Return of the Aliens Trivia

I know this isn’t on the list of things I had up to do next. That was The Earl’s Wallflower Bride. But I have just gotten through rereading Return of the Aliens. In light of the virus that caused almost every country in the entire world to lockdown, various politicians in the world calling for a one world government (which isn’t all that new), and the Pentagon recently releasing footage of UFO (or “unidentified aerial phenomena”, as they’re calling it), it just seemed like a good time to go back and read the book. I hadn’t read it since I published it, so I’d forgotten quite a bit of it.

returnofthealiensnewcover

1. I got the initial idea for the book back in 2009 when I saw a You Tube video (from someone I can’t remember) who said that the US government was going to declassify UFO footage the military has taken over the years. My first thought was to laugh. But the writer in me asked, “What if it did happen? What if the government suddenly came out with alien disclosure?” And that one question led me down a rabbit trail that introduced me to conspiracy theories I’d never heard before.

2. It took over a year for me to write this book. The rabbit trail of one conspiracy theory after another evolved as I did more and more research. It led to things like the Illuminati, underground bases where strange experiments are going on, super soldiers, black-eyed kids, false flag events the government puts into place to scare people into giving up their rights, and the meaning of different colored dots in the mailboxes to signify who is a compliant citizen and who isn’t. Since these were conspiracy theories, it was hard to separate fact from fiction. But those theories made for good storytelling.

3. Now, I do believe the Bible and the prophecies that point to the rapture of the church, the Great Tribulation period, and the second coming of Jesus Christ to this Earth. I also believe there is a spiritual world going on around us composed of angels and demons. I have not had visions or dreams or anything like that. I just study the Bible and go by what it says. I do, however, have a friend who is attuned to the spiritual world. I know it exists. I just don’t have any personal stories to share about it. Anyway, Return of the Aliens was written from the “What if….” standpoint. What if the conspiracy theories are true? If they were true, how might they collide with Bible prophecy?

4. It was a lot of fun playing with all of these neat ideas, but it was also very draining. The book took over a year to write because I had to keep taking breaks. I was wiped out by the time it was done. The extensive research I did for this book was more than I want to do with any other book, and this is why I have no intention of writing anything else like it.

5. Autumn’s name comes from the lateness of the hour since autumn is the season where the leaves die and fall off the trees. It represents the end of one era (summer), and it also represents a transition into the next (winter that leads into spring). This story begins the end time events. In Bible prophecy, preachers often say that the hour is late and we’re very close to Jesus’ return. I realize they were saying that even in Peter and Paul’s day, but this virus has shown me how connected people are on a global scale. I’m seeing things I thought I’d never see, and it sets the stage for what happens in the Book of Revelation.

6. Devon was meant to be a bad guy who stayed the villain. I picked his name because it was close to “devil”. He was supposed to represent the evil forces in the world. That’s why Autumn saw the demon hovering around him. However, about 1/3 of the way into the book, I realized he was going to turn into a hero. No one was more surprised than I was by the turn of events.

7. Alex was supposed to end up with Autumn, but that changed on me, too. Alex had two choices to make, and he chose to hold onto his anger. Vanessa was very hard to write, too. I liked both of these characters, but they made their choices, and I had to follow the results of those choices to their conclusion. While Alex’s choices were based in resentment and bitterness, hers were made out of fear.

8. The alien stuff is pure speculation. I was listening to some people at the time who held the theory that our “saviors” would appear to us as aliens but they really were fallen angels. Having watched the movie Mission to Mars where the astronauts learned that aliens planted our DNA on Earth, I decided to go with that approach to explain the aliens’ appearance in the book.

9. I enjoyed writing the scenes with Devon the most because it allowed me to explore various techniques in working with psychological suspense and horror. In my opinion, psychological suspense and horror have the strongest emotional impact than the slasher kind of stuff. That all said, this is not a book for children. It’s for adults. I wanted to write something for a mature audience because the subjects I tackled were dark.

10. The scenes with Alex and the gray alien freak me out even to this day. While I wrote them, I was seriously spooked and would imagine all kinds of crazy things happening in the house. I was relieved to get past those scenes, and when I reread the book last week, I skimmed those parts. I think it’s because demons were tormenting him, and since I believe demons are real, that just hit too close to home. The conspiracy theory stuff Devon went through were more of a “maybe/maybe not” scenario, so it’s easier to brush that off.

11. I didn’t get to all the seal, bowl, or trumpet judgments mentioned in the Book of Revelation. I originally set out to do that, but there was so much already going on in the book that I couldn’t have possibly fit everything in. Instead, I focused on the four main characters (Autumn, Devon, Alex, and Vanessa) and dealt with their specific stories.

12. The original set up for this book was six installments, so it started out as a serial. I later dropped the individual small books and put everything into one book that is what you get today.

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Updates on What I’m Doing

Republishing an Old Book

Remember an anthology I was in years ago called Bride by Design? The novella I wrote was under my pen name, Barbara Joan Russell. This is the cover to help jog people’s memory.

Original Cover Under My Pen Name:

Bride By Design New Ebook Cover

Okay, so Catherine Lynn (my friend and fellow author in that anthology) and I got our rights back from the publisher to take our books and republish them.  I decided to publish my story under my real name because I use Barbara Joan Russell for YA Fiction these days.

A Tale of Two Sisters

Our stories do slightly overlap. I wrote one sister’s story, and Catherine wrote the other sister’s story. One of the questions I get most is, are there any books featuring a secondary character in your story? So I want to give everyone’s that heads up. I wrote Colleen O’Hara’s story in Online Proposal. Catherine Lynn wrote Maggie O’Hara’s story in Tristan’s Redemption.

Chronological Order of the Stories

Online Proposal comes first. Tristan’s Redemption comes second. Both of these are contemporary romances that have no sex in them.

online proposal new ebook cover

Online Proposal is mean to be a cute and fun afternoon read. There’s some humor in it. And as I mentioned earlier, there’s no sexual situations in it. (As you know, I tend to add spice in my books. So this is one of those rare stories where I don’t do that.)

Please note: I was able to make this free on every retailer but Amazon. Amazon won’t let me go under $0.99. It might be at some point they’ll make it free, but right now, they won’t. So please go to the other retailers I’m linking to if you want this for free.

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Tristan’s Redemption comes next in the duet. This one is by Catherine Lynn.

Tristan's Redemption (eBook) 7-22-19

This is a heartwarming and sweet story about Maggie who is drawn to a homeless man who’d given up on life. If you like the kind of feel of the Little House on the Prairie or Touched by An Angel TV shows, you’ll like this one.

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More Boxed Sets are Up

Once in a blue moon, people will ask me about boxed sets, so I’ve been slowly adding them. I have four to mention at the moment.

1.

Marriage by Scandal Series Boxed Set     Marriage by Scandal boxed set flat ebook cover

 

I believe I already mentioned the Marriage by Scandal Boxed Set, but just in case I haven’t here it is. This is already available.

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Marriage by Deceit Series Boxed Set cover   Marriage by Deceit Boxed Set flat ebook cover

The Marriage by Deceit Boxed Set is available right now, too.

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3.

Marriage by Arrangement Boxed Set    Marriage by Arrangement Boxed Set flat ebook cover

The Marriage by Arrangement Boxed Set is on Pre-Order. It’ll be out on May 17.

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4.

Marriage by Bargain Series    MarriagebyBargain flat ebook cover

The Marriage by Bargain Boxed Set is on Pre-Order. It’ll be out on June 7.

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I’m still working on the three books I started in mid-March. It’s been slow going because all the kids are home with the schools closing for the rest of the school year. I had to give up on trying to help the deaf one during the weekdays. There simply is not enough time in the day to do it all, so I devote the weekends to seeing about getting him caught up with his schooling. Weekdays had to go back to homeschooling the one and catching up on my writing since that’s how I make money. Authors only make money when they publish books, and they can’t publish books unless they write them. So like any other parent who is working and trying to meet the demands of long-distance learning, I do what I can.

The Rancher’s Bride is still in edits, but it is set for a late June release.

This is Book 2 in the Wyoming Series.

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Cover will be changing soon.

I’m in Chapter 6 on Nobody’s Fool.

This is Book 2 in the Marriage by Design Series.

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This is a cute romantic comedy about a lady who is desperately looking for ways to dissuade her new husband from falling in love with her. The hero is incredibly geeky but also very sweet, so it’ll be fun to see at what point she’ll change her mind. (It’s a romance. We all know she’ll end up falling in love with him. The fun is finding out “how”.)

I just started Chapter 7 in A Deceptive Wager.

This is Book 3 in the Marriage by Design Series. (This is the last book in the series.)

A Deceptive Wager ebook cover

I wasn’t sure what direction this book would take when I started it, but it’s turned into a funny battle of wills between a headstrong gentleman and an equally headstrong lady who have been forced to marry. For those who like strong heroines who won’t let a gentleman walk all over her, this will be a good one.

I’m in Chapter 10 in The Fugitive’s Bride.

This is Book 3 in the Wyoming Series. (This is the last book in the series.)

The Fugitive's Bride ebook cover3

Cover will be changed soon.

It has been really fun to finally see the characters find their happily-ever-afters after all these years. My heartfelt gratitude goes to Stephannie Beman for allowing me to complete the series. This is one of my favorite series of all the books I’ve done. A lot of moments have made me cry because the topics presented have been serious ones, but there’s been sprinkling of humor as well. (We all need some comic relief in order to keep things from getting too grim.) But this series is one that really comes from the heart, and I believe it represents my best work. But I want to give credit where credit is due, and Stephannie set the foundation with the characters and the main theme of the overall series, which is to rescue a vulnerable child and eventually get the ranch back.

For people who like romances like Brave Beginnings, Loving Eliza, Bid for a Bride, Eye of the Beholder, and His Redeeming Bride, the Wyoming Series books have a similar range of depth and emotions embedded in them.

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The Accidental Mail Order Bride Trivia

The Accicental Mail Order Bride ebook cover

This is Book 3 in the Chance at Love Series. Here are the books in order:

The Convenient Mail Order Bride3  The Mistaken Mail Order Bride  The Accicental Mail Order Bride ebook cover  The_Bargain_Mail_Order_Bride_new version

1. Originally, The Accidental Mail Order Bride was supposed to be the last book in the series. I wasn’t originally going to write about Carl, but there was a scene where Abe and Carl got into a fight, and I realized Carl wasn’t really as bad as he appeared at first. I got a glimpse into his life and knew he felt as betrayed by their father as Abe did. This made me feel sympathetic toward him, and I wanted to write his book. But I couldn’t write his book until I got rid of his wife (Lydia). That’s why she was murdered in Book 2. But I didn’t have time to wrap about the murder in Book 2. I had to extend that subplot through Book 3 in order to make way for Book 4. That’s why I spent significant time in Book 3 on Carl.

2. Allie, the heroine of this book, was originally slotted to be the heroine in Book 2, but I couldn’t come up with a good plot for that story if I used her. So I went with the plan to delay her arrival and gave the book a heroine who wasn’t the one the hero was expecting. Originally, Allie was supposed to marry Eric, and Caroline was supposed to marry Travis.

3. The beauty and beast trope has been used many times over the course of written history. The earliest account in written literature that I’m aware of is the Greek myth of Aphrodite (the goddess of love) and Hephaestus (the deformed god of craftsmanship). The version I read when I was in high school was the one where Aphrodite had her pick of any god she wanted to marry. She wasn’t impressed with the gods who glorified themselves and their beauty (like Apollo and Ares were doing), but she came across Hephaestus who didn’t feel worthy of her. She was impressed with his humility and chose him. He might not have had outward beauty, but he had inward beauty as well. There are other versions of this myth, of course, but that’s the one that most appealed to me. Since then, I have been fascinated with this specific plot in storytelling. This is a very popular trope in fiction. I chose to use this trope for this book. I’ve also used it in Eye of the Beholder (except in there the heroine was the unattractive one). I used it in The Marriage Contract. The hero in that book had a mask that was my nod to the Phantom of the Opera since the phantom wore a mask to hide his face. I’m also currently using this trope in my current work-in-progress titled Nobody’s Fool. In Nobody’s Fool, the hero is more geeky than ugly or scarred. As you can tell, this is just a setup I really love, so I use it if there’s a storyline that appeals to me.

4. I didn’t start up with the idea of Travis being scarred when I started Book 1. It’s just that when Abe went out to get the metal scraps from him, something in my creative brain gave me the image of what Travis looked like, so I went with it. Most of the time, I don’t know what any character is going to look like until I write the scene they appear in. My mind will present the image of the character (hair color, body type, height) within a second. The image often doesn’t match what’s on the cover, but since it’s very difficult to find a picture of a person that fits what is in my mind with the right time period clothing, I just have whatever fits best for the cover while keeping my own image of the character in mind while I write the story. In this case, I didn’t even bother trying to put a “Travis” type on the cover because people are not attracted to romance covers that have imperfect people on them.

5. Some of the townsfolk saw Travis as  a monster. This idea was inspired by To Kill a Mocking Bird. I didn’t read the book, but I watched the movie with my mom several times during childhood. In that movie, the kids were scared of Boo Radley and came up with stuff he did that was evil. But when we get to the end of the movie, we realize Boo wasn’t the monster the kids made him out to be. So the rumors circulating through town about Travis having an extra eye, having strange origins, and so on had its roots in the way Boo was thought of in that movie.

6. When Allie was cleaning up the cottage, I kept thinking of the Snow White cartoon in the version Disney made. All that was missing were her singing while the animals helped her clean. I couldn’t put that in since this isn’t a fantasy, but the scene did play out in my mind.

7. I always felt that Travis and Carl were kindred spirits. They understood each other better than anyone else (except for their wives) did. I enjoyed the dynamic between them. What others couldn’t tell them, they could tell each other. This was a tough-love situation, and they matured because of it.

 

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