Tag Archives: time travel

ALICE wins 2017 Kindle Book Review Award for YA

The title says it all.

I Was, Am, Will Be Alice has won the 2017 Kindle Book Review Award for YA!

Thank you so much to Jeff Bennington from the Kindle Book Review and all of the panelists and prize-givers for this much-gilded feather in my writing cap.

Here’s my badge:

To celebrate, I Was, Am, Will Be Alice will remain on sale (for a limited time) for only $0.99! Here’s what the book looks like (beside the other winners):

Here it is in the list that follows, marking it as the winner:

2017 Kindle Book Review Award Semi-Finalist

I Was, Am, Will Be Alice has made it through to the 2017 Kindle Book Review Award Semi-Finals.  Keep reading for a very special offer at the bottom of this post.

2017 Kindle Book Review Award Semi-Finalist

Winner of the 2015 A Woman’s Write Competition

When Alice Carroll is in grade three she narrowly escapes losing her life in a school shooting. All she remembers is the woman comforting her in the moments before the gunshot, and that one second she was there, the next she wasn’t.

It’s bad enough coming to terms with surviving while others, including her favourite teacher, didn’t, let alone dealing with the fact that she might wink out of existence at any time.

Alice spends the next few years seeing specialists about her Post Traumatic Stress as a result of VD–Voldemort Day–but it’s not until she has a nightmare about The Day That Shall Not Be Mentioned, disappears from her bed, is found by police,  and taken home to meet her four-year-old self that she realizes she’s been time travelling.

Alice is unsure if her getting unstuck in time should be considered an ability or a liability, until she disappears right in front of her high school at dismissal time, the busiest time of day. Worried that someone may find out about her problem before long, Alice enlists her best friend (and maybe boyfriend), Pete, to help her try to control her shifting through time with limited success. She’s just about ready to give up when the shooter is caught. Alice resolves to take control of her time travelling in order to go back to That Day, stop the shooting, and figure out the identity of the stranger who’d shielded Alice’s body with her own.

To celebrate, the eBook of I Was, Am, Will Be Alice is on sale for $0.99! Get your copy wherever eBooks are sold

4 New Time Travel Shows Worth Watching (and 1 not so much)

The first time travel story I ever saw was when I was about 8 and watching Classic Trek re-runs (of course, back then, it was called Star Trek and not “Classic”). I’d never seen anything like The City on the Edge of Forever before, and I was hooked. The Star Trek franchise has always done time travel well, which is high praise, given the other memorable movies and series incorporating the time-worn trope since.

The last book I released, I Was, Am, Will Be Alice, is a time travel fiction (largely inspired by The Time Traveler’s Wife), as is my as of yet unfinished manuscript, tentatively entitled Cat and Mouse: A Love Story, largely inspired

This recent television season has seen an explosion of time travel television shows and it doesn’t disappoint, for the most part. In a medium in which good science fiction (and sometimes, any science fiction) is hard to find, you might ask why this particular genre has exploded at this moment in time. A recent CBC broadcast proposed that the phenomenon is due to the current political climate and how people seemed to view the past as a simpler time. With what is happening in the world today, the influx of time travel television reflects people’s desire to turn the clock back to that simpler time. Glamour suggests this may be because we, as a society, have acknowledged the error of our ways and long for a way to fix our future by  going back and fixing our past.

To honour the current television season, here’s a list of 4 new time travel shows (in no particular order) worth watching (and 1 not so much).

1. Travelers

The future is a dystopia, largely due to the fact that a meteor will hit Earth with devastating consequences. They have figured out how to transfer consciousness back in time with the help of a large supercomputer. A team of scientists have their consciousnesses  sent back in time to change the past and make the world a better place. To do this, the supercomputer–known as the Director–pinpoints the moment of a host’s death and transfers the future consciousness in the seconds before the host dies. This show is made interesting by the characters of the hosts, which include an FBI agent with a failing marriage, a mentally impaired woman and her social worker, an addict, a teenaged football player, and a woman who is fighting for custody of her son with her abusive, police officer husband.  Eric McCormack, a long time favourite of mine since Will and Grace, stars.

2. Timeless

When a seemingly bad guy steals a time machine from a top secret think tank, a historian, a soldier, and a pilot chase him through time in an effort to preserve the timeline. In the first episode, misunderstood Garcia Flynn (expertly played Goran Visnjic) introduces the Rittenhouse Corporation, a Mafia-like group of people who have infiltrated every aspect of government and power corporations for centuries. Through the course of the season, we learn that Flynn is only out to stop Rittenhouse to save his family (whom he believes was murdered by members of Rittenhouse) and make the world a better place. Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, and Malcolm Barrett have such incredible chemistry as the team of heroes out to stop Flynn, that by the time they realize they’re fighting for the wrong team, they can do no wrong in the viewers’ eyes.

3. Frequency

Based on the movie by the same name, Frequency supposes that a ham radio can connect the present to the past. In Frequency, police officer Raimy Sullivan learns she can talk to her father over his old radio. The only problem is her father died 20 years ago. Raimy gives her father advice which saves him from the accident that took his life. She goes into work the next morning only to learn that her mother–safe before Raimy had saved her father’s life–went missing twenty years ago and her bones are on the coroner’s table. Her mother, it seems, was a victim of the Nightingale Killer. As if to make matters worse, she is a stranger to her fiancee. Raimy and her father, Frank, spend the season as partners as they try to catch the Nightingale Killer on both ends of the time continuum.

 

4. Time After Time

I remember seeing Time After Time, the movie, as a young adult. I loved the fact that H. G. Wells was portrayed as a time traveller. The Time Machine reads more like a journal, after all, documenting the travels of a scientist into the past and incredibly distant future to check in on the evolution of mankind. It’s not hard to imagine that the novel was Wells’s actual journal. In Time After Time, H.G. Wells invents a time machine that is immediately appropriated by Jack the Ripper who goes forward in time to escape capture and continues his murderous ways. The show is more cat and mouse thriller than time travel epic as Dr. John Stephenson (Jack the Ripper) taunts Wells, daring him to follow through with his threat to capture him before his next kill.

*As an aside, is Flash’s H.R. Wells somehow an homage to H.G. Wells? Why else would the character–who hops Earths a la Sliders and who is known to have time travelled in the comic world–have been given a name so similar to the author?

5. Making History

A time travelling duffle bag is absurd on the face of it. Even so, I could accept it provided the show did something smart with it. In the first two episodes, Dan goes back to make sure the American Revolution happens, only to find that the founding fathers are even dumber than he is, and though they love their guns and will only be riled when the British threaten to take them away (cue the political satire), they refuse to do anything more than threaten to take the guns and aver their love for guns. There’s a love affair (as in Time After Time), false identities with modern names, and claiming of song lyrics that won’t be written for centuries (as in Back to the Future). Though there may be a few moments that made me smile, this was even more groan-worthy than Legends of Tomorrow at it’s campy best.

Whether the surge in time travel tales is due to a longing to return to a simpler time, or the desire to turn back the clock, given the number of celebrity deaths and the politics of the previous year, time travel television is a worthy, sentimental diversion.

Are you a fan of time travel fiction? Weigh in with what you think in the comments below.

Kudos for “I Was, Am, Will Be Alice”

alice blue cover

I Was, Am, Will Be Alice is the winner of the A Woman’s Write competition for 2015!

Here’s what Barbara Bamberger Scott of A Woman’s Write had to say about Alice:

Elise, who hails from Canada, has composed an elaborate time-travel fantasy based on Lewis Carroll’s world-famous classic “Alice” books. Her book is entitled I Was, Am, Will Be Alice. Starting with her mysterious role in a school shooting, we follow the heroine as she grows up, seeking the identity of the shooter, traveling back and forth in time to encounter characters reminding us of a modernized conception of Wonderland. Well conceived and cleverly carried through. Congratulations, Elise Abram!

In I Was, Am, Will Be Alice

When Alice Carroll is in grade three she narrowly escapes losing her life in a school shooting. All she remembers is the woman comforting her in the moments before the gunshot, and that one second she was there, the next she wasn’t.

It’s bad enough coming to terms with surviving while others, including her favourite teacher, didn’t, let alone dealing with the fact that she might wink out of existence at any time.

Alice spends the next few years seeing specialists about her Post Traumatic Stress as a result of VD–Voldemort Day–but it’s not until she has a nightmare about The Day That Shall Not Be Mentioned, disappears from her bed, is found by police, and taken home to meet her four-year-old self that she realizes she’s been time travelling.

Alice is unsure if her getting unstuck in time should be considered an ability or a liability, until she disappears right in front of her high school at dismissal time, the busiest time of day. Worried that someone may find out about her problem before long, Alice enlists her best friend (and maybe boyfriend), Pete, to help her try to control her shifting through time with limited success. She’s just about ready to give up when the shooter is caught. Now more than ever, Alice is determined to take control of her time travelling in order to go back to That Day, stop the shooting, and figure out the identity of the stranger who’d shielded Alice’s body with her own.

I Was, Am, Will Be Alice is scheduled for a summer 2016 release.

When did sharing intellectual property become criminal?

Graphic by Parker Knight, "Family 1353" under Creative Commons

girl graphic by Parker Knight, “Family 1353” under Creative Commons

About a month ago, I came out with the synopsis of my  next novel, a YA science fiction with time travel, entitled I Was, Am, Will Be Alice.  Here’s the synopsis:

After narrowly escaping death in a school shooting, 9 year old Alice Carroll realizes she can time travel when under extreme stress, a situation she is determined to learn to control in order to go back to that day and save the lives of her teacher and classmates and discover the identity of the woman who sacrificed her life so Alice could live.

This week I was horrified to learn of a middle school teacher in Maryland who was put on administrative leave and taken in for an emergency medical evaluation after officials learned he wrote a sci fi about a future school shooting. As you can imagine, my thoughts turned to my Alice book and the repercussions I might suffer should I go ahead and publish it.

[Tweet “What repercussions might I suffer if I #publish my book about a #school shooting?”]

Try as I might, I cannot wrap my head around this. Maybe it’s because McLaw’s shooting takes place in the future? Maybe it’s because an ungodly number of people are killed? Maybe it’s because, given gun laws in the U.S., McLaw’s story is plausible and people are scared?

Granted, Alice differs in that it takes place in the present, the shooting is in the past, and Canada has fewer incidences of school shootings than the U.S. due to it’s more stringent gun control, but it doesn’t make us any less scared of the possibility of something like this happening.

As a teacher, I’ve been flirted with, felt physically threatened, been subjected to bullying from my students, told I’d be better off dead, called the “C” word, and the “B” word and worse, had students bring concealed pocket knifes and BB-guns to class (thankfully, both remained concealed) and heard tell of students going on to commit nefarious acts both outside of school hours and after graduation. That doesn’t even take into account similar (and sometimes worse) offences and assaults I’ve heard from my peers. Quite frankly, I’m scared.

Writing empowers me. If through my writing I can identify with a character that has went through the amalgam of my fears and learned to conquer them, more power to me. But now I am left worrying if the school officials won’t agree and what the consequences may be.

[Tweet “I identify with a character that has experienced the amalgam of my fears and lived to tell”]

I want to go on record stating that the school shooting in Alice comes from a place of wanting to conquer my fears (much like the characters in the novel). In the book I totally identify with Alice and not Dodgson who is an amalgam of the students who have caused concern over the years. I will press on with the proofing and publishing of this novel because I think it’s my best work to date. I’m hoping McLaw will prevail, unless there’s something we aren’t being told about his situation that actually warrants this 1984-style breach of what are McLaw’s basic human rights. Hopefully by then, sharing the fruits of my intellectual property won’t be subject to similar scrutiny.

Announcing the completion of “I Was, Am, Will Be Alice”!

Graphic by Parker Knight, "Family 1353" under Creative Commons

Graphic by Parker Knight, “Family 1353” under Creative Commons

Announcing…

Hot on the heels of The Revenant‘s release I am thrilled to announce the completion of my next YA novel, I Was, Am Will Be Alice.

After narrowly escaping death in a school shooting, 8 year old Alice Carroll realizes she can time travel when under extreme stress, a situation she is determined to learn to control in order to go back to that day and save the lives of her teacher and classmates and discover the identity of the woman who sacrificed her life so Alice could live.

My Inspiration

I began writing Alice when, while shopping for agents and publishers for The Revenant, I found a call for clients for a new agent on Chuck Sambuchino’s excellent “Writer’s Digest” blog. This particular agent said she would love to read a young adult version of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife (TTW). I absolutely love TTW, and adopted her request as a personal challenge. I began with a similar premise: what if someone, a young girl, discovered she had the ability to time travel? In Niffenegger’s novel, the main character, Henry, keeps returning to his first episode of time travel, when he was in a car accident with his mother. Henry survived because he time traveled out of the car avoiding the crash which killed his mother. In my novel, Alice’s defining moment is being caught in a school shooting in grade three in which her favourite teacher killed. There is a romance and an episode with frostbite, too, but that’s where the similarities end.

The name Alice Carroll comes from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I appropriated that name for my character early in the writing because the more I wrote, the weirder the character’s predicament until it was almost like she’d entered a bizarre world where nothing made sense to her any more. Why did she survive when others perished? Why did she time travel? What kind of future could she possibly make for herself? Would she ever learn to control it? Why did the shooting happen? Could she find a way to save her teacher? These questions, and more, confuse my Alice, much like Wonderland confused Carroll’s. To drive the parallel home, I borrowed other names from Wonderland to draw further connections.

Though a mouthful, the title for the book comes from something Henry says in TTW:

I love. I have loved. I will love.

I liked the juxtaposition of the different tenses and adapted this for my novel. Late in the writing I decided to use the title, I Was, Am, Will Be Alice, as subtitles and divide the book into sections. I Was Alice describes Alice of the past, when she discovers she can time travel and is traumatized by it. I Am Alice describes Alice of the present, when she realizes she can’t continue randomly traveling through time for the rest of her life and she decides to do something about it. I Will Be Alice describes Alice of the future, after her life comes full circle and she returns back to the day of the shooting and learns answers to some of the questions that have plagued her for most of her life.

Looking for Support

I am reaching out to the reading and writing community to look for “beta readers” and help printing and publicizing my YA sci-fi time-travel romance novel when the time comes.

If you would like to volunteer as a beta reader–finding errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation and consistency in story and possibly writing a review further into the process–please contact me at info @ eliseabram.com

[Tweet “Attention beta readers and reviewers – request your copy of I AM, WAS, WILL BE ALICE info@eliseabram.com”]

If you would like to donate to support my project, you may do so by visiting my PubSlush page at eliseabram.pubslush.com. I am giving away an eBook to all $20 donors and a hard copy, autographed, to all $50 donors (please note an additional $10 is required for international shipping outside of Canada). If you donate over $75, I will also throw in a free study guide in full colour, available as a PDF and/or printed copy sent along with your novel.

[Tweet “Support the arts – help me publish and publicise I AM, WAS, WILL BE ALICE eliseabram.pubslush.com”]

All donors will receive a mention in the acknowledgements section of the final, printed novel (eBook and hard copy).

Literary Devices from A to Z – Brought to you by the letter S

 

 

 

is for Symbolism

 

 

 

Sometimes a red rose is just a pretty flower sitting in a vase on the shelf while others it is a symbol of love. Visual symbols, like the rose, are usually linked to imagery. Other symbols may be linked to theme. The bottom line is that if something recurs in a story and means something other than the obvious literal meaning, it’s probably a symbol and not just another pretty flower.

In The Revenant, Morgan is a symbol of good, his brother Malchus, a symbol of evil. The sum of their lives show that good and evil are more than simple black and white divisions. There is a little bit of evil thought and good intentions in the best of us, but in the case of Morgan and Malchus, their personalities ultimately polarize and repeated references to this polarization is what makes them symbols (and foils).

In I am, Was, Will be Alice, the ability of Alice to control her time traveling becomes a symbol of hope. If she can control when she travels, maybe she can save the lives of her teacher and student peers and ultimately, herself.

Likewise, in the short story “Hope Floats”, a butterfly found by a child in a dystopic world becomes a symbol of hope. Having settled underground, a child ventures to the surface and captures a butterfly to give to his mother to show her there is still hope for returning to the old way of life. But when the butterfly dies, he realizes there is no turning back the clock.

Symbols are all around us in everyday life and in popular culture. I prefer the puzzle of the subtler symbols, no rose = love in my writing! Do you think of symbols at all? Can you think of any you noticed recently? Share examples of the best ones in the comments below.

Literary Devices from A to Z – Brought to you by the letter R

 

 

 

is for Repetition

 

 

 

Repetition occurs when a word or phrase is repeated for emphasis or effect.

In I Am, Was, Will Be Alice, when Tina learns Alice and Pete have not had sex yet, she tells Alice, “Maybe he’s just not that into you.” Through her adventure, Pete has been her faithful sidekick and the thought of losing him is horrifying. As Alice lies in bed that night, the phrase plays over and over like an ear-worm in Alice’s mind:

Maybe he’s just not that into you.

He tells me he loves me every time he sees me.

Maybe he’s just not that into you.

He took care of me that time at the ROM, got me out of a bad situation and took me to safety, clothed me, and fed me.

Maybe…

The point of this repetition of phrase is for the reader to identify with Alice’s stress in anticipation of another time leap.

Can you recall an effective use of repetition in something you’ve read? Why did you think it was so effective? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Literary Devices from A to Z – Brought to you by the letter Q

 

 

 

is for (Rhetorical) Questions

 

 

 

Q is another one of those weird letters for which I really couldn’t find a device, so I’ll have to fudge it (just a bit). Q is for questions of the rhetorical variety, better known as rhetorical questions, a question that needs no answer, but is used to prompt the reader to think about a topic as if s/he were required to answer it. Readers and writers should be able to make the distinction between an ordinary, information-seeking question and one that is rhetorical in nature.

In Chicken or Egg: A Love Story, Nigel and Paula have one of their first dates (it’s about time travel and this is only a first date in a timeline–there is a first date in each timeline), a couple’s yoga class:

The class began tamely enough, most of the poses being singular in nature, but at a point about two-thirds through the class, the instruction changed. They began facing each other, feet touching, holding hands, and gently rocking their partners on their sitting bones. Determined to avoid his gaze, Paula stared at their hands instead. Nigel’s hands were strong, warm, and dry. She felt his quiet strength as they leaned forward together then back.

When at last she looked at his face, she felt the burn of his scrutiny. Embarrassed at its intensity, she looked away. What was happening here? Since when was Nigel attracted to her? Since when did she find him attractive? Did she even find him attractive?

Next pose—lunge, leg behind and touching partner’s, stretch backward until partner’s hand is grasped.

“Ready?” Nigel asked.

“I was born ready,” she answered. Why was she turning this into a competition?

They enacted the pose, stretching until their hands met. When they did, Nigel’s touch was gentle, his skin soft to the touch.

Next was child’s pose for Paula, hands grasping Nigel’s ankles. Nigel was to exact downward-facing dog, hands resting at the small of her back. As she stretched, her shirt rode up and she felt the full warmth of his palms as they made contact with her exposed skin. She imagined what it might feel like for him to slide his hands down a little further, cup her buttocks and squeeze. What is wrong with you, Paula? she scolded immediately. This is Nigel we’re talking about here. Since when do you think of him in that way?

In this example, rhetorical questions are used to show Paula’s indecision over her feelings for Nigel.

Do you think this method of questioning works? Weigh in with your comments below.

Literary Devices from A to Z – Brought to you by the letter O

 

 

 

is for Onomatopoeia

 

 

 

The term onomatopoeia describes when a word sounds like what it means. Some examples of this are hiss, bark, bang, and boom.

In my Alice Untitled YA novel, Alice finds she time travels when stressed. One of her triggers is onomatopoeia:

I’m having that dream again.

Footfalls tick in the hall, the beat slow and regular, counting down the seconds left in my life.

Click. Clack. Click. Clack.

A momentary pause outside of the grade three cloak room.

Shuffle. Spin. Click. Clack. Click. Clack.

The muzzle of the gun, shaft pointed directly at me like a dark, unblinking eye.

The flash after the trigger is pulled.

Tick, beat, click, clack, shuffle…these are examples of onomatopoeia. The use of them in a narrative helps to add the sense of sound. Rather than say he walked into the room, readers can practically hear the sound of the stranger’s footfall as he enters the room and Alice’s growing stress, foreshadowing another leap through time.

Take some time to write a passage using creative onomatopoeia. Share them in the comments below if you’d like feedback.