Friday, September 27, 2013


Hi Margaret,

"Wow," is all I can say about Heinlein's influence on your life as

a writer. And what a wonderful

tribute you give him. Please, take it away.

Me and Robert A. Heinlein


I am a way-back science fiction fan, and at 67, I've been reading the genre for a lot of years. In fact, I wrote my first sci fi novel,  "Relocated," for 2010 NANO  because I wanted to overcome my phobia about writing any myself. Now I've had two sci fi novels published, have a third due out in November, and am working on a fourth.

 There are many writers who have influenced me, both as a fiction writer and as a poet, but one of my early influences was Robert A. Heinlein.

 Growing up, I was a die-hard Robert A. Heinlein fan. When I selected his "Farmer in the Sky" for my tenth birthday, I knew exactly which book I wanted. Some of my favorite lines come from Heinlein novels, as, for example, the opening of  "Double Star:"  

 If a man walks in dressed like a hick and acting as if he owned the place, he's a spaceman.

 And from later in the book, where a character has sold out the main character:

 I answered with a single squeaking polysylabic in High Martian, a sentence meaning, "Proper conduct demands that one of us leave!" But it means far more than that, as it is a challenge which usually ends in someone's nest being notified of a demise.

 So many books and many editions were available on Amazon, I couldn't choose, so I trotted off to my local Barnes and Noble. They had nineteen Heinlein novels  at the first Barnes and Noble I tried and twelve at the second, smaller one near my house. Clearly Heinlein is still popular.

So what did I conclude? The master is creaky in spots but he’s held up remarkably well, and he’s still as entertaining as ever. And I was struck by the extent to which Heinlein was a visionary with respect to future science and future everyday life.

 In many respects astronomy today has passed him by. This is especially evident with respect to his vision of Venus and his Martians and Venusians. We know now that Venus has nothing like an earth-like atmosphere and we know (or we think) that neither planet has intelligent life.

 However, I started reading Heinlein at age 10. I read the juveniles from 1956 onwards and I was convinced even at the time that Heinlein’s aliens were purely a figment of his imagination. That didn’t stop me from enjoying his books, and it shouldn’t stop you either.

 As I have told my kids many times, when I first read “Between Planets” as a teenager and came to the bit in the beginning about the hero taking his phone out of his already packed suitcase, I was sure that a phone like that was impossible. Clearly, I was wrong, and Heinlein, who was trained as an engineer and had an insatiable curiosity about this, and just about everything else, was right.

 Today practically everyone has a cell phone. So much for my ability to predict the future.    

 Then rereading “Stranger in a Strange Land,” I came across the spot where Ben tells Jill that Valentine Michael Smith is the biological child of Mary Jane Lisle Smith and Captain Michael Brant. Jill asks Ben how they know, and he replies, blood typing and the like. “Of course,” I thought to myself, ”DNA analysis.” Then I did a double take. In the sixties, when Stranger was first published, there was no such thing as DNA analysis -- and no water beds, and no microwaves, all of which are described in the book.

There’s more. Household robots, described in “The Door into Summer,” haven’t yet caught up to Hired Girl, much to my dismay, but we do have Roomba. And every time I’m stuck in traffic I wish that we had trimobiles, described in “Methuselah’s Children,” so I could just fly over it all.

 Then there's Mike, the intelligent computer in “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.” Now, when we have the internet, annoying speech recognition software that answers the phone for many businesses, expert systems and the like, it’s easy to forget that in 1966 there was none of this. The research for the Arpanet, the government-sponsored research that resulted in a prototype networking capability, was just getting underway. And in the mid 1970’s, when I was in graduate school in computer science, speech recognition and expert systems were subjects for PhD theses, not everyday facts of life. When I first read Moon I found the idea of an intelligent computer absolutely mind boggling. It’s much less so today.

 As to the political scene, in some places it’s caught up to Heinlein’s work. The war against the “bugs” in “Starship Troopers” can in many respects be likened to today’s War on Terror. My son the Army Lieutenant tells me that today’s soldiers are indeed just about as uninformed as to the motives behind the war as the soldiers in Heinlein’s book. He also assures me that Heinlein’s picture of army life is accurate. No surprise, given that Heinlein himself was invalided out of the navy and indeed only started to write as a way to support himself and his wife and to pay his mortgage.

 And how about the religious dictator who’s overthrown in “Revolt in 2100.” There have been times in the recent past when politics in these United States has made me afraid that this could actually happen.

 To a certain extent the sexual revolution has made the sexual piece of Stranger less shocking than it was in 1962 when it first appeared. I can assure you that when I first read “Stranger” in the 1964 or 1965 it was an absolutely revolutionary book. It’s worth noting that Germaine Greer’s “The Female Eunuch” was published in 1971 and George and Nena O’Neill’s “Open Marriage” was published in 1973. The latter half of the book, where Heinlein takes on religion, is, I will venture to say, still going to make most of squirm in our seats.

More than anything, what I took away from reading Heinlein is the value of surprising the reader, even of shocking them, in the name of Art, science fiction, and just plain entertaining fiction.
A star is gone in the Sci-fi world

 Robert Anson Heinlein was born on July 7, 1907 in Butler, Missouri and died on May 8, 1988 in Carmel, California. He graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1929 and served in the navy until he was invalided out in 1934 when he contracted pulmonary tuberculosis. He married his third wife, Virginia, in 1948. The marriage was to last the rest of his life. Virginia Heinlein was the model for many of the strong, independent women in Heinlein stories, right down to the red hair. He received four Hugo awards in his lifetime, for “Double Star” (1956) “Starship Troopers” (1959) “Stranger in a Strange Land” (1961) and “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” (1966). received three “Retro Hugos” as well as the first Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America. He wrote many fine books not mentioned here. The books mentioned in this article include:
 “Beyond This Horizon” first published 1948 The society in this book includes a “genetic elite” where the children have been genetically selected for excellence (think “Gatttica”). This is far from Heinlein’s best work but the concerns in the book do seem relevant today.
 “Red Planet” first published 1949, is the story of a boy colonist on Mars, his friendship with a Martian “bouncer”
“Farmer in the Ski” first published 1950 is the story of a boy and his family who emigrate to Ganymede, one of the moons of Jupiter.
 “Between Planets” first published 1951, is the story of a boy caught literally “between planets” by an interplanetary war.
 “Revolt in 2100” first published 1953 is the story of a revolt against a religious dictator.
“Double Star” first published 1956 is the story of actor Lorenzo Smythe who is hired to impersonate a politician and ends up becoming him.
 “Door into Summer” first published 1957 is the story of an inventor who is manipulated by his fiancĂ© into cold sleep. It includes time travel.
 “Methuselah’s Children” first published 1958 is the story of a group of naturally long-lived people (one of them is Lazarus Long) who are forced to flee the planet.
 “Starship Troopers” first published 1959 is the story of a young man’s coming of age in the army.
“Stranger in a Strange Land” first published 1961 is the story of Valentine Michael Smith, the Man from Mars
“The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” first published 1966 is the story of a revolt against the Lunar Authority. If you want to plan a revolution this is your book.
 “Requiem” first published 1994 includes some previously unpublished stories, speeches and tributes to Heinlein.
That was one heartfelt tribute Margaret.
Now, we'd like to hear about your book.
When Major Brad Reynolds is assigned to head the Terran Federation base on planet Aleyne, the last thing he expects to find is love, and certainly not with one of the alien Aleyni. How can he keep his lover, in the face of political maneuvering and of Ardaval's feelings for his former partners -- and theirs for him?
  In spite of the lateness of the hour, Ardaval opened the door as Brad raised his hand to knock. After leading the way into the courtyard, Ardaval motioned Brad to a seat. One of the two small moons hung in the sky overhead. A light breeze blew across Brad's shoulders. The moonbeams drifted down through the waving leaves of the tree in the center, making lacy patterns on the tiles.
    “You came to discuss Raketh," Ardaval said in Aleyni. His hand brushed Brad's arm.
    Brad shivered and his heart beat faster, but he managed to tear his mind away from Ardaval and return to the reason for his visit.
    "I'm concerned about him. If he has any gazal in him, he could become a target for the extremists." Brad tried to peel the years from Ardaval's face. “Keth resembles you, far more than Gavin does.”
    Ardaval nodded, the gesture barely visible in the moonlight. “Gavin is my shan, though he has no gazal and Raketh does."
    Brad smiled. Did Ardaval ever unbend sufficiently to call the boy Keth, as Gavin's record claimed he preferred? “You’re sure he has gazal?”
    “I’m sure.”
     It squared with Brad's own views. “Do you believe he understands he has it?”
    “He understands and he doesn’t understand. He uses gazal, but doesn’t allow himself to consider what it means.”
    Brad hesitated. Would Ardaval discuss the subject with Keth? “As I understand your ethics, the choice still remains with his father, unless the boy himself comes to you.”
    Ardaval nodded. "In honor, we wait."
    A moment passed while Brad stared at Ardaval and willed himself to leave, to ignore the sexual tension flaring between the two of them. Brad's thoughts whirled and buzzed like a swarm of bees. Ardaval was an alien, and, Brad guessed, a good fifteen years older than he was. He’d met literally hundreds of the tall, dark-skinned Aleyni, not to say hundreds of his fellow Terrans, many younger and handsomer than this man. Why Ardaval? Brad would be mad to start anything. For God's sake, the whole reason he arrived in the middle of the night was so no one would discover his visit. "What do I say now?"
    Ardaval shook his head, rose, and held out his hand to Brad. “I’m an old man. I don’t have time to waste on your dithering when we both realize the tie flows strong between us.”
    Brad's heart pounded and he hesitated a moment longer. With a small sigh, he stood and grasped Ardaval's hand. Ardaval drew him close, and Brad opened his mouth for the kiss.
Broken Bond buy links  by Margaret Fieland             

 Publisher's website:
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Leave your comments for Margaret here, folks.
Have you read any Heinlien? Tell us about it.
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Howdy J.Q. So nice to have you back. Doesn't that cupcake look good? Fits in with your blog today.
Let's put some posies underneath to
make it feel like it's still the same flowers blog.

Thanks so much, Lorrie, for hosting me today. I love the interaction you always have with your guests and readers. I hope visitors will feel free to leave comments, questions, waves, or just say hi when they stop in.  Lorrie will draw a winner from all the commenters to receive a copy of my latest mystery, Coda to Murder. Good luck!
Ha, don't pin this on me. I'll put the names in a hat and pull one for the free copy of your book. Yep, good luck all.

 Now tell us about this cooking or writing.

A few months ago we rented the movie, Julie and Julia, to pass a rainy evening. I had no idea the topic wasn’t about cooking, but instead the writing life and well, life in general. Julia Child was a famous cook on TV before there ever was a Food Network. She wrote the cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, back in the ’50′s published by Knopf, still in print and selling.


Julie is Julie Powell, a frustrated writer, who loves cooking. She decides to blog about her goal to prepare all 524 recipes in Julia’s book in 365 days. The stories run parallel to Julia Child working on her cook book and trying to find a publisher and Julie preparing the recipes and then blogging about the results, as well as letting readers in on her life. I loved the comparisons of writing a book in the ’50′s to blogging in the 21st century such as typewriter vs laptop, those dreadful sheets put between paper to make a copy as you type on the typewriter vs copy machines, sending off the manuscript in a huge box through the mail vs. emailing files to the publisher. Ah, the good ole days.

The women’s lives were similar in many ways even though separated by 40 years of time. They both went through the trials and tribulations of the writing life.  Julia with her cookbook and Julie with her blog.

 The movie was cleverly presented allowing smooth transitions from one woman’s story to the other. I giggled at the simple sight gags. Meryl Streep’s acting was right on and made me believe she truly was Julia, not Meryl. It was fun to watch and a great reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same. (I know that is another cliche, but really, people, how can you say it any better than that?)

That does look like a cute movie. I couldn't pass up that picture with Streep holding the chicken. lol. Ahem. Now, let's get to your book.


Pastor Christine Hobbs has been in the pulpit business for over five years. She never imagined herself caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer. 


Detective Cole Stephens doesn't want the pretty pastor to get away with murdering the church music director. His investigative methods infuriate Christine as much as his deep brown eyes attract her.


Can they find the real killer and build a loving relationship based on trust?



Chapter One

          “Wilma, quick shut the door. We don’t want her escaping from the bedroom.” Pastor Christine Hobbs said in a hushed voice. She pressed her fingers to her lips to signal Wilma to keep quiet while she surveyed the spacious room.        The bent old lady slammed the wooden door shut with a force that almost knocked the door off its hinges. The fugitive was certainly aware of their presence now.  The pastor shrugged her shoulders.

          “I’m going to check under the bed,” she said. She heard the faint ringing of the cell phone in her bag in the living room; however, she was in no position to answer it now. Pulling up the heavy dust ruffle, Christine shined the flashlight under the antique four-poster bed while Wilma wielded the straw broom and waited.

            Christine tucked a strand of dark brown hair behind her ear and dived under the bed. As she inched her way along the hardwood floor, dust bunnies and dried bits of food and dirt clung to her black suit coat and slacks. She headed in the direction of the low growling sound.

          She had confronted many circumstances not formally taught to young seminarians with stars in their eyes. Today was a prime example. She dared anyone to find a chapter in the textbook detailing guidelines for catching a cat.  In the past five years in the pulpit business, she had faced many realities requiring quick thinking and creativity, and the thirty-two-year-old pastor knew there would be many more in the future.

          Christine had promised dear Mrs. Whitcomb she would find a home for her pet cat, Bitsy, when Mrs. W. went home to be with the Lord.  Now she was delivering on her promise, maybe, if she could just catch the dang cat!  She and Mrs. Whitcomb’s frail sister, Wilma, had chased the speedy creature through several rooms in the old Victorian house, but the nimble black and gray striped cat continued to evade the two women.

          This time, she knew she had Bitsy cornered under the bed and hoped she could depend on her partner in the chase to brandish the broom to keep the feisty feline from darting out and away again. What was she thinking?  The speed of the old woman could never match the agility of this swift cat.

          When the flashlight beamed across the cat’s glowing eyes, a cold chill ran down Christine’s back. Those eyes were terrifying.

          “Okay, Bitsy.”  She talked softly to the frightened animal.  “Please come to me.  I’m going to take you home and find someone to take care of you and love you.”  She stopped and listened.  The growling was much louder. She was close to the cat. Christine slowly inched forward and brought her fingers to Bitsy so she could sniff her hand.  “That’s a good kitty.  You know me from all the times I visited your mistress, don’t you?”

          Quick as a flash of lightning, Christine grabbed the surprised pet behind her neck and hung on.  Growls turned into yowling as the she scrambled out from under the bed, dragging the struggling cat, dirt, and dust bunnies with her.    She sat on the floor talking quietly, soothing Bitsy. After the fierce feline calmed, Christine stood near the bed. 

          “Oh, my. Oh, my,” was all Wilma could say when she saw the cat safely in Christine’s arms.  She unclenched the straw broom and propped it against the wall then shuffled over to pat the cat’s head.  “You’ll be okay, Bitsy, with Pastor Christine.  She’ll take good care of you.”

          “Oh, yes, I will, only till I can find Bitsy a nice home like I told your sister.”  Christine smiled at the sweet lady.  She freed one hand to brush off the dirt and dust, and now cat hair, on her suit but stopped when Bitsy began struggling to get down. 

          Christine hurried to retrieve the cat carrier by the kitchen door. Before the cat had a chance to jump away to hide, she gently, yet firmly, shoved the cat into the carrier and latched the door. The yowling cat’s protest turned into guttural growls as she settled into the corner of the cage, tail lashing wildly.

          “Thanks for your help, Wilma.”  The eighty-year-old woman was not exactly adept at catching kitties; still, she did offer a lot of moral support.

          “Oh, you’re welcome.  I’ll miss her…”  Wilma's voice choked.

          Christine waited for the woman to compose herself.

           “I miss my sister, Pastor. We spent many years together in this house.” She pulled a delicate linen handkerchief out of her apron pocket and dabbed at her eyes.

          Everything would change now for Wilma.  She had lost her sister, her pet, her home.  She was moving into an assisted living home at the end of the week.  Tomorrow folks from the church would begin packing up everything Wilma wanted to take with her. The remainder of her possessions collected over her lifetime would be boxed and donated to the Goodwill.  The members wanted to help move her because there was no family to help Wilma, only the church family. She was counting on all of them to help her settle into her new surroundings.

          The pastor reached out and hugged the frail woman. “Yes, we will all miss her.”  Christine picked up the cat carrier. “Well I’d better get Miss Bitsy back to my house and get her situated.  I loaded her litter box, bowl, and food in my car. Thanks for helping me.” She touched Wilma’s shoulder. “You get some rest now. God bless you.”

* * * *

          On the way back to her home with Bitsy in the car, Christine spotted a police car and ambulance in the church parking lot. She yanked the vehicle’s steering wheel, making a sharp turn into the lot across the street from her home in the church parsonage. Her mind raced. What could be the emergency? She dashed from her car and sprinted up the steps of the old brown brick church two at a time.

          “Oh, Christine, I was just trying to call you again,” her secretary, Ella, said.

          “I’m glad to see you’re okay. What’s happened?”

          Ella replaced the receiver on the hook. “Dutch found William in the basement.  He must have fallen down the steps.  We called 9-1-1.”

          Christine breathed a quick prayer as she rushed down the hallway. Ella followed, but it was impossible for her secretary to keep up with her long strides. As she approached the doorway leading to the church basement, a police officer held his palm out to prevent Christine from going downstairs. 

          “Stop there, ma’am.”    

          “I’m the pastor of this church.  I need to see William, our music director.  I understand he fell down these stairs.”  Standing taller, she glared at the officer challenging him to let her pass.

            “I’m sorry, Pastor. No one is allowed down there.” 

          She tried to discover a way past the officer when he blocked the doorway with his round body.

          She heard Ella and a few church members who had gathered in the hallway loudly insist the officer allow the pastor to be with William.

          “What’s going on up there, Mike?” A gruff voice from the basement yelled up the stairs.

          “The pastor wants to come down there, Sir. She is adamant she needs to be with the fallen man.”

          “Send her down.”

          Christine bounded down the wooden stairs, made the turn on the platform, then gasped as she glimpsed the contorted body of the music director at the bottom of the steps.  Her stomach lurched when she saw dried blood from a head wound caked on the floor. She grabbed the railing to steady herself noticing two EMTs standing by doing nothing. She felt her face flush with anger.

           The medical examiner investigator motioned to her to stop on the flight of stairs.  “Sorry, ma’am.  Don’t come any farther.  This is a crime scene.  This man is dead.”




Now available at MuseItUp Publishing- and major online booksellers.

BIO- After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction writing with her first published novella, Sunshine Boulevard, released by MuseItUp Publishing in 2011. Her latest mystery, Coda to Murder, was released in February. Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. Spending winters in Florida with her husband allows Janet the opportunity to enjoy the life of a snowbird. Summer finds her camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.



Connect with J.Q. Rose online at

J.Q. Rose blog

J. Q.  Rose Amazon Author Page


How many remember Julia Child? How many have seen her cookbook?
I remember my mother having it. Hmm. Maybe it's still around the house.
In todays world of TV, printed cookbooks and online recipes, is it fair to ask who your favorite is?

And your Coda to Murder looks like a fun cozy read, J.Q.

Leave a comment for J.Q. below, folks. You may be the lucky winner.




Sunday, September 22, 2013


Hi, Chris,                                                                            

Welcome back to
my blog.

I would never attempt
to write a time travel story.
I'd mess it up so badly.
Kudos for you and anyone
who can accomplish this
Tell us what inspired you.

I’m often asked what inspires a story. For me it’s either a setting, an event, or on occasion a person. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively in my life. I grew up with a love of history. As a result, my stories are set in places I love. Once I choose the setting, I look into historical events and on occasion modern events to build a story around.

Once I fix on a setting or event, other interests come into play to influence how I proceed with the story. I grew up in a somewhat unconventional house where time travel, reincarnation and other meta-physical theories were common discussion at the dinner table. It was a fascination for my parents and me. The many aspects of it were debated.

Two of the books in my Knights in Time series deal with time travel. I wanted to put my spin on the premise. When I decided to write my own versions I went back in one story with my characters (Journey in Time). For the next, my latest release, Knight Blindness, I wanted to do something very different with both my hero and the antagonist (who is not a villain though). I wanted to follow each man as he struggled to function in a world they had little context for.

A real challenge, and on the surface you would think it wasn’t an issue, but I always had to keep the limitations of the time in mind. I couldn’t allow the characters who were back in time to have any environmental advantage. They were compelled to use the tools available. Intellectually, they could be clever and resourceful but even that modus operandi had restrictions when it came to the heroines. Women suffered many limitations in the period and to not abide by them could prove dangerous.


The challenge bringing the hero forward in time I mentioned earlier was unique. I had to constantly remind myself what he could put into context or figure out the meaning and purpose for and what was totally alien to him. Take one of us back and we’d pretty much be able to identify much of what we came into contact with. We’ve seen tools, “surgeon’s instruments,” farm equipment, kitchen utensils, and everyday life objects in books and/or museums etc. How extraordinary, confusing, and even scary are some things he’s seeing for the first time? How would he understand the concept/science behind a square box capturing the images of living beings, or a machine that can cook food in minutes without flame, or an immense vehicle that can leave the ground and fly through the air?

Stephen, the hero, was a favorite character from Journey in Time. I had killed him off in that story but my critique group insisted I let him live. I did like him a lot and thought he really is a sweetie who deserves a story. I love writing time travels and since Journey in Time took the hero and heroine back in time, I thought bringing Stephen forward would be fun. Then, I thought to put an extra special spin on the story, I’d make him struggle with not just the time shock but with a crippling war injury. Still not satisfied, I decided to have the enemy knight who injured him come forward at the same time. I thought it was interesting to see how each man adjusted to his circumstance.

For my heroine, Esme, I wanted her to be intuitive, to understand this unusual man (Stephen). She’s well educated and smart, which is why she’s brought in to help bring the hero up-to-date with what’s happened in the world. What I like about her is she sees beyond the surface. Because on the surface, he appears to have had a serious break from reality in that he believes himself a medieval knight. She accepts and can deal with that aspect, after all to anyone hearing him say that it does appear he’s had a mental breakdown. What is special about Esme, is how she can focus on his honorable nature and how determined he is to be independent in all ways. I think readers will relate strongly to how charmed she is by Stephen and how much she believes in his ability to overcome whatever challenges he faces and her desire to help him.
I wanted both men to represent honor and courage. Both were very loyal to their king and willing to fight for a cause they believed right. When one thinks of the Age of Chivalry, I wanted the reader to see these heroes as befitting that ideal. I also wanted them to have their fair share of funny and charming moments as they discover the differences in the modern world from the medieval one. Stephen is the hero I set out to write. Marchand, the enemy knight, isn’t really intended to be a hero but he is not a villain either. I enjoyed giving him a “history” and letting him have a decent amount of time on the page. I think the reader will fall in love with Stephen. He’s charming and witty but possesses a deep sense of ethics and honor. He’s a fighter who will not allow himself to give in to self-pity or doubt. I think the reader will find it hard not be his cheerleaderJ

Chris, I can't wait to meet Stephen. My kind of guy.
Here is the cover folks.

You can find the whole series here at Amazon
More links for Chris



I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.

I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream. I write two different series. My paranormal romance series is called, Knights in Time. My romantic thriller series is, Dangerous Waters.
I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, four rescue dogs and a rescue horse.  

What do you think about writing/reading time travel novels?
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