Posted in New Release, News

The Path To Space Force

Most of last week my blog hosted authors who share one thing in common: They were among the 11 chosen by editor Doug Irvin to have their stories included in Space Force: Building The Legacy. The new military sci-fi anthology, based on the newly created United States Space Force, is now live on Amazon as both an e-book and in print.


When Doug approached me with the idea, I was intrigued, not only for the potential of the anthology, but by the overall concept of the United States Space Force itself. As someone who has read, watched, listened to and otherwise mentally devoured science fiction for nearly five decades, the real and the fictional USSF was right up my alley.

After I moved to Nebraska two years ago, I started a podcast produced by Midlands Scribes Productions. I created that entity with an eye on eventually expanding it into a publishing imprint that focused on Midwestern authors. Tuscany Bay Books remains open to all authors everywhere, but Midlands Scribes Publishing will have a narrower focus.

Doug Irvin, being a Texan, had delivered a perfect first opportunity for MSP and I took on the role as the anthologies publisher while Doug went out and rustled up some submissions. And, according to Doug, we got quite a few and from all over the world. In the end, the book is an international effort with authors from the United States, Canada and the U.K.

Among the 11 authors you will also find members, both current and former, of the United States Air Force and the Royal Air Force. One author even was assigned to the United States Air Force Space Command at one time. From the depths of both experience and imagination you will find 11 incredible stories that I am sure you will enjoy reading as much as Doug and I did.

That being said, when we first embarked on this journey, I had no intention of submitting a story to it. I’ve never written military sci-fi. I’ve barely read it aside from less than a dozen short stories and books. But one thing you’ll notice from my bibliography is that I’m not afraid to take on a new genre when the muse strikes. And, at literally the 11th hour, the muse knocked on the door and tempted me with a story concept.

So I put together CAG, which Navy folk will recognize as – Commander Air Group – polished it up a bit and sent it over to Doug.

Lest you think that I was an automatic accepted story because I’m the publisher, allow me to insert this edict I’ve given to every editor of an anthology I’ve published from this one to the Planetary Anthology Series: If you don’t like my story it does NOT make it into the book! I want the best possible collection to be presented and I’m also an old enough dog in this business to understand that rejections are part of the deal and my feels don’t get bent out of shape when I get them. And yes, I still get them.

Back to CAG, off it went to Doug, who obviously liked it because it is one of the 11 stories in Space Force: Building The Legacy. As an author you know you’ve hot the mark when the editor tells you that even though they’ve read the story several times and know what’s coming it still hits them emotionally.

CAG in this story is Lt. CMDR Robert “Cag” Carrington, Commander Air Group on board the carrier USS Shepard. Cag and his wingman, Matthew “Preacher” Carson, are on patrol in near-Earth orbit. Escorting cargo ships, keeping an eye out for pirates and other menaces is their daily routine. Carrington is a widower, his only child already embarking on his own career in Space Force and is reflecting upon his career as he enters his final month in the service.

But on this patrol, the two pilots will be put into the crucible. There’s will be the only ships standing between Earth and an asteroid on a collision course with our world. If they cannot stop it, no one on the surface below will survive.

As I mentioned before, Doug loved the story and I have to admit, despite my trepidations at tackling the genre for the first time, I’m really happy with it myself. The challenge with all short stories is developing both the characters and a fully in-depth plot in such a short space. With CAG, I believe I found that balance and accomplished both.

I hope you enjoy reading my entry into this incredible anthology as much as I did in writing it. And I also hope you enjoy reading the other 10 stories as much as I did too.

You can get Space Force: Building The Legacy on Amazon in e-book and print right here:



Not The Official Seal of the United States Space Force. This is a proposed seal for the USSF circa 2120 created specifically for this anthology.


Posted in Guest Post, News

Guest Post: Karl Gallagher on Space Force

Author Karl Gallagher takes over my blog today. He is one of 11 authors in the military sci-fi anthology, Space Force: Building The Legacy, edited by Doug Irvin and published by Midlands Scribes Publishing. The e-book is scheduled for a Memorial Day release and you can order the print edition now to be delivered around that same day at the link above. Karl’s story is: Visitors.  


SF Grandmaster Lois Bujold says one of her sources of inspiration for stories is to find the “worst possible thing” to happen to a character. This provides plenty of conflict as the poor protagonist tries to evade the dread fate.
EBOOK_COVER copyFor a main character who is as arachnophobic as, say, I am, the worst possible thing would be trying to be diplomatic in an encounter with spider-like aliens. Big spiders. Van-sized spiders.
But a guy breaking down and gibbering just doesn’t make an entertaining story. So I turned the premise around: what if our very ugly aliens show up, and an arachnophile is recruited to negotiate with them. Someone who’s only qualification is that he’s an
arachnophile, and lacks all the other training for such high stakes talks.
That’s the situation for Space Force Captain Alan Micheletti. He’s switched from routine satellite operations to a first contact situation with no preparation.
Writing Micheletti let me draw on my experience in Air Force Space Command as a weather satellite operator. I commanded enlisted crews in executing real-time control. Later I programmed the satellites’ data acquisition. Fascinating work, but not a “people person” job.
For someone as nerdy as Micheletti–or me–getting through a conversation where a verbal blunder could seal the fate of the Earth is the Worst Possible Thing.
Karl K. Gallagher has designed launch vehicles, calculated orbits, simulated system performance, and evaluated profitability of a rocket start-up. That technical background went into his hard SF Torchship Trilogy, a finalist for the Prometheus Award for Best Libertarian SF Novel of 2018. Karl’s other writings include the portal fantasy The
Lost War and the upcoming space opera The Storm Between the Stars.
News about Karl’s new releases can be found at
Not The Official Seal of the United States Space Force. This is a proposed seal for the USSF circa 2120 created specifically for this anthology.
Posted in Guest Post, News, Writer's Life

Guest Post: Brena Bock On Space Force

Author Brena Bock takes over my blog today. She is one of 11 authors in the military sci-fi anthology, Space Force: Building The Legacy, edited by Doug Irvin and published by Midlands Scribes Publishing. The e-book is scheduled for a Memorial Day release and you can order the print edition now to be delivered around that same day at the link above. Brena’s story is: The Decision.  


My father served in General Curtis LeMay’s Air Force as a member of a Strategic Air Command Air Refueling Wing. His time in service was the mid to late 1950s, the years leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis.


I couldn’t even guess how many times we watched the movie Strategic Air Command with Jimmy Stewart together. His face would light up during certain scenes, or when certain planes appeared on screen. He never tired of explaining this or that detail.

Sharing this and other experiences with him, helped develop my concepts of service and sacrifice.

In addition to my father’s stories of his time in the Air Force, I was influenced by Robert Heinlein, Leigh Bracket, Arthur Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and many other authors of that era. They all helped form my view of the world.

The seed for this story came to me in a dream one night. Basically the opening paragraphs. What happens when you have to make a decision and all the options are bad? Not a no-win scenario like the Kobayashi Maru from Star Trek, but when the only options are bad and worse and doing nothing is the worst decision of all.

How would this affect the individual who made that decision? Even if they survived, would they ever believe they’d made the least bad choice? I’m sure they would second guess themselves, especially given the constraints, time and otherwise, they were under.

Marina Petran, the main character in my story, is someone who can’t help but push herself. Good just isn’t good enough. Though no matter how well she does, she always thinks she could have done better. This leads her through college and into the United States Space Force. Eventually, it leads her to the decision called for in the title.

Bits and pieces of this story came to me over a few months. A scene here, a line of dialogue there. I had no idea what I was going to do with this story until about halfway through. That’s when I heard about the Space Force anthology. I only had to make a few changes and I thought it would have a decent chance at acceptance. Imagine my pleased surprise when Doug told me I’d made it, my story was going to be in the anthology.

Sadly, my father, the person I most wanted to share this news with, never got to see the results, he passed away in early April of this year.

So while I’m proud of my story and honored to be in the company of these amazing writers, it will always be somewhat bittersweet for me as well.

Not The Official Seal of the United States Space Force. This is a proposed seal for the USSF circa 2120 created specifically for this anthology.


Posted in Free Read Friday, News

FRF: The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin

Every Friday I add a new book to my Free Read Friday page – sometimes sci-fi, sometimes fantasy and sometimes horror – for you to check out. Better yet, the book will be absolutely free for you to download on your Kindle device on Amazon – even if you don’t have a Kindle Unlimited account. That’s right, the books listed below are absolutely, drive-it-like-you-stole-it, free!

You just can’t beat a deal like that, can you?

Here’s this week’s book (and be sure and click the link in the book title to go to it’s Amazon page):

The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin (Books of Unexpected Enlightenment Book 1 of 5) by L. Jagi Lamplighter

51IMqoqWFJLRoanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts – A magic school like no other!

Nestled amidst the beauty of New York’s Hudson Highlands and hidden from the eyes of the Unwary, Roanoke Academy is a place of magic and wonder. It offers everything a young sorceress could desire—enchantments, flying brooms, and the promise of new friendships.

On her first day of school, Rachel Griffin discovers her perfect memory gives her an unexpected advantage. With it, she can see through the spell sorcerers use to hide their secrets. Very soon, she discovers that there is a far-vaster secret world hiding from the Wise, precisely the same way that the magical folk hide from the mundane folk.

When someone tries to kill a fellow student, she investigates. Rushing forward where others fear to tread, Rachel bravely faces wraiths, embarrassing magical pranks, mysterious older boys, a Raven that brings the doom of worlds, and at least one fire-breathing teacher.

Described by fans as: “Lovecraft meets Narnia at Hogwarts”, The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin is a tale of wonder and danger, romance and heartbreak, and, most of all, of magic and of a girl who refuses to be daunted.

Curiosity may kill a cat, but nothing stops Rachel Griffin!

Posted in News, Writer's Life

New Member Of The 5-Timers Club

Last night I joined an exclusive club – a five-time guest of the Sci-Fi Saturday Night show! In the show’s 440th episode last night, I made my fifth appearance and as always had a blast. And, as always, it seemed like the show ended all too quickly.

Give it a listen:

Check out my fifth appearance on the Sci-Fi Saturday Night show:
And no, having shingles – especially in the face – is NOT fun.
Posted in News, Writer's Life

A New Weekly Feature Here

Every Saturday morning, I add a new chapter to the 1K Weekly Series. It’s been well received and has been going on for several months now. The best part about it is that it is absolutely free to anyone who wants to read the stories.

Starting next Friday, May 15th, there will be another weekly freebie coming your way: Free Read Fridays. I’ll be posting a different sci-fi/fantasy e-book available on Amazon for free and I’ll do this every week.

As for why I’m doing this well, the reason is simple. Times are tough right now and people are watching their pennies until we re-open economies across the world. So, here is another way I can help readers read a new story without having to worry about spending any money.

But there’s another reason: One of the things I’m trying to do is help other authors connect to readers. In some cases, I will feature a free book from an established author. Next week’s first Free Read Fridays will be an established author who has her first book of a series going for absolutely free right now.

And in others, I’ll be featuring new authors who are looking to connect with readers as they start their publishing journey. I remember what that was like when I first started. This is my way to pay it forward.

So, check back here every week, on my Twitter or on my Facebook page every Friday for the next Free Read Friday and get ready to be introduced to a new great read and an unbeatable price.