A Novel Announcement and the Story Behind the Story

Recently I realized I’ve never made the official novel announcement here. News I shared several weeks ago on Facebook and Twitter, but not here. (For those of you who’ve seen Facebook or Twitter you’ll like the story behind the story.) My novel, My Soul to Keep, went live as an ebook on August 21st. It is now also available as a paperback book on Amazon. Other retailers can order it from Ingram. What’s the Story? This dystopian tale takes place in 1961, but America is not the nation you know. It’s an insular land of righteousness, repression, and fear. Drawn into a maelstrom of political intrigue, familial deception, and social upheaval two women, one peaceful and the other violent, seek truth and justice. To find the truth they will have to make sacrifices. Triumph will free them and the nation. Failure will mean a face-off with the angel-assassin, Azrael. How A Nice Girl Wrote A Dystopian Novel You might wonder how “a nice girl like” me came to write a dystopian novel. I moved seventeen times before I graduated from high school. No, neither parent was in any armed service. Seventeen different homes, seventeen different schools. Can you imagine a […]

Spycraft: Essentials–a Review

Spies, and spooks, and agents, oh, my! Spycraft: Essentials by Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes has the title right. This book is for anyone who writes about spies, loves the history of American intelligence agencies and spycraft, or anyone who enjoys a good and educational read.   Clear definitions give the reader the background she needs to understand American politics as it relates to the spy business. Explanations of the distinctions between American agencies clarify a lot. And there are fascinating examples of events and people in the business.   The sections addressed to writers and how one can use the information included in the book are idea-sparking. Who knew that being color-blind would keep a spook from being good at planting bugs?   What makes the book a sheer delight for me is the humor hits. Piper and Jay have rapier wits and use their humor in unexpected places. “Let’s say someone at the CIA identifies Schmucky Putavich in Bananastan as a person of interest.” There were many times while reading that a chortle escaped me.   This is a book you can sit down and read front to back, or choose a specific topic and only read those sections. Whatever […]

Going to Mars Word-by-Word: the Landis Way

The next stop in our Going to Mars Word-by-Word tour is Mars Crossing by Geoffrey Landis. Published by Tor Books in 2000, this is the first novel by an experienced and award-winning short story author. It won a nomination for a Nebula and won the Locus Award for best first novel in 2001.  Hop aboard for a gritty, near-future science fiction tale of the exploration of Mars the Landis way.   WHAT IT’S ABOUT By 2028, two missions have been sent to Mars. Both the Brazilian and the American expeditions met with catastrophe and death on the Red Planet. A NASA-private venture hopes the third mission to Mars will be the first to return. Their plan relies on a return vessel sent to Mars years earlier, capable of manufacturing fuel for the return trip from the Martian atmosphere. The mixed-gender, multi-national crew of six lands on Mars successfully but their celebrations are short-lived. A catastrophic failure kills one of the crew and causes irreparable damage to the return ship. And there is no hope of a rescue mission coming from Earth. As a last-ditch effort to survive, they set out to cross 4,000 miles of Mars to the north pole […]