take a shot.

Every time you feel the injustice of an unfair Words with Friends move, take a shot.

Every time someone speaks of the truth and your mind immediately heads for Mulder and Scully, take a shot.

Every time you hear the word quantum, take a shot.

Every time you see a close-up shot of Beth Chapman’s talons or spiked heels on Dog the Bounty Hunter, take a shot. (Seriously, we got that she’s a vixen already)

Every time you watch a Harry Potter movie or a Beavis and Butthead episode with another person who then insists on imitating the unique vocal qualities of either ad nauseum, take a shot.

Every time your watch stops, take a shot.

Happy Monday and Happy Drinking, everyone!

Oatmeal, If You Must Know. With Slices of Time Travel.

30th November


I promised myself I would get back on the social media wagon after my intensive edits were finished. Guess that time is now. Prior to this week, my tweets were primarily feeds from the Vortex posts. I’m not totally on-board yet. It’s hard to jump all-in when I’m reading about what people had for breakfast. Here are some nickpicky ranty-mc-rants from my first week wading into the deep waters of Twitter:

#1. I know tweeting is the social media equivalent to shouting in a Cowboys Stadium/Death Star sized arena to be heard but do not bombard me every five minutes with your self-promotion. Yes, I followed you because I’m friendly like that, but I will drop you faster than tofu at a cattleman’s convention if you clog up my publishing industry stream with one more announcement about your iPublish masterpiece.

#2. Save the all-caps for your in-laws and gleeful screams that a Hollywood celeb is now following you.

#3. Is there such a thing as hashtag overload? I think so. It’s like whoring your message out to whomever might be using the same restroom at the stadium. Your #message #disinterests#me #if you use # too many.

#4. Do not tell me what you’re “fixin'” to watch on television. If you used #storagewars in your tweet, I get it already. You’re a fan. ‘Nuff said.

Great. Now that that’s out of the way, how about some Vortex-rific links?

I stumbled upon 10 Codes You Aren’t Meant to Know when researching cop codes. Now I know that a code 20 in Wal-mart doesn’t relate to ass crack or spandex.

I wasn’t living entirely under a rock for the past few months. Why is the dystopian thriller In Time just now coming onto my radar screen? Great premise. Not so stellar reviews.

Speaking of social media and well, time travel, The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler promises to be a fun marriage of 90’s nostalgia meets YA.

Trying to find a website long gone? No problem. The Wayback Machine, named after a Rocky and Bullwinkle time travel device allows searchers to find digital footprints of web pages that have gone the 404-Not Found path.

And just to get your freaky chills on, check out this short YouTube vid of a look-alike guy immortalized in photos. Way more believable than the John Travolta-time traveler theory.

The itch to give something away has come back. Must scratch. Details Friday…

The Communist Chocolate Hellhole of Time Travel

28th November


First, some pesky business. Vortexer Charles Gramlich is all up into the time travel thing, and it snuck up on me. I learned via a cold Google Alert that “Battles, Broadswords and Bad Girls,” is part of the pulp fiction anthology A Rip Through Time. Charles, Charles, Charles. You’ve been holding out on us. Vortexers, head over to Smashwords and pick this up. Ga-head. I’ll wait.

Terra Nova is holding its own in the ratings battle, coming in last week in the middle of the pack in its time slot. I’ve held on longer than I anticipated after the second episode. Maybe it’s the sixteen pack abs and that Jason O’Mara-time travel-effect, but it still slides into my DVR dutifully each week, and I still watch it when I’m caught up on all my Alfred Hitchcock Presents eppies. There are no stellar award-worthy actors here. The CGIs are laughable at best. Do I care that love is blossoming in the younger set? Nah. Give me a skeleton autopsy and a wicked hot flip of the collar, 80’s-style, any day. This is, after all, Thriller Island.(Middle Aged Male clip)

Though a bit of old news, still Vortex-worthy and waaaay too sweet to pass up…

A man claiming to be from the future was arrested at Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider back in April 2010. He was searching for his time machine power unit, something that resembled a blender, near the facility’s kitchen. According to police, he wore a bow tie and “rather too much tweed for his age,” and refused to reveal his country of origin. Upon arrest, the man claimed, “Countries do not exist where I am from. The discovery of the Higgs boson led to limitless power, the elimination of poverty and Kit-Kats for everyone. It is a communist chocolate hellhole and I’m here to stop it ever happening.”

To show you how much I adore this six-ways-of-awesome randomness, I will inject a young man with a bow tie and “rather too much tweed for his age” into my next story. When the world becomes a communist hellhole, I can’t think of anything better than a Kit Kat to make that medicine go down.

Have a great Monday, everyone.

No, You Can’t Go As a Nude Clock Guy on Halloween

31st October


Happy Halloween, Vortexers!

Oh how I have missed this little slice of real estate. Hope you all behaved yourselves during the hiatus. I return bearing gifts-for the ladies especially-but I don’t think any guy would have to check his man-card at the door for this. After all, they are only cartoon parts and not very big ones at that. My new favorite clock is digital and face and all male. Click on any guy at any time and it changes from analog to old-fashioned. What time-traveler-girl in her right mind wouldn’t love it?

Next month, look for Stephen King’s much-anticipated dip into the time travel waters. In this short clip, he talks about tackling not only such a monumental topic as Kennedy’s assassination but the unique challenges of time travel. When I finished my first time travel novel, I brought it to a local published writer who read the first chapter and synopsis and said, “In more capable hands, this can’t be done.” Her backhanded pessimism could not have been more of a gift. The day it is published, I will send her flowers. Time travel is an enormous challenge to write and therein lies the reward. When the threads weave into a perfect pattern and I’ve touched on that universal “what-if” we’ve all experienced, the sense of accomplishment it staggering. I can’t think of any more capable hands than Mr. King.

If you’re in the mood for creepy, romantic flash fiction this Halloween and haven’t yet read it, you’ll find my 2010 Bump in the Night Finalist entry, Home, on my website. - If your Halloween costume makes no sense whatsoever I'll just assume you're dressed as Inception Enjoy the night….Boo!

I Take My Humor Black. Like My…

12th October


Coffee. Jeez.  What do you think this is, an Airplane! quote?

I’m going all random on you today. Let’s see where we end up.

First, as the world mourns the loss of Steve Jobs, I’m mourning the loss of writing spot number three. Sure, I hadn’t been there in three months. I’m writing at home these days. It still makes me sad to see a mom-and-pop go.

Next, a science fiction submission call for Vortex writer peeps. No romance required. Press release from Angela James, Carina Press: Carina Press is pleased to announce a call for submissions for our 2012 holiday collections. This will be the only open collection call for 2012 and is an excellent opportunity for authors interested in participating in the normally by-invitation-only Carina Press collections. Carina is looking for science fiction novellas with a winter holiday theme, to be published digitally both individually and as a collection in December 2012. The novellas should be from 18,000 to 35,000 words and feature science fiction elements as integral to the novella. The stories do not need to be romance, or even have romance elements, but can be straight science fiction, or science fiction with romantic elements, and can also feature elements of mystery, thriller, horror or other sub-genres. FMI.

Time travel and Jane Austen? I know one Vortex peep who will faint dead away.

Time travel and Disney? Seriously, who isn’t doing time travel?

And who knew Wikipedia had an entry devoted entirely to time travel urban legends? Am I in heaven?

This deliciously dark-humored advertisement from Alfred Hitchcock for his newly-released Rear Window popped up in a trade magazine in 1964. Only Hitch could get away with this.
Have a great week!

Vinnie Barbarino, Time Traveler

29th September


Holy Scientology, Batman! Has it been that long since I posted? I’m collecting my thoughts on the reunion (read: Vortex 10 list still to come) but I couldn’t leave Vortexers out flailing in the world without a spoonful of time travel fun to make the medicine of life go down.

Check out this 1860s photograph for sale on Ebay. Aside from the uncanny and obvious resemblance to John Travolta, the seller’s paragraph is what interested me. For $250,000, who wouldn’t want to weave a tale of time travel?
I’ve been so deep into my edits, I haven’t even watched Terra Nova! I know, right? Time travel and Jason O’Mara! I must be sick in the head. Thus, the crickets chirping here, but I hope to have it all back in balance soon.
Next up: A Reunion Vortex 10

On Swamp Ass and Etsy Items of Win

9th August


I meant to get this post up yesterday, but I was battling this:

in a downtown parking garage, a special kind of hell in the worst heat ever recorded locally. After that, the only creative thoughts one can rub together are If my foot lands askew of my flip-flop, will it be third-degree burns? and Would it mean certain-death to sprint to air-conditioning?

Cliffhanger Books is requesting submissions for paranormal romance shorts. Why the mention here? Aren’t we on Thriller Island now? I found this line of the submission call interesting: While paranormal romance authors are generally female, we want story submissions from talented male writers as well. And, if I remember correctly, some Vortexers are paranomal authors of the XY variety who have mentioned writing a bit of hoo-ha into their screams. Deadline: Halloween 2011. FMI.

From Epic Fail’s WIN side:

Speaking of time travel…let’s go Etsy shopping!

I’m also fairly certain I’m going to start collecting vintage keys.
There’s a story in that one.
Have a great day, everyone!