The Art of Science Fiction Book Covers


This is a fascinating look at the old pulp covers of year’s past.

Silence Drips into Color


A woman soldier facing away from the camera holds a rifle.
The scariest thing in Desert Storm was when the gas alarm sounded and we evacuated to a foxhole. Did not know anything. Could not see anything.

Private First Class Anita Johnson’s greatest fear is dying,   After a gas alarm is called, she hides in a bunker, listening to the unknown and waiting for IT to happen.  Normalcy may be her only sanity.

A flash fiction story available from your favorite booksellers.

5 Futuristic Women


Cover for 5 Futuristic Women

Five stories of futuristic women, from an artist who makes a first contact in “Sky Hair,” to the private who finds herself in hot water after aliens eat her officer in “Rejected by Aliens.”  In “New Robot Smell,” a female soldier has to choose between the military and her life.  In “The Scientist’s Widow,” a detective tracks a woman she thinks murdered her husband, and in “Theater Ship,” actors defend a planet from an alien invasion.

This science fiction collection is available from your favorite bookseller.

Men From the Horizon


Tall ship sailing against the sunrise - cover for Men from the Horizon
This was inspired by disability and steampunk. I thought about what it was like for the Hawaiians when the first missionaries came to the island and what they might have offered.

Men visit Rewa’s island with monstrous automatons and promises–and the ability to help her walk normally again.  They just want to farm the sugar cane fields for Rewa and her people.  If one farmer agrees, everyone will agree.  The decision hangs on what Rewa does.  And no matter what her decision Rewa makes, it will cost her.

A science fiction short story available from your favorite booksellers.

Monkey River


Tall ship on the sea
SHORT STORY: When I went to Honduras on my first cruise, we sailed up a river and listened to these frightening snorts that sounded like a giant animal was coming for us. It was a monkey! Needless to say…

Pap thinks the worst of his problems is getting stuck with a green officer from the King’s Militia.  They’re out in the middle of nowhere, and officers hate nowhere.

Then Pap’s partner Ariana, a cartographer mage, discovers an entire fleet waiting on the river.  To attack?  Nowhere is suddenly becoming very dangerous.

A fantasy short story available from your favorite booksellers.

Granny Logic


A woman on a pier, holding an umbrella over her face
SHORT STORY: I broke my right foot. Terribly inconvenient. But it inspired this story.

It’s ‘take your granny on stakeout day’ for Erin King.
With a broken right foot, everything is hard for Erin.  Going through doors, getting around town,  investigating fraud.  The case is already difficult enough, and now Erin needs a chauffeur. Her weight-lifting grandmother is ready to pitch in…and offer investigating tips.  Erin doesn’t just have doubts about solving the case but surviving the stakeout.

A Granny PI mystery short story available from your favorite booksellers.

Theater Ship


A spaceship hovers above an alien landscape, a planet in the background
A woman actor ages out of roles much faster than men. So my character takes to space travel to continue doing what she loves.

Actress Catherine Mason is old enough that Hollywood no longer wants her, so she performs theater in space for the soldiers.  But it’s dangerous duty for the actors.  As they land on a military post, Catherine discovers the aliens are watching.  She’s about to give the performance of her life, if not her life.

A science fiction short story available from your favorite booksellers.

Strands of Blackmail


Cover for Strands of Blackmail
When I was driving home, a white dog was standing up on his hind legs, feet propped up on a fence, looking like he was chatting with the neighbors. So I had to use him in a story.

Sometimes returning home brings back good memories, or bad ones.

For Shari Kendell, it’s finding answers to the questions her grandmother’s death left.  Actors always live in their own world, but Shari is surprised and what she didn’t know.  Who was blackmailing her grandmother, and why?

A Morro Bay mystery short story, available from your favorite booksellers.

Easter Eggs in Books


Girl in pink shirt looks behind rock for three Easter Eggs
Treasure hunt!

Hollywood’s pretty well-known for Easter eggs,.  It’s something that’s put into a movie or a TV show that only a diehard fan will catch.  Like these visits from the movie producer in a brief cameo.  They did miss one though–Donald P. Bellisario shows up in the episode with Mariette Hartley.  You can see him walking in the background in the hospital waiting area, near the end.

Some other examples I’ve run across:

  • In Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’s “Escape From Venice,” Admiral Nelson stays at the Hotel Dandelo.  That’s the name of the cat from David Hedison’s film, The Fly.
  • In Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, there’s a scene where Captain Christopher Pike gets paged.  Pike was a nod to Star Trek.

They can take the form of pretty much anything, especially if you’re familiar with the genre or the actors.  But books have them, too.

Clive Cussler did one in his later novels. Dirk and Al run into a crusty old character with the strange name of…Clive Cussler!  I know a lot of people thought it was hokey and silly, but it’s really kind of a fun nod to the fans of the books.

In fact, there was another action-type novel series where the writers were clearly a fan of Cussler’s, so that crusty character showed up in their first couple of books (not the later ones…).

Have you spotted any in your favorite books?

(And yes, I’ve used some in mine.  They really are a lot of fun.)

Between Black and White


A woman walking in the distance, forest surrounding her.
Coming home from war for the soldier is a strange experience.  The world no longer matches up.

Returning home from Desert Storm, Mary doesn’t recognize the place she grew up.  Or her father. But it’s her that’s changed, too much. Can she find herself in the past, or is who she was gone forever?

A military flash fiction story available from your favorite booksellers.