Showing posts with label SFR. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SFR. Show all posts

Friday, November 20, 2020

WIP Snippet - Book Four Chronicles of the Empire

 This book doesn't have a title yet. It'll be Enemy something or the other. I just haven't gotten to the something or other yet. The story is resisting pulling together and you know how happy that makes me. But. Like Dad has always liked to say, anything worth doing -- no. That's not the one. You know what? He doesn't have a saying for this. I do. Sometime writing is hard. It'll be worth it. Someday. Today's not that day. Tomorrow doesn't look so great, either. 

We're on an alien planet. Bad things are happening. While this is for book four, it the whole 'alien planet, bad things happening, pretty much describes all the openings of the books in my SFR series. Welcome.


          Perimeter guards on Anqorre had a distressing tendency to turn up dead, their body parts strewn all over the jungle. When they could be found at all. Since she hadn’t had the good grace to die in her first several firefights, putting her on sentry duty presented the brass with the next best opportunity for getting her killed without having to put a gun to her head themselves.

          Though, to be fair, that was likely next.

          Lightning flashed.

Ildri stopped walking. She glanced at the dark hulk of jungle. Rain swept the tops of the trees flat. The low roar did nothing to mask bone-shaking thunder. The squall had to be the outer bands of the incoming storm.

No one would sleep in the muddy, misery-plagued camp tonight. Good time to head for the supply ship.

          A man’s voice pinged her auditory sensors as if carried on the last rumble of 

thunder. "Godsdammit, I should have gills.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

New #Sci-Fi #Romance Release: INTERSTELLAR PLAGUE by Veronica Scott

We're celebrating our Saturday blogger Veronica Scott's latest Sci-Fi Romance release in her The Sectors series. Unlike our COVID-19 pandemic, this trip to the far, far future promises a Happily Ever After!


Newly graduated from a prestigious interstellar medical school, Dr. Saffia Mandell has been assigned to the Haven Two colony on the galaxy’s outer rim as the only doctor for some 2000 human residents. She’s counting the days until her five years there is up, trying to adjust to rural living after life in the crowded Inner Sectors and fighting her attraction to Chief Ranger Micah Navonn. She’s dreading the upcoming tourist season when the rich and pampered will descend on the planet for the scenic wonders and novel sports opportunities and no doubt inundate her little clinic but the colony depends on the seasonal income to survive.

>As the senior official for his people, the Calinurra, the indigenous inhabitants of Haven Two, Micah enforces the treaty, regulates the tourist permits, patrols the forests, and resists his fascination with Dr. Mandell. He never expected to be involved with a human woman and doesn’t want to believe in the concept of a fated mate. He wants to keep his life simple and isn’t ready for any long term commitment. Besides Saffia keeps proclaiming she’ll be leaving when her appointment is up in four and a half years so why should he risk his heart?

Then a ship arrives unexpectedly carrying a very ill little girl and soon the deadly virus is spreading through Haven Two. The colony authorities are desperate to cover up the problem to preserve the all-important tourist season and Saffia and Micah have to work together to battle the outbreak, the local administration, and their undeniable feelings for each other.

Can the colony survive? And will Micah and Saffia be able to move past their fears about entanglements to act on the mutual attraction?

BUY IT NOW:   Amazon   |   Apple Books   |   Kobo  |    Nook  |   Google Play


Last week, dear Reader, we were radio silent on the blog because there were voices with powerful messages who needed to be heard loudly and clearly without us adding to the background din. Demanding diversity, pursuing equality for all, and dismantling white supremacy are goals toward which we strive. Pride Month and the BLM Movement are reminders for us to use our privilege to promote diverse authors and artists. To that end, here are three intriguing fantasy books I can't wait to read:

FRESHWATER by Akwaeke Emezi: An Igbo girl is a living prison for vengeful gods who grow more powerful with every trauma their vessel endures on the journey from troubled child to empowered young woman. 

QUEEN OF THE CONQUERED by Kacen Callender: A fantasy murder mystery set in a colonized Caribbean with a Black noble using all the magic she possesses to stay alive and maybe even inherit a throne from a childless king.

DAUGHTERS OF NRI by Reni K Amayo: Twin child goddess separated when the old gods left the earth are raised as humans until each takes her own path to the villain king and the truths of family, power, and identity.

Friday, May 8, 2020

True Love, High Aventure, and Explosions: The Musical!

When I think of the musicals I've seen and the ones I've been in, I think of grand sweep tales (the ones I've seen) and the utterly silly (the ones I've been in). We won't talk about the show where I was painted blue and singing about a unicorn. Or the show where I sang a rhapsodic song about my pink Airstream trailer.


Musicals. I'm not sure how you score a science fiction romance. I mean. I suppose if someone could score Victor Hugo, there out to be a rousing score for Enemy Within. So long as it didn't end up sounding like Pirates of Penzance. I admit that like Alexia, I see SFR in a more cinematic ligh - - - WAAAAIT.

I write Space Opera. What if - stay with me here - WHAT IF I could get a Warner Brothers Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd What's Opera Doc adaptation of Enemy Within?? SIGN. ME. UP.

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. 

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, February 21, 2020

Political World Building

Political world building, next on Nov. . .no. Wait. I'm not PBS. Sorry. Still. We are examining the merits and deficits of governmental bodies in our world building.

The original question was president or monarch - I'd like to think that from a SF standpoint there are more options than that, but you wouldn't know it based on my work. My answer to the question is: Both. At the very least. Because in my main SFR series, I have at least four separate populations vying for territory and resources, I have more than one option for structuring governments.

Confession time. Never, ever in my life did I aspire to write political stories. At. All. Yet here I am, having painted myself into a corner because you can't write military-ish SFR without talking about the governments that send people into battle in the first place and the philosophies for which they're fighting. Whether for good or for ill.

Tagreth Federated Council - this is a presidential government and several chamber council system that knits a group of planets together into a pooled resource. It has draw backs because the seat of government shifts world every few years so that no one world gets all the economic advantage or becomes the seat of power. Until a ruthless, power-hungry man who thinks he's the only one with all the right answers gets hold of the reins. Things go bad fast. My heroes and heroines have to claw their way back up from the debris pile before they can do anything like damage control.

The Claugh nib Dovyyth Empire - this is a monarchy. The queen has her nobles council and her elected council of the people to which she's beholden, but she has very broad latitude, especially when it comes to serving the people. So you don't often see her cowering in a corner while the bad guys are attacking. She's usually out there on the front lines. She's more than a figurehead, less than a living god. If that makes any sense. She's young and open-minded about how a royal ought to go about ending a war. So she's willing to make alliances no one else would consider. It's earned her a few enemies. Some of them roost close to home.

The other three governments that I can think of in the books all operate based on councils. There may be a single leader at the front of that council. Or a trio. Or some number. But the point is that in SFR having just one person standing up in front saying, "This is how it's gonna be just because I say so." is only going to last as long as someone showing up with a laser pistol and really good aim. But give a population the feeling that they're represented and at least partially heard? They'll wait for someone else to rise against the government.

The only thing I wonder is whether the people in my made up worlds avoid answering the phone during election cycles the same way that I do.

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Dream List

Y'all, I just turned in The Book I Thought I'd Never Finish. Does that one count? No? Okay. Projects I want to work on:

1. For a decade I wanted to finish the arc of the SFR series I started in 2010. Now, thanks to The Wild Rose Press, I get to do that. We'll see whether it was worth the wait. At this point, there are only two books left to write - one for Colonel Kirthin Turrel and one for Her Majesty Queen Eilod Saoyrse. That's about all I can say about those books at this point.
2.  There are a couple of hot novellas that happen in the same story universe as the SFR novels. I have two of those stories at least half done. Now I want them finished. The sexy shorts are a lot of fun. I find them to be great palate cleansers after the bigger novels. But these guys don't have a contract. The novels do. So these two take a number and stand in line.
3. There's a little piece of weird sitting on my hard drive called The Curse of the Lorelei - It's spy versus spy during an oddly haunted Civil War. It's meant to be a slow burn romance that takes a couple of books to pay off. I have the first book done, but it needs a little finessing before it sees the light of day. But. Contract for other books, right? Again. This book takes a number and stands in line.

All of this is predicated on the notion that I never again have an idea that grabs me by the throat and threatens me into writing it.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Screwing with Your Characters' Heads

Apologies for a slightly tardy post. The entire development lost internet and the ISP spent the bulk of the day and night setting that straight. I hesitate to say much more lest this brief window of stability shatter.

Sex in my novels. Yes. I do write sex into most of my novels. The intensity varies based on the needs of the characters and their stories. So far my sex scenes swing from sweet to just shy of erotica.

As to when and how I use sex scenes, my intent when I write them is usually to mark passing a trust milestone for hero and heroine. But. When I look back at the scenes I've written, they almost always slant into being a means of prying up the edges of my characters' defenses in ways they never imagined or intended, especially in the SFRs. I like a lot of action in my stories. I'm all about the good guys being chased by bad guys with guns. Into that action, a lull must come. A tiny space suspended between conflicts where two people who've been forced to learn to work together while battling insurmountable odds can finally explore the physical attraction that's brewed throughout the story. Yes. In the SFRs I make them wait. Mainly because most of those books are enemy to lovers stories and building trust to the point of a sex scene not being forced takes a little time. Still. In each of those sex scenes, there's a power dynamic in play and that enemy to lovers energy is never far from the surface. It's because when something like sex, intimacy, and vulnerability break a character open, it's the perfect lead in to shattering the trust that's been built. It's the perfect time to force these two changed characters back into the enemy roll they'd once fit into so easily - only now it pinches in the worst way. So yes. If my characters are gonna get it on, I'm going to use it to fuck with their heads and their hearts. Always.

In the urban fantasy books, sex is a means of establishing control. It's a little more graphic, but, I hope, not rape-y. The heroine absolutely buys into the activity and gives enthusiastic consent, but she's also possessed by a demon who's tried using sex to debase and humiliate her. Isa manages to turn the tables on him. When the demon possessing you doesn't consent to sex but you do, what is that?? Regardless, the point of that scene was to complicate relationships and up emotional stakes for all three characters involved.

So sex scenes. When? When the characters and the story need them. When a sex scene would enhance or heighten conflict or increase stakes. How graphic? Depends entirely on the needs of the story. I know we all keep saying that. But everything that isn't sex scene in your story has a specific tone that dictates what you can and cannot get away with in sex scenes. If you read widely, you very likely already recognize this. How does it change my characters? Sex scenes usually break my people open. They demonstrate both to the reader and to the characters that they've passed a threshold and can't go back to what they once were.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Happy Yeah This Topic Isn't Gonna Work

It's 9PM, Thanksgiving Day. I've spent the past three days cleaning and cooking two separate menus in preparation for hosting 12 people for dinner. (2 of whom are Whole Food, Plant-based vegans.) I think my father-in-law counted something like 26 separate dishes. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day filled with family, laughter, and way too much food. I haven't gotten to host and cook a major holiday since we moved aboard the sailboat ten years ago. It was a great joy to have my family and my husband's family all together at the table. They're a good group of people who all genuinely like and appreciate one another.

But it comes down to this. I'm stuffed and I'm tired. Not to mention that the buddy (not counting the buddies on this blog who have all had recent releases! But we were trying to pimp some new blood.) a new Fantasy Romance release coming out soonish - her first - doesn't have a cover quite yet. At least not one I can publicly share so far.

So Happy Thanksgiving those of you in the US and if you do Black Friday, remember the body armor. I'll be at home, writing, sipping tea, and eating pumpkin spice scones with caramel/pecan glaze drizzled on them. Well. And trying to  keep the kittens from dumping my tea or walking across my keyboard and adding their editorial opinions to my prose.

Instead, talk to me about amazing Black Friday deals. Where do you go and what kinds of things do you look for? Do you go in with a list? Or do you decide what presents people are getting based on what's on sale?

I, for one, am all about the notion of giving books as gifts. Isn't it supposed to be an Icelandic thing - you give books on Christmas Eve? I love it. Fiction, nonfiction - I wouldn't care. In fact. That's the perfect anodyne to too much rich, holiday food. I'm going to go peruse my TBR pile and make reading my Thanksgiving Day dessert. May your holidays be just as sweet.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The WIP and a New Release

My favorite thing about the current Work in Progress (WIP)?  Well the central theme of the book, entitled GABE, involves a major plot development in this ongoing series, which is fun to write, but I’m not talking about it yet LOL. I did foreshadow this once in book two, so readers may or may not be surprised. It’s a fun thing, I think.

In general my favorite thing about any WIP is just the fact that it's the book I'm writing and thinking about right now. I can't wait to read whichever book it happens to be when it's all done and to share it with readers.

My other favorite thing about the current WIP is that it’s book #5 in the series - book #4 is at the editor -  and I just released book #3 this week, so if you’ll forgive me, I’m now going to share the deets on my new release!

The book is JADRIAN: A Badari Warriors SciFi Romance (Sectors New Allies Series Book 3) and here’s the blurb:

Taura Dancer has been pushed to her limits by alien torturers known as the Khagrish and is ready to die when suddenly the lab where she’s held as a prisoner is taken down by an armed force of soldiers.

The man who rescues her from a burning cell block is Jadrian of the Badari, a genetically engineered alien warrior with as many reasons to hate the Khagrish as Taura has. This set of shared past experiences and the circumstances of her rescue create an unusual bond between them.

Safe in the hidden base where Jadrian and his pack take her, Taura struggles to regain her lost memories and overcome constant flashbacks during which she lashes out at all who come near. Only Jadrian can recall her from the abyss of her visions and hallucinations.

As the war against the Khagrish continues, it becomes increasingly critical to find out who she really is and how she can help in the fight. Until she can control her terrors and trust her own impulses, Taura’s too afraid to pursue the promise of happiness a life with Jadrian as her mate might offer.

When he’s captured by the dreaded enemy, will she step forward to help save him, or will she remain a prisoner of her past?

This is the third book in the 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 an ongoing series but romance always wins the day in my novels!

Amazon     B&N    Kobo     Google     iBooks
My cover artist Fiona Jayde has given me another gorgeous cover, if I do say so!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Derivative Fun in the WIP

My favorite thing about the current WIP is that I get to be a kid again.

Edie is a thinly veiled homage to my favorite MMORPG character ever. I can't say which game because frankly the game company believes they own my character and everything about her even if *I* did all the work creating and voicing her. So no screenshots of her, either. What is it about this situation that lets me be a kid?

I can pack Edie's speech, actions, and characterization full of Easter Eggs that harken back to the character and game of origin. I get that maybe three people on earth will recognize them when they read them. It amuses me while I write, so that's my excuse. There's a distinct chance that not a single one will survive editorial, anyway. Oh well. True, my game character had magic as the basis for her power and I frankly can't swing that in an SFR, but you know. Arthur C. Clarke, right? "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."  So Edie has the tech to do what the things her progenitor did with magic.

All of this came about because the game company made repeated disparaging remarks about the race of character I had chosen to play. It's as if they learned nothing from Robin William's devastating suicide. The gist of their statement about this particular race of characters was something like 'this fictional race is too ridiculous to be taken seriously.' Sure. It looks like the game designers built the race in question to provide comedic relief in the game. But I think they're wrong. Dead wrong. I think most of us have come to understand that the funniest exteriors mask the most tragic and conflicted interiors.

So yeah. No pressure or anything, but I'm doing my best to pack all that stuff into a character who only has 90k words and a romance to get off the ground. My other favorite thing about it is that I don't have a hard deadline. So when something isn't working, I can afford the time to backtrack and figure out where I deviated from The One True Path.

Now. My very favorite thing on earth will be FINALLY finishing this thing. So I'm off to do that.

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?

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

Saturday, November 18, 2017


Purchased from DepositPhoto
I've got a real deja vu feeling - I swear I've written on this topic before, for this very blog...

OK, so for my science fiction, I don't go too deep into the science because that's constantly changing and what was true today is wrong tomorrow but take a time machine and it'll be correct yesterday. 

So I went with the "Alien" and "Aliens'' kind of future - lived in, people are pretty much the same fundamentally, but with cooler tech...and there are aliens (duh), both on our side and very much against us in my future civilization, known as the Sectors.If I need to add something nifty and complex for part of a plot, I go off and research whatever we have nowadays that will help me make my ship/feature/alien/weapon/civilization feel more grounded in reality for the readers. so I've researched cruise ships, aircraft carriers, sequioa trees, ancient ball games, anatomy of insects, Special Forces training, synthesia, surgical techniques for penetrating abdominal wounds, Legionnaires Disease.....and some aspects of my world building just spring full blown from my own brain.

For my ancient Egyptian novels, there's the entire history of the land along the Nile to look at and draw from. 

I'm not trying to be dismissive, but as I've mentioned here before, I'm not a deep thinker of craft...I'm a story teller who puts in enough background to support the story and my characters, and have it all feel right to my readers. The more books I write, the more my universe becomes fleshed out and the more connecting links there are between the stories. It feels like organic growth to seat-of-the-pants writer me, versus sitting down and developing a Tolkienesque world with maps and backstory going generations into the past. I applaud people who can do that and want to do that and need to do that for their books - it's just not me. (I will not be writing any epic fantasies anytime soon, can you tell? I read them with relish though - give me more Jeffe Kennedy books any day!)

Here's an excerpt from my latest scifi romance, The Fated Stars, where the characters give a bit of world building history I've alluded to in various books but never detailed before:

Larissa swallowed hard. “Another fact you should probably know—most humans can’t even look directly at Mawreg. There’s something about them that can drive a human insane.”

Samell stared at her, even as Pete and Donnie nodded. “When we go on sorties into their camps to rescue people or take the entire operation down, we have to wear helmets with special filter goggles and even then a few guys have lost their minds. Mawreg are bad ass, spooky.”

“And we haven’t got any of those helmets here,” Donnie added. “Not a piece of tech I can whip up from spare parts either.”

“Are you serious? I find this concept hard to grasp—how can merely gazing upon the alien can make a person lose their mind?” Samell’s voice was polite.

“First encounter between our kind and the Mawreg was a peaceful scientific expedition, all excited to have met another spacefaring race,” Larissa said.

“The Peronelle. Learned about it in school, in Sectors history class.” Pete confirmed the tale. “Hundreds of years ago. Luckily the humans already had a few interstellar allies and fairly soon after met the Mellureans for the first time. Now they are badass.”

“The Peronelle survivors the Mawreg spared to tell the tale described in gruesome detail how their comrades went insane when forced to watch their hosts. The ship’s AI had vids to corroborate. The vids also showed the Mawreg eating people alive, and conducting horrific experiments on others. Apparently the aliens thought it would frighten us into surrendering and accepting their rule, but all it did was make us determined to do battle every chance we got. No truce, no quarter given.” Larissa sighed. “And the war’s been raging ever since.”

Buy Links:  Amazon     Kobo     B&N     iBooks     Google

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Dream Anthology: Start with Andre Norton

The topic this week is which authors, living or dead, I’d want to be in a dream anthology with. I’m going to twist it a bit and tell you which worlds by which authors I’d LOVE to be invited to play in (and then I’ll talk about an anthology below).

First and foremost is Andre Norton. She used to do collections where other authors were invited to write stories set in her Witch World universe and I SO longed to write a story there. I’d probably have written something about the Were Riders because I was always fascinated by them, and their mysterious backstory.

Second would be Nalini Singh. I’d be so honored to write a story set in any of her worlds. I probably gravitate to the Psy-Changeling storyline the most, if I were trying to write a tale for her universe – I’d write one very sexy emotionless Arrow and the heroine who thaws him out…but I’m also fascinated by the Guild Hunter series. Nalini writes more dark and violent themes than I tend to, especially for the Guild Hunter series, but I would find a way to incorporate those elements if I had the chance to ‘play’. Archangels, angels and vampires - oh my!

I enjoy everything Ilona Andrews writes but I’m a permanent ‘guest’ of the Innkeeper Chronicles series (meaning it’s my favorite of theirs – I probably tried too hard to make that oh-so-clever comment work, huh?) and I’m not positive I could juggle all the scifi and fantasy elements as smoothly as the husband and wife writing team does, but I’d sure try.

I’d also love to be invited to spin a story set in our own SFF7-member Jeffe Kennedy’s Twelve Kingdoms. There’s so much rich material to work with there, it’d be hard to pick just one theme and settle to write it. I think I’d want a Dasnarian mercenary hero and the heroine would be an everyday woman who gets caught up in an adventure…uh oh, I’m plotting! Sorry, Jeffe!

And to round out my dream list of anthologies I’d want to be invited to (or Kindle Worlds if such things were happening), may I please set a story on Anne McCaffrey’s Pern? I want to write dragons and riders and fighting Thread!

As it happens I am in a scifi romance anthology with a few of my favorite SFR authors and it releases this very week! Here’s the info:

Blurb for Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2:
The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of the first months profits go to Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

Buy Links:  
Amazon JP   iBooks   B&N    Kobo    Google Play

Blurb for my story - Star Cruise: Songbird:
Grant Barton, a Security Officer on the Nebula Zephyr, is less than thrilled with his current assignment to guard an Interstellar singing sensation while she’s on board the ship. It doesn’t help that he and his military war bird Valkyr are dealing with their recent separation from the Sectors Special Forces and uncertainty over their future, with their own planet in ruins.

Karissa Dawnstar is on top of the charts and seemingly has it all – talent, fame, fortune and devoted fans, but behind her brave smile and upbeat lyrics she hides an aching heart. When a publicity stunt goes wrong, Karissa finds herself in the arms of the security officer assigned to protect her – and discovers a mutual attraction she can’t ignore.

Trouble continues to plague the pair, driving a wedge between them and leaving Grant certain that Karissa is in more danger than she realizes, from overzealous fans and her own management. Grant is determined to protect Karissa whether she wants his help or not. Can he discover the truth behind what’s going on before he loses Karissa or is there someone else plotting to keep them apart – permanently?