Thursday, October 5, 2017

Martian Solar Storm

One of the things I truly enjoyed about writing The Orthogonal Galaxy was my study of Mars.  It is such a surreal planet, full of fascinating features and atmospheric surprises.  A solar storm recently caused an intense aurora and significant radiation.  In the GIF below, you can see the aurora as an intense semicircle of light appears in the UV animation on the left.

According to the article, "astronauts on Mars would definitely have needed shelter during a storm of this magnitude." I'm glad that NASA is studying the impact of radiation on Mars. With all of the discussion of sending a human to Mars, we need to ensure that it is as safe as possible.  Manned missions to Mars along with talk of colonizing the planet will take an immense amount of preparation (and money!) for visionaries to see their dreams come true... all without the help of the subatomic replicator that my Martian astronauts enjoyed on Camp Mars.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Purple Beam

For those who have read The Orthogonal Galaxy, you know that it starts off with a startling astronomical phenomenon known as a yellow beam.  Here's a fascinating article on a type of aurora named "Steve" that looks like a purple beam:

Maybe I should've named the yellow beam.  How does "Carl" sound (after Professor Carlton Zimmer, who researches the yellow beam in the Galaxy Series)?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Exoplanet Discovery

It seems like we hear about new exoplanet discoveries every day.  It seems like the holy grail of astronomy these days is finding another planet which has the right ingredients for life.  In our own Solar System, for example, the Earth is the only planet we believe has all of the ingredients for life which also exists in the so-called circumstellar habitable zone.  This is more frequently referred to as the Goldlocks zone, and it represents the distance from the sun where liquid water can exist.  For planets too close to the sun, the surface of the planet will be too hot, and water will simply boil away into the atmosphere.  When it is too far, water will simply freeze.  Finding these planets are tricky, because they are far enough away from their sun that they don't transit in front of it sun (with respect to Earth's point of view) often enough to be readily detected by telescopes.  The astronomer would have to train his equipment on any given star for so long that catching the transit would be a matter of pure luck.  Further, life-supporting rocky planets are likely to be so small that they are hard to see in front of the sun and even harder to detect its gravitational effects on its own solar system.

However, just days after publishing The Twisted Galaxy, scientists have revealed that they have discovered the most promising exoplanet for finding life.  LHS 1140b is one of just a couple dozen super-Earths (planets reasonably larger than our own planet) sitting in the habitable zone of their respective stars.  However, at 39 light years away, LHS 1140b is one of the closest known examples, meaning we might have a better chance at observing the makeup of the planet and determining its probability of hosting life.

Researchers discover planet likely to comprise alien life

While it's not 27,000 light years away, as is Earth2 in the Galaxy Series, it's nevertheless fun to watch astronomers catalog the increasing number of exoplanets as a way to improve the odds that intelligent life is not just found in isolation on our own little planet.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

PUBLISHED: "The Twisted Galaxy" (Galaxy Series, #2)

My new novel, "The Twisted Galaxy" is now available at and Smashwords.  The eBook is priced at $0.99 on all platforms, while the paperback is listed at $9.99.

This is the second book in "The Galaxy Series" and follows astronauts Paol Joonter and Blade Slater on their mission to Earth2.  Meanwhile, Professor Zimmer and his research team continue to learn more about the superluminal comet on its subsequent flybys of Earth1.  If you'd like to read a preview, you can do it here.

After 2.5 years of writing, editing, and revising, I'm excited to release this novel to the world, and hope to receive feedback on what I can do to continue to hone my writing skills as the series progresses.  One of the consistent criticisms of "The Orthogonal Galaxy" was that it needed more editing.  So, this time, I hired an editor to help me produce a story with much higher quality.  I produced no fewer than five drafts, reading each one carefully through, while giving my editor a crack to poke at a few of them as well.  While I'm sure it won't be perfect (I see editing problems even in blockbuster novels!) I hope that it shows marked improvement between books one and two.

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

"The Twisted Galaxy" Cover

Just back from the art shop!  Here are the Kindle and paperback covers for the new book.

It's starting to feel real now!

I hope The Twisted Galaxy shows improvement in my writing since I published book 1.  Specifically, I paid special attention to editing this time, hiring an editor to help me through the process.  I went through five drafts with various degrees of changes, from major rips to minor tweaks, spelling, grammar, and punctuation issues.  I doubt that we caught everything, but I hope it makes for an easier and more enjoyable read.

It's nearly been 2.5 years since The Orthogonal Galaxy was first published, which is longer than anticipated, but I simply wasn't willing to publish a product that wasn't ready to read.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Twisted Galaxy Blurb

The Twisted Galaxy is getting ever so close to publication now.  I'm expecting another round of edits back from the editor now, and based on initial feedback, I think we'll be very close to a final draft very soon... so close in fact, that I have already created the ISBN with CreateSpace and began an entry on Goodreads.

As a teaser, here is the blurb for the book:

Astronauts Paol Joonter and Blade Slater have landed on a planet thousands of light years from their home world.  Considered by many to be a suicidal effort, they have safely completed the first year of a twelve year mission.  What will they find on Earth2, and how will it shape the directive they were given by NASA?  As they explore and learn about this new world for six years, they hope to find friendly conditions there, knowing they will still have to survive the perilous ride back home on the tail of a superluminal comet.

While wondering about their beloved astronauts, Professor Zimmer and his team of postdoctoral researchers worry about the state of the mission and make even more startling discoveries about the nature of the comet.  As they come to better understand its past, they can't help to wonder what the return of the comet portends for the outcome of the mission.

I'm super excited to get this book published and start working on book #3.  The research is well under way, and there are already so many ideas swirling about in my head (and in my notes!) that I'm ready to get started on the next project.