... Creating a Science Fiction Universe -- George Ochoa and Jeffrey Osier
This is a fairly old book and shows it in places (I particularly liked the "newfangled" references to dialup modems), but in others it is absolutely essential. It covers similar ground to the other two SF-writer books I've read, but provided me with some key information that I can use to concretely build my planets. The nice thing is, outside of the first non-Terran colony, I am completely flexible with both year-and-day length, general temperature, magnitude of stars ... having read some cool things, I really want a K star.
This book finally tossed me into the uncharted waters of my basic problem: I wanted a year length close enough to Earth's that Tau Ceti years / days / months could be "galactic time" without having to explain to people that characters are only 2/3rds as old in years, or 6/5ths, or ... unfortunately, while Sol is a G2 star, Tau Ceti is a G8 star. Several orders of magnitude lower. This means that ... well ... even accounting for changes in orbit speed, if the year is about the same length that's going to be one cold planet, baby.
I finally managed to solve it by dividing the year in half. Tau Ceti now has two year-pairs in a standard year; this is kind of nice because I'm going for a duality effect in the whole setting. However, this means that it receives about twenty-five percent more insolation. I can increase the ozone layer, interpolate heavier layers of galactic debris, increase ocean levels (which moderates temperature) and decrease axial tilt to cool it off, making it hotter than earth but still within the liveable paradise parameters I was seeking.
The sad part? It is highly unlikely any of my characters will set foot on this planet. It's backdrop.
Now if anyone actually read this here post of mine, I'll be impressed.
Back to gender speak! Then ... Judaism.
You read that right.