“Step Beyond” Project: A Journey Into One Author’s Writing Adventure

The Step Beyond Novella (or Novel) Series



in June of 2024 the first episodes will be published.

Last Update: 6-4-24

How did my journey begin? Where did I get the idea for this project? Well … I wrote a short story years ago titled, “The Importance of Having a Good Handbasket.” The title has since been changed to, “A Writer’s Advantage” and appears in my Fantasy/Sci-Fi short story anthology titled, The Shape of Things to Come. It concerns four siblings who have reached old age discussing the afterlife. All four had different opinions … from agnosticism to Catholicism. A hydrogen bomb goes off nearby, and they all die. One discovers they got just what they thought the afterlife would be. He communicates with a brother who describes a different scenario, and it is just what he believed it would be. They both ponder the fate of the brother who believed consciousness died with the body.

My ideal afterlife …? To be a high-ranking science officer aboard a starship exploring life in the Milky Way Galaxy (akin to the Star Trek™ mission statement). That transformed into … “What if I could be the chief science officer on a starship populated with many of the characters I’ve published in the 23 Amazon Vella novels. Has that ever been done before? So … I went to work on this grand experiment.

The most significant danger is overwhelming the reader with a “cast of thousands,” technically a storytelling no-no. I’m actually 12,000 words into the storyline and have already done a ton of research. I have several of my characters on the starship bridge of the EGC (Exploratory Galaxy Cruiser) Mintaka who were created for the 1840s, serving with post-apocalyptic characters from the year 2751 (whose starship I am using). The big benefit? I know their characters well and can intermingle personalities who have never been together in the same book.

I have assembled over fifty of my characters. I regard them as a reserve pool to draw from to fill command stations on the EGC Mintaka. I have designed a large bridge with the following duty stations: Admiral Electra Magenta (from the Albacron book series) will command the ship, and she has her own “Admiral’s Chair.” There are three other chairs in a row, two to her right and one to her left, that seat the following special personnel:

The Chief Invisibility Shield Officer, Caroline, from Yankee Tigress 1 and 2, set in the early 1860s. She has also developed the ability to make herself invisible. Then there’s a new character I am giving birth to for this project, Tiara Diamond, an alien empath (she has to be picked up from the Titan colonies on the way to their first mission, the Kuiper Belt. Last is the deceased identical twin to one of the Admiral’s adopted daughters. I’ve brought her back to life as an adult, though she died before puberty in Albacron 2. I’m allowing her to keep the extraordinary powers she developed over Albacron 3 and 4. Taygeta can appear and reappear so anyone can see her (or not). She can make anything appear (the ship’s human transmuter — think Star Trek’s™ replicator).

Yeomen Tina Tendo, from my novella Destiny Jones’s Legacy, sits directly behind Admiral Electra and serves the starship commander. Behind Tina (called Tee-Tee) are the Security Station and the Science Station (where yours truly will be stationed, second in command. I’m using the name Blake Harford. (And ‘yes’ there is biographical stuff in here about me.)

Behind those 2 stations, along the back wall, are Telescopics, Engineering, Environmental, Battle Tactics, Communications, Diagnostics, and Bridge Runner stations. Bridge Runner is a gopher station manned by the youngest Cadet (more on cadets later.)

The curved fore-section on either side is Tactical-Ops on the left and Weapons on the right. Before the viewing screen, in the center of the curvature, is Helm and Navigation.

Cadets are personnel in professional training. Their hierarchy is Senior Cadet, Junior Cadet, Cadet-IT (IT = in-training), and Cadet Cub (that’s 12-year-old Betsy Howard manning the Bridge Runner Station. The higher-ranked cadets are assigned as assistants to bridge personnel in an apprenticeship. Bridge stations with cadets apprenticing include Science, Engineering, and Security. Heidi’s Hideaway Forward has one. Heidi is one of the characters from The Camelot Girls, set in 1963.