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History -short

Publication history

When Ratha sprang into print in 1983, she captured the 1984 IRA Children's Choice and jumped onto recommended teen book lists. CBS Storybreak adapted the book for a 1987 animated episode (see clips on MySpaceTV and YouTube). After such an entrance, the series should have been commercially successful, but it wasn't, for various reasons. I mourned, and turned instead to my other love, electric vehicles. I became an EV journalist/editor for the Electric Auto Association, and later an electric vehicle engineer.

In 2003, a call came from acclaimed Firebird Books editor Sharyn November. Sharyn interacts via Internet with teen readers and her young advisers suggested re-issuing my Ratha series. Would I write another book in order to pull the series back into print? Could Ratha, perhaps grown creaky from a 13-year sleep, handle another adventure? The answer came back in a Ratha-growl. Yes, of course!

In writing Ratha's Courage, I returned to the strength of Ratha's Creature, which engulfed its reader in a prehistoric big cat body, thoughts and world. Courage would also be based on up-to-date paleontolgy. I researched the leopard-like paleofelid Nimravus, and its sister species the cheetah-like Dinaelurus crassus. From the latter, I generated my fictional Named species, Dinaelurus illumina sapiens. To visualize my characters, I used sketching, sculpture and animation. A photo of a cobweb panther inspired a new character.

The book's road to publication was rough. After suffering inexplicable hardcover cancellation (and near-cancellation of the Thistle-chaser and Challenge reprints), Courage was scheduled as an E-Reads selection. When E-Reads allied with Baen Books, they decided to make Courage a featured e-release for April. I have also interacted with fans on MySpace, LiveJournal, Library Thing, GoodReads, Facebook, Wands and Worlds and others. The author and series have a Wikipedia entry and come up on search engines. Ratha fan art appears at sites such as The Lion King Fan Art Archive and DevArt. There is a new role-playing site (Into the Mist: Voyage Untold) and a fan site (Trails of Conquest). The Scratching Log author blog contains "Ratha's Creatures" describing various prehistoric beasts in the series. Courage itself has captured a five-star review on the Internet and good words in a Wands and Worlds review. will carry Courage as an e-book and (at)

Ratha's Courage resembles the series character Thistle-chaser, Ratha's daughter, who was nearly killed in infancy. Like Thistle, the new book has survived, shaken off its injuries and will thrive in the hearts of its devoted fans. Thanks to Sharyn November, Richard Curtis, John R. Douglas, Baen Books, Ratha fans , my husband Chuck and everyone else who made this possible. Live long and enjoy!



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Join other Named Series fans on the Ratha Series Forum.  Hunt up information in the Fire Den, read the new Twitter creation, "Ratha's Island", or strut before the clan to introduce yourself in the Fire Dance.

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