Monday, December 17, 2012

Give Her the Stars, the first in the Over the Edge romance series, was released for most e-book formats on December 14th, 2012.

Elise Ramos, divorced mother of two-year old Max, flees her stifling apartment one mid-morning in July after her controlling ex-husband, Gabriel's distressing visit--the latest in a series that will likely stretch into the future. She's standing outside a used clothing store longing for a better life and contemplating the awful reality of fading dreams, working retail to pay off her student loans when she realizes someone has been staring at her.

At first, Elise can't believe the handsome man with the lisping Spanish accent has eyes only for her, but once it's clear he can't be looking anywhere else, she turns to run. He follows her, apologizing and saying he's certain he's met her somewhere before. Elise introduces herself and he admits he does not recognize her name, but then, he asks he if can Max a lemonade. 

Hope begins kindling in Elise's heart when Lendar asks her for a date to the aquarium. But, she's afraid to give him her address, so she proposes she meet him there. When he discovers Elise is worried about finishing her final painting and sketchbook for her art classes, he offers to help. The man is thoughtful and kind! The date segues into dinner, but when Lendar brings her home, a drunken Gabriel is waiting, knife in hand ready for a fight. And Lendar proves himself heroic too!

But strange things happen around Lendar. He wears a wrist watch that displays video feed from surveillance cameras; he flicks his hand and Gabriel's fellow attacker, Javier, falls to the ground and his Cadillac Escalade drives up the hill by itself. When her friend and neighbor, Bruce, calls Lendar a liar and she is forced to admit there are many things about Lendar that aren't quite right, Elise's doubts and fears increase. She knows Gabriel will not give up; humiliation will only drive him to more violent measures--even kidnapping and murder!

Give Her the Stars is the story of finding hope, trusting God and learning to let go of the past. Give Her the Stars is available in most e-book formats, PDF and HTML reading through the distributor: "Give Her the Stars": read sample or purchase

Available on Kindle!

Look for Give Her the Stars at your favorite e-book seller's site!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Felix Baumgartner Makes History!

Sunday morning, October 14th, 2012, on the anniversary when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, Felix Baumgartner jumped from space making a perfect landing in the New Mexico desert near Roswell. He broke the sound barrier and several other records. John Hawkins, a Townhall commentator, wrote, "Red Bull has managed to put together a more effective manned space program than NASA." It might be a little unfair to nail NASA like that when NASA is run or manipulated by people who sometimes place politics above having a viable space program. With enough government interference any organization can cease to achieve much of anything, but NASA soldiers on where it is allowed, doing some amazing feats with the money they're permitted. But it's a new era. Private companies and individuals haven't given up on our space travel dreams!

Atmosphere on the Moon

Characters in the Over the Edge series talk about landing on moons or uninhabitable planets for clandestine meetings. There's also discussion about mining in these places. Besides being super cold and totally inhospitable, what would it be like to land on our moon? Here's an interesting article about the atmosphere of our moon which makes for some lovely visual effects.

Atmosphere on the Moon

Moon Dust Fountains

Monday, October 15, 2012

UFO's of Summer

One balmy night, during the summer of 2012, I decided to go outside and look at the stars. I often do this and like Pecos Bill, who felt that if he could see smoke from his neighbor's chimney the neighborhood was getting too crowded, I feel hemmed in by the flashing irrigation pivots that surround our house--two of which are located on our own farm. Some nights I feel like I'm on a dance floor with strobe lights blinking everywhere I look!

Light pollution has ruined the landscape!

It's probably due to vandalism, but a local business across the field from us has installed super-bright lights to glare on their equipment throughout the night. Then, there are the proliferation of yard lights all over the county! Lights, lights, lights everywhere you look interfering with the real spectacle of every night sky: stars!

I'd like to be on the County Commission long enough to make a law that all yard lights must be shielded so that the light points downward and that all center pivots must be light-less. These days pivots can receive an upgrade with an internet or cell phone link to the farmer's computer and/or phone to warn him his pivots have stopped putting out water. As if I ever really will run for the County Commission. It's just one of those idle dreams I have now and then, like owning a laser gun and shooting out all the lights and not getting caught.

While I was outside grumbling about light pollution and attempting to admire the stars I saw two UFO's.

The first UFO came from the south heading north. At first I thought it was a huge meteor. It looked like a brilliant, yellow-orange fireball, but it did not have a tail. I ran inside long enough to yell at my husband and my two youngest sons to come out and look. My husband joined me and we watched the thing gradually dip closer to the ground. I was ready to suggest we pile into our vehicle and drive to its likely crash site, when the thing arced upward into the clouds that obscured the sky in the north and was gone. We were discussing what we'd seen when we realized a second UFO approached from the south. It seemed a little closer and as if its trajectory was curving upward slightly. It seemed to slow, made a gentle turn to the east, then accelerated and was gone.

Here are the facts: With nothing up in the air beside the UFO's to compare sizes, we have no idea how large they were or how far away. (When Felix Baumgartner's balloon drifted over the New Mexico landscape a few days ago and we saw it from our church's parking lot, it looked large and perhaps not so very distant. But, his balloon was over 300 feet tall and already over 20,000 feet in the air by the time we saw it! And, it was then that I realized that when you see something in the air, unless you are very familiar with the object, you simply have no idea how large or small it really is.) Both UFO's resembled egg-shaped, burning somethings, like lava balls. I say egg-shaped because it gives an immediate picture of what we saw, but the UFO's were symmetrical, both sides like the fat end of the egg. They didn't have smoke trails or tails like comets or meteors. They were fast. And neither of the UFO's made a sound. They came from roughly the same direction as military helicopters sometimes take, but one went almost straight north, and the other one turned east which military helicopters around here don't do. Military helicopters come from the southwest and head northeast. Or, they come from the northeast and head southeast, like the time when our first Black president headed down to the oil fields near Malaga for a photo op.

Do we human beings have any really fast, silent, brilliant yellow-orange, squashed spherical ships? No? I didn't think so either. MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network, has posted reports of many sightings of similar yellow-orange, squashed spherical UFO's. And The Examiner has a photo. I'm posting the links below. I tried to get a photo, but the image I captured doesn't reveal anything. I've seen other UFO's here and there in New Mexico. Several years ago I saw a huge, white, cigar shaped UFO which I think was actually a silage bag caught in the wind. A silage bag is ten feet in diameter and this object was probably about 60 feet long. But I wonder, was it a silage bag? It seemed fatter than the ten feet in diameter measurement I know to be true of silage bags. It was flying along in the wind like a bullet, except hollow and full of air. Or solid and cigar shaped! I wish I had video! My brother and I used to see UFO's once in awhile when we were kids living near Clovis, New Mexico, about ten miles northeast of Cannon Air Force Base. Those might be explained as experimental aircraft. The one I remember the best looked like three lights in a triangular formation, two red lights on the bottom and a yellow one on top. It came up behind us as we walked toward the barn and skimmed about fifteen feet off the ground, roaring and booming. Gone in a flash. As normal kids growing up in the seventies we spend a lot of time outside. We knew what birds based out of Cannon, we'd seen them all, but nothing like those lights. I can explain away the other UFO's I've seen, but I can't explain the two UFO's I saw this summer!

I met a woman at a writer's conference who told a story about the time she went with her husband to have dinner at the neighbors' house. They finished their meal and went outside to enjoy their cocktails when a saucer shaped UFO stopped right over their house! She described her house as nestled in forest, on the other side of a tree filled gulley at the top of the rise. The UFO shown a light down on the house, dipped lower, then zipped away. Out of sight in a flash. The couple hurried home to find their children shaken and their dogs upset and their appliances malfunctioning. This lady writes historical romances set in the American west. She seemed very mild, even boring, but maybe she was feeling a little neglected. I don't know. It's the wildest UFO story I've heard except for my own.

MUFON website
Do aliens exist? I don't know. This I can say: There is a lot more we don't know about the universe than we do know. And any scientist who thinks he's got anything, even the smallest micro-organism all figured out is fooling himself!

Orange Sphere UFO's

Photo of Orange Sphere UFO

Monday, July 30, 2012

Just for Fun: New Photos of the Apollo Moon Landing Sites

People have wondered if the flags astronauts left on the moon still stand. New photo evidence shows that they do indeed still stand. However, nobody knows, at present, whether the flags retain any of their color. Check out the stories online at these links:

NASA photo
 Flags planted by Apollo astronauts still stand

Photos of the Apollo landing sites

Monday, May 28, 2012

Paul McCartney's "My Valentine" featuring Johnny Depp & Natalie Portman

Characters in the Over the Edge series often sign and speak simultaneously. This video shows how lovely that can be.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Science of Over the Edge: Asteroid Mining

In the Over the Edge series asteroid mining is mentioned as an economic activity characters might engage in or have interaction with. Some ambitious folks are beginning to use advanced, emerging technology to make this a reality.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Divided Brains: The Science of Over the Edge

A primary theme of the Over the Edge series is the divided brain. Many of the primary characters are marsupial humanoids. Marsupials lack the corpus callosum which is the part of the brain which unifies the two hemispheres. Of course, we are are not marsupials, our right hemispheres do not have language and thus often end up ignored. This video delves into that quality:

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Hazards of Space Travel and Living on Other Planets: The Science of Over the Edge

NASA is working on the problem of safety for astronauts venturing to Mars and beyond.

Since 2009, a research orbiter had been circling the moon. Among other things, it is equipped with a plastic that mimics human skin. NASA studies hazards of radiation on space travelers.

They've created a robot that can explore that hostile planet once it arrives and be a test subject during its journey. Here's a video explaining the project: Curiosity: The Stunt Double
Curiosity has landed:  Curiosity's First Photos ; NASA: Curiosity's Mission

NASA/Fox News photo

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Robo Eyes, Snooper Robos: The Science of Over the Edge

TED photo
In Over the Edge characters use robo eyes and snooper robos to remotely observe and to take samples. Here's a video detailing the technology currently in development: VJ Kumar: Robots that Fly and Co-operate

This is about a 12 minute video and worth the time.

Below are several links to sites discussing this technology:

"New York Times" slide show: "Drones Transform How America Fights Its Wars"

YouTube video: "Military Mosquito Robots Collecting DNA & Blood"

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Space Travel and Colonization of Planets: The Science of Over the Edge

Tim Cavanaugh's column in the Reason magazine's February 2012 issue discusses some of the problems facing serious space travel--that is leaving our cozy little neck of the solar system to venture to Mars or even set up more permanent camps on the Moon. He likes the idea of genetic engineering, that is, fixing humans to be more compatible with space or with life on Mars. He says, "...genetic engineering is the only way humanity can conquer Mars and the rest of the solar system..."

Well, given how poorly anybody has predicted what the future holds (Where's my flying car and my rocket back pack?), I don't think genetic engineering will end up being the wave space travel future.

However, he does point out the very real hurdles we squishy humans face. Anybody who leaves earth's protective magnetic field runs the risk of deadly solar flares and cosmic radiation. "Any crew dispatched on the 18-to-30-month mission to Mars will face highly elevated risks of cancer, tissue degradation, bone density loss, brain damage, pharmaceutical spoilage, and other health threats," Cavanaugh wrote. If a team made it to Mars without succumbing to some health threat or another, he's landing on a planet which has one-hundredth earth's atmosphere and no shielding from solar radiation whatsoever, which will now include reflected solar rays from this inhospitable planet's surface. And terraforming won't be easy, we have a hard time doing anything significant to our climate, despite what global warming believers say. Bulky spaceship shields are expensive. Mars doesn't look like a place that can pay for the trip: it seems to have no mineral value; no organic chemistry; no temperate regions; no energy sources and no real canals. The ice below the surface is about the only attractive feature Mars has going for it, in terms of a personal human visit.

Cavanaugh quotes Robert Zurbin, founder of Mars Society, "The real profit of the New World didn't come from a spice route to India, nor did it come from looting Aztec gold. It came from a new society and a new branch of humanity that built a democracy and invented the airplane. The value is going to come from people born on Mars. There is a reason that a frontier culture is connected to a culture of invention."

Spaceships in the Over the Edge series use gravitational and magnetic fields and huge interior plant gardens to help protect them from space hazards. Those who labor in the fledgling private space industry have the kind of frontier spirit needed to overcome obstacles. There was a time when longitude was the overwhelming puzzle that held seafarers back. Humans will advance into space through brain power--the ability to creatively invent new technology and create solutions. I'm voting for ordinary, unadulterated humans via private space industry to solve our space travel problems--provided government doesn't excessively intrude.

 Mars ridge; photo credit: National Geographic