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Write Minded

I write as A. L. Collins or Ailynn Collins. I love books, especially Science Fiction. I write for children. I am committed to seeing diversity in kidlit and I can't help myself when it comes to rescuing dogs.

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Space and the Universe

Two New Books

It was a surprise when I opened the box that the mailman had left on the doorstep that day. I knew the books were coming, but I hadn’t known when exactly.

A while back, I was asked to contribute to a series of middle grade books. The series would be called Michael Dahl presents Screams in Space. It was a sci-fi horror series for kids aged 8 and up. I jumped at the chance to be a part of this series. I love sci-fi, but horror? I’ve never written horror. Or read it, to be honest. And these are for kids?

Ideas began to flow quickly, and I pitched a few to Abby, the editor in charge of the project. She helped me figure out which ones would work and Michael had a say in that too. I really enjoyed working with Abby. She was enthusiastic and encouraging. And she gave great revision notes too.

So, here they are — the two books in the series written by me: Haunted Planet and Alien Lockdown. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I loved writing them. They’re published by Capstone, (Stone Arch Books)¬†and you can find them in your library (or you can ask you librarian to order them ūüôā ). These books also come in a special interactive ebook version that Capstone calls 4D. There’s even an interview with the author (that’s me :)) online. What I’m most proud of is that the main characters in these books look a bit like me when I was a kid, in that they’re multiracial. This is what I’m most passionate about when writing for kids, that every child gets to see themselves reflected in a book. Or two.

Here’s what they’re about:

Haunted Planet

After years of traveling through space, a crew of humans has finally found an uninhabited world to colonize. Almost twelve-year-old twins Evie and Emery Linn decide to sneak out and explore their new home. But on the surface, Evie starts noticing troubling signs. Plants curl tightly around her finger, as if they were alive. Strange tracks lead off into a dark cavern. Evie can’t help but wonder–are they truly alone on this planet?

Haunted Planet

Alien Lockdown

Yin Nova is excited to go on a field trip to the third International Space Station Museum. Her class will see the newest exhibit-the first alien plant ever discovered. But when they arrive, something is very, very wrong. The station is on lockdown. Eerie growls echo through the corridors. There’s no sign of the crew. When Yin decides to investigate, can she and her friends survive long enough to discover what’s on the loose?

Alien Lockdown

I love the cover art, and all the illustrations, beautifully created by Juan Calle. They really add to the ‘scariness’ of the book. But honestly, they’re more mystery thriller than real horror. They’re for kids, after all. And when it comes to horror, I’m probably the biggest hide-under-the-cover-and-close-my-eyes kind of reader.

I have a third book, coming out soon, in this series. That one is called Vampire Invasion. I based the vampires on an actual creature on Earth. No spoilers — you’ll have to wait and see what it is when it comes out sometime this year. I’m always fascinated by what strange creatures lurk in the corners of our world. Fact is so often stranger than fiction. That’s what makes this so much fun. The other books in the series, written by other writers, look just as much fun to read. I think I’ll make a request to my local library to stock up on those too.

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Two kids review “Redworld”

“Redworld” is a middle grade science fiction series that I wrote, published by Capstone. It’s about Belle Song and her adventures on a terraformed Mars, set 250 years in the future. I like to think of it as a Star Wars/Firefly/Star Trek universe type adventure, but where 12-year-old Belle still has to deal with the issues of being the new kid, making friends, finding her place in the world, and getting into all kinds of mischief, as her trusty android, Melody tries to keep up with her.

The first four books were released recently in library binding. All four books will be compiled into a paperback version and released to stores in February 2018.

I sent a book to some of my former students, and I asked them to tell me what they think. I promised to put their reviews on here, without edits. So, here are two of their opinions. Over the next few blog posts, I’ll post more of the kids’ opinions. If you like what they have to say, consider asking your library to stock this series.

Thank you, girls, for your reviews.

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Samantha read book 2, Raiders, Water Thieves of Mars.

“A wild, out of this world adventure, with twists and turns at every corner. Raiders: Water Thieves of Mars is an interesting example of what life is like on planet Mars. The situation on Mars reminded me of severe droughts on Earth today.¬† The fast, exciting pace is perfect for young readers who prefer action.¬† It was hard to stop reading it.¬† I can‚Äôt wait to read more of this series.”
-Samantha, 4th grader

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Helena read book 3, Tharsis City, The Wonder of Mars.

“I recommend the book Tharsis City if you like exciting, adventurous stories. One thing I love about the book Tharsis City is it has just enough pictures so I can imagine what Tharsis City is like from the beautiful descriptive writing.¬† I told lots of people about Tharsis City and they all said it sounds interesting, and someone even started reading it and liked it!¬† I read it really fast because I liked it so much, mostly because it’s so imaginative.¬† I loved Belle’s alien friends and wolf dog.¬† Another thing I liked is that her mom Zara is going to have her first baby on Mars.¬† I loved this book and I hope you will too!
-Helena, 5th grader

 

 

Featured post

A Moment to Geek Out

Last week, this happened.

Photo credit:  This artist's impression of Kepler 452b shows how its surface might look, complete with water and active volcanoes. SETI Institute/Danielle Futselaar.
Photo credit: This artist’s impression of Kepler 452b shows how its surface might look, complete with water and active volcanoes. SETI Institute/Danielle Futselaar.

Kepler 452b, found by NASA‚Äôs Kepler Space Telescope, is located 1,400 light-years from us. It orbits a star that is 4% more massive and 10% brighter than our Sun. The planet itself is 1.6 times the size of Earth ‚Äď making it a super-Earth ‚Äď but the scientists are fairly sure that it is a rocky world, owing to its size and the type of star it orbits.”

I love to read and¬†write about space. I’m working on a¬†story now about us finding a new home somewhere out there. I worry about us ruining another perfectly good planet, but I get excited by the prospect of being given a second chance, to start again, to do better this time. Can we, though? I hope we can.

So this is a brief ‘geek out’ moment for me – having read several articles about this planet and dreamt of the possibilities, and laughed at how science fact is catching up so quickly to science fiction these days. I surprise myself at how excited I am. Maybe I cope with life here by dreaming about life out there. Hey, it helps to have something to look forward to. Okay, maybe not in my lifetime, but still, it’s there.

I know 1400 light-years away is still too far¬†for us to get to within a¬†reasonable time — generational ship, anybody? — but it’s something to think about.

The other question is if it’s such a perfect match for Earth, wouldn’t it already have some kind of life on its surface?¬†So,¬†a¬†possible first contact situation?

Star Trek, here we come.

Habitable Planets Somewhere Out There

Find out the facts about the most Earth-like exoplanet yet found in this SPACE.com infographic.
Source SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration
I love Space.com because they post some amazing photos that allow us to gawk at the beauty of the universe. But this is the sort of article that excites me the most. Maybe because I write about finding new worlds, about saving mankind through colonization of new planets. It certainly looks like it isn't as fictional as once believed. Now all we need is that starship...

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