Monday, March 20, 2023

Eschatology and the End of Days

Eschatology (/ˌɛskəˈtɒlədʒi/ (listen); from Ancient Greek ἔσχατος (éskhatos) 'last', and -logy) concerns expectations of the end of the present age, human history, or of the world itself. 

The end of the world -- or the End Times - is predicted by several world religions with teachings or prophesies that specific events will reach a climax and result in ultimate catastrophe. 

Believing the end of the world is imminent is known as apocalypticism, and over time this belief has been held by both members of mainstream religions and by doomsday cults.

The last few years -- and particularly in the last few months -- there's been a lot of talk and speculation about if we're approaching the end of the world as we know it. I've been doing a lot of thinking about that myself. Cue the earworm R.E.M. rock song...

That song was actually released in 1987, so we've been waiting for the end of the world as R.E.M. knew it for a very long time -- 36 years. Other end dates on civilization and/or the human race have certainly come and gone in those three-and-a-half decades. 

This is a blog I wrote over 11 years ago that also dealt with the subject of eschatology and the End of the World and how it intersected with my writing life (at that point, it wasn't an authorly life yet). 

I promise it's not a doom and gloom read, and it might even give you a smile.


Something's coming. Something BIG!

Or not.

Lately I've been living a sort of immersion scenario while I work on my third novel and reflect on the current uneasiness in our culture surrounding an upcoming date on our calendar.

Let me explain...

Living With World-Changing Prophecy


We're living in a time where our world has gone edgy with expectation.

Many cultures of the past--the Mayan, the Hopi, the Chinese, and others--have all hinted that on one particular date in the future something big is going to happen. Many researchers agree they are all pointing to the same date--December 21, 2012.


Eleven months from now.

No one really knows exactly what will happen, only that an ancient calendar comes to an abrupt end on that particular date.

Some forecast doom and gloom in the eerily prophetic Mayan calendar--a calendar that has supposedly marked every major astronomical event for eons. Its terminus has been put forth by some to correlate to an energy surge from alignment with the galactic rift, a polar shift, intense solar flares, impact by a stray comet or errant asteroid, a direct hit from a gamma ray burst, an overdue supervolcanic eruption, shut down of the ocean conveyor and the inevitable instant ice age, or the mysterious planet X that's supposedly going to swoop in from the edges of our solar system, gallop through the orbital planes of the inner planets to collide with Earth.

Some believe it will be a change for better, for enlightenment, for the next step in human evolution.

And then there's the school of thought that nothing is going to happen at all. It's just going to be another date on the calendar.

After all, how can an ancient society predict what's going to happen in the future--long after their civilization has ceased to exist? How can they know?

There's actually a precedence for that, according to some researchers. They're studying a sudden spike in global consciousness the morning of September 11, 2001, hours before the events of that day actually occurred. They claim random event generators can predict catastrophes that are yet to happen. [Read more.] Are they quacks, or is there really a way to tap into a global consciousness and "see" events that are yet to happen? Are some people wired to tune in to the future?

Was Nostradamus a prophet who predicted the rise of Hitler and other upheavals in history, or merely a very clever creator of enigmatic words with symbolism that could be interpreted or twisted in any way to mean anything a person chooses?

The Great Prophecy of Draxis

In my work in progress, Draxis, the people of this fictional society are living with a prehistoric prophecy that might be coming true. And just like the theories surrounding 2012, many are jittery and fearful. They aren't sure if the change that's foretold will result in annihilation, or glorious evolution...or if anything will happen at all.

The Great Prophecy was written by a philosopher-visionary named Hamaden Sarcassius sometime around 9,000 BC by our time scale, the text carefully preserved for over twelve thousand years.

Who Sarcassius really was is lost to the centuries. Heck, maybe he was a mad. Or maybe he had ulterior motives for penning his prophecy. Or maybe--just maybe--he had the gift of vision and sent a dire warning to his race across a great expanse of time that something was coming--something the Draxians needed to prepare for.

The events of the Great Prophecy center around a person identified only as "the Flame," who according to the scripts will make a single decision that will destroy or "turn" their world.

The novel opens as the one who many believe may be "the Flame" wakes up on Draxis after being abducted, drugged and hurled through space and time to be thrust into this maelstrom of fear and fanaticism spurred by her arrival.

The parallels between the Draxian empire and our present day culture are easily drawn. Two societies living with the fear, apprehension, skepticism and denial surrounding a world-changing prophecy and the potential Armageddon it portends. Or doesn't.

No one on Draxis really knows what the words of Sarcassius mean.

And no one on Earth really knows what the end of the Mayan calendar indicates.

We live in interesting times.

Write what you know.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Working on an Author Signature Block

One of my favorite tools to use for creating graphics and promotional images is BookBrush. I have a lot of fun rifling through their many templates looking for themes that will fit my books and series. 

Recently, I found some author signature blocks in the templates, and of course I had to give it a try. 

Though my end product wasn't quite as slick as their original image, I was pretty happy with how it turned out. The nice thing about graphics is you can also come back and tweak them as time allows and inspiration strikes, but for now...tada. My signature block. (I could have animated it too, but that seemed just a leetle bit over the top. So it's a static signature block. Which sounds kind of boring, but hopefully isn't.)

Of course I couldn't stop at just an author signature block, so I decided to also do a graphic featuring one of the thoughts plucked from my series overview. It's a funny thing about history. It's often forgotten, sometimes to be rediscovered in the future and sometimes to be lost to sands of time. But sometimes history is intentionally changed, which led to the perilous situation Lieutenant Commander Dek Garr finds herself in in Juggernaut

This short snippet from the series overview hints at what knowledge may have been lost from ages long past. I love how the background illustrates that mysterious "cross-rip in time and space."

The clincher is that the readers of this series know that Earth is real and not imagined or just a fading legend. The people of The Inherited Stars Series can't be sure.

I hope to be back soon with a few snippets (but no spoilers!) from Courting Disaster.  

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Luna Says Hello

Luna wants you to know she's feeling much better after her surgery last month, thank you very much. But she wants "Mom" to hurry up and finish her book! 

Yes, Luna was the inspiration for the StarDog (also named Luna) in my next release, Courting Disaster.

Like her namesake, Luna is one clever little StarDog, and it might just be up to her to save the day when her people end up in serious peril. 

One crafty little StarDog to the rescue!

I'll be posting more about Luna -- and her namesake's roll in the story -- soon!

Viva la StarDog Luna!

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

I'm Still Among the Living!

Why, yes, I have been missing in action this last week or so. Sorry for the dark blog!

But I have a very good excuse. I'm up to my earlobes in Courting Disaster edits. This will be the last of my rewritten and published-as-standalone books from the StarDog tales formerly published in annual Pets In Space volumes (so no longer available). 

And it's a lead-in to the next--and last--novel in this timeline of the series, so it's a pretty major story.

I'll have a couple more weeks of work to wrap this one up and shoot it off to my editor, then I'll be working on my next project. (More on that soon.) Meanwhile, I have some new graphics and fun stuff to show you.

In the meantime, if you haven't caught one of the free reads on this blog, here's one you can check out. The Shell and the Star is an aquatic Science Fiction Romance!


Thursday, March 2, 2023

Amazing Stories Interview with Author EG Manetti

Veronica Scott of recently did an interview with  author EG Manetti on her Twelve Systems Chronicles series and other works. Take a look at what she has to say by clicking this link:

Author EG Manetti has been a frequent guest blogger on this site (when it was Spacefreighters Lounge) and she has written some interesting and thought-provoking blogs for this site. 

After reading her interview, you might want to come back and take a look at some of her previous posts here:

Slipstream Dreams - Exploring Slipstream SFR

Galaxies and Gods - God, gods and deities in SFR

Tempest Tossed  - Surviving Hurricane Ian and the "tempest tossed" theme in SFR

Interstellar Top Guns and Other Swashbucklers - What is "Top Gun" SFR?

Enjoy the read. Have a great Thursday!

Friday, February 10, 2023

Friday Notes

I'm probably going to be dark for the weekend, but hope to be back next week with some excerpts from or commentary on Courting up in the Inherited Stars series. 

It's also book four that includes a StarDog. Courting Disaster was originally published in Pets in Space 2, but this story is being extensively revised, updated and expanded, so it will be a very different book once it's published, though the premise and characters will be the same. 

Truth be told, Courting Disaster was my least favorite story of all the StarDog tales I wrote for previous Pets in Space collections, so I've been taking quite a bit of time to work on some of the issues I had with the story. It's really a pivotal book in the series and will set the stage for future works, so it deserves the extra time and attention. I don't want to publish it until it's where I want it to be (but it's getting there fast--*knock on wood*). 

As a side note, Luna, our pup whose namesake is the StarDog in Courting Disaster, just had surgery to remove a mass, so we need to keep a very close eye on her for the next few days, hence my going a bit quiet. 

See you next week! 

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Pyramids: Fact and Fiction

Writing my upcoming novel, Draxis, involved a lot of research into ancient cultures, and primarily the Egyptian and Olmec societies. That, of course, entailed a lot of research on pyramids.

Pyramids turned out to be a pretty fascinating subject. 

Ancient Pyramids were Bright and Shiny

The pyramids weren't always crumbling masses of dissolving limestone.

That's how the pyramids appear now, as immense pointed structures of jumbled sand-colored rock, but they were once smooth-sided, being adorned in polished limestone. These casing stones were individually cut to specific angles to seamlessly cover the structure, and were then sanded until they shone. In the ages since, this polished outer layer has been knocked loose by earthquakes or dismantled by more modern residents for buildings and other uses.

Sudan has More Pyramids than Egypt

Egypt is renown for its pyramids and has around 140 (that we know of to date), but there's another culture that has even more. To the south, in present-day Sudan, more than 200 pyramids have been found!

Until the mid-20th century, most archaeologists considered the Sudan pyramids as nothing more than extensions of Egypt, instead of the remnants of a unique culture. But the pyramids in Sudan, most located in Meroe, are structurally different. They are smaller, steeper, and surrounded by collections of chapels and monuments that are unique to Nubian culture.

Though Egyptian-type pyramids are found in a very large area, including Italy and Greece, there are many forms of pyramids that are located in widely diverse areas -- including deep underground.

The Americas Contain More Pyramids Than the Rest of the World Combined — And the Largest!

In ancient Mesoamerica, a region spanning from much of modern-day Mexico through most of Central America, peoples such as the Olmecs, Incas, Aztecs, and Mayan had their own brand of pyramid structures dating back to around 1000 BCE. In fact, they built vast numbers of them but unlike the Egyptians, they didn't use them exclusively as tombs.

The most well-known structures are in Teotihuacan (Tay oh TEE wah con), an ancient Aztec city near present-day Mexico City. The Pyramid of the Sun was the largest of these structures and was built by constructing retaining walls which were filled with rubble, then had an adobe retaining wall encompassing the structure that was cased in limestone. The nearby Pyramid of the Moon was built the same way. It was discovered that the Pyramid of the Sun hides a secret: another pyramid, accessible through a cave beneath the structure. These pyramids have been dated to 1 and 200 CE, but the pyramid inside the cave is much older.

The  Olmec civilization built their own brand of pyramids. The Great Pyramid in La Venta (near present-day Tabasco, Mexico) is different: It’s essentially a clay mountain. Later Olmec pyramids were also earth mounds, and they were only covered by stone steps to finish them.

The Great Pyramid of Cholula, or Tlachihualtepetl, in Mexico, is the largest pyramid on the planet -- but by volume not by height! It dates back to circa 200 BCE, and in essence, it's basically six pyramids stacked over each other. 

Later civilizations expanded this earlier work, taking care to preserve the older structure. The new layers are composed of adobe bricks. Over time, the pyramid eventually became covered by jungle foliage and was later abandoned. That may have been fortunate, because when the Spanish invaders swept through, led by Hernan Cortez, over 3,000 inhabitants were murdered and most of the infrastructure of their culture was destroyed. The Spanish apparently thought Tlachihualtepetl was just part of the natural topography because it survived the assault by the invaders who dismantled or destroyed many of their other buildings.

Discoveries are Still Being Made

The tallest of the Egyptian structures, the Great Pyramid of Khufu, has been under rigorous study for more than a thousand years. Yet, even today, we’re discovering more about what is inside, including vast new chambers that were previously sealed and unknown. Using cosmic ray technology, the Scan Pyramids project -- a collaboration between Egyptian, French, and Japanese research institutions began in 2015 -- is using updated technology for a non-invasive searches inside the structures.

To date, they’ve found two previously undiscovered areas: a corridor on the north face of the pyramid and a huge void above the Grand Gallery measuring at least 100 feet long. It appears to be a similar structure to the Grand Gallery that connects various areas of the pyramid, including the burial chamber.

A team of American researchers wants to use other technology to get a complete three-dimensional image of the void area to determine if it's just a structural facet or a previously unknown chamber. Once completed, this study could provide much information on exactly how the pyramids were built.

Pyramids According to Draxis

My work-in-progress (temporary title: "Draxis") puts a totally different spin on pyramids. In this fictional version, the heroine learns that the Egyptians didn't build the pyramids, they merely repurposed the structures (including the Sphinx) that were already there, and were far, far older than the Egyptian dynasties by at least 6,000 years -- and still standing, though crumbling. 

The Egyptians performed the mother or all fixer-uppers and repaired and re-coated the massive structures to be the bright and shining monuments their culture became known for. 

They re-carved the head of the giant Sphinx, once a massive lion believed to honor the constellation of Leo -- which was in a different position in the skies in that earlier time. The Sphinx structure had been built in that ancient past so it faced directly toward the constellation shaped like a lion. The Egyptians carved the head of the lion into the likeness of their Pharoah, leaving the head clearly out-of-proportion to the rest of the structure, as we can see today. 

The mysterious earlier civilization had build the pyramid structures as giant power-generating stations that drew energy from the natural world to supply their advanced society that had thrived until the Younger-Dryas event wiped out civilization, as well as technology, as they knew it. Millennia later when the Egyptians re-worked these structures they found a maze of passages and chambers inside that they didn't understand, but branded with their symbols and painted with their stains to appropriate them as their own. They then used them (possibly) to bury their venerated dead.

The civilization on the planet Draxis also uses pyramids for most of their primary structures, though they more resembled the pyramids of the Americas with stepped terraces and attached porticos. The Draxians use primarily pastel colors to finish them -- soft beiges, peaches, aquas and lavenders -- with elaborate geometric murals. They didn't build them for looks. They built them because they were the standard for structures in their hot, dry, sometimes harsh culture -- stable, cool and energy-generating.

Although their grand palace is not a pyramid, it does have twenty-seven towers topped with pyramidal structures to generate energy, just as Earth's variety are suspected of doing by some researchers. One of these towers is used by the royal physician for it's healing properties, and this is where the heroine, Katrina, awakes at the beginning of the story.

Who the Draxians are, and what their civilization represents is what Katrina will discover as the story unfolds. Draxis is a civilization in decline, and an ancient legend says that a person known as The Flame will either save them or plunge them into oblivion. The ruling monarch, King Alii'us (Ah LEE us) loves Katrina, and believes her to be The Flame. But can he convince her that both he and his planet need her desperately even though she demands to be returned to her former world, and her former life?

This is the opening of the story (prefaced by a brief prologue that sets the stage for Katrina's journey). 

If you enjoyed the premise of "Draxis" and you're curious about the upcoming book, here's a bonus for you. There's a free short story set in the world of Draxis available on this blog titled The Recruit. It's a quick read, but it's packed with mystery and action, and there's a character from the story you'll meet in the book. 

The premise of The Recruit is that it's a scene taken from the book, but turned inside out and presented from a different POV. It takes place in the ancient jungle known as the Green Death, which is another name for The Black Stand mentioned in Juggernaut. (Juggernaut takes place on the planet LaGuardia, which had it's name changed from Draxis centuries before.) Click this link to read The Recruit.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023


Danger, Will Robinson!

The Juggernaut introductory price is ending very soon!

Grab your copy for .99 cents NOW before it goes to the regular price of $2.99.

Click here to see the book on Amazon.

(The price change is at the whim of Amazon KDP, but the sale price will probably end in the next 24-48 hours.)

Monday, February 6, 2023

JUGGERNAUT Excerpt: Man Troubles

Welcome to today's excerpt from new release Juggernauta book in the Inherited Stars series. The story is an expanded, revised version of a shorter story originally published in Pets in Space 5 (no longer available).

This comes with a quick reminder the Amazon Kindle book will only be on sale at .99 cents for a few more days. If you're reading this on February 6th, this is a great time -- and  possibly the last time -- to grab it at a bargain price. (Click this link to visit Amazon.)

Scene Set-Up

Lieutenant Commander Dekessa "Dek" Garr is having man problems. No, not the romantic kind. (At least, not yet.) As second in command, she's been left in charge of the ultra-secure Site D, located in an underground lava tube. But her fellow security team members aren't quite sure how to deal with her as their new boss, and the mysterious stranger -- and his StarDog partner -- who has suddenly been dumped in her lap isn't being very cooperative either.

Excerpt from Juggernaut:

Satisfied Telon’s creature posed no threat to her personnel, Dek left Major Remm in charge of getting the man and his pet settled in quarters.

She directed the major to have the quartermaster assign a vacant berth in Block A. Having the mystery guest and his pointy-eared partner quartered on her level would help her keep a closer watch on their activities.

As she made her way to the mess to grab a morning meal, she met Sergeant Garr on the path.

“Congrats…Boss,” he grumbled, clearly not happy with her in-charge status.

Dek ignored his jibe. “Those kids on the beach. They okay?”

“Yeah. Staggered away from the perimeter shortly after you left, shaken, but under their own power. But since when have you been sentimental about interlopers?”

“It could become a security issue,” she clarified. “They might be back. Possibly with friends.”

“Maybe we should just blast them next time.”

Again, she let his insolent response slide off. “We need to consider placing a secondary deterrent at some distance beyond the barrier.”

“What would you suggest?” Garr gave her a scathing look.

“Why don’t you come up with a plan. Put some thought into it and report back.”

“Yes, sir.” Garr performed an exaggerated salute.

“Carry on.” She passed him, continuing her trek to the mess hall, but the cold burn of Garr’s gaze drilled into her back.

Countering his challenge with a tasking was a subtle form of discipline she hoped might temper the junior officer’s streak of insolence. Pulling rank on him on her first day as acting commander would only heighten his belligerence. Better to give him the time to work through his issues on his own. Patience could win wars before they even started.

When she reached her destination, the boisterous din of the breakfast crowd fell to a sudden hush. Ignoring their scrutiny, she grabbed a tray. Conversations picked back up as she went down the line, selecting im-eggs and pancs from the offerings, before turning to make her way to a table with a couple of other members of the task force. Their conversation stopped as she drew near, and they exchanged glances.

“Acting Commander,” they muttered in stereo.

“Sergeant Caffron. Officer Bell.”

She settled and thumbed quickly through the StatCon messages scrolling on her wristcom. While her companions focused on wolfing down their meals, she switched on the surv-cam video to zero in on the site’s visitor. She locked on the feed of Telon milling beneath the ceiling breach, smiling as his little beastie scampered along the fallen jumble of basalt, her fluffy, cream-colored tail a stark contrast to the mottled black rocks. The little critter’s enthusiasm made Dek crack a tiny smile, too.

At the abrupt sound of scraping chair legs, she glanced up. Her two companions gave her stiff nods and walked single file to deposit their trays in the receptacle. She now had an eight-topper to herself in spite of the growing crowd. Obviously, command was going to be a lonely job.

Dek took a couple of bites of her meal and washed it down with a long swig of weak kinna before checking the surv-cam footage again.

Telon—and his little prototype—had vanished.

Dek straightened in her chair, scowled, and flipped through the various surveillance feeds. Quarters block. Zip. Command offices. Nothing. Secure lift entrance—she held her breath—nope. Her guest and his pet had seemingly disappeared into thin air.


Enjoy this excerpt and want to read another snippet? Check out last week's excerpt from Juggernaut here.

Thanks for visiting The Firebird today! 

Monday, January 30, 2023

An Acting Commander, a Network Agent and a StarDog Walk into a Lava Tube...

There's no punchline to that. It's actually the premise for Juggernaut.  

Meet Dek, Sno and Cassie in my latest release with snippets from the book.

An Acting Commander...

Lieutenant Commander Dekessa “Dek” Garr is second-in-command of a security force that protects a discovery buried deep inside an ancient lava tube. The implications of the find are staggering, and the stakes are high if their enemy—the Alliance—ever learns the truth about Site D. When her commander suddenly departs with zero warning and a mysterious visitor arrives, her job becomes a whole new level of complicated.

A Network Agent...

Sno Telon has an exercise to perform, and he isn’t about to let anyone stop him--including the dedicated acting commander known as Dek.

And a StarDog

But when his partner, CaSandra, a bioengineered dog-cat-weasel-mongoose, takes an immediate liking to the team leader, Sno realizes there’s much more to the woman than harsh words and hard scowls.


Snippet from Juggernaut

Graveyard shift. Four members of Dek’s security team were in their assigned sectors, manning the night watch. The science crew were all tucked in for the night. None of LaGuardia’s three moons yet cast its light through the break in the cave high above, and a deep inky blackness filled the great hole in the ground that she called home.

Dek crouched on the roof of her quarters, listening, eyes closed, senses keen. Her intuition told her something was amiss, and she’d learned never to ignore the feelings of gut-deep tension and restless unease. They were her wired-in early warning system. She slipped on her night vision goggles, checked the settings, and did a slow pan around the immense cavern. There! By the lifts. Movement.

Someone attempting to access Lower Cave?


If she sounded the alarm, it would alert the prowler before she’d had a chance to ID him. Best keep this on the down low. Dek debated alerting the security detail via her wristcom and nixed it. This was one guy. She’d handle it.


Juggernaut is on sale for the introductory price of .99 cents. 

The special price will be ending in the next week.

Click here to view it on Amazon

or use your cell phone camera to scan the QR code below

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Fun with Juggernaut Mock-Ups

It's always entertaining to use specialized mock-ups to highlight available books. Here's a few recent ones I created for use on social media. Whatcha think?

Whoop! There it is!

Mmm. Mmm. Good!

Juggernaut: MISSING...from your Kindle

A subtle reminder  :)

And this last one's a test of the animation.

Whoa! Look at that. It worked!  

I'm curious if you have any favorites among these five? Feedback welcome! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

My Newsletter is Out!


My newsletter went out Monday morning announcing the release of Juggernaut. 
If you're subscribed, you should have gotten a copy in your inbox.

If not, you can see it online at this link:

What's Next?

Upcoming Release
With Juggernaut now released, it's time to look ahead to my next project: Courting Disaster.

This is the last book originally released as part of a Pets in Space volume to have a date with the editor!

Or I should say, another date.

Each of the Inherited Stars Series books featuring StarDogs (StarDog, SpyDog and Juggernaut) were revised and expanded from the original works, but Courting Disaster definitely takes the cake as the most evolved book of the bunch. 

I've done major revisions to various scenes and backstory elements, and re-worked portions of the plot for its upcoming release as the sixth book in the series. 

The release date? I'm working hard to make that happen this summer. 

Plans within Plans within Plans 

(Does that sound a little Dune-esque? LOL) 

As I mentioned in my Reader's Group, StarDog Tales (thanks for the title idea, Donna!) is an upcoming project, and the exciting news is that, in addition to containing all the StarDog stories (I am all the Jedi), it will also have a brand new, never before released StarDog story with the working title StarDog Reunion. 

That's right. A brand new story that incorporates all four StarDogs and their related characters. Together, these five books will make one ginormous volume. There will also be a prompt when to read Inherit the Stars, which dovetails into each and every one of these books. 

Because the books were written years apart, some of the series ties might not have been clear at the time of reading, but trust me, this group is entangled. (But in a good, mostly.) I will guarantee a couple of huge surprises in the new book. 

(But not the return of the dreaded Juggernauts. Or I should say...not yet. Hold that thought.)

This is going to be such a fun project! 

For reference, here's a timeline image I created on the Inherited Stars books:

Chronologically, the order is: 

  • Juggernaut
  • StarDog
  • SpyDog [concurrently with Inherit the Stars
  • Courting Disaster
  • StarDog Reunion 

The hero and heroine of Courting Disaster are not only the central figures in StarDog Reunion, they're also front and center in the opening of the next novel in this timeline, so my projected summer release date for Courting Disaster is key to getting the asteroid rolling on StarDog Reunion/StarDog Tales and the future of the series. (No pressure, right?)

I'll be posting more on Courting Disaster over the next few weeks to reacquaint readers with this pivotal story. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Juggernaut: The Meaning of the Title (with Snippet)

Available on Amazon

My brand new release, Juggernaut, is on sale for .99 for a limited time before it goes to regular price. This is a special opportunity for my blog, newsletter and Facebook fans to get a great deal on a new book in the Inherited Stars series. This is an expanded story from the original release in the Pets in Space 5 collection

A little more about it...

Juggernaut is the 4th in the Inherited Stars series (or 8th if you count the serialized books of the Inherit the Stars anchor novel and Farewell Andromeda set in the same universe.) 

It's also the third book that chronicles of influence of the bio-engineered dog-cat-weasel-mongoose critters called StarDogs, joining StarDog and SpyDog in the series in a very cloak-and-dagger flavored space adventure romance that takes place in a mysterious lava tube on planet LaGuardia. (There's another planned release with a StarDog that should arrive later this year.)

What does "Juggernaut" refer to?

It actually has three distinct meanings in the story. The first is a reference to the growing aggression of the Ithian Alliance--generally just called the Alliance--in the known galaxy. 

This story takes place five calendars (years) before Inherit the Stars and SpyDog. In this excerpt, Lieutenant Commander Dek Garr has an exchange with mysterious visitor, Telon, when he informs her about the rising menace of the Alliance:


“Three days ago,” Telon began, “the capitol of Purmia was invaded by the Alliance—eight battalions of Rathskian forces.”

Eight battalions!

Dek forgot her wristcom feed, and her hand dropped to flatten on the table. “Why? For what purpose?”

“Unknown. Worst case scenario: to gain control of the planet and its resources.”

Dek bit hard into her lower lip and stared a hole in the table’s surface. The implications of such an affront could be catastrophic.

For one, it alarmed her that the Alliance would dare carry out such a bold invasion. Though they were the indisputable heavyweights in the galaxy, they’d always used blockades and economic manipulation to control other governments before—never military might. This signaled a paradigm shift in the level of power they wielded over the rest of the known galaxy. The Alliance was evolving into a juggernaut—an unstoppable force that crushed everyone and everything in its path.


But 'juggernaut' also has two other meanings, both significant to the story. If I described those references it would mean ***spoilers*** and ruin the story dynamics, so I'll just let you discover those for yourself as the reader.


Lieutenant Commander Dekessa “Dek” Garr is second-in-command of a security force that protects a discovery buried deep inside an ancient lava tube. The implications of the find are staggering, and the stakes are high if their enemy—the Alliance—ever learns the truth about Site D. When her commander suddenly departs with zero warning and a mysterious visitor arrives, her job becomes a whole new level of complicated.

Sno Telon has an exercise to perform, and he isn’t about to let anyone stop him--including the dedicated acting commander known as Dek. But when his partner, CaSandra, a bioengineered dog-cat-weasel-mongoose, takes an immediate liking to the team leader, Sno realizes there’s much more to the woman than harsh words and hard scowls.

When Dek is attacked by an invisible foe who infiltrates the off-limits excavation, she immediately suspects Telon as the obvious culprit. But her interrogations of the man don’t go as planned and an unlikely bond forms between them as they reach a startling conclusion. Could the invisible perpetrator actually be an Alliance spy who’s about to blow open the secrets of Site D?

Can Dek trust Telon and his StarDog partner to help root out a possible Alliance operative, even if it means breaking every security protocol in the process? If her instincts about Telon are wrong, Site D’s secret could be lost forever…and her life along with it.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Juggernaut Snippet

My new release, Juggernaut, is being offered at the very special price of .99 cents for a limited time only. The story was originally published as a shorter version in Pets in Space 5 (no longer available). It's a book in my Inherited Stars series, and yes, this one has a StarDog as a character.

In fact, she's one of the very first StarDogs!

Here's a scene from the story. (Edited for length and context.)

Scene Set-Up

Lieutenant Commander Dekessa "Dek" Garr is dropped into the hot seat by her commanding officer when he announces he is making a mysterious departure and leaving her in command of a security team at a top secret dig site tagged as Site D. 

Even more unsettling, a stranger has just arrived at the highly secure site and she has been provided with no intel about him or his purpose at Site D. 

She intends to turn their first introduction into an opportunity to learn more about the man and his reason for being there.


Dek waited until the graying major finished giving his safety and protocol rundown to the visitor, before stating crisply, “Thank you, Major. I’ll take it from here.”

Remm looked up. “He’s all yours, Acting Commander.”

She strode to the table directly across from the stranger but didn’t take a seat. The visitor gave her a frowning once-over and also got to his feet before glancing back at Major Remm.

“This is Lieutenant Commander Garr,” the major said. “Currently our acting commander in charge of security operations.”

The visitor gave her a stony nod. “Acting Commander.”

Dek took considerable time with her assessment of the interloper. Keen black eyes, and not shy about holding eye contact. His features were angular and a shade darker even than her bronze skin, but his hair was black. It was also a bit on the short side for her tastes, but completely professional, nevertheless. The light shadow on his chin told her he hadn’t shaved for a day or so, but even so, he didn’t look scruffy.

On second thought, maybe he wasn’t Rathskian. At least not entirely. He had that intense look about him, yes, but his face was more refined—almost as pretty as a gigadam Tectolian—and lacked the scarring kensmarcs the Rathskian subspecies wore as badges of honor. He had their stature, though, maybe a mark or two taller than her…and he wore sand-camo field gear.

Didn’t anybody tell this guy that Site D is subsurface?

He had a hard set to his jaw and looked about as pleased to be on site as she was to have him here.

“This is Telon,” Renn explained. “His partner goes by a code name. CaSandra.”

“Partner?” Dek angled her head. “I wasn’t briefed about this.”

“She’s classified,” Telon answered. “As is her presence here.”

Dek narrowed her eyes. “And where is your partner?”

Telon exchanged glances with the major. “She’s here.”

He reached down beside his chair and lifted an object onto the table by a handle set into the top. The rectangular box appeared to be made of punched polymer with wire mesh on the side facing her.

“Say hello to the commander, CaSandra.”

Two little golden paws pressed against the mesh from the inside. The creature attached to them gave a high-pitched bark, followed by quiet chattering.

Startled, Dek backed off a step. The animal’s soft amber eyes studied her from behind the mesh with its shiny nose molded tight to the thin bars.

“What in Empora’s Hades is this?” she demanded.

“There isn’t a name for what she is,” Telon answered quietly. “She’s a bio-construct, a first-generation prototype with canine, feline, weasel, and mongoose DNA.”

Dek raised her gaze to the stranger. “Bio-constructed for what purpose?”

His eyes went dark and deep, like the ocean just before a storm. “I’m not at liberty to discuss that, Acting Commander.”

He reached for the wire mesh screen—

“What are you—”

—and flipped it open.

Dek backed off another step and gripped the stunpulse secreted in a pocket of her field uniform. The golden creature exited its crate, eyeing her cautiously, and sniffed the air. Its pointed ears twitched before it bolted up Telon’s sleeve and perched on his shoulder, chattering quietly in his ear.

The man nodded and met Dek’s eyes. “Cassie says she’s on your side. And she’d like you to release the weapon you have hidden in your uniform.”

The little beastie squeaked again.

“Please,” he added.

Dek dropped her chin, squinting. “Is this creature telepathic?”

“Not exactly,” he replied.

The bio-construct leaned toward Telon, nuzzling the side of his face…and purred. Huh. Just like the kitten she’d had as a kid. The man reached up to stroke the animal’s head. Cassie craned her neck and closed her eyes, emitting a happy gruff-gruff.

Dek’s heart warmed a degree or two.

Gigadam thing’s adorable.

She displayed her empty hand. “Tell her if she behaves, she has nothing to fear from me.”

Telon grinned. “You just told her yourself, Acting Commander. She understands you perfectly.”


Lieutenant Commander Dekessa “Dek” Garr is second-in-command of a security force that protects a discovery buried deep inside an ancient lava tube. The implications of the find are staggering, and the stakes are high if their enemy—the Alliance—ever learns the truth about Site D. When her commander suddenly departs with zero warning and a mysterious visitor arrives, her job becomes a whole new level of complicated.

Sno Telon has an exercise to perform, and he isn’t about to let anyone stop him--including the dedicated acting commander known as Dek. But when his partner, CaSandra, a bioengineered dog-cat-weasel-mongoose, takes an immediate liking to the team leader, Sno realizes there’s much more to the woman than harsh words and hard scowls.

When Dek is attacked by an invisible foe who infiltrates the off-limits excavation, she immediately suspects Telon as the obvious culprit. But her interrogations of the man don’t go as planned and an unlikely bond forms between them as they reach a startling conclusion. Could the invisible perpetrator actually be an Alliance spy who’s about to blow open the secrets of Site D?

Can Dek trust Telon and his StarDog partner to help root out a possible Alliance operative, even if it means breaking every security protocol in the process? If her instincts about Telon are wrong, Site D’s secret could be lost forever…and her life along with it.


Juggernaut is available on Amazon as an e-book.

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My New Release has an Unusual Setting

My latest release in the Inherited Stars series, Juggernaut, involves a very unusual setting for a space adventure romance. It’s underground! Most of the story takes place inside an ancient lava tube. 

Lava tubes are a natural conduit formed by flowing lava which moves beneath the hardened surface of a lava flow. They can drain magma from a volcano during an eruption, or can be extinct, meaning the lava flow has ceased, and the rock has cooled and left a long tubular, and often very twisted, cave. They can have large chambers where the lava pooled, or cliffs and drop-offs, or they can take the form of multiple tubes that split and then re-fuse. When the lava tube forms near the surface, parts of the roof can cave in over time allowing sunlight -- and curious people -- to access the underground labyrinth.

For a quick tour of a lava tube, here's a 55 second virtual fly-through of the Cueva de los Verdes lava tube in Lanzarote, Spain, done by the European Space Agency (ESA). It’s a little spooky, which is great for setting the mood of the story. 

While doing the research, I learned that a lava tube can be a cave but not a cavern. All caverns are caves, but all caves aren't necessarily caverns. Lava tubes have different properties than some of the better known caves in our country--like Carlsbad Caverns and its neighbor, the fairyland-like Lechuguilla Cave (both in New Mexico), or Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. 

Caverns are specifically natural caves that are big enough for access by humans and formed by soluble rock (usually limestone) that form speleothems--or stalactites and stalagmites. These formations are caused by water with dissolved minerals dripping from the roof of a cave that, over eons of time, form structures within the cave. These structures, stalactites and stalagmites, sometimes fuse together and form large pillar structures. Other times they flow in great curtains or weird, goblin-like formations.

I referenced a  "speleothem" in the story, even though it takes place inside a lava tube, because this particular lava tube has a secret. Something completely unexpected and incredibly important is hidden there, a finding so monumental it has it's own security team to ensure this "treasure" is kept secret. But they're about to uncover an even darker mystery.

Get your spelunking gear ready for a different kind of space adventure! 

Juggernaut is at the special price of .99 for a limited time. 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Welcome to The Firebird!

This blog, The Firebird, has been resurrected from its former identity as Spacefreighters Lounge, a Science Fiction Romance blog that was active as a joint authors blog for nearly 16 years (2007 - 2023).

It will now serve as the personal author blog, Space Adventure Romance promoter, graphic snippet showcase, idea generator, video showcase and sounding board for the author who originally created the site as it continues to support her tagline:

The moniker of The Firebird was chosen for three reasons:

1) The blog rose from the ashes of the old Spacefreighters Lounge, 

2) It represents Laurie A. Green's RWA Golden Heart finalist class of 2012 (who named themselves The Firebirds because the world was supposed to end that year!), and

3) The Firebird is the name of a special starcraft in a future Inherited Stars Universe book

If you're reading this, it's probably because you're checking back on Spacefreighters Lounge to see what's up after the blog signed off in January 2023. All of the original SFR, book and writing related content is still available and will remain as a time capsule of the former decade-and-a-half of the SFR author community, book releases and events. Use the "Search This Blog" feature on the lower sidebar to look for any topic. If it has to do with books, science fiction romance, space, or fiction-related science, there are probably multiple blogs about it.

Thanks for stopping by, and please come back to visit again often.


Monday, January 2, 2023

Spacefreighters Lounge Signing Off

This blog was created in May 2007 by aspiring Science Fiction Romance writer, Laurie A. Green, and it continued for well over 15 years. 

It is the last of the original Science Fiction Romance blogs created in that era, outlasting many by nearly a decade. Its most popular post garnered some 36,000 reads! (A research piece about the Andromeda Galaxy.)

It has been a joint blog of up to five SFR writers or authors for most of that run. During that time, many of us became first time authors and have since published numerous books, and become award-winning and/or bestselling writers. Over the years, my talented co-bloggers included Donna S. Frelick, Greta van der Rol, K.M. Fawcett, E. G. Manetti, Pippa Jay, and Sharon Lynn Fisher, as well as too many guest bloggers to list. 

But times change and so do trends, especially in the world of social media.

It's now time for the Spacefreighters Lounge crew to say goodbye.

Thanks to those who have faithfully followed our blog through the years, and to those who dropped in from time-to-time to read our content or say hello. Most of our content will remain available for an undetermined time. Use the search function on the right sidebar if you're looking for a particular topic or topics. If it has to do with SFR -- or writing in general -- there's probably a blog or five about it.

We appreciate all the comments, shares and support since 2007. We hope this blog gave something back to the Science Fiction Romance community that brought it to life.

Wishing you all the best, and every success, in 2023 and beyond.