The Billionaires’ Space Race

Will science fiction become science fact? It’s happened before.

America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, July 20, 2021

This morning’s Blue Horizon launch of four people into “near space,” was perfect by every standard. It went off precisely on time, going straight up, as advertised, to a maximum altitude of seventy miles, flying a perfect parabola after the engines shut down. The booster made a vertical landing exactly where it was intended to, two miles from where it took off. The occupants in the mostly glass capsule, designed for optimum viewing, got to experience three minutes of weightlessness, floating around and whooping with joy before they strapped in for the descent back to Earth.

Coming down, the capsule and its passengers were in free fall until it reached the altitude at which an airliner would be in its final landing approach, when its main parachutes deployed (perfectly.) The numbers displayed on our television screens said it touched down in the west Texas desert…

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MORE FIVE STAR REVIEWS FOR HUMMINGBIRD: A STAR TOUCHED STORY

Kalak S.

5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating glimpse into a surprising perspective from the world of Star Touched

I can say with certainty that this short but exciting vignette makes for a great read whether it is your introduction to the universe of Star Touched or if you are already a fan of the preceding novel. Author A.L. Kaplan crafts immediate intrigue in the first lines that holds your attention captive until the final words with an excellent pacing and a compelling atmosphere of some urgent mystery. I truly felt myself drawn into the perspective of the character, helpless to do anything but read on.

If you find yourself enjoying this taste of the lore of Star Touched, then you will surely enjoy the novel that started it! If you have already had the pleasure of reading it, then this brief return to that shattered world will have your heart racing like the wings of a hummingbird!


J. Cotten

5.0 out of 5 stars Creative short story

I love the creativity captured in the form of a hummingbird. The ups and downs of life in a small but fast creature, not sure of what may come next.

Order Your copy today

Plagued by memories not her own, a young hummingbird struggles to decipher the visions and powers that set her apart from her fellow birds. But the road to awareness is fraught with danger that could doom her to repeat history. One step toward understanding. One stride toward survival. One leap toward flying free from the past.

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BOOK REVIEW – THE CITY OF ZIRDAI BY MARIA V. SNYDER

Maria V. Snyder’s skill in creating fascinating worlds with intricate societies strikes true again in The City of Zirdai. This exciting tale has several twists as Shyla struggles to learn about magic and the power of The Eyes of Tambourah, survive in a barely habitual environment, and stay ahead of the Water Prince and Heliacal Priestess who both want The Eyes for themselves. Even some of her own people, within the Invisible Sword, treat her with hostility and mistrust. As for the people of Zirdai, many in the city consider Shyla to be cursed by the Sun goddess because of her blond, Sun-Kissed hair. That doesn’t stop her from trying to stop the corrupt rulers that that are smothering the city’s residents. Shyla is a true hero willing to sacrifice herself to save others.

I look forward to reading The King of Koraha, the final book in this series.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, check out Star Touched and Hummingbird.

STAR TOUCHED

Sometimes it’s hard to be who you are meant to be.

Eighteen-year-old Tatiana is running from her past and her star-touched powers eight years after a meteor devastates earth’s population.

Her power to heal may be overshadowed by more destructive abilities. Fleeing the persecution of those like her, Tatiana seeks refuge in a small town she once visited. But this civil haven, in a world where society has broken down, is beginning to crumble.

Only by harnessing the very forces that haunt her can Tatiana save her friends…and herself.

Plagued by memories not her own, a young hummingbird struggles to decipher the visions and powers that set her apart from her fellow birds. But the road to awareness is fraught with danger that could doom her to repeat history. One step toward understanding. One stride toward survival. One leap toward flying free from the past.

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FIVE STAR REVIEW FOR HUMMINGBIRD: A STAR TOUCHED STORY

5.0 out of 5 stars

Nice mini-sequel!

Plagued by memories not her own, a young hummingbird struggles to decipher the visions and powers that set her apart from her fellow birds. But the road to awareness is fraught with danger that could doom her to repeat history. One step toward understanding. One stride toward survival. One leap toward flying free from the past.

This is a nice addition to the original Star Touched story— a wrap up of an end you didn’t realize was loose, told from an interesting perspective. I’m hoping for lots more in this world!

—Joanne Brazinski

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The Underground Library Society

Andrew McDowell

Many thanks to author and blogger Charles F. French for this opportunity, inspired by the Underground Library Society in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, where I discuss one of my favorite classic stories—why it’s so special to me, and why I believe it’s worth preserving.

Let me say it was a tough decision, for there are many good books out there worth preserving. But when it came down to it—thinking of a classic story I’ve always come back to (in this case every December) and which is special to me—in the end I knew what my choice would be.

A New Addition to the U.L.S., The Underground Library Society: Andrew McDowell and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

If anyone else might be interested in joining and posting about a book that you would choose to become in a world like the one Bradbury envisaged, please consider it!

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Preschoolers and Memorial Day

A Teacher's Reflections

How do I teach preschoolers about Memorial Day?
I start at the beginning, with a great book that teaches children about America.

I teach them how to sing “God Bless America”,
starting by singing the book.

We then learn about the flag, and flag etiquette.
We count 50 stars for 50 states.
We call the flag Old Glory.
Practicing is fun.

By this time, children begin to feel proud.
They want more.
I sing the book, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
You can see how worn and well-loved it is.
The full-page illustrations bring the words to life.
We stop to see a flag flying at half-mast at the resting place of soldiers.
We see the rocket’s red glare.

On the last day of school before Memorial Day,
children wear red, white, and blue.

We host a school-wide remembrance,
and my classroom gets to hold the flag
and lead everyone in singing…

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HUMMINGBIRD: A STAR TOUCHED STORY – Now available

HUMMINGBIRD: A STAR TOUCHED STORY

Now live on Amazon in print and digital format.

Plagued by memories not her own, a young hummingbird struggles to decipher the visions and powers that set her apart from her fellow birds. But the road to awareness is fraught with danger that could doom her to repeat history. One step toward understanding. One stride toward survival. One leap toward flying free from the past.

Here’s what people are saying:

“A delightful insight into the origins of one of my favorite characters in the Star Touched world!”

~ Maria V Snyder, New York Times best-selling author and PRISM Award Winner.

If you read Star Touched, you’ll love Hummingbird. If you haven’t read Star Touched, now you’ll want to.”

~ Kathy Steinemann

“Set in the world of Star Touched, this short story puts the reader in the mind and body of a newly-hatched hummingbird. Except this is no ordinary hummingbird! Charming and captivating, and a must-read for anyone who loves watching birds.”

~ T. C. Weber, author of the BetterWorld cyberpunk trilogy and other works.

STAR TOUCHED

Sometimes it’s hard to be who you are meant to be.

Eighteen-year-old Tatiana is running from her past and her star-touched powers eight years after a meteor devastates earth’s population.

Her power to heal may be overshadowed by more destructive abilities. Fleeing the persecution of those like her, Tatiana seeks refuge in a small town she once visited. But this civil haven, in a world where society has broken down, is beginning to crumble.

Only by harnessing the very forces that haunt her can Tatiana save her friends…and herself.

WOLF DAWN

A Hidden Past – A Deadly Secret

Gifted with the ability to wolf-talk, Kara has lived with the wolves since she lost her memories eight years ago. Now at sixteen, snippets of her past send her searching for answers.

But the warm welcome she receives in the human village hides more danger than life with the pack.

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MEMORIAL DAY 2021

In honor and memory of all who have given their lives for our country.

flag

THANK YOU

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HUMMINGBIRD FUN FACTS: RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD

Only one day before HUMMINGBIRD: A STAR TOUCHED STORY releases.

Here are a few last fun facts.

Weighing in at a mere 3 grams and only 3 ½ inches in length, the ruby-throated hummingbird is one of my favorites.  (But not the smallest. The bee hummingbird of Cuba is only 2 ¼ inches long!)

Photo by Joshua Cotton

Ruby-throated hummingbirds have some variety in coloration depending on location, but their back is a beautiful iridescent green with a gray or white belly and the throat of the males is red. They have very long and slender bills and a forked tail.

The green on the hummer that has been visiting my feeder this spring is such a dark emerald that I thought it was black until I got a closer look. He’s quite lovely but a bit camera shy.

Photo by Joshua Cotton

Don’t forget to order your copy of HUMMINGBIRD: A Star Touched Story

HUMMINGBIRD: A Star Touched Story

Plagued by memories not her own, a young hummingbird struggles to decipher the visions and powers that set her apart from her fellow birds. But the road to awareness is fraught with danger that could doom her to repeat history. One step toward understanding. One stride toward survival. One leap toward flying free from the past.

STAR TOUCHED

Sometimes it’s hard to be who you are meant to be.

Eighteen-year-old Tatiana is running from her past and her star-touched powers eight years after a meteor devastates earth’s population.

Her power to heal may be overshadowed by more destructive abilities. Fleeing the persecution of those like her, Tatiana seeks refuge in a small town she once visited. But this civil haven, in a world where society has broken down, is beginning to crumble.

Only by harnessing the very forces that haunt her can Tatiana save her friends…and herself.

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HUMMINGBIRD FUN FACTS: Nighty Night

Costa Rica – Photo by Paige Kaplan

Most of us relax when we sleep, but hummingbirds can take it one step farther. If their energy reserves get really low, they can enter a state of torpor.

Torpor – Noun

Pronounced:   tȯr-pər

1a: a state of mental and motor inactivity with partial or total insensibility.

b: a state of lowered physiological activity typically characterized by reduced metabolism, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature that occurs in varying degrees especially in hibernating and estivating animals.

from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/torpor

Their breathing becomes shallow and irregular and they can slow their heartbeats to 50 beats per minutes. Talk about a deep sleep! They can stay in this state for 8 to 14 hours. It could take up to an hour to get back up to normal speed the next day.

HUMMINGBIRD: A Star Touched Story

Plagued by memories not her own, a young hummingbird struggles to decipher the visions and powers that set her apart from her fellow birds. But the road to awareness is fraught with danger that could doom her to repeat history. One step toward understanding. One stride toward survival. One leap toward flying free from the past.

STAR TOUCHED

Sometimes it’s hard to be who you are meant to be.

Eighteen-year-old Tatiana is running from her past and her star-touched powers eight years after a meteor devastates earth’s population.

Her power to heal may be overshadowed by more destructive abilities. Fleeing the persecution of those like her, Tatiana seeks refuge in a small town she once visited. But this civil haven, in a world where society has broken down, is beginning to crumble.

Only by harnessing the very forces that haunt her can Tatiana save her friends…and herself.

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