Former Pasadena Star-News and San Gabriel Valley Tribune writer-editor Rocky McAlister has drawn on his eclectic reporting years to strike fear in the hearts of the fiction world.
His first novel “Legacy Encounter” is a swashbuckling space adventure he says is far-reaching and not far-fetched. He credits covering Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA and the military for the foundation he used to investigate the question: Did man follow destiny into space – or alien breadcrumbs?
Two winters ago when a snowstorm hurled a tree into his house during the 2009 Super Bowl, followed by his second snow shovel breaking and he was diagnosed with Agent Orange-related diabetes, he decided it was time to change his life's priorities.
“I took these events as signs to stop goofing off and see if I can now find success in fiction and finish some projects I had begun years before and put aside.“
With encouragement from author Linda Pendleton (who wrote books with her late husband Don Pendleton of the Executioner series fame) and California Writers’ Club, he published “Legacy Encounter” through Amazon’s createspace.com in mid-August.
“I’m proud of the book,” he said. Early reviews are saying such things as “You did it right.” and“It’s terrific; it should be a movie!” and “I wondered how you were going to solve that.” and “Where did you come up with such great characters?”
“Legacy Encounter” is classified as science fiction and fantasy, but McAlister insists, “There are no little green people, no ray guns and definitely no wizards, warlocks, werewolves, zombies or annoying oxymoronic vampires with soul. My science is thorough and my military protocols have been called dead on.”
He recently published "Earth's Last Warrior" and is getting great reviews . . . and pressure to do a sequel. He's thinking about it.
He's currently researching "Welcome to Mars!" which will be an entertaining homage to science fiction books abut the Red Planet.
McAlister said he has his letters from Vietnam that might make an interesting retrospective on his tour in Phu Bai with MACV and XXIV Corps. (Note our "Sweethearts of Vietnam" shoulder patch.)
"When I was in Da Nang getting my orders for my final destination the guy showed me where it was on this AAA map. I figured there was a mistake since it was on the same page as Hanoi."
Did he learn anything life-altering during his Army tour?
"Yeah . . . never jump on a live grenade."