Bonded Agent

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been participating in the Fall Fantasy Conclave, where I shared some great books by fellow authors. Today and Monday I’ll share work by authors I have worked with more directly. Today, I bring you David B. Riley who introduced intergalactic insurance agent Sarah Meadows in his story “The Claims Adjuster” which appeared in my anthology Space Pirates. Sarah’s adventures continued in my anthology Space Horrors and on the pages of Tales of the Talisman among other places. Now, David has just released a Sarah Meadows novel called Bonded Agent published by Wolfsinger Publishing.

Here’s what it says on the back of the book: They say graduates of the Martian School of Economics really go places. That’s certainly true for Sarah Meadows. After taking a job with the Gompers Insurance Company they send her to weapons training on her second day on the job. She’s soon parachuting out of space ships, hunting down cargo pirates and even trying to salvage a derelict vessel that may be haunted. Not to mention getting involved in a war between Earth and a reptilian race.


With that, I’m going to turn the post over to David:

Bonded Agent features my Sarah Meadows character. Sarah has appeared in five short stories, but this is her first novel. In Sarah’s world Mars is an independent republic with an uneasy relationship with Earth. Sarah finds herself taking an insurance job with the Gompers Insurance Company just after graduating from the Martian School of Economics. On her second day they tell her to report for weapons training. She’s soon parachuting out of space ships, hunting down cargo pirates and even trying to salvage a derelict vessel that may be haunted. Not to mention getting involved in a war between Earth and a reptilian race.

I like Sarah because she’s not yet another white dude. The fact is, there are few human males in this story. This book is packed full of aliens. It’s got the Chironese, whose world is being occupied by Earth. The reptilian Tau, who are at war with Earth over a mineral-rich asteroid. And there’s also the Almerians, who are referred to as dragons. It is an Almerian who runs the Gompers Insurance Company. And in the middle of this is Sarah Meadows, a woman of average height who is a strawberry blonde. And a raging war is about to change her life forever.

Bonded Agent is available from Amazon and Smashwords.


Two weeks ago I mentioned that my oldest daughter was performing in the New Mexico All-State Symphony Orchestra. Today, my youngest daughter is performing in the New Mexico All-State Choir here in Las Cruces. I’m looking forward to hearing her perform. She has been part of the Doña Ana Youth Choir for the last few years and I’m always amazed by the performances those kids deliver.

Dona Ana Youth Choir 2012

Talisman 9-2

Much of this past week, I’ve been focused on Tales of the Talisman Magazine. We mailed out most copies of volume 9, issue 2—the autumn issue. I sent the winter issue—volume 9, issue 3—to press and copies have been ordered. They should be here within the week. Now, I’m busy reading stories for volume 10, issues 1 and 2. I’m pleased with my short list and I’ve sent out the first acceptances. Things are going well enough that I’m planning to wrap up the reading period in about a week on February 2. If you have a story or poem that you want to get in, this is the time to send it.


I find the process of selecting stories and poems for the magazine to be a little like gathering the voices of a choir. I look for a wide range of talent. I want stories and poems that both work well together and counterpoint each other. Every now and then, people take me very literally and decide to send me a story and a poem they wrote that they feel go together. Although that can be interesting, that’s not really what I’m looking for. I find it much more interesting when two authors who perhaps have never met send me things that address a common topic in different ways. I love it when that happens!

Of course, like any good choir, I want the final composition to be entertaining and satisfying. You can find the current issues of Tales of the Talisman at The links for each issue are:


Arguably, themed anthologies are even more like a choir than magazines are. The theme itself gives you that element that ties the stories together. When doing a themed anthology, I like to pick a theme that’s broad enough to allow a wide range of stories, while still being narrow enough to get different viewpoints on the same general topic.

Space Horrors

As January draws to an end, we approach the final days that my anthologies in the Full-Throttle Space Tales series will be in print. The first editions of Space Pirates and Space Horrors go out of print on January 31. In the former anthology, I loved how the stories looked at pirates as both anti-heroes and villains. The horrors of the latter anthology took many different forms and we saw how they could pull people together and drive them apart. I’m planning to bring both of these anthologies back later this year, but if you want the originals, now’s the time to get them! Here are the Amazon links:

New Year, New Adventures

I rang in the new year at my “day” job, observing distant galaxies at the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope with a spectrograph called Hydra. This is a device that allows us to study the light from up to 100 objects spread across the sky at one time. A robot places fibers on a plate matching precisely with objects on the sky. When the robot works well, it’s an amazing process to watch. When the robot malfunctions, I have to intervene to make sure the machine doesn’t break or twist the fibers.

Photo by Wolfgang Sauber. License: CC BY-SA

Photo by Wolfgang Sauber. License: CC BY-SA

Unfortunately, the robot was not working well this week, meaning I had to intervene a lot, especially on the first night of the new year, making my job feel a little like one of the Labors of Hercules. The next night, they discovered a loose wire, and I gather the instrument is once again working well.


I’m hopeful the rest of the year won’t require such Herculean efforts, but I do have a series of labors to tackle, which will produce some great adventures for you, dear readers. First off, today I’ll be sending Tales of the Talisman volume 9, issue 2 to the printer. I will be moving on immediately to laying out volume 9, issue 3 (you can see the cover to the left) and sending the volume 9, issue 4 stories to the artists for illustration. This should bring the magazine more-or-less back on schedule.

What’s more, Tales of the Talisman is once again open to submissions. I already have a good stack of material to read, but more stories are always welcome! If you’d like to submit, please visit our guidelines page at for details. Almost all of the submissions have been doing an excellent job of following the guidelines well. Although, a couple of people clearly don’t feel they need to bother with guidelines. I guess those are stories I don’t need to bother with either.


At the end of this month, the Full-Throttle Space Tales anthologies published by Flying Pen Press will be going out of print. If you want to get copies of the first editions, this is a good time to do so. They’re available at – the link should take you to the search results. I plan to contact the authors in my anthologies Space Pirates and Space Horrors, and if they agree, I plan to bring out new editions through Hadrosaur Productions. What’s more, I’ve been talking to some of the other editors and there seems to be interest in bringing out other volumes from the series as well. It’s still too early to discuss details, but I am starting to brainstorm some crowdfunding opportunities. Stay tuned.

In addition to these labors, I’m also proceeding with my own writing. I’m about 20,000 words into a new horror novel entitled The Astronomer’s Crypt. Tentative plans are for this novel to be available around Halloween this year. A new edition of my novel Owl Dance will be out from Sky Warrior publishing this year, along with its sequel Lightning Wolves. I also need to finish the third novel in that series, The Brazen Shark. Lots to do this year and that’s just in the writing world! So time to get cracking.

Halloween Short Stories and Poems

Talisman 9-1 Cover

Subscriber and contributor copies of Tales of the Talisman volume 9, issue 1 have now been shipped out. It occurs to me this is a great issue for Halloween. Christian Martin’s story “Sabotaged” is a scary psychological thriller set aboard a space station. Davyne DeSye’s “…I Win” is a stylish and Gothic look at Death. C.J. Henderson delivers a chillingly twisted Cthulhu mythos tale. These along with many of the stories in the issue make it a good issue to curl up with this autumn. Of course each issue is lavishly illustrated by such artists as Tom Kelly, Laura Givens, Kathy Ferrell and Jag Lall. Between the stories you’ll find blood curdling poems by such folks as Marge Simon, Charles Templeton, and Noel Sloboda. Issues are now available at and at

While on the subject of spooky poetry, you should drop by the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s On-Line Halloween Poetry Reading at There you’ll find recordings of some great speculative poets reading scary Halloween poems absolutely free.

Space Horrors

If you prefer that your horrors come from beyond the Earth, be sure to check out the anthology Space Horrors published by Flying Pen Press. In this collection, you’ll find tales of vampires, zombies and alien menaces among the stars by such Lee Clark Zumpe, Sarah A. Hoyt, Selena Rosen, Dayton Ward, and more. My understanding is that the first edition will be going out of print at the end of the year, so this is a great time to grab the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. I’ll be starting discussions with the authors soon about a second edition. If all goes well, that should be available by next Halloween.

Hope you’ll check some of these out. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you’re reading this Halloween season.