LADY DEATH, of the Confederation Tales, now available

Some of you asked about my plans for my several books and series. Here they are for the next several months to a year.

Finish & publish part three of the Space Orphan series. This is slow going, as I must keep the ambience established by the first and then the second book. I must also extend the previous story arc, not just repeat what went before. And come to a satisfying conclusion to that arc.

The Space Orphan trilogy is part of the Confederation Tales series. The trilogy touches on some of the vast stretches of space and time of the interstellar milieu in which the Orphan takes place. The novelette Catching Ultrawoman gave a bit more detail about a smaller part of the milieu: the Human Interstellar Confederation. Lady Death gives more about the Confed. It also tells why Anna Prince became an Interstellar Guardian.

This doesn’t mean that I’ve abandoned the stories in the Shapechanger Tales series. I’m also working on The Twice-Dead Boy. Nearly done, it tells the tale of Roan Kinnison, born in the early days of the American Republic as Rhonda Kinney. An unusually wet L.A. spring washes open the caved-in earth above Pacific Palisades beach. It plummets him, an apparent seventeen-year old, into Santa Monica Bay a century after his second death. He enters SanMo high school. And meets an incognito Hwd movie star.

As to the last part of the trilogy begun with Shapechanger’s Birth and continued in Shapechanger’s Progress? Shapechanger’s Destiny is well along but slow going, as other books have taken priority. Will it be ever be available? Yes. But when? Sorry, I don’t know.

Click image to read a sample and to buy the novelette.

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SPACE ORPHAN sequel 2 update

I’m a third of the way through the third Space Orphan book, the sequel to The Orphan in Near-Space . I write about three chapters then gather inspiration for the next few chapters.

To help my subconscious stay focused on the story I create images from the story. Here, for instance, is Jane and her crew landing on Mars to deliver a group of scientists and food and other supplies.

The spaceship doesn’t look impressive, does it? It looks like a flying brick. Or suitcase. Unseen is that it’s a real speed demon, able to get to Mars in TWO DAYS and the asteroid belt in THREE! That’s the power of traveling at a constant one G of acceleration/deceleration.

This craft is USSS Constellation (named after one of the first six war ships of the early United States). It takes off on a floater field, flies with the smallest face forward while in the atmosphere. It travels at a leisurely pace to orbit and so doesn’t need much streamlining, which it does not need at all in space.

Reaching space it travels with the top face forward rather than the front (smallest) face. So everyone inside it still feels that UP is the ceiling. It’s the size of an office building or warehouse. Specifically it’s a hundred feet high and has eight stories and a huge cargo space for the first floor. It’s two hundred feet wide and three hundred long.

In other words, it takes up half a city block! That’s enormous, folks. So the next time you’re out and about, look at the office buildings around you and imagine that they can fly.

Click image for larger view.

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With Easter near I felt this a good time to write something Easterly. What if (hmm) Jesus was an immortal shapechanger?

It would not be at odds with him being the son of God, God’s messenger to the world and an example to follow. God can get His desires done many ways, natural as well as mystical. He IS all-powerful. (Something many “religious” people forget when they proclaim what He will and will not do, as if He were a puppet for them to control.)

An Easter story would be incomplete without Mary Magdalene. She has sometimes been identified as the thirteenth Disciple and the first Apostle. And as a prostitute, though Biblical experts say there is no support for that in the Bible. Perhaps this is just another example of some men insulting a woman they dislike. 

Starting on Thursday the 18th and continuing through Monday the 22nd this story will be FREE. Click on the image to read the story.

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Some characters stick in our minds after we’ve finished a story. Such is the case of Athena Sarah Mawusi Akwete Ocampo, the main character in my Athena’s Journey. I’ve been almost forced by my subconscious to write a second novelette about her. Maybe the Ring of Fire Press is a better fit for her stories than the Grantville Gazette.

If you’ve not encountered it, the RoF Press is a treat to explore. Not all the books in their catalog are to my taste, but several of them I really enjoyed. A few of them are below. Click on each image to learn more.

To read the story I’ve submitted to the Gazette click the following image.

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STORY submitted to 1632’s GRANTVILLE GAZETTE

I’m a huge fan of Eric Flint’s 1632 series of books. If you’ve not yet encountered it, I suggest you check out the first book. To read a sample and buy the book, click this image.

So far the series contains 40+ books and covers the years 1631-1637. It begins when a small city in Virginia in 21st Century America is accidentally sent back in time to Germany in the middle of the Thirty Years’ War. The involuntary emigrants husband their dwindling modern resources to survive. And use their ingenuity to recreate those modern resources to thrive.

The success of the series inspired much fanfic. Some of it was of high quality, good enough to include in an online ebook press called Grantville Gazette. This publishes an anthology every three months and pays writers trade publication rates.

I too committed fanfic: a novella in the 1632 universe titled Athena’s Journey. News of the city from the future would inevitable reach every part of the world. Including West Africa and the port city of El Mina.

Among other ears they reach those of Athena Sarah Mawusi Akwete Ocampo, the three-quarters-white one-quarter-black daughter of a Portuguese merchant. Athena grew up impatient with the European role her father wanted for her and became a legendary warrior. First doubting the stories she hears of the city from the future she comes to half-believe them. And sets out to discover the truth.

To read the story I’ve submitted to the Gazette click the following image.

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ORPHAN sequel now available

The sequel to The Eons-Lost Orphan is now available on Amazon.

It is fitting though a coincidence that it comes out the same week the movie Captain Marvel premieres. The comics series started in 2012 by Kelly Sue DeConnick was one of the inspirations for the first Orphan book.

In The Orphan in Near-Space Jane Kuznetsov makes cislunar space her home. “Near-space” (my term) is the sphere around Earth out to just beyond the Moon.

Jane also creates several inventions that make it home to the human race as well. One of them helps a NASA Jet Propulsion Lab project exploring the asteroid belt to make a momentous discovery. And the Glorious and One True Republic of China, one of the three splinters of today’s China, kidnaps Jane intending to force secrets out of her.

The splinter republic really should not have annoyed the woman that their own military pilots call The Dragon.

Click image to read the first few chapters and to buy the book.

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Writers’ memories are what Lois McMaster Bujold calls a compost heap. I think of them as a treasure chest. The inspirations for the stories we craft come from this collection of sensory and emotional and mental memories.

The larger and more varied these memes the richer our writing will be. This is the reason why Stephen King’s advice for becoming a better writer is READ MUCH / WRITE MUCH.

Just what memes are valuable and what are valueless no one can tell. The same meme might be one or the other depending on the story we need to tell.

Much of my inspiration comes from comic books Here are the very indirect sources of inspiration for several of my books. (Click the images to read a sample of the books.)

        Wonder Woman                Captain Marvel                  Supergirl

                                     Batman                                                Aquaman

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The current plan for the sequels to The Eons-Lost Orphan sees Jane and her companions travel further and further into space.

Orphan 2, tentatively titled The Orphan in Near-Space, sees her make what astrophysicists call “cis-lunar space” home. This is the spherical volume out to a bit beyond the Moon. I just passed 72,000 words in this book on my way to 100,000 words.

In Orphan 3 she travels to and through the asteroid belt and visits Mars, Venus, and Mercury. In Orphan 4 she visits Jupiter and Saturn. And there is where she first ventures into interstellar space by passing through one of the subspace portals which cluster near Saturn.

What is it like beyond our star system? You can get some idea by reading the just-released novelette “Catching Ultrawoman.” You will also meet one of the secondary but important characters: billionaire Anna Prince. She shows up in my Super Olympian duology, especially in book two: The Super Olympian: Mystic Warrior. Also in The Once-Dead Girl.

Click the image to read a preview.

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to: JEFF BEZOS, subject: LUNA CITY

I’m an aerospace software and systems engineer, working most recently at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and Boeing’s Phantom Works. I am now retired and spend much of each day writing, mostly fiction.

I am also one of many diverse professionals who study, think, and discuss how to colonize the Moon. Here are some ideas your own engineers may not have suggested to you.

BUILD WITH TELEROBOTS – Drones remotely operated from Earth are most cost effective. “Deaths” among them are not tragic, they need no air or water or food or habitats, they need not be returned home.

BUILD WITH PREFABBED PARTS – Construction on the Moon can be done faster and better by doing the hardest work here on Earth.

USE LOCAL MATERIALS – Lunar rocks and soil contain useful minerals which can be extracted in several ways. These include oxygen and the metals iron, calcium, aluminum, and magnesium.

USE VR/AR HEADSETS – “Vears” are an infant industry slowly ramping up to a big business. Remote operation of drones and viewing of the Moon by long-distance “tourists” is a way to give Earth-bound humans a better way of visiting the Moon.

Putting people on the Moon is a practical near-term goal. Putting them on Mars is not. It’s time to build a moon base, or better a moon city.

After the base or city is built it would be covered by a thin layer of dirt to protect it from meteorites and extremes of heat and cold. Artwork by Chris Butler, available in several different versions at his web site.

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News from the Orphan sequel front:

At 25 Jane Kuznetsov (the Orphan) has her first boy friend. This is normal for the people where she was born. They lived very long lives and matured much later. They might not marry and have children until they were 50 or 100 years old.

Her boyfriend is a good deal older and a celebrity in the entertainment industry. On occasion he treads various red carpets at such events as movie premieres, awards shows, and such events. Naturally Jane has to have nice outfits for such events. Here is one.

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