Saturday, May 28, 2022

An unwelcome tropical environment - Excerpt from new story for #WeWriWa and #SnippetSunday


Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday. Sample the work of a new author. Read snippets of stories in different genres.

If you’re in the US, I wish you an enjoyable Memorial holiday weekend.

I’m moving on with my new SciFi story. Thanks for your suggestions on the opening section. I’ve already revised that chapter. You can read the earlier draft at

Background: Curator Shan Zennia has traveled to the planet of Harappi to record the annual spring festival. In her covert role, she also plans to report to Solarian Intelligence on the conditions after the planet’s recent occupation by the Emperor’s troops. The new overlord, Domina Allia, has a particularly nasty reputation.

Note: Zennia wears a Curator’s badge of office, a silver sunburst around an iridescent disk that records her observations (a mini-video recorder).  

The space shuttle decelerated in a noisy shudder and glided to land in the newly constructed spaceport. Steam hovered above the large puddles left on the concrete by recent rainstorms. Three of the Emperor’s star fighters, black as space itself, stood at the far side of the airfield. Several spacetugs and scouters were parked in the public section. A spacetug lifted skywards. Space travel had resumed, although sparser than normal for a thriving community.

The shuttle taxied to a spot by a large awning erected over the entrance to the passenger terminal. The standard Quickset block with a row of narrow windows signaled its hasty construction after the war.  

Zennia slipped the strap of her bag over a shoulder and filed out of the shuttle with the other passengers. Stepping outside into the sweltering heat, she inhaled and exhaled in slow breaths to acclimatize her body.

Ten sentences plus a little more:

A curator must endure the same conditions as the subjects of her observations. Ignoring the blasts of hot air from the scorching concrete, she activated the iridescent disk of her badge to record the surroundings. A lush green jungle flourished outside the barrier fence enclosing the spaceport. In the distance, gloomy clouds reared as a backdrop to the jungle and concealed the mountains. In the opposite direction, heat haze blurred the city buildings.

She joined the passengers at the edge of the canopy. As they looked around uncertainly, four guards in the somber black uniforms of the conquerors marched out of the terminal. Their stern expressions and hand weapons were far from welcoming.

I’ll be happy to reply to your comments. If all goes well, I hope to finish the editing and publish this story later this summer. 

All my books are discounted at my new Webstore:

Please return to to sample the works of the other writers.


Find a catalog of my published stories HERE.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

More Views from Dartmoor, UK

 I’m posting more scenes from our week exploring Dartmoor in Southeast Britain.  

The top photo shows the cottage we rented in Higher Whiddon Farm. The owners keep thoroughbred horses. 

We visited Wistman’s Wood on National Trust land. It is a grove of unusual stunted old trees and rocks covered in moss.


I had to search for the names of these two unfamiliar flowers: Welsh Yellow Poppy and Pink Purslane.

On our final day, we climbed Yar Tor and took pictures of several Dartmoor ponies. Here’s a closeup of a white mare and large foal with a view across the moor to Sharp Tor.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

An intriguing mission - excerpt from new SciFi story for #WeWriWa and #SnippetSunday


Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday. Sample the work of a new author. Read snippets of stories in different genres.

Last week, I flew home from my vacation with family in the UK. It’s the first time we’ve visited them in nearly three years. You can see some photos from my trip in the previous posts. 

I’d like to give you a taste of a new story I’ve been composing for several weeks. It is Sci-Fi with mystery and a slow romance. For much of the story, the male protagonist is unhappily married to someone else, Princess Allia, who is mentioned at the end of this excerpt.

This excerpt is at the beginning of the story. I’d appreciate any suggestions since I’m struggling with this chapter. I think it illustrates the setting, although it’s a lot to throw at a reader. 

Curator Shan Zennia gazed with anticipation at the wall screen as the space shuttle zoomed toward the planet of Harappi. This first glimpse of the location of her new mission stirred a familiar thrill of excitement. She touched the badge of office she wore on a chain around her neck. The badge, a silver sunburst around a pearlescent disk, doubled as a recorder. This assignment promised to be especially intriguing with the potential clash of two cultures amid the annual festival of Vashali.

The screen displayed the view of Harappi from an altitude high above the atmosphere. White clouds drifted over landmasses of dark green vegetation and blue-green oceans. The site of an ancient colony, the planet was mostly jungle with its population concentrated in small coastal cities.

Harappi was unfortunately situated in the nebulous region of galactic space abutting the Emperor’s Sector and the smaller Sectors of Chaktagoonacott and Ptavi. In his warped ambition, Emperor Hadros deemed the planet ripe for exploitation.

Ten sentences plus a little more:

He had sent his battleships, and after a fierce battle, his space fleet had defeated the poorly armed Harappian star fighters. Three months ago in standard galactic measure, he had declared victory. Imperial troops had occupied the capital city of Mattapurna, executed the reigning monarch, Maharaja Bahadur, and killed or imprisoned the members of the royal family.

The Emperor had designated his niece, Princess Allia, as the new ruler of Harappi with instructions to subdue its inferior people and confiscate the products of their farms and mines. Domina Allia and her retinue had arrived in the city only twenty five days ago.

Zennia pitied the Harappian people. Judging by her reputation, Domina Allia would be a cruel and tyrannical ruler.   

I’ll be happy to reply to your comments. If all goes well, I hope to finish the editing and publish this story in mid summer.  

This month is the eighth anniversary of publication of my first novel, The Lady is Blue, although the story was written three decades earlier. The second book in the series was composed and published later in 2014. The third book was published in 2019. 

The Lady is Blue is discounted to 99c to celebrate the anniversary. All three books in the series are 99c at my Direct store only.

All books are discounted on my Direct store relative to prices at other retailers. You can find the current (growing) selection at

Atrapako on Eden. SciFi Adventure and Romance. Feisty scientist solves mystery of scaly aliens on the remote planets of Eden and Vkani.

The Lady is Blue, Book 1, 99c Direct or Other Retailers 

Dragons of Vkani, Book 2, 99c Direct or Full price at  Other Retailers

Trapped on Vkani, Book 3, 99c  Direct or Full price at  Other


Please return to to sample the works of the other writers.


Find a catalog of my published stories HERE.



Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Views of Dartmoor in Devon, UK.


This May, we stayed for a week on Ashburton near Dartmoor in the southeast of Britain. Most days, we went on different hikes over the moor. The moors look bleak in the spring without the purple blooms of heather and the winds are cold. Here are views of some of the places we visited.

We walked along the banks of the Dart River and the Teign River. The top image is a view of Fingle Bridge over the River Teign.

Bluebells in the woods by a riverbank. 


Another day, we climbed to the top of three tors: Rippon Tor, Top Tor and Pil Tor. These tors are close together so it was only a short walk.

The photo above shows the stacked rocks on top of Pil Tor.


Yellow flowers of gorse bushes on top of Pil Tor. 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Spring-blooming wildflowers in the woods of southeast Britain


This month, we flew to the UK to visit our family. We went to Lower Woods, a National Forest near Warwick and Chipping Sodbury in Southeast Britain, to see the bluebells and other wildflowers.

Bluebells are a lovely sight in the woods during May. The intensely blue flowers make a carpet under the trees. It’s been many years since I last visited England at the right time to see the bluebells.

In the top image, you can see bluebells with the white patch of stitchwort in the distance.


A closer view of bluebell flowers with the white petals of  stitchwort.


We found yellow primroses and cowslips. Both of these typically English flowers are in the primula family.


Early Purple Orchid is a rarer flower with deep magenta petals. We saw several of these flowers along the paths in the woods.


Other flowers are less colorful. The image above shows the green flowers of Wood spurge.

Not illustrated - We saw many patches of ramps with white flowers. Ramps are edible plants also known as wild leeks or wild onions. We also found Cuckoo flower or Lady’s mantle, which has four pink petals.