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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Author's Proofs

I've been rather busy going over the proofs of True Son of Tartarus with a fine-tooth comb. Not only do I have to check and double-check my work for nit-picky details of spelling, punctuation, grammar, continuity, etc., but I have to check the publisher's layout job as well. Believe it or not, there are often some big boo-boos there! An author can never be too careful.

I've caught mistakes that slipped by in a lot of books---even the Harry Potter books were plagued by publishing problems! The paperback version of Judgment on Tartarus, as published, had a few small errors that somehow managed to get by all the proofing, but the Kindle version---which I had nothing to do with---had a lot more. I own one other book on Kindle ( All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey ) and that one, unfortunately, is LOADED with errors! I consider myself fortunate.

Once I'm done proofing, I have to mail all the pages with changes back to my publisher to be corrected via a computer program. Then I'll get a copy of that for final proofing, and hopefully, can sign off on it. Next, the manuscript goes to the printer to be turned into a finished book. I know many of you are anxious to find out what happens next in the story. Well, I know what happens next, and I still can hardly stand the suspense!

True Son of Tartarus can't come out soon enough for me!


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Good and Bad News

The good news is that the Kindle version of Judgment on Tartarus is holding steady at the top 1/2 in sales rankings. The "bad" news is that the paperback version, which admittedly is almost twice the price, fluctuates between about 400,000 to 900,000 in sales rankings. I suppose that's not really surprising, especially given the current economic conditions. I really didn't have much input into pricing, other than refusing to cut corners in order to bring the price down a bit. I haven't checked lately to see if online booksellers other than Amazon have any "bargain prices". I'm sure that's possible.

Besides the obvious economic factors, two other things are probably impacting my sales: 1) Judgment is my first published novel and 2) my name has no "recognition factor" as yet. Whenever someone enjoys a good book, they are obviously inclined to seek out other books by the same author. I know I do. Neither of these limiting factors will be mitigated until True Son of Tartarus is published and becomes available at online booksellers.

But whatever happens with the sale of my books---or lack thereof!---I fully intend to pursue publication of the last installment of the trilogy: Ransom of Tartarus. So take heart! Should you by chance become invested in the continuing story, it will be resolved in Book 3. And because I deliberately wrote each book so that it was capable of standing alone, you can read any one of the trilogy without being left disappointed. ( I could name a book or two of a trilogy that left me quite frustrated, but in deference to those authors, I won't! )

All for now,


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Harry Potter 7.2

Just got back from seeing part 2 of the Harry Potter finale and thought I'd post a few thoughts about the movie. Generally speaking, I thought this movie remained fairly true to J. K. Rowling's final book, especially when it came to the climactic scenes. I fully understand why a change of venue was necessary for the Harry/ Voldemort denouement, which did not take place in the Great Hall as written. A movie must take great care not to become claustrophobic; most grand scenes require a grand setting, sometimes a symbolic setting.

One of the things that struck me is how much the three young stars have grown both as actors and as human beings. This definitely wasn't your typical kids' movie, any more than The Deathly Hallows was a typical kids' book. ( I loved it and I'm far from a kid! ) The movie and the actors take you to some very dark places.

Fantasy, as well as science fiction, often can take issues of good vs evil into a realm far beyond our everyday experience, can examine issues, such as the choices we make and the values we hold, under a microscope, as we seldom get to do in reality.

Parts of this movie touched me deeply. If you can't shed a tear for Severus Snape as well as for Harry Potter, then I guess you just don't get it, and this movie won't appeal to you. Regardless of the amazing special effects and the pulse-pounding thrill-rides, I believe the marks of a good movie are that it moves the viewer emotionally and resonates with truth.

In that respect, as well as for being very entertaining, H. P. 7.2 was a great success, a fitting conclusion to a successful movie series, which definitely isn't for kids alone. I highly recommend it; see it if you can!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Hot Spell

The heatwave that hit the East Coast wasn't fun. Temperatures shot up over 100 degrees, even in my backyard, which is shaded by a good many tall trees. Since it was too hot to work outdoors, I was forced to stay inside. And being a dyed-in-the-wool writer, what did I do? I wrote, naturally.

First, I worked on a short story I wrote several years ago and promptly lost. As usual, I had stumbled across the first draft while searching for something else---which, of course, I didn't find. Is there some kind of unwritten law about this?

Anyway, the short story is a vampire-themed urban fantasy, not horror. And no, it's nothing like Twilight! After writing a second draft of the short, I started working on another novel, this time a space opera, also begun several years ago. The title is Galaxy Rand, and this book is going to be a far cry from my Tartarus books. But I think Galaxy will end up being a fun read in itself.

The rough draft of Malkis of Tartarus, the first prequel to the Tartarus Trilogy, is finished, and as usual, I'm letting it "marinate" for a while. When I get back to it, I should be able to evaluate the novel with fresh eyes: add, delete, correct, etc. I may go through several drafts before I'm entirely satisfied.

So a spell of intense summer heat can lead to a spell of productive writing---as can winter snowstorms! But at least I don't have to go out and shovel heat.

All for now,


Monday, July 25, 2011

The Ark Theory

To explain more fully the "Ark Theory" proposed in Judgment on Tartarus: at some point in humanity's distant past, an advanced alien race, fearing that humanity would be wiped out by dangerous conditions on Earth, decided to transplant or "seed" humans across this galaxy onto other habitable, Earthlike planets. It has been a long-time SF theory that human beings didn't originate on Earth, but were seeded here by some alien race. I don't agree, since all scientific evidence proves that humans are native to this planet. But while I don't in the least believe we've ever been visited by "an advanced alien race", I decided to employ that concept in my trilogy.

 Why did I adapt that theory for the Tartarus books? Well, first of all I didn't want any "bug-eyed monsters" ( BEMs ) in my work. I wanted "aliens" people could easily relate to. Plus, it would be scientifically impossible for unrelated alien races to procreate with one another---other books, TV shows and movies to the contrary! If I wanted to remain within the realm of science fiction without crossing into fantasy, I had to come up with a feasible explanation.

So I decided to exploit that unproven concept to explain the close relationship between the denizens of such far-flung planets as Earth, Eris, Cytherea, and the long-forgotten homeworld of the Tartarians. Since the present-day descendants of those transplanted Terrans share DNA, they are perfectly able to interbreed.

The major obstacles to such relationships are, as always, bigotry, prejudice, and racial hatred. No matter how advanced our technology may become, some people never learn! Sad, but true. Take it from one who was made fun of as a child simply for wearing glasses!

Back to work now proofing True Son of Tartarus!


Friday, July 22, 2011

End of An Era

Welcome home, Atlantis! In the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, July 21, 2011, the space shuttle Atlantis landed safely on Earth for the last time. The event was joyous, but sad, for that landing marked not only the end of Atlantis' career in space, but also the end of America's manned spaceflight for some time to come.

That saddens me. I know that many Americans believe we shouldn't be spending vast amounts of money on space travel, citing the bad economy and the multitude of problems here at home. The truth is that we waste a heck of a lot of money, time, and effort on non-essential things. In my opinion space exploration is essential; eventually Earth is going to run out of natural resources and may become an unlivable hell-hole as we try to extract every last ounce of her resources. Unfortunately, most people hold the attitude that "as long as it doesn't impact me, I don't give a darn!"

Anyway, enough of that dismal thought. Next year Atlantis is destined to be put on display at the Kennedy Space Center. Discovery will be on view at the Smithsonian in DC, and Endeavour, at the Science Center in LA. Maybe, even in retirement, the space shuttles will serve to inspire another generation and reignite our passion for space exploration.

And, although there's no timetable as yet, I've heard rumors about plans to go back to the Moon, on to Mars, even to land astronauts on an asteroid ( a potential source of endless raw materials! ). It's still sad to see our 30-year shuttle program come to a screeching halt, but at least Atlantis ended on a safe and successful note. For now, other spacefaring nations will have to carry on the cause.

Good voyage to all!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Fun Con Was Had By All!

I've already blogged about Readercon 22's programmed events, so here's more about the extracurricular activities. Thursday p.m., after we checked into the hotel and unpacked our bags, we went out to eat at Legal Seafoods. Hadn't been there in four years because the last time we went we hadn't been happy with the place. But since our favorite restaurant, Dandelion Green, had closed, we didn't have a lot of choice. Fortunately, we were pleasantly surprised. Both the food and the service had improved markedly, enough so that I'd have no compunctions about going back.

We depended on Room Service for breakfasts since it's fast and easy. Con events usually get started by ten so there's not a lot of time to waste in the a.m.s. Friday afternoon we had lunch at Johnny Rocket's in the Mall---one of our favorite places. The atmosphere is retro with red leather booths and counter-seating. I love their root beer floats---they bring me right back to my childhood.

Back at the con, we brought a box of my books down to the bookshop and dropped it off at the Broad Universe table, then were promptly kicked out of there because the book shop wasn't open yet---that's a tragedy when you are as addicted to books as hubby and I are. ( Of course we were right back in there as soon as the place officially opened! )

That night we ate dinner at the hotel's Pub---excellent food and drink. We attended the Meet-the-Pros Party for a short time, but it's not really our thing, then back up to the room for a good night's sleep. Saturday was tons of fun with several good panels, lots of book-buying; hubby took a break to visit the local comic book store. He has a vast collection and is a bit of an expert on the subject of comics and graphic novels. In the afternoon we ate lunch at the Pub, then took a side trip to Barnes and Noble to buy yet more books! We topped off the night by attending the Bad Prose Contest, then had a late dinner at the Pub.

Sunday, the last day of the con, was more relaxed. After enjoying a latte and capuccino in the room, we packed up our stuff and checked out by eleven. We wandered around the hotel grounds, exploring, sat on the patio between the indoor and outdoor pools, just people-watching and relaxing. After a spot of lunch in the Pub, we took one last look around the book shop before it closed, then headed for home. Unfortunately, hubby was scheduled to work at the theatre, and it was Harry Potter weekend !

All in all, we had a lovely time and are already looking forward to Readercon 23.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shameless Self-promotion!

I'm not at all comfortable promoting my own book---always feels to me as if I'm bragging; however, in the present climate, when publishers large and small don't have the budget to promote the books they publish, what's an author to do? No one's going to buy a book they've never heard of, even at a decent price. And I have an even tougher time than many because Judgment on Tartarus is my first novel, and therefore my name isn't well known.

I rely heavily on my readers, not only for feedback and reviews, but also for word-of-mouth advertising, even lending their copies to others. ( I know, I know! I've learned the hard way that loaned books are seldom returned. Writing your name inside in great BIG letters helps---guilt can work wonders! )

I've donated some copies of Judgment to local libraries in hopes of attracting a few readers and getting my name out there. I'm even considering tucking my postcards into SF books in the library. Don't know if these tactics will succeed or not, but they're worth a try.

Today's authors who are just starting out are a new generation of explorerers; we explore new ways of doing things: e-books, facebook, Twitter, websites, etc. Untried waters for us; probably much more familiar to future generations. Sometimes self-promotion seems like an impossible task. Sometimes it's discouraging.

But I'm trying to stay positive. After all, I'm a published author, something I've wanted most of my life. And my readers ( so far ) love my stories, as do I. I know they're well written to the best of my ability. Book One has been copyrighted and placed in the Library of Congress. My family will own the rights for many years to come. Whether my books will even be relevant fifty years from now, who knows?

For now I'm happy with my lot. I love writing and I'm just glad people enjoy what I write.

There's a lot to be said for doing what you love!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Readercon 22

Besides the book dealers' room which I previously mentioned, Readercon 22 consisted of program items such as readings by authors, kaffeeklatches, panels, a meet-the-pros party, and the Bad Prose Contest. The latter is the highpoint of the con for me. The audience laughed  themselves sick as they tried to figure out which reading was the actual ending to an epic of really bad fiction instead of endings made up by the panel members.

I enjoyed another good laugh at a "panel" which used improv to help writers with characterization, dialog, etc. It was a fresh approach to the subject and very well done. I also attended a rapid-fire reading done by several members of Broad Universe, an organization of which I'm a member, dedicated to promoting genre fiction written by women.

Another such panel was dedicated to helping authors write fight scenes. The female presenter was an expert in theatrical combat and demonstrated several types of fighting techniques. If you've never tried writing a fight scene, let me tell you it isn't easy! Many such scenes end up so laughable that they become fodder for the bad prose contest.

In yet another panel, we discussed the tendency in fantasy to feature romances between human females and "otherworldly" men: vampires, werewolves, beasts, elves, etc. Topics covered ranged from Twilight to Beauty and the Beast.

This is just a tiny sample of what went on at Readercon, and that was only the programmed features!

Maybe more later on.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Home Again

Readercon 22 was a very low-key, enjoyable con. We met readers and writers from Canada to California. Lots of new faces; obviously the younger generation still reads. And there were quite a few little ones in tow who will hopefully grow up to be avid readers. The future looks promising in that regard.

The book dealers room was wall-to-wall books, as was most of the space in between. We bought a good many books, ranging from Charlaine Harris to new, unknown authors. We met some of my fellow authors, spent time talking with several of the book dealers. The down side was that, unfortunately, we never managed to sell one of my own books. Competition was fierce; many people were advertising that their e-books were for sale at 99 cents! Now maybe those books are good, maybe not. I can't say without reading them. But I thought Judgment on Tartarus was a steal for $20!

I did manage to get quite a few of my business cards out there; they really did come out nice. But the postcards didn't go over as well as I'd hoped. Hubby's T-shirt, however, which was imprinted with the cover art for Judgment was a real hit. People going by kept staring at it, stopping to ask him what it represented, etc. Have to get ME one!

He also picked up a nice volume of Ann Rice's Vampire Chronicles during a side trip to Barnes and Noble. I bought the second book in Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series: City of Ashes. I'll post a more in depth report on Readercon after I've had some time to think and mull it over.

Til then,


Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Power of Books

As I've been reading "Clockwork Angel" by Cassandra Clare, one passage struck me quite forcibly, and I quote: "One must always be careful of books...and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us." Amen! I would add to that: be careful which books you read. Some books can lift you to the heights, empower you; others can drag you down to the depths. To quote an old computer programmer's adage: "Garbage in, garbage out!"

I'm afraid that too many people these days spend way too much of their precious time reading sheer drivel. By that I mean books that have no intrinsic value, no true meaning: books that do not instruct truthfully, do not lift the spirit, that aren't memorable, that do not spark the reader's imagination and inspire them. These books offer nothing of value save some brief entertainment, if that.

But this is a free country; no one is forcing you to read, and your idea of what makes a good book may be totally different from my idea. That's why so many books are published, and in such a wide variety of genres. You can afford to be selective in your reading.

There are few books that I've abandoned in mid-read and those usually because I realized that my time was much more valuable than anything I was getting out of that particular book, that I didn't wish to be "changed" in any way by what I had read thus far---or what was likely to come!

And so I moved on. All for now,


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What's In A Name?

Mispronunciations of my name tend to drive me absolutely nuts. Yeah, I realize that Tighe isn't a common name and few people recognize that it's Irish ( and therefore the gh is silent, as in "sigh".) But we get some of the most bizarre pronunciations you can imagine! "Tig-hee", "Teeje", "Tig", even "Thigh". How the heck do they get that out of Tighe??

Well, by now I'm used to all the usual mispronunciations and try hard not to laugh out loud at the new ones people come up with. But I do politely correct people, figuring that I'm doing future generations of Tighes a favor. When one of my daughters got married, she hyphenated her name; the other kept her maiden name. My son, of course is a Tighe, as are his wife and kids.

I'm sure if you have a name that's at all unusual or hard to pronounce you've had similar experiences. There are bound to be days when you're severely tempted to change your name to Smith or Day or something simple to pronounce---and that would be such a shame! We have friends from around the world, and many of their names are difficult for US to pronounce. But they are our friends and we love them as they are, names and all! In truth, variety is the spice of life.

Can you begin to imagine what fun we would be in for someday in the future if aliens from another planet showed up on our doorstep with some REALLY weird names? I'm laughing already just thinking about it!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Back to Business

Although I'm really looking forward to Readercon 22, this year it's more of a business trip, I guess you'd say. I go armed with business cards and postcards imprinted with an image of the cover of Judgment on Tartarus on one side and the back cover blurb on the reverse. I'm hoping to sell a few copies of my book at the Broad Universe table. The book dealers' room is one of the highlights of the con.

Even more than selling books, I look forward to promoting my books, maybe meeting a fan or two---and making a few more. Hey, the best book in the world won't sell unless people hear about it. So in addition to being a writer I now have to be a marketer and PR person!

The folks who attend this convention are authors, editors, publishers, booksellers, and collectors. We have the love of books in common, and in particular we love genre books such as science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the increasing number of cross-genre books now coming out. If you can't get to a con near you, the next best place is a bookstore.

Keep on reading,


Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Reading

Right now I'm in the process of reading another book by Cassandra Clare titled "Clockwork Angel", which is a prequel to her Mortal Instruments series. The story takes place in Victorian England and follows the adventures of a group called the Shadowhunters who are half human and half angel. They defend ordinary humans from the predations of the demon-world. So far I am enjoying it. It's suitable for young adults, as are the Mortal Instruments books.

 And if you haven't yet started reading Judgment on Tartarus, may I ask what you are waiting for? I don't hand out engraved invitations, though perhaps I should! But if you're out of school or on vacation, why not give it a try? Judgment is a fun read, not difficult to understand, and definitely not boring.

For those who've already read Book 1 of The Tartarus Trilogy and are anxious for more, take heart. Book 2: True Son of Tartarus is in the layout and design phase. After I review and okay it, a publication date will be set. And as for Ransom of Tartarus, Book 3, it is in the hands of my first reader for critique. As soon as True Son is released to distributors, I intend to start the process to publish Ransom as well.

Why the rush? Well, I got off to a late start with this publishing business, partly due to family priorities and the need to earn a living. I'm trying to make up for lost time and yet not skimp on the quality of my writing.

Besides, I have many more stories to tell, stories I would hate to leave untold!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Shadows of Things to Come

While I'm waiting ( not terribly patiently ) for others to do their work preparing True Son for publication or critiquing Book 3: Ransom of Tartarus, I've already started jotting down notes for the second prequel to my Trilogy: namely, Hero of The Gorgonian Wars. I've actually written a "really rough" draft of a couple key scenes.

Although I don't always work in chronological order when I'm writing, I have a template in my head of where each scene fits and what must go before and after it. I find it a lot easier to do this with Books 4 and 5 than it was with Book 1 because most of my characters are already fully developed. I know very well what each of the familiar characters would say and how they'd act or react. New characters, not so much!

Seems as though I'm constantly creating stories or scenes from stories in my head, whether I'm thinking about them or not. Whenever a good idea pops into my head, I try to write it down as soon as possible. Then I let those ideas "marinate" for a time, sometimes for years! Of course, some ideas never pan out or for some reason hit a dead end. I suspect they fail to "connect" with something deep inside me. If they choose not to cooperate with me, I leave them be, see if something develops from them later. Hey, not all my ideas are great ones!

And I never know what's going to spark the next usable idea for a story---could be a piece of music, a song, a poem, a memory, artwork, etc. So I'll keep on scribbling down ideas for future stories, never knowing where they may take me.

All for now,


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Malkis of Tartarus

Here's just a wee taste of the back history of Malkis of Tartarus:

He was born a Jaru-alt, a Noble of the Clan Ha'radis, which was named after the ancient Lawgiver Ha'radis the Wise. Malkis' Uncle, Radis, was Eld-arat-kahn, the supreme Ruler of all Ahn-eld ( Tartarus. ) But Radis' Son, Shadris---Malkis' Cousin and former friend---had become his mortal enemy.

In his youth Malkis left the planet in defiance of his Father, Kadris, for which his Father has never forgiven him; their relationship has never been a close or cordial one. Malkis took after his Mother, Ahnkhara, with whom he was Bonded since his birth. He longed for the freedom to pursue his own destiny and travel among the stars.

After he left Tartarus, Malkis ended up on Terra and was admitted to the IS Academy in Houston, Texas, USA. There he met Richard Hughes, and the two began an intense rivalry that was destined to last a good many years. But fate continued to throw the two young men together, until at last they achieved an unwelcome Bond and eventually, an enduring friendship which would see them through many future dangers.

Those who have already read Judgment on Tartarus know what happened to them both many years later. That story will continue in Book 2: True Son of Tartarus and will conclude in Book 3: Ransom of Tartarus. Many questions will be answered; many plot threads, tied up, some in very surprising ways. Some characters will die---and some will be changed forever. Worth waiting for? I sure hope so!


Friday, July 8, 2011


Today marks not only the 100th blog I've posted---a personal milestone---but the end of an era: the last journey into space for the shuttle Atlantis. The launch this morning went off without a hitch, picture perfect. It was a sad occasion, for Atlantis is the final shuttle to go into space and will be retired to a museum upon her return to Earth.

Atlantis' 12-day mission is basically to dock with the International Space Station and restock it with enough supplies to last through 2012. Thereafter, we'll have to rely on Russian shuttles to resupply the ISS, and those vehicles cannot carry as much cargo.

While the launch of Atlantis is somewhat sad for space enthusiasts like myself, most of us are eagerly looking forward to the future adventures of "Orion", the vehicle designed to bring us back to the Moon as well as on to Mars. And I for one am particularly excited about the plasma rocket scheduled to be tested at the ISS in 2014 ( if the date hasn't been pushed back yet again! ) If that newest form of propulsion works, it could be capable of powering a vehicle to Mars in a mere 5 months! Quite an achievement.

Admittedly, I am not a scientist, but I am an avid, long-time supporter of the space program. I look forward to future space travel and exploration. Until reality catches up with science fiction, we can continue to dream and read about possible futures in space---and even some not-quite-possible adventures!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tools of the Trade

Want to try writing a novel of your own, perhaps even an SF novel? Here are some of the tools you're going to need:

One Laptop ( EZ to edit! )

Looseleaf binders and lined paper to fit. ( So draft pages can easily be rewritten and replaced. I like to write my drafts the old-fashioned way---gives me time to think. )

Pens---lots of them. I prefer Flair pens because they come in different colors ( good for editing ) and are easy on the hand. ( I've had carpal tunnel syndrome twice already. Repeat performances---NO THANK YOU! )

USB Flashdrives for backup files and possibly submitting a ms to publishers.

One Atlas of the Solar System and lots and lots of other reference material.

One unabridged Webster's Dictionary---it's huge and heavy!

A thesaurus, either paper or digital.

Stamps and padded envelopes for mailings to publishers.

One printer and copy paper for making hard copies of your work.

One large bottle of painkillers for all the headaches you're bound to get doing this!

But seriously, don't let me discourage you from giving it a go. In spite of everything I've had to struggle through for the past forty-plus years in order to become a published author, for the most part I've truly enjoyed the process. The final destination is well worth all the effort you put in.

Keep on reading and/or writing!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

True Lies

Recently another author remarked that she told lies for money. Humorous, but that's writing in a nutshell. Human beings have been telling each other "lies" for millions upon millions of years. Story-telling was probably one of the very first arts. I think it's in our genes to make up stories.

But buried among those "lies" must lie a kernel of truth or the stories have no real meaning. Many a yarn-spinner has told a tall tale with no deeper meaning, simply to entertain. And we're still doing it. But like many others, I prefer stories that tell the truth using lies. In that manner people may find the truth more palatable, even more acceptable.

In my planned Tartarus Trilogy all three books tell that kind of story while entertaining the reader. The truths that might be derived range from accepting beings as they are to tempering justice with both mercy and forgiveness. Did I set out specifically to write "morality tales"? Not in the least. I just write what comes from my heart, and find that I write ( mostly ) what I believe deep down. And sometimes what I come up with surprises even me!

In order to tell a made up story that rings true you have to believe in what you are writing. People will sense when you are trying to pass off a load of---to be polite, shall we say "bilge"?  But sometimes in order to write for a particular, perhaps unsavory, character you must espouse a cause that you yourself do not believe in.  But your character does! This is the only way I could write Shadris, Shakandra, Johann Weiner, or Chief Elder Kadris. They tell the truth as they see it, not as I do, even though they are dead-wrong.

I hope to continue telling more of these "true lies" long into the future.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Moral Fiction?

After a wee bit of reflection, I went into and added another tag to Judgment on Tartarus' listing: "moral fiction". Now I'm not sure if there actually is such a category, but if there isn't, there should be. I read a lot of books these days that I'd never categorize as moral fiction---entertaining maybe, but certainly not "moral"!

And Judgment on Tartarus doesn't exactly fit into the category of Christian fiction. Most people looking for a book in that category probably wouldn't be satisfied with Judgment. It's not specifically "Christian" enough for those readers. I'm sure most would find the language too colorful, the message too low-key, etc.

But I believe Judgment is most certainly moral fiction.  Several of its characters adhere to strict moral tenets which would be approved by most major religions: ie, honesty, chastity, love, self-sacrifice, etc. And one of the major themes is the need to overcome prejudice---to refrain from judging others on the basis of how they look or how they act. Take people as they are and look for the good in them without being blinded by prejudice. Accept differences as positive. That is something science fiction fans are really good at!

And even the names I've used for the various planets have some moral meaning: Tartarus refers to the lower depth of Hell according to Greek mythology, Cytherea is representative of Paradise ( at least on the outside ) but to others is an example of hedonism allowed to run amuck! Eris is named for the god of discord because that planet is embroiled in near-perpetual racial wars.

While Judgment is far from allegory, not specifically religious in theme, and certainly not preachy, I do believe it could be categorized as moral fiction. You won't know unless you read it.

Agree or disagree? Let me know.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Respect or Spoofs?

I'm truly humbled by the number of people who are reading or have read my first novel, Judgment on Tartarus. And I keep waiting for someone to tell me how much they hated it or that it just didn't appeal to them. Whether those people are just being incredibly polite or what, so far I haven't heard that from anyone. This is a good thing and makes me very happy.

I don't write for fame or fortune,, ( God forbid! ) but just for the sheer joy of writing and sharing what I consider to be darn good stories with others who might appreciate them. And I'm grateful that it seems I'm doing so.Of course, I've had a few inevitable suggestions about how to improve the book as well as quips from family members, who plan on spoofing my work, ie: "Judgment of Tartar Sauce" ( ostensibly about a fish shack operated by one Corona Wit'lime! Groan!! )

I get no respect, I tell you---no respect! Born comedians, all three of my kids. But that's my fam for you; they always keep me laughing. Gotta love 'em.

Can't wait to see what kind of spoof they come up with for True Son of Tartar Sauce, uh---Tartarus. Saves me from ever taking myself too seriously!

Keep on laughing!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Back Cover Blurb

Here's the back cover copy for True Son of Tartarus as it now stands:

When Malkis of Tartarus insists upon attending the Interplanet Compact Conference being held on the planet Cytherea, Rona Scott experiences a terrifying premonition that he is in imminent danger. Soon, she receives word that his ship has been attacked and destroyed by their dreaded mortal enemies, the Gorgonians. Malkis is presumed dead.

But Rona stubbornly refuses to believe that he is dead. She enlists the aid of her friend and former CO, Richard Hughes, captain of Astrella II. Risking charges of insubordination, they search for Malkis beyond the boundaries of the known-Galaxy---acting without orders! Both Rona and Hughes are well aware of the reputation of the merciless alien beings known as "Gorgonians"---they leave no witnesses and they never take prisoners!

What do you think? Does this make you want to read the next book? Or even the first book? My personal opinion, echoed by my hubby, is that True Son is even better than Judgment on Tartarus. Well, I'll leave that for others to decide. I'm sure there'll be a difference of opinion between readers. Without doubt, some will prefer one book over the other. Just as long as you enjoy them, I'm happy!

Thanks for reading. I'll keep you updated as we progress toward publication of True Son.


Friday, July 1, 2011

True Son's Cover: Second Attempt

I downloaded the latest cover design, back and front, for True Son of Tartarus. Whew! I'm so much happier with this concept! The front cover will be similar enough to Judgment's to make it apparent that they are a set. Book 3's cover is going to be a real challenge to match and yet have it stand out! But you know what they say about crossing bridges. ( And I have such a fear of heights that I always do so with my eyes shut tight! )

We've decided to go with the nebula background, taken by the Hubble telescope and available from NASA, because of its beautiful colors---blue, purple, rust--- as well as the play of light against dark. As I told my account manager at the publisher's, that contrast reminds me visually of the battle of good vs evil, which at its most basic is what True Son is all about.

At the very bottom of the front cover will be a single line in small print stating that this is Book 2 of The Tartarus Trilogy. Hopefully, that will not put off anyone who hasn't yet read Judgment on Tartarus, since both books ( as well as the third ) are capable of standing on their own. From unfortunate experience I've learned that with most series you should not attempt to start reading at Book 12!

Hopefully, the cover of True Son will turn out just as beautiful as the cover of Judgment.

All for now---and Happy Fourth of July, all!