Hi. I’m Rochelle Weber, and I grew up on the Northwest Side of Chicago. My dad was a truck driver and my mom was a factory worker. I’m a Navy veteran and I have a BA in Communications from Columbia College in Chicago with an emphasis on creative writing. My non-fiction article, “Bulimia,” was featured in the Hair Trigger 9 & 10, the acclaimed Columbia College student anthology. My first novel, Rock Bound, available Red Rose Publishing, for whom I also edit. An active member of Mensa, I edit HeartBeat, the Heart of Illinois Mensa newsletter and just became Local Secretary/President of my group in January 2009. Two cats allow me to live with them in Rantoul, Illinois. I have two daughters five grandchildren.
I don’t get to see all of my grandkids as much as I’d like to, but I see them enough to share my interests with them. I’m a major Harry Potter fan, so I’ve taken the grandkids to all of the movies and even two of the midnight-release parties—in full costume. I’ve even taken the three oldest ones, Alex, Colleen and Beth to sci-fi conventions. A Christmas or two ago, I gave everyone board games and decks of cards small enough for pre-school hands, so we play Sorry, and Life and Go Fish, and War. And, I love trivia so last summer I took them to Buffalo Wild Wings to play trivia and discovered that Alex (who is 12) is a card sharp. While I was playing trivia, he was winning Texas Hold ‘Em. There are, of course, photos on my website: www.rochelleweber.com. I also love karaoke and my second youngest granddaughter, Presley, has an incredible voice. And she’s only six. And then there’s Abby—my cuddle-bum. She’s five. She’s the one who loves to play Go Fish.
I’m also an activist. I’ve protested the war in Iraq, fought for the environment, human and animal rights, and for clean indoor air. I’ve testified in front of three city councils and a county council, attended rallies and of course, written letters to the editor. And, in addition to singing karaoke, I’ve sung on the wards at the VA and also participated in the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival. I actually got to sing two lines of the National Anthem in front of about 2,000 people in Oklahoma City a few years ago. Talk about nervous!
My first novel, Rock Bound is a blend of two of my favorite genres—sci-fi and romance. I sort of started out writing fan fiction, based on Robert A. Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress in that it took place in Luna City. My main character was a woman whose husband dumped her on the Moon. She looked down on the original colonists who were prisoners, not realizing that the people helping her most were among those colonists. I decided to explore their back-stories, then decided to create my own Moon colony and have the colonists name it after Heinlein’s Luna City. The next thing I knew, Rock Crazy was on a back burner and I sold Rock Bound to Inara Press to run as a serial. Then, of course, Inara closed down. So, I’ve re-written it, tweaked it, added a subplot that takes place on Earth and tried to sell it as regular science fiction to the print world. A friend introduced me to Wendi Felter and I subbed Rock Bound (minus the 20,000 plus word Eathside subplot) to Red Rose.
Here is my blurb, and a short excerpt. If you like these, you can buy Rock Bound at http://tinyurl.com/buyrockbound.
The future is a dangerous place for dreamers and idealists.
When a dictator takes over the United States, Annie Peterson attends a protest in Washington, DC, with Paul, her husband and soul mate. US troops fire into the crowd killing Paul. Jake Johnsrud, a virtual stranger, risks his life to save Annie’s. They are among the survivors who are sentenced to slavery on the Moon for their “crimes.”
Jake is forced to mine, while Annie is sentenced as a doxy to “service” the men. Jake fights increasing feelings of anger and jealousy as Annie struggles to perform her job, while she resists her increasing attraction to him. Along with their fellow inmates, they fight to survive on the lunar “rock” that is their prison.
Will the hardships of life in exile bring the two together? Or will Annie’s undying devotion to Paul be the final, insurmountable obstacle for her and Jake?
The Perseids meteor shower has already claimed the lives of two inmates, so during a lull between the waves of incoming meteors, the Captain has ordered everyone to move inside Mt. Aragaeus for safety. They’ve been mining inside the mountain and excavating for future living quarters but have only managed to carve out space the size of one of the four domes that comprise their base living area—which includes hydroponics and their farm animals.
Lunar Coordinates: 19° North; 29° East
They weren’t able to move all of the plants in one trip. Fran Sparapani insisted on going back to supervise the packing of the last few plants. She felt that she and an assistant could move the plants themselves. The women lost track of time and took most of the “day.” So, they were in the hydroponics dome when the meteor shower hit again. Both women had removed their helmets once they cycled through the airlock. When the Captain realized they weren’t back yet and they were nearing the path of the comet, he instructed Annie to call them and order them to come back.
“Hydroponics, come in, please,” Annie called. She waited several seconds and then tried again.
“Hydroponics, come in please.”
The Captain stood nervously at her side. After the third try, Annie shook her head.
“They aren’t answering.” She sounded worried.
“They probably removed their helmets,” the Captain replied. “That storm’s coming in fast. Someone has to go over there and tell those ladies they need to get in here where it’s safe.”
“I’ll go,” Jake offered.
Annie wanted to ask him not to. She wanted to suggest that the Captain send one of the guards to do it. But time was of the essence and Jake had stopped by to take her to lunch. He usually came in from the tunnel and grabbed a quick bite still wearing his p-suit. He had his helmet under his arm, as he hadn’t bothered to stop and hang it up. He was already locking it in place. Annie followed him down the wide access tunnel to the main airlock. Just before he cycled through, he blew Annie a kiss. She smiled wanly as the door closed and the lock cycled, and watched him as he loped across the plain and cycled into the farm dome, determined to wait by the airlock until he brought the women safely back to the tunnel.
The rock that broke through the dome was not large as rocks go, but with no atmosphere to slow them down or burn them up, the meteors hit the Moon with the full force of their acceleration through space. The women in the dome did not have a chance as the air rushed out through the foot-wide hole. Annie watched in horror, as the air and humidity vented from the hole, into the vacuum of space, not knowing whether Jake was okay. What if the meteorite had exploded and shrapnel had pierced his p-suit?
“Not again!” she railed at God. “Every time I fall in love with a man you take him away from me!” She had said it out loud. Yes. She knew now that she was in love with Jake. And now it may well be too late.
Crystal came up beside her and put an arm around her.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“A rock hit the dome,” Annie sobbed. “I saw the air whoosh out.”
“Who’s over there?” Crystal asked.
“Jake,” Annie replied. “And Fran and Martha.”
The Captain came up behind her, as well.
“What happened?” he asked.
“A rock breached the farm,” Crystal replied, as Annie sobbed in her arms.
“He could be fine,” the Captain said. “I’m sure he kept his helmet on. Let’s go back to the office and try to raise him.”
They picked their way back to the make-shift office, and the Captain, himself, activated the communicator.
“Luna City to Johnsrud,” the Captain called. “Jake, come in!”
There was nothing but static.
“It could be his radio,” Captain Andrews told Annie. She sat numbly, nodding.
“How soon can we send someone out to check on them?” she asked.
“Not until this storm stops,” the Captain replied. “Then we’ll send out a party to bring them back.”
Annie left the office, and returned to the main airlock. She would stand there all night, if she had to. Jake had to come home safely. He just had to.
A boulder landed silently collapsing the entrance to their cave. Even in the lighter gravity of the Moon, the boulder did not bounce. Things might weigh less up here, but they had the same mass. Annie flinched, then began crying anew. They were trapped inside the cave. The airlock was deep enough inside that it was intact. But Jake was out there—beyond that rubble. And Annie didn’t know whether he was dead or alive.