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Monday, December 16, 2013

Step Into Rona's Boots

Try putting yourself into my heroine's boots. All her life, Rona Scott has dreamed of having a career in the Interstellar Space Service. She's worked hard, studied hard, and endured five long years of a dead-boring job at Earth Base One.

At last the Brass assign her to a deep-space job: DataComm tech aboard the retired space cruiser Astrella II. Now, twelve years after the end of the Gorgonian Wars, Astrella has been reduced to conducting diplomatic and scientific missions throughout the known-Galaxy.

Imagine boarding your first ship with Rona, only to discover it's a hot-bed of gossip, bigotry, and outright hatred. Discouraging, to say the least! But the situation rapidly goes downhill. The CO, Richard Hughes ( the legendary "Hero of the Gorgonian Wars") has a volatile temper and no sympathy for green ensigns.

Even worse, his ExO, Malkis of Tartarus, is an alien who has an obvious grudge against Terrans, females in particular. He's out to make Rona's life a living Hell! Your heart would probably sink to boot-level, as Rona's does. Her long-dreamed-of career in space seems doomed. Her dream is becoming a nightmare.

Rona struggles to remain open-minded, to maintain her high ideals, to be tolerant, and to tell the unvarnished truth, no matter the cost. She does her best to bite her tongue and concentrate on doing her duty. Just when the situation seems to be at its absolute worst---she has lied to her CO; a crewman has been found murdered; they've been attacked by an old enemy--Astrella is diverted to the mysterious planet Tartarus for unknown reasons.

There, Rona is shocked to discover that all she encountered aboard Astrella was mere child's play compared to what she's now up against.

Intrigued? Discover Rona's ultimate destiny in Judgment on Tartarus, Book One of the Tartarus Trilogy. Each novel is capable of standing on its own. You can read one or all three if you like. ( available on in paperback or Kindle as well as other online booksellers.)

Thanks for reading! Keep writing; keep reading,


Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Snippet from True Son...

Here's a bit taken from The Rahn-tzl Master, Chapter Two of True Son of Tartarus:

   An unfamiliar Shalt-ahnk male filled the chamber's archway. Likewise clad in the supple, black Rahn-tzl costume, he was a tall man--taller even than he himself, Malkis noted--unusually broad-shouldered for one of his people, somewhat heavier of build as well. Stern and hawk-faced, this man looked every inch the warrior.
   Malkis immediately challenged the imposing stranger. "Where is Master Tr'gahn?"
   Steel-blue eyes fixed upon Malkis' pale-gray ones, the Shalt-ahnk began to approach with catlike grace. "Master Tr'gahn is indisposed. I will take his place for this lesson, Most Venerable One." The man inclined his blond head respectfully as he spoke.
   "Your name?"
   "D'nart, Most Venerable One."
   "Strange--I have never heard that name mentioned."
   Again, D'nart gave a slight bow to his Sovereign. "Most Venerable One, you returned to Thar-kalt only a matter of months ago--after an absence of many cycles. There are many Rahn-tzl Masters in the City."
   He gestured toward the pair of weapons, which lay exposed upon the stone bench. "Choose your weapon, Most Venerable One."    @copyright M. R. Tighe, 2012

That's it. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed!

Keep reading; keep writing!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Another Peek into Judgment

Here's a snippet taken from Chapter Four: Paradise Lost:

   A day later, as Rona Scott was sitting by herself, enjoying a cup of coffee, Johann Weiner strolled into the Commissary and paused to search the crowd. Spotting Rona alone on the far side of the room, the blond medic ambled over to her table, hands in his pockets.

   "Rona Scott, isn't it?" he asked casually.

   "Dr. Weiner. Have a seat," she invited half-heartedly.

   He sank into the chair opposite her. "Haven't seen you since your physical--and that was weeks ago. Don't you ever go up to the Lounge to relax?" His light-blue eyes were intent on her face.

   Rona allowed a little warning frown to faintly crease her brow. "They've been keeping me pretty damn busy, Doctor, what with standing Bridge-duty twice a day, trying to keep up with my work in DataLab, and attempting--somewhat unsuccessfully--to grab a few hours of sleep between shifts," she told him snappishly. She figured it was none of his damn business why she chose not to frequent the Ship's Lounge.

   Weiner nodded his understanding. "That's normal on coming aboard a ship like this. Takes time to adjust to the damn schedule, not to mention the artificial gravity, artificial light, food--artificial just about everything!" he said in a disparaging tone. "Been aboard Astrella less than a year myself--transferred from Asgard. Take my word for it, Rona, you eventually do adjust."

   "Afraid this is as 'adjusted' as I get," Rona grumbled, fingering her coffee cup.

  "How're those nerves of yours?"

   "What nerves? Hell, I don't think I have any left, Doctor! Between Hughes and Malkis, every flaring nerve in my body has been blasted into interstellar dust!"

   Weiner chuckled and leaned back in his chair, fingers laced behind his blond head. "Damn pity you didn't get R&R then, Rona. Sounds to me as if you could've used some."

@copyright 2011 M. R. Tighe

That's all for now. You can read more by going to, looking up Judgment on Tartarus, and searching the Look Inside feature. Have fun!

Keep reading and keep on writing!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Little Teaser...

Here's just a snippet from Judgment on Tartarus, Book One of my Tartarus Trilogy:

   The Tartarian met her eyes squarely and said, "Let us merely say that you and I have had our differences since you came aboard Astrella, Ensign. I am not unaware of your hostility toward me. And yet, unknowingly, you became instrumental in rescuing me from death. How strange the tangled coils of fate!"

   He paused a moment, as if unsure whether or not he should continue. "Your self-incriminating testimony at the inquiry was also quite--remarkable. You must have realized, Ensign, that your previous failure to report Klasner's threat might draw, at the very least, a reprimand."

   Before she was even aware of speaking, Rona heard herself saying heatedly, "Sir! I am well aware of your hostility toward me--but I do not countenance attempted murder under any circumstances!"

   Malkis held her eyes with his own an uncomfortable moment longer, as though he were sifting her mind. "Perhaps, Ensign Scott--perhaps--you are a somewhat better officer than I previously estimated."

   Rona sat dumbfounded. That caustic remark was the closest thing to a compliment she'd ever heard from the Tartarian's thin, bluish lips! She had no idea how to respond: Thank you--for what? Detesting me?  @copyright 2011

That's just a hint of things to come in my epic SF love story and adventure. Hope you enjoyed!

Keep on reading; keep on writing.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Whoops! That's Not What I Meant!

What's the funniest thing you've ever "accidentally" written?

Mine would have to be: "Grasping his dar'dul-adz firmly in his right hand..." Whoops!

Now I knew perfectly well what I meant to say by that line. A dar'dul-adz is a spear traditionally carried by Shalt-ahnk warriors on the planet Tartarus. But someone unfamiliar with my work could get another idea entirely!

My two daughters nearly died laughing when they read that line in one of my first drafts of Judgment on Tartarus. Not at all the effect I was trying to achieve!

A few of my typos have turned out to be unintentionally humorous, too. For instance: "She loved herons." Herons? Really? Well, I love them as well, but that line should have read: "She loved her sons." Big difference!

The infamous autocorrect often leads to inadvertent comedy. It once insisted that the word I wanted to type was not "goddammit" but "goldsmith!" Huh? How on earth did it reach that conclusion?

I can imagine an irate Captain Richard Hughes shouting, "Goldsmith, Fleet Admiral Gutierrez! Goldsmith!"

Ah, the many trials and tribulations of being a writer, in any genre. But no matter what difficulties you may encounter, hilarious or not, keep on writing and keep on reading!


Friday, September 6, 2013

Writing Space Opera

When I told my doctor recently that I was about to publish my first space opera, after writing three SF novels, she responded, "Oh, you write music, too?" That set me back on my heels a bit. I refrained from laughing, but had to remind myself that most members of the general public don't know much about the different genres in science fiction and fantasy.

I'm sure my doctor, being an intelligent lady, knows all about Star Wars. She simply didn't realize that genre is often referred to as "space opera" ( just as Westerns used to be referred to as "horse operas." ) Space opera doesn't require accurate, or even plausible, science. So the author doesn't have to explain how a vleez-bot works. But in true SF the science must be accurate or at least "theoretically" possible.

My soon-to-be-published novel Galaxy Rand is sheer, unabashed space opera. Who cares how the tech works; it does! The characters are fun; the story is fun. Can a lesson or two be learned along the way? Probably. But that isn't the main point. It's an old-fashioned, exciting adventure harking back to the days of pulp fiction.

Hope you enjoy! Keep reading and keep on writing,


Saturday, August 31, 2013

How Not To Write A Book

Following up my previous blog, ( What I Want to Read, Aug. 27, 2013 ) I hope no one out there took it as a slam directed against indie authors. Since I am one myself, I recognize that there is a wide range of ability in any given group of authors.

Some of the worst books I've recently read ( or started to read ) were written by fairly well-known authors, who are published by traditional publishing houses. I've learned the hard way that these qualifications do not necessarily guarantee a good read! A famous name and an established publisher don't mean you'll love, like, or even be able to get through a particular book.

In one novel written by a well-known author who shall remain nameless ( I'm not out to ruin anyone's rep, not even a tiny bit! ) their first chapter grabbed me; it was enthralling. I was excited. But their second chapter skipped so far back in time it felt disconnected. And from that point on the book dragged so unbearably slowly that I simply couldn't suffer through it. But it did teach me another lesson in "How Not To Write A Book!"

This was not the first time I'd been taught such a lesson, even by a well-known and often-published author. And it probably won't be the last. I suggest you read with a critical eye; keep track of which methods succeed and which do not. All authors make mistakes, from "padding" their wordage to introducing huge lists of characters who have no business being mentioned at all!

One of the worst mistakes an author can make--and one of my pet peeves!--is introducing a new character in the last few pages or, even worse, leaving a major character in a cliff-hanger to insure the reader will buy the next book in the series! Grrrr!

But before I get even more carried away--keep on reading; keep on writing!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What I Want to Read

Now that Galaxy Rand has been written, edited, and sent off to my publisher, I finally have time to read. I love to read, and I'll read just about anything in any genre. But I love books. What do I look for in a book?

!) First, the book has to be well written. It's difficult for me to really get into a book loaded with grammatical errors, misspellings, incorrect punctuation, poor sentence structure, etc. ( Yes, I am a bit of a grammar Nazi, but not in the extreme. An occasional typo or missed comma won't send me into an hysterical fit! )

2) Second, I'm looking for an exciting, well-told tale. Is it fresh, engrossing? Does it move along at a good clip? Does it make sense? ( If you lose me in the first chapter, what are the chances I'll keep reading? Not good. I just don't have the time to waste. )

3) Third, I'm looking for characters who are believable, original, and fascinating. They must be people I can recognize and relate to. I even need to know where the villain is coming from. ( Characters can't act for unknown reasons and, most of all, must have a purpose for being included; this is especially true of female characters. They must be a lot more than mere sex objects! )

Lately, I've read a few good books and some not so good. As I said, if I can't find a good reason to keep reading, I seldom read past the first chapter or two.

Whether you agree or disagree with me, I hope you find these hints helpful.

Keep on reading; keep on writing!


Friday, July 26, 2013

A Sneak Peek!

For those of you who are still hesitating ( or procrastinating ) before reading Book One of my Tartarus Trilogy and are either too busy or---ahem!---too lazy to use the Look Inside feature at, here's a short selection from Judgment on Tartarus:

   That evening, as Rona Scott waited in the ship's Commissary for Tiko to join her for dinner, a red-faced, burly lieutenant with thinning hair stalked in and hurled himself into a chair at a nearby table.
   Rona overheard his bitter complaint to his tablemate: "That goddamn Tartar just put me on report again! Once more and I'm busted!"
   "You do have all the star-blasted luck, eh, Klasner?"
   "I tell you, Mac---that cold-blooded freak has it out for my hide! Hell, I can't make a move without him jumping down my throat, quoting regs like he swallowed the flaring program!"
   "Keep it down, will ya, mate?" the other crewman warned him in a low tone, eyes sweeping the Commissary. "Don't snap your bloody stabilizers in here, or you'll get yourself court-martialed!"
    "Don't give me that bilge!" Klasner snarled, stubbornly refusing to lower his voice. "Everybody aboard hates the Tartar's flaring guts!"
   "Everyone 'cept the Old Man, mate, an' the rest of us don't broadcast the fact all over the bloomin' ship. Hell, I'm not buckin' for a CM even if you are!"
   Klasner glowered in sullen silence for a few seconds before growling, "Mark my words, Mac---someday real soon that goddamn Tartar's gonna have a helluva bad accident!"
   Rona caught the scarcely-veiled threat; a thrill of alarm coursed through her. Until that very moment, she hadn't realized how high feeling against the ship's Exec ran. The blatant bigotry, accompanied by the implied threat of violence, shocked her to the core. She felt as if something dark and ominous had suddenly invaded Astrella.
   copyright@2011 M. R. Tighe

So that was a sneak peek. Why not go to and see more? All of my Tartarus books are available in paperback and Kindle formats.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Blood Is Blood!

One of the most enigmatic common sayings on the planet Tartarus ( from my Tartarus Trilogy: Judgment on Tartarus, True Son of Tartarus, and Ransom of Tartarus ) is "Blood is blood." So what the heck does that mean?

To a Tartarian, blood is sacred. Blood means life; therefore, blood is not to be spilled lightly. However, there are only two possible punishments for a serious transgression against the Holy Law of Ahn-eld ( Tartarus ): exile or death!

Common criminals who are found deserving of the death penalty are simply poisoned. A derivative of the Dar-tzl plant, otherwise known as the Death Plant, is administered. No blood is spilled.

But if the offender is unlucky enough to be born of the Jaru-alt ( the Noble Class) and is not sentenced to permanent exile from the planet, death comes by public execution. And execution is carried out by means of the Great Blade of Ahn-eld. The ceremonial weapon is a large curved blade, the hilt of which is studded with multi-colored jewels.

Besides being an extremely painful death, execution is humiliating, dishonorable, and bloody. The victim has given up his sacred right to life. This illustrates how seriously Tartarians take severe violations of their sacred Law. You wouldn't wish being born a Jaru-alt on your worst enemy! I guess we should all be glad it's only fiction.

Anyway, keep on reading, and if you're a writer, keep on writing!


Monday, July 8, 2013

Taking Your Sweet Time

If you'd never baked a pie before, would you rush to enter your first effort in a pie-baking contest? Would you expect a famous design house to scoop up your very first fashion designs? On your first essay into a sport could you be sure of winning a gold medal? I'll bet you're realistic enough to answer a resounding "no" to all three questions.

So I can't figure out why in the Cosmos so many first-time writers with little or no experience and few tools make such a mad dash to publish their work. Why do they fully expect their freshman effort to become a bestseller? Is that realistic? Of course we all have dreams, but to expect instant fulfillment of those dreams is simple self-deception.

In this age of burgeoning technology, everyone and his/her little brother are now capable of coming out with at least an e-book. Before you rush to be published, stop and think through what you are about to do. You want your book, your baby---especially if it's your first book!--- to be superior to all the rest that are out there.

If you work hard, hone your skills, and polish your work until it gleams like the Hope diamond, you stand a chance of actually succeeding. Maybe you'll never write that bestseller, but you won't be embarrassed to admit you are the author of "that" book! You'll make some fans. You'll have greater respect for yourself and your work. And in my opinion that's worth a heck of a lot more than writing the next bestseller.

So keep on writing, and keep on reading!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fast and Furious?

Of late, I haven't blogged much. As usual, I've had way too many irons in the fire. I finally finished editing and revising my first space-opera, Galaxy Rand. The cover art is done. I'll be getting the novel ready for publication this year---after working on it for a good many years.

I've also finished transferring the first prequel to my Tartarus Trilogy to my laptop. I let it "marinate" before final polishing and editing. Malkis of Tartarus should be ready for publication in 2014. At the same time, I've been writing a rough draft of the second ( and final ) prequel to be titled Hero of the Gorgonian Wars. If all goes well, that sixth novel will be published in 2015.

That may sound as if I'm writing fast and furiously. I'm not. I don't turn out books like batches of cookies. Yum, cookies! I'll admit to being a bit of a perfectionist. I want all my books to be as perfect as humanly possible. But at my age I can't expect to be writing forever. With any luck, I might be able to keep it up until I'm in my eighties! But who knows?

So when I have a strong story stuck in my head, I want to get it down on paper as quickly as possible, but preparing a book for publication is quite another story. Takes me forever.Sorry, fans! It's (almost) four down and two to go. Thanks for your patience.

Keep on reading; keep on writing!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Look Out for the Pitfalls!

When you begin writing a book, especially if you write science fiction, horror, fantasy, paranormal romance, or the like, there are several things you must watch out for. First, you should familiarize yourself with what's already been done in your field. You need to avoid cliches and plots that have been done to death. Too many cliches can make your book downright laughable. Unless you are deliberately going for comedy, do your homework before you start writing.

There are other obvious things to avoid. For instance, if your vampire hero looks, sounds, and acts like Edward Cullen, you are going to be accused of copy-catting, even if you haven't! Here's an example from my own experience. For many years I've been kicking around an idea for a fantasy novel. I've found that naming my characters helps in plot development. So I named one of my main characters Trueblood. Errgh!

You can probably see why I was forced to rename him. His name became Gray. Uh-oh! Holy Toledo, Batman! Now I have to change his name again!

This time I think I'll wait until the last minute to christen this poor guy! Maybe I'll come up with a name that will be original and not appear to be copied from another source. I may have to name him Rzl-t'plk.

I'm not the only author who has stumbled into predicaments like this. When you come right down to it, the best we authors can do is try to be as original as possible, keep our eyes open, and keep our fingers crossed. I guess there are worse things than being accused of mimicking another author's work,

Keep on reading and for heaven's sake keep on writing!


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Destiny Is Destiny

"Destiny is destiny", as the Tartarian saying goes. But what the heck does that mean? It's a complete enigma to most Terrans, but to anyone born on the planet Tartarus ( Ahn-eld in the native tongue ) the meaning is obvious: One cannot escape one's destiny.

Destiny is written---preordained---and therefore, so shall it be. And if you deliberately attempt to thwart your destiny, you will pay a great price. Tartarians firmly believe that everyone has a destiny, a specific role to play in the Universe, a firm purpose for being.

One's destiny is sacred and not to be questioned or avoided. Destiny is to be accepted and embraced.

What is your destiny?


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tartarus Is Hell !

According to ancient Greek mythology, there were two levels to Hell. The upper level was known as Erebus, the lower, Tartarus. Whatever you chose to call it, Hell isn't a very nice place. You certainly wouldn't want to be trapped there for life, especially not by choice.

So why on earth did I name one of the alien planets in my SF trilogy "Tartarus"? ( And by the way, I chose the name of my planets well over forty years ago. )

If you've read Book One: Judgment on Tartarus, or either of the two books that follow, you know that even the "temperate" zone of the planet is well-below zero. Its ice-covered, barren plains stretch between rugged mountain ranges capped with age-old ice, and glaciers flow inexorably between the peaks. Only deep, dark chasms interrupt the snow fields. The entire planet is literally one hell of a place!

No wonder the Terran explorers who discovered the planet gave it the name Tartarus---and its Twin Moons, Erebus and Cerberus---the name of the three-headed dog that guarded the gates of Hell. Terrans refer to the people who inhabit this planet as Tartarians. These people aren't native to this planet. They arrived centuries ago on a sleeper-ship. They were desperate to escape their distant homeworld, which was plagued by violence, wars, and lawlessness. Upon reaching the first habitable, but uninhabited, world, the ship awakened its "sleeping" passengers.

At first, the Twelve Clans dwelt upon the surface of the planet, eking out an existence, until a deepening ice-age drove them far beneath the surface---permanently. Tartarians employed the advanced technology that had brought them to their new world to establish sophisticated underground cities, complete with subterranean transportation networks. Rejecting lives of ease and luxury, Tartarians lived according to the strictest of Laws and punishments.

The planet Tartarus provided an environment without light, without warmth, without love or mercy or compassion. Therefore, I found it highly appropriate to name this planet Hell.

Keep reading---keep writing!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What Makes Me Fall In Love With A Book?

Have you ever bought a book because it had a great cover, only to find that the cover disguises a sub-par book? Or perhaps you read the back cover blurb, and it intrigued you? But some blurbs are flat-out misleading, leaving you disappointed, even angry.

I want a book that delivers on its tantalizing promises. I want well-drawn, sympathetic characters who speak and act realistically ( at least to some degree! ) I tend to fall in love with characters who seem to be real people, people that I'd like to meet and get to know better. I like to be left with no doubt as to who are the heroes and who is the villain. ( J.K. Rowling I'll forgive for fooling me! )

I love settings that I'd enjoy visiting and exploring; maybe I'd even want to stay there a while. But then, I also enjoy encountering fictional places so terrifying I'd rather die than be stuck there. ( J.R.R. Tolkien's Mordor comes to mind! )

I love books with plots that grab me, draw me in, then enfold me and won't let go. And they don't disappoint me in the end. If I just have to know what happens next or I'll be up all night wondering---if one more page becomes ten, or twenty---then I realize that I've fallen in love.

And if, when I'm through reading the book, I know I'll never be the same again, then that's a book I'll cherish and savor over and over again.

Keep on reading---keep on writing, my friends!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

So What's Keeping You From Writing?

At some point in life just about everyone dreams of writing a book, usually a novel. From the outside looking in, writing seems easy to do, loads of fun. And the financial rewards seem enormous.

Sorry if it's news to you, but the truth is that writing is darn hard work, not always fun, and takes not only talent, but loads of time, accompanied by many headaches. And except for a tiny handful of writers, writing seldom pays off financially-speaking. You'll probably spend a good deal more than you'll ever make.

But for those who possess the requisite talent and the unquenchable desire to write, never allow any obstacles to stand in your way. To find time to write, many authors get up before dawn; others stay up into the wee hours of the morning to find the peace to write. Some write on their way to work, on buses, trains, even airplanes. I don't recommend trying to write in your car unless it's stationary, as in waiting for school to get out.

I never had time to write seriously until my youngest was in kindergarten. I worked at night and wrote when I got home, too wired to sleep. While everyone else in the house slept, I wrote. I began by revising work I'd started years before. When I ran out of money to pay for typing supplies, I applied for and won a literary grant.

After my own experiences, good and bad, my best advice is don't allow yourself to get discouraged; don't allow obstacles to stop you; and above all, don't stop writing! Write wherever and whenever you can and as much as you can. You may never get rich or be famous, but you will become a better writer, and that's reward enough!

Keep on writing!