My Books

Pink, Blue, Black, and Polkadot

Pink Bowling Ball

It started with a pink bowling ball. We went to a bowling alley for a few games last weekend. After a few 0’s in a row, it was recommended that I switch balls. The pink one was the one, apparently. It was a kids’ ball, about 6 pounds and very bright pink. Sure enough, I managed to knock down a few pins with that one! Awesome…or so I thought. 2.5 days later, my body hurt, and nose was stuffed, and I was running a fever. Apparently, kids’ balls don’t get disinfected. Who knew that there was such low hygiene at such a fine sports establishment? The snot gets around…or catches a ball at a bowling alley. From there, the germs were mine. (I bet there is an interesting health study that could be done on germ propagation via snotty sports equipment. Something that could win an Ignoble Prize…) Laying on a reclining chair in the living room, tearing through 6 sci fi books — because I can’t work if I can’t breathe — I hear a scratching sounds behind me. Too weak to call in distress, I text my husband: we have a visitor… What? Visitoooor… He stumps into the…

What’s in the Cover Art?

Coding Peter Suddenly Paris 2 Covers

This month we have released a sequel to Suddenly, Paris — Coding Peter — AND changed the covers of both books! Above is photo of before and after for the cover art of both books. Can a cover make a difference in the sales of these books? These products? Yes! Cover art makes a huge impact on how a book is perceived by its audience. Or to put it even stronger, the art on the cover of the book helps the potential reader recognize the book as something that they would like to read. Personally, I thought the original covers with strong black, red, and white design were striking. But that design didn’t communicate the genre of the books to its audience. We needed to come up with illustrations that made it clear that these stories were science fiction, and action adventure, and aimed at a new adult readers. We needed to covey a sense of mystery and danger. We wanted people to stop and notice the books based on their covers. And so we made it change. The new covers are a lot more narrative. And hopefully it would make a difference as the potential readers browse pages of…

Sci-Fi Bites: The Black Queen

The Black Queen

The Black Queen I’m a seed. Plant me. All night it called. A rat came by to investigate. It sniffed the small smooth sphere, but the object didn’t smell like a seed or food of any kind. The rat scurried away. I’m a seed. Plant me. The cat passed by without even a glance. A family of raccoons stopped by. Poked. Left. The sun came up. A fractional mind crawled over. It tasted and touched, walked about and left a pheromone trail for others to follow. Soon dozens of fractional minds surrounded the sphere. By this time, the object grew to the size of a very large marble. I’m a seed. Plant me. It kept repeating to them, flaunting itself for them. And they gathered in greater and greater numbers to roll the sphere underground. Just about the time small sinuous lines started to appear of its surface, a big black bird flapped over. I’m a seed. Plant me. The sphere called to the raven. The bird prodded the object, which was now the size of a tennis ball, with its beak. It wasn’t food, like it claimed. And it wasn’t one of those shiny, sparkly objects that the bird…

Sci-Fi Bites: The Boy Who Finds

Accident_with_Dog

Short Science Fiction Stories for Kids Timur has always been good at finding things. Need to find that screw that rolled under the desk? Ask Timur. Need to locate the missing reading glasses? Timur is on it. Lost some change in a couch? Timur knows just where it is. The boy had a gift. One day, he and his mother were driving to school and a large dog ran across the street. Timur’s mom veered and swirled and the car didn’t hit the foolish animal. But the mother was freaked out. Her body shook, her heart beat faster, her hands got sweaty. But most significantly, Timur’s mother lost something in that almost accident — she lost a day of her life. And Timur found it. At the time only six years old, the boy didn’t know what he found, but he carefully picked it up and put it away for safe keeping. Over time, he found more and more chunks of time, sometimes whole days, mostly an hour there, a few minutes in another place. But time adds up. As the world gently span on its axis, the people living on it marched steadily through time, spending the lives a…

Something from Nothing

Book_lover_Wikipedia

I like writing quite a bit — it is one of the few creative activities where we get to invent an entire universe without outside interference. Movies, plays, games — they all require teams of people and large budgets to get birthed. Written stories are not like that. We can control all of it — from each individual word choice, to how things turn out for our characters, to what font is used for the presentation, to how the story gets delivered to the readers. There used to be a time when one could program games (I used to do so) all by herself — code, graphics, ideas, even publishing. But that is not possible anymore. The skill set required to make something of quality is too wast. The same is true for movies. And plays can only be experienced in front of an audience with actors… But novels! There is freedom of creativity in writing stories. When I type “the end” something became that never existed before! Something from nothing — that’s creative writing! It’s like magic, only cooler. Particularly if the author enjoys the act of writing as much as having written…

My First Three Science Fiction Books

First three books

I wanted to be a scientist and go into space. I got my B.A. from Columbia University in Mathematics and Astrophysics and I worked at NASA on the Pioneer Venus Project as a programmer. I received my masters from U.C. Berkeley in Education of Math, Science, and Technology and went on to earn my doctorate in education. Together with my husband and business partner, I conceive, design, and create products, ideas, websites, and exhibits. Along the way, I’ve learned how to write. I’m also a binge reader — I find an author I like and I read everything they’ve ever written! I love science fiction. I have consumed voraciously thousands of books (some are neatly shelved in alphabetical order and some lie completely disorganized in piles on the stairs — my children now read science fiction too and it’s more difficult to keep things in place). I wrote my first story when I was about eight — I got hooked on a book series about an orphan boy who traveled the world with his uncle collecting animals for zoos. Unfortunately, only the first three books were translated into Russian. So I wrote what happened next (I didn’t have a choice,…