Saturday, February 17, 2018

Backlist Love For Wreck of the Nebula Dream 'Titanic in Space'

My first two books were published six years ago, in January 2012 (Priestess of the Nile from Carina Press, a Harlequin imprint) and Wreck of the Nebula Dream in March 2012, self-published. I decided for this post, since we're midway between the two, to feature Wreck today, partly because scifi romance and self-publishing have been my primary career path since that time. Although I did meet Jeffe as a direct result of having been published by Carina…and she introduced me to Marcella…and here I am on SFF7 (although that development happened a bit later.)!

I enjoyed writing about the Nebula Dream so much (although I destroyed her) that I’ve since written several books set on a more fortunate interstellar spaceliner, the Nebula Zephyr.

Here's the background of Why I Wrote Wreck. (Portions of this post first appeared on Pauline B. Jones' blog.):

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been fascinated by stories set during a disaster – the events, how could the characters have known or sensed what was about to happen, what do they do, what could they have done, what would I do…Growing up in Upstate New York, the closest I personally got to disaster as a child was probably digging unreinforced snow forts!

But, the family legend is that my maternal grandfather had a cousin who survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. (I’ve since decided after a lot of searching around on the internet that she was probably not a relative, despite the unusual last name.) And as a result, I was thoroughly intrigued with that disaster in particular. I think after I’d seen the 1950’s movies about the sinking – “A Night to Remember,” which goes pretty much straight from the nonfiction book of the same name, and “Titanic,” a sudsy tragedy with Barbara Stanwyck – I was thoroughly hooked. (Saw them on late night TV folks, not in the 1950’s theaters LOL.). I devoured any account of the sinking. I read books and sought out movies about other disasters as well, both natural and manmade, like Pompeii and the Sepoy Rebellion and Apollo 13…

But Titanic is the epitome of disaster. Premonitions. Too much speed  on a clear night. Too much trust in the unsinkable technology. So many people, too few lifeboats.  The wireless operators staying at their posts, talking to the world on the internet of its time, Marconi wireless, yet no one could help. The Carpathia driving through the Atlantic, knowing they’d arrive too late. The Californian ten miles away, able to save everyone, yet unaware of the tragedy.  The musicians playing. The brave officers.  The lovers separated. Or staying on board together to drown.  The popular captain who’d never actually been in a sinking situation. The corporate executive who steps off the sinking ship into the last lifeboat and spends the rest of his life reviled. The steerage passengers, kept below too long. The rich, the famous, the children… I mean, the dramatic elements go on and on, yet it was all very real, and extremely sad.

Now I’m a writer obviously and I’ve done so much research into Titanic over the years, you might expect me to have written a novel set on that ship. Well, but for two things. First of all, I feel Titanic is complete. Not to say I won’t keep reading books about it and watching movies and TV mini series set aboard the ship, but as a novelist, it feels done. My Muse isn’t inspired to go there. Which leads me to the second point – my Muse likes to write science fiction adventure/romance, with Special Forces operators and smart, gutsy women, in dangerous situations. So it was probably inevitable that all that Titanic inspiration would turn into the catastrophe that strikes my Nebula Dream in the far future. I just had to figure out why my military hero would be traveling on such a ship. Once I knew that answer, I was off to write.

I looked to the events of Titanic for inspiration, not to do a literal retelling out in interstellar space. My plot includes science fictional things that would never happen in the cold North Atlantic. (No spoilers here!) But I also deliberately included two children among the small party trying to survive – Paolo and Gianna, who for me symbolized the many children who sadly perished on Titanic. There are some other subtle nods to the events of Titanic and a few outright similarities – the Nebula Dream is the newest, most advanced cruise liner of her time, with new engine technology, her captain and the company’s representative out to make a speed record at all costs…until….well, that would be  the story, now wouldn’t it?

The blurb: Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, space marine Captain Nick Jameson is ready for ten relaxing days, and hoping to forget his last disastrous mission behind enemy lines. He figures he’ll gamble at the casino, take in the shows, maybe even have a shipboard fling with Mara Lyrae, the beautiful but reserved businesswoman he meets.

All his plans vaporize when the ship suffers a wreck of Titanic proportions. Captain and crew abandon ship, leaving the 8000 passengers stranded without enough lifeboats and drifting unarmed in enemy territory. Aided by Mara, Nick must find a way off the doomed ship for himself and several other innocent people before deadly enemy forces reach them or the ship’s malfunctioning engines finish ticking down to self destruction.

But can Nick conquer the demons from his past that tell him he’ll fail these innocent people just as he failed to save his Special Forces team? Will he outpace his own doubts to win this vital race against time?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Backlist Love: HEY! Where'd It Go?

Should anyone attempt to search out my first two books, they'll find the books are no longer available. This is because the rights reverted to me. Yay. The books are undergoing a minor face lift while I write book three. Then books four and five.

I no longer own the awesome covers Berkley gave Enemy Within and Enemy Games. Had to go out and get my own. Which I did. Haven't shown them to anyone else, but what say we plunk the new ones down here for your perusal? The covers aren't final. So if you have suggestions, bring 'em. (besides getting the stock photo watermark out of the Enemy Games cover) The series title it going to change to The Chekydran War, since this series follows the arc of said war.


The third book is tentatively titled ENEMY STORM. No cover for that one yet. It is THIS CLOSE to going off for edits. Not that I'm anxious for that.

On the off chance anyone has forgotten what this pair of SFR books was about, here are the descriptions:


An escalating intergalactic cold war.
A  starship captain clinging to her shattered past. A pirate with an empire to protect .
An inhuman adversary.
And a threat beyond the scope of the imagination. 

Enemy Within

After a stint in an alien prison followed by a torpedoed military career, Captain Ari Idylle has to wonder why she even bothered to survive. Stripped of command and banished to her father’s scientific expedition to finish a PhD she doesn’t want, Ari never planned to languish quietly behind a desk. She wasn’t built for it, either. But when pirates commandeer her father’s ship, Ari once again becomes a prisoner—this time of pirate leader Cullin Seaghdh, who may not be at all who he pretends to be. As far as Cullin is concerned, the same goes for Ari.

Ari’s past association with aliens puts her dead center in Cullin’s sights. If she hasn’t been brainwashed and returned as a spy, then she must be part of a traitorous alliance endangering billions of lives. He can’t afford the desire she fires within him. His mission comes first: that he stop at nothing, including destroying her, to uncover the truth of her mission.


Besieged by an inhuman adversary.
Betrayed by their own kind.
A scientist and a spy, sworn enemies allied by danger, bound by passion. 

Enemy Games 

Kidnapped while combating a devastating plague, Jayleia Durante fights to resist Major Damen Sindrivik, an officer from a rival government’s spy corps. With her spymaster father missing, and mercenaries hot on her trail, Jayleia must align with the magnetic, charming, manipulative spy. She must not lose sight of the fact that his single-minded agenda is for the protection of the empire - not her, not her people. 

Damen knows a shadowy network of traitors has allied with the violent, insectoid Chekydran, and that Jayleia’s father holds the key to dismantling that web. She becomes his only lead in a circuitous round of hide and seek. Too bad his instincts tell him Jayleia is lying to him. Nearly as much as she's lying to herself. 

Unless Jayleia can decide what matters most: ending the war or Damen’s love, they’ll become the prey of the traitors they stalk, and one species’ civil war will consume the galaxy.

Don't forget to let me know whether you love or hate the new covers (and why, please, if you hate them - so I can fix them.)

Thursday, February 15, 2018


With the release of Lady Henterman's Wardrobe just a few weeks away, you still have time to read The Holver Alley Crew so you are up to speed when Lady Henterman comes out.  And why wouldn't you want to fall in love with Asti & Verci Rynax, and the rest of the crew? 
Look what people said about it:

From the Bibliosanctum:
Certainly, fans of caper stories should be making The Holver Alley Crew their number one priority. A strong start right out of the gate, this series opener is a well-written and brilliantly executed example of the fantasy heist genre, and of all the novels written by Marshall Ryan Maresca so far, this might be my favorite one yet! The Rynax brothers and their crew are so good at their jobs that they will steal your heart from the very first page, and I simply can’t wait to see what the gang will be up to next.
From The Speculative Herald:
Maresca crafted a fresh and thrilling heist story that moves at a great pace. This is the type of book you just feel the need to read cover to cover, looking/wishing for the pause button on real life until you finish.
From JBrondar Book Reviews:
This is my first book from Marshall Ryan Maresca and I loved it. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next books in the series. I will be on the lookout for Maresca’s other books too.
There’s some fantastic planning scenes, as the team pieces together exactly what they’re going to do and when. Then there’s the tension of the job, and this is something which is brought out to perfection – each action is watchmaker-precise, and each failure can lead to a cascade of other failures – watching the team anticipate and deal with these (or not) is agonizing and wonderful.
The neighborhood of North Seleth and Holver Alley are well-written and thoroughly described environments that I could visualize being in any city. The alley is a close-knit community where the neighbors help each other out and everybody knows everybody else.  The reader gets to be immersed in this little segment of Maradaine- bars, churches, sewers, the chemist shop, a bakery… you name it. This whole world has depth equivalent to the most well-known and loved fantasy works on offer.  The final verdict: You’ve GOT to read this book!

Mixing high fantasy and urban fantasy, The Holver Alley Crew is the first novel of Maresca’s third interconnected series set in the fantasy city of Maradaine.

The Rynax brothers had gone legit after Asti Rynax’s service in Druth Intelligence had shattered his nerves, and marriage and fatherhood convinced Verci Rynax to leave his life of thievery.  They settled back in their old neighborhood in West Maradaine and bought themselves a shop, eager for a simple, honest life. Then the Holver Alley Fire incinerated their plans. With no home, no shop, and no honest income—and saddled with a looming debt—they fall back on their old skills and old friends.

With a crew of other fire victims, Asti and Verci plan a simple carriage heist, but the job spirals out of control as they learn that the fire was no accident. Lives in Holver Alley were destroyed out of a sadistic scheme to buy the land.  Smoldering for revenge, burdened with Asti’s crumbling sanity, the brothers lead their crew of amateurs and washouts to take down those responsible for the fire, no matter the cost.

Available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and more!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Backlist Love: LARCOUT

Often, authors are so focused on pimping our latest work that we sometimes neglect the great works we've already published. So, this Valentine's Day, I'm giving a little love to my first book, a high fantasy novel, LARCOUT.

Fire Born, Blood Blessed: Book 1

Blood-beings can be chattel or char.

Fire seethes through the veins of every Morsam, demanding domination and destruction. Combat is a hobby. Slaughtering the inferior blood-beings is entertainment. Life is a repetitious cycle in the prison fashioned by the gods. But mix-race abomination Vadrigyn os Harlo suspects the key to freedom lies in safeguarding the blood-beings; until her blood-born mother uses foreign magic to turn the Morsam against her. Betrayed, bound, and broken, Vadrigyn struggles against the dying of her essential fire. Yet the ebbing flames unleash the dormant magic of her mixed heritage…

The magic to destroy free will.

Seized by the gods and dumped in the desert nation of Larcout to stop history from repeating, Vadrigyn discovers her mother’s legacy of treason and slaughter still festers. To survive the intrigues of the royal court, the roiling undercurrents of civil war, and the gods themselves, Vadrigyn must unravel the conspiracy behind her mother’s banishment. But manipulating free will unleashes a torrent of consequences.

If she fails the gods, she will return to the Morsam prison, stripped of all magic and all hope.

If she succeeds, she can rule a nation.

Kasthu. Roborgu. Inarchma.

Live. Learn. Burn.

Buy It Now in eBook & Paperback: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Overdrive (for Libraries)

Read an Excerpt: Chapter 1

Read the Reviews: Goodreads | #SPFBO 2016 Finalist

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Backlist Valentine: PETALS & THORNS

This week we're giving a valentine to the books of years' past and sharing a title from our backlists. A little love for those publications that might even predate the creation of this blog!

For mine, I'm sharing my first standalone fiction publication. It was my first sale as a novelist, even though it's technically a novella at 81 pages, and I originally published it with Loose ID. (Now sadly going out of business.) It's an erotic fantasy - a BDSM Beauty and the Beast - and is still one of my best-selling titles ever. Also, I originally published it under the pseudonym "Jennifer Paris," the one time I used that name. When I got the rights back and self-published the book (also my first venture into self-publishing), I did it under my own name. A bit of history there.

In exchange for her father’s life, Amarantha agrees to marry the dreadful Beast and be his wife for seven days. Though the Beast cannot take Amarantha’s virginity unless she begs him to, he can and does take her in every other way. From the moment they are alone together, the Beast relentlessly strips Amarantha of all her resistance. 

 If Amarantha can resist her cloaked and terrifying husband, she gains his entire fortune and will be allowed to return to her family and a normal life. But the Beast seduces her at every turn, exposing, binding, tormenting, and pleasuring Amarantha until she no longer knows her own deepest desires. Increasingly desperate to break the curse that chains his humanity, the Beast drives Amarantha past every boundary. But her desire for a normal life may jeopardize the love that will save them both.

As an interesting aside, here's this article on how Facebook is "flattening" content and reducing the ability of creators to share quality stuff. I'm trying to share it widely in places that AREN'T Facebook.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

New Release Day MATEER A #SciFi Romance Novel

I'm going to take a pass on the week's topic of why people aren't writing or don't write and how to move beyond that, because my fellow SFF7 authors have covered it brilliantly all week AND because I have a New Release today!

MATEER: A Badari Warrior SciFi Romance (Sectors New Allies Series Book 2)

The Blurb:
Megan Garrison, a doctor at the Sectors Amarcae 7 colony, goes to sleep one night as usual only to wake up in her nightgown, strapped to a table in an alien lab, destined to be the subject of terrifying experiments. Granted a brief reprieve, Megan and the other kidnapped humans are released in the middle of a forestlike enclosure on this unknown world and told to survive as best they can for now.
Her only hope is Mateer, the genetically engineered alien warrior imprisoned with the humans. He knows more than he’s sharing about this planet, their captors and the fate of other humans, including perhaps her own sisters. Turns out everyone from her colony has been kidnapped by the Khagrish, a ruthless race of alien scientists. Working for enemies of the human-led Sectors, the Khagrish have created the Badari to be super soldiers.
Mateer, a tough Badari enforcer, now a rebel, is captured while infiltrating the lab to help his pack bring it down. He’s also been ordered by his leaders to search for Megan and save her life at all costs. Tortured by the enemy, he’s offered one chance at survival – convince Megan to become his mate and assist the Khagrish with further experiments.
As the situation at the lab grows worse, Megan struggles against her deep attraction to Mateer, while she does her best to shield the other humans from the terrible Khagrish experiments. For his part, Mateer knows she really is his fated mate and despairs of being able to keep her safe, as the rebel attack is delayed and she fights the truth of their bond.
Will they be able to work together to defeat Khagrish plans and preserve human lives until the promised rescue happens? And what of their future together – will Megan accept Mateer as her true mate, or walk away if she’s freed?
This is the second book in a new scifi romance series and each novel has a satisfying Happy for Now ending for the hero and heroine, not a cliffhanger. Some overarching issues do remain unresolved in each book since this is a series but romance always wins the day in my novels!
Buy Links: Amazon     iBooks   Other buy links to come

Friday, February 9, 2018

Why You're Not Writing

Just a little blue heron for you today.

Full disclosure: This week's question was mine. That's because so many people tell me they want to write a book but they have no idea where to start. Or that they actually started the book and then read one on the same subject that was so good and they could never, ever do that well so they quit and gave up writing. I have an email file full of responses bleed pain all over my Outlook folders from people who knew what they wanted but believed themselves inadequate to the task of going and getting what they wanted.

Most of these people are women. (I did ask guys, too, I swear! But guys mostly denied every wanting to write books. Of the few who responded with wanting to write, every last one had also given up.)

So. Why aren't these people writing that book?

1. Because they're confused about what writing is.
Those of us who DO write have come to figure out that it's a multiphase process that in its first stage requires you to regress to your earliest and lamest excuse for language in order to get the bones of a story on a page. Don't believe me? Someday we'll auction off sneak peeks at a couple of my first drafts. (The price of my humiliation will be high.) They only barely qualify as language. Most of it has no caps and no punctuation. They're heavy on 'I know what I meant, even if no one else does.' That draft gets edited into something more mature. That draft goes to beta and then gets rewritten again . . . So yeah. The people notably NOT writing thought they could sit down and be, if not brilliant, at least understood from the moment their fingers touched a keyboard. They were deeply disappointed in themselves when that didn't happen. I send these people to Julia Cameron The Artist's Way - something that will ease them into viewing writing as a process.

2. They're comparing their raw drafts to someone else's finished product.
Most of us have been there. Let's pretend I was working on an 'an alien comes to earth and gets hooked up with a group of kids' story. And then ET came out. On the big screen. With a John Williams score and cinematography that plucked every emotional string I had and a few I didn't know I had. Where do you suppose that alien story *I* was working on went? Right. Straight under the bed. Get it back out. Write that alien. Write those kids. Ya know. If the plot is too much like ET, change it up. But your telling of the alien stranded on earth is going to be different because of your voice - that's what readers buy. Oh! You thought it was the story? Or your lovely prose? Nope. Not saying those things don't help - but no one cares if there's a typo on page 612. Your readers care whether your story connected with them emotionally. Did it make them feel anything? If yes, you win. If no, well, you won't likely sell many copies. Readers pay you to make them feel something. Lots of writers who write about writing address this. So I hand over my copies of Anne Lamott, and Stephen King.

3. They're afraid.
We live in a society that demands there be a right answer and a wrong answer. It is the basis of our educational system. It's etched pretty deeply into our psyches when we're young. Most of us have a dreadful relationship with failure. No matter how many inspirational memes we paste on the mirror telling us that failure means we're learning, we've internalized the message that failure means we're bad human beings. Even how we talk about it brands US as failures rather than our endeavors. (We say "I tried and failed" rather than "I tried and the thing I tried failed.") Writing fiction, by definition has no right and no wrong. There's only a story to be told. That's stepping pretty far outside societal conditioning there, pal, you sure you wanna leave the pavement that way?? So that aspect is scary enough. Then you have to deal with the fear of spending all that time and all that effort only to have everyone hate what you did. Or worse yet, roundly ignore it. Those things are pretty fail-y, aren't they? And that kind of perceived rejection is mighty threatening to a social beast like humans. I honestly don't have resources to offer on that one. Nike ads notwithstanding.

If you have any suggestions for assuaging or coping with that fear, I'd love to hear it. A couple of the women have glorious minds and amazing stories to tell. I'm invested in not letting the stories die with them.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Why You Aren't Writing That Novel

OK, time for some hard truths.  You haven't finished writing That Novel.  You've been talking about it for years, and you can visualize all the elements of it so easily.  You know it, back and forth, inside and out.  It's there, waiting.

But you haven't written it.

Why is that?

I could tell you it's about discipline-- and it is, no doubt.  It takes discipline, it takes putting your ass in the chair (or feet at the standing desk), and just plain doing the work.  It takes not going to that party, not binging that series, not spending yet another night refreshing Facebook every twenty minutes.  It takes just digging in and getting it done.

But most of you don't want to do that.
Here's the ugly truth, dear reader, and look deep inside yourself and ask yourself if this is why you haven't written That Novel.

You don't want to write a novel.  You want to have written it.

I get that.  I get wanting the glory of having it in your hands, being able to say, "Oh, I wrote a novel", but not having to do to the unsexy, daily-grind part.  I'm in the process of drafting my tenth novel (thirteenth if you count the ones that are sitting fallow on  hard drive), and I always wish there was a way to fast-forward this phase of it.  At this point, I know what I'm doing in terms of writing a novel, but it's still hard, grinding, go-down-to-the-word-mines work

And you're never going to write That Novel until you come to terms with that part of it, and get down to doing it. 

So what are you waiting for?