Showing posts with label Enemy Storm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Enemy Storm. Show all posts

Friday, October 16, 2020

Wishful Thinking

 

What I wish I had from my books - easy. Edie's Iskant - her ship. It's completely tricked out. I might hope for better food stores than she has, but that's about it. Of course, I'd just go zipping around space and get myself lost. It's a one and a half person ship, meaning it's designed for one but can support more in a pinch. I wouldn't be interested in the pinch part. This pandemic-enforced-togetherness thing has me all about the isolation and not-another-person-alive-within-miles vibe of Edie's boat. 

A close second would be the medical that exists in this series. Medicine isn't generally painful in my world. It might not be able to cure everything, but it's pretty darned good. I'm saying this after having my first nerve block for migraines done, and let me just say yeowch. Those injections in the face got my attention in the worst way, so I could do with some painless medicine at this point. 

 What would you want from any of the books you've read?

Friday, April 24, 2020

I May Have a Reading Problem


Enemy Storm is available for preorder from Amazon. We should see more preorder links come available shortly. We all know the 'zon likes to beat everyone else to the punch. This is book three of the Chronicles of the Empire SFR series. Unlike Enemy Within (book one) and Enemy Games (book two) this one hasn't been published before now. Official release date is June 10. 

Reading
I love to read. Always have. I hope I always will. I love it enough that when I was in sixth or seventh grade, I made a pact with my best friend. We signed up for a speed reading course. We then spent several days in a cramped, dark room with a bunch of airmen learning to not subvocalize while we read. However, I have a pretty serious problem with reading, too. Once I start a book that's good, I don't stop. You know all those memes that go around about what kind of person you are based on how you mark you place in a book? I laugh. Cause I rarely need to mark my place in a book. I read. And read. And read. To the detriment of sleep. And chores. I will grudgingly get up to feed the cats and scoop their boxes. But other than that, the rest of the world can just take care of itself for the few hours it's going to take me to get through whatever I'm reading. 

So I try to save reading for rewards. I finish writing a novel, I get to binge read a book or three. I'm like most other people are with Netflix series. Don't get me wrong. A book has to hit my reader buttons in order to merit that kind of attention. A book either makes me turn pages like a freak, or I DNF. There is some gray area in there, but it's not much. Life is too short to finish meh books. The biggest fun I get to have is beta reading other writer's books. Second to that, is finding an author whose writing lights me up. I really don't care what the genre is. Right now, I'm still reading my way through all of the new-to-me, under-represented authors who were promoted in the midst of the last RWA crisis. Some have been really good, and some have not been my cup. But that's the way with everything, I feel. At least I'm still reading. When I'm not on deadline.

What book have you read that surprised you into liking it? (My example - I thought I would hate To Kill a Mockingbird because we *had* to read it for school. Ended up loving it. What's yours?)

Friday, April 10, 2020

Spare Me the Antihero

Houston, we have a release date. On June 10, the third book in my SFR series Chronicles of the Empire comes out. The first NEW novel in this series in nine long years. Seriously overdue.



It's never a good day when a radioactive hunk of starship nearly drops on your head.

The Claugh Empire attacked Edie's planet fifteen years ago, murdered her parents, and left the teen for dead. So when a wrecked Claugh starship interrupts a salvage mission, she's torn between revenge and rescuing survivors—especially the stirring captain with an uncanny ability to rekindle her dead emotions. Something about him inflames the urge to come to terms with her past. But the mercenary in Edie doubts trusting a former enemy will bring her redemption or put old prejudices to bed. When a new common enemy, hell-bent on wiping out humanoids, threatens to bury them all, the captain tries to convince her a mutual coalition might breach their political impasse—all for the greater good.

I think I have the tropes SO covered with this book. Enemies to lovers. A heroine who flirts momentarily with being an antihero which is funny, because when we talk about tropes I don't want to see, the antihero is right at the top. I wish I could breakdown why I hate antiheroes so much. Maybe it having to read A Clockwork Orange in high school. I wanted every single character in that book dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. And not by their own hands. I wanted them robbed of the agency they robbed others of. Apparently I am karma, and I have zero patience. Either way. It feels to me like antiheroes are either unwilling to learn and grow or are too stupid to do so. Therefore, in a just universe (and hey, in fiction, you GET to have a just universe dammit! That's why it's fiction!) they'd all die because death is the result of failing to adapt, right? I suppose this all makes sense since we currently have a cadre of antiheroes running our government like it's a clown car and I have certain intense feelings about that. (Please let me live long enough to vote in November!)

So yeah. Antiheroes. Won't read 'em. If I want to keep company with willfully ignorant jerks I'll turn on the news, thanks.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Marcella's Top Three of 2019

In the liminal space between Christmas past and the New Year, we're posting our best three of 2019. Here are mine. Three new book covers in one year. I couldn't ask for anything better.






Friday, November 8, 2019

Snippets from the Cutting Room Floor

I'm breaking rules this week. I'm on a pair of deadlines that require every last moment of concentration. So rather than 100 word flash fiction, I'm offering up a snippet of a deleted scene. This cutting from the editing room floor is from Enemy Storm, book three of the SFR series. Enjoy knowing you'll never see it again.



            "Let me get this straight,” I said. “We’re at war. We’re losing ground. My people are dying. You're stringing me up after a short mockery of a trial, and we're playing paper dolls?"
            The queen met my gaze. "We’re en route to the front line. I’ve done everything I can until we get there. So have you. We are engaging in a bit of theater."
            "You want to present me as something I'm not?"
            She tossed a fierce grin my way. "That's one way of looking at it. The other is that it behooves us to provide an image in sharp contrast to my people's assumptions regarding you."
            Awareness hit like an explosion. "You need me to look harmless."
            "Oh no," she said, amusement in her eyes. "That would be impossible. So we shift the narrative."
            “You’re stripping me bare and remaking me in . . .
            “Yes,” Eilod said, the word forceful, her gaze intent on mine in the mirror. “That is exactly what I’m doing. It serves my purpose to change what people see when you walk into that tribunal.”
            “What? Defenseless? Fragile?”
            “Vulnerable,” Eilod said. “You will stir hearts and awaken the protective instincts of citizens across the empire. I will paint a vivid picture the fourteen year old you’d been when soldiers killed your parents. Parents across the empire will look at their own children and contemplate abandoning them to death in order to protect them the way your parents died to protect you.”




Friday, September 27, 2019

Who Can Know - Representation in Fiction

In acting school many eons ago, an instructor asked the class whether we thought actors had to be Russian in order to play Chekov. We scoffed en masse and said no! Or course not. We'd studied history and first person accounts of the end days of Tsarist Russia. With a little imagination, we could grasp the sensibilities of the time and place. No problem.

We were naïve.

We had our noses rubbed in our naiveté when a group from one of the big national theaters in Russia came to Seattle on tour. They did a show (in English) we'd all done several times ourselves. So we recognized the scenes, the situations, and the text. Yet, these people who'd lived in Russia all their lives and who'd absorbed the history of their nation and their people as lived experience, brought a deep well of nuance and resonating emotion to the play we'd never achieved as Americans and Canadians trying to reach for every sliver of meaning underlying Chekov's script. Granted. These people were professionals who had hundreds, if not thousands of shows under their belts. We were students. We were still humbled by our presumption that it'd be easy for us to get at all the richness of a script written about a culture and experience not our own.

Representation in fiction is, to me, entirely the same. No author can assume they can either know or imagine someone else's experience. The only thing any of us has to build from is what we know. Most of us have experienced alienation and deliberate attempts to cut us. Junior high, anyone? We can extrapolate from that and create characters who can speak that experience. But in no way can I conflate angsty preteen loneliness into any of the horror of having been a slave in the American South. Or a mother of color in the modern US having to bury a child who'd been shot by police. Or a mother separated from her child at a border. If I tried, I'd be that naïve college kid again, believing that another human being's deep pain was somehow fathomable.

Pretty damned arrogant.

As it is, I write from an extremely privileged position. Writing science fiction, I get to pretend that all cultures, all colors, all genders, no genders, nonbinary, and all orientations just are. I get to pretend that no one polices anyone else's existence other than being at war over resources/territory. There are still cultural clashes, yes. In fact that's part of the theme of Enemy Games. Jayleia comes from one culture and species base. Damen comes from entirely another. His species didn't evolve from apes. They evolved from a feline-like species. Their culture is based on that fact. He's openly bisexual, but no one bothers him or ostracizes him for it. The story touches more on the cultural differences between Jay and him and the main theme of learning to define family as something other than bloodlines.

In Enemy Storm, the heroine is deaf. It does play into the story and there are instances of prejudice and deliberate attempts to alienate her because of it. It's not the point of the story so I don't hit it hard (because not my wheelhouse), but it does show up. Not because I feel like I have anything unique or helpful to say about it, but because of who my characters are. That's where I think maybe one key lies - who are these people? What do they want? What do they need in the course of the story to step into becoming better versions of themselves? Edie has prejudices of her own to work through, so it was useful for her to face someone else's about her if she was going to decide she didn't want to be someone who judged other people based on nothing but where they had come from.

Will I make mistakes? Likely. I hope not, naturally. I do the best I can, and I check in with the communities I represent just to make sure I'm not being a dick. But what I Do Not Want is to pretend the future is all one color. All one orientation. Or culture. Or belief system. If the Chronicles of the Empire as a whole has an over arching theme, it is that diversity is strength and beauty. So I'll keep writing people and writing them as self-actualized beings as much as possible. Even when they aren't, strictly speaking, *people*. And I'll keep writing multiple skin colors, races, specific adaptations, sexual orientations, and identities.

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:

ENEMY WITHIN

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.

ENEMY GAMES

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.)



Friday, November 3, 2017

Kicked in the Teeth by My Own Protagonists




Here's our innocent, but intrepid author, as kitted out and prepared for this pair of protagonists as possible. And yet.


This is the pair of protagonists. When they aren't beating the crap out of one another, it's the author they're pummeling. As a result, this book looks like this: