We went out for a little Christmas shopping Saturday morning - not to a mall, just a couple of stores. It was insane. I can only conclude that, after some five years, the American economy has at last found its footing again. I had almost forgotten what prosperity looked like (traffic!). Stockings full of news:

  • If you stopped by the site in the last few days, you may have found it non- or semi-functional. The web host (among many others) suffered several waves of DDoS attacks in the last 48 hours, making connectivity intermittent at best. They claim to have slain their foes, so hopefully all is well now.

  • The Starshine cover art (and site background) has been updated once more. It's brighter, more colorful and dynamic, and I've mostly addressed the dead space in the middle left without cluttering it up. My husband says I'm not allowed to screw with it anymore on penalty of no Christmas presents, so this is likely close to the final design:

  • I changed the base template for the website, so let me know if you see anything squirrely. Other than a few small design changes you shouldn't notice it, but the new template requires far less custom code (and thus fewer bugs) and will allow the News page to generate its own RSS feed, which will come in handy.

  • New blog post: Daring to Dream: Why the World Needs Science Fiction

  • Last and best: THE STARSHINE DRAFT IS COMPLETE! I typed "The End"...okay, fine, I typed "To Be Continued in Book Two of Aurora Rising." That was fun :). I'm told there are revisions to do...yes, I believe there will be revisions. I've never done this before, so I give you a SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) that Starshine will be published in late February or March 2014. Don't hold me to that, okay?

Here's your no-context spoiler-free (no who, what, when, where or why) Part IV excerpt:

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The blast of heat hit his back before the sky brightened, which seemed odd—nearly as odd as his brain insisting on noticing such details above far more dramatic ones.

Perhaps he was simply too close for the difference in speed to be noticeable.

Yes, that must be it.

He spun around at the same instant he was thrown tumbling through the air by the invisible force of the shockwave.

He caught the briefest glimpse of a towering, white-hot ball of flame pluming into the sky just as the sun began to set beneath the water and—

When he regained consciousness—slowly, groggily—flames licked the sky, demon tongues hungering for oxygen. Still, they were increasingly obscured by the thick wall of smoke which roiled across the broad courtyard toward him.

He scrambled backward as if he could escape it, which was of course a ludicrous thing to do. The smoke poured over him in a wave, choking his lungs and stealing their breath.

He became aware of shouts and screams, closer than the roar of the flames and screeching metal which reverberated from everywhere and nowhere.

The pounding of feet against the stone of the courtyard. People running. Panicked.

It occurred to him that he had been almost to his destination….

If he could get inside then perhaps he might live.

Comments are always welcome, and you can now comment on individual posts (just click the little balloon on the left below).

This will likely be the last update before the new year, so may you all have a Wonderful Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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