Archives for posts with tag: science fiction

Oh, my gosh! What a night! We drove to Danversport in a torrential downpour that turned the roads into muddy rivers! Driving conditions were the absolute worst I have ever seen, yet we made it safely to Danversport Yacht Club, even without an Ark! At first we were afraid that the terrible weather would discourage anyone from coming out. Of course, shortly after we arrived the rain stopped and resumed only intermittently. We were extremely glad we hadn’t let the storm stop us.

The venue was gorgeous. The Harborview Ballroom did indeed have a wonderful view of the harbor. Through the French doors we could see all the charming little boats and the deck and the patio below. It’s no wonder they host a lot of wedding receptions there.

The huge ballroom itself was a perfect setup for booksigning. Guests were able to roam up and down the aisles between long lines of tables, book shopping to their hearts’ content. And on each side of the room was a cash bar, attended by waitresses who went from table to table. In addition there were tables offering ice water, cheese and crackers, and coffee. Very fancy!

I started selling my books soon after we arrived and set up —even before the general public was allowed in. The night became absolutely spectacular when, in spite of the lousy weather, many people showed up. We renewed some wonderful friendships, made some new friends, and signed and sold a ton of books. ( Well, not literally a ton, but you know what I mean! )

I received many lovely compliments on the poster I made to advertise my Tartarus Trilogy, the space-themed tablecover, my book covers, and even my sci-fi-ish outfit! One of my husband’s friends brought copies of my books she already had for me to sign. And one of my daughter’s former colleagues from the Montserrrat College of Art dropped by to say hello. Mark Goddard of Lost in Space was there, as was Michelle McPhee of radio fame.

Downstairs was a restaurant, a live band, and scheduled talks by some of the attending authors. ( No, I did not give a talk. Public speaking is not my forte! ) The authors also donated copies of their books to a raffle  benefitting Breast Cancer Research. Pear Tree Publishing’s book events usually benefit a charity or worthy cause in addition to boosting the attendees’ careers/businesses and adding to buyers’ bookshelves.

All in all, we had a wonderful night. Even the capricious New England weather couldn’t dampen our spirits. We left eagerly looking forward to the next event. So far, it seems that each one is even more wonderful and more successful than the last.

Keep on reading. Keep on writing!


As I was asking, as a writer. what captivates you? I advocate writing about that, not attempting to cater to current fads.

For me, it was my love of space exploration, both real and fictional, and my observations of the human psyche. Combined with my love of cultural anthropolgy and Greek myths, this eventually morphed into my Tartarus Trilogy. The trilogy was a combination of all these things and more.

Once I had constructed my basic plot and peopled it with characters to be developed, I allowed my several passions to flow into place, putting meat onto the bare bones of the story.

I drew heavily on my art background, ( I majored in both Art and Art Education with minors in English and Art History ) thus allowing myself to imagine the alien spaces in my story, particularly the Great Hall of Ahn-eld and the Burial Vault of the Rulers.

I also drew on my love of languages, their development, similarities, and differences, to develop rudimentary Cytherean Basic, Erisian Standard, and both the Tartarian and the Ghendarian languages, which are sister-tongues. Other interests of mine that came in handy were costuming, jewelry-making, architecture and religion.

So hopefully, you get my drift. Forget about writing whatever happens to be currently popular. Instead, be true to yourself; embrace what you love; play to your strengths. You’ll be less likely to develop writer’s block, you’re more likely to persevere, and you’ll never get sick of reading your own work!

Best of luck in all your endeavors,


Once upon a time, long, long ago, I joined a local writing group. That experience proved to be an eye-opener in many ways. I learned a great deal, though nothing about how to improve my own writing. For instance, I learned:

     1. Many writers do not like to be criticized, even if the critique is polite and meant to be helpful.

     2. Many writers are extremely possessive of their creations and are seldom willing to make any changes, even necessary, positive ones.

     3. Some writers expect their readers to automatically “get” what the work is about, by some kind of mental osmosis apparently, and therefore, the author need not explain the meaning of his/her work.

     4. Many writers cannot spell, punctuate, use correct grammar, or construct a proper sentence ( let alone a paragraph! ) to save their souls. ( But because of numbers 1-3, they refuse to accept any critiques/ changes! )

Though enlightening, that one group experience was a bit of an ordeal for me. I attempted to be helpful to other members, but soon learned to keep my mouth shut. What I’d assumed to be a children’s fantasy story—tiny, shrinking hero who rode around in peoples’ pockets or pant-cuffs—wasn’t at all intended as such. Oops! And I discovered too late that the totally unnecessary incorporation of bird lore quoted straight from the encyclopedia was the main reason one writer had written her romance! Another big “oops!”

The most edifying things I learned from the group experience was that I wrote better than the other participants, that my story was more fully developed, more creative, and more entertaining than any of the other work presented. Those few group members who were into science fiction loved my work. And that was a great ego boost, which I was in dire need of.

But if I were ever asked to join another such group, I’d think long and hard about it. The pitfalls are many; the rewards, few. Unless you are well aware of what you’re getting yourself into, are sure you’ll learn how to improve your writing, and are willing to both give and accept criticism, you’re probably better off passing on the prospect. If you can’t find a group whose members actually know what they’re talking about, how about checking a few books out of your local library? You can find many books there to help you write more professionally.

Just some friendly advice—take it or leave it as you will.


Why do I love science fiction and fantasy in all media?

Reality has certain hard and fast rules so you pretty much know what to expect. For example, if someone falls off a hundred-foot bridge, there’s a high probability that the person is going to die. But in SF&F any number of different outcomes is possible.

He or she may suddenly sprout wings and fly away or be halted in midair by a device that stops time. Superman, or some other superhero, may fly in at the last moment to rescue the poor soul. Or perhaps a vampire catches the victim in his arms and devours him or her! There’s no end to the possibilities, some of which might make perfect sense and some not.

What happens in SF&F is limited only by the author’s imagination. The reader/viewer/player can travel anywhere in time or space, do impossible things. It’s sort of like playing a game of chess in which the rules of play are suspended and anything goes. Therefore, the players must invent a new game with its own rules, its own goals. The game becomes fresh, exciting ( or certainly should be! )

I think that those people who “can’t get into” SF&F are the type who want/need absolute rules that can’t be bent or broken. They can’t, or won’t, suspend their disbelief in alternate outcomes long enough to enjoy the story being presented to them, to appreciate what imagination has wrought. To them, it’s all nonsense. They just cannot allow themselves to be swept away by anything that isn’t “real”.

I feel badly for them because these folks are missing out on a heck of a lot of fun, as well as on new ways of looking at the world. But I understand that’s simply part of who they are. No matter what you enjoy reading or writing, keep on with it!


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.


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 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,


When I first started writing, many long years ago, I had no one to guide me. I learned by trial and error. Now that the third book of my Tartarus Trilogy will be published in the coming year, I think I have at least some basis for offering helpful hints. Of course I can’t possibly cover everything you need to know in one blog, and if you’ll excuse me for using my first book as an example…

The writer must capture the reader’s attention and interest as soon as possible, hopefully on the very first page. If you don’t—well, there are a heck of a lot of other books out there! On the first page or two of Judgment on Tartarus the reader learns Rona Scott’s name, her nickname, that she’s in the Space Service, and her rank. Then we’re told where she is and why, where she’s going, and how she feels about it. The reader is given a bit of background detail, but not a lot. I try to build an atmosphere of excitement, movement, tension. You sense a change is imminent.

We immediately know the genre of the book: this is science fiction set in our future. We know Rona Scott is probably going to be the main character, and we get clues to what some of her future problems may be. For instance, we learn that she’s not a bigot. Some readers might begin to suspect that she’s going to have difficulty living up to her high ideals.

When the character of Gordy McCormick is introduced, the reader also begins to suspect that all is not peaches and cream aboard Astrella, the ship they’ve both been assigned to. His dire warnings foreshadow the difficulties they’re about to experience first-hand. And already we begin to hear terms like “the Ark Theory” and “The Hero of the Gorgonian Wars”. So within the first chapter, the main plot begins to unfold, and the reader gets a taste of the back history of some characters. You meet several of the major characters and are introduced to one of the two settings of the book, Astrella II. There are no long, drawn out passages, no long boring discussions to slow down the action. Things move forward quickly, whetting the reader’s appetite for more.

Chapter Two goes on to fill in more of the necessary details. With Rona, you become one of the crew of Astrella and look forward to her adventures. Using a combination of good writing, skillful plotting, and attention to just the right amount of detail, you have grabbed the reader, sucked him/her in, and will keep their attention right to the final page!

Good luck and keep on writing!


By now quite a few people have asked me what my book Judgment on Tartarus is about. The question is usually asked in the course of a brief conversation at a book signing event, so I reply that it’s a science fiction/space adventure without a lot of technical or scientific jargon, which takes place sometime in the 22nd century. I don’t usually get time to go into any detail.

On the rare opportunities that I do, I tell people that the main protagonist, a young woman named Corona Scott, is embarking on her first deep-space mission aboard the retired battle cruiser Astrella II. ( Astrella I was destroyed by “Gorgonians” during the Gorgonian Wars, which ended a mere twelve years ago.)

An idealistic, determined, career-minded young woman, Rona Scott is eager to prove herself, to fulfill her life-long dream of adventures in space and on far-flung alien planets. Although she’s well aware of the many prejudices that exist among the members of certain races in the known-Galaxy ( all of whom have human ancestors ), she’s determined to remain open-minded.

But even before she gets aboard Astrella, Rona begins to worry that her long-dreamed-of career in space is in jeopardy. She learns that her new CO, Richard Hughes—“The Hero of the Gorgonian Wars”—runs a taut ship and has a hair-trigger temper, which she’s afraid she’ll run afoul of, thus dooming her military career.

Even worse, Rona gets off on the wrong foot with his ExO, one Malkis of Tartarus—not a pleasant person!—who seems to take an instant dislike to her. Before long Rona finds herself in trouble with the Captain as well as the ExO. As events rapidly unfold, it becomes clear to Rona that Astrella is a hotbed of bigotry, hatred, and anger; in fact, at least several members of her crew want their ExO dead!

Sabotage, murder, mystery and mayhem ensue! Judgment on Tartarus is a fun, fast-paced read, featuring several unexpected twists and a satisfying ending. Rona’s grand adventure continues in Book 2 of the trilogy, True Son of Tartarus, and will conclude with the publication of Ransom of Tartarus later this year.

So if you haven’t yet read Judgment on Tartarus ( available at in both paperback and Kindle versions ) why not give it a try? I think you’ll be glad you did.

Thanks for reading,


For ages the question has been asked: Who stands up to pain better—men or women? Sorry, guys, but the answer is usually women. After all, women are built to tolerate childbirth. However, it is my belief that anyone of either gender who is deeply dedicated to the cause that subjects them to pain is more likely to suffer such abuse in silence.

One proof of this “mind over matter”, and therefore over pain, is the placebo effect. Whatever you believe will relieve your pain WILL in fact. The placebo effect has been the subject of numerous studies and has been proven true.

In True Son of Tartarus, the suffering Malkis endures is bearable only because of his deep desire to prove himself, once and for all, a “True Son” of Ahn-eld. By sheer will-power, in the true Tartarian fashion, he is able to endure for his cause.

Unfortunately, our society has come down on the side of “all suffering is bad”. But suffering has the ability to change a human being, for good or ill. Understandably, you can end up hating your torturers and wishing them dead—or worse. Or you can bring yourself to forgive them and spare their lives. Again, this raises the issue of choice.

As a result of his ordeal, Malkis becomes a better person, a better ruler, a more understanding and compassionate person. Oh, he doesn’t change overnight. His evolution takes time and much meditation. You won’t see the full extent of this change until the end of Book 3 of the Tartarus Trilogy—but it’s worth waiting for!


Here are some of my thoughts on the subject of genre prejudice, specifically, why some individuals refuse to read SF:

1) Many readers associate science fiction exclusively with other media presentations of the genre, ie. Star Wars ( actually space opera ), Star Trek, Lost in Space, Red Dwarf, etc.

2) Some readers have read only one form of SF, a form they did not appreciate: militaristic SF, tech-oriented SF, sociological SF, or whatever.

3) Some readers have been exposed to bad SF, and, admittedly, there is a lot of it out there! Much of it is actually a mixture of fantasy and SF, or badly-outdated science.

4) Some have it in their heads that SF is only for kids, or nerds, or science geeks, or that SF is too sophisticated to be enjoyable.

While there may be a small kernel of truth in some of these prejudicial attitudes, all SF is not alike. I dare say the genre has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for adventure, action, romance, enlightenment, or mystery. Remember the old saying: Don’t judge a book by its cover. Let’s tweak that to: Don’t judge a book by its genre.

Funny that I’ve never heard a single soul say, “Oh, I don’t read mysteries—or romances—or fantasy,” etc. Hmmm! More food for thought!

All for now,