Mary Ann Steele

Formerly a research chemist who worked for a pharmaceutical company, Mary Ann Steele grew tired both of the corporate culture and the crowded East. She moved to a small town in Wyoming where she taught physics, chemistry, geology and astronomy in the local public secondary school for seven years. She and her husband, a local rancher, have two sons. When the first child arrived, Mary Ann ceased teaching, so as to be home when her sons got off the school bus. When the boys grew older, she created and taught a popular hands-on science program for the third, fourth and fifth graders in the same rural school district in which she had taught earlier. Living with her husband on a small, family-owned cattle ranch, the author now divides her time between ranch work and writing.

Over a fifteen-year-long span, Mary Ann wrote nine futuristic novels: a series of narratives in which many of the characters keep reappearing. Those nine books form an ongoing saga of character-driven action, adventure and romance. Although each novel stands alone, Mary Ann wrote them simultaneously, not sequentially, in a sustained burst of creative effort that bordered on obsession. At times, she admits wryly, the characters seemed more real to her than her neighbors.

The personalities of the major characters grow in depth and complexity as the saga unfolds. Two mutually hostile worlds populated by the descendents of spacefaring, Earth-born, galactic pioneers form the setting. Although a wealth of research went into the creation of the imagined technology, the science remains muted. The stories focus on the interactions among a host of purely imaginary personalities living action-filled lives in a fictional, futuristic realm.

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Just prior to the war’s end, Merline, a Gaean spacer-fighter, gets captured, after learning that Slade, a Second Corps captain, deals in illicit drugs. Slade confines her in a military penal work force. Hogar, a former Second Corps captain serving a twenty-Earthyear sentence, fights the other criminals, and prevents gang rape. Desperate, owing to his inability to protect Merline from lecherous guards, he employs bribery to produce an investigation. Marlenn, Commander of Second Corps, informs Merline that the war just ended. In the battle of wits pitting the mistreated prisoner of war against the Commander seeking to conceal what happened to her, the quick-witted woman strikes a deal whereby she marries Hogar, who accompanies her to Gaea.

Hogar discovers that Merline is the captain of a rock-hopper ship. After winning a fierce battle with scalded pride, he agrees to serve as Mate. Hogar defuses the anger of Riley, a Gaean crewmember who hates Columbians. Forced to assume the responsibility of heading a Gaean family while serving as his wife’s second officer, Hogar avoids the pitfalls abounding in a new life as fascinating as it is difficult.

Eventually, Hogar gains the full respect of the four crewmembers, all of whom bear painful emotional scars. Hogar prevents a tragic outcome when Riley seeks to wed Danica. He secures a bride for Merline’s nephew in classic Gaean fashion, albeit with a few variations of his own. The competitive Columbian slowly metamorphoses into a Gaean family-head who feels at home in his new world. This stirring narrative, the first volume of the two-volume fifth novel of the series, plus its sequel, Trial By Fire: Final Reckoning, continue an ongoing saga of futuristic action, adventure and romance.

    A charismatic rebel commander of legendary fame, Signe drives a force of rapacious Columbian invaders off Main World of Gaea. Her patriotic, cooperative, intensely loyal fellow citizens unfailingly give their world’s leader their full support. During a succession of lightning strikes launched at military installations in the heart of Columbia, the warrior-woman parlays a single space ship captured during a raid, into a fleet. A brilliant strategist, Signe fights Arlen, Commander-in-Chief of Columbia’s military forces, to a draw.

Warrior, statesman, and man of sterling honor, Arlen wields dictatorial power over his male-dominated, militaristic, fiercely competitive society. Besieged on two fronts, he cleverly outmaneuvers the four ruthless rivals seeking his downfall, even as Signe raids military bases on his populous world. A scientist as well as a master of political infighting, Arlen engineers a scientific breakthrough that renders Columbia impregnable to attack.

Will two gallant adversaries find a way to overcome the dangerous misconceptions each harbors regarding the other, and achieve a peace that both sides can accept with honor?

In this second book of the series, Signe, Gaea’s head of state, and Arlen, the dictator who controls Columbia, continue to fight a stalemated war. The pivotal event depicted in the first book, Warrior-Woman: The Forging Of The Legend, radically changed Signe’s and Arlen’s perceptions of each other. No suspicion fell on Galt, who engineered the disaster. That ruthless rival seeks to overthrow Arlen, who employs his peerless talent as a master of intrigue to outwit Galt, with the aid of Adrienne, a courageous courtesan.

In a brilliant feat of deductive reasoning, one of Signe’s captains determines where Johann, the historical figure revered by both the Gaeans and the Columbians, hid his fabulous warship. Signe sets out to find the prize that would assure that Gaea could never again be conquered. Arlen follows her, and the two finally meet.

Will these two high-minded warriors finally realize that each harbors badly flawed perceptions of the other? If so, what profound change will that realization produce in their feelings for each other?

In this third book of the series, Signe and Arlen found the Interworld Corps: a body of peacekeepers. The former archenemies marry, having fallen in love after achieving the accord depicted in Master of Intrigue. The rigorous training program they conduct defuses lingering feelings of enmity assailing their twelve captains. When a violent clash between a Gaean and a Columbian occurs, Arlen handles the situation brilliantly. A potential crisis becomes a bonding experience for all twelve men.

Twelve ships begin to patrol a vast volume of space. Having persuaded Arlen to accept seven female Gaean spacer-fighters, Signe finds that instead of waiting until those women prove their worth, Arlen demands an immediate decision regarding how they’ll employ the women they’ll recruit as wives for their male spacers. In the ensuing debate, Signe scores a huge victory over Arlen’s culturally programmed gender-bias.

When the Co-Commanders handle a dire situation involving the taking of civilian hostages on an isolated station by a vicious renegade, will Signe’s faith in her female warriors prove justified?

In this first half of the fourth book of the series, Signe and Arlen use a computer program to match couples. Jess fears that no man will wed a female lieutenant. Brant grasps an opportunity to avoid having to rely on the program. Evan takes a bold route towards attaining a bride. Amin embarks on an emotionally charged courtship. Signe handles the trauma engendered when Jason seeks to marry despite being burdened with a gruesomely disfigured face.

Conor and Eric patrol while their peers wed. Conor initiates a pitched battle, so as to foil a major attempt at larceny. When Eric hunts an outlaw in space, Midori encounters hostility from a Columbian misogynist who refuses to believe that the lovely woman qualifies as a warrior. He learns differently when she teams with him to launch a spectacular attack on the renegade’s stronghold.

Will problems develop when emotionally scarred people stand face to face with the stranger selected as their match by a computer program? Will two undermanned captains succeed in keeping the peace?

In this second half of the fourth book of the series, Theo warms to his match, until a confession she makes scandalizes the morally upright Gaean. Jassy unwittingly disappoints his wife, owing to his inability to rouse her to passion.

Evan negotiates with a demented hostage-taker levying demands the Captain cannot grant. Utilizing techniques learned from Arlen, he resolves an incendiary crisis. Jason prevents a public clash between Amin, who refuses to lower his standards, and the wife pushed to her physical limit. Juli performs a dangerous feat during a dramatic rescue of Gaean stationers trapped in a mine. When Dahl and his crew aid the survivors of a disastrous explosion, Dahl conducts a daring rescue, thereby changing his own life.

Confronted by an enigmatic brotherhood of militant Gaeans, Signe and Arlen develop their first major disagreement. Signe makes the requested visit to the brotherhood’s stronghold. Will Arlen discover the magnitude of her danger in time to launch a rescue mission? Will Signe survive the worst danger ever to threaten her?

In this second half of the fifth book of the series, Wolf lacks goods to trade. Desperate, he raids Barton, a grasping Gaean. On learning that Barton possesses Gaeanite, Wolf abducts Lesley, Barton’s niece, and tries to trade her for the priceless mineral. When Barton refuses to pay ransom, Wolf seduces the lonely Gaean. Before he sets out to capture Chapell, a vicious outlaw, Lesley offers to marry him, so he can gain Gaean citizenship. Wolf refuses, out of concern for her. Will the daring adventurer win amnesty for himself and his crew?

Merline gives Austin a job ashore. Aided by Paco, a homeless lad, Austin converts Merline’s property into a paying business. Austin and Paco attend a ceremony honoring Austin’s sister, who runs an orphanage. Slade raids Martha’s Refuge, and takes hostages, in an attempt to steal Merline’s ship.

Will the rescue mission mounted by Merline, Hogar, and Wolf succeed? And if it does, will Signe learn what happened to Hogar and Merline in Columbia? If she does, how will the warrior-woman react?

In this first half of the sixth book of the series, Sebastian, Chief of Security of the Columbian Military Complex, captures and interrogates Marianne, a Gaean spy. He conceals evidence so as to shield her from harm. She agrees to engage with him in sexual exchanges involving the infliction of pain, so that he’ll let her see Merrill, her wounded brother. Over four weeks, Sebastian cleverly conditions the repressed Gaean, who loses her inhibitions. Her hatred of Sebastian prevents her from growing emotionally attached to him.

After Merrill gets exchanged for Simon, Sebastian paroles Marianne. Engaged in a brutally stressful program of work and study, she excels academically. She battles despair after learning that the data she secured at such cost just lost its strategic value. At term’s end, Sebastian offers the exhausted woman a full scholarship, which she accepts.

Will Sebastian learn the explosive secret Marianne managed to conceal from him? Will her lover eventually tire of her, as she now fears? What will happen to her when the war ends?

In this second half of the sixth book of the series, Marianne marries Sebastian, now a teaching fellow at the University and a consultant to the Ministry of Internal Security. Bianca requests Sebastian’s help when she gets victimized by a blackmailer. Sebastian and Basil lay a trap for the blackmailer/murderer, who escapes along a route Marianne traces. Threatened anew, Bianca again appeals to Sebastian, who duels and kills Dominic, a man who extorted credit from her. Marianne proves to Sebastian that she places unshakable trust in his word.

Basil and Sebastian reluctantly ask Marianne to infiltrate the headquarters of a radical group opposed to free trade, in hopes of preventing the highly placed criminal for whom the blackmailer/murderer works from blasting the fragile peace now existing between Gaea and Columbia. Will the daring infiltrator outfox the dangerous adversary who captures her? Will she succeed in her mission to find and transmit to Sebastian crucial evidence incriminating the plotters? And if she does, what effect will her feat produce in her marital relationship?

In this seventh book of the series, Aubrey, brother of Islara, a female broker, unwittingly causes Regan, a Second Corps Captain turned broker, a huge financial loss. To protect Aubrey, Islara marries Regan. Regan hires her, and treats her as his intellectual equal. Islara enjoys a new life spiced with exciting professional challenges.

Orwell, a shady investor, threatens Tanner, owner of a ship Regan purchases. Regan buys Davison Engineering, which angers Orwell. Islara unearths crucial evidence. Thugs wound both Tanner and Samson, Regan’s former lieutenant. Regan, Islara and Samson meet Orwell and his associate Babcock aboard Tanner’s ship. After Babcock incapacitates Regan, Islara foils Orwell, and Regan overcomes Babcock. When Regan and Samson suffer wounds in a later battle, Islara prevents Regan from bleeding to death. The attacks continue after Orwell’s death. A bomb goes off in the entry to Regan’s quarters.

Will Regan and his friends finally discover the identity of the shadowy “Number One?” Will Islara learn the cause of Regan’s sexual dysfunction, and attain happiness in her unorthodox marriage?

In this first volume of the two-volume eighth novel of the series, Lacey, formerly a captain in Arlen’s Special Force, finds life as a wealthy ship-owner boring. Lacey becomes Adrienne’s lover, displacing Marcus, Minister of Internal Resources. Persuaded by Neville, First Minister, to host a gathering of merchant-spacers whom Arlen and Signe wish to meet, Lacey does Signe a favor. Marcus directs the Co-Commanders to Cyril’s, at an hour when Lacey customarily escorts Adrienne there. Faced with a socially incendiary situation, Arlen reacts in a way that stuns those watching.

After Signe offers Lacey an advantageous shipping opportunity, Lacey marries Adrienne. Provoked into dueling Yancey’s second officer, Lacey prevails. Brendan, a Gaean industrialist to whom Signe recommends Lacey, discovers that Lacey married a courtesan, but divines why Signe condoned his act. Lacey meets a former enemy, and behaves gallantly. Jess proves herself Adrienne’s friend. Adrienne achieves an economic breakthrough, infuriating Marcus.

Will Marcus’s plot to kill Lacey and Adrienne, steal their ship, and blast the accord between Gaea and Columbia succeed?

In this second half of the eighth book of the series, Lacey hires four Gaean women and two Gaean men when he buys another ship. Adrienne fears that if these likeable new shipmates discover that she was once a courtesan, they will withdraw their friendship. When a misunderstanding arises between Liam and Hilary, Adrienne reconciles the pair.

Lacey duels Yancey, the fugitive who plotted to steal his ship and kill his crew. Wounded, Lacey yet prevails. Thurston, Lacey’s Gaean medic, proves his worth. Lacey clashes combatively with Adrienne over the invalid’s need to eat soft foods. Loser in the battle of wills, Lacey seethes until Liam and Thurston succeed in cheering the Captain.

When Adrienne applies for a license to sell parts in Gaea, Anthony, a Gaean, attempts to blackmail her into withdrawing her application, by threatening to inform Lacey’s Gaean crewmembers that she was formerly a courtesan.

Will Lacey’s Gaean crewmembers cease being friends with the ex-courtesan? Will Adrienne succeed in getting the license? Will Lacey survive his next duel?

Having fallen deeply in love with his Gaean prisoner of war, Michael, Captain of a Columbian crew stranded on an abandoned space station, worries constantly about what he knows will happen to Cleo when their improvised escape vehicle arrives in Columbia. Michael secretly weighs implementing a wild, fanciful plan that could solve his problems as well as Cleo’s. Cleo dreads being sentenced to a long term in a penal workforce, and fears that seven people will eventually pay a bitter emotional price for her having fallen in love with six men.

An accident that results Cleo’s suffering an injury sparks responses from her six comrades that deepen the bonding among all seven people. As jealous of Nigel as Nigel is of him, Michael yet concedes that the new accord between Nigel and Cleo removed a major obstacle to the success of his wild plan. When Cleo organizes a party to celebrate Leonard’s birthday, she finds that a wholly unexpected but most welcome boost to Marvin’s self-esteem flows out of a suggestion she offered Michael.

Six men attack the perilous task of rigging the tether and gear that will allow the escape vehicle to spin, thereby generating artificial gravity. Marvin’s skill at flying remote-controlled objects proves crucial. A terrifying accident injures Michael, produces a puzzling response in Nigel, and puts Marvin’s skill to the ultimate test. When Michael’s nerves fray almost to the breaking point, disaster gets averted in a most astonishing manner. At the end of a harrowing week, seven comrades rejoice at having all survived, and marvel that liftoff is now imminent.

This action-filled narrative forms the second volume of the ninth novel in a series of nine books portraying an ongoing saga of futuristic action, adventure and romance.
Four Earthyears before Signe drives Norman’s force of invaders off Gaea, Michael, Captain of a six-man Columbian military scientific team, docks a mortally crippled ship on a Gaean space station occupied by a team of civilian researchers. The Columbians capture a female Gaean life-support engineer, but fail to force Cleo to reveal the location of the sole escape vehicle, before her comrades lift. Determined to retain control of his men, Michael makes Cleo part of his crew, and arranges to share her sexually with his five crewmen.

Cleo defuses Conrad’s anger, befriends Leonard, puzzles over Marvin’s behavior, finds a refuge in Justin, and lives in dread of the final night she must spend with Nigel, Michael’s cruel lieutenant, who hates her. On that night, she musters courage enough to win the Lieutenant’s grudging admiration. Affectionate, outgoing, seared by tragic personal loss, Cleo grows to care deeply for Leonard, the youngest crewman, Conrad, a hard-bitten spacer, Justin, a compassionate medic, Marvin, a social misfit, and even for Michael, whose ability to lead wins her admiration.

Nigel’s jealousy of Michael’s higher rank and ability to dominate becomes reinforced by jealousy of Michael’s seeming ability to secure Cleo’s full regard. Cleo fears that Nigel, a notorious duelist, will challenge and kill Michael. The cumulative strains wreak serious damage on Cleo’s emotional balance. When an incendiary crisis occurs, irremediable disaster gets narrowly averted in a wholly astonishing manner.

This action-filled narrative forms the first volume of the ninth novel in a series of nine books portraying an ongoing saga of futuristic action, adventure and romance.
As launch approaches, Michael initiates changes necessary for the implementation of his wild plan designed to keep Cleo safe. He announces that since the voyage home could take an Earthyear, seven people will engage in activities intended to keep them productively busy. Each will engage in pure research on a project of his choice, and six will offer courses to Leonard, who lacks an advanced degree. That announcement generates a huge surge of excitement. The crewmembers scour the station, hunting for scientific equipment they’ll need.

Michael and Marvin perform the direly risky launch of the escape vessel now called the Phoenix. The ship flies like the mythical bird. As worried as the Captain regarding what could happen to Cleo upon their return, Nigel persuades her to undergo the demanding physical training routinely given to military recruits. Once again, he sparks an outburst of virulent anger in Cleo, but this time, his reasoned explanation of his motives dissolves her ire.

Michael places Nigel in charge of designing a fitness program. The Lieutenant’s proposal shocks the Captain to his core. Nigel volunteers an explanation of the factors that have altered the emotions driving him, further shocking Michael. The two men achieve an understanding that forms the start of a genuine friendship. At long last, Michael makes the eloquent appeal to his crew that he planned almost from the start, regarding the wild plan guaranteed to alter all their lives. Breathlessly, he awaits their response.

This action-filled narrative forms the third volume of the ninth novel in a series of nine books portraying an ongoing saga of futuristic action, adventure and romance.
When many Americans prominent in the fields of science, math or technology mysteriously vanish, two NSA agents, Ruthanne Carter and Larry Tracker, investigate the disappearances. They conclude that an alien “Entity” is abducting persons with certain abilities and transporting them to a parallel universe. When Ruthanne vanishes, Larry, realizing that the Entity snatched her, voluntarily gets himself abducted.

Ryan Bigelow, the first person to vanish, awakens within a mysterious, shimmering dome. He emerges to find himself in a wild, primitive area that features an ancient, abandoned stone city. Bigelow exercises a remarkable talent for leadership as new arrivals, including Ruthanne and Larry, emerge daily from the dome. The Entity contacts the abductees by speaking through Ruthanne. When the horrified listeners learn just what the Entity is and discover what he wants, they assert themselves, despite knowing that he can kill them instantly. Refusing to be intimidated, they find weaknesses they can exploit in his mental makeup. The abductees negotiate boldly with the Entity. Finally, they devise a means by which they hope they can outwit the murderous alien.
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