Sunday, February 17, 2013

cover reveal "Clean and Floss" plus real lasers

Renee just sent me the cover for my comedy/horror story "Clean and Floss".

Clearly, there's a lot of action going on here, just like the story.
About every three chapters, there's a new incident: car crash, SWAT officer, and then we slow down for a vampire in the basement of a British museum. Through it all, Nick Solace is an unflappable cleaner, ridding the world of any evidence of the supernatural...because there are no such things as monsters.

Book three of my Science Fiction series Jezebel's Ladder, Sanctuary, is going slowly but well. I wrote three chapters of sketch to capture the arc and point of view, expecting most of the battle to be over in two hours. Then I did research on the huge number of space launch sites, the number of satellites and space stations likely in ten years, speeds of missiles, and the range of beam weapons. One push of a button cascades to about five days of weapons exchanged in several waves. I had to plot out the location of ground stations, suborbital launch planes, geo-synchronous satellites, L1, and a couple of planned moon bases. COIL lasers, for example, at around 100kw, can knock out a missile at up to 20 km away. However, moving at mach 20, this only gives the gunner ten seconds to lock and unload. Next, I layered in signal and software warfare. Lastly, exo-skeleton and bio-enhanced hand to hand in spacesuits and drone moon buggies. These chapters will expand into several, interleaved as the heroes try to penetrate deep into the alien artifact.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Next Project -- Sanctuary

I just finished the first draft of "Clean and Floss" (70K). It feels good. I laughed and cried in several places. I swore when I started that this one would be a total departure with no romance, dragons, babies, or priests. A little romance snuck in anyway, but it wasn't conventional. Renee is almost done with the cover, too! I'll post it when I have a reveal.

While waiting for my first reader (Tammy) to give her esteemed opinion this weekend, I have started the long-awaited book 3 to the Jezebel High-Tech Sci-Fi series. Chapter 1 will be introducing the point-of-view character in her interview for the team--Mercy Smith. This will introduce new readers to the concept of pages and alien tech. Then she'll give us her take on the last chapter of Sirius where they land on the alien vessel. Minutes later, they are threatened by nuclear missile launches from earth and have to move the alien ship out of range. Because of corners cut in book 2, they don't have the talents or experience to use the ship as it was designed. Moon base helps to cover them the best they can. The goal is to arrive at the planet selected by NASA as the most earth-like and nearest, heralding a new age of colonization and expansion. The execution has a few problems.

To prepare for this new book, I reread Sirius to hold the cast and plateau fresh in my mind. For those reading both, the flow should be fairly seamless. Here are my notes on the crew of Ascension One for the new book's front matter:

Command Crew (3):
Commander Zeiss – Conrad Zeiss, alias Taz. Navigator. Quantum computing, Rubber sheet theory, and multi-species Collective Unconscious.
Lou – Captain Llewellyn, a handsome Welsh pilot. Strange Attractors and Ideal Planets.
Red – Miracle Redemption Hollis Zeiss. A US math prodigy and heir to the Fortune Aerospace billions, copilot. Married to Zeiss. Index, Pattern Simplification, Collective Unconscious, Empathy, and Quantum Computing talents.

Medical (3):
Auckland – a Maori physician who likes sports. Genetic design and Anomaly Detection.
Toby – a South African botanist and organic chemist. Once dated Yvette. Protein folding and nano-medicine synthesis.
Yvette – a French nurse-practitioner and psychologist who specializes in high-risk pregnancies. Ethics and Empathy talents.

Security (3):
Herk – Rafael Herkemer. A Polish bomb technician for the UN and inventor. Trained in underwater rescue and firefighting. Body Override talent.
Sojiro – Japanese manga artist, computer programmer, and alien interfaces expert. Mind-machine interface and red giant locator talent.
Oleander – experienced Swedish space hand, once rescued Red’s aunt and uncle. Safety officer and super-goo specialist. Out of Body scout.

Life Support (2):
New male 1: ex-marine cook. food synthesis
New female 1: water purification, sustainability, air purification

Ship Support (4):
Mercy – oldest daughter of PJ Smith, US gravity generator expert. Icarus field talent.
Park – Korean propulsion specialist, gravity and Calabi-Yau chamber modeling.
Risa – Sonrisa Belinda De Gama Herkemer. Panamanian expert in solar power, Herk’s wife and Red’s former roommate. Alien structural engineering: Ice-9 and algae acrylics.
New female 2:  plasma physics and power expert, formerly from the Kaguya team. Buckey-ball batteries and zero-point energy theory.

Technicians (3):
Pratibha – a female NASA specialist in economic flow models and space colonies who graduated before Red’s team. Dating Auckland.
Female technician from Mori electronics, a spy for the Mori family. Grav sensors.
New male 2: bio fuel, atmospheric engine mechanic

plus, of course Elias Fortune’s ashes. In fact, my first exercise in character development will be to list what each crew member brings as their few kilos of personal weight allowance. I've also be reading up on the latest NASA toys like liquid smoke--ultralight, ultra-strong glass.