Mapping Winter

Cadoc Marubin, the tyrant lord of Dalmorat Province, lies alert, malicious, and dying in his castle at Sterk, and Kieve, his oathed Rider, waits eagerly for the freedom his death will bring her. But Cadoc’s dying affects more than his Rider, it affects a country poised on the brink of change. What happens in Dalmorat Province could chart a direction, for good or ill, for all of the country of Cherek.

Cherek is evolving from mounted messengers to semaphore telegraphs to “talking wires,” from carts to steam engines, from its own isolation to a world opening southward toward new-found lands. Dalmorat Province, northern, reclusive, and impoverished, is also in flux; the neighboring provinces wait to see whether Cadoc’s repressive regime will dissolve or pass intact to his heir. Cadoc has created a web of secret informers which reaches throughout the province and is made visible in one thing only: Kieve, the Lord’s Herald Rider, whose guild has taught her to carry messages and the news, to survey and map, and to obey her master. Cadoc requires that Kieve serve the warrants and escort the ferret’s victims to Sterk, where they disappear. Cadoc understands her value as the only public face of the web, and intends to use her to bend the succession to his will.

Fighting both Cadoc and her own barely contained anger, Kieve too balances on a cusp between trust and  unbelief, between a future shaped by harmony or by bitterness. To truly escape from Dalmorat, she must explore and map the winter not only of her country, but of her own soul.

First published as The Sword of Winter in 1983, Mapping Winter has


 been extensively revised to fit the author’s originally intended vision. The sequel, The River South, will be available in 2020.



“A stunning debut. Sex, drugs, death and transcendence, handled with the energy of a newly emerging talent. Bravo.” Books Today

Islands is an angry meditation on youth and age, on creativity and death.

The Earth has become a place of order and beaut


y where Tia Hamley alone is fated to age and die. The Immortals have inherited a world of peace and plenty, and live in it as cheerful dilettants, fearful only of their own death


s. Tia’s quest for the meaning of her own circumscribed life takes her from the blasted Australian outback to the nautilus-shaped Library on the Moon, from the haunts of sleeping dreamers in Istanbul to the sunken islands of Hawaii where she pursues the secret, not of immortality, but of creativity and love.

“Deeply inventive… filled with vigor and exuberance and anger. Tia and her world will stay with you long after the last page is read.” Lake Harris Intelligencer


Read the opening Reviews

Growing LightGrowCover-2


written as Martha Conley


trade paperback:


“An appealing heroine, a deserving corpse, and a wickedly funny supporting cast
of California crazies make Growing Light a mystery debut not to be
missed.” Nancy Atherton

Who would want George Ashby dead? How about Lena, his bitter ex-wife, a brilliant woman who founded the New Age software company Growing Light only to have Ashby take it away from her? Or maybe Mike Thompson, the company’s power-hungry vice-president who has endured Ashby’s eccentricities for much too long? The staff of Growing Light — Carein, for whom life hasn’t been the same since the Summer of Love, disaffected engineer Jimi Hendrix Johannsen, Audrey the bookkeeper who isn’t too good with numbers, and the others — sure don’t seem to be too fond of George, but their bitterness hardly seems to rival that of Growing Light’s ex-employees, all of whom would be glad to see the SOB done in.

Who would want Ashby dead? Who wouldn’t?

“Growing Light’s originality and overtones of sheer fun will keep you in stitches page after page. It’s a must read for those who don’t take life – or murder – too seriously.” West Coast Review of Books

“A spirited debut.” Publishers Weekly


“A major piece of science fiction…. This is the best original novel I’ve read so far this year.” Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine

Journey takes the family saga into the outer reaches of space. Fleeing the disapproval of Earth’s patrician families, Jason and Mish Kennerin have come to Aerie; distant, insular, inhabited by the enigmatic kasirene. Here they carve out a new life for themselves and their growing family, until the death of a nearby planetary system forces them to open their world, and their lives, to the chaos of change and the genesis of an empire they both crave and resist.

“Journey is startlingly good.” Spider Robinson

“This unusual tale is enriched by its science fictional trappings – a gentle alien race wins the friendship of suspicious humans; an exploding supernova signals the ending of one world and true commitment to a new one; a child grows to manhood and fulfills his dream of becoming a space adventurer; women not only bear children but fill important societal roles – but these well-drawn elements do not distract from what is essentially a family saga, a story not only of building a home but of homecoming.
Highly recommended.” Library Journal

Dangerous Games dangerous_games_small-5

“DANGEROUS GAMES is wonderful.” Stephen King
Sometimes, to preserve a world, you must be ready to destroy it.

Journey’s sequel blends science fiction and the family saga to create the story of a complicated and vibrant world, the people who cherish it, the people who want to conquer it, and the people who bring it to the edge of ruin. The Kennerins, and the people who love and hate them, pursue their desires and hatreds from the reaches of deep space to the smallest islands of their world, in a series of Dangerous Games where the stakes include the world and tauspace, where no time exists.

“Marta Randall … just goes right along getting better… one of the finer novels to appear in years” Science Fiction Chronicle

More to come…