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Saturday, January 29, 2011

For People Who Don't Read SF

Do you have to be a fan of science fiction in order to enjoy reading Judgment on Tartarus? No, I don't think so. I've read a lot of different types of SF and enjoyed most of them, if well-written. But I definitely prefer "soft" SF where story and characters drive the action, rather than the hardware and scientific theories. As I've said before in my blogs, SF isn't all rockets, robots, and ray-guns. And my particular brand of it has a little of the flavor of fantasy---and even a dash of sword and sorcery.

In my reading, as well as in my writing, I prefer an intellectual challenge, engaging characters, and an engrossing storyline involving an emotional journey. My stories ( for the most part ) just happen to be set in the future, either on Earth, in space, or on a planet we haven't yet discovered. So if you're looking for an SF story where the stalwart hero---or heroine--- handily overcomes all odds and doesn't change one iota from the first page to the last, don't read Judgment on Tartarus.  And if you're looking for a story where technology and theoretical science are described in great detail, reading Judgment won't satisfy you. Everyone else, I think, will get some enjoyment from it.

So far all the feedback I've received has been positive, even from people who don't generally read SF. For that I'm truly grateful. Basically, I write to please myself, never knowing if anyone else will appreciate my work. I just hope for the best. I'm a bit surprised, as well as pleased, that so many people are enjoying my work so much! ( Later on I will discuss a couple concerns my readers have had, I promise.)

All for now,


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Writing Is Fun for Control Freaks

As I've noted here before, when you're first learning to write, you're going to write a ton of sheer and utter drivel! We all do; in fact, some of it will be downright laughable. Don't take yourself so seriously. Laugh it off and move on. Persist and one day you might discover a small gem sparkling amidst all that crap: something you can latch onto, examine and polish---something to be carefully faceted and mounted in an exquisite setting.

Above all else, don't get discouraged! Take it from someone who let herself do so and now regrets the time wasted.

Okay, enough of the soul-searching already. Let's be brutally honest: writing can be downright fun! And if you're a control-freak like me, writing is also very satisfying; I get to do it all! I'm the director, the script writer, the casting director, set designer, etc., etc.! Who the heck wouldn't want that much power???

Thanks for reading,


Monday, January 24, 2011

Learning to Write

Exactly how do you become a writer?  Well, if you have a passionate desire to be a writer, first of all I'd advise you to read---read everything you can get your hands on. Learn about words, what they mean and how they can be used for different effects; study grammar and punctuation---all these are the tools of the trade. Then learn what works in your writing and abandon what doesn't. Don't think everything you write is a gem. We all write an awful lot of sheer drivel.

Pay attention to people. Try putting yourself in the shoes of everyone you meet. Develop empathy. Observe how people act and speak. Try to make the characters you invent "real"; they must live and speak and feel until they almost become flesh-and-blood. What happens to them must matter to you, and through you, to your readers. With these characters, you experience their suffering, their sorrow and their joy, and work through their dilemmas. That's what writers mean when they say, "My characters wrote this book!"

This is true. I wrote Judgment on Tartarus; my characters then wrote True Son of Tartarus and Ransom of Tartarus. I just helped them along the way.

That's all for today,


Friday, January 21, 2011

A Question of Judgment?

Do any of you have questions about the theme/title of Judgment on Tartarus? That's been my book's title right from the rough draft. First, judgment refers to the Laws of Ahn-eld ( Tartarus ), specifically to the death-sentence which can be imposed for violating them. Judgment also refers to pre-judging others---thus the word "prejudice"---a main theme in this novel. As Captain Hughes says, "Bigotry is an age-old Terran fault we haven't outrun by going into space." Astrella holds plenty of evidence as to that fact.

But in Book 1, judgment also refers to the errors in judgment many people in the story make; specifically, Rona Scott, Captain Hughes, and even Malkis of Tartarus make some whopping errors in judgment---and they are the good guys! As they discover, recognizing and owning up to such errors ain't easy---and redressing the consequences is even harder!

That's it for now,


Thursday, January 20, 2011


After hours spent searching the web for sites that carry my book, Judgment on Tartarus, my mind was most definitely boggled! The number of those booksellers is growing rapidly, and their discount prices are all over the map. So, if you're on a budget ( who isn't these days? ) and want to buy a copy of Judgment---or know someone who does---keep looking until you find a price you/they can afford.

It's my humble opinion that even some people who don't generally read science fiction would find they enjoy Judgment. In this day and age there are so many types of the genre available ( sub-genres ) that everyone should be able to find some SF that suits their taste. In other words, it isn't all robots and ray-guns.

Of course, I'd be an idiot ( no remarks please! ) if I thought everyone would appreciate my work. ( I have at least one rating of 2 1/2 stars which goes to prove my point. ) And that's fine; I probably wouldn't like what that particular reader looks for in a book. "To each his own".But I do try other books to see whether or not I like them, and I try not to pre-judge a book. Which leads into my next blog.

Until next time, then,


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Patience Is A Virtue

Okay, I realize that some people are going to be frustrated because every one of their questions isn't answered in Judgment on Tartarus. And I understand their frustration. But unfortunately, that's inevitable because Judgment is Book One of a trilogy! You won't get all the answers in full until Book Three: Ransom of Tartarus.

All I can advise for now is enjoy Judgment and have patience. By the end of the story all will be revealed. I'm hoping that in the meantime readers will have fun trying to solve the mysteries and guessing what happens next.; also hoping there'll be considerable anticipation for Book Two; True Son of Tartarus. ( I've already written them so I know what happens! )

And if that's not enough to whet your appetite, I've started a rough draft of the prequel, Malkis of Tartarus. So far it's coming along nicely. If you do become invested in my stories, know that you've signed aboard for a long voyage, and for that---and your patience---I sincerely thank you.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Peek Into the Future

Soon, I hope to begin the crazy publication process all over again. Book 2 of my trilogy is almost ready to be submitted for publication. True Son of Tartarus, which takes up  the story about nine months, Terran Reckoning, after Judgment on Tartarus, will answer some of the questions raised in Book 1: Who---or what---are the race known as " Gorgonians "? Why do they so badly want to conquer the planet Tartarus? Will Malkis ever succeed in redeeming himself in his people's eyes---especially in the eyes of his father, Kadris?

Here's one small hint: At long last Malkis of Tartarus finds himself trapped in a situation where, once and for all, he can prove beyond all doubt that he is indeed a True Son of Tartarus---even though he may not survive it!

Hope you are intrigued!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Surprise, surprise, surprise!

Every time I look up Judgment on Tartarus on I get another pleasant (so far!) surprise! Now they've finally activated the "Look Inside" feature, so you can actually see things like the back cover, table of contents, preface, and a random selection from the text. Almost like being in a brick-and-mortar bookstore!
And I have my first review. I'm still soliciting reviews from anyone who's finished reading. ( Obviously, I understand that if you haven't actually finished you can't yet give an honest review. ) But if/ when you finish, don't be shy; I'm shy enough for the both of us and then some.

Another pleasant surprise: Judgment made Broad Universe's list of recent releases. For those of you who missed my previous blogs, Broad Universe is an organization dedicated to promoting women writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror---long thought to be fields of male writers. Look  up their website

All for now,


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Now I Have to Sell This Thing?

The next and ongoing step of this whole process, obviously, is selling Judgment on Tartarus to the general public. This is definitely not my strong suit! But getting the word out is now number one; I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd mention my book to people you know, on facebook, on your blogs, on Twitter, in line at the grocery store ( what the heck! ) You never know when you might make a sale.

And if you've finished reading my book and like it at all, I'd appreciate a review posted on Please know that I wouldn't ask any of this of you if I didn't believe my book is a darn good one. I wouldn't embarrass you that way! I love to read, and I love to write good stories, and I want you to enjoy them, too.

Thanks again,


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tartarus is Hell!

For the benefit of anyone who isn't a big fan of Greek myths, as I obviously am, I should probably explain some of the references in Judgment on Tartarus.Not really necessary to understand the story, but I think it makes it a bit more fun. "Tartarus" is the name of the lower depth of Hell in ancient Greek mythology, Erebus being the first Hell.

Mythologically speaking, the gates of Tartarus were guarded by the three-headed dog Cerberus ( sorry, that's not Fluffy from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter book! ) So naturally, in my book the Twin Moons of Tartarus are called Erebus and Cerberus.

The beautiful, idyllic planet I call Cytherea was named after the goddesss of beauty and laughter, Aphrodite ( also known as Cytherea.) And my warlike and strife-prone planet Eris ( not the planetoid in our own solar system ) is named for the god of strife. Of course the Hades/Persephone myth---oh, wait! If I tell you too much, I'll  totally give away the main plot of Judgment on Tartarus, won't I?

Sorry, but I really want you to read it for yourself! Have fun!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Weaving the Tale

How did I come up with the plot for Judgment on Tartarus? Well, as I remember it, I wanted to write a tale about interstellar travel and relationships, so I threw together a motley group of Terrans and aliens who were basically "human" but different. Terran-humans being what they are, once enclosed in the confines of a spaceship on a long voyage, tensions would be bound to arise. We have an unfortunate tendency to prejudge others who aren't "like" us.

And the second plot-thread of Judgment on Tartarus revolved around the ancient Greek myth of Hades, god of the underworld, and Persephone. The two themes clicked wonderfully well ( I think! ) So I set about creating in depth the various characters who would act out this plot; they sprang into being like Aphrodite ( also known as Cytherea.)

I worked on the book off and on for over forty years, but the basic plot stayed pretty much the same. In fact, a fair amount of the rough draft actually survived largely unchanged. But as I reworked the story, I discovered hidden treasures, added details, made dialog more natural, and uncovered quirks of my characters' personalities. I began to understand on a much deeper level why they acted as they did,  the changes they were going through,, and  the destinies they were meant for. And all along I really had fun doing it!

If you haven't had a chance to read Judgment yet, I hope you do!

That's it for now,


Monday, January 3, 2011

Listings for Judgment on Tartarus

Hey, all! Great news---Judgment is now listed on,, here in the US, and! So if any of you who live in countries other than the US have any trouble ordering it, give the UK a try.

If anyone has finished reading Judgment and would like to post a review online at, I'd be very grateful---thanks! I was happy to see that they have the back cover text ( which I gave you a sneak peek at in one of my earlier blogs ) included on my Amazon page. And you can also get a blow-up of the cover.

I've still had no luck finding my book on Borders' website. They were supposed to be carrying it. I'll keep trying, but at least I know it's available elsewhere. Also, someone we know is buying the book for their teeenage son. I think Judgment is suitable for teens and young adults---outside of some rough language ( common in all branches of the military---have you ever watched Carrier on PBS? Eeek!) there's nothing I would rate as objectionable. My two daughters to the contrary, I do not write soft porn! Judgment is a space adventure with a love story and a dash of mystery thrown in.

Getting close now to the final edit of Book Two in the series: True Son of Tartarus.

All for now,

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Reading in 2010

To welcome the new year I thought I'd mention some of the best books I read in the previous year:

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Myer ( last of the Twilight Saga,  fantasy/horror  )

All of the "Sookie Stackhouse" books by Charlaine Harris ( fantasy/horror )
Dead Over Heels also by Charlaine Harris (  mystery )

The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine (  fantasy/horror )

All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey ( science fiction )

The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff ( fantasy )

and I've just started reading the 40th anniversary edition of The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle ( fantasy ).
In 2011, time allowing, I intend to reread all of the "Harry Potter" books by J.K. Rowling, The Lord of the Rings by J.R. R. Tolkien, and at least some of the previous Twilight Saga books. Of course, not everyone will find all of these books their cup of tea, but I encourage people to try new things---that's how you discover hidden gems!

Wishing you all a happy new year!