Monday, December 12, 2011

5 Cool Places to Read

We recently went to Hawaii for a wedding in the family. Naturally, I took along more books to read than I had hours to read them. Here are some of the lovely places I found to read:

Waimea Plantation, Kauai

Poipu, Kauai

Waikiki, Honolulu

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dazzling Dozen--since 1980

Last weekend I was on the Dazzling Dozen panel at MileHiCon, and we were asked to come up with a list of 12 gems, science fiction short stories since 1980. I love lists! But it was really hard--hard to limit my list only to 12 that covered a period of 31 years. So I ended up choosing the 12 stories that have haunted me the most. Some of them are well known and have won various awards, but mostly they're just the stories that have affected me the most. Here they are:

1. Robert F. Young. “The Summer of the Fallen Star,” Fantasy & Science Fiction, April 1981

2. Octavia Butler. “Bloodchild,” Asimov's, 1984.

3. Roger MacBride Allen. “A Hole in the Sun,” Analog, April, 1987.

4. Connie Willis. “Cibola,” Asimov’s, December 1990.

5. Nancy Kress. “Beggars in Spain,” Asimov’s, April, 1991

6. Arthur C. Clarke. “The Hammer of God,” Time, Sept. 28, 1992

7. Mike Resnick. “Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge,” Fantasy & Science Fiction, Oct./Nov. 1994

8. Paolo Bacigalupi. “The Fluted Girl,” Fantasy & Science Fiction, June, 2003.

9. Robert J. Sawyer. “Shed Skin,” Analog, Jan./Feb. 2004.

10. Carol Emshwiller. “I Live with You,” Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 2005

11. Jack Skillingstead. “Life on the Preservation,” Asimov’s, June 2006.

12. Kathleen Ann Goonan. “Memory dog,” Asimov’s, April/May, 2008

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Publisher!

I have a new publisher, D.M. Kreg Publishing, who is bringing out two of my books in the next few months!

The first one, Murder in the Dojo, is due out in early November under my pen name Sue Star. It's a light-hearted traditional mystery about a menopausal suburban mother of a teenager. Mom becomes the karate instructor in a down-and-out dojo only to find that it isn't just her family who disapproves--someone will do anything, even murder, to keep her from taking that job.

An electronic version is already available at your favorite bookstore, and the trade paperback edition will be out soon.

You can find more information at the publisher's website:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Guest Blogger Betsy Dornbusch

Welcome to Betsy, a member of my critique group. Betsy has a new book out, and she's guest blogging for me today to tell you a bit about it. Enjoy!

Be mean. Be very mean.

If you read much great genre fiction at all, you’ll soon realize the plots that really hold your attention thwart your characters, over and over. In mysteries it’s lies, subterfuge, and often the detective’s own faults that stand as obstacles. In urban fantasies it might be a series of large, hairy, mystical creatures. In science fiction it can take shape as alien enemies, prejudices, or science itself.

In my position as an editor for the speculative fiction magazine Electric Spec, I see a lot of milquetoast characters whose problems and obstacles don’t amount to much. Not that it has to be all death and destruction (though I do love me some death and destruction). However, the obstacles should mean something to the characters. It should cause them pain. It should play to their personal weaknesses, preferably forcing them to eventually overcome them.

I have a rule: if it’s tough to write, then you’re probably on the right track. But truly, it was only in the past year or so that I really started working with “what’s the worst that could happen?” in mind.

In LOST PRINCE, my recent release, I purposely put both characters in bad spots. I started by creating horrible backstories for each character. Prince Aric has been on the run for two years, doing his best to keep his identity secret while hunting down the man he believes betrayed his world, resulting in its utter destruction. Katriel, who is AWOL from the omni-powerful Coalition, is the victim of a pirate attack that leaves her hopelessly, desperately in debt to her boss. Both have both done horrible things in the name of war; unknowingly, some of their worst actions were taken against each other. So with histories like these, I had to construct even huger obstacles. But, with such rich backstories, it wasn’t so difficult. It’s as if the characters themselves gave me plenty of material to mine. Which is likely as it should be. Tight stories feel this way: as if that particular story could only happen to that particular character. It felt that way to me as I wrote it. Hopefully it feels that way to the reader, as well.

Visit Sex Scenes at Starbucks to find out more about LOST PRINCE, read an excerpt, and learn about the author. HYPERLINK ""

Buy the book at Whiskey Creek Press

or for your Kindle

The only thing that’s kept Alaric, the so-called Lost Prince of Calixte, from giving into his grief over his beloved homeworld is the thought of revenge against the man who betrayed his people. But he couldn’t be more wrong about Haydn, who actually saved two thousand Calixten soldiers from certain death and secreted them on an inhospitable planet. There, they’ve launched a fledgling rebellion against the Coalition that rules six galaxies, including the lucrative Salt Road. They only need their prince to lead them.

Alaric needs a pilot to get him to his soldiers, someone too desperate to betray him. Katriel, a hotshot deserter pilot enslaved to Haydn by debt, is perfect for the job. But neither Katriel nor Alaric realize how the battle over Calixte binds them closer than blood, and when they find out, their collision will send shockwaves through the universe.

Thanks, Bets!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Formats for my Story

Having just returned from Dominican Republic (more on that in a future post), I'm catching up on news. Big news now is the availability of my short story! "The Seventh Sleeve of Tombaugh," about a man who joins a mission to Pluto to escape the masses of humanity--and then things go terribly wrong--appears in the anthology Alien Aberrations.

Besides being available as a paperback in bookstores, it's also available on iBooks (for iphones/ipads) and at Barnes & Noble for the Nook. Now it's available on Kindle, too. Here's the link:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Where on Earth Have I Been??

1. Santa Fe:
shopping mecca and home of this year's Left Coast Crime convention. It was great fun to hang out with other writers and readers and add to my turquoise collection.

2. The Amazon Henge:

my work in progress. This is the novel that I wrote in a month last November for NaNoWriMo, and it's morphed on me yet again. Strange, how a re-draft takes longer than the first draft!

3. Reading frenzy:

I'm a slow reader, but I managed to read 16 books in the past 2 months. Here are some favorites that stood out:

Open Season, by C.J. Box (first of the Joe Pickett game warden mystery series set in Wyoming)

Tell No One, by Harlan Coben (a thriller about a deadly secret)

Zuzu's Petals, by Lauren Ward Larsen (a chilling story of surviving preeclampsia and the uplifting story of second chances)

The Ghosts of Belfast, by Stuart Neville (a noir treatment of guilt)

4. Gone, painting:

Look out, world, I've discovered that talent is not a prerequisite to paint. Like writing, talent helps, but practice is critical. So...working on that! Here's my first painting:

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Heck, I don't mind going back to the Caribbean, especially in the dead of winter. Someone's got to fill those mega-cruise ships, right? Here are some of my favorite activities:

1. reading on deck

2. soaking up tropical beauty

3. shopping, till Al drops

Can't wait for next time!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Story Coming Soon!

"The Seventh Sleeve of Tombaugh" is about a man who joins a mission to Pluto to escape the masses of humanity, only to find out the secret truth about Pluto and what this secret will mean to humanity's future.

This is the story I sold while being a writer on the road (see my post from October 28, 2010). Look for it soon in the anthology Alien Aberrations, which should be available from your favorite bookstore.

ALIEN ABERRATIONS, edited by Stephen R. Pastore

Original cover art by Stephen Bryant

Publisher: Grand Mal Press

ISBN: 9780982945919

The Table of Contents:

  • The Greylings' Song by Allison Littlewood
  • Omega by Randy Chandler
  • Second Chance by Zoot Campbell
  • What Lies Beneath by Faith Kauwe
  • The Nuclear Lamentation by David Dunwoody
  • The Seventh Sleeve of Tombaugh by Rebecca S.W. Bates
  • The Kleptos by Ryan C. Thomas
  • Greetings by John Bushore
  • Sunnyville by Alex Leopardi
  • Love Cubed by Jay French
  • Pokey Bear by Y.B. Cats
  • One Hunch is as Good As Another by Patrick Rutigliano
  • The Nest by Gregory L. Norris
  • Allies by Christopher Daonahue
  • Getting Used To It by Patrick Flanagan