Tag Archives: sci-fi

Retrograde–a Book Review

Been a while since I’ve done a review. When I have, I often do two or three at a time. I’ve been so slow at reading the past several months, I only have this one today but it’s a way of getting my reading and reviewing feet wet again.  😎

Retrograde: Some Principles Are TimelessRetrograde: Some Principles Are Timeless by E.J. Randolph
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Borrowed a copy of the paperback edition. Didn’t know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the writing and the story-line. Randolph keeps the plot moving in this sci-fi tale of diplomacy made dangerously difficult on an intentionally backwards and backwater planet. Conflicts among various factions keep things challenging. Randolph makes good use of a history degree with a focus on diplomatic and military history (according to her profile). Interesting interactions among crew members set up future books about up-and-coming Federation diplomat, Kate Stevens.

The book is available widely in both paper and eBook. You’ll find it on Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, etc. But here’s the easy link: Amazon.

View all my reviews

The Flame

This is a short story coming in the collection for the holidays. I seldom post stories here; they belong on John Maberry’s Writing. I’m making an exception this time. All the writers out there will understand. Plus it’s a break from politics–hurray!

The Flame

Carson sipped Irish coffee, bundled against the chill wind of a late October day on the Outer Banks. He sat on the third floor deck for its view beyond the barrier dune, rising 15 feet above the sand. The swimmers and sunbathers had gone. Only the beachcombers and solitude seekers remained this late in the season. He was among the latter. With the kids away at college and Sharon at her sister’s to “think about us,” he couldn’t face the empty house in Alexandria. Reading the backlog of beach books almost kept thoughts of Sharon’s surprise announcement away. He had just put down a thriller when he looked out to see a fiery column rising above the waves. It must have been a mile or two offshore. Only the bright yellow plume could be seen, even with the high-powered binoculars. No ship. No people. Nothing. What the hell is that? There’s no gas line out there. The sight had him baffled.

He called the Coast Guard at Hatteras Inlet. “Coast Guard, Petty Officer Harris speaking. Is this a boating emergency call?”

“No, I don’t think so. I’m looking offshore from Buxton, seeing a bright flame coming up from the water.”

“How far out is it? Have you seen any ships in the area?”

“A mile and a half, maybe more. Hard to tell from the shore with no landmarks to go by. No ships out there or anything else that I can see. The plume looks about the size of a power pole from here and goes up fifty or sixty feet from the surface.”

“Ok, we’ll send a boat to check it out. Thank you for letting us know. Please give us a call if anything changes.”

“Sure. Oh, and I didn’t hear any explosions or anything. One more thing—the flame isn’t bending much in the wind; looks like it’s under pressure. It’s yellow, by the way.”

 

Carson figured at least 45 minutes, more like an hour before they showed up. They’d have to come around the inlet to the oceanside and through Diamond Shoals, also known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic for all the ships that sank there over the centuries.

While waiting for the Coast Guard, Carson refreshed his Irish coffee. Barely three PM and he was on his third drink. The caffeine kept him up enough and the whiskey dulled the pain. The pain of not selling a book in ten years. Sharon’s billable hours at the DC law firm kept them financially flush. She’d made partner just after his last book sold. No coincidence his writing suffered after that. It took a toll on the marriage.

“So you think the booze will help the stories along, Carson?” That’s what she said, more than once, when she found him staring at a blank monitor slurping a drink.

“Hey, it worked for some of the greats,” he’d laugh before slamming down the glass. “I don’t know what will help. I’m trying; the ideas aren’t there—the words won’t appear without them.” That’s when the blowups came. Hurricane force words flying between them, loud as a storm screaming through the room. She once was his muse. No more.

Continue reading The Flame

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Coming Soon–A New Blog Exclusively with Stories and Excerpts

It’s not ready yet. It will appear sometime in August. Not on this blog, on another one. It will feature excerpts from pieces I am contemplating incorporating into books. In the meantime, here is a sample of the type of writing to expect:

The path that Lily, my golden retriever preferred for her daily walks took us by the nearby retirement home. As much as I tried to steer her on a different route, three days out of four she would insist, in the retriever way with a gentle tug , that we go that way. So I yielded to her choice. With her stuffed plushie frog loosely gripped between her jaws and her bushy tail keeping up its horizontal metronome rhythm, she once again took me down that path. As we passed the retirement Continue reading Coming Soon–A New Blog Exclusively with Stories and Excerpts

You Can Write and Publish a Book, 2

A couple weeks ago I said that “Yes, you can write and publish a book.” To follow up on that topic, beyond will and determination I mentioned that some research will be required. Like anything else, you get out of writing what you put into it. Little effort produces little result. Ask yourself what and why before you get too far along in that effort. Continue reading You Can Write and Publish a Book, 2