A national newscast recently featured a piece during which both the anchor and the reporter expressed stunned disbelief that some U.S. corporations are actually looking into—of all things!—asteroid mining! Horrors!

This led me to wonder, Have any of these people ever read science fiction? As far back as I can remember, and probably long before that, SF novels and short stories have been predicting that we would eventually be forced to mine asteroids, as well as other planets, in order to replace our dwindling natural resources and to obtain elements that aren’t found on Earth. I was shocked that these apparently intelligent individuals would be so astonished by the prospect.

Mining asteroids seems to me to be an entirely logical, practical solution to some of our most pressing problems. I’m all for it. In fact, asteroid mining is featured in my current WIP, a space opera about future humans living in another solar system. Asteroid mining will also be mentioned in the prequel to my Tartarus Trilogy. I think it’s a given—dangerous work maybe, but any endeavor in space is bound to be dangerous. It goes with the territory, as they say.

It may take a few years to develop the technology needed, but I’m sure the day will come when asteroid mining is a reality and taken for granted

Keep on reading.

MRTighe

All three books in my Tartarus Trilogy are technically classified as science fiction, but I prefer to define them as either “soft” sci-fi, space adventure, or character-driven sci-fi. My plots aren’t driven by advanced technology or scientific theories, so they definitely aren’t hard sci-fi. Neither are they what’s usually referred to as “literary” sci-fi. And I wouldn’t classify them as space opera either, though perhaps to some people’s minds they might be.

I consider my stories to be “character driven” si-fi. My characters are people of their own time and place; if you were to take them out of the context of their environment, they would lose much of who they are. But they still have typically human failings, feelings, and problems, have their own individual reasons for doing the things that they do. Even the so-called “aliens” in my work are very human in that regard.

Whatever sub-genre of SF you may decide that my books belong to, I hope readers will give them a try before jumping to conclusions based upon what genre they think my books might be. To me, the story being told is almost everything—not to discount good, solid writing and judicious editing, which are both extremely important. I believe that the majority of readers find it extremely important to easily identify with the characters in the story and to have the desire to go along with them on their journey.

But whatever type of sci-fi my readers may think I write, that’s not nearly as important as the fact that they enjoy my stories. So far, I can tell you truthfully that all of the reviews and the feedback I’ve received for my Tartarus Trilogy has been positive. Feel free to check out the reviews that are posted on amazon.com. You can also make use of their” Look Inside” feature for all three books and even download the first chapter of each of the Kindle versions for free.

Thanks for reading,

MRTighe

During a recent trip to one of our local Barnes&Nobles, I noticed what seems to be a significant decline in their science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romance offerings. Usually, a large section of the bookstore is devoted to these subjects. Now those sections have shrunk appreciably to a few aisles.

I found that a bit alarming, since I write science fiction, space opera, and related genres. So I’m always interested in what exactly is currently being published. Until recently, I had noticed a preponderance of reprints: old classics by such authors as Asimov, Clarke, Bova, et al. On this trip, however, I didn’t see as many reprints. I also noticed a lack of books based on TV’s Babylon 5 and fewer Star Trek titles. The Twilight books were almost completely lacking.

So I can’t help but wonder what’s going on. Why have these popular genres and subjects been downsized while others, such as Romance, are burgeoning? It could simply be that demand for Romance is greater than that for SF, which is definitely a niche that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe the sale of books in general has suffered because of the downturn in the economy. Or perhaps, after a long spell of publishers reprinting classics, readers are looking for something new and different. I really don’t have the answer.

But I suspect that the current trend may be due to the availability of SF&F books online. Following the path of least resistance and seeking relief for their wallets, many readers have decided to shop online. Who could blame them? I shop online myself, and my books are available online. But given my druthers, I prefer the experience of shopping in a bookstore!

Any ideas, comments to offer? Keep on reading,

MRTighe

Now that Book 3 of my Tartarus Trilogy will be published and available online in just a few weeks, here’s a sample: the back cover “blurb”:

There’s a traitor on the planet Tartarus!

With the insider’s aid, Dar-kan hira-Gurd—the beautiful, sadistic, dangerous Ghendarian commander—invades the City of the Ruler. She usurps the throne of Ahn-eld, then plots her long-awaited revenge upon Malkis of Tartarus.

Acting on a gut instinct that the planet is under attack, Richard Hughes, commander of Astrella II, risks battling Ghendarian warships in a desperate attempt to rescue Malkis and Rona.

But in order to save his wife, his world, and his friends from the brutal and merciless invaders, Malkis is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice!

So that’s it, folks. Again, just a reminder that each book in the Tartarus Trilogy can stand alone. I don’t particularly like books you have to read in order just to be able to understand what’s going on. Or books that leave you in a “to be continued” cliffhanger! Okay, it would probably be more fun to start with Judgment on Tartarus, then proceed to read True Son of Tartarus before Ransom of Tartarus, but by no means is it absolutely necessary. Read whatever takes your fancy!

Hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing,

MRTighe

Fairly early on in life, I discovered my shortcomings. I was too shy and nervous to be a good actor, though I had dreams of performing on Broadway. I loved to dance, but had no training. I wanted to play a musical instrument, but had no success with any I tried. I couldn’t learn to read music, though I loved music and singing. I loved biology, but wasn’t smart enough to become a scientist.

Okay, you get my drift. The saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none!” comes to mind. Although I was fascinated by a wide range of fields, I wasn’t good enough to make any of them my calling. So I finally settled upon becoming a teacher, then had to choose between art, biology, or home economics. I managed to get into an art college on my second try, then nearly flunked out first semester. I buckled down, worked hard, and managed to squeak by. Eventually, I became a decent artist, graduated with honors, and became an art teacher.

I soon discovered that teaching wasn’t all I’d hoped for. But in the meantime I had realized that I was pretty good at writing, usually earned As for my reports, essays, curriculum guide, etc. I had begun writing novels and other fiction at age eleven. In High School, I’d won a creative writing award, but never envisioned myself becoming a professional writer of fiction. I simply enjoyed making up characters and stories.

Eventually, I determined to try getting one of my books published, met with no success at first. But I couldn’t help feeling that, all along, this is what I was meant to do. I love writing fiction. I’m good at it—maybe not great, but if I’d waited until I was great, I never would’ve accomplished anything! My third book will be published shortly, and I have two more WIPs.

In order to be successful at anything, you first have to discover what you are best at, give yourself the tools you’ll need to succeed, then work your butt off. Oh, and never quit!

MRTighe

I just love a good movie. But car chases, shoot-em-ups, gore, graphic sex and violence, inane comedies, etc. aren’t my cup of tea. Okay, so what does that leave me with, you ask. Not a great deal, to tell the truth. Some of the most recent films that I’ve enjoyed include Thor, Captain America, all the Harry Potter films, Sherlock Holmes 1&2, The Woman in Black, and all the Twilight films ( a guilty pleasure!)

     Going back in time, some of my all-time-favorite films were: the first episode of Star Wars ever made (now referred to as A New Hope, I believe ) and the first Superman movie starring the oh-so-gorgeous Christopher Reeve. I’ve always loved SF, and in my youth was a big fan of Superman in any medium. A lesser-known film titled Windwalker was also among my favorites. It is a touching tale about Native Americans that uses authentic dialog with English subtitles.

But in my humble opinion, the best movies ever made ( so far! ) are the three installments of The Lord of The Rings. Kudos to director Peter Jackson and everyone else involved in that massive undertaking. I can hardly wait to see what they do with The Hobbit ( parts 1&2 ). I hope it’s an equal success!

A good movie is a good movie, whatever the genre. But, admittedly, I’m very picky. In order to make my short-list of favorites, a film has to have done everything right!

All for now,

MRTighe

From time to time I have to do what I like to refer to as “priming the pump.” Way back in the olden days, when water had to be pumped by hand from a well, you added a couple cups of water to the pump to help draw water up the pipe. This was called “priming.”

But when I use that term in regard to my writing, I mean that I need just a little help to spark some new ideas or to fully develop ideas, to invoke a certain mood or a specific feeling that goes with my plot. I often read something appropriate ( being very careful not to pollute the water with too-similar ideas! ) or listen to music that sets the mood. Sometimes I even put on a DVD or silently meditate upon my theme, my characters, my plot, etc.

Sometimes I simply need to shut out the world, to be by myself and let the muse do her work. By now I have confidence that the next story is already in there, just waiting to be let out. Very, very seldom do good ideas just “pop into my head”! Should this happen on occasion, I become suspicious that my brain is simply regurgitating something I’ve seen or heard before! I try to make my work as original as possible; however, I’m well aware that little is left that is truly original. We are bombarded by influences all our lives. And we are, after all, the sum of all our life experiences.

At the very least I aim for an original take on an old idea. So prime the pump as necessary and keep on writing!

MRTighe

I’m not exactly sure why, but many people online are getting hot under the collar about self-published and independent authors. Maybe it’s due to simple jealousy. They call envy “the green-eyed monster” for a reason. No one should want to come off looking like some kind of Scrooge.

Maybe it’s simple reluctance to acknowledge that the face of publishing has changed forever and has changed rapidly. Technology has advanced at a mind-boggling pace, leaving many of us in its dust!

Or maybe their reaction is due to our own basic laziness. Don’t we all prefer to take the path of least resistance? I know I do. But with zillions of books now available online, the reader must work harder than ever to separate the wheat from the chaff. Some now go so far as to read only “the classics”. And while I appreciate many of them as much as anyone else does, on occasion I enjoy broadening my horizons.

And let’s face it: we can’t always depend on reviews or recommendations. Not everyone out there is playing fair and square. Ah, if only they would! Life would be so much simpler.But it’s a whole new world as far as publishing goes, and I guess we all have to learn to live in it.

Love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

MRTighe

If I had actually succeeded in publishing the first novel I ever wrote ( at age eleven, many, many years ago! ), boy, would I be embarrassed now! At that tender age I had very little idea of how to structure a sentence, let alone a paragraph, or how to punctuate, use correct grammar and spelling. I had no idea of how to avoid cliches or come up with an original idea!

But I learned a lot from writing that early novel: how to develop a sympathetic character and a cohesive plot, how to divide a novel into chapters that made sense—unlike several books that I’ve read recently. Like any endeavor, practice in writing is necessary to improve.

What worries me is that nowadays so many young and inexperienced writers have actually managed to self-publish. That work is probably going to embarrass them royally sometime in the future. I know it feels great to complete your first novel; it feels even more wonderful to get it published. But believe me, it is not going to feel wonderful if readers ridicule all your hard work. It will be heart-breaking!

Though I never published at a young age— far from it!— I did receive some pretty harsh criticism from friends who read my early work, even some laughter. It was devastating. Their reactions discouraged me from writing fiction for quite some time.

The last thing I want to see is a promising young writer discouraged. So as excited as you are about your current project, please refrain from rushing to publish it. Let your writing have a chance to fully mature first. Look upon it as practice for your eventual best-sellers.

You may grumble a bit about this advice right now, but in future I think you’ll thank me.

Best wishes in all your writing endeavors!

MRTighe

If you read a really, truly good book, please. please tell other people about it! Don’t be afraid to spread the word: online, by word of mouth, or by posting a review. But above all, be honest. Way too many individuals are hyping books that just plain aren’t worth reading.

Have you ever bought or borrowed a book you were just itching to read, only to discover that all the hype was phony or exaggerated? You are left feeling frustrated, disappointed, even angry! The only way authors of genuinely worthwhile books are going to get noticed and read is if honest readers are willing to openly discuss and recommend them. Don’t be afraid of critcism. Your friends are not better book critics than you are, believe me.

It isn’t fair to authors and readers alike if the majority of book reviews are phony, biased, exaggerated, and/or misleading. We all suffer the consequences!

When I review a book, I try to be completely honest about its merits or lack thereof. I don’t intentionally try to hurt the author’s feelings. (As an author myself, I realize what tender feelings we all have!) I always mention a book’s good points as well as bad. And if I absolutely hate a book, I refrain from reviewing it, simple as that.

The world of books is definitely in need of some “truth in advertising”!

MRTighe