So what is “Aztec Eagle” about, you ask?

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Book news, Enrique, Speculative Fiction | Comments: 0

You may have noticed, the copy on a book’s cover doesn’t always give a true picture of what’s inside. Or maybe it’s just a little short. So what do I, the author, think this novel is about?

“Aztec Eagle” follows Enrique Aguilar, a young boy from Puerto Penasco (Mexico) who dreams of escaping his life of poverty and joining the interstellar Peacekeeper Pilot Corps. With fierce determination, he polishes the skills he needs to succeed: math, science, and an extraordinary psionic gift. This extrasensory perception makes him an ideal candidate for a neural implant bonding pilot and plane. But it can’t spare him treachery and betrayal as he struggles to attain his goal. Nor can it keep him from making questionable decisions as he drags three friends along on an escapade that endangers their lives, and his future.

I hope that peaks your interest. “Aztec Eagle” is available from Jumpmaster Press in prints (ISBN 978-1-958448-02-01) or eBook (ISBN 978-1-958448-16-8) format.


And “The Aztec Eagle” is available for pre-order

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Book news, Enrique, Speculative Fiction | Comments: 0

You can see a draft of the cover on my FB page (catherine.wells.733). I love the artwork, it’s so dramatic! Okay, there’s no pyramid in the story, but what says Aztec like a pyramid, right?

I will post the final cover as soon as it is ready. Let me know what you think of it. In the meantime, you can pre-order at Jumpmaster Press.


It’s Coming Back…The Aztec Eagle

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Book news, Enrique, EPIC Award, Speculative Fiction | Comments: 0

Gosh, to look at how long it’s been since I posted here, you might think I’ve been, well, writing or something.  In fact, I have been editing. I have a small press interested in The Aztec Eagle, which was a finalist for an EPIC Award way back in 2011. That publisher folded, and the book became unavailable in 2012. Sigh.

Now another small press is interested, and I have been working with their editors in anticipation of publication in 2022. This time around, I have amended the story to include a character absent from the previous edition, but part of the original concept back around 2000. Xopil is a companion spirit, a non-corporeal entity existing between particles of matter–which of course knocks the book right out of SF and into cross-genre. Publishers have been slow to accept cross-genre, so I removed Xopil for the 2011 edition.

But now he’s back.  So far, at least. We are not through the editing process, and Xopil is, well, a conundrum. As a companion spirit, Xopil follows the main character, Enrique, throughout his life. Xopil relates the emotions he observes in people to colors. Enrique is a sunny amber when he’s at peace, navy blue when he confronts an adversary, and churning with olive green when he’s physically unwell.  And when Lyla comes by, whoo, there comes that purple stuff Xopil really doesn’t understand. Enrique’s problem is he’s a poor kid with a big dream and many obstacles to surmount; Xopil’s problem is he can’t do anything about it. He can’t even communicate to Enrique that he’s there, although our perceptive hero sometimes wonders about that thing he can’t quite see, there at the edge of his vision. Hence the conundrum: Xopil does not influence the action. He is simply an observer with a unique perspective.

So Xopil gets mixed reviews from beta readers. Some don’t see the point, and his colorful asides can interrupt the flow. Others find his take on things humorous and charming, a whimsical and (pun intended) colorful aside. As the author, I find him useful in conveying feelings and motivations about which Enrique is often clueless.

I’ll keep you posted as the publication process proceeds. At the moment I’m feeling a little tangerine about it, with some streaks of umber doubt and a current of stubborn charcoal running through me. I doubt I’ll ever settle in to a soothing aquamarine.


It’s here…! See July/August issue of Analog

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Book news, Enrique, Short Stories, Speculative Fiction | Comments: 0

Greetings!  The July/August 2019 issue of Analog is now available online and in stores.  In fact, if you click on this link, you can actually read an excerpt of “The Quality of Mercy.”  Get a taste for it.  Yum.

Meanwhile, it looks like The Aztec Eagle is going to make it back into print later this year, with parts 1 and 2 combined into a single book  The second part (The Crystal Desert) was only up for a couple of days before the publisher shut down, withdrawing all files from the market.  Pretty sure Desert Moon Press will keep it available much longer than that.


Enrique had a better week …

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Enrique | Comments: 0

Enrique here again.  My author had kind-of a rough week at work, and while she hasn’t resorted to the blue beer yet, she didn’t feel like posting anything.  I had a better week, so I thought I’d post instead.

Here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know about me:  I like to dance.  Not ballet or anything like that, just, you know–dance.  With girls.  When I was a kid–twelve, thirteen–I used to hang around one of the tourist cantinas and serve drinks for tips.  That’s where I learned, if you can dance with the American ladies–older ladies especially–you can make really good tips.  And it’s fun!  Waving your arms around, stomping your feet–  I used to make up my own dances and give them funny names and teach them to the gringas.  They loved it, and I made a pocketful of cash.  It was better than doing card tricks, because someone was always sure I was cheating at cards.  I got thrown out of a few places because they thought I was scamming the customers.  And technically, I guess I was, because my psionic gift is like 95% accurate, so I always knew what card was in their hand.  Well, almost always.  I literally lost my shift one time–a really stupid bet.  So there I was, this skinny kid walking home with no shirt, and the breeze off the ocean…

Aw, man!  Now I’m getting nostalgic for the ocean.  When you grow up with that smell every day…  You’ll never guess where I am now.  Right now.  I’m in North Dakota.

It’s a long story.  And my author would kill me if I told you.  She hasn’t published that one yet.


Autumn in Tucson

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: AZ, Enrique, EPIC Award | Comments: 0

Here it is, mid-October, and fall has finally come to Tucson.  From 5:30-8:30 every morning.  After that, summer is back.

But I know the holiday season is just around the corner, because we are working on holiday songs with our band. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (yeah, that’s a stretch) and White Christmas.  (Hey, it could happen.  In fact, it did happen, once.  Nineteen eighty-something.)

Enrique doesn’t like cold weather.  The cold of a jet at 30,000 feet, fine; but the bitter cold of the canyons in the Crystal Desert … and yet that’s where he went once, to rescue a downed pilot.

Still waiting to hear about a contract on that book.  Oh, yeah, and the EPIC Award it has been nominated for.  As my friend Anne used to say, “Patience is a virtue.”  I always thought she was the one who struggled to be patient; turns out it’s me.

Enrique will be back soon.  Unless he keeps making those remarks about my blue beer.


Enrique speaks again

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Enrique, EPIC Award | Comments: 0

Enrique here. I think I’d better take the driver’s seat tonight.  My author is sitting in her easy chair with her feet up, sipping a blueberry ale .  She works a full-time job, you know, and does the writing thing on the side.  Right now she’s waiting to hear if another publisher will pick up “The Crystal Desert,” since it’s been nominate for an EPIC Award. Let me repeat that:  Nominated for an EPIC Award! (She may be modest, but I’m not.) She also has family she tries to take care of, and friend she thinks she should see, and hobbies.  Did you know this woman took up the bass guitar a year ago, and now she plays with a band?  She told you that?  But did she tell you she wears a pork-pie hat with leopard spots?


Hey, this is kind of fun.  She can’t complain about me giving away anything from the book if I’m talking about *her*, can she?  Let’s see … She’s five-foot-two.  Really, she comes up to my chin.  Okay, maybe my mustache.  Pretty bossy for such a short thing.  And she’s into this stretching stuff with the rubber bands.  Resistance training, she calls it.  Does it nearly every day.

Except when she’s sitting in her easy chair drinking blueberry ale.  Have you seen the proof on that stuff?

Uh-oh, I think I hear the refrigerator door.  She had kind-of a hectic weekend, I’d better make sure she’s not going for a second ale.



Irony and “The Crystal Desert”

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Book news, Enrique, EPIC Award | Comments: 0

At the risk of sounding egotistical, I knew this would happen.  Last year “The Aztec Eagle” was nominated for an EPIC Award, which is an industry award for electronic books.  So naturally, when epress-online was close to publishing the sequel, “The Crystal Desert,” they encouraged me to submit it for the 2012 competition.  I did, and yesterday the finalists were posted at and–ta-da!  “The Crystal Desert” is one of only three nominations in the science fiction category!  I’m so proud!

But epress-online closed its doors in August, so I’m up for an award for a book that was never actually published.

I knew this would happen.



Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Enrique | Comments: 0

I should have known Enrique couldn’t keep quiet.  Give him the limelight, he starts to perform.  Where did he learn that, anyway?

“Hasta la vista, baby?”  He’s never called anyone baby.  Most of the girls he knows would smack him upside the head if he tried.

Now he wants to know if he can post again next week.  I’ll have to think about that.

He also thinks I should learn how to spell.  Hah.  Like he would know.


Enrique Speak-ay

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Enrique | Comments: 0

Hola, amigos!  Enrique Aguilar here.  Ooo, the seat is still warm–very nice, Ms. Wells, thank you.  I just wanted to say hello and how glad I am you stopped by.  I can’t stay long myself–no, not because this nice lady is going to throw me out of her chair, even if she did threaten to do that–but because I’m headed out to [mmmffmph]–  What do you mean, I can’t tell them where I’m going?  —  All right, all right.  So I am NOT going off planet, and anyone who tells you otherwise is probably an agent of the Alfian Underground.  Is that better?

Uh-oh, I don’t have to be psionic to know she’s not happy with me.  That look in her eye sounds gunmetal blue.  Or maybe it smells gunmetal blue.  #%&@ synesthesia!

Hasta la vista, baby!