Monthly Archives: August 2010

More support for STAR CHALLENGERS series

Published August 20, 2010 in Writing - 1 Comment

The annual conference for the Challenger Centers for Space Science Education was held this week in St. Louis, MO.  June Scobee Rodgers and Pam Peterson (Western Regional Director for the Challenger Centers) gave a presentation about our new Star Challengers series to promote the space program and education in science and technology.

The first finished copies of Star Challengers #1: Moonbase Crisis, hot from the printer and bindery, were rushed to the conference and distributed to all the members and attendees.  The photo below shows June Scobee Rodgers taking the very first copy out of the box.

This photo was taken by astronaut Scott Parazynski (well-known for his space walk on the ISS where he repaired one of the solar power arrays).  Scott has been a technical adviser on the books.  To read more about the series and a sample chapter, go to

We have received a great deal of support for Star Challengers from an impressive array of people; their testimonials are listed below:

“The Star Challengers series takes young readers up into space, onto the moon, and to the boundaries of their imaginations.  It’s the next best thing to being there.”—Neil Armstrong

“Space exploration is a great adventure that benefits all mankind.  The Star Challengers books inspire young readers with that sense of adventure, introducing them to a new universe of exciting possibilities.”— Buzz Aldrin

“The Star Challengers with their Commander Zota ‘boldly go into the future’ to bring great science fiction adventures to their readers . . . what a wonderful way to expand young imaginations.”—Leonard Nimoy

“The Star Challengers adventure stories could help to inspire a whole new generation of young women to value science and seek careers in high-tech, engineering and space exploration. These teenage Star Challengers team up in their quest to find innovative solutions to help them solve problems using real out-of-this-world science.”—Dr. Sally Ride, Astronaut

“In no other regime do reality and fiction seem to meet as commonly as in space.  No wonder young (and old) people are inspired and excited when reading the Star Challenger series.  It would be a great item to take along on one’s next interplanetary voyage.”—Norm Augustine, Retired Chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corporation

“There’s a reason why the best science fiction takes place in space. It’s the only true frontier left. Kids know this. So too does the Star Challengers Series.  Therein is the magical recipe to ensure a future in space for the rest of us.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History

“Challenger Center continues to be a champion for the future.  Young readers will readily identify with the Star Challengers characters.  The future needs them, and they will respond — in wonderful ways.”—Barbara Morgan, NASA’s First Educator Astronaut

“June Scobee Rodgers is a woman on a mission and that mission continues to expand.  By nature June is an encourager and an inspiration.  She has worked to bring renewed interest in science education and space travel through the Star Challenger series which will help feed young, curious minds with the possibilities that await them in the future.  I can’t recommend these books more.  Move over Avatar . . . here comes Commander Zota.”—Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times best-selling author

“Space may be the final frontier according to Star Trek, but if our message to the next generation is to reach for the stars, then the Star Challengers series is a great place to start.  Our future survival will depend upon how our young students meet the challenge of combining science, engineering, mathematics & imagination.”—Lee Greenwood, entertainer, writer, musician, singer & council member for the National Endowment for the Arts

“What if Earth’s future rested on the shoulders of five ordinary teens living in present times?  And what if a visitor from the future accompanies them through time and space for the adventure of their lives?  I was charmed by the premise of Star Challengers, a new and innovative series geared to teen readers especially drawn to science and space technology.  Never a dull moment in these fast paced books with a winsome cast of inventive kids whose ideas and solutions help make a difference for our planet.  Every reader can relate to their cause and challenges. All readers will be caught up in their all too human relationships with one another and humankind from tomorrow.  I found the stories infused with nail biting adventure, romance and plausible science.  Skip the vampires!  Don’t miss this thought-provoking series presented by June Scobee Rodgers and the Challenger Center for Space Science Education and written by award-winning, international bestselling authors Rebecca Moesta & Kevin J. Anderson.”—Lurlene McDaniel, bestselling young-adult author

“Ad astra!  To the stars!  By the way of good stories!  Thank you for Star Challengers, Rebecca Moesta and Kevin J. Anderson.”—Clay Morgan, author of The Boy Who Spoke Dog

UK cover for HELLHOLE

Published August 18, 2010 in Writing - 0 Comments

Simon & Schuster UK has sent us their striking cover for HELLHOLE, my forthcoming original novel with Brian Herbert.

cover text:

Only the most desperate would ever dare to make a home on Hellhole.

Ravaged by volcanic eruptions, destructive storms and asteroid impact, Hellhole is a dumping ground for undesirables, misfits and charlatans.  But its location out on the wild frontiers of the Constellation, among the Deep Zone worlds, makes it the final refuge for those fleeing from the rule of Diadem Michella Duchenet—a tyrant with a sweet face, but a dark heart.

General Adolphus, the military leader exiled to the planet when he was defeated in the first revolution against the Diadem, is determined to transform Hellhole into a place of opportunity.  While the colonists work to develop the planet, the General is forging secret alliances with the leaders of the other Deep Zone worlds.  He dreams of turning his prison into the centre of a new coalition of planets free from the Diadem’s iron grip.

Back on the decadent capital planet of Sonjeera, surrounded by corruption and feuding old-guard nobles, Diadem Michella is confident that the General has been neutralized.  She has no idea of the revolt growing in the Deep Zone … or does she?

But what no one knows is this: planet Hellhole hides secrets of historic magnitude.  Lurking beneath the surface are the remnants of an obliterated alien civilization, detailing an unrecorded past, which, if unearthed, could tear the fragile human civilization apart.


Cover art by Stephen Youll.   The book will be released in Jan/Feb, 2011.

Castle Peak—Another Mountain Climbing Expedition

Published August 14, 2010 in Writing - 0 Comments

Last weekend I went with Tim, Joe, and my god-daughter Maren (12) to spectacular Aspen, Colorado, to climb Castle Peak (14,265 ft).  The Elk Range near Aspen is best known for the picturesque Maroon Bells…beautiful but dangerous peaks composed of loose, crumbling rock.  Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak are often called “the deadly Bells” because of how many climbers have died ascending them.  I have climbed all the Fourteeners in the Elks—both Maroon peaks, Pyramid Peak, Capitol Peak, Snowmass, and Castle—but they are beautiful enough to go back.  Castle is by far the easiest of the peaks…and since 12-year-old Maren wanted to climb her first Fourteener, this was the one we chose.

We had a nice 4-hour drive from home, through the quaint old town of Twin Lakes (Colorado’s version of a Swiss Alpen village), over winding Independence Pass, to Aspen, where we had dinner; while the others wandered through the shops, I went to the Aspen Brewery to have a microbrew and jot down some notes for the KEY TO CREATION scenes I planned to dictate on the climb the next day.  As I walked to the brewery, a local cop saw my Paul of Dune t-shirt and gave a thumbs up.  “I love those books!  By Brian Herbert and … that other guy.”  (No, I didn’t tell him who I was; I was on vacation.)

We spent the night in a ski condo in Snowmass and got up at 5:30 AM to head out early for the trailhead.  Not up for the climb, Diane and Sarah stayed behind to enjoy the town of Snowmass, while we drove out into the mountains, then headed up a gruelling 4WD road for four miles—basically a storage area for sharp boulders.  Even the high wheelbase Expedition had trouble crawling over the rocks and fording a rushing creek, but eventually (an hour for four miles) we ground our way up to a rocky parking area at 12,500’ and decided to walk from there.

The skies were clear and pristine, and the stark terrain had a rugged beauty.  We headed off with packs, waterbottles, and hiking sticks, then made our way over rock glaciers, snowfields, ascending from one high basin to the next, past frozen lakes, scrambling up rocks, until we finally reached the summit after about four hours.  Maren made it like a champ, without any difficulties at all.

As always seems to happen, there was very little time to celebrate and relax; clouds gathered quickly.  We had hoped to cross a saddle and also summit adjoining Conundrum Peak (14,065’), but a brutal snowfield—and the impending rain—made that inadviseable.

We descended through the toughest rock scrambling and reached more stable ground just as the hail hit, which quickly turned to rain…making the boulders even more slick.  For a (cold and painful) shortcut, Joe and I glissaded down one of the big snowfields … very bumpy, and it froze the seat of our pants.

Even after we got back to the car, it was still another hour down four miles of the murderous road to get to the paved road, then to the Snowmass condo, where we showered and changed into clean, dry clothes.  We stopped at a microbrewery restaurant in Glenwood Springs for dinner (a green chile cheeseburger) and a brew.  All in all, a great Colorado weekend.