Farewell To Leonard Nimoy

Live long and prosper...

Live long and prosper…

Like so many others, I must sadly bid farewell to Leonard Nimoy, who passed away yesterday at the age of 83. His portrayal of Spock in the original Star Trek series left an indelible impression on me during my formative years. As one of my elementary school friends recently recalled, my main interests back in those early days were things military and Star Trek, and she was not far wrong. The timing of his death was something of an irony for me, as I had just started to go back through the original series only a week or so ago after not having watched them for many years.

As a boy, my head was filled with the universe of Star Trek and its characters, along with the historical events of the Apollo program and, later, the Space Shuttle. Sometimes I probably forgot which was which. When you’re a child gifted with an active imagination, it doesn’t really matter, I suppose. But back in those days, were I granted a single wish, it very likely would have been to be a member of the crew of the Enterprise. Had I been able to step through the barrier separating reality from imagination, I would not have hesitated.

Of all the characters, I identified most with Spock. While I wished that I was more like Kirk, the truth is that I was a hopeless nerd (something that hasn’t changed much). If you think about it, Leonard Nimoy’s Spock was a nerd, too. But he showed that nerds could be strong, compassionate, caring, and just. Spock was the perfect TV role model for kids like me, and Leonard Nimoy brought it off flawlessly. Now, I’m not going to say that I’m anything like Spock, or Leonard Nimoy for that matter. But he represented something worthy and noble to which kids like me might aspire.

Nimoy, of course, had talents that went far beyond his portrayal of Spock. I have to confess, however, that I didn’t really follow his career outside the narrow confines of Star Trek, and I suppose that his intensely strong typecasting as Spock might not have done his acting career any favors. Be that as it may, I’ve certainly enjoyed seeing him in other roles (notably as William Bell in the wonderful sci-fi series Fringe), and no one can deny that he was an immensely talented actor and creative mind.

But to me, the boy who sat glued to the tube every night waiting for Star Trek to come on, the boy who would later cast aside a secure government career to write science fiction stories, he has always been, and always shall be, Spock.

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The Mars One Mission: Should We Go?

Mars OneThe other day some of my Twitter friends commented on how badly they were feeling about the people competing for acceptance by the Mars One Mission, which is a private venture that hopes to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. The first launch is planned for 2024, and the venture announced that the 200,000-plus applicants had at last been whittled down to the final 100 selectees, who face a very rigorous process to identify the teams who will actually fly the missions. The kicker is that these missions will be one-way, and some (perhaps most) critics believe the crews will have a tragically short life-span once they reach their new home. Some seem to feel like this is a needless and hideously expensive tragedy in the making, while others — the applicants among them, of course — look at it as the opportunity of a lifetime. What say you?

My own take on it is that if I were about 25 years younger and unattached, I would have applied myself. I believe that Homo Sapiens is, at heart, an explorer, and the stars have beckoned us from day one. That’s not to say that there isn’t more to explore here on Mother Earth, but outer space has limitless possibilities if we can work our way through the technological challenges. We have proven we have the ability to get to the Moon, and I personally believe that we’ve had the technology to reach even farther for some years.

Unfortunately, once the Space Race was over, the world’s governments largely lost interest in manned space exploration. But with the emergence of (hopefully) viable commercial ventures like Mars One and others, we may very well be entering a Golden Age of space flight. But the exploration of space has its risks, as it always has. The Mars One crews may perish soon after landing, or they might not make it at all. But if we never pushed outward, never accepted risk, our ancient ancestors never would have left Africa to colonize the rest of the planet, to mention nothing of the many exploratory missions recorded in our more modern history.

But there’s another reason I believe that we need to leave our planetary cradle, one that’s far more imperative: the long-term survival of our species.  You can pick your doomsday scenario, or maybe we simply run out of resources on Earth, but the bottom line is that all of our eggs are in one planetary basket. It doesn’t matter if we screw up the Earth or something else does it: if our biosphere is badly damaged, we’re screwed. We need to start building a new nest, and I think the time is upon us.

Getting back to the Mars One adventurers, I’m very curious about how you view their circumstances. Are they to be pitied and mourned in advance? Are they heroic explorers? Or something else entirely. Let me know what you think!

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A Little Snippet From MISTRESS OF THE AGES

Mistress Of The AgesI guess it’s time to start getting folks in the mood for MISTRESS OF THE AGES, the rough draft of which is roughly 2/3 done. And remember, the usual rules apply – the tidbits I’ll be posting are, as yet, raw and unedited…and chosen more or less at random.

Enjoy!


“You presume too much, Syr-Nagath.”

She favored Ulan-Sulir, the high priest of the Nyur-A’il with a contemptuous look. She knew that he could easily kill her with the power of his mind, choking the life from her body with an act of whim. But he had dishonored himself when the Desh-Ka had arrived to rescue Keel-Tath. He should have challenged Ayan-Dar, but had backed down from the one-eyed priest in scarcely concealed fear. That he had remained here, rather than returning to his temple to consult with the elders of the order, told her that he was afraid to face them. Syr-Nagath knew the measure of Ulan-Sulir now, and found him lacking. He was perfect for her needs.

“You dislike my attire, Ulan-Sulir?” She said, turning in a full circle with the grace of a dancer. She still wore gleaming black ceremonial armor, just as would any warrior in garrison. But her breast plate now bore a cyan rune that had not been seen for millennia: that of the Ka’i-Nur priesthood, which had fallen from grace near the end of the Second Age. Her Collar of Honor bore an oval of living metal inscribed with the same rune, and a black robe with silver piping rippled from her back while she turned.

“You are no priestess!” Ulan-Sulir spat.

Syr-Nagath came to him, her mouth twisted in sudden rage. “Do you, high priest of the Nyur-Ai’l, for one moment doubt that I would be high priestess of the Ka’i-Nur if our Crystal of Souls had not been taken from us?”

Ulan-Sulir’s eyes narrowed. “It was never taken from you.”

“Do not bandy words with me, priest,” she snarled. “If what is yours is placed by another’s hands forever beyond your reach, it has been taken. I wear these adornments by right, and by right I should have the powers of the crystal of the Ka’i-Nur.”

“But you do not,” Ulan-Sulir said, his face twitching up into a thin smile, “and never will.”

“Do not be so sure,” she told him, her opinion of him falling even more. One such as Ayan-Dar would have had my head for speaking in such a fashion, she thought. She knew through Ka’i-Lohr that the old priest was dead, and the thought saddened her. She would have liked to watch him burn alive, turning on a spit over an open fire…

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Update on MISTRESS OF THE AGES

Mistress Of The Ages

And no, this isn’t the final cover…

Since I’ve gotten so many questions on this lately, I figured I should probably give a “here’s what’s going on” report on the next book of the IN HER NAME series, MISTRESS OF THE AGES.

The manuscript now stands at 35,000 words, and there’s a LOT of story left to cover! That brings me to the bad news is that it’s going to be a while yet before it’s ready. How long? I have no idea. All I can tell you is that I’ve been working on it consistently and am trying to keep life’s interruptions at bay as much as possible.

The good news is that I’m really liking how the story is coming along, and I’m hoping that you’ll find this not only to be a fitting conclusion to the First Empress saga, but I think it also may very well wind up being the best book of the trilogy.

So, that’s the scoop for now!

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The Black Gate Is On The Street!

The Black GateIt’s official: The Black Gate has been published! While it hasn’t reached all the retail outlets yet and the print version will be a few weeks off, it’s on the street and ready for you to grab a copy!

It is early 1945 and Nazi Germany, reeling under the relentless onslaught of the Allied armies, looks to futuristic superweapons like jet fighters, V-1 buzz bombs, and V-2 rockets for its salvation.

But Peter Miller, an analyst at the headquarters of the Office of Strategic Services in Washington D.C., learns of a secret Nazi weapons project that may pose a far greater threat: the Black Gate.

Sent alone on a perilous mission into the heart of Germany in the guise of an SS officer, Peter discovers that Nazi scientists have recreated an ancient machine that opens a portal to another universe, a gate they believe literally leads to Hell.

With the help of Mina Hass, a beautiful woman who is also the lover and confidant of the madman leading the project, Peter must find a way to close the gate forever before the Nazis unwittingly unleash Armageddon…

Use the drop-down list below to pop over to your fave ebook retailer…and please do me a huge favor and let your friends know! Word of mouth from happy readers is always the best advertising! :-)


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