A couple of years ago I saw a shout-out for the Tribute to the Stars anthology, published by Static Movement. The submission guidelines were simple - write a story which would star your favourite actor. Even better, the anthology would be sent to all the actors featured. How could I not submit?
The first person I thought of was William Shatner. It was an easy choice. I grew up watching Star Trek, T.J. Hooker, and a load of other shows he featured in. He...was...my childhood...hero. Coming up with a genre was equally as easy. It had to be science fiction.
A few weeks later the character Ty Booner and his story, Why Do Aliens Love Iowa?, was accepted and later published in the anthology. Two years later you can find Life As I Know It - a re-drafted and re-titled version - in my second short story collection, Taking Time.
Did William Shatner ever read my story? I have no idea. I like to imagine he did, though. Here's an excerpt for you:
“I have a question, Mr. Booner,” Paris said. The boy was sweating, and shaking a little too. “What are all the explosives for?”
In the confusion of having uninvited guests, I’d forgotten about the dynamite. I trotted out the familiar answer. “I think you’re mistaken, Paris. There are no explosives in the shelter or on any part of my ranch.”
“Because keeping them would be in violation of your parole,” Marcy said and then raised her eyes to the ceiling.
“So are what are these for?” Wes asked.
I turned to see a box labelled dynamite in his hands. Paris must have grabbed it when he locked the shelter doors and passed it to Wes.
“I knew it,” Marcy said. “All that time I defended you, and you’re still playing with homemade bombs.”
I threw up my hands up mock surrender. “Okay. You have me. Call my parole officer. But guess what, it doesn’t change anything. You’re still in my house, and unless you want to take a trip on that spaceship, enough already.”
The girl began crying and Marcy shot an icy glare of contempt my way. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
I could probably come up with a dozen different answers, but Khan, who was sniffing the bottom of the door and growling again, caught my attention–there was something outside and he didn’t like the smell of it. Maybe staying in the ranch house wasn’t such a good idea. Even if we’d nailed tight every possible way into the house, we’d be trapped until the aliens left.
“I said, what the hell is wrong with you, Ty? Do you want to go back to jail?” Marcy continued, to my bewilderment ignoring the actual peril we were facing. I was sure alien abduction trumped a felony.
“Why don’t we blow the aliens up?” Wes interrupted.
“We don’t blow anything up,” I said, grabbing the dynamite out of Wes’s hands. “Because I have a better plan.”
Taking Time And Other Science Fiction Stories went on sale July 15th.
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You can find Ellie hiding from aliens and other creepy things here.