How The Story Began

The day is finally here: after nine years of trial and error, edits, re-writes, questions, crying, and all-nighters, The Carter Files: Phoenix is now available for pre-order on Amazon.


There are a couple of small issues with it (like the art not posting, not sure why), but it’s there, and available for pre-order all the same.  The print copy is forthcoming.

It’s been a long time since I started writing my police procedural science fiction series.  About nine years ago, I got it into my head that my two favorite genres–science fiction and police procedurals–needed to be combined.

There aren’t that many cops in science fiction.  Garibaldi, from Babylon 5 is one; Isaac Asmiov’s Elijah Bailey is another.  At the time I started this story, I’d never heard of Garibaldi, so Elijah Bailey was the only space cop I could come up with.

I decided to fix that.

Phoenix, in its early days, wasn’t that impressive.  I look back on its original state and shudder.  I’ve definitely improved as a writer in the last nine years (thank God).

Special Agent David Forbes Carter started out as a seriously angst-ridden cop, fighting Muslim terrorists on Mars.  I picked “Forbes” in honor of my grandfather, who was a gunner on board a B-29 in World War Two: Sgt. Lewis Forbes Smith.  The “Carter” part, I will admit, was a nod to John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

There are several Easter Eggs about Burroughs’s work in Phoenix, some more obvious than others.  Bragging rights to whoever finds them.

Eventually, I knew I had to de-angst Agent Carter, but that was harder a prospect than I originally thought.  To fix that, I created Agent Veronique de Tournay, and had her as the new point-of-view character.  The only reason she exists at all is because I didn’t trust myself to write a convincing male perspective.

And that’s how it started.

I had a much harder time getting the worldbuilding right.  Originally, I didn’t even bother with the science part of the story.  I figured, if Star Trek and Firefly could do what they did and to hell with Einstein, I could, too.

Fortunately, my husband gave me a clue, because the world never would have survived otherwise; all due respect to both Star Trek and Firefly, of course.

The argument about the exact nature of a “space elevator” will be forever burned into my memory, among several others.

The villains have changed a lot in nine years, too.  I originally started out the way most cop shows start out these days: with terrorists.

Then I figured that in four hundred years, we probably got some new bad guys; hence the change to “subversives.”

And no, they’re not Muslims, either.

I don’t want to give away too much.  Today is the day (or sometime in the next little while, thank you, Amazon and COVID-19), so pre-order yourself a copy!

Limited-time offer of $2.99 on Amazon until the release day, which is April 14.

And tell all your friends!

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