Monthly Archives: October 2013

Publishing Is Easy

Great post by David Gaughran on why publishing is easy.

David Gaughran


There are three primary tasks a writer must undertake to get her work into the hands of readers: writing, publishing, and marketing.

Out of those three, I respectfully submit, publishing is by far the easiest.


Writing a book is hard, and writing a good book is even harder – at least from the perspective of the inexperienced writer. Most people who think about writing a book never start one. Most people who start one never finish it. And most people who finish a book never polish it to the point where it’s ready for prime-time and/or never get it out the door for one reason or another.

To write a good book, you have to put in the time in terms of reading with intent, learning about the craft, gaining mastery of the tools at your disposal, and putting all that into practice with book after book (some of…

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Post on Marketing

Here’s a link about how Hugh Howey approached marketing his books. It’s all about connections and being authentic. Very cool piece.

Fantastic Review for Yucatan Dead

Fireworks designOkay, so here’s something that happened yesterday that was extra super cool: I got word that the MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW gave YUCATAN DEAD a really great review. Talk about awesome. Up until now I’d never received a book review that had the words “very highly recommended” and “block-buster” in the same sentence 🙂

MBR is a well-respected book reviewer that supports small presses and self-published writers. In their words, “Midwest Book Review is an organization committed to promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing.” And, they don’t charge for reviews (unless you want to send them an e-copy).

Reviews are important to writers. They can make or break a book, believe me. So, if you have a favorite author whose books you love, go ahead and leave a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, Goodreads, or Shelfari, wherever you have an account. And, if you’re at a loss as to what to write, just say that you liked/loved the book. I guarantee the author will be glad you did.

Here’s the review (the link is below):

“A smoothly woven story of suspense, “Yucatan Dead” clearly demonstrates author D. V. Berkom’s mastery of her literary craft in creating memorable characters and an unrelenting thriller of a tension filled novel. “Yucatan Dead” is the stuff of which block-buster movies are made and a very highly recommended, entertaining addition to personal reading lists and community library Mystery/Suspense collections.”

Link to Midwest Book Review’s review of Yucatan Dead  (The review for YD is the fourth one down)

Awesome Authors–Denise Hartman

Author Denise HartmanHappy Thursday, everybody! Today on Awesome Authors I get to interview mystery author and intrepid world traveler, Denise Hartman. Denise is a former journalist and has worked as a freelance writer, graphic designer, and video producer. She currently lives in Madrid, Spain.  Here’s her bio (from the author)

“Denise’s background in journalism and television production has influenced her writing style and habits, while living overseas for several years, currently in Madrid, Spain, gives Denise’s imagination new sights and sounds for her mysteries. She has been a member of Sisters In Crime since 1996. Denise has a passion for reading, books, travel, dogs, tea, and teapots– not necessarily in that order.”

And now, heeeere’s Denise 🙂

DV: Hi Denise! Welcome to Awesome Authors. Tell us something about yourself.

DH: I’m short and that seems to be the first thing people want to talk about with me. I stopped growing vertically when I was 10, it’s been a horizontal journey ever since!

DV: LOL. When did you realize you were a writer?

DH: When I was in fifth grade (around the time I stopped growing!), I wrote a mystery play and the class performed it. I already loved stories but I realized I wanted to be a writer. When I started getting paid to write after college, I thought, “I’m really AM a writer.”

“This perspective of not just visiting but living day in and day out in and with another culture has forced me to consider other ways of doing life…”

DV:  Don’t you just love that ‘aha’ moment when you know you’re a writer? Tell us about your latest book. What was your favorite part about writing it? Least favorite?

DH: Nosy Neighbors will be released on Dec. 1. I have loved spending time with these characters, many of them in their senior years in retirement in Florida. It’s an environment I’ve spent a lot of time in with my grandmother. It’s fun for me.

The hardest part of writing for me is editing. By the third or fourth pass, I know the story so well and it’s not as much fun. I also seem to always write when I’m somewhere else geographically, so keeping things accurate is a challenge too.

DV: How has living abroad influenced your writing?cover for Killed in Kruger

DH: I love new places.  I grew up in Kansas City and now I’ve lived in Brussels, Belgium and in Madrid, Spain. This perspective of not just visiting but living day in and day out in and with another culture has forced me to consider other ways of doing life, whether I like it or not. This new way of looking at perspectives on life I take to my characters and my places in my stories. I hope it gives more authenticity to the various personalities and environments. It’s easier to step outside of my way of looking at the world and incorporate some other ideas because I’m forced to look at life differently than I naturally would by the common place every day situations of living in a foreign country.

DV: Totally get that, Denise. It’s one of the best reasons I can think of to travel. What inspires you and why?

DH: Exploring new spaces is really energizing for me. I see more detail in faces and imagine intrigue behind every new facade. It can be the simplest thing that triggers an idea, a look or a street corner. It just sets off my writer antenna and my mind starts whirring.

DV: What do you find most challenging about writing a novel? Why?

DH: I love to plot and that comes to me naturally. My first job was as a news reporter and we didn’t have space for description, so it is always a challenge to me to put enough detail and keep it consistent thru out the length of the book.

“It can be the simplest thing that triggers an idea”

DV: Tell me about your process: do you plot your novels or are you a “pantser”? What do you like best about writing?

DH: I have done two books and numerous short stories “pantser” style. I enjoyed the exploration of the characters and what would happen next. Nosy Neighbors which is coming out soon started life as a short story. The short story worked as an outline and I added to it as I had ideas. I enjoyed this and found the book came together better, so I’ve started “narrative” outline for my next idea.

DV: How do you develop your characters?

DH: Some characters are just whole in my mind after the idea strikes me. Others come from mutations of things I read or images I see or a mishmash of people I have met. I once saw a guy in an airport that was a dead ringer for a character in Killed in Kruger, my first novel. He wasn’t a nice character so I was a little creeped out.

DV: Do you do much research for your novels?

DH: I don’t start out doing so much unless you count trips I take to the places I write about before the ideas are fully formed. I do speed researching of individual facts while I write and also do more of a research-edit pass to get things as right as possible after the draft is done.

DV: Is there an underlying message in your books?

DH: I’ve thought about underlying messages or themes after the fact, not as a precursor to writing. One consistent theme I find in my short stories and novels is a strong woman protagonist which was never intentional on my part. I was happy to discover that learning contentment was also a theme in Killed in Kruger.

DV: I think if you’re a strong woman yourself, you tend to write them as characters. What advice would you give to new writers?

DH: Persevere and find ways to enjoy the journey. It’s easy as a writer to only look at a finished book or a sold book or a certain number of sales as “success” but if you enjoy the process, there’s less pressure.

DV: Which writers have influenced you the most?

DH: Sometimes it’s the last book I read is what is influencing me but I particularly like suspenseful, tight plots. Mary Higgins Clark, Edna Buchanan, Charlotte Bronte, Agatha Christie, and I could go on!

One consistent theme I find in my short stories and novels is a strong woman protagonist…”

DV: What made you decide to go indie rather than traditional publishing?

DH: I have actually worked in the book publishing business, doing layout or interfacing with printers in my graphic design side of work. When self-publishing became common and it was clear that books were headed into the same sort of renaissance situation that music has experienced, I decided why not? I had the knowledge for much of the process already, and besides it’s more fun than asking agents to look at query letters.

DV: No kidding 🙂 What practices have you found to be most effective in promoting your books?

DH: Don’t stop. I have a busy day job and I’ve found that if I just keep pecking away at social media and blogging etc, I grow bit by bit. I’d love to have more marketing time but some is better than none.

DV: If you could time-travel (either backward or forward) where would you go and why?

DH: I think I’d go sci-fi. I don’t know how far in the future but I know I don’t want to go to less utilities and modern amenities. I’d be a pilot who could fly in outer space or a captain of star ship.

DV: That would be way cool 🙂 Thanks, Denise, for submitting to the interview today. To hear more about Denise’s travels or books check out her blog, her website, or find her on Facebook. An excerpt from her new book, Nosy Neighbors, can be found below.

Amazon Link  for Killed in Kruger

Barnes and Noble  





Nosy Neighbors, a novel of suspense

Chapter One

Blanche pulled up short with her key in the door. Something was wrong. Blanche’s key flipped loosely in her apartment door. She stared at the tiny brass knocker and peep-hole. It didn’t feel right. It was like the door wasn’t locked. She knew she locked it. She always did even when she trotted down to knock on a condo neighbor’s door.

She crept inside and looked around. Footprints in the freshly vacuumed cream carpet pattern weren’t hers. She’d vacuumed this morning. The sliding patio door was open a crack. She knew she’d closed it after breakfast outside. Temp predictions for 90 made sure she popped the a/c on before she left.

“Burgled!” She said out loud when her eyes moved to the kitchen counter. Her last ATM withdrawal of cash was not on the counter where she left it. She’d taken the tip for Sammy, her hair dresser and left the rest lying on the counter.

She reached for her weapon of choice and pushed 911 on her telephone.

“All operators are busy. Please be prepared to explain the nature of your emergency.”

Right. Blanche knew that meant that officers were busy too and weren’t going to be dispatched to her tiny burglary in the Seaside Flats. She dialed Alice the condo secretary and explained the situation.

“Oh yeah. Sarah in 201 has missed some cash and the Achmeds in 420 reported some silver figurines missing.”

“What? Why haven’t you sent out a warning or something to the residents?”

“We’re getting one organized, but Klaud had problems with his duplication-thingee.”


“Yeah, something.”

“You guys are incompetent.” Blanche drummed her fresh red nails on the end table by the red phone appreciating how they matched.

“What are you all worked up about? Would you have put your jewels in the bank or something?” Alice knew how to dish it back. They’d been on the condo board together for years.

“Maybe.” No one needed to know that Harry had never been the jewelry buying type. He wasn’t really the buying of anything type.

“You coulda left your door unlocked. You should be more careful,” Alice said.

“I never leave my door unlocked. Not even when I go to the laundry room.”

“Well, we’re all getting older. Maybe you forgot.”

“I did not forget. And who are you calling old?” Blanche heard Alice snort on the other end of the line. She knew Alice was older than her. They always exchanged good-natured banter. “Anyway, I thought someone in the condo should know. I’m driving over to the police station now and talk to them.”

“To tell the truth, they haven’t been much help.” Alice complained.

“We’ll see what I can do about that. I’m going to get to the bottom of this.” Nobody walked off with $200 from Blanche Binkley’s kitchen and nobody was getting away with thinking she was an absent minded old lady either.


Readers Want to Know…Yucatan Peninsula

Lately, I’ve gotten emails from readers asking how I came up with some of the scenes in Yucatan Dead and thought it would be fun to post the photographs that inspired them from my latest trip to Mexico. I’ve found actually traveling and researching a specific area and noting the sights, sounds, smells, and general feel of a place works wonders on my imagination and lends more credibility to the scenes.

Ek Balam

At the ruins of Ek’ Balam– a true Indiana Jones moment…

Before I left on the trip I’d been writing what I thought was going to be a mystery with my character, Kate Jones. This trip was supposed to be for researching a future novel. But Mexico changed all that.

And, as I’ve learned, you don’t argue with Mexico.

So, my mystery turned into a full-on thriller about the ruthless drug cartels that have destabilized so much of that country. Since I’m a novelist and basically lie for a living, I made up a group of off the grid commandos working deep in the jungle, fighting the cartels. Little did I know at the time, but groups of locals had steadily begun taking up arms against the cartels. Some of these groups have been backed/trained by the CIA and/or the DEA, as well as the Mexican government. Some continue to operate clandestinely. Many are now being hunted by the cartels, and the number of people from several ‘hot’ areas in Mexico who are requesting asylum in the United States has skyrocketed. Although there are still several places deemed by the State Department as safe to travel in Mexico, obviously, there are some areas you should avoid. Driving through Sonora and Sinaloa in an old jeep in the middle of a scathing hot September would be one of them 🙂

El Castillo

El Castillo at Chichen Itza

Back to the trip: in the book, I gave one of the drug cartels Kate ends up fighting against the name of El Castillo, which is the name of one of the main structures at the archaeological site of Chichen Itza. Visitors are no longer allowed to climb the pyramid after someone fell to their death a few years back, but it’s still mighty impressive to look at.

There’s a scene where Kate stumbles upon an undiscovered Maya site (of which there are said to be hundreds in Mexico and Guatemala) which had a cenote, or fresh water spring hidden beneath decades of jungle growth.

photo of jungle

It’s a jungle out there…

If you look closely, you’ll see an ancient wall underneath all that vegetation…

photo of hacienda


While inland, I stayed at a historic hacienda built on top of an ancient Maya site by the Spaniards in 1523. These Spaniards went so far as to use the stones of a Maya temple for its walls (the hacienda is now run as an eco-tourism resort managed by Maya). In Yucatan Dead, Kate is kidnapped and taken to a hacienda deep in the jungle to meet her nemesis, Roberto Salazar. The description of the place grew from my experience while at the hacienda, and my jumping off point was the entrance (note the brick wall–these were ancient Maya building materials, most likely from the temple that had stood there centuries before).

Hands-down, my favorite places were the ancient Maya archaeological sites of Ek’ Balam and Coba (Chichen Itza and Tulum were pretty fantastic, too, but sooo crowded, it was hard to get a good feel for them). The showdown between Kate and Salazar takes place at a fictitious Maya site that I based on a combination of them all. Here’s a bird’s-eye view of Ek’ Balam, one of the most recently discovered sites on the peninsula (yes, those are my hiking shoes):

photo of Ek' Balam

The ruins at Ek’ Balam

The next picture is where I got the idea for the entrance to the temple at the top of the pyramid. This is called the Temple of the Jaguar, and is located on the tallest pyramid at the site. You can still climb this structure as well as the rest of the buildings, although I’m not sure how long that will be true. More and more people are discovering the site and the impact of all those tourists on the ancient structures is growing.

Photo of Temple of the Jaguar

Temple of the Jaguar (Ek’ Balam)

Roughly translated, Ek’ Balam means black jaguar, or bright star jaguar, and the big cat figures prominently in Yucatan Dead. In the photo above, the teeth along the bottom form the lower jaw, depicting the open mouth of a jaguar.

photo of carved jaguar

Carving of a jaguar

There are carvings of winged beings, some sculpted with a distinctly smaller arm, allowing for the Maya belief that people born with physical differences had special powers.

picture of winged beings at ek' balam

Nohoc Mul

Nohoc Mul

This picture is of the pyramid at Coba, which you can still climb (as of 2013). It’s the tallest pyramid on the peninsula (138 feet) and when you’re at the top you can see dozens of mounds in the distance that are thought to be undiscovered ancient Maya sites. The view from the top is fantastic, to say the least, and was one of the high points of the trip.

A structure with a small room sits at the top of the pyramid, with a carving on the outside depicting the Descending God, an upside down dude with a helmet. He’s also referred to as the Honey God, since honey was one of Coba’s main trade products. No one really knows who or what he represents, but that’s their best guess.

An interesting tidbit: many of these sites are connected by what are called sacbes, or raised paved roads (usually white since they were/are covered in limestone and stucco). One of them runs from Coba all the way to the coast and many were used as trade routes between communities.

The Observatory at Chichen Itza

The Observatory at Chichen Itza

Another structure referred to in the showdown scene in Yucatan Dead resembles the Observatory at Chichen Itza, which is thought to have been used by the Maya for studying the cosmos.

And, of course what pictorial essay about Mexico would be complete without the obligatory Caribbean beach shot?

photo of beach at Tulum

Beach at Tulum

The Yucatan Peninsula was one of the most intriguing places I’ve been to and I plan to re-visit the area. It’s relatively safe, although you still need to be on the lookout for the ubiquitous gas station pumping scams and slow-moving farm machinery. Cartel violence has been reported just outside of Cancun, but is miniscule compared to other places in Mexico so don’t worry unnecessarily about going. Victims are generally related to the cartels in some way, either by being in the business or knowing someone in the business. Don’t take stupid chances like walking alone at night, or going into a dangerous area alone (just like when you go anywhere new). Otherwise, the Mexican people are warm and welcoming folks, and will treat you well if you treat them the same. Mexico is a fabulous country to visit and has many, many faces. I guarantee if you keep an open mind, you’ll enjoy what it has to offer.

Author sitting next to Hacienda arch

Awesome Authors–Kathy Rowe

Author Kathy RoweToday on Awesome Authors I get to interview multi-MULTI genre indie author, Kathy Rowe. Kathy is a contributing author on Indies Unlimited, and has written romance, horror, sci fi, and erotica. I’m sure if there’s a genre she hasn’t written in, she’ll be tackling it soon! Here’s her bio:

(From the author): K. Rowe is a multi-genre author and retired U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant. She has been writing for the last twenty-plus years. Stationed at various bases around the U.S.A. and in Europe, she draws from her years of active service. Blending fact and fiction, she spends hours researching technology and locations for her work.

She lives on a 100-acre farm in eastern Kentucky with her husband, four dogs, three horses, two cats, chickens, ducks, turkeys, and a pig named Sherman. When not pounding out several novels a year on her laptop, she can be found working in the garden, or in the fields proudly driving her 1953 Ferguson tractor.

Her favorite part about being an author is interacting with her fans, and she appreciates reviews and feedback. You can find more info on her here:

D: Welcome to Awesome Authors, Kathy! Please describe your latest release in two sentences or less.

K: Space Available is a sci-fi/action adventure. It’s the 3rd book in the Dar’s Adventures in Space series.cover for space available

D: You write in multiple genres: sci-fi, contemporary romance, erotica, horror. What’s it like switching between such vastly different genres? Opportunities? Challenges?

K: I used to think I could only write military thrillers- since “Project: Dragonslayers” was my first book that took me 20+ years to write. But after that, I started looking around to see what else tickled my fancy. So I took a stab at horror (no pun intended) and also romance. I had a few folks read them and said I should try other genres. One of my horror author mentors dared me to write sci-fi. Well, you know what happens when you dare someone? And then along came the “Space” series. I tend to fall in love with my characters, so just making one book doesn’t always seem to satisfy me, I’m quite happy writing series.

cover for dragonslayersD: What is your favorite genre to read and/or write?

K: I know I’ll probably get my wrist slapped for this, but I rarely have time to read fiction. I spend far more time (what I have) reading non-fiction to either gather information for stories, or to learn more about the writing craft itself. My shelf of writing/screenwriting books is ever growing. As for my favorite genre, that’s a hard one. I have very much enjoyed writing sci-fi, but the romances have also been personally rewarding.

D: When it comes to writing, are you an early riser or a night owl?

K: Totally an early riser! 20 years in the military has my mind and body conditioned to being up early—well, around 7 am now. And I also have morning barn chores which includes feeding close to 30 animals and turning our three horses out in their paddocks. Once that’s done, I come back to the house and can sit down and write.

D: How much research do you do when you write?

K: Depends on the book. The military thrillers have MONTHS of research done before I even start writing. Sci-fi, well, a lot of that I can make up, but remembering to be consistent can be tough. And you must try to play by the rules of physics; although breaking them is sometimes okay. Romances require some research to make them plausible. My novella “Cowboys and Olympians” threw me into a new realm of equestrian sport: reining. I knew nothing about the discipline, so I had to contact folks that did. Once I had all the information, I think it really helped make the story. I also e-mailed the racing manager for Keeneland Racetrack here in Kentucky for my book “Silks and Sand.”cover for silks and sands

“…Everything gets done in time.”

D: What do you struggle the most with when writing? How do you overcome it?

K: A lot of times I get a great idea, I rush to the keyboard, and hurriedly type everything into a Word doc. But once the initial “steam” bleeds off, I hit walls. Case in point: “Money Breakers”—it’s a story about crooks that manage to hack into the Federal Reserve Bank computers and steal millions of dollars. Sounds like a cool idea, right? I thought so, but all that will require vast amounts of research into the possibility of being a workable storyline. So it sits on my computer in a folder to come back to later. Most of my stories are pretty self-revealing, and once in a while I’ll hit a snag and put it aside to work on something else. Eventually, an idea will pop into my head and I’ll go back to work on the first project. Everything gets done in time.

D: What type of book promotion has worked the best for you?

cover for cowboys and olympians
K: Some, none! I’ve used a shotgun approach to promotion. I don’t heavily promote on social media because I know it bugs the crap out of folks to be constantly spammed by book promos. When I get ready to launch a book, I may put a few posts on Facebook and Twitter, but that’s about it. When the book launches, I post a few more. I may even post a review (if someone writes one) and links to buy the book. I have one free book, Space Crazy that I’ve sent out to the big eBook sites that post freebies. EReader News [Today] posted the book, and in one day, I had over 1,000 downloads on Amazon! It’s also free on Smashwords, and to date, I’ve had over 2,400 downloads on that site. Some people think giving something away for free downgrades us as authors. Well, I took the advice of another Indie writer who put up a book for free, and he got so many fans that bought the next book in the series (and so on) that he got to quit his day job and become a writer full time. I’m not there yet, but one of these days. And there’s always “face time” in the local community by doing book signings and other events.

“…just write—every day if you can. Write anything and everything. A little, a lot. Just write!”

D: Who is your favorite author? Why?

K: Oh, tough one. As I look over my shoulder in my office at the 16 shelves of books, 14 of them are non-fiction! And the 2 shelves that have fiction, 1 is equestrian fiction, and the other miscellaneous authors. Truly I don’t have one favorite fiction author, but for non-fiction, it would probably be Alois Podhajsky- a former director of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. I have several of his books on horse training and love the way he wrote.

D: What is the best writing advice you received? Worst?cover for space crazy

K: Best: just write—every day if you can. Write anything and everything. A little, a lot. Just write! Worst: keeping locked to a word count every day. No, I’m not going to write 2,000 words a day. Sometimes my muse can’t do that, or I have other things that need to get done around the farm. I find doing that only stifles my creativity. So what if I only write 300 words one day? You better bet they’re going to be 300 great words.

D: What are you working on now?

K: Another contemporary romance titled, Farmer Boys and City Girls. It’s about a Chicago city “girl” (divorcee) that moves to rural Kentucky (okay, yes, I’m writing some of what I know) and meets a guy at a tractor rally. He’s good looking, but not without some scars. She falls for him, but is unsure how to make her intentions known once she finds out he’s a fairly staunch Christian. The story takes an interesting twist when two other brothers get thrown into the equation. I consider it a “hot” romance, not erotica. I’ve kept my mind adjusted for romance. And the sex scenes, while definitely hot, are not erotic-type graphic.

D: In light of the huge changes in publishing, where do you think the industry is headed? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

cover for the hallK: I think the Big 5/6 will have their work cut out as more Indie authors break into the big time. As long as an author takes the time to put out a high quality book that has a great story, why do we need traditional publishers? From everything I’ve read lately, if you’re a new author with a publishing house contract, you’ll get your book published, in stores, and maybe a teensy bit of promo. We all know the days of brick and mortar chain book stores are numbered. So by being Indie, yes, we will not see our books on store shelves, but we can see them on the bestseller list on Amazon, Smashwords, and BN! And look at Amanda Hocking and Hugh Howey- NYT bestsellers!

In 5 years, I’d like to see myself with several more novels out, and my biggest hope would be selling a screenplay adaptation of one of my novels, or even an original screenplay. I’ve always been intrigued by Hollywood and scripts. Having a movie done of my book would seriously be the icing on the cake.

“As long as an author takes the time to put out a high quality book that has a great story, why do we need traditional publishers?”

D: What advice would you give to new writers?

K: Stay focused. Write. Write well. Study the craft. And if you want to publish, take the necessary steps to put out a quality product: professional editing, beta readers, formatting, and a quality cover. Following those steps will give you the best chance of attracting readers because if you put out crap, they will give you bad reviews, and you won’t get anyone to buy your books. I may love telling a story, but I also like seeing those royalty deposits going into my bank account.cover for space junk

D: If you could time travel (past or future) where would you go and why?

K: I think medieval time was a cool era in our history. Granted, as a female in that society, we didn’t have many rights or freedoms, but I think seeing how everything really worked and how folks lived would be interesting. So far I haven’t dabbled in that era. I have quite a few non-fiction books on it, but not sure if I’m ready to tackle historical fiction in that time. I’m having enough trouble with a Civil War screenplay right now!

D: I can imagine! I’ve stayed away from historical fiction because of the massive amount of research required.

Thanks for stopping by, Kathy. It’s been a fun interview! For more information about Kathy and her books, please click on the links at the end of this post. But, before that, how about an excerpt? Here’s the description for Space Available. The excerpt follows.

Description of Space Available: Book three of Dar’s Adventures in Space:

Captain Dar Meltom sets his sights on a mission of utmost importance. With the stolen Plexus in the cargo bay of the Marsuian, he heads to Satiris, the planet of his ancestors. Once there, he encounters dangerous creatures, and Lukxia, the last purebred Satiren female on the planet. Dar deploys the Plexus, hoping it will bring Satiris back to life. Rather than keeping Lukxia as a second mate, he presents this most precious gift to Krodus, his long-time worst enemy, now friend.

But that’s not enough adventure for Dar. Lurking not far from Erotis is a wormhole. It’s the very one that brought his father Edward Meltom, Earthling astronaut, to the Ontarrin Galaxy. The explorer in Dar wants to find his father. So together with his mate, Parnela, and Schmuff his Nouian engineer, they tempt fate and enter the wormhole.

What awaits them is anything but a warm Earthling welcome. Quickly taken prisoner by humans, Dar and Parnela are imprisoned and subjected to a battery of tests. Dr. Robert Ciroli is tasked with studying them. He’s given two weeks to extract as much information before the aliens will be terminated. Knowing there is little on Earth that matters to him, Robert helps Dar and Parnela escape.

They arrive back in the Ontarrin Galaxy and find Satiris a planet reborn. Where sand once claimed the settlements, it is now lush and green. Dar returns to Erotis and asks Krodus to address the Satiren High Council for permission to repopulate the planet. After much deliberation, council agrees. Dar is thrilled that Satiris is once again for Satirens.


Dar looked over his shoulder as they walked. The town was only a small glimmer in the late afternoon sun. He tore open a package and pulled out a piece of jerky. “Hey, it looks the same as the stuff we have at home.” Taking a bite, he chewed. “Hmm, this has a sweet taste.” He took the bottle of orange liquid and opened it. “Well, let’s see if this is Manko soda.” Taking a sip, he blanched and coughed. “Oh! Definitely not Manko soda!”

“What does it taste like?”

“Uh, it’s a fizzy-like soda, but the taste is really sweet.” He offered it to her. “Try some, you might like it.”

The princess took the bottle, held it to her lips, and took a tiny sip. “Hmm, actually, it’s quite good!” She took a larger swallow. “I like it.”

“Enjoy, I guess I’ll be drinking water.” He took another piece of jerky and munched on it. “I need to find us a place to stay; it’s gonna get dark soon, and I bet even colder.”

“Why didn’t we stay in the town back there?”

“Too many Earthlings, they may have gotten suspicious.”

“Oh, you’re just paranoid, Dar.”

“And rightly so. I promised I’d keep us safe.” He looked down the road. “There’s a structure not far. Let’s see if it’ll make a good place to stay the night.”

“It appears to be a big red house.”

“Not many windows if it’s a dwelling.”

Parnela heard noise behind them. “Look at all those black objects coming at us.”

He turned around. “Let’s get off the road, they seem to be in a hurry.” They stepped from the pavement and continued walking. The objects came to a screeching halt behind them.

“Uh oh.”


“I have a bad feeling.” Dar dropped his bags, grabbed Parnela with his left arm, and pulled her close. His right hand went behind his back, ready to brandish his knife.

The doors of the objects opened, and Earthlings poured out. They swarmed around Dar and Parnela. They were surrounded by large Earthling males dressed in black. Their faces were covered, and they wore something that looked like armor on parts of their bodies. They held black things that Dar thought were rather primitive phaser rifles. Knowing he was outnumbered, he slowly took his hand from behind his back, moving it away from his body.

“Don’t move!” one of the males bellowed. Dar didn’t understand the words, but he had a good idea about what was being implied.

“Stay calm,” he whispered to Parnela, hoping she would comply.

“I’m afraid.”

“I know. We’re strangers and they don’t understand us. Just stay calm and hopefully they’ll help us.”

“Who are you?” one of the Earthlings said.

Dar didn’t reply.

“Who are you? Are you from another planet?”

Again, Dar was silent. He truly wished he could communicate. And then he remembered the words the male in the store said. “Have a nice day,” he said slowly.


Buy Space Available on


Barnes and Noble



Amazon links to the first two books in the series:

Space Crazy (Book 1)

Space Junk (Book 2)



Kobo Cull Self-Published Titles In Knee-jerk Response To Tabloid Clickbait

Whoa. A little over-reaction on the part of booksellers, me thinks. Interesting article on David Gaughran’s blog regarding the kerfuffle in the UK over erotic titles and children’s titles coming up in the same search. Sigh.

Kobo Cull Self-Published Titles In Knee-jerk Response To Tabloid Clickbait.

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