Posts Tagged ‘stars’

Cover Reveal: Other Systems!

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who supported Other Systems. Thank you to any readers and the reviewers who have mentioned the book in the past year. As for the cover specifically, everyone who commented on Facebook and Twitter really helped with the direction/colors of the new cover. Just this idea alone had sixteen versions all with minor changes, so people’s immediate reaction about a cover idea is very useful.

A special thanks to Juanita Samborski at 48Fourteen, Cassy Vaughn and my mother, Sheila Guizzetti who looked over each draft.

Drumroll please….

Here is the new cover for Other Systems. This will be both for the e-book and the print book. Check it out!

Other Systems Cover

Would you go to a planet that has never known war, hunger, or even a single murder?

Without an influx of human DNA, the utopian colony on Kipos has eleven generations before it reaches failure. Earth is over ninety light-years away. Time is short.
On the over-crowded Earth, many see opportunity in Kipos’s need. After medical, intelligence, and physiological testing, Abby and her younger siblings, Jin and Orchid, are offered transportation. Along with 750,000 other strong young immigrants, they leave the safety of their family with the expectation of good jobs and the opportunity for higher education.
While these second-generation colonists travel to the new planet in stasis, the Kiposi, terrified that Earthlings will taint their paradise, pass a series of indenture and adoption laws in order to assimilate the savages.
When Abby wakes up on Kipos, Jin cannot be found. Orchid is ripped from her arms as Abby is sold to a dull-eyed man with a sterilized wife. Indentured to breed, she is drugged and systematically coerced. To survive, Abby learns the differences in culture and language using the only thing that is truly hers on this new world: her analytical mind. Haunted by the agony of her loss, but determined to make a better life for herself, she joins a planetary survey team where she will discover yet another way of life.

There is going to be a SALE from Friday to Sunday. Over the weekend, Other Systems will only be .99 cents for the E-book! If you are considering reading it, nows the time!

Curiosity Landed!

Dennis and I had Popeye’s chicken and watched the countdown and landing of the Curiosity just moments ago. It was exciting to see the people in the control room, clap for each step, cry, hug. I felt my eyes mist with tears when I heard the calls come back that the parachute opened  and then to see the first photographs come back. I thought seeing the one of the horizon with the shadow of the rover was pretty exciting.

I wasn’t alive during the moon missions so I want to be part of the excitement for this one. After all, we are exploring another planet! Due to the complexity of designing interplanetary missions, exploration of Mars has had a huge failure rate, but this one landed only 227 meters off the landing site.

I am interested to see what the Mars Science Laboratory discovers.  The Mission goals include determining whether Mars could ever support life, study the climate and geology and plan for a human mission. The idea that I could see astronauts doing a Mars walk in a decade or so is simply mind boggling.

For more information:

May 26th Star Party

So my regular star watching buddy went to her folk’s house this weekend and it was such a nice clear night, I decided to head out to Seattle Astronomer Society’s Star Party at Greenlake. They have a monthly public free event.

I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but everyone was really welcoming.  I had just started approaching when this guy named Peter said, “Want to look at the Moon?” And let me look through his telescope.

There were three telescopes set up and I saw the craters of the moon with much more detail than I can get with my celestial binoculars. I saw Mars which really wasn’t much to look at which surprised me because it is so close to Earth. In my binoculars it looks like a orange fuzzy dot, and in the telescope, it just looks like a fuzzy orangish ball.

The highlight of the night was Saturn. I could see the rings plus two of his moons: We figured one was Phoebe, weren’t sure about the other one, but hey Saturn has over 50 moons (and counting) and we are a bunch of amateurs.

We were in Seattle so due to light pollution and haze distance objects were not as bright as I have gotten used to looking at them up in North Bend. Aphids and mosquitos were everywhere, but what was awesome about all the bugs were the bats flying overhead.  Dang, those little guys can fly.

Week Three of being an author

Being a published author is a roller coaster ride that I can no longer disembark. I feel great, then nervous, then high again, then I want to throw up. Then I feel excellent. Right now I feel pretty good. Maybe I’m just getting used to it.

On the outside, my life is exactly the same as it was before. Dennis is still the best husband in the world. My apartment walls are still green. Still addicted to Reese’s Peanutbutter cups. I pay the bills, I do the dishes, I am still thinking about organizing bathroom closet. I am not complaining: I have a great life, but I guess I expected a parade. This is absolutely silly because I did two conventions in the past three weeks which means I had over 10,000 people saying “Congratulations!” even when they were not interested.

However there has been changes, just they are more subtle. Here are two:

My friend Rebecca and I are hooked on stargazing. We started last summer. By winter, I realized I can always spot the inner planets as well as Jupiter even within city lights. We hear the words aurora or meteor shower; we bundle up, and head out of the city with celestial binoculars, Starwalk loaded on my I-Pad and snacks in the cooler to a secluded spot in the middle of the night.  This new hobby came directly from the research of Other Systems. I can make out the constellations–especially Ursa Minor and Major, Virgo, Lynx, Pegasus and Draco specifically because I drew them out for the trailer.  Now that I know I can spot Draco it also means I can spot the Cat’s Eye Nebula without aid of a star map. That being said looking at the star maps are fun and we play with Starwalk constantly when we are out there. Especially so we can see which satellites are flying overhead. Satellites look like tiny meteors : you can see them flashing across the sky and then they are gone.

Another change is how I consume books and movies. With my art background, I enjoy paintings and sculptures at a technical level. One of my favorite things  is to go to an art museum and begin dissecting a painting with my eyes. Figuring how the artist captured light or emotion—well now I look at novels and films the same way.I cannot seem to read a story or watch a movie for pleasure anymore. I automatically start dissecting it. I find myself studying the way other authors choose to put words on the page. The patterns of stories. Are the words visceral? In movies, I watch camera angles and all emotional reactions both inferred, subtle, and obvious. The colors or lack of them. Did it work or not? And if not, why not? That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy them, because I do, but it isn’t the same.

Anyone else gone through changes like these?

Other Systems to be released on April Fools Day! No fooling!


So on Thursday night/Friday morning, I am out hunting the aurora borealis with Rebecca and my phone lets me know I have a new email. Since I am expecting information from my publisher, I chance ruining my night vision and check it out.

Enclosed was my new cover artwork (I did the planet and 48fourteen did the lettering) and the PDF for the sample chapter that we will be giving away at our upcoming cons and my release date: April 1st.

Other Systems is a science fiction drama focusing on the implications of life at light speed. Inspiration for the book stems from a love of speculative fiction and an enthusiastic interest in space travel. It follows Abby, a young librarian who leaves the safety of her family on Earth and travels nearly 100 light years to the planet Kipos where she must assimilate to their way of life.

Published by 48Fourteen, Other Systems will soon available via e-book at and on the websites of Amazon, Barnes&Noble.

More information can be found at

Just Read: Tau Zero

Poul Anderson´s Tau Zero is a wonderful fast paced book. I can see why it’s a classic.

The novel centers on a ten-year interstellar voyage aboard the spaceship Leonora Christine to Beta Virgo. While it opens with the male and female protagonists getting ready to leave Earth; Tau Zero is already setting up  the scientific realities of space travel. These people all know they are not coming home. He tries to focus the dramatic tension with the emotional and psychological states of the fifty crewmembers–a highly-trained team of scientists and researchers– settle in for the long journey together. They all have different backgrounds, some are astronauts, some have never been in space before.

My only complaint at all is that the Christian characters came off a little too priggish at times, the others came off a bit too hedonistic. I think this is just because of when it was written. (1970) This after all when Americans and Europeans saw a huge shift in views on education, gender roles, religion, and promiscuity. And Anderson was showing that even in this small group of fifty there are vastly different perspectives on these subjects.

However that honestly doesn’t matter, because while Anderson tries to show an interest in the emotional lives of his characters, I actually felt his interest was more about the ship, the Leonora Christine. The descriptions of the science and the ship are amazing. The voyage takes a disastrous turn when the ship passes through a nebula that makes it impossible for the crew to decelerate the ship. The only hope, in fact, is for the ship to speed up. But acceleration towards the speed of light means that time outside the spaceship passes even more quickly, and the crew finds itself hurtling deeper into space and through time. I found myself skimming the “emotional” stuff and reading in depth the ship chapters.

Stargazing Part Deux: Another adventure of the most amateur of amateur astronomers…

Last night, my friend Rebecca and I headed east in order to spot the Perseides meteor shower. Now that we have gone all of twice, I wrote a list of things to take and not to take while stargazing.

First of all: Get away from the city. Rebecca and I drove to an unlit field between Duvall and Carnation.

Definitely Take:

1) Bring an open mind about what you are going to see.

Between the moon light earlier in the night and the mist that rolled in off the hills, we only saw the brightest of them. We could be moping about the presides or watch Jupiter rise following the moon. We looked at craters of the moon through the binoculars.

As we scaled the night sky upwards from the horizon, we found Polaris and then Lyra and the Cygnus Constellation. Since it was right above us, the moon did not effect it as much and so we watched the minor meteor shower of Kappa Cygnids. Maybe 3 an hour or so, plus the occasional satellite. Here is a photo of the Waning Gibbous moon at 64%

2) Wear warm clothing: I wore base layer, long johns, jeans, t-shirt, long sleeve t, fleece, windbreaker with hood, ski cap,

Rebecca wore something similar, but added fleece pants. Even the dogs wore some gear. Tycho wore his snow jacket, Rosie wore her t-shirt and snow jacket. Note: I do not regularly dress my dogs. They each have jackets for snow and Rosie has a single baby t-shirt because she had stitches a while back and we needed to cover them.

Here is Rebecca checking out the star map while we set up our camp. Rosie is looking up towards the stars, Tycho is wondering what I am doing flashing light in everyone’s eyes.

Sleeping bag and additional blanket–next time we need one more blanket. You wouldn’t think an 8lb dog would take up so much room, but Rosie claimed the warm spot. As we heard coyotes, Tycho stood guard for a hour, but eventually decided it was too cold to keep watch. He went under the covers too.

3) Binoculars and camera– for the next time I am also bringing my tripod as it is hard to focus in on planets– even one as large a Jupiter–when you are shivering.

4) Starwalk on my I-pad but there is also google sky, or for the old timey paper star charts with rising times.

5) Popcorn, Mint Oreos, Grapefruit Izze. — Next time, I might also bring cocoa.

Things not to take:

1) Body issues or someone you might have body issues with or someone that your significant other would have issues with or etc. At this point, Rebecca and I have figured that part of astronomy –at least in Seattle–is sitting close and snuggling under blankets. Since I’m married that means star gazing trips are for my girlfriends and dogs. (Sorry, guys. You can come but when you get cold, you will go have to find a coyote to snuggle with.)

2) Alcohol. We are hanging out in a field in the middle of the night. It’s natural to get sleepy. Alcohol will make you sleepier. Plus we always practice Leave no Trace principles and still have to drive home. Just don’t do it.

3)  A bad attitude, grumpiness, impatience, etc.  If you stop staring at the stars to read a book, play with your I-pad etc. You will not only lose your night vision, but miss what you came to see.

Have a good time.

Hunting Auroras: Failed!

Due to the solar flare, it was thought we might be able to see the aurora borealis as far south as Seattle. Last night because it was finally clear, my friend Rebecca and I went out to hunt for them. Due to the light pollution, we knew we had to get out of the city. So we packed up some gear into her car and headed east

We first to Redmond’s Marymoor Park thinking the large fields in a more suburban neighborhood would be dark enough.  We stretched out a sleeping bag next to the car and watched the stars come out. With the help of Star Walk on my I-pad, we found the big dipper, Draco, Lyra, and even found Saturn. Basically you hold the i-pad to the sky and it tells you what is in front of you. Cool!

(Note: I don’t know if you can tell how many bundled up I am, but I have on three shirts on under that jacket.)

Still around 10pm, we both felt it wasn’t dark enough. So we decided to head further east. Yet as we packed up, we had a frightening encounter with some of the local wildlife. I slipped my foot into my shoe and felt something wet. I pulled out quickly. A banana slug had decided my shoe was a great place to spend the night. It wasn’t hurt. We released it in a nearby field. Run free, little slug.

We stopped at an elementary school a mile or so east of Redmond and realized how much brighter the stars, but there wasn’t enough opening in the trees so we kept going.

Checking out a map, we saw a lake. We figured we might find a boat launch or park, but we were denied.

We turned into the Tolt River valley and saw an unlit dirt road leading into a field. So we headed down that a few hundred feet. We parked the car pulled out the sleeping bag and reset up our aurora watching camp. As the temperature dropped bundled up and laid closer so we could wrap the sleeping bag around us.

I would love to show you the stars but none of my photos came out so all I can show is the half moon.

The Milky Way was completely visible and we broke out Star Walk to name some new things we saw, but mostly we sat in the perfect darkness just looking at the night sky. We saw at least six or seven shooting stars. We saw what we thought were satellites which we later confirmed. A bit after midnight, I read and saw photos of the aurora from New Hampshire, but it had not been seen from Seattle. Still it was an adventure.

What’s funny about all this is I wrote a book about a stargazer, before I ever really went stargazing. I grew up in the suburbs, went camping, night hiking but the stars used to be pinpricks of light filling the sky. It was the research for Other Systems that made me see the constellations the way I could see them last night.

So I’m not too disappointed that we didn’t see the aurora–besides I will be in Iceland in September–maybe I’ll see it there…

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