Explore New Worlds During Read an Ebook Week

I am pleased to announce that several of my books are on sale as part of Smashwords’ Read an Ebook Week promotion. I’ve written books and edited anthologies that imagine travels to distant worlds and this is a great time to join me for the adventure, especially in this week that’s the run-up to Wild Wild West Con with the theme of Galactic Steampunk Federation. The Kepler anthologies I edited with NASA astronomer Steve B. Howell and the novels in my Space Pirates’ Legacy world are all on sale this week.

Kepler Anthologies – 50% Off

Steve Howell and I created the Kepler anthologies as a way to imagine what worlds discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope might actually be like. In the way that Mars became a focal point for science fiction writers in the early twentieth century, we see exoplanets as the new frontier in the twenty-first. You can pick up the Kepler Anthologies for 50% off this week.

A Kepler’s Dozen presents thirteen stories about distant worlds that really exist. This anthology of action-packed, mysterious, and humorous stories all based on real planets discovered by the NASA Kepler mission. Whether on a prison colony, in a fast escape from the authorities, or encircling a binary star, thirteen exoplanet stories written by authors such as Mike Brotherton, Laura Givens, and J Alan Erwine will amuse, frighten, and intrigue you while you share fantasy adventures among Kepler’s real-life planets. Each individual story in this book is prefaced by actual scientific data for the particular planet and its host star, based on Kepler discoveries and follow-up. This gives the reader a feel for the type of sun and planets that exist in these alien solar systems. Get the ebook at Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/325583

  • NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has discovered thousands of new planets.
  • Visiting, much less settling, those worlds will provide innumerable challenges.
  • The men and women who make the journey will be those who don’t fear the odds.
  • They’ll be Kepler’s Cowboys.

Saddle up and take an unforgettable journey to distant star systems. Meet new life forms—some willing to be your friend and others who will see you as the invader. Fight for justice in a lawless frontier. Go on a quest for a few dollars more. This exciting, fun, and rollicking anthology of fourteen stories and five poems by such authors as Patrick Thomas, Jaleta Clegg, Anthony R. Cardno, L.J. Bonham, and many more! The book is available at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/698694

Space Pirates’ Legacy – 75% Off

To celebrate the recent release of the first book of my Space Pirates’ Legacy series, I’m offering the books set in that universe at a deep discount of 75% off as a way to encourage you to discover this universe for yourself.

The Solar Sea sets the stage for the Space Pirates’ Legacy books by telling the story of how humans became citizens of the galaxy. Whales around the world changed their songs the day scientists announced the discovery of powerful new particles around Saturn’s largest moon which could solve Earth’s energy needs. The Quinn Corporation rushes to build a solar sail space craft to unlock the secrets of these strange new particles. They gather the best and brightest to pilot the ship: Jonathan Jefferson, an aging astronaut known as the last man on Mars; Natalie Freeman, a distinguished Navy captain; Myra Lee, a biologist who believes the whales are communicating with Saturn; and John O’Connell, the technician who first discovered the particles. Charting the course is the mysterious Pilot who seems determined to keep secrets from the rest of the crew. Together they make a grand tour of the solar system and discover not only wonders but dangers beyond their imagination. The Solar Sea is available at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/805692

The Space Pirates’ Legacy itself begins with Firebrandt’s Legacy. In the book, Ellison Firebrandt fights the good fight for Earth. Under a letter of marque, he raids the ships of Earth’s opponents, slowing down their progress and ability to compete with the home system. On the planet Epsilon Indi 2, he rescues a woman named Suki Mori from a drug lord, only to find she isn’t so happy about living a pirate’s life. However, when the captain finds a new engine that will make him the most successful pirate of all, Suki is the only one who can make it work. Now Firebrandt must find a way to keep his crew fed and his ship supplied while relying on a woman who barely trusts him and while every government in the galaxy hunts him to get the engine back! Get Firebrandt’s Legacy at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/916916


Assembling the Puzzle

This has been another week helping to install the Dark Energy Spectrographic Instrument or DESI at the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak. In short, the goal of DESI is to study the effect of dark energy on the expansion of the universe. We plan to collect spectra of tens of billions of galaxies and quasars with the goal of making a three-dimensional map of the universe out to about 11 billion light years. You can read more about the DESI project at https://www.desi.lbl.gov/

The DESI project is spearheaded by Lawrence Berkeley Lab in California and being installed at Kitt Peak in Arizona. However, it really represents a worldwide collaboration. There are scientists working on this project from England, France, Spain, Italy, South Korea, China, France, Canada, Colombia, Australia, and others plus numerous institutions within the United States. All of these agencies are not only contributing expertise, but actually building components that will go into the finished instrument.

In an earlier post, I spoke about how we worked to remove the Mayall telescope’s original top end. The top end originally housed both a secondary mirror and a prime focus camera. Both of these have been used to make groundbreaking discoveries over the last five decades. The Mayall was the telescope Vera Rubin used to study rotation curves of galaxies, which led to the discovery of dark matter. I’ve helped with observations that have led to the confirmation of numerous exoplanets. We’re now replacing the telescope’s original top end with a new one that will hold 5000 fibers at prime focus. Each of those fibers will run to spectrographs that will break up the light from objects in the sky so it may be analyzed and the position of the object can be measured. In the photo above, you can see the new top end being assembled to the left of the telescope.

To get light from the sky onto the fibers, the telescope will collect it with the primary mirror. That sits in the big white structure at the center of the big blue horseshoe-like structure in the photo above. The mirror will direct that light to the top end. Because the mirror is curved, allowing the light to be collected and redirected, it means the focus changes across the field of view. To deal with that, you need to put some lenses in front of the fibers, sort of like glasses. Another real world problem of telescopes is that as you point toward the horizon, light gets spread out. So you need optics to compensate for where you’re pointing in the sky. Sort of like glasses that automatically adjust themselves for where you’re looking.

Scientists from England assembled those specialized “glasses” for the telescope. Those arrived last week and I was on hand during their assembly at Kitt Peak. You see those assembled optics in the lower photo. Scientists from Italy built the “Hexapod” pointing system, which keeps those optics aligned. That arrived and was tested about a month ago. Scientists from Fermilab in Chicago are responsible for integrating those systems and putting them together in the top end ring. That process will start next week. It’s all quite a puzzle and it’s been remarkable to see it all come together. It’ll be even more amazing to see what science it yields.

Of course, work at Kitt Peak helps to inspire my science fiction. As a reminder, this is the last weekend of the Smashwords Summer/Winter sale. You can learn about my science fiction books that are on sale at:

We also have fantasy and steampunk titles on sale. You can learn about them at:

Half off the Clockwork Legion

Smashwords is having a special promotion through July 31, which means this is an opportunity to grab my Clockwork Legion Steampunk novels for 50% off the regular ebook price!

Owl Dance Cover

In 1876, Sheriff Ramon Morales of Socorro, New Mexico meets a beguiling woman named Fatemeh Karimi of Persia, escaping oppression in her homeland. When an ancient lifeform called Legion comes to Earth, they are pulled into a series of events that will change the history of the world as we know it. In their journeys, Ramon and Fatemeh encounter mad inventors, dangerous outlaws and pirates. Their resources are Ramon’s fast draw and Fatemeh’s uncanny ability to communicate with owls. The question is, will that be enough to save them when a fleet of dirigibles from Czarist Russia invades the United States?

Fred Cleaver of the Denver Post calls Owl Dance “…a fun steampunk Western filled with adventures.” Richard Harland, author of Worldshaker and Liberator says Owl Dance “…has everything. Airships, owl-ornithopters, a clockwork wolf, a multiple alien entity, a fast-shooting sheriff, a Russian plot to conquer America, and a very sexy, eco-aware, Bahá’í Persian healer-woman—I mean everything! Heaps of fun!”

Owl Dance is available at Smashwords. Use the code SSW50 on checkout to get the 50% off discount.

Lightning Wolves

It’s 1877 and Russians have invaded the Pacific Northwest and are advancing into California. New weapons have proven ineffective or dangerously unstable and the one man who can help has disappeared into Apache Country, hunting ghosts. A healer and a former sheriff lead a band into the heart of the invasion to determine what makes the Russian forces so unstoppable while a young inventor attempts to unleash the power of the lightning wolves.

Neal Wilgus of Small Press Review says Lightning Wolves is “…great fun to read and well worth the time spent doing so. Don’t miss it!” Deby Fredericks, author of Seven Exalted Orders and The Grimhold Wolf says Lightning Wolves is “…full of adventure and crazy inventions but with some honesty about the prejudices and mores of the day. This is as much alternate history as adventure tale, with an ethnically diverse cast fighting battles that never were.”

Lightning Wolves is available at Smashwords. Use the code SSW50 on checkout to get the 50% off discount.

Read an Ebook Week

This week, Smashwords is hosting its annual Read an Ebook Week promotion. Two of my books are available for fifty percent off as part of the event.

Revolution of Air and Rust

Revolution of Air and Rust is set during an alternate 1915, where Teddy Roosevelt is building an empire and only Pancho Villa stands in his way. The American Expeditionary Force under the command of General “Black Jack” Pershing has invaded Northern Mexico. Pancho Villa leads his revolutionary army in a desperate raid against the American force only to be outflanked. Just as Pershing’s airships prepare to deliver the death blow, Pancho Villa is transported to a parallel Earth where he finds an unexpected ally and the technology that might just turn defeat into victory.

Revolution of Air and Rust is a stand-alone novella set in the Empires of Steam and Rust world created by Robert E. Vardeman and Stephen D. Sullivan. A story filled with military action, espionage and gadgetry that’s sure to satisfy fans of steampunk and alternate history. The book is available for half off until March 8 at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/254622. Remember to use the code REW50 on checkout.

A Kepler's Dozen

A Kepler’s Dozen is an anthology of action-packed, mysterious, and humorous stories all based on real planets discovered by the NASA Kepler mission. Steve B. Howell, project scientist for the Kepler mission, and I both co-edited the anthology and contributed stories. Whether on a prison colony, in a fast escape from the authorities, or encircling a binary star, thirteen exoplanet stories written by authors such as Mike Brotherton, Laura Givens, and J Alan Erwine will amuse, frighten, and intrigue you while you share fantasy adventures among Kepler’s real-life planets. The book is available for half off until March 8 at: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/325583. Again, remember to use the discount code REW50 to take advantage of the sale!

Charmeine – A Paranormal Romance

I would like to introduce you to my friend Emily Guido, author of the The Light-Bearer Series. The first novel of the series is Charmeine and Emily is offering a very special giveaway today only. Make sure to read through to the bottom of the post to learn how to get a copy of Charmeine.

Emily Guido

Emily Guido is a new Paranormal Romance Author. She was inspired to start writing Charmeine because one day she got an idea of two characters that needed to have their story told. Not ever dreaming a week later she would have over a 100,000 words written. When Emily writes, it is similar to you or I watching a movie. She pictures the characters in her head going through vivid descriptions of each scene. There are so many nuances going through her mind that she cannot type fast enough. The novels Mactus, Accendo, Seditious, and Ransom, are the continuation of the wonderful adventures of the inhabitants of The Castle Charmeine! Emily is currently writing Conundrum the Sixth Novel in “The Light-Bearer Series” She works at a college full time, and is pursuing her Master of Business Administration.

I recently had a chance to interview Emily and learn a bit more about Charmeine and her approach to writing.

Tell me about the novel Charmeine.

Charmeine is a novel about an undying love that survives through Heaven and Hell. I wanted to write a story that was fun and fantastical, but also touching. This novel is the very ‘tip of the iceberg’ in “The Light-Bearer Series.” It really introduces Tabbruis (Tab-bree-us) and Charmeine.

It starts with them in Heaven and happy, but it suddenly goes to modern times and things are completely different. There is a lot of back story in this short (120 pages), first novel about Tabbruis. He’s been on Earth for 8000 years.

Charleen (aka Charmeine) came to Earth in 1997 only remembering the letters C-h-a-r… She was taken in at a local orphanage and struggled to put herself through school and graduate school to become a teacher. She loves children and teaching.

When Tabbruis saves her from a Blood-Hunter who wants to take her to the Elder Council for a death sentence, they immediately know something about each other is intensely different.

Charmeine Front Cover

Tabbruis doesn’t let his guard down, but Charleen (aka Charmeine) warms his heart!

Finally, they both remember Heaven and Tabbruis melts into Charmeine’s loving arms. However, there is way more to the story, they have to battle Heaven and Hell to stay together and avoid being put to death because their love is forbidden. In the process a lot of surprises and twists and turns come into the story too.

Charmeine is a romance first and foremost. Yes, there Blood-Hunters (vampires) and Light-Bearers (angels) in it, but the love story between these two great characters, Charmeine and Tabbruis are always ill-fated.

If you are a sucker for a love story like me, you will have to have some hankies with you. The book can just tug on your heart!

What made you decide to write this story?

Charmeine Back Cover

I have always had a creative streak in me. I play violin, sing and have acted in musicals. However, I have always been a good writer and never got anything below A’s on my papers through high school and college. I loved romantic literature, especially English Literature. I took a lot of literature courses even though I was a Business Major. It’s kind of funny, my earliest memories is in seventh grade our teacher made us journal during the spring semester. Other kids turned in a thin book maybe twenty papers thick. I turned in a huge three-ring binder. In my journal, I drew pictures (even though I couldn’t draw myself out of a paper bag), taped pictures from magazines in it, made up stupid poetry as well as writing every day. When I turned it in, the teacher’s eyes went wide in wonder; she must have thought I was a book geek to the max. I never thought it was special but during the end of the year party, my teacher went crazy over it and read some of my poems and stories to the class as I sat blushing 10,000 shades of red! I would give anything to have that stupid journal right now, it got lost in growing up sad to say.

Tell me about some of your influences.

I have loved all the great romance writers William Shakespeare, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, James Joyce, Dylan Thomas, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, Jane Austen, Edgar Allan Poe, Guy de Maupassant, Diana Gabaldon, and most recently Felicity E. Heaton.

However, the person who influenced my writing the most is my big sis, Connie. I had six brothers and she and I were the only girls. Connie was diagnosed with Leukemia and couldn’t go to school, so she would stay home and lie in her hospital bed and watch TV. My fondest memories are watching Dark Shadows and All My Children with her while she raved about the hunky men. I didn’t know what in the heck she was talking about, I was too young to know but I didn’t care, I was with my big sis and that was the only thing that mattered. Connie died at 16 leaving a whole in my heart. I’m sure Connie loves my novels. I always think of her. Ya better believe she would have loved the romance and the hunky man candy in this novel for sure.

Tell me a little about yourself.

In the world of publishing, I am a newbie! I just started writing Charmeine about two weeks before Thanksgiving 2011. Before writing this novel, I was working full time at a college in New Jersey and going to MBA School full time also along with doing what any woman does to take care of her home and family like dishes, laundry, cleaning and cooking. I am a super busy woman, who always spreads herself too thin, but it keeps me out of trouble!

Would you want to go on adventures with Charmeine and Tabbruis? Why or why not?

I would LOVE to go on adventures with Charmeine and Tabbruis! They are always fighting a major threat to Humanity and have tremendous skills. They work as a team with their family also. However, Charmeine, for whatever reason, always seems ready to put the metal to the pedal, so to speak. When she is fighting, she is single-minded and thinks of nothing but defeating Evil and Lucifer’s minions. This is such in contrast to her normal personality of love, giving, caring and humor-filled heart. She loves to crack BAD jokes to ease the tension. She is truthful to a fault because she can’t tell a lie. She also can tell when people lie to her.

You can follow Emily and learn more about her at:

Website: http://authoremilyguido.com/
Website: http://emilyguido.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5764521.Emily_Guido
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Emily__Guido
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thelightbearernovelist

Now for the big treat. Today only – April 19, 2013 – you can download Charmeine free on Smashwords. The book is at: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/238502

Use the code HB94P on checkout.

If you’re late to the party and discovering this after April 19, go get the book anyway! It only costs $3.99!