Happy January from Oregon!

It’s been ridiculously nice here, especially compared to last winter’s snowmageddon. (We got 10 inches overnight at one point, which stayed on the streets for the next week since Portland has no snow plows.)

So nice, in fact, that we’ve been out hiking.

The header photo is from a trip to the Painted Hills that my husband and I took over the weekend. Eastern Oregon is stunningly beautiful desert, a landscape that’s close to my heart.

I loved hiking through the juniper-and-sagebrush forests and driving through canyons slashed through with blue, green, red, yellow, and white.


(The Clarno Palisades at the John Day Fossil Beds.)

I love the desert. 

It’s inspired some of my favorite settings, including the desert planet New Sarjun in the Durga System series, the country of Laja Cian in the fantasy series I’m plugging away at, and the apocalyptic Southwest of the dystopian romance novel series that… will get done some day. 🙂

While I’m not out hiking or hunkered down writing the next Durga System book, I’ve been reading — and I’ve got some great recommendations this month!

For your To-Be-Read list

My book recommendations this month are both by local Portland authors. 

Erik Wecks’s Gravlander is the latest installment in the Pax Imperium series, but it works perfectly well as a stand-alone book. It’s a fantastic coming-of-age story in a fascinating sci-fi world — a good blend of character-focused adventure. 

Jason LaPier’s Unexpected Rain is the first in his Dome trilogy (it’s complete), an engaging mystery with a cool sci-fi twist. Plus, I can’t get over how great the name is! 



by Erik Wecks

Nineteen-year-old Josephine Lutnear is just months away from becoming the youngest fleet surgeon in history.

And she’s miserable.

As a young girl, Jo watched the Unity Corporation murder her family and barely escaped the moon Aetna’s destruction. Eight years later, the Unity started a war that left Jo running for her life. Alone aboard a hidden rebel fleet, she grew up studying the only academic course open to her: medicine.

The terms of Jo’s life have always been dictated by events beyond her control. Just once, she would like to make a choice all her own.

So when a band of genetic outcasts needs a doctor to cure a deadly plague, Josephine eagerly volunteers. But she will soon discover that the Timcree’s culture won’t accept help from a Gravlander like her. 
As her choices are once again taken away, Jo will stumble toward the truth—that she will never find purpose until she faces her past.

Find it on Amazon

Unexpected Rain


by Jason LaPier

In a domed city on a planet orbiting Barnard’s Star, a recently hired maintenance man has just committed murder.

Minutes later, the airlocks on the neighbourhood block are opened and the murderer is asphyxiated along with thirty-one innocent residents.

Jax, the lowly dome operator on duty at the time, is accused of mass homicide and faced with a mound of impossible evidence against him.

His only ally is Runstom, the rogue police officer charged with transporting him to a secure off-world facility. The pair must risk everything to prove Jax didn’t commit the atrocity and uncover the truth before they both wind up dead.

Get on Amazon.
Get it Elsewhere.