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Where have I been?

That’s a good question. I’ve been silent since I released The Prodigals in late April, 2023, but for a good reason…my right knee is now made of titanium.

Yep, I had knee replacement surgery at the end of July, 2023. If you’ve heard stories about how painful and difficult post-surgery and the following physical therapy can be, it was all of that and more. I’m getting around well enough now, but reaching this point, four and a half months later was rough. Physical therapy is (it’s ongoing,) a full-time job.

I’m over the worse of it. However, full recovery can take up to a year.

I’m back now and I’ve returned to my current WIP, Purgatory, Kansas. I’ve finished around 20,000 words with a target of 80,000 when it’s finished.

I just wanted to keep y’all in the loop so here’s a teaser.

The Prodigals — Available for pre-orders

I’ve released The Prodigals for pre-orders until April 28, 2023. It will be available from Amazon in eBook format.

So, click on the image below and order your copy. The Prodigals will also be available in paperback soon.

The Prodigals

In the midst of an interstellar war, three people find themselves facing a long road home.

Roger Blankenship fled his home when the EarthGov tyranny drove the Thirty Houses from SolSystem. Blankenship placed his small group of warships between the EarthGov dominated System States Alliance and the Thirty Houses, fleeing to a new home.

Marcus Tolliver fled his home to escape the machinations of his father, a Magnate of Endicott’s World, to join the Confederation Navy. After the death of his older brother, Marcus refused his father’s demand to leave the navy and return home to be his father’s heir.

Katje Kappel had her life planned out. She wanted to enter the naval academy and be like her older sister, and her father, a naval ship’s captain.

However, events forces change. Roger Blankenship, after the warships of the Thirty House navy is turned over to the Confederation Navy, finds himself leading a small Confederate task group returning to SolSystem and finding human life on the verge of extinction. Marcus Tolliver finds himself given a task to deploy a new technology assisted by a young woman who is not what she appears. Katje Kappel, not meeting the requirements for entry into the Naval Academy, finds herself on an alternate path. One she hadn’t expected or wanted.

With the spread of war, each faces unexpected tribulations, danger, and uncertainty of their return home.

“This full-bodied work of military science fiction threads a touching story of a young woman’s growth, advancement, and family through its many scenes of space-marine action. Fans of the subgenre will be more than satisfied.” Virge B. Red Adept

“The war is officially over, but the action hasn’t stopped for the Tri-Cluster Confederation military. New technology is being developed, new soldiers are being trained, and new military units are being built in anticipation of future conflict in this exciting sci-fi saga.” Brittany M. Red Adept

New activity

There’s been some movement on my writing front. I’ve received, and posted here, the cover for The Prodigals. (See  last post.) I also reported, last summer, of the death of Eric Flint and the demise of the Ring of Fire Press. I received my rights back for The Marshals, published January, 2022, in September. Since then I’ve had hints that Baen Books was interested in republishing The Marshals. Those hints came true this week when I received notification from Baen they were interested. After some to and fro, I’ve a contract, my first from a ‘big’ publisher. Baen is not one of the Big 5 but close.

Getting The Marshals back in print would make it my fourth book on the market. When I release The Prodigals, it will be my fifth published book.

I’ve two more works in progress. One is ‘rural’ fantasy, taking place in 1930s Kansas. The other is number three in the ‘Tales of the Tri-Cluster Confederation’ series.

I’m not a fast writer,  but my goal is publishing three… maybe four… books this year.

All my current releases are available from Amazon, and in Kindle Unlimited. Please read and leave me  a review. Every review keeps my books on the marketing front line.

The Prodigals

I’ve finished The Prodogals,  and it’s in the hands of the editors. Target release date is March/April 2023.

I’ll post more later. In the mean time, here’s a peek at the cover.

Well, that didn’t last long. Ring of Fire Press – RIP

Late last year, I was approached by the editor of Ring of Fire Press asking for a braided novel version of my 1632 Marshal stories. After I searched and discovered what a ‘braided novel’ was, I agreed. Basically, it was all my Marshal short stories, novelettes and novellas, merged into a novel with a wrapper story for continuity. I delivered it and the book was published in mid-January, 2022.

It was a hit. In less than six months the book scored 281 four and five star reviews. I believe it had the most positive reviews of any Ring of Fire Press books on Amazon, in only six months.

The owner of Ring of Fire Press, Eric Flint, passed on July 17th, 2022. Eric’s widow decided to close the publishing business and The Marshals was pulled from Amazon. The Ring of Fire Press website was shutdown, tool.

If you haven’t purchased a copy of The Marshals, it’s too late now.

However…hopefully there will be a however…rumor has it that a third-party may intervene and acquire the  some of the rights. I hope so. I never received a penny in royalties from the novel, nor for a short story published in a RoFP anthology a year before. That makes me one of many with a financial claim on the publishing house. I was due an accounting in July for the novel, but events stopped it.

I await the return of my rights for The Marshals per my contract with Ring of Fire Press. Once I have that, we’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, I’m writing the last chapters of The Prodigals. Then it’s off to my editor and cover artist.


What I’ve been doing.

It’s been a while since I last posted here. I’ve been working on The Prodigals…up to 83,000 words at last check. But! I’ve submitted a different novel to a traditional publisher and they’ve accepted it. I received the first proofed last week and returned it, with corrections, to the publisher.

I have no idea when this last book, number four, will be released. I was able to write and deliver it in a month and a half. Consequently, work on The Prodigals was set aside.

On that note, I’ve entered into the final phase of The Prodigals. All of the individual threads are coming together. I hope you all like it as much as you have Émigré.

IASFA – The Independent Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors

At one time, for several years, I was a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America. The dues ran around $100 a year. I thought it would be a valuable membership. I was wrong. You had to be of a particular political and social bent. Else, No soup for you!

I have since joined the IASFA. Here’s a blurb from their website. If you’re an independent writer, come take a look and join us.

For lovers of Science Fiction & Fantasy – a monthly delivery of FREE Sci-Fi and Fantasy books. Share your email address with us and we’ll send you a link each month. Sign up here.


If you’ve already signed up, hang loose because you don’t need to sign up again. You’ll be getting an email shortly from us with the link to this month’s offering.

February’s books are Epic Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, and High Fantasy – valiant heroes braving evil villains. Dragons and magic. Enchanted swords and hidden treasures. Read books from an all-star cast of Epic Fantasy scribes who have created intricate worlds, daring characters, and fantastic quests.

Exclusive from February 10th through the 14th, Epic Fantasy. A lot of books. Free to own. You get to pick and choose which books you want so you aren’t spammed with a bundle of stuff you never have any intention of reading. Choose wisely and you may just find your next favorite author.

Next month, Alien SciFi. Want more? Join us and reap the rewards.

The Independent Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors (IASFA) is a professional organization focused on matching readers with authors. We are building the organization that currently numbers 464 authors published within the SFF genres. Stay tuned as each month we’ll offer full book samplers for free. Help yourself to find your next favorite author.

Just a quick update…

Y’all may have wondered where I’ve been. Well…my wife and I caught the little ‘c’ at Thanksgiving. She was mostly asymptomatic, just fatigue. I wasn’t.

Covid is nasty stuff. My primary symptom was near continuous coughing. We had no fever nor other real symptoms. For me, it was coughing followed by a lack of appetite. I lost fifteen pounds in about ten days. I just couldn’t eat and forcing myself was worse. My wife finally won the argument and we went to the ER a week after we started having symptoms. Tested. Yep, both of us positive.

Because of my coughing, I got a chest x-ray. The ER doc said, “Covid pneumonia.” On the good side, my blood O2 was in the low 90s, 92-94%.

One of the best purchases we made on the way home from the ER, when we stopped at our pharmacy to fill some ‘scripts, was to buy a blood O2 meter. It’s a little thing, pricey at around $50. You clip it to a finger, press the button and wait a few seconds for the reading to appear. The covid nurses, when I was hospitalized, carried an almost identical device. My wife and I used it to monitor our oxygen level several times a day. Best $50 we spent this month. The ER doc said if my O2 level dropped below 90%, to get to the ER immediately.

On the subject of testing. It’s a joke. Kansas is running ads that imply testing will prevent the spread of covid. The test is after-the-fact. If you’re positive, you’ve got it. Will you get sick? Maybe. Maybe not. The test just confirms you have the virus. If it’s negative, so what? That could change next week. What really irks me is the ad implies testing is a preventative. Bull! Get tested if you want. But, don’t expect the test to prevent you from getting the virus if you’re exposed.

Our county, here south of Kansas City, has ‘free’ public testing on Wednesday at a drive-through at a hospital. On Thursday, the same setup at another hospital at the other end of the county. Just drive up and be tested—if you have an appointment. Several friends made appointments (online, the only way,) and on arrival—no appointment. Fortunately for them, the work load was low, almost non-existent.

So, we were positive. A lady from the county health called to tell us (if you’re negative, you aren’t called.) She asked about symptoms, where we thought we got it, chatted and rang off. No invasive personal questions.

The ER visit was on Monday. The call from the county was on Wednesday…ten days after symptoms first appeared. We were out of quarantine by the time we were notified we tested positive!

Come the weekend, Saturday. I was feeling pretty good. That is until late in the afternoon when it all crashed. I felt like my bloodsugar bottomed out. I was very shaky. I’m border-line diabetic. Off to the ER again. My wife drove. I didn’t think I could.

The boss ER doc was on duty when we got there. He took one look at me and sent me off for a catscan of my chest. Ten minutes later he said I had a blood clot in my right lung. He was transferring me to a larger hospital with a empty covid bed.

Just when I was beginning to feel better.

Summary of the weekend. Hauled off by ambulance to one of KC’s larger hospitals for the weekend. Was given a ‘script for a blood thinner. Fortunately, the type of clot I had wasn’t the kind to move.

I was released a week ago today and am feeling much better. My coughing is much less but fatigue remains. I’ve told some friends my energy level is 0.3 on a 10-point scale.

I haven’t written anything since before Thanksgiving. My motivation is zero. I’ve about 32K words completed for The Prodigals. Most of my time in the hospital was spent mentally writing scenes and dialog. Now to save those thoughts before I forget them.

Slowly, day by day, I’m getting better and coughing less. I haven’t put a target date on The Prodigals, yet, just sometime in 2021.

The cover will be different from my previous books of the Tri-Cluster Confederation. It will be of people, the three main characters, instead of space scenes like my published books. That is, if I can find a graphic artist who can create realistic people in a SF motif.

Hope you all have a great holiday season. I’ll be working, making up time lost.

Mike Watson


Wow! What a review and 5-Stars, too!

I love surprises. What I like is that they are unexpected and unanticipated. That just makes everything better.

I received a message this morning notifying me that I’d been awarded a 5-Star award and review from the IHI Book Review Project. Here’s the link to the review.

What is best, in her last paragraphs of the review…

This fast-paced, fascinating tale will enthrall sci-fi enthusiasts from the very first paragraph to the last. “The Beacon at Barrington Light: A Novella of the Trilogy-Cluster Confederation” strongly appeals to Hard Sci-Fi and Sci-Fi Mystery enthusiasts, ages 13 and up. This novella can be read in one sitting, and I highly recommend this read to anyone who loves Hard Sci-fi Action and Adventure Mystery Thrillers.

“Congratulations to the author on this award-winning story! This novel will be permanently featured on my website at AuthorJBRichards.com under IHIBRP 5 Star Recommended Reads!” — JB Richards

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