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As the supreme life form
in the solar system, they had been visiting Earth with impunity for almost 1,000 years, all the while performing experiments
on every form of life they encountered, mostly humans. And for all the time they had been observing human evolution
and development they had done so without fear that one day man would dare challenge the very creatures that had tortured and
used him like a lab rat. But now that day was dawning.
Occasionally visiting the
air battles of World War II, their vehicles danced around the dogfights of mere humans, taunting the various militaries of
Earth and allowing man to see flashes of their technological superiority. But man was advancing and would soon be going into
space. The secret evil that had ruled the skies of this planet for so long would soon be directly challenged by man, but for
humans to defeat them would require the bravest, strongest and most intelligent men and women mankind had to offer.
In the early 1960's the United
States emerged as the nation that would lead the way to the moon and beyond and the fate of mankind would rest in the hands
of the pilots, engineers, scientists and crewmen that would be sent into space to defend not just the U.S. but the planet.
While there were many
brave men and women that would answer the call to duty, there was only one, Rocket Babe.
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Rocket Babe - Reflection are all available directly from the author!
Books are great gifts for any occasion! Holidays,
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Dust Storm $10.00
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Ant Men $13.00
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RB-DS Behind The Scenes
Since my earliest memories I have loved science fiction, especially about outer space. I grew
up on black and white, B-grade 1950’s and 1960’s sci-fi TV and movies. TV like, Twilight Zone and The Outer
Limits. Movies like, Forbidden Planet, Teenagers From Outer Space and Howard
Hawkes’ The Thing. The original, The
Thing, starred James Arnes (Matt Dillion)
in one of his earliest roles, as a blood thirsty vegetable that crashed it’s
UFO in the Arctic. The music and special effects from those movies could make you climb the walls. I literally cut my teeth
on those movies. Seriously, at the age of 6, I gnawed the corners off the arms of our living room chairs as I was
scared half to death, but I would never change the channel. Many times I couldn’t sleep that night but I was addicted!
Unlike the productions that followed from 1970 to the present, that show everything in bloody,
living color, the movies of the 50’s & 60’s left a lot of it to your own imagination and that could be far
more frightening than anything you actually saw. It was your own imagination about the unknown that made it extreme.
Rocket Babe - Dust Storm is my idea of what 1950’s, B-grade sci-fi might look like in the early
1980’s. Our novel is about the first U.S. space warship and crew to make an interplanetary voyage to defend mankind;
circa 1982. While I have included photos of the space ships in the book, I believe anyone familiar with the
Space Age will easily get a good feel for the storyline. We have already had several people who are not normally sci-fi fans
tell us they had no problem visualizing the story at all.
One thing you may want to note is that it is possible to actually build and fly all of the
ships and missiles described in the book. In fact, there are kits already on the market that your son, daughter or spouse,
could build and fly on black powder motors. One well known rocketry supplier, Sirius, is even part of the story line.
The scientific jargon and tone is general in nature and would be easily understood and enjoyed
by anyone age 12 to 99. There’s enough tech talk to keep it in focus but not so much you need to be a real rocket scientist
to understand the plot. It is not tedious and I believe the original scenarios will make you think, “that, could have
actually happened or would be possible.”
Who would enjoy reading RB-DS? Just
about anyone who likes a great read and is looking for 5-6 hours of decent sci-fi entertainment.
Just some information to keep in mind as you go to Part 2.
RB-DS Behind The Scenes Part 2
I have heard
more than one author make the comment, “Be careful what you say or you could be in my next
I’ve known so many interesting people from school, work and rocketry over the years, that
when I finally made the decision to sit down and write RB-DS I thought it would be a little
more interesting, if I based some of the characters on friends, family and a few rocketry friends. So, for about half of the
40 or so characters, I've used real, full names, to tell a fictitious story but the people listed are ok with it and
I’m sure some of our regular readers will know a few of the names. For several others, I used either a first name or
a last name and a couple are actually the first name of one person combined with the last name of another, all to create a
merged personality from some of you reading this now. So, family, friends and fellow flyers, are you in the book? Could be,
but you’ll have to read it to find out.
I want to share here is a brief history of how we got from an idea for a rocket 13 years ago, to a book today.
a very hot Saturday afternoon in late July of 1968, I saw my first Centuri Saturn V model rocket at a local hobby store in
Birmingham. I can still remember standing on a sidewalk that you could have fried an egg on and staring at
it through the shop window with my mouth watering. It must have been around 98* and 100% humidity.
that time, my dad was working 14-16 hours a day, 7 days per week for a NASA subcontractor and since we lived in Birmingham
Alabama, he was always commuting between home, Huntsville and the Cape, most of it in a small plane and some times in a Lear.
It didn't leave much time to go flying with me. In that time frame, I only got to see him a few hours a week, usually for
church on Sundays. After I was grown, he asked me once, if I resented him for being gone most of the time when I was going
through elementary and junior high and if I thought going to the moon was worth the time that I didn't have with him? Without
hesitation I told him, no, I didn't resent his job and yes it was worth it. I understood they needed him to get there and
it was important to the country. Even though I knew there were tens of thousands that worked to see that dream become a reality,
I've always known it was MY dad that actually got us there. With a little help from Von Braun.
two years later Verna gave me an Estes 1/100 scale Saturn V for Christmas, with the idea that I would finally do what I had
always wanted to do as a kid; build and fly it like the real one, on 5 engines. The kit is designed to fly on 1. I had never
tried clustering before but not too long after, we built it together as a 5 engine cluster and took it to show to my dad.
Many of you know my dad worked for a NASA subcontractor from 1962-1968 on the Apollo Program and was always buying models
for me to build when I was a kid. Before he worked with NASA he served in WWII in the Army Air Corps and eventually retired
20 years later from USAF. He had 3 all time favorite vehicles in his life; the B-17, the Saturn V and a 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood.
I still have the Fleetwood, almost like new.
he saw our clustered Saturn V he thought it was very special and he thought it should have a special marking all it’s
own. When I asked him what he meant he explained that most special aircraft like the B-17 and NASA vehicles, all had names
and a special mission patch or nose art that reflected the personality of the pilot, crew or mission. After some thought,
I decided to name our Saturn, Rocket Babe and I would get the prettiest woman I have ever seen to be the
model. It took some doing but she finally agreed and much to my delight she became my pin up model. So now you know how Rocket
the next few years the rocket got a lot of attention and admiration when we would go to club launches, partly because it is
a clustered Saturn V but mostly because of the nose art. Many times the first thing people would ask at a launch is if we
had brought Rocket Babe to fly that day. I’ve always enjoyed watching people do a double take when
they realize the lady on the rocket is also the one flying it. Many people don’t realize that there are many young girls
and women who build and fly rockets and do very well.
rocket took on a life of it’s own for a while and has been in articles on TV and used to promote rocketry at outreach
events all over Alabama and nationally.
since the first flight of Rocket Babe I’ve had the idea for a sci-fi novel to go with it. The basic premise is that
as the Apollo Program concludes the U.S. military covertly adapts and improves the available technology to finally put
an end to alien abductions. A small crew becomes the first humans to take the fight for humanity directly to the enemy.
In keeping with one of my favorite stories from mythology and the mythological names used for U.S. spacecraft, I chose the
name Pandora and as you read the book you will understand why.
cover was designed from my written description to the publisher’s artist and I think they did a very good job, particularly
with Verna Starr.
chose Verna as my model for the rocket’s nose art because she is the prettiest woman I have ever seen. I chose her for
the heroine of the book because she is beautiful, intelligent and would come the closest to being the character, Verna Starr,
of any woman I have ever known. The fact I'm married to her, is an added bonus.
there you have it. Hopefully you will get a copy and enjoy the book!
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Key RB-DS Character Bio's
I’ve known so many interesting people from school,
work and rocketry over the years, that when I finally made the decision to sit down and write Rocket Babe - Dust Storm, I thought it would be a little more interesting if I based some of the characters on friends and family but don't
panic, they knew. So, for about half of the 40 or so characters, I've used real, full names, to tell a fictitious story.
For several others, I used either a first name or a last name and a couple are actually the first name of one person combined
with the last name of another, to create a merged personality from some of you reading this now. So, family, friends and fellow flyers, are you in the book? Could be, but you’ll have to read it to
What follows are a
few brief details as to why I chose these friends to be featured in the book. In alphabetical order we begin with:
Peter Barrett – General, DSSF
Pete’s passion for space, rocketry and love of sci-fi, made him a natural choice for the General in charge of DSSF.
Verna and I met Pete many years ago on the internet through one of the hobby rocketry forums and since that time we have come
to greatly admire his talents with rocketry and photography. Pete is a fantastic rocketeer who lives in the U.K. and participates
in hobby rocketry there in several ways.
to building and flying high power rockets with the East Anglian Rocket Society (EARS) http://www.ears.org.uk/ over the last few years Pete has paid forward in the hobby by personally
over seeing the construction and first flights of more than 6,000! Verna and I have been involved with the NAR First Flyers
program here in the U.S. since it began and we can tell you that 6,000+ rockets/flights,
is an absolutely mind boggling number to oversee.
While his personal outreach is tremendous, the one thing that might exceed all of that is his
talent as a professional photographer. The link to his photography site has dozens of rocket photos http://www.redbubble.com/people/hartrockets/shop as
well as many, many photos of all kinds of things from his latest platform; a Radio Controlled helicopter. Pete’s photos
are simply stunning! Be sure to take a few minutes and pay Pete’s photography site a visit too.
Thank you Pete for being
Faulkner Coffman - Editor
On my first day of school at
Robinson Elementary in September 1962, I was assigned a seat next to a little girl named Sharon Faulkner. She was friendly,
cute, smiled a lot and had red hair. The first bell rang at 8:15 and by 8:45 we were friends and always will be. We literally
went to school together for 12 years and suffered through many classes. In all that time and through all the ups and downs
of life since then, she has remained one of the smartest, sweetest, kindest, people I have ever known. A perfect example is
when I asked her if she would be interested in being my editor for Rocket Babe. She didn’t hesitate for a second,
even though she knows my scholastic record about as well as anyone, except Verna. Like I said, we had a lot of classes together
in that 12 years and she knew what she was getting into.
It’s not always easy to
work with friends or family and maintain a good relationship especially in a business endeavor or on something that is creative,
i.e. a book. Most of us are aware of how sensitive some actors, authors or any creative person can be about their work
but since we have been friends for so long I had a level of trust with Sharon I would not have had with anyone else. When
you spend all day around someone for 12 years straight, you get to know them very well and even after 50+ years, we're
pretty much the same people. Fortunately for us both, I don’t consider myself a “creative author.” I’m
more of a story teller and I’m always eager to improve the product, so it wasn't about my ego. Constructive criticism
was not a problem. Based on what I have seen from some authors, producers, etc., I think that may have been a nice surprise
Sharon spent her career as an
educator and I knew she would correct any mistakes and be honest with me, as only a good friend would. I would write a bit
and she would edit, suggest a change or applaud, and then we would move forward and the time or two I questioned why I began
the book or seriously considered dropping the idea, she would say something encouraging and then again we moved forward. Many
times she was not even aware that she had said anything. As I listed in the RB-DS acknowledgements,
Sharon is an encourager and I have no doubt she knows Rocket Babe better than I do.
Of all the things she did to
help me, the nicest was knowing I could focus on the story line and push forward because she was going
to take up the slack and tend to the details that were slowing me down. If any of you ever need an editor, I have one
Thank you Sharon for doing the
- Chief Engineer, U.S.S. PANDORA
Verna and I met Blake through
our local rocketry club, Birmingham Rocket Boys, NAR 665, where he served on the BRB Board for many years and still maintains
the website. We're glad to say that over the last 8-9 years he has become a true friend. Blake is as pleasant a fellow as
you will ever meet, an excellent builder and high power flyer. I once watched him “McGyver up” a rocket for his level 1 attempt right there on the range from spare parts he had in his truck,
a piece of cardboard tube, an old plastic coke bottle for a nose cone, some makeshift fins and an H motor. I’m not sure
about the chute, but he had one.
When it comes to anything computer
related, Blake has had a long and successful career doing all kinds of work for several technology companies, including AT&T.
He has always had a quick answer for every computer or website related question we have ever had. I'm pretty sure if
I gave him a random box of capacitors, transistors and other assorted electronic parts I would get back a super
computer in under 3 minutes. If I had to pay him for his level of expertise and all of the times he has helped us, I would
owe him a ton of gold. So, when it came time to choose someone to pattern a chief engineer after, Blake was my first and only
thought. If there ever was a man that should be a chief engineer on a spaceship, it would be Blake.
Thanks Blake for all you've done
to keep us on the web and what's left of my hair on my head.
Mike Knowles -
CAG, U.S.S. PANDORA
Knowles is another great friend Verna and I went to school with for 12 years. Too many times he and I would “cut
up” in class or spend our time talking about space, astronomy and science fiction, mostly how things would be by the
year 2000; with all the Jetson type flying cars, robots, colonies on the moon and Mars. For a while he was absolutely obsessed
with Mars. It was all going to be so great! We had a lot in common and he absolutely loved science fiction. We both had a
small telescope and we read and exchanged a lot of sci-fi paperbacks (in class) about anything related to space. From UFO’s
to TV shows, many times we would talk about what NASA was doing, an upcoming mission or dedication of a new telescope and
our classmates would sit in stunned amazement that we knew anything about such topics, but we did and in intricate detail.
Of course, 5th graders don’t really understand that politicians
are only concerned about votes, not space exploration for the sake of exploration.
at the age of 11, Mike was a very talented artist and in our many discussions and classes he would often times draw
what we had been talking about in class that day, usually a battle scene from a TV show or something crazy we made up. He
could draw spectacular battle scenes with tanks, ships and planes, that looked as good as any professional artist at
Mike was proud of his family’s
participation in the military and he knew a great deal of the SOP’s of the various branches. As we were getting close
to high school graduation I thought he would surely join the Navy or Army as he always seemed to love both but he choose to
go to junior college here in Birmingham.
A couple of years after high
school we were still living in the same area. I became a general contractor and contracts kept my company spread across 9
states. Mike worked at a local gas station while he was going to college and I would see him from time to time, usually when
I gassed up my trucks. He was really looking forward to the day he would be out of school with a good career. One night after
work he came over to my house to see my brand new Meade Newtonian reflector. We
looked at a few stars, the moon and enjoyed a nice view of Jupiter as we talked about the latest shuttle flight. Some things
As it turned out that would be
the last time I would see Mike. Some time passed, I went out of town on a job for about a month and returned home two days
after his funeral. A mutual friend called to tell me. I had no idea, and it took a while for me to actually believe he was
gone. My dad used to tell me to enjoy each day, we all live our lives one heart beat away from eternity and you never know
when your time will come.
what I remember about his preferences and love of jet aircraft, I believe if Mike had gone into the military it would have
been the U.S. Navy, and I have no doubt he would have made a great CAG. So now,
32 years later, on the U.S.S. Pandora, he is where he belongs and I think he would get a kick out of being in the book.
Long ago I had decided that if
I ever wrote a novel involving rockets or space craft everything in the storyline would have to be capable of actual flight.
I would develop my concept around existing and available kits and items; the exact opposite of Hollywood where they develop
action figures and merchandise for marketing after a manuscript is completed.
The idea of writing a book had
been bouncing around in my head for a long time when I first saw the S.S. Cestris kit on the Sirius Rocketry website. The
nose cone/bridge of the Cestris, is a perfect extension of the Apollo era space craft, Apollo 2.0 if you will, and as I read
the specs on the cone for the first time, the last item I needed to begin writing Rocket Babe, fell into place. For some time
I’d had this image in my head of what a 1982 era space/warship would look like when adapted from current and known hardware:
a modified Saturn V with a true bridge, not just a tiny three man capsule and it would have a deck on either side for smaller
ships to use as launch and landing platforms.
The clincher to write the book
came when Verna ordered just the cone for me last Christmas. It was a perfect and easy fit for the Estes 1/100 scale Saturn
V, just as if it were made for this purpose. Take a look at the U.S.S. PANDORA and you’ll see what I mean. You may also
want to note that the fins and fairings are the heavy duty resin fins David makes himself, not to mention the custom DSSF
and U.S.S. PANDORA name plate decals. You could say that the PANDORA begins and ends with Sirius parts.
The Cestris and Eradicator kits
are awesome on their own but much like the Cestris bridge and the Saturn V, they were also custom fits for the Rocket Babe
storyline and since there was to be a super secret, "Black Ops" contractor, David, his kits and Sirius Rocketry, all became
an important part of the book.
We’ve been customers of
Sirius Rocketry for many years now and know David and his wife Evie, to be wonderful business people that will go the extra
mile for a customer. Even if it means being a character in a novel.
Thank you so much David, Evie
Rolf Stabroth (Rollie) - World
Class Rocketeer, Sirius Scientist
Rollie is another wonderful friend we met via the internet, who just happens
to live in Germany and by my definition, he is a World Class Rocketeer, right up there with Eric Gates and Ky Michaelson.
I discovered Rollie’s website years ago while surfing the internet
and was amazed by what he builds. On his site you’ll find awe inspiring rockets, photos and videos, and after seeing
his workshop and the detail that goes into what he does, I am convinced he could build or fabricate anything. I know without
a doubt he should be working for a special effects company in Hollywood.
We have featured Rollie and his amazing skills and rockets many times
on Photo Of The Month and Fire & Smoke. For our storyline we needed a super scientist
to go with our “Black Ops” firm, Sirius, and again, Rollie was the first and only man that came to mind. When
I told Verna who I had chosen for the super scientist her response was, “Well, who else would it be?”
Rollie is a rocket man's, rocket man, and his role is the lead “behind
the scenes” scientist, working with David at Sirius. He is responsible for adapting and modifying the PANDORA into a
battleship and for all the other technological improvements of the novel. DSSF could not exist without Rollie.
You can visit his website here: www.rolfstabroth.homepage.t-online.de If you use Google Chrome, near the top of the page the browser should
offer you the option to translate the text into English.
Verna and I want to thank Rollie also, for being a key member of the Rocket
Characters Not Pictured
Of the remaining characters many are completely
fabricated names and were developed from my vivid imagination but several of them do have the first or last names of friends,
family or personalities that I have known over the last 59 years. With the release of the second book in the series, Rocket Babe - Fallen Angel, all 11 grandkids are there too.
Thanks for visiting the Bio page! Verna and I
hope that knowing just a bit about some of the key characters might make the book a more enjoyable and fun read. Don’t
forget to Like us on Facebook and recommend Rocket Babe
to your friends!
Verna & Randy
Go To Rocket Babe-Fallen Angel
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