Viridian System Plans for 2021

Looking back on past posts, not only has the news been sparse, it’s been somewhat repetitive. This is little different. Don’t get your hopes up too much.

Zanzibar’s Rings (VS #3)

The series was always intended to be completed in an interregnum between my other series publications. Since that’s now complete, I have no more excuses.

I have plenty of ideas for the third Big Pete and the Swede adventure, in particular making it more about Dolores and Maggie, and less about Lars and Pete. Several plot strands have developed and linked together in my mind. The story I wrote for the IWSG Anthology submission developed some history. These events will be crucial to Zanzibar’s plot. There is also a flash fiction I did years ago which is relevant, in fact it gave me the idea for giving the fourth planet rings and making it a place of interest.

What I don’t yet know is whether the arrival on Sunset Strip of the former inhabitants of Corsair will make a difference. I envisage Pete having some inner conflict about his priorities, now that his family are nearby. Then again, sometimes having family nearby leads to its own problems!

Lars is still dogged by the activities of his father in the area. I’ll have to check whether I’ve let that cat out of the bag, or whether you had already worked it out during book 2. I’m not sure where that ends yet.

Maggie and Dolores are characters I’m enjoying developing to take over the limelight from the men. I’ve pretty much sorted out most of Dolores’ character arc for the story; I haven’t done the same for Maggie. Some of the events taking place elsewhere may lead to Maggie taking a very different path from her current domestic bliss.

Will there be a book 4?

I don’t anticipate a fourth book. Something strange would have to happen for that to be the case. But stories develop in their own way, and who knows what strings will be dangling by the time I finish writing book 3.

What I will say, is that my development of a Space Search and Rescue Service (I’m sure the second S was something else before) could be included on this website, as it is in the same ‘world’ as the Viridian System, if not in the same time or space. I think I ought to develop a badge for it.


I’ll be doing some housekeeping soon, to take off out-of-date posts like special offers. Progress reports will stay as that’s sometimes helpful when I look back. Hopefully I’ll be able to sort out the problem graphics as well.

End of Year sale

The Viridian books are in the Smashwords sale between December 18th and January 1st, so check that out if you need them. If you want paperbacks, you should be able to buy them at online stores or order from your local store using their ISBNs. They are distributed by Ingram.

Happy New Year!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

August Update – Viridian Series and SSERS

anthology contest

August already. It’s been quiet on the Viridian front, as I’m involved with other things.


anthology contestIWSG Anthology – call for stories

Next year’s IWSG Anthology is a science fiction one, with the theme Dark Matter.

Despite all that’s been going on lately, I really feel I have to get a story together for this one.

I’m still devoid of inspiration, but I’m working on something for the SSERS idea: Space Sector Emergency Repair Service, if I remember that correctly. In fact, I’ve taken the short story of being abducted by aliens, and started working it up to a 4500+ word tale suitable for an anthology.

It’s not exactly going well, but the submissions close 2nd September, which is, hm, three weeks away, so I’ve plenty of time, haven’t I?

Everything else to do with Lars, Pete, Dolores and Maggie is on the back burner still, although I keep having ideas, especially about Dolores’s role.

Fingers crossed I get this SSERS story finished… and it can’t be accepted unless I finish it!

Technical hitch and work in progress


Firstly apologies for the technical hitch affecting several images, mostly newer ones.  This is down to software handling my wordpress blog, which creates up to eight copies of an image I upload, in a variety of sizes. This creates a huge drain on the database, which means the website takes longer to load.  And if I exceed my storage space, it fails completely.

So, I went and deleted some of the biggest files, leaving the smaller copies that I use behind. And this is the result. Despite having all these pictures in smaller sizes I display, the software needs the original picture to produce them.  It sounds like a nonsense, and really, it is.  Someone had a good idea of how to speed image handling up, then failed to deal with the program aspect.

I was sort of hoping someone would fix it in a wordpress upgrade… but so far no joy.  I suppose they think everybody has unlimited space on their servers.

When I have more time I will housekeep on the site and restore the pictures to current versions.  Meanwhile I apologise for the question marks in the images.

Work in Progress

Really, all the writing and editing work in progress at present is on the Princelings series.  Lars, Pete, Dolores and Maggie are by no means forgotten.  I have two interesting strands for starting book 3 mapped out in my head… I must make some notes on file!

I’ve also decided once again that this is the last Viridian series book – but not my last scifi book.

There’s a small idea which I got at Christmas for a rescue service along the lines of the AA/RAC/Green Flag/AAA – or something like that.  It wouldn’t work in the Viridian System; it would have to be in a more densely populated area of space with lots of private shuttles flying around.  At the moment I’m calling it Space Shuttle Emergency Rescue Service or SSERS for short, but if you can come up with a service name I’ll not only thank you, but make you a character in the story!

That’s about all the idea is at present, but if you check out the blog on February 14th, you’ll discover a first stab at using the idea for a flash fiction.

Pleasant Valley Christmas

the perihelix cover

Pleasant Valley has one main city – Walton City.  It’s supposed to be a rough, tough, frontier type of town.

I felt I hadn’t emphasised this enough, so when I did the second edition of the Perihelix I had Lars and Pete go out on the town.

It’s Christmas, both there and here, so I thought you might like to be reminded of how that night went. (950 words)

Christmas on Pleasant Valley

The beer was flowing in the Irish Bar. Krismas was a festival celebrated in sufficient systems around the galaxy to make it a common cause for feasting. Different customs clashed on occasions, since anyone from over Lyra way tended to treat it as a formal occasion, whereas the New Donegal, Centauri and Praxis systems tended to use it as an excuse to get drunk, dance, and play games involving tests of strength. Pete and the Swede joined some other miners on a bench seat and played some good-natured games of peanuckle before a red-faced humanoid from the planet Grapple took a swipe at the Swede, connected with Big Pete, and promptly challenged him to a duel.

“Duel! Duel!” The chant was taken up by enthusiastic miners who knew all about Pete’s speciality. 

Pete reluctantly got to his feet. “I choose arm-wrestling.”

The Grappler roared with laughter, rolled up his sleeves, flexing his biceps in Pete’s face, which involved stooping, since he was a good twenty cents taller than Pete. Then he pushed a guy off his chair at a centre table and yelled at Pete to sit opposite.

Pete stopped for another sip of his beer, wiped his moustache, and took his seat opposite.

“Best of three?”

“Nah—is for sissies! One out, all out!” roared the Grappler.

Pete shrugged and put his elbow on the table. The Grappler raised both arms, stretched, roared a war cry akin to a strangled ox, spat on his hands, rubbed them together, and spat on the floor for good measure. Lars passed Pete a handcloth.

“Wha?” The Grappler looked confused.

“More hygienic,” Pete explained.

“Bah!” He grabbed Pete’s hand, accepting the cloth, dropped his elbow to the surface and squeezed.

Pete squeezed back, arm rigid and ready.

The Grappler strained to push his arm over.

Pete pulled some faces for show, but although his shoulder muscles swelled with the additional work, his demeanour remained relaxed.

A circulatory vessel in the approximate location of the Grappler’s temple started to throb. Beads of sweat exuded from his nose pores. He grabbed the edge of the table with his other hand. The onlookers roared their disapproval and he took it away again. He started to move Pete’s hand across, and smiled. “Hah! Not so easy now, eh?”

Pete watched his hand as it moved into the losing sector. Steadily, slowly, it sank to thirty degrees from the table. Bets were being laid and taken against him. Lars took a few to win several drinks and a couple of hundred credits. He put his head down to Pete’s. “Make sure you win, partner, I’ve got money on you.”

“How long do you need to take some more?”

Lars shrugged. Pete’s hand sank lower. The Grappler’s eyes were bulging. Pete wondered if he had red blood or some other colour.

The barman called over: “Hey, guys, hurry up will you, it’s nearly midnight.”

“Oh right,” said Pete, calmly, his hand less than three inches above the tabletop. He snapped the Grappler’s arm across to his own winning side, with an audible slap on the table, and stood up. “I win, I think.”

Lars grinned and collected his winnings. The Grappler staggered off, strong-armed by his cronies, who made sure he didn’t do anything he would regret.

“Next time pick on someone your own size!” one of the miners called after him. The Grappler lurched back towards him, but the barman stepped in, and let off a shower of sparks.

“It’s Krismas! Happy Krismas, everyone!” The room erupted in cheers and backslapping, hugging and toasts.

“Do you think Zito’s still got some food on? That’s made me hungry.” Pete rubbed his hand and picked up his mug of beer, draining it as the refills came round again.

“Probably. Or we can pick up something at the corner and take it in, he won’t mind. Oh, you won this lot.” Lars handed over the winnings he’d taken from the bets.

Two of the hostesses came over and linked arms with them. “Oh, guys, you’re not going, are you?” The blonde was perky, red-lipped and in a full-bodied costume. Pete happened to know that appearances could be deceiving, and in her case, definitely.

“Fraid so, Sana’a, we only got in today.” Lars said. “Besides, I’m injured—I could never do you justice.”

“That’s not what I hear, Mr Swede,” the other girl put in. 

“New around town, aren’t you? Where did Zito find you?” Lars took in her dark sleek hair and brown eyes, the smattering of freckles across her nose with a practised eye.

“Oh, well, it was a sort of fair exchange. Fair for my ex, unfair for me.”

“Ah. Where’s he now?”

“Poof! Who cares.”

They extricated themselves from the girls and sidled back to Zito’s. 

“I reckon she’s stayed ten gallons high since he sold her.” Lars looked back over his shoulder.

“Probably for the best. I heard her man got killed on this trip.”

“Before or after he sold her?”

“After. Maybe he actually cared about her. He went solo.”

It was a sobering end to the evening. ‘Going solo’ was a euphemism for going out on a trip on your own simply to end it all. Very few miners worked alone.

They resumed their imitation of drunken, hard-bitten miners by rolling into Zito’s, smashing a few (empty) glasses on their way through to the bar and tipping Zito the eye so that he encouraged them to call it a night. You had to keep up appearances if you were an asteroid miner. Hard, tough, and rich. Or hard, tough, and poor, depending on which end of a vacation you were.

The Perihelix Ch 2

© J M Pett 2018


First idea for Book 3’s cover

zanzibars rings draft cover

Zanzibar’s Rings is the title of Book 3 in the Viridian series, but I haven’t even written the first draft yet!

Why am I thinking about its cover?

I’m planning some promotional material ahead of the autumn and hopefully book stalls at fairs etc. And expenditure on a scifi series of three with only two book covers is a bit… wasteful, in my mind. I got away with only seven covers out of ten for my other series, but I sort of faded the eighth one (then in production) off into the distance in the bottom of the banner.

With only three books in the Viridian series, the banner and any promotional material should have three covers.

So, here’s your chance to look at my first idea for the cover. If I could get the titling to look like the others it would be even better.

Your thoughts are very welcome.

Zanzibar's Rings first draft. A saturn-like planet covers the lower foreground against a background of Viridian coloured space

Special Offer during July

While I’m here, I’d better tell you that The Perihelix is free during July at Smashwords, and Curved Space to Corsair is half-price. It’s the Smashwords Winter-Summer Sale, and runs from 1st to 31st, Pacific Time.

Nip over to my book page to check them out, along with all my other titles on offer.

Special offer on SF&F 4-5 May 2019 – including Curved Space to Corsair!

corsair final jpg

Curved Space to Corsair, book 2 of the Viridian System series, is on sale this weekend only!

science fiction and fantasy promotion May 3-4

It’s part of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Promotion, with many great ebooks from all aspects of science fiction and fantasy – and ALL FOR 99c, OR LESS.

Head over to Patty Jansen’s special promotion, and take up many of these great special offers.

Curved Space to Corsair

Curved Space to Corsair launch

by Jemima Pett

Dolores is training to qualify as a space pilot. Pete has had a call to his home planet, Corsair, to save them from disaster, so they set off in that direction to give Dolores more space hours, only to slight error of course which leaves them in a horrible mess.  Meanwhile the Imperium declares war on the Federation, while a little personal business by one of the senators leads him off in the direction of the Viridian System to start a canny land grab.

Approx 90k words; guideline – 18+

Links for Apple, Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and Smashwords!

Asteroid mining – in reality!

Victor Habbick Visions/Space Science Library

I get the email update from New Scientist daily, but irritatingly, some articles, like this one, require you to pay for premium content. Sigh.  Until I make as much from the books as subscribing for premium content costs, I’ll just stick with the snippets.  Like this one…

Victor Habbick Visions/Space Science Library

Asteroid space station

A new analysis suggests we could place a space station inside a rotating asteroid to provide artificial gravity for mining equipment, digging from the inside out. If you want to remove chunks of precious rock from an asteroid, you can’t just land and jackhammer it: most of them have such weak gravity that a hammer or digger is likely to just bounce off into space. But if the asteroid is spinning, that would create artificial gravity, a force that acts from the inside of the rock outwards. Working in a cavity below ground would also protect the mining rig from dangers on the asteroid’s surface, particularly radiation.

Click the heading to go to the New Scientist page online.

My writing

I recently wrote somewhere that I do write what I know, and I know as much about life on the other side of a wormhole as anyone.  I think that still stands.  But as this article indicates, some people know more than me about mining asteroids.

I like the ideas in this snippet.  That may indeed be what I imagine for Excelsior, without having actually specified a space-station in the middle, and I think the tunnels there have a breathable atmosphere.

Fortunately, I have always had Lars and Pete hammering away inside tunnels in the VS asteroids.  I’ve blipped how they make the tunnels, though.  The colour in that graphic would fit the Viridian System, although the surface suggest the asteroid might be an iron one.

I eventually cut a mining accident from Curved Space to Corsair.  I must let you have it as a short story some time.

Picture of the asteroid from Victor Habbick Visions/Science Photo Library and sourced from the New Scientist website article.

Comment on my stinginess.  I used to subscribe to New Scientist.  It’s a weekly magazine full of astounding and wonderful science that I’m interested in.  It’s also authoritative. And the copies mounted up, unread. I had two years worth of unread magazines when I moved here. I kept them for ten years. The same is now happening to the bird and wildlife magazines that come monthly with my memberships.

There is only so much reading a person can do a week.

Paperback editions available from 31st January

the perihelix cover

The paperback editions of The Perihelix (second edition) and Curved Space to Corsair, are now ready for distribution.

It sometimes takes a while for the distribution system to land the books in the online shops, but they are on their way.

Take a look at the previews for each of them in the links below.

If you want to order from a physical bookstore, you’ll need the ISBNs.  These are listed below.

By coincidence (more or less) each book is the same size, with 378 pages.  The Perihelix has shorter end-matter than Corsair, because Corsair includes the first chapter of Perihelix, in case you missed it.  Corsair also has a longer comments section because I talk about my research on Japanese and Korean things in order to come up with the whole dragonfly element.  That should intrigue you enough to buy it!

The chapters in the Perihelix must be longer, since there are only 24 in that, but 32 in Curved Space to Corsair!

The UK recommended price for each is £8.99

The Perihelix…

ISBN: 978-0-36-821665-7


and Curved Space to Corsair…

ISBN: 978-0-36-821704-3

Curved Space to Corsair is out today!

Curved Space to Corsair

Curved Space to Corsair

Curved Space to Corsair has been published!

This space adventure takes our heroes, Lars, Pete, Dolores and Maggie, through a wormhole in error, and what they find on the other side is far from comforting.

Can they get back to the Alpha Quadrant and come to the aid of Pete’s people on Corsair?

The only way is a very curved route indeed.

Buy all the Viridian System eBooks

The Perihelix: ebooks at iTunes, Amazon, B&N, Kobo and Smashwords (special price till the end of March)

Curved Space to Corsair: ebooks at iTunes, B&N, Kobo, Amazon; and Smashwords .  Launch price!

Check the launch party & giveaway on Jemima’s blog


Total lunar eclipse tomorrow night/Monday morning

lunar eclipse 2015

lunar eclipse 2015Total lunar eclipses are relatively common compared with total solar eclipses – well, they seem easier to see from your home, anyway.

The next to be readily seen over the northern hemisphere is at tomorrow night’s full moon – which is evening in the USA,  early morning in the UK.  Maximum coverage (i.e. full moon) is 05.12 UTC (or GMT for Brits), so set your alarms for about 4.30 if you just want to see the totality bit, or around 3 am if you want the full experience.

See this excellent guide at, compete with a blow by blow timetable for your US time zones.

Those travelling in New Zealand will miss it, unless you are in  the top of North Island, in which case you might get a little sliver of shading.  But you’ll probably not see that, even if you look.

Check the guide for details. guide to the lunar eclipse 20/21 Jan

Picture here is my own view of the last eclipse I stayed up for!