Nerds for the Holidays — Space Christmas Tree Edition

I’m unabashedly a fan of the holiday season.

The fire department putting wreaths on their fire trucks. People who decorate their bikes with antlers. The cheesy fake snowmen in peoples’ yards.

I love it.

My family celebrates Christmas, and each year since I was a kid, we’d get this ginormous Christmas tree to go in the dining room. We’d go up into the mountains and cut down something ridiculously tall, then bring in a ladder from the shed to decorate it.

Some years, my mom got us to craft ornaments for a themed tree. (Which was quite the undertaking with a tree that big.)

I remember the year of the corn husk angels: glittery ribbons and glue guns and pearl beads scattered around the family room while we tied corn husks into shapes.

I probably complained (sorry mom), but the final effect was beautiful.

This year, my husband was the one who wanted a themed tree.

But he wasn’t looking for a cozy farmhouse angel tree.


He wanted a space Christmas tree.

Christmas tree against an orange background, all the planets and most of the moons of the solar system

We spent this entire past Sunday painting the largest bodies in our solar system.

The planets, of course, but also their moons, in as much detail as we could manage.

Here are my three favorites of the moons I painted. They’re Jupiter’s (top to bottom): rocky Ganymede, icy Enceladus, and fiery Io.

Close up of the ornaments: Swirly red Jupiter, blotchy gray Ganymede, blue-streaked-white Enceladus, ugly-ass Io with green-red-white splotches

Jupiter's moons: gray-splotched ganymede, white and blue Enceladus, red, white, yellow Io
Jupiter has 79 identified moons (we painted eight). And they’re some of the weirder moons, due to the effects of the planet’s immense gravity, and the effect of the moons’ gravity on each other.

(After all, Ganymede is larger than Mercury, and Io is larger than our moon.)

The immense gravitational web of influence shifts and tears at the moons, creating the sulfurous pits of Io, the rusty chasms of Europa.

The other fascinating thing is Jupiter’s four largest moons have fallen into an orbital resonance.

Check that out (and hear some strange music inspired by their orbits) here.

It was a very enlightening craft session.

One more photo!

There’s Jupiter with its red eye, Saturn beyond, and all their moons surrounding them.


What’s that hiding behind Jupiter?

That’s no moon.

Jupiter, Saturn, and the Death Star hiding behind

Would *You* Ride the Murdercopter? Y/N

Two weekends ago, my husband and I met my parents at the Evergeen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, OR.

He and I have been there a couple of times before. It’s best known for housing the Spruce Goose, as well as having an epic water park with a Boeing 747 perched on the roof, with water slides coming out of the escape doors.

(Too fun.)

But my absolute favorite . . . um . . . “flying apparatus” at the museum is this:

Image is of a helicopter where you're standing above two sets of counter rotating blades, kind of like a segway mixed with a blender

It’s known alternately as a “heli-vector” or an “aerocycle,” but neither of those names makes it sound at all like a machine where you’re essentially suspended like a carrot above the blades of a food processor.

I prefer to call it a murdercopter.

And I love this thing.

I mean.

Look at this amazing photo (from the informational plaque) of the inventor, Lewis C. McCarty Jr., riding it in a full-on suit and tie.

Image is a man in a full-on 1950's suit and tie, riding the deathcopter with a lake in the background, with a very stern look of concentration on his face.

I love his expression. He’s like, “I told all you all it would fly, but did you believe me? No. Well, this flight is for you, you hacks, you cretins.”

Or maybe he’s just holding on for dear life and trying not to let the panic show.

Either way, Lewis is killing it.

The aerocycle was intended to be an easy-to-operate machine that anyone could pick up with less than 20 minutes of instruction, and designed to be used for reconnaissance and transport over hazardous areas like mine fields.

To steer it, you were meant to simply shift your weight — like on a road bike or a segway.

Basically, it’s a flying segway.

It’s magical.

I want one!

Let’s read more about it!


Oh. Wait.

The plaque at the Evergreen museum notes that the aerocycle “had a tendency to kick up rocks and debris at the pilot. What’s more, the wooden rotor blades flexed at high speeds and collided, causing them to shatter and the platform to drop like a rock.”

Like a rock, you say?

The museum goes on to note that, “Amazingly, test pilot Capt. Selmer Sundby survived two such crashes before the Army terminated the program. Sundby was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his work.”


I might wait for the next model to come out….

Wikipedia has some more information on this marvelous deathtrap.

But my favorite thing I found while searching out info is from this September 1955 issue of Flying Magazine, where the aerocycle is described with the glowing, dewy-eyed praise of someone who has never seen the counter-rotating rotors blades collide and shatter and drop the platform and operator “like a rock.”


I’m a bit obsessed with this thing.

What do you think?


Is the murdercopter a terrible idea, or a brilliant one in need of further testing? Would you raise your hand to try one out?

And — most importantly — should I figure out how to include one in my next book?

Let me know in the comments!

Nerdy Sewing + Win a Copy of The Expanse: Leviathan Wakes

Have you been reading The Expanse series, or watching the show on SyFy? 

I love it. 

I love tight focus on the characters, the action and adventure, the moral choices, the plucky team who’s got each others’ backs — all of it. 


But most of all I love the unrelenting sense of optimism in this series. Yes, people can be terrible to one another. Yes, we make mistakes. Yes, there are horrible tragedies in the world. But rather than going in the direction of grimdark nihilism (think Altered Carbon or Game of Thrones), The Expanse makes you feel like there’s still hope in the world.

Basically, these are the sorts of books I hope I’m writing. 

So when I was asked to participate in a promotion where we picked a best-selling book to give away, I knew I had to pick Leviathan Wakes.

You can enter to win an ebook copy of Leviathan Wakes here.

Get your e-reader into uniform

This isn’t entirely book related, but I suspect you’re the sorts of folks who like nerdy things.

Behold: my latest sewing obsession. Kindle/e-reader covers inspired by Star Trek: The Next Generation uniforms. 

Three kindle covers designed to look like Star Trek uniforms: Red, blue, yellow.

I whipped up a few this week as a relaxing break from staring at computers, and they’re surprisingly fun to make! They’re lined with merino wool knit jersey and nice fluffy batting to give them some padding, then finished with a bright gold button. 

(I was too impatient and took this photo before sewing buttons on the red and yellow.)

The blue one is for me, since I always figured I’d be a science officer. And I heart Beverly Crusher.

What do you think?

Ridiculous? Fun? 

Should I make up a few more and throw them up for sale on my website?

Let me know!

For Your To-Be-Read List

Trail of Lightening by Rebecca Roanhorse


(I actually attempted to pre-order this book THREE TIMES because every time I saw someone tweet about it I thought OMG I need to read that. Amazon kindly reminded me each time that I’d already ordered it. 

When it finally showed up on my Kindle, I devoured it, then bought a paperback copy at WorldCon in hopes that I’d meet Rebecca and get her to sign it. Unfortunately, I didn’t meet her. But what I’m saying here is this book is good. The sort of unique story you don’t see every day, populated by characters that remind me of my friends and neighbors — way more than the European epic fantasy I read as a kid ever did. I wish teenaged Jessie had had this book.) 

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World.

Find it on AmazonKoboBarnes & Noble

Oh, and thanks for WorldCon!

A huge thank you to everyone who stopped to see me at the booth at WorldCon.

(Missed it? Here’s a bigger version of the photo in the header — the booth was gorgeous!)

I sold a ton of copies of books, met a bunch of fellow book-lovers, stayed out way too late with new friends, and in general had a great time.

If you’re in Portland, I’d love to see you September 27th at Mother Foucault’s Bookshop, where I’ll be doing a reading at 6pm.

Happy reading!

Writing a World in Glimpses

Two years ago, I wrote the short story that gave me my first glimpse into the Durga System. (It was published in the second volume of Bikes in Space, a fantastic series of feminist bicycle science fiction edited by Elly Blue.)

In that story, Willem Jaantzen was the villain — but as I expanded on the premise of the original short story I became more and more fascinated by him and his crew.

(If you’ve read Starfall, you’ve been introduced to Starla already; if you’ve read Negative Return you’ve gotten to meet Manu.)

Since those books came out, I’ve written another novella, a novel, and a short story — all set in the same world. Each dips into Willem Jaantzen’s story, especially exploring his relationship with his goddaughter, Starla Dusai. 

Writing these books has been like solving a puzzle. The entire world is one massive picture, and every book or story lets me shine a light on another small portion of that picture. 

And, believe me — I hear my readers! I read the reviews that say “I want more story!”

I’ll be releasing more stories soon. 🙂

Ultimately, my goal is to structure the Durga System books like this: one central series of full-length novels centered around Jaantzen and his crew, bolstered by a constellation of character-specific novellas and short stories that shine the flashlight on fascinating parts of the picture that aren’t within the scope of the main series.

One such story that’s just come to light is the moment that Willem Jaantzen meets Starla’s parents, the famed space pirates Raj and Lasadi Dusai.

When I was asked to write an exclusive short story as part of a giveaway (more on that in a second), I knew that was the story I wanted to write.


“Rogue” takes place many, many years before Starfall, when Jaantzen is just getting his feet underneath him.

A tricky job is starting to go south — and it only gets worse when he comes face-to-face with the most notorious space pirates in the Durga System.

Of course, every story I write introduces me to new facets of the world that I’d like to explore. After writing “Rogue,” I’m beginning to suspect I may have to write a side series featuring Raj and Lasadi’s adventures aboard the Nanshe

Stay tuned — more Durga System stories are imminent. In my next post I’ll be revealing the cover of my next novella, Deviant Flux!

“Rogue” is available for a limited time as part of the Distant Worlds Giveaway over at Bookwrapt through the end of August. Go get it before it’s gone!

For Your To-Be-Read List

An Oath of Dogs


by Wendy Wagner

(I recently devoured this fantastic far-future colony adventure with a dash of mystery by local Portland author and all-around delightful human, Wendy Wagner.)  

Kate Standish has been on the forest-world of Huginn less than a week and she’s already pretty sure her new company murdered her boss. But the little town of mill workers and farmers is more worried about eco-terrorism and a series of attacks by the bizarre, sentient dogs of this planet, than a death most people would like to believe is an accident. That is, until Kate’s investigation uncovers a conspiracy which threatens them all.

Find it on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound

Happy Birthday, Negative Return!

It’s been over a year since I released Negative Return.

While I had hoped to have less of a gap in my publishing schedule this time around, part of the reason for the delay is that I’m saving up my words to give you something really exciting later this year.

I’m not yet ready to announce release dates, but I do have another Durga System novella and three full-length novels in the works for sometime in the winter.

You’ll be hearing more over the next few months as I get things finalized and can share bits of books with you. (Stay tuned for a cover reveal for the next novella, Deviant Flux — I just saw the final design, and it’s amazing!)

One other thing I’m doing to prepare for the launch is trying to get the existing Durga System books into the hands as many readers as possible. I ran a sale on Starfall a few months ago, and now it’s Negative Return’s time to shine.


Get Negative Return for $0.99

What readers are saying about Negative Return:

“…another expertly blended mix of crime story and science fiction.”

“I love the characters, and can’t wait for more.”

“Best single word description – unputdownable!”

Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | More store

Oh, and one more thing…

Reviews are critical in helping readers discover books by indie authors. If you’ve read Starfall or Negative Return and want to share the love (and make sure I can keep writing more in the series!), please leave a review. 

Thank you so much!

For Your To-Be-Read List

Bikes Not Rockets


edited by Elly Blue

*Note — I’ve had stories in several of the Bikes in Space series. In fact, one story inspired the Durga System series! I don’t have a story in this volume, but it will be very worth checking out. 

Bikes Not Rockets
 is the fifth volume of the feminist bicycle science fiction series, Bikes in Space. Featuring 12 works by talented writers and artists, you’ll find a wide range of perspectives and visions.

The common theme among all of the stories is the bicycles that propel all these protagonists towards and through major turning points in their lives (and the universe!).

Preorder your copy on Kickstarter!

Nepenthe Rising


by John Triptych

In the far future, two major factions are locked in a galactic cold war. As tensions mount between the technocratic Union and the genome-harnessing Concordance, both sides anxiously watch for a chance to conquer the other.

The Nepenthe is a pirate vessel, loyal to neither. Led by the enigmatic Captain Dangard, her rough and ready crew includes the cat-like alien Commander Creull, Zeno the immortal synthetic, the dashing Garrett Strand, and Duncan Hauk, a promising young recruit. 

Hired by a cryptic employer, the crew waylays a transport ship carrying a mysterious passenger. In due time, this incident sparks the beginnings of an interstellar conflict that could threaten the state of known space.



by S.J. Bryant

For eons a dark force has lurked inside Archalon, waiting.

In 2354 the Confederacy set it free. Now the alien uprising is imminent and there’s only one person left to stop it.

Nova goes where others dare not. She shoots first, talks little, and carries a chip on her shoulder the size of Boullion 5. Her reckless courage is all that stands between the Ancients and the annihilation of the human race.

Fear the hero who has nothing left to lose.

If you love science fiction, don’t miss out on this action-packed adventure!

Get it on AmazonKobo, Nook

Summer Shenanigans

Last weekend, I went with some girlfriends to Tillamook, Oregon for a getaway weekend. If you’ve never been to Tillamook, it’s best known for its dairy industry — so of course we visited Blue Heron creamery to sample delicious brie and feed the animals.

(That’s me as a bull above, with my friend and fellow author Alexis, writing as Alexis Radcliff, as a peacock. Photo by Kristin Koontz.)

I find summers fun, but exhausting. While Portland winters are designed for hunkering down and getting work done, as soon as we get our stretch of rain-free summer days we try to pack in as much as possible.

In July I have two family reunions, two groups of friends/family coming to visit us in Portland, and of course all the impromptu barbecues, bike rides, and trips to the river that are bound to happen. 

As a self-employed writer, it can be hard to find balance in the summer. On the one hand, so long as I turn in client work on time I can get the work done wherever. Because my client work load tends to be lighter in the summer, I can be more flexible and take advantage of all the fun. 

On the other hand, it can be incredibly hard to simply relax without feeling like I should be working harder. If I blow off early on a Friday I’m basically playing hooky alongside the most demanding boss ever (me).

Anyhow, all that to say that summer is here in the Pacific NW, and it’s going to be glorious and frenetic and exhausting and fun. 

What have you got planned?

Writing update

Summer will inevitably put a dent in my fiction writing productivity, but I do still have goals! I’m still drafting the sequel novella to Starfall, which is very close to being finished. It’ll be called Deviant Flux.

And I’m also working on a special Durga System short story (working title is Rogues), which will be available next month as part of a very cool giveaway. Keep your eyes peeled!

For your To-Be-Read list

Summer reading for me is all about books that completely absorb me. I tend to read a lot of thrillers and mysteries in summer for that reason, and it’s even more fun when I can find a sci-fi mystery!

I recently picked up Mur Lafferty’s Six Wakes on the virtue of the cover and tag line alone, and I’m so into it. Six criminal clones alone on a space ship, all woken at the same time to the grisly murder scene of their past bodies, a crime which they now have to solve? Yes, please!

You should also check out Alexis Radcliff’s A Vanishing Glow. Longtime newsletter readers may remember that Alexis and I launched our first books (A Vanishing Glow and Shifting Borders) together. It’s a dark fantasy with an excellent thread of mystery and great characters!

Six Wakes


by Mur Lafferty

In this Hugo nominated science fiction thriller by Mur Lafferty, a crew of clones awakens aboard a space ship to find they’re being hunted-and any one of them could be the killer.

Maria Arena awakens in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood. She has no memory of how she died. This is new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died.

Maria’s vat is one of seven, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it can awaken. And Maria isn’t the only one to die recently…

Find it on Amazon, Kobo, IndieBound

A Vanishing Glow


by Alexis Radcliff

The king is dying, and the fate of the realm rests in the hands of four people: A young, idealistic prince, a rugged soldier from the borderlands, an ingenious runaway inventor, and a mad, brilliant wizard who brought his magic-fueled machines to a world that was hardly ready for them.

Intrigue is rampant, and trust is in short supply…

When a brutal murder rocks the foundations of the kingdom, only one man has the skills to bring the killer to justice. With sword and musket in tow, he digs through the guts of the seedy underworld to find not only the assassin, but also the name of the smiling nobleman who ordered his friend’s death.

Find it on Amazon

How Do You Organize Your Books?

One of my first freelance writing clients was a company called Onefinestay, which is like Airbnb for fancy rich people. I loved seeing all the photos of these incredible homes I was writing about — but one thing always struck me as odd.

Their bookshelves.

They were so…. stylish. 

Organized by color and height, like the one above — rather than…. you know.

By book.

I’ve seen this trend pop up a few times in the last few months, which has gotten me wondering — is organizing your books by color normal? 

Part of me really loves the aesthetic. After all, that’s how I organize my thread:


And in the header image, the shelf is small enough that you’d still be able to find the book you wanted to read.

But on a larger scale? Like this huge bookshelf?

How do you find anything!

What do you think? Do you organize your books by color, author, genre, mood, or?

Let me know!

Writing update

In case you’re keeping score at home, I did finish the revision on the first full-length Durga System novel — which is why I have time to muse about the Proper Way of Sorting Books. It’s been sent off to the editor.

Next up? Drafting the sequel novella to Starfall, featuring Starla and her cousin Mona getting into space adventures. I just ordered the cover by the same designer who did Negative Return, and I’m so excited to share it with you when it’s ready!

For your To-Be-Read list

I just finished the most delightful YA book by Lila Bowen (Delilah S. Dawson’s pen name): Wake of Vultures. It’s a fantasy western about a young girl who dresses as a boy, landing a job as a cowhand and fighting monsters in the old West. 

So, basically my every childhood fantasy as a tomboyish farmgirl with a vivid imagination.

It was fast-paced and exciting, with gorgeous descriptions and fascinating characters. I’ve loved Delilah S. Dawson’s writing ever since I read her Star Wars novel, Phasma, and I was not disappointed here. 🙂

Since it’s Pride month, I figured I’d highlight Wake of Vultures and a couple other of my favorite sci fi/fantasy books with queer characters. The other two books below — Kameron Hurley’s The Stars are Legion and N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season — are both stunningly imaginative stories with incredibly deep worlds that are fascinating to explore.

If you haven’t picked up either of them, I highly recommend them.

(Want more book recommendations? Definitely check out this comprehensive list of LGBTQIAP Protagonists in Fantasy and Science Fiction from The Illustrated Page.)

Wake of Vultures


by Lila Bowen

Nettie Lonesome lives in a land of hard people and hard ground dusted with sand. She’s a half-breed who dresses like a boy, raised by folks who don’t call her a slave but use her like one. She knows of nothing else. That is, until the day a stranger attacks her. When nothing, not even a sickle to the eye can stop him, Nettie stabs him through the heart with a chunk of wood and he turns to black sand.

And just like that, Nettie can see.

But her newfound sight is a blessing and a curse. Even if she doesn’t understand what’s under her own skin, she can sense what everyone else is hiding—at least physically. The world is full of evil, and now she knows the source of all the sand in the desert. Haunted by the spirits, Nettie has no choice but to set out on a quest that might lead her to find her true kin . . . if the monsters along the way don’t kill her first.

Find it on Amazon, Kobo, IndieBound

The Stars are Legion


by Kameron Hurley

Somewhere on the outer rim of the universe, a mass of decaying world-ships known as the Legion is traveling in the seams between the stars. For generations, a war for control of the Legion has been waged, with no clear resolution.  As worlds continue to die, a desperate plan is put into motion.

Zan wakes with no memory, prisoner of a people who say they are her family. She is told she is their salvation – the only person capable of boarding the Mokshi, a world-ship with the power to leave the Legion. But Zan’s new family is not the only one desperate to gain control of the prized ship. Zan finds that she must choose sides in a genocidal campaign that will take her from the edges of the Legion’s gravity well to the very belly of the world.

Zan will soon learn that she carries the seeds of the Legion’s destruction – and its possible salvation. But can she and her ragtag band of followers survive the horrors of the Legion and its people long enough to deliver it?

Find it on Amazon, Kobo, IndieBound

The Fifth Season


by N.K. Jemisin


This is the way the world ends…for the last time.

A season of endings has begun. 

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. 

It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. 

It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. 

This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy. 

Get it on AmazonKobo, IndieBound

Hello! It is I, someone who maybe can write words.

Last month, I typed “the end” on the next Durga System novel.

(Novel! Full length!)

I stood up, stretched, and thought, “Just a light polish and we’ll be good to go!”

Then I gave the manuscript to my husband and it came back looking like the snippet in the photo above.


Anyway, all that to say that this is a short (and late) email because I’m in revision prison for another few days. But rest assured, a new Durga System story is on it’s way — and it’s gonna be good! 

For your To-Be-Read list

The one thing I have been doing lately (besides screaming into the editing void) is reading. And I have some recommendations for you.

You’ll find some great indie sci-fi, but the first book, Exit West, is a literary novel. It’s on here because I finished it last night for this month’s book club, and I can’t get it out of my head. 

It’s the story of two refugees — but more than that it’s the story of home. I keep thinking about it; if you grant me a moment, I’ll try to explain why.

Two things you may not know about me:

  • I grew up in a family with strong, relatively recent roots in the Old Country (The Netherlands).
  • I also grew up on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington State, on land that my great grandparents — immigrants — bought from the Yakama tribe.

My whole life I’ve been aware of my family’s immigrant past, and very aware of our settler/colonist present. These two things together have always compelled me to think about what it means to be “from” a place.

I’m “from” the reservation, but not in the way my friends who are Native American are I’m “from” The Netherlands, but not in the way my cousins who grew up there are. I’m considered American, but I grew up with kids whose grandparents grew up with mine, and most of American society still calls them Mexican or Filipino or Japanese.

Exit West fascinated me because of the way it explores what it means to be “from” a place, and examines the beautiful and terrible ways we live together as a human race.

Who do we consider part of our tribe?
How do we find family?
How do we live in peace despite historic grievances?
How are we fundamentally alike despite our differences?

These have always been an underlying question in my books, too — I just tend to put more gunfights and aliens in than you’ll find in Exit West.

Anyway, for claiming this was going to be a short email I certainly did wax poetical.


By the way, what are you reading? I’ve gotten some awesome book recommendations from some of you over the past few months, and I love hearing what’s on your TBR list. 

Exit West: A Novel


by Mohsin Hamid

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. . . .

Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

Find it on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, IndieBound

The Legion and the Lioness


by R.D. Armstrong

They said I would never finish flight school. Never rank at the top of my class. Never fly with the top aces. Never return from combat against the Kelton androids. Never survive emergency surgery. 

Here I am.

The year is 2151, Earth is gone. A hellscape. I’ve been unfrozen after 72 years of cryosleep on a medical facility on Saturn’s moon, Titan. I have nothing, no home, no friends, no concept of this new world, these Titans.

All that remains is the old conflict that has blackened my veins and memories of the ones I loved still fresh in my heart. Forgotten for decades.

But it seems war hasn’t forgotten me, no, even in my slumber. My name is Captain Victoria Ann Belic, I was a wife and an ace fighter pilot, and have been revived for one reason—to die again.

Get on Amazon (free on Kindle Unlimited)

Hands of the Colossus


by Nicole Grotepas

Holly Drake just wants one thing: to destroy the Shadow Coalition and the evil at the heart of their business. With an endless supply of tips from the secretive man pulling her strings, Holly and her crew swoop in, break up the cash drops and steal the money. If one or two baddies die on accident, no big loss, right? They could do this forever, picking the Coalition apart till not even bones remain.

That is, until someone goes missing. In that moment, everything changes.  

To save the victim, Holly and her team will put everything on the line. Treacherous journeys across the 6-moon system in space-zeppelins, dangerous infiltrations of the Coalition, bartering with thieves and relying on the seedy underbelly of the 6-moons. Anything it takes. 

But…is the whole set up a trap? 

Get on Amazon (free in Kindle Unlimited)

Is it… Adventure Time?

Years ago when I worked at the Seattle Repertory Theater as a house manager, one of my coworkers (Hi Rachel!) gave me this card. 

It made me laugh a decade ago, and it still does now. That’s why it’s still pinned above my desk, eight-ish moves later.

I like going on adventures, and although I’m not sure I’d take a chance on Omaha with Paco the trapeze artist, I get a kick out of imagining just what Omaha-ian wonders he could show me. 

I guess that’s why I’m a writer. 

And I guess going on adventures is why we both (you and me, I mean — not sure about Paco) like reading.

While I continue cooking up the next book in the Durga System series, I have some other fantastic book adventures to share with you. 

But… first I have a question.

Would you go to Omaha with Paco?

Let me know.

For your To-Be-Read list

‘Tis the season for book sales, I guess! The following books are all on sale right now for $0.99 — making them a great deal if they strike your fancy!

Speaking of, the ebook of Starfall is also on sale for $0.99 at the moment. 

Maybe you already have a copy — but maybe you have a friend who’d be interested in checking it out?

Now’s a great time to share the love!

Here’s the Amazon link for Starfall.
Here’s the rest of the vendors.

The Other


by Marilyn Peake

“Aliens, UFOs, time travel…..what’s not to love!”

With alien sightings on the rise and a mysterious virus ravaging the places where the sightings occur, many are beginning to believe the unknown pathogen may be extraterrestrial. 

Psychology professor Dr. Cora Frost had a different theory: the bizarre symptoms were nothing more than mass hysteria. But while in the midst of field research on an alien-worshipping cult in Roswell, New Mexico, Cora makes a discovery that upends her entire worldview. In a shocking series of events, her past and future collide, forever changing her life.

Find it on Amazon
Find it on other retailers



by JJ Green

“One of those can’t-put-it-down-until-the-end reads.”

Jas Harrington was only a baby when a massive fire at a fledging Martian colony took the lives of everyone close to her. After growing up in institutions on Mars and Earth, Jas travels to Antarctica to train as a deep space security operative.

All she wants is to graduate college and fulfill her dreams, but it isn’t long before she faces familiar prejudice against returned colonists.

For once, fighting her way out of her problems isn’t an option, until it is.

Starbound is the prequel to the fast-paced, action-packed Shadows of the Void space opera serial.

Get on Amazon.

It’s Spring!

It’s finally officially nice here, after one last miserable stretch of cold and gloomy weather, and my husband and I spent the weekend landscaping our yard.

(That’s us with a Subaru filled with trees and flowers, above.)

As is the way of landscaping projects, what we thought would take three days actually took five — but we’re done! Sore and full of blisters, but done.


(Left: Optimistic Jessie on Day 1. Right: FINISHED!! Not pictured, exhausted Jessie and Robert.)

It was a nice change of pace, actually.

For the past few months, every spare moment has been spent in front of my laptop, trying to make a slurry of words, characters, plot twists, and themes fit together into a cohesive whole.

(Not unlike laying a bunch of flagstones, now that I think about it. Move one element, and the whole %#*$& thing has to be reworked.)

But last Wednesday, I finished up the next novel in the Durga System series! Unlike the novellas Starfall and Negative Return, this will be the first in a trilogy of serial full-length novels featuring Jaantzen and his crew — and some very thrilling happenings. 

I’m excited to share it with you! The tentative release date is October, but if you want to read it sooner and leave a review, give me a shout and I’ll add you to the Advance Reader Crew. 

Story Hour with Jessie and Friends

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I had a reading at a local Portland pub. I’m generally pretty hesitant to get up in front of crowds, but I managed to work through the butterflies and have a great time!

So much fun that I think I’ll even do it again some time. Stay tuned. 


(Photo by author/filmmaker Kelley Baker.)

For your To-Be-Read list

I hope you’re in the mood for a good book, because I have several fantastic recommendations this week! Read on, friends, read on. 



by Gerhard Gehrke

“The more of this book I read, the harder it was to put down.”

Sometime during their thousand-year voyage, the invaders perished.

But their slaves, the minders, survived to finish the journey to Earth. 

Deanne doesn’t believe any of the news about visiting aliens. She’s a felon serving time in a California youth detention center. 

As the lights go out and the world falls down around Deanne and her fellow inmates, she discovers something that might hold the key to their survival. Saving Earth will mean risking not only her life, but what makes her human…

Find it on Amazon

Insurrection: The Complete Omnibus


by Anela Deen

“I raced through this story so fast my Kindle squealed.”

*On sale for $0.99 through May 5th!

For twenty years Inquisitor Gemson Agaton used torture and interrogation to root out subversives undermining the Establishment. Now he’s on the subject’s side of the interrogation table, duty to the regime he believes in pitted against loyalty to the one person he always protected.

And Gemson isn’t the only target on the Establishment’s radar. As Earth’s citizens rally to resist the regime’s dictatorial rule, many are listening, including one of the Establishment’s most talented operatives. To find and betray him is her directive. To fall in love with him is treason.

Get on Amazon.

A Conspiracy of Rogues


by Jonathan Burgess

“The Blackscale gang is absolute hoot! I can hardly wait to read the next one.”

There’s never been a scam like the city of Abattra. People are drawn to it by the promise of riches and a chance to start over, but the only ones prospering are the Resplendent oligarchs.

The young dragon Greasetrap is looking to change that. Raised to be a thief in the Blackscale crew, he’s in town alongside his siblings to steal a fortune. With the help of a street-savvy fighter they intend to rob the oligarchs of the city for the first time in history. But Greasetrap isn’t the only one with a scheme, and soon he’ll find himself up against a sorcerer’s vicious criminal gang.

Because the vault everyone wants to break into hides more than just gold—it holds the key to an ancient secret held dear by the most powerful Resplendents in Abattra.

Both books released this week! Get them on Amazon.