World UFO Day Flash Sale

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I can’t think of any better way to celebrate World UFO Day on July 9 than a flash sale of my latest release, The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51. Not only is it on sale for 99c, but A Dark of Endless Days, volume II of The Star Trails Tetralogy, is as well.

Why? Because that’s where The Terra Debacle began. Thus, if you haven’t read it yet, especially if you’re the type who’d like to get it all in context, you can grab that one, too, for a bargain price. (Note that since The Terra Debacle is a standalone book it’s not necessary, but it does fill in numerous blanks.)

So far, The Terra Debacle has been collecting great reviews. Here are some excerpts:

“Scintillating science and side-splitting humor.”

“Unique and titillating sci-fi entertainment.”

“Brilliantly conceived and finely crafted.”

“The research is profound and convincing.”

“Off-the-wall in a way similar to how Tom Robbins grabs the reader & shakes him.”

“A brilliant story, extremely well written and with great character development.”

“Easily comparable to a dark version of ET – The Extraterrestrial”

“Highly entertaining, suspenseful and thought-provoking”

“What an ending! What a story! I will always think differently about plant chloroplasts and bulbs in the future.”

And don’t miss the latest video, which gives you a glimpse of its darker side.

Happy reading! And remember: The truth is out there.

Book Descriptions on the Star Trails Website:

The Terra Debacle

A Dark of Endless Days

Buy Links:

The Terra Debacle

A Dark of Endless Days

The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51
Stock Photo Copyright:oorka / 123RF Stock Photo

N.J. Tanger’s “Ascension”: Masterfully Written Science Fiction

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This intriguing and suspense-filled tale intricately describes what it might take to reach an interstellar destination, both in the way of motivation as well as technology, to say nothing of the type of individuals who would assume such a feat.

Nathan Beauchamp, a member of the writing team known as N.J. Tanger, is the sole author of this episode in the Universe Eventual series which expands upon the workings of the interstellar vehicle, Chimera. The ship is designed to support a population comparable to a small city for years to come through hydroponics and other self-sufficiency techniques. It provides holographic scenery reminiscent of Earth; possesses a sophisticated power system; and includes a political structure drenched in intrigue.

The conspiratorial reason for leaving Earth is fascinating and smolders with much of what is seen in today’s corporatism-saturated world. Colonization is motivated by their destination’s rich deposits of ecomire, which I assume to be the next generation of uranium, i.e., it represents a powerful energy source rarely found elsewhere and motivates a power hungry (both literally and figuratively) corporation to finance the venture. Furthermore, they intend to maintain their tentacles in those making the journey through whatever means necessary. Some colonization efforts are about survival, others about profits, this one possessing elements of both.

New but intuitively familiar terminology provided a unique and convincing environment. For example, referring to the enforcement arm as “regulators” was cold and effective. The personal agenda of various characters provided plot complexity, but without over-populating the story. Yet, the massive dimensions of the ship, the number of those onboard, and their evolving culture and social strata were conveyed effectively. The main character, Ashley Samuelson, was credible and relatable, personalized further by the first person narrative point of view and the intimate details of his personal life and relationships, including a romantic one.

One of the most clever sci-fi elements serves as the mainstay of the plot and that is the means by which the Chimera is guided by its navigator with the support of a few assistants, one of which is Ashley. To travel through the esoteric, paranormal dimension described as “fractal space”, “stitches” are laid to form a connection between Earth and their ultimate destination through “The Everything”. Once this pathway is laid, other ships will traverse it more quickly, so the implication is that they are creating a wormhole. This is accomplished through the combined efforts of the navigator, who’s enclosed in a mysterious spherical work station, where he or she is psychically entangled with the ship’s artificial intelligence. This combination of thought energy provides the creative power to chart its course, stitch by stitch, an interesting play on the apparent consciousness/matter interface implied by quantum theory. Navigator assistants deal with resolving any paradoxes encountered along the way.

Not just anyone can perform this critical navigating function, so when their existing navigator dies unexpectedly of mysterious causes, it presents a significant threat, not only to their mission, but their very survival. The quest to find a new navigator combined with investigation into the death of the original one provides various provocative insights into the risks of AI as well as allowing it to interact with a human.

This complex tale is presented via a masterful style that demonstrates some of the most delicious prose I’ve seen. As a writer myself, I savored numerous vivid descriptions, such as a look of “distilled hatred”; “her angry, beautiful, treacherous eyes”; “stumbling my way into the truth”; “fear masqueraded as anger”; as well as several others.  I suppose the fact such jewels jumped out at me as exceptional descriptions could be considered throwing me out of the story, but for me it was in a good way. Some of the imagery was nearly blinding, which is not easily achieved without slowing down the story. However, the literary precision was such that the descriptions integrated with the action and increased the suspense, which made various scenes play out like a movie in my mind. The author’s skill itself made this tale a joy to read.

This story is part of the Universal Eventual series, yet stands alone. However, if you’ve read any of the other stories, it helps fill in a few of the gaps. It has been a while since I read Chimera and this makes me want to read it again. If you enjoy meaty hard science fiction with plenty of advanced technology and intrigue while maintaining a strong human element with philosophical implications as deep as you care to go, all of which is packaged with strong, skillful writing, I highly recommend this story.

You can pick up your copy on Amazon here.

Describing a Sci-Fi story as “Unbelievable” is NOT a Good Thing

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** Review of “Return of the Sagan” by Neil Patrick O’Donnell

I don’t enjoy giving a book a bad review. As an author myself, I know it hurts, unless someone has such an iron-clad ego that they don’t believe it and thus fail to heed what it’s saying. Thus, when I do so, I try to stick to the facts of what a book’s deficiencies are so the author knows what to fix. Of course any review will always have a high level of subjectivity, but I try to judge a book as fairly as possible, based on its merits.

This story got off to a good start and has tremendous potential to become an epic saga of a starship gone for 300 years and now returning to Earth, only to find the human population extinct. That’s a big story. The main character, anthropologist, Francis Burns (no relation to Frank Burns of M*A*S*H fame), is believable and endearing with his OCD and quirky obsession with Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was a nice affirmation for gender equality that men and women shared high military rank in the story. The names of the vessels were well-chosen and credible. Authors are always advised to “write what you know” and O’Donnell did a great job with OCD and the geography of the Niagara region as well as military jargon and protocol. Generally, I believe that the world of “fandom” would particularly enjoy this story and would make a good target audience.

However, there are numerous things that need to be fixed before this story can be taken seriously by true science fiction fans. It’s important to note that “fandom” comprises individuals who are very well-versed on details and to earn their loyalty and respect you’d better get the particulars right. Unfortunately, I would give an “F-“ to some elements in this story, which I’ll explain farther down.

I must say that I truly hope the author can take my comments as constructive criticism as opposed to bashing, which is not my intent. I believe this story deserves serious editing at the line, copy and content levels so it can become the great saga for which it holds promise. If I were its editor, here are some of the things I would suggest to bring it to its potential glory.

1. It’s best to open a story with the main character, not someone who will largely disappear or be absorbed. Furthermore, there were too many characters, especially in the beginning. They weren’t all faceless, but most didn’t have a distinct personality. Due to the scope of the story, several characters are justified, but they need to be humanized and developed to hold the reader’s interest.

2. The author’s writing style is reasonably good, almost to the point of what I would call “strong.” However, there are few relatively easy to fix stylistic issues that would result in considerable improvement. Probably the most noticeable would be to eliminate the repeated use of the POV character’s name. Interestingly enough, this didn’t occur until later in the story. It’s distracting for a name to be repeated a half-dozen times or more in a single paragraph, especially in places where the person in question is the only one involved. That’s why we have pronouns. If there are two people of the same gender involved in a scene, a reminder of who’s talking or doing what from time to time is useful, but effective pronoun use is essential to readability. You don’t want the reader thinking, “Yeah, yeah, I know it’s him already!” or, conversely, having to stop and reread a section to figure out who’s speaking or prevailing in a fight scene.

3. Typos are almost inevitable in any novel, my personal favorite in this tome being “zero-gravy” which would probably slip past a spell-checker, but some were grating such as the consistent use of the wrong homonym. One or two I can handle, but this was excessive. I’ve never seen so many. I suspect a good grammar checker would catch these since in most cases they represent an entirely different part of speech. For example:

solar flares, not flairs

waver in the limited light, not waiver

reigned in magnificence, not reined

soul was allowed to leave his care, not sole

waved Francis to take his seat, not waived

pour out of the satchel, not poor

higher branches, not hire branches

fell from the satchel right past Francis, not passed

4. The military jargon and procedures were convincing and came across with an air of authenticity. Good job there. However, the technical aspects were so far beyond feasible that it detracted from the rest of the story. One minor example is the use of paper onboard a starcruiser, which is beyond doubtful.

5. And speaking of a starcruiser, no matter how much of a conspiracy buff you might be with regard to UFOs, it would be more credible for the ET’s from Zeta-Reticuli to provide Earth with a ship with interstellar capability with the volume of three aircraft carriers than for us to suddenly acquire one, much less populate it with F-15E Strike Eagles. I would think that most people, particularly sci-fi fans, would know that these aircraft could not possibly fly in space. Just out of curiosity and as a detail-oriented person myself, I asked a friend who’s a former pilot about that. Here is what he said:

“The F-15 could not be controlled outside the atmosphere as the airplane’s control surfaces depend on air flow to cause changes in roll, pitch, and yaw.  Thrusters are required to maneuver in space.  If it had thrusters, I suspect that the structure would overheat and breakup during reentry.  Initial reentry mach is far higher and would generate far more heat than the F-15 materials could withstand.  The engines are air breathers and can’t burn the kerosene without oxygen.  Then there’s the little issue of gravity.  The fuel tanks, lubricating oil tanks, and hydraulic reservoirs depend on gravity to operate.  The pickup points are in the bottom of the tanks.  The fuel tanks have baffles to keep a small amount of fuel available for negative-G use.  The engines are okay with the oil on them for a short time and there is pressurized hydraulic fluid in the system. 

“The fighters and trainers that I flew were limited to 30 seconds negative-G or inverted flight.  Zero-G is not negative-G, I’m not sure if there would be any difference.  The F-15 cabin is pressurized to 5 psi above ambient at altitude.  (It is unpressurized to 8,000 feet, maintains 8,000 feet until it requires 5 psi, then maintains 5 psid.)  There should not be any issues with DCS if the pressurization were functioning but it won’t be because it uses bleed air off the jets and the jets won’t work in a vacuum.  Therefore, the crew is exposed to vacuum with probable deleterious results. Another issue: the generators are driven by the engines and if the engines aren’t turning you are down to battery power which will only power essential systems for a short duration.  The longer I think about this the more reasons I come with as to why the F-15 isn’t a spacecraft.”

 

Yes, there are readers who are acutely aware of such facts and inaccuracies of this magnitude detract from the story as a whole. It would be more credible to make up an entirely new craft (think X-wing or Tie fighters) than use one inappropriately. Even a mention of the aircraft being retrofitted would have helped, even though that would be extremely unlikely due to what it would entail.

6. Some plot angles, such as the potential for a conspiracy on the part of political figures, were dropped. If this will be developed in a sequel then that should be implied more clearly.

If I were to deduct one star for each of the above points, the book book have a negative rating. Of course all the work the author put into it is worth something and it did have some redeeming value, even though reading much of this book was downright painful. Nonetheless, I persisted to see how it would end, which was handled reasonably well and provided fertile ground for a sequel.

As noted earlier, the premise is interesting and has tremendous potential, but the execution left far too many shortcomings if you’re picky about the science being accurate and expect proper grammar and style that doesn’t keep tossing you out of the story, shaking your head. These issues require attention to pass muster with the ranks of true science fiction fans. Besides some good editing, a cadre of good beta readers are a valuable asset that I highly recommend.

If you’re so inclined, you can pick up a copy on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Return-Sagan-Neil-Patrick-ODonnell-ebook/dp/B00SP4BOZS/

Review of “The Star Agency Chronicles Book 2: The Voyages of the Seven”

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This second book in the “Star Agency Chronicles” series does a great job of expanding the cultures of the alien worlds to which “the seven” have been transported. In this story, they embark on specific journeys that resemble interstellar “sightseeing” in some respects and yet transform more to quests for others. The characters are further developed, at least some of them, as they meet the challenges thrust upon them inherent to their specific missions, greatly adding to the suspense and intrigue. Ruby’s situation is particularly fascinating and her evolution and growth especially well done. At this point, she is my favorite character. I love her spunk and courage coupled with emotional vulnerability, easily seen as a person who is hard on the outside yet soft on the inside.

The relationships between the various youth are credible and demonstrate nicely the complexity of teen emotions as they interact with each other, especially those of the opposite sex. Some have romantic possibilities while others are simply platonic. Jealousies arise as romantic interests are not reciprocated but directed elsewhere. The characters and their personalities are integrated nicely into the story, giving it more depth.

The aliens are definitely more enigmatic versus the first book, though I would have liked a few more reminders of what they look like. The interactions between the different alien worlds are further developed as well, introducing their various agendas that introduce numerous new plot twists, conflict and mystery in which the young characters are entangled.

I wish the author had not given two of the characters such similar names, i.e. Larissa and Lara, especially since Theo has taken to calling Larissa, Lari, which makes it even worse. The two are clearly different people, but it’s still slightly confusing, sometimes yanking me out of the story as I figure out which one is involved when all the characters are together. Maybe in the next volume one of them can acquire a nickname that will make each stand apart more clearly.

You’ve gotta love Lara, who shows signs of being slightly autistic, probably afflicted with Asperger’s syndrome. Her inability to filter what she says adds tension as well as raw honesty which adds to the interpersonal dynamics of this chosen group of youth. Larissa, though you see more of her in this story, is not nearly as well fleshed out as a character. A few of “the seven” have not gotten to “show their stuff” yet, which I assume will occur in the next book.

I give four stars to this entertaining and imaginative hard sci-fi series suitable and undoubtedly directed to teen and young adults.

You can pick up your copy on Amazon here.

Review of “The Star Agency” by R.E. Weber

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I thoroughly enjoyed this story about Theopolis James Logan’s grand adventure, which has barely begun, since this is the first book in a series. He’s a somewhat typical 13 year old, highly intelligent, a bit too outspoken for his own good, bored with school as the highly intelligent usually are, and generally disaffected by his life. Sound familiar? Whether you’re someone who has already survived the teen years or are dealing with them yourself, you will relate to Theo.

The suspense is well-sustained and keeps you turning the pages. The author has spun a great science fiction tale and created a vivid world. This story is a clean read with plenty of adventure and believable characters. While suitable for young readers, it’s an enjoyable “stress free” read for adults as well. However, remember this story is designed and targeted for younger readers, for whom it’s an excellent introduction to the world of sci-fi, but may not be what you’re looking for if you’re expecting a more sophisticated story/writing style populated with adult characters.

I appreciate the fact that the author stated that this book took years to write. I have to admit that I can truly relate to that, since mine did, too. To fully confess, I, too have written a young adult science fiction series and I believe that anyone who enjoys Weber’s story would enjoy my Star Trails Tetralogy and vice versa.

Pick up your copy of The Star Agency on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2aJcEjL

You can find my Star Trails Tetralogy Box Set on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1Sk1gpy

Last Day! Star Trails Tetralogy Box Set 99c!

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Today is your last chance to get your ecopy of the entire Star Trails Tetralogy for only 99c! The box set includes “Beyond the Hidden Sky,” “A Dark of Endless Days,” “A Psilent Place Below,” and “Refractions of Frozen Time” as well as “The Star Trails Compendium.” Descriptions of the individual books can be found below as well as at the series’ website, www.StarTrailsSaga.com.

STAR TRAILS TETRALOGY DESCRIPTION

Close families share everything.  Including consequences.  When one of the HIO’s premier terralogists refuses a job offer from a wannabe despot the chain of suspicious circumstances which quickly follow scatter his family across the galaxy.  Torn apart by space and time, will each survive long enough to be united ever again? 

VIDEO

Volume I: BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY

A move to another planet that goes horribly wrong.  A power hungry man’s obsession with another’s abilities.  Suspicious circumstances that scatter a family across the galaxy.  Will rescue efforts succeed or make the situation even worse?

VIDEO

When the Brightstar family leaves fog-shrouded and predictable Mira III for Cyraria they have no idea their comfortable lifestyle is about to end forever.  Even before the starcruiser arrives, shocking events transpire that comprise a parent’s worst nightmare.  Not only is their fourteen year old daughter, Creena, missing but it’s clear her father’s ruthless and power-hungry nemesis plans to exploit the situation to promote his own selfish ambitions. Formidable and lethal challenges await as increasingly suspicious circumstances scatter them across the galaxy.  Will they survive long enough to be together again?

“Sneek Peeks” on Bublish:

REVIEW SAMPLES

“The story begins at warp speed as space travel and its theory weaves throughout the tale of a family separated by mishap and kept apart by intent.” – Editorial Review

“The author’s colorful and animated word sketches give the reader the feel of actually watching or being right in the mix of the story. She brings personality and quirks to the characters as they develop through expressive descriptions and dialogue.” – Amazon Reviewer

“I am an author as well as having taught junior high science for a number of years and think this read would be a fabulous addition to classroom libraries as well as “the hungry for sci-fi lovers” personal bookshelf.” – Amazon Reviewer

“Although geared for the YA market, it is suited for sci-fi audiences for all ages who will thoroughly enjoy the talented professional writing of Marcha Fox’s wonderful expeditions.” – Amazon Reviewer

“All her characters, even creatures on the planets, are outstanding examples of a writer totally in touch with the depths of the subconscious mind, all interacting with their roles of good and evil with hidden spiritual messages as one experiences their own individual growth of consciousness.” – Amazon Reviewer

 ALL AMAZON REVIEWS OF BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY

BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY on GOODREADS

Volume II: A DARK OF ENDLESS DAYS

Opposition’s lethal temperatures are more than a simple ballome can’t withstand.  Designing and building a heat-exchanger is the only way they’ll survive.  Obtaining the needed components, however, is another story.

VIDEO

On a hostile planet like Cyraria terralogists are in high demand and Laren Brightstar is one of the best.  Regional governors compete for positions at the territorial level based on their economic achievements, allowing those with terraforming skills to demand a high price.  Refusing to work for those with devious intent, however, has an even higher price.  Thus the Brightstar family discovers when they’re plunged into a web of political intrigue on a planet cursed with lethal weather where survival can never be taken for granted.  Will their missing daughter return with help or will she remain trapped forever on an alien world?

“Sneek Peeks” on Bublish:

 

REVIEW SAMPLES

“Young people can identify with the children in the family, but this series is for people of all ages. Marcha does transport you to outer space, way into the future, and you will believe you are there with the Brightstar family.” – Amazon Reviewer

“In the vein of old science fiction literature this story could end up as another classic. Its original, with all the components, technology, other world and races, and a contact with Earth.” – Amazon Reviewer

“Written in a technically proficient yet engaging style this book is sure to captivate science fiction lovers of all ages!” – Amazon Reviewer

“Fox once again does an exceptional job building character and making her created universe a reality. I can’t turn a page without picturing the story in my mind and visualizing each character.” – Amazon Reviewer

 ALL AMAZON REVIEWS OF A DARK OF ENDLESS DAYS

A DARK OF ENDLESS DAYS on GOODREADS

Volume III: A PSILENT PLACE BELOW

Taking refuge in the Caverns is like a dream come true.  But the dreams generated by their mysterious depths promise death or worse.  Is forewarned really forearmed?  Or another lure into the Integrator’s grasp?

VIDEO

Going underground to escape Cyraria’s harsh climate brings more than a few surprises besides the hospitality of an indigenous race known as the bnolar.  The caverns feel strangely like home, but shortly after their arrival prophetic visions in the form of veridical dreams alert them to upcoming danger.  Incarcerated in a territorial prison, Laren Brightstar is about to receive and refuse Augustus Troy’s final offer, after which he’ll be exiled permanently to a place from which there is no return.  Will Dirck and Win’s rescue succeed?

“Sneek Peeks” on Bublish:

 

REVIEW SAMPLES

“The specific and very detailed description of the places and of the characters say so much about the author’s capacity to depict all of it with words, making your imagination start running freely in the process.” – Amazon Reviewer

“[The author] has created an entire world and its inhabitants along with various languages and races that each have unique abilities and qualities. Her extensive knowledge in science is evident in the explanations that are utterly believable.” – Amazon Reviewer

“A highly intelligent and prolific read, you really get a feel for the authors experience given she had a career at NASA. Speaks to the insight and depth of the book, well thought out and concise.” – Amazon Reviewer

ALL AMAZON REVIEWS OF A PSILENT PLACE BELOW

A PSILENT PLACE BELOW on GOODREADS

Volume IV: REFRACTIONS OF FROZEN TIME

A discovery that links two dimensions of time.  A prison ship’s dirty little secret.  Esheron has answers but can they access them before it’s too late? 

VIDEO

The discovery of a mineral that manipulates space and time provides the potential to reunite the Brightstar family at last.  Controlling it, however, is another matter.  With the Integrator closing in on the ability to destroy anyone for whom they have a mindprint, finding the secret of manipulating the two dimensions of time becomes a matter of life and death.  But is time their ally or another enemy?

“Sneak Peeks” on Bublish

REVIEW SAMPLES

“Author Marcha Fox has a gift for explaining the science. The detailed world she creates in the Star Trails Tetralogy is genius, so well thought out and crafted. As the Brightstar youngsters observe and understand their surroundings, their conclusions can be coloured by their Miran schooling, but when they break old habits and open their minds in order to survive this hostile planet they now call home, these children achieve the incredible. Quite Beautiful.” – Amazon Reviewer

“What sets this apart from run-of-the-mill ” space operas is Fox’s experience during her tenure at NASA. She draws upon her technical expertise and enhances it with fact-based theory that gives this as much of a ‘what-if’ perspective as you can expect within the genre. The moral and philosophical questions also give us much to reflect upon.” – Amazon Reviewer

“[The author’s] creativity and imagination never fall short but always leave me wanting more. Each character has been carefully crafted and developed. I enjoyed watching the children develop and grow from bickering teens to collaborative young adults. The final climax had me shivering as the forces of dark and light came hurtling together into an unexpected and shocking end.” – Amazon Reviewer

ALL AMAZON REVIEWS of REFRACTIONS OF FROZEN TIME

REFRACTIONS OF FROZEN TIME on GOODREADS

BOX SET BUY LINKS

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1kAJxRn

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/550675

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set/id1007498996

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set-marcha-fox/1122157702

Stock Photo Copyright: kjpargeter / 123RF Stock Photo

Over 1500 pages of Hard Sci-Fi for 99c

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Don’t you just hate serials?  Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you’re deeply entrenched in a story then abruptly thrust to the edge of an annoying cliffhanger? Worse yet, when it means waiting months or even longer before the next book comes out!

With a box set those frustrations no longer exist. No waiting, no additional purchases, everything is right there, in this case 1500 pages of a hard sci-fi family saga ready to transport you to another realm.  If you’re unfamiliar with this tetralogy, you can learn more at the series’ website or explore the individual stories in the excerpts included with the “Book Bubbles” at the author’s site on Bublish.  If you’re already a fan, now’s your chance to get them all for a bargain price.

Each book has been released separately to 5-star reviews.  In addition, this set includes the Star Trails Compendium with terms, definitions, and detailed background information on the stories’ planetary setting.  As a physicist I’ve made science an inherent part of this series which the Compendium exploits in a special section for parents and educators with ready-made discussion ideas and lessons plans designed to stimulate interest in science and engineering.

Whether you’re simply a hard science fiction fan or a science teacher looking for a ready-made extra credit package, this series is for you!  So what are you waiting for?  Blast off now with the Brightstar family for a gripping interstellar ride across the galaxy!

Grab The Star Trails Tetralogy ebook Box Set while it’s only $0.99 and save $5.00!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1kAJxRn

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/550675

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set/id1007498996

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set-marcha-fox/1122157702

Stock Photo Copyright: kjpargeter / 123RF Stock Photo

Spend the Summer on Another Planet

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In case you missed it earlier, here’s another reminder that the entire Star Trails Tetralogy, over 1500 pages of classic hard science fiction, is still on sale as a box set for only 99c from July 1 – 4. The price has NEVER been this low and won’t be again for a long time, so grab a copy now. Why? I’m celebrating the first anniversary of when the box set was released on July 3, 2015.

Each of the four novels are included as well as the Star Trails Compendium, which includes background information on Cyraria, a glossary of terms, and a section for parents and educators who want to use the series to stimulate discussions and learning of the various scientific principles. Remember, I’m a physicist and take great pains to assure the science is accurate, sci-fi excursions notwithstanding. You can learn more about the individual books at the series’ website.

Examples of what reviewers are saying:

“A magnificent space opera of epic proportions.”

“Master storyteller of the highest caliber.”

“In the vein of old #scifi literature this story could end up as another classic.”

“Drops us off in an imaginative world similar to Star Wars or Star Trek.”

Anyone who loves hard science will lap this book up.”

“Sci-fi at its best. This space opera is fast paced and action packed and will leave you breathless.”

“Imaginative hard scifi with real-life characters.”

“Everything a good sci-fi book needs including an author who knows her stuff.”

If you love hard sci-fi, what do you have to lose for 99c?

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1kAJxRn

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/550675

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set/id1007498996

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set-marcha-fox/1122157702

Stock Photo Copyright: kjpargeter / 123RF Stock Photo

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

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I’ve always loved that quote, which illustrates one of the many absurdities in the English language. And speaking of time flying, I can’t believe that on July 3 it’ll be a year since the Star Trails Tetralogy Box Set was released! Seeing the series as a box set was my goal as soon as I realized the Brightstar’s story wasn’t finished with the first volume, but had only begun. Considering it ultimately took four books that comprised 1500 pages, there was definitely a lot more to tell! So, I’m celebrating the first anniversary of this life milestone by selling the entire tetralogy this weekend for only $0.99 USD.

I started working on “Beyond the Hidden Sky” so long ago I hate to admit it. There were definitely a few life obstacles in the way between the late 70s and now. During that time I finished having my children, got a physics degree, moved from Utah to Texas, became a grandmother (and now a great-grandmother) and fulfilled my dream of working for NASA. Believe it or not, the degree and NASA gig were specifically to prepare me to be a better science fiction writer. I kid you not. I took “write what you know” to heart and I hope it shows!

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The first book was revised more times than I can begin to count. It was initially written on an archaic device known as a typewriter and then went through at least three different word processors, (Word Star, Word Perfect and Microsoft Word). In fact, artifacts from those earlier electronic versions brought some pretty mysterious characters into the first few electronic and even print versions, until I figured out how to get them out.

Much of what was science fiction at the time, such as my rendition of the internet, Craig’s List and a Bitcoin lookalike, became science fact during this lull between writing and publishing. Needless to say, this required upgrading the technology numerous times. Now, at the rate things are advancing, it won’t be long before the entire series is in the realm of science fact, except, perhaps, for cristobalite or devenite crystals. But you never know, given they’re busily creating new elements these days as well as making new discoveries in quantum physics.

Thus, to celebrate the box set’s birthday on July 3, I’m marking it down to $0.99 USD for the USA’s Independence Day weekend ONLY (July 2 – 4 for those outside the USA). So, if you’ve been waiting for a super-giant sale to get your copy, this is it! If you’re unfamiliar with the series, you can learn more about it and see the reviews at the series website, www.StarTrailsSaga.com.

Pick yours up at any of the sales outlets below.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1kAJxRn

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/550675

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set/id1007498996

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set-marcha-fox/1122157702

Stock Photo Copyright: kjpargeter / 123RF Stock Photo

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Review of “Alien Affairs” by Scott Skipper

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This fast-moving tale was one of the most entertaining stories I’ve read in a long time. Not only did I find numerous scenes laugh-out-loud hilarious, but it had enough suspense for me to stay up into the wee hours of the night to see how it ended.

Ironically, one of the reasons I bought this book was because one of its reviewers gave it a poor rating simply because it was politically incorrect.  And they were right, it certainly is.  And therein was where I found most of the humor. The snarky, cynical comments were such an accurate reflection of the state of the world today that you either laugh or cry.  I, for one, prefer to laugh.

The story begins with the Roswell incident back in 1947, with which any UFO nut like myself is duly familiar. The author did an excellent job of recounting the incident and blending those individuals mentioned in the historical record with fictitious characters.  In fact, it’s difficult to tell where the truth (which is undoubtedly out there) ends and speculation begins, placing this story within that popular sci-fi subgenre where fact mingles comfortably with supposition.

This version of the incident begins when a counter-intelligence officer recovers an e-reader the surviving alien was trying to destroy. They discover that it activates when picked up and displays alien writing on its screen, but shuts down a few moments later, leaving the person slightly light-headed. The device eventually winds up in the hands of the CIA where Miles Ashly, a linguist, and Lambert Gray, a cryptographer, are tasked with the translation and soon discover that as they begin to recognize certain words that the device “speaks” the word telepathically, providing the pronunciation, then eventually starts teaching Ashly the language.  When they uncover the aliens’ “Mission Plan” they are horrified to discover that their intent was to exterminate the human race. Once the failure is apparent to those back on Tau Ceti, a new attempt will be made which they expect will occur around 2016.

The author marches through time, taking us to the present while tying in various historical events, such as the race to the Moon as well as other presidential administrations.  Eventually Ashly retires and decides to teach the alien language to his grand-niece, Carrie Player, telling her it’s the language of the Dogon people. Years later, when he’s on his death bed and Carrie is an adult, he tells her the truth and advises her to write the CIA a letter about her special skills when she graduates from college. She does and, as expected, they hire her.  It takes a couple decades but eventually the dreaded day arrives when three UFOs are discovered on a course toward Earth.  Their plan is not to kill everyone overtly, but rather render everyone sterile, so they would die off over time. The reason for this action is because Earthlings are a potentially harmful, belligerent race that poses a potential danger to other civilizations in interstellar space.

Eventually contact is made with the incoming craft and Carrie converses on her cell phone with their leader, a grey, almond-eyed alien named Deshler, and the real fun begins, starting with her assigning the theme from The Twilight Zone as his ring tone.  Her goal, as expected, is to talk him and his crew out of completing their mission to exterminate the human race.  Various remarks about how our government operates as well as conducts international relations definitely were politically incorrect.  For example, Carrie’s question during one conversation where she asked, “We have many parasites who live off the work of others. Could you use your sterilization stuff selectively? There are plenty of people I would like to stop from reproducing.”

The POTUS is not shown in a positive light, either, which would undoubtedly be offensive to some if you projected his identity to an actual person. Frankly, depending on your political persuasion, he could be from either major party, both of which are laughable these days, if you maintain your objectivity and sense of humor. Thus, those of you who can see our current state of affairs for the FUBAR it is will appreciate the satire and what is a rather convincing tale with enough credibility to make you wonder, as good fiction should.

The dialog is convincing but includes quite a few f-bombs, so those who prefer less graphic language may want to look elsewhere. If you’re a UFO fan you’ll recognize numerous familiar stories and names which provide authenticity and credibility as they interact with Skipper’s characters.  Depictions of how the various government agencies would react to the situation’s developments are believable, the characters diverse and engaging, the technology described sufficient to satisfy hard sci-fi fans.  The story would make an excellent mini-series with its outstanding balance of humor, suspense, and UFO lore, somewhat like a cross between The X-Files and Men in Black. I found it sci-fi at its best with any political incorrectness contributing to its authenticity.  I’m actually glad that it’s the first book in a series and look forward to reading the sequels.

You can pick up a copy at Amazon here.  (Affiliate link)