In the year 5711, galactic archeologists discover an ancient and undecipherable text in excavations below the New Delphi Crystal. The text called, The Zaqurlite Manuscript is believed to be the key to the origins of humankind. No one can interpret the ancient text until Chiron, a young Janaforma lifebearer, with genetically enhanced language skills, begins to unravel the mysteries hidden in the text.
Chiron, an Oxford graduate student, is a uniquely gifted individual. At nineteen bio-years of age, she can learn any new language and its dialects in a few days time. Guaranteed a job when she graduates, she believes her future is cast in stone and that her life will be boring. Not until her personal life begins to unravel, right along with the fabric of the physical universe, does Chiron realize the strength of her freewill.
For centuries, cosmologists had warned that rifted-type spacecraft were thinning the fabric between dimensions. Not until the Orion Spur was littered with black holes and strange and hideous creatures came flying out of the fourth dimension do politicians admit the truth.
Caught in the wake of this continuing apocalyptic chaos, Chiron meets Parizade Géon, a Tyrowsian biodroid. Together they will struggle to survive the continuing annihilation of the Orion Spur. They will face many challenges, but none as fearsome as the winged creatures Géon calls the Veda kec Drone (“the eternal devourers”; language, Cuneate).
Marcha Fox is a prolific writer that has explored a wide variety of interests, but her major focus has always been science fiction. It began as a love of astronomy which eventually led to a bachelor of science degree in physics from Utah State University followed by a 21 year career at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas where she held a variety of positions including technical writer, engineer and eventually manager. Her NASA experiences included trips to Cape Canaveral in Florida, visiting other NASA centers in Mississippi, Alabama and Maryland as well as trips to the European Space Agency in The Netherlands but the most memorable was the sad task of helping to recover space shuttle debris in East Texas following the tragic Columbia accident in 2003.
Her Star Trails Tetralogy Series incorporates her knowledge of physics and space travel within a family saga set on a primitive planet where survival is an ongoing struggle and further complicated by political intrigue. While some of the science is speculative, her goal is to represent it as accurately as possible so readers learn accurate principles in a painless, entertaining manner within the context of the story. More information on the individual novels in this series, the science behind them, as well as the status of the fourth and final volume can be found at www.kallioperisingpress.com.
Question: You seem to be a modern-day Renaissance woman with many diverse interests and talents. What appeals to you about science fiction that you’ve decided to spend the largest portion of your creative time writing?
Marcha: My love affair with the heavens began the first time I looked up at the night sky and understood what the nursery rhyme “Twinkle, twinkle little star” was all about. My fascination with astronomy was reinforced when I discovered H.G. Wells’ and Jules Verne’s books in elementary school. I started writing Sci-Fi stories in 6th grade where I explained the extraterrestrial origins of our less-popular teachers. After a hiatus raising six kids I went back to school when I was 35 to earn a bachelor’s degree in physics. After that I worked in the aerospace industry which included 21 years as a NASA contractor.
While writing a science fiction novel back in the 80s I somewhat accidentally got into astrology during the character development process. In 2006 I began to study it formally and when I retired I “hung out the proverbial shingle” and became a professional astrologer, another way of embracing the stars and planets. You can find me in that capacity at www.valkyrieastrology.com.
The third and most likely component of this triad following physics and astrology is science fiction. The heavens on both a physical and metaphysical level are so integrated within my psyche they’re impossible to separate. I love this genre because it combines these parts of me so nicely, i.e., science on my logic side, intuition on my spiritual side and imagination on my creative side.
To be perfectly honest it all goes full circle because my goal in life has always been to be a Sci-Fi writer, clear back to 6th grade. I’m a bit of a perfectionist at heart and thus was motivated to get that physics degree to be a more convincing Sci-Fi writer; the career at NASA was a means to an end. Life’s diversions have caused a delay but at last here I am, doing what I’ve always wanted to do.
Question: In book I of your Tetralogy, Beyond the Hidden Sky, the fourteen-year-old Creena Brightstar is torn between loyalty to family and a need for independence. Her trek across space reminds me of the Andre Gide quote, “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” How closely do you relate to Creena and her bravery and sense of adventure?
Marcha: I relate to Creena very much. I believe that our fears and phobias are there as challenges to be overcome. I saw a quote on Facebook recently which stated it beautifully: “Fear is not your enemy. It is your compass pointing to the areas where you need to grow.” Overcoming fear is part of our journey. I used to be terrified of public speaking but would not allow myself any peace until I got over it. I still get a few butterflies before giving a talk or lecture but have learned to do it and actually enjoy it nonetheless.
I never dreamed I could make it through college as a physics major and even had an escape plan if I flunked out. I was sure the math would kill me, but the next thing I knew I had the degree in hand. One of my astronomy professors deserves credit for stating, “Anyone who wants to badly enough can get a degree in physics.” I put it to the test, expecting to prove him wrong and told him so at my graduation. Of course he didn’t even remember making such a statement but I proved him right and we had a good laugh over it.
I‘ve lived in New York, California, Utah and Texas with every move an adventure replete with culture shock. I’ve thus experienced a fair amount of the country which also broadened my horizons substantially. Anyone who has never lived outside their home town has no idea what’s out there; visiting just doesn’t do it.
After the space shuttle, Columbia, crashed in February 2003 I felt compelled to join the recovery team in East Texas where I spent a few weeks walking grid patterns through piney woods and brambles with U.S. Forest Service smokejumpers picking up debris. Most of them were Native Americans and my job was to positively identify anything we found as space shuttle related. The diary I kept of that experience will someday make it into my NASA memoirs, a future project on my rather long to-do list. For the 12th anniversary of the Columbia crash I wrote up a few memories as a memorial which can be found on my blog site.
Probably the most frightening and challenging thing I did was to have and raise six kids! I was an only child and hated the feelings of isolation and loneliness so wanted to make sure my kids would never feel like that. Even though all of them don’t always get along (I definitely had a few examples in my household of Creena and her brother, Dirck) it does my heart good to know that most of them are fairly close to one another, both by physical locale as well as emotionally. I was afraid of every single one of these endeavors yet something compelled me to do them anyway. I don’t regret a single one.
Question: How much preplanning do you do for a book? Some people complete plot outlines before they ever begin to write while other writers rely on their intuition and go wherever the writing instinct takes them. Where do you fall along this spectrum?
Marcha: I’m a little bit of both, but lean toward the intuition side, especially once I got to the third book. For me, the story starts with an idea (of course) and the main characters involved. That provides a very rough idea which results in a rather vague chapter outline. However, when I start to write, that’s when all the details come out. The characters take over and I mostly go with instinct from that point to completion. I can usually kick out a first draft in about six weeks but then the editing process takes over which goes on much longer.
Action and dialog come easily but then I have to go back and include the imagery and other details to flesh it out. Characters, scenes and situations will just pop into my mind at random times whether I’m vacuuming, weeding or falling asleep which often turn out to be the best parts. I love it when I don’t have a clue how something is going to be resolved and count on my characters to figure out how to deal with it. If it has me in suspense then it should definitely work for my readers.
Question: How does your background in science and interest in astrology and metaphysics play a part in your writing?
Marcha: As with all experience, it comes in very handy! Having worked at NASA for over two decades I understand how that agency operates and have had the privilege of seeing and doing many remarkable things. The experience of being a part of a major engineering project is very helpful in writing science fiction. Most of my career was spent in Space Shuttle Safety where our charter was to protect the astronaut crew first and the vehicle second. When I worked in Payload Safety we didn’t care if something worked or not as long as it didn’t hurt someone. Knowing all the ways that hardware or equipment can fail provides lots of story material to say nothing of being intimately familiar with the politics of government agencies and corporate bureaucracies.
Since science fiction inspired me as a child I hope to do the same for my readers. I include painless science and engineering lessons in my stories where I show the relevance of such knowledge and endeavors. My website has a section for parents and educators which provides additional ideas for using different parts of the books as the springboard for discussion on a variety of topics. Science and engineering are fun and exciting pursuits which I try to demonstrate in my stories. If junior high or high school science teachers need an idea for extra credit for their brighter students, by books combined with the suggestions on my website could be just what they’re looking for.
Question: After writing four books do you have a favorite book or a character with whom you feel a special affinity?
Marcha: My favorite book tends to be the one I’m working on at the time. I love all my characters (at least the nice ones) so picking a favorite is as impossible as naming one of my actual children for that honor. I love giving the antagonists their “just desserts” more than anything. I laugh every time I think of how I disposed of one particular bad guy in “Refractions of Frozen Time.” He SO got what he deserved! LOL! I can’t decide which book I like best, but I definitely have some favorite chapters: Beyond the Hidden Sky: “AG4MI” and “Encore” A Dark of Endless Days: “Colonel Jenkins;” “Aftermath;” and “Hauling Hay” A Psilent Place Below: “Prisoners” and “Delta-Sub-Q-Alpha Prime Refractions of Frozen Time: “Charging” and “Karma”
The total page count for the Star Trails Tetralogy is over 1500 pages so that’s a long time to spend with your characters. I’m going to miss them as I move on to other projects. Some of them are bound to show up in subsequent short stories or novels which are offshoots, prequels or sequels. I covered the Brightstars pretty well in this series but those with follow-up potential include the family’s youngest member, Deven, as well as Dirck’s friend, Win Sendori and newcomer, Antara Denale, who showed up unexpectedly in Volume IV. I’m always open to suggestions from fans regarding whom they’d like to see more of as well.
Question: Can you tell us a little bit about your newest book?
Marcha: “Refractions of Frozen Time” is the culmination of the saga which has been developing throughout the three previous books. Ever since “Beyond the Hidden Sky” the Brightstars have been separated; at least one family member has been absent at any given time with the others threatened continually by everything from weather extremes to political treachery.
This final episode features the discovery of a mineral that manipulates space and time. Unless they uncover its secrets before it’s too late, the Brightstar family will never be united again. With the antagonist, Augustus Troy, closing in on the ability to destroy anyone for whom they have a mindprint (which includes virtually all the “good guys”) they are working frantically to both find a way to defend themselves as well as bring back the family patriarch who’s on his way to permanent exile on a prison planet/blackhole.
Anyone one who is fascinated with classic hard sci-fi elements such as telepathic communications, teleportation, and time travel is likely to enjoy this volume along with its various plot twists, turns and surprises which have been building up since the story began. While each volume can be enjoyed independently, reading them in sequence is recommended to fully enjoy the story’s complexities, which is especially true for this final and concluding volume. Anyone who starts with this final episode is likely to have a few questions which are undoubtedly answered in the previous books. Excerpts to all four books can be found on my Bublish author page (link below).
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Marcha-Fox/e/B0074RV16O/
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marchafoxauthor
Star Trails Homepage: www.StarTrailsSaga.com)
My Blog Page: http://marcha2014.wordpress.com/
Bublish Author Page: https://www.bublish.com/author/view/3111
“Beyond the Hidden Sky” (Volume I)
Create Space (Print copy): https://www.createspace.com/3911767
Book Video Trailer: http://youtu.be/ennmW2jTIsc
“Sneak Peeks” on Bublish (Read sample chapters with author commentary)
Consequences Can Bite http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2861/
Decisions, Decisions http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3131/
Thinking Like a Robot http://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/4599/
A Terrifying Alien World http://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/4632
“A Dark of Endless Days” (Volume II)
Create Space (Print copy): https://www.createspace.com/3937890
Book Video Trailer: http://youtu.be/P_2sbLHvBj8
“Sneak Peeks” on Bublish
Listen to your inner voice: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2735
UFO Lands at Hill AFB: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3228
How does it work? http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3754
Mingling with Earthlings: https://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/4741
“A Psilent Place Below” (Volume III)
Create Space: (Print copy): https://www.createspace.com/3991023
Book Video Trailer: http://youtu.be/-MTp9vUFLy0
“Sneak Peeks” on Bublish
The World of Psi http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2752
Thoughts Become Things http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3589/
A Quieter Hero http://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/4698/
“Refractions of Frozen Time” (Volume IV)
Print Copy on Create Space: https://www.createspace.com/5055000
Book Video Trailer: http://youtu.be/SRY0P4-ZBYw
“Sneak Peeks” on Bublish
The Fickle Finger of Fate http://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/4602/
Commandos Raid the Caverns http:/www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/4666/
The Heart of the Scorpion: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/4730/
Star Trails Compendium (Includes terms and definitions as well as background information on Cyraria)
Born bright and true this morning, I saw the moonflowers yawn and close their white-winged petals at first sunlight.
I came into my self on Jade Boulevard as the venders opened their stalls. Juthe, the peddler, glanced down into the gutter and found a coin. With a chuckle, he retrieved it and stashed it in his pocket as he mused—this coin will bring me luck today. I was the only one who noticed when the coin fell through a hole in his pocket and rolled again into the gutter.
For almost two hours, a lad named Ketral tossed pebbles into the Iris Sea and I watched his thoughts as he imagined his pebbles reaching distant lands. Later, when he stumbled and fell, on his way home, I touched his bruised knee and soothed his pain.
By early afternoon I was passing by your door and the quiet and sober voices inside drew me closer. I sat amongst you, listened to you read and peer into each other’s eyes. I heard your inner thoughts and felt your grief.
It was late afternoon by then and I went to the Hermit Inn to see if the crack in the front door had grown wider, since earlier this morning. Placing my hand on the crack, I was aware for the first time that I cast no shadow and I thought, when I scribe this too-short day into the Library of All Creation, how shall I begin and how shall I end?
As each passing angel remembers all it witnesses, I know of no clear beginning or ending or a grander moment than all the rest. I console myself with the thought that I saw a little, spoke to a few, and you heard my passing voice. Each drop of water that drips from your rusty shower pipe, I have savored. Even the hesitation between each drop remains precious to me. When I scribe my entry, I will remember you and that we watched as the evening painted the sky a rosy pink.
Martha Fawcett copyright 2015
I sat on the floor in a meditative posture with her body across my lap. Holding her tiny head in the palm of my hand, I gave her my complete love in the form of energy. She opened her eyes, but was unable to focus on my face. “You are a complete miracle,” I whispered to her. “You can hear me—can’t you?” I held her against my heart so she could feel its beating and I could synchronize my rhythm to hers. I told her things, knowing her greater consciousness could hear.
Let us be Now in this stillness together. We can sit inside alien chaos, our Buddha nature seeking the preeminence of a forgotten home. We have passed through unknowable darkness, not knowing how we arrived with nothing but questions pursed upon our lips. So far from home, what can we know of this place or ourselves? Who will share our vision and be our intimates?
Nova spoke clearly through the black diamond le (he/she) left inside me. Life is a gift. Gifts are for opening, sharing, and remembering. Open your gifts so this child might see that she is truly blessed. Give her your treasures of love and your rich legacy of intricate passion. Prove to her that she is an honored guest at a banquet prepared expressly for her. Demonstrate how to love from inside direct experience and how to fuel the flame inside her heart. Show her these experiences are precious and sacred and that our gods travel with us. Let her know that love is active and effusive, that it dances and leaps for joy, can move in unexpected ways, and can soak her in ecstatic bliss. Show her that love is ruthless, forever curious, and that passion loves truth above all else. Give her the tools to connect with truth in the most empathic way she can. Explain that to connect with truth empathetically is to connect with it on every level of consciousness, from the sub-atomic level to the stillness at The Source. Do all that my love and Lotus Blossom will fulfill herself.
from, The Permeable Web of Time by Martha Fawcett, copyright 2014
Dulce worked hard at composing and he was astute enough to listen when his creativity spoke to him like an angel in love. A partial understanding of his creativity did exist but he was afraid to profane his understanding with more than the briefest explanations. He knew sensations were bawdy tricks. Even his ears seemed part of the baser makeup of his physical body. Real music came through an organ other than ears. Real music came through an echo chamber in the psyche that remembered the conservatory of creation. Hearing music in the third dimension was looking in the mirror. It merely was a reflection of the real.
From Alone: Book I of the Janaforma Trilogy
Martha Fawcett copyright 2011
As we stood at Logan’s Point looking toward The Crystal, the northern sky was a wonder of dancing aurora lights. The crowd contained the usual mix of Hectarians, Trinities, pilgrims, tourists, the desperate, and the skeptically curious. Mystics and witches fingered their prayer beads and repeated their secret mantras; introverts were silent in awe, and the extroverts exclaimed, “Look! Isn’t the sky beautiful?” Deaf to parental admonitions, irrepressible children danced around with hyperactive glee. Women wept and dreamt of unborn children and gardens of fecund beauty while men embraced other men and spoke words of meaning that they actually believed.
From: Dance of the Warrior and Witch by Martha Fawcett
In the above picture, a single Fairly flares its bioluminescence as it deliberately passes between two spectral prisms. When a Fairly performs this trick, it’s capable of assuming many different shapes. Most shapes are beautiful and delicate to the third-dimensional eye. Little is known about these tiny creatures except their energy is highly concentrated and they are sentient. Maria Belle, an Analytical Behaviorist and 4th dimension expert, has been observing the Fairly for thirty years and tells us, “They possess playful natures and seem unafraid of third dimensional beings. Just like several other fourth-dimensional lifeforms, the Fairly are capable of light-speed travel, yet seem capable of stopping on a dime. The main difference between The Fairly and other fourth dimensional beings is their size. A Fairly could sit comfortably in the palm of one Human hand while most fourth dimensional creatures are larger than great white whales.”
Eros: Eros began as a flower, was put through MegaPhoto’s black hole where his petals were broken into rivers of pixels. To add insult to injury, he was put through Adobe photoshop where his pixelated arms were liquified. Now, he no longer calls himself Eros, but has assumed the name Unrequited Grief. — location, the corridor between the third and fourth dimension.
Spotted this “free radical” in the fourth dimension too. It was hanging on the cave wall and jumped down on my back and grabbed me by the throat. There it held me in its clutches and was already telling me how, when and where I fell short. “Who are you?” I managed to choke out. “My name is Broken Promises,” it told me. “Where would you like me to begin, in the middle, the end, or the beginning? — The image appeared when I took a photograph of a plate and pulled the pixels back from the center. The image emerged already speaking. I gave him an eye.
The Creation of Angels: Emerging angels were spotted in the higher realms of the fourth dimension.
Mischief Maker: Creator of Bad Ideas and Dead Ends
As far as I can figure out, my obsession began with the film Wings of Desire by Wen Wender. Set in Berlin, the film opens with the eye of the camera panning around a huge, golden angel mounted atop a tower. As the camera slowly zooms closer, it becomes clear that someone is sitting on the angel’s shoulder. The film had a strong impact on me and I must have watched it three times.
Months later, my husband, Bill, began talking about a business trip he was planning for early December in Hamburg, Germany. He asked if I wanted to go along so I go could experience Hamburg’s Christmas markets. When I suggested that we also go to Berlin too, he asked, “What do you want to do in Berlin in December?”
“I want to look around,” I said.
We took a train from Hamburg to Berlin and arrived late at our hotel. I went to bed around ten o’clock, feeling tired yet restless. My eyes were closed, yet a vision began to unfold. The vision was more than a thought; the vision had life and detail, and the whole thing steeped in feelings of familiarly:
I find myself standing in front of a small stone tower. The tower sits on the summit of an extremely steep hill. Down below and to my left, a gentle river flows into the north Laughter and bits of muffled conversation drift through the air from the few picnickers sunning themselves along the riverbank. The air is stained with a golden hue, and I think, it’s Sunday afternoon here.
As I approached the tower, I see a carved header over the entrance featuring an enormous ribbon with trailing flowers. I know if I go inside and up a staircase, I will find Michael. I go inside and my focus becomes my feet as I climb the stairs ahead. I notice the details, the smooth shiny stone, from centuries of foot-traffic.
I emerge at the top and recall that this room once held grain. The space is empty now, but I see a young man standing in the middle of this humble place. He is flooded in a golden aura and he is beautiful. He is lean and muscular, with golden blonde hair that curls delicately around the back of his neck. He is wearing a white tunic that cuts diagonally across his bare chest and ends in a skirt mid-thigh. His sandals are straps that tie around his ankles. I rush forward to embrace him and when we touch, something exhilarating and exciting occurs. It feels like the fastest joy ride I’ve ever experienced, but it’s over before I can question it. We embrace in the physical, but the flow was energetic, I move through him. When I reach the top of his head, I complete a backward flip, and find myself standing before him again.
He instantly begins to fade and I stare at him now, attempting to memorize the details of his face. It takes him several minutes to disappear, until the only thing left is the stark impression of a face.
When all was darkness again, I opened my eyes, got up from my bed, and went into the bathroom of my hotel room. I looked in the mirror and my long, red hair was sticking out all over my head as if I had put my finger in an electrical outlet.
The following morning, my hair was still super-charged when I awoke. “What happened to your hair?” asked Bill. “Huh?” he replied. By now, he was growing used to my fantastic inner experiences.
We spent the day touring Berlin. In late afternoon, we reached Brandenburger Tor. Suddenly I saw IT, gleaming in the late afternoon sun at the end of the boulevard, the golden angel atop the tower that appeared in Wender’s film. I became as excited as a child. “We need to go down there,” I insisted.
Berlin is so openly vast, the structures so huge, that what looks like a short distance can be quite far. It took us almost forty minutes to hike down the Strasse des 17 Juni to the Siegessaüle (Triumphal Column), which is surmounted by the golden, Winged Victory. It was near sundown and we were the last visitors that day. We went inside and the stairs were eerily similar to the stairs in my vision the night before.
I wrote Alone as an experiment. The talk in New Age circles was all about finding the higher or greater self. I had explored the concept of the higher self in the best way I knew how—through my writing. During my initial draft of Alone, all I cared about was getting to the scene where Michael was born. As a result, I had to backtrack and create the entire story. I worked on Alone for a long time, but the dialogue between Mellé and Michael stands. For me, Michael encompassed more than a character in one of my science fiction novel for me, he became my inspiration for creating the Janaforma, yet the only glimpse of him was in that vision in Berlin.
Martha Fawcett copyright 2014
copyright 2014, Martha Fawcett