So, you’re an award-winning author. Tell us more.
Yes, thanks, Chris. I belong to a
few chapters of Romance Writers of America (RWA), on and off-line. My
first career had been basically as an engineer and applied
mathematician, so in writing sci-fi novels, I wanted to delve deeply
into the psyche of my characters through what Orson Scott Card (of
ENDERS GAME fame) says is THIRD PERSON LIMITED DEEP POINT OF VIEW
narration. RWA continues to help me to write my social sci-fis (or
sci-fi romances (SFRs)) with more depth than we might find in
traditional sci-fi thrillers.
Every once in a while, I like to
write near contemporaries so I can amplify the relationships between
characters (heroes and heroines) rather than getting lost in the
Years ago my first contemporary,
originally called A PERFECT MATCH, was given The Golden Claddagh
Award from the Celtic Hearts on-line chapter of the RWA.
it over as a suspense, I renamed it OPEN SEASON on Love and Death (finally out on August 31stof this year, during the U.S. Open Tennis
Championships in Flushing Meadows where the story of our future
tennis champion takes place).
Your books have been rather successful, sales-wise. What do you do
Most indie writers know it is
hard to get noticed, even if an author has honed their craft. My
first book, an erotic sci-fi horror novella, was published
traditionally through Whiskey Creek that was subsequently bought out
by Simon & Shuster. Two of my LEGENDS OF THE GOLDENS series were
published by SOUL MATE, who from time to time does promotion for its
authors. To amplify sales, at the insistence of my SOUL MATE editor,
I wrote a novella that I indie-published free through DRAFT2DIGITAL.
Amassing a Twitter.com audience using Tweepi.com, I managed to keep
my novella in the Amazon top-downloaded for months.
There are so few authors
profiting from sales that it only takes the sale of one paperback to
propel ones book or author rank to a top ranking for a day (in
paranormal romance/SFR). Right now, it is more important for me to
get my nonformulaic books out there than to earn profits.
Your book covers seems kind of sexy but there’s also a fair mix
of different kinds of sci-fi. What kind of genre writer do you see
NA Social Science Fiction (New
Adult (NA) relationships between individuals and their societies)
How do you differ from other sci-fi writers?
I challenge myself to write in
the most intimate manner possible through narration from within the
character (deep POV).
Being a scientific generalist
with advanced degrees, I write hard sci-fi that helps the reader to
start asking real questions about space and time instead of using
words developed in the mid 20th century as placeholders.
For example, instead of using just the word EXPANSION to describe
what our universe is doing, I hope to get the reader to think about
how space is created and destroyed (the destruction is where the
black hole comes in).
You have scientifically published research on fluid-fluid analogue
of universal expansion. So for those of us who don’t know, what is
In a thin horizontal mould
(bordered by glass top and bottom) a water-based viscous fluid
droplet is injected into an oil-based outer fluid. As more of the
inner fluid is added (at the source) the expanding boundary of the
droplet goes from a perfect circle (stable) to an unstable boundary
of any number of sine waves (a simple model of how quanta are
Though this experiment is low
energy, it gives us an idea of how our universe arises as it is.
Unless there are changes in potential (coming out of a singularity
source), relationships cannot be formed in a permanent manner).
How would you say you differ from other scientists?
Other scientists in this field
(using a Hele-Shaw cell (my mould) to force the flow of two viscous
fluids together) used higher flow methods that were easier to come by
but harder to mathematically simulate/model. I invented a special
valve to slice the syrupy/viscous fluids together so that air
droplets at the interface between the two fluids would not affect the
Many applied mathematicians did
not have courses in how to solve for early unstable forces in the
universe (using complex numbers and The General Energy Equation)—
the beginning of existence of any number of relationships/objects on
our expanding universal boundary.
Out of my research, I began to
see that objects, anything that exists within the universe, represent
relationships across boundaries. This is more of a relational natural
philosophy, just another perspective to solve some of the mysteries
out there (like bicameral vision (two ways of looking-at/perceiving
things) gives us data on depth perception).
Tell us a bit about your life doing forensics on F16s as an
Well, it was the beginning of
diversification of computers and many different forms of disc
operating systems and different Basic languages existed or each
I did lots of fractography. When
a plane crashes, if a fractographer examines the way an aerospace
material breaks, that can us tell us lots about how the part failed.
I created a program that helped
me measure the crack growth markers (for example, as a result of the
high and low stress imposed by a failure or a test to reproduce the
failure). The program was given to those friendly countries who
wanted to do their own failure analysis.
I also worked with a composites
group, by developing ways of recognizing damage on aircraft skins and
load members through the use of a scanning electron microscope (SEM)
that appears in my space opera novel SPACE FOR US (coming soon).
I read somewhere on your blog that you’re the mother of one of
smartest sons in the world. Do you ever get any ideas from him or run
any ideas past him?
speaking of a millennial now. And I am his mother!
important things I glean from him is his laid back attitude about the
world, and yet a powerful empathetic understanding of it. These kids
will be my beneficiaries. Our world, whatever we make of it, will be
theirs. They see most of the mistakes of the former generations.
Things will change. I hope these kids, like my son, figure things out
Since I write
both NA and YA (young adult) my editor beta reads my work and tells
me what I should be writing in the millennial vernacular.
You’ve a couple of books out this year. Tell us about them.
OPEN SEASON on Love and Death: is an NA romantic suspense. Dedicated to my
father who was involved in early tennis in the United States, it is
about Madison Weller (heroine) who has no mother,
but a distant father, who was a successful tennis champion. His
indoor tennis center ambitions are a different matter. He forms an
alliance with a crooked tennis agent, mother of the hero, the current
mens tennis champion. The suspense comes in when chemical forensics
is used by NYPD to stop the nefarious ambitions of the sociopathic
mother of the hero. Can any number of rain delays and poisonings
propel our heroine to the finals?
SPACE FOR US:
is an NA, SFR, space opera. The heroine, Jade, looks Asian, but is a
descendent of the Sledani aliens who had once gone to the stars in
generation ships, and have returned to Earth to retake their planet.
The mind of
the first lady is missing. She is in a coma, but it was not Jade (the
heroine) who put her there. The president goes nuts and sends Jade
out with his black ops squad to rescue
a downed pilot, Shepard (the hero). But all that rescuing was a
farce, to insert Shepard as a mole on a rebel crew who steals one of
the space planes.
becomes a series, it will be labeled SQUARE BALLOONS, since the
motive forces of the new alien-invented spaceplane (and its AI riding
shotgun) is a product of the expansion and contraction of space.
You’ve written so many books. Do you have a particular favourite?
The one I have not written yet.
The one I wrote the outline for during the 2018 NANOWRIMO: BAZOOKA
TIME MACHINE, starring metallic and wetware androids and aliens, a
woman on woman relationship, and written in the first person.
Your books are rich in dialogue. Has this been a conscious decision?
And what’s the secret to good dialogue?
As a very young one, I read the
plays of Shakespeare and scripts from those on Broadway. Dad, also,
encouraged me to recite some Shakespearian soliloquys.
Because of my comfort with
dialogue, I write that first (no grammar, just words). Then in layers
(through editing) I add the grammar, the tags, and the behavioural
beats. I am seriously thinking of downloading at least one novel into
I have to admit, when I started
writing, that I spent my time putting in too much background
information and narrator intrusion. So I force the extreme of only
narrating from within my characters.
A stylish collection of sci-fi shorts. Well written and easy to read.
Cosmic Chronicles presents four short supernatural stories that are suspenseful, dramatic and mystical all in one!
Glowing Squares- An urban Chicago youth stumbles across a mysterious pair of dice and realizes that it has a bizarre power.
The Castle of Clues- Pierre Marcos, an arrogant young man from a wealthy background, disrespectfully encounters a strange homeless man and finds himself in a dangerous world of riddle and clues.
Prism- A Portland journalist, Marlin Bryant, is sent to Egypt to cover a story on the pyramids but discovers an ancient object inside that brings about the most pivotal point of his life.
Sapphire City- The result of international nuclear war has rendered the Earth into a wasteland and some humans into mutants. The planet's face is distorted... all except for one place on the top of the globe.
Commander Benedict kept his eyes on the
rear plate as he activated the intercom. "All right, cut the
power. We ought to be safe enough here."
As he released the intercom, Dr.
Leicher, of the astronomical staff, stepped up to his side.
"Perfectly safe," he nodded, "although even at this
distance a star going nova ought to be quite a display."
Benedict didn't shift his gaze from the
plate. "Do you have your instruments set up?"
"Not quite. But we have plenty of
time. The light won't reach us for several hours yet. Remember, we
were outracing it at ten lights."
The commander finally turned, slowly
letting his breath out in a soft sigh. "Dr. Leicher, I would say
that this is just about the foulest coincidence that could happen to
the first interstellar vessel ever to leave the Solar System."
Leicher shrugged. "In one way of
thinking, yes. It is certainly true that we will never know, now,
whether Alpha Centauri A ever had any planets. But, in another way,
it is extremely fortunate that we should be so near a stellar
explosion because of the wealth of scientific information we can
obtain. As you say, it is a coincidence, and probably one that
happens only once in a billion years. The chances of any particular
star going nova are small. That we should be so close when it happens
is of a vanishingly small order of probability."
Commander Benedict took off his cap and
looked at the damp stain in the sweatband. "Nevertheless,
Doctor, it is damned unnerving to come out of ultradrive a couple of
hundred million miles from the first star ever visited by man and
have to turn tail and run because the damned thing practically blows
up in your face."
Leicher could see that Benedict was
upset; he rarely used the same profanity twice in one sentence.
They had been downright lucky, at that.
If Leicher hadn't seen the star begin to swell and brighten, if he
hadn't known what it meant, or if Commander Benedict hadn't been
quick enough in shifting the ship back into ultradrive – Leicher
had a vision of an incandescent cloud of gaseous metal that had once
been a spaceship.
The intercom buzzed. The commander
"Sir, would you tell Dr. Leicher
that we have everything set up now?"
Leicher nodded and turned to leave. "I
guess we have nothing to do now but wait."
When the light from the nova did come,
Commander Benedict was back at the plate again – the forward one,
this time, since the ship had been turned around in order to align
the astronomy lab in the nose with the star.
Alpha Centauri A began to brighten and
spread. It made Benedict think of a light bulb connected through a
rheostat, with someone turning that rheostat, turning it until the
circuit was well overloaded.
The light began to hurt Benedict's eyes
even at that distance and he had to cut down the receptivity in order
to watch. After a while, he turned away from the plate. Not because
the show was over, but simply because it had slowed to a point beyond
which no change seemed to take place to the human eye.
Five weeks later, much to Leicher's
chagrin, Commander Benedict announced that they had to leave the
vicinity. The ship had only been provisioned to go to Alpha Centauri,
scout the system without landing on any of the planets, and return.
At ten lights, top speed for the ultradrive, it would take better
than three months to get back.
"I know you'd like to watch it go
through the complete cycle," Benedict said, "but we can't
go back home as a bunch of starved skeletons."
Leicher resigned himself to the
necessity of leaving much of his work unfinished, and, although he
knew it was a case of sour grapes, consoled himself with the thought
that he could as least get most of the remaining information from the
five-hundred-inch telescope on Luna, four years from then.
As the ship slipped into the
not-quite-space through which the ultradrive propelled it, Leicher
began to consolidate the material he had already gathered.
* * * * *
Commander Benedict wrote in the log:
Fifty-four days out from Sol.
Alpha Centauri has long since faded back into its pre-blowup state,
since we have far outdistanced the light from its explosion. It now
looks as it did two years ago. It –
"Pardon me, Commander,"
Leicher interrupted, "But I have something interesting to show
Benedict took his fingers off the keys
and turned around in his chair. "What is it, Doctor?"
Leicher frowned at the papers in his
hands. "I've been doing some work on the probability of that
explosion happening just as it did, and I've come up with some rather
frightening figures. As I said before, the probability was small. A
little calculation has given us some information which makes it even
smaller. For instance: with a possible error of plus or minus two
seconds Alpha Centauri A began to explode the instant we came out of
"Now, the probability of that
occurring comes out so small that it should happen only once in ten
to the four hundred sixty-seventh seconds."
It was Commander Benedict's turn to
"Commander, the entire universe is
only about ten to the seventeenth seconds old. But to give you an
idea, let's say that the chances of its happening are – once – in
millions of trillions of years!"
Benedict blinked. The number, he
realized, was totally beyond his comprehension – or anyone else's.
"Well, so what? Now it has happened
that one time. That simply means that it will almost certainly never
"True. But, Commander, when you
buck odds like that and win, the thing to do is look for some factor
that is cheating in your favor. If you took a pair of dice and
started throwing sevens, one right after another – for the next
couple of thousand years – you'd begin to suspect they were
Benedict said nothing; he just waited
"There is only one thing that could
have done it. Our ship." Leicher said it quietly, without
"What we know about the hyperspace,
or superspace, or whatever it is we move through in ultradrive is
almost nothing. Coming out of it so near to a star might set up some
sort of shock wave in normal space which would completely disrupt
that star's internal balance, resulting in the liberation of
unimaginably vast amounts of energy, causing that star to go nova. We
can only assume that we ourselves were the fuze that set off that
Benedict stood up slowly. When he spoke,
his voice was a choking whisper. "You mean the sun – Sol –
Leicher nodded. "I don't say that
it definitely would. But the probability is that we were the cause of
the destruction of Alpha Centauri A, and therefore might cause the
destruction of Sol in the same way."
Benedict's voice was steady again. "That
means that we can't go back again, doesn't it? Even if we're not
positive, we can't take the chance."
"Not necessarily. We can get fairly
close before we cut out the drive, and come in the rest of the way at
sub-light speed. It'll take longer, and we'll have to go on half or
one-third rations, but we – can – do it!"
"How far away?"
"I don't know what the minimum
distance is, but I do know how we can gage a distance. Remember,
neither Alpha Centauri B or C were detonated. We'll have to cut our
drive at least as far away from Sol as they are from A."
"I see." The commander was
silent for a moment, then: "Very well, Dr. Leicher. If that's
the safest way, that's the only way."
Benedict issued the orders, while
Leicher figured the exact point at which they must cut out the drive,
and how long the trip would take.
The rations would have to be cut down
Commander Benedict's mind whirled around
the monstrousness of the whole thing like some dizzy bee around a
flower. What if there had been planets around Centauri A? What if
they had been inhabited? Had he, all unwittingly, killed entire races
of living, intelligent beings?
But, how could he have known? The drive
had never been tested before. It couldn't be tested inside the Solar
System – it was too fast. He and his crew had been volunteers,
knowing that they might die when the drive went on.
Suddenly, Benedict gasped and slammed
his fist down on the desk before him.
Leicher looked up. "What's the
"Suppose," came the answer,
"Just suppose, that we have the same effect on a star when we –
go into – ultradrive as we do when we come out of it?"
Leicher was silent for a moment, stunned
by the possibility. There was nothing to say, anyway. They could only
* * * * *
A little more than half a light year
from Sol, when the ship reached the point where its occupants could
see the light that had left their home sun more than seven months
before, they watched it become suddenly, horribly brighter.
A hundred thousand times brighter!
Time Fuze was published in IF Worlds
of Science Fiction March 1954. For more information on Randall
Garrett, click here.
This story is taken from Project Gutenberg. For
legal reasons the following statement must be included: (This
eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no
restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it
under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this
eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org).