Wednesday Whimsy Odd Tentacles

Been a while since I did a Wednesday Whimsy post! I’m going to do something different now – was doing quotes and thematic photos before. I’ve got quite a collection of late 1800s Victorian “trade cards”, some of which have the most unusual or whimsical or pretty designs, so I’m going to share a few of them on Wednesdays. I’m starting with the card pictured below, which was for “Enterprise Roasted Coffee”. I have no idea what the tentacled creature in the photo is supposed to be, or what connection the company felt that the art had with coffee, or with them! but I was entranced by the image:

???????????????????????????????

 

Business or Pleasure? MAGIC OF THE NILE Weekend Writing Warriors

WeWriWa buttonA fun way to sample new books and find new writers! Here’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…

Continuing with the excerpts from MAGIC OF THE NILE =>This excerpt follows after last week’s. Finally alone in the temple’s office, Sahure has confronted Tyema about her “masquerade” on the night of the festival. The conversation continues. (A little editing and some creative punctuation has definitely occurred here.) Tyema has just reminded Sahure she can’t abandon her daily duties:

“I understand but surely you can delegate some tasks, spend a portion of the days MagicOfTheNile_1600x2400with me – the afternoons at least?” Sahure picked up a tablet from Jemkhufu’s desk at random, scanning the hieratic writing. “A request for prayers about the birthing of the new calves?” Staring at her, one eyebrow raised, he said, “You don’t handle every single aspect of this temple’s business and religious activities yourself, do you?”

Actually, I do.  “I can’t tell— are you proposing we conduct business or pleasure together?”

Dropping the tablet on top of the others, he nodded, “Oh, I’m all business, I assure you, with a scroll of authority from Pharaoh attesting to my mission, which I can duly show you if required. I’ve a feeling your overly protective scribe is going to demand the proof…”

As always, I love your comments and feedback. Although this is a published work, the input helps for the future novels…

Here’s the story blurb for MAGIC OF THE NILE:

The standalone sequel to Priestess of the Nile…picks up about fifteen years later and tells the tale of Tyema, who was the younger sister in Priestess of the Nile…

After a childhood spent scorned and ignored by her family because of her crippled foot, Tyema was magically healed then installed as the High Priestess of his temple by Sobek the Crocodile God. But Tyema is still haunted by her memories, scarred by the abuse she endured. Despite Sobek’s protection, as an adult she’s become a near recluse inside the temple grounds…

???????????????????????????????Until Captain Sahure arrives in her remote town, sent from Thebes on an urgent mission for Pharaoh, requiring High Priestess Tyema’s help. From that moment on, her quiet, safe life is upended in ways she never could have expected.

But after a whirlwind romance with Sahure, the two part as Pharaoh orders him to undertake another assignment on Egypt’s dangerous frontier, far from Tyema’s remote town.

Heart-broken, Tyema is ready to return to her life of loneliness, official duties and, now, regret. But the Crocodile God has other plans for his priestess: she must uncover the sorcerer who threatens Pharaoh’s life with black magic. Soon enough, Tyema finds herself thrown into the chaos of Pharoah’s court, neck deep in intrigue and danger. Just when she thinks she can’t take the pressures of a very public court life and her secret investigation for the Crocodile God any longer, Sahure re-enters the scene.

But is her former love there to help or to hinder? Can they resolve their differences and work together to find the dark sorcerer who threatens Pharaoh and Egypt? Will the love between a proud warrior and a shy priestess lead them to a future together?

Available at Amazon   Barnes & Noble  All Romance eBooks  iTunes   Google Play Books

 

SciFi Cover Reveal Mission to Mahjundar

MissionToM2-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700I’m happy to share the cover for my upcoming science fiction romance, Mission to Mahjundar! For a little more about how the tremendously talented Fiona Jayde and I work together on covers, you can visit the USA Today HEA cover reveal post. The book will be released on August 18th! Here’s the story:

An attempted assassination left Princess Shalira blind as a child and, now that she’s of marriageable age, her prospects are not good because of her disability. She’s resigned herself to an arranged marriage rather than face life under the thumb of her cold stepmother. But then she meets Mike Varone, a Sectors Special Forces officer sent to Mahjundar by the intergalactic government to retrieve a ship lost in her planet’s mountains. After Mike saves Shalira from another assassination attempt, she arranges for him to escort her across the planet to her future husband. She’s already falling hard for the deadly offworlder and knows she should deny herself the temptation he represents, but taking Mike along to protect her is the only way she’ll live long enough to escape her ruthless stepmother.

Mike, for his part, resists his growing attraction to the princess; he has a mission on this planet and rescuing the vulnerable but brave princess isn’t it. No matter how much he wishes it could be.

But what should have been an easy trek through Mahjundar’s peaceful lands swiftly turns into an ambush with danger around every turn. Shalira’s marriage begins to seem less like an arranged union and more like yet another planned assassination. The more they work together to survive, the harder it becomes to stop themselves from falling in love. Caught in a race against time, can they escape the hostile forces hunting them and make it off the planet?

Can there be a future for a simple soldier and an intergalactic princess?

Tough As Nails SFR Heroines

Heaven's queenOver at USA Today Happily Ever After  I’m interviewing author Rachel Bach for my SciFi HEAEncounters column. Her Paradox Series is one of the best trilogies of science fiction, complete with romance and a kickASS heroine, that I’ve read in a long time. Hop on over and peruse the interview!

One thing Rachel and I discovered we share is an admiration for the character of Ellen Ripley in the movies Alien  and Aliens. Devi the heroine in the Paradox Series has been raised to be a warrior since childhood, versus Ripley who did need to be shown how to use aliens_powerloader
the pulse rifle but then rock-and-rolls with it for the rest of the movie.  I think the two women
would get along fine if they ever sat down for a chat. Ripley had to make do with the futuristic Caterpillar power loader to fight the alien queen and Devi has a much more sophisticated suit to wear into her battles.

There’s another key female character in Paradox, named Maat, which Rachel explained is keying off the goddess Ma’at of Ancient Egypt. In my paranormal novel series Gods of Egypt I feature Ma’at fairly often. She was responsible for keeping the Universe and the world in harmony, preventing chaos. She embodied all the good qualities of truth, law, justice, law and morality. Some Egyptian traditions hold that she was present at the judging of a person’s heart after death, with her red feather of Truth on the golden scales, deciding if the deceased’s ka or soul was worthy to proceed into the Afterlife. You’ll have to read the interview to see how Rachel took the Ma’at concept and applied it to her character Maat.

I think both Ripley and Devi would pass goddess Ma’at’s test, with their strong sense of responsibility and their attempts to do what they believe is the right thing. Ripley and Devi don’t let anything deter them from what they believe is their duty.

FifthElement_264PyxurzAnother strong female heroine would be Leeloo from the movie “Fifth Element,” although she has no suit of armor and is the perfect being, as we get told over and over BUT she’s also a woman with a mission and nothing – not even Bruce Willis at his scruffy best – can sidetrack her from saving the universe. (Although she does need a bit of a pep talk but I always think she’s testing Bruce’s Korben Dallas character at the end there. Oh, sort of like Ma’at weighed the heart? I can find parallels in anything LOL!)

I happen to like the 2010 Science fiction movie “Predators”. I love the character of Isabelle, a tough as nails sniper, played by Alice Braga. She’s not backing down from any challenge and she’s deadly-with-a-heart. “Fear is Reborn” is the movie’s tagline, but not in this character!

Leona the LA police detective, as portrayed by Maria Conchita Alonso in the 1990 “Predator 2″ , is another absolute woman warrior in the Predator franchise…

Not all these ladies got to have full blown romance in their stories (although Devi sure does in Rachel’s novel!)

So who’s your favorite gutsy SF&F heroine?

 

 

 

 

 

The Great One Sobek Doesn’t MAGIC OF THE NILE Weekend Writing Warriors

WeWriWa buttonA fun way to sample new books and find new writers! Here’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…

Continuing with the excerpts from MAGIC OF THE NILE =>This excerpt follows after last week’s. Finally alone in the temple’s office, Sahure has confronted Tyema about her “masquerade” on the night of the festival. The conversation continues. (A little editing and some creative punctuation has definitely occurred here.) :

She started to chuckle, then laughed outright, “Could we start over?” She held out MagicOfTheNile_1600x2400one hand, “I’m Tyema, high priestess of Sobek in the Ibis Nome, but you may call me Ema.”

He walked to her chair. “Much better,” he said, taking her hand and bowing respectfully as if she were the queen. “I’m Captain Sahure, sent by Pharaoh to survey the Nile in this area, to further his investigation into the possibility of building a new port.”

“And the Great One Sobek does not set limits on what I do with my personal time.” Tyema smiled, gazing into his dark brown eyes, enjoying the warmth of his reciprocating grin.  Glancing at the piles of tablets and the rolled papyri on her desk, Tyema said, “ Alhough I can’t abandon my daily duties.”

Nearly done with excerpting this section of the novel.  One more week for sure, maybe two…As always, I love your comments and feedback. Although this is a published work, the input helps for the future novels…

???????????????????????????????Here’s the story blurb for MAGIC OF THE NILE:

The standalone sequel to Priestess of the Nile…picks up about fifteen years later and tells the tale of Tyema, who was the younger sister in Priestess of the Nile…

After a childhood spent scorned and ignored by her family because of her crippled foot, Tyema was magically healed then installed as the High Priestess of his temple by Sobek the Crocodile God. But Tyema is still haunted by her memories, scarred by the abuse she endured. Despite Sobek’s protection, as an adult she’s become a near recluse inside the temple grounds…

Until Captain Sahure arrives in her remote town, sent from Thebes on an urgent mission for Pharaoh, requiring High Priestess Tyema’s help. From that moment on, her quiet, safe life is upended in ways she never could have expected.

But after a whirlwind romance with Sahure, the two part as Pharaoh orders him to undertake another assignment on Egypt’s dangerous frontier, far from Tyema’s remote town.

Heart-broken, Tyema is ready to return to her life of loneliness, official duties and, now, regret. But the Crocodile God has other plans for his priestess: she must uncover the sorcerer who threatens Pharaoh’s life with black magic. Soon enough, Tyema finds herself thrown into the chaos of Pharoah’s court, neck deep in intrigue and danger. Just when she thinks she can’t take the pressures of a very public court life and her secret investigation for the Crocodile God any longer, Sahure re-enters the scene.

But is her former love there to help or to hinder? Can they resolve their differences and work together to find the dark sorcerer who threatens Pharaoh and Egypt? Will the love between a proud warrior and a shy priestess lead them to a future together?

Available at Amazon   Barnes & Noble  All Romance eBooks  iTunes   Google Play Books

???????????????????????????????

 

K is for Keanu

speedStill working my way through the A to Z challenge here…going by my “what comes to mind first keanucatltrule”, Keanu  is at least one of the first things I thought of. Of course the original owner of the name is the very easy to look at actor Keanu Reeves. But I also named my rescue cat Keanu because he’s a cool cat, with a kink in his tail from some kittenhood accident before I knew him, who wants affection when he wants it and otherwise he’s fine, thanks.

Keanu the Actor really hit my radar screen with the 1994 movie  “Speed.”  (“Get Ready for Rush Hour”) What’s not to love? Especially as a Southern Californian, I could really relate to the challenge of keeping that bus moving at no less than 50 mph on our  streets and freeways. I wanted to have hair like Sandra Bullock’s and dress like her….well, none of that exactly worked out but still…the beginning, with the people trapped in the elevator about to fall – have I mentioned I have an elevator phobia? So I was riveted during that whole sequence. And when the bus jumps the 50′ freeway gap (is that a spoiler 20 years later? really?) – WOW.

Of course he’d done a lot of acting by that point (Babes in Toyland, Jack B Nimble anyone?) and I did like “Point Break” quite a bit. I thought his coolness played well off Patrick Swayze’s incredibly charismatic Bodhi…

I saw the first “Matrix” and was astounded by the concepts and the world building, so different at the time…much copied, parodied and meme-d now. I enjoyed “The Lake House”, although it wasn’t quite the Reeves/Bullock reunion movie I could have wished for…I really enjoy “The Replacements”, partly because I like NFL football so much and the movie does have a sense of humor about it (to put it mildly)….love how they cast a leading lady in that movie who could not so subtly remind us of Sandra B.

There was a great Buzzfeed post yesterday “Can You Guess Which Keanu Reeves is Older Keanu Reeves?”  - try it, you might be surprised. (Of course one commenter thinks the results are skewed by what and how much of certain substances might have been partaken of at any given time…but as they say, never read the comments on the internet.)

I think he’d be a very interesting person to meet. You’d either have the best conversation of your life or else there’d be awkward silence, I’m guessing, depending on the day and the time and how the world seemed to him and to you……

K can also be for king, kumquat, Khufu (but I’m trying not to overwhelm my readers with Egyptian references in this Challenge), Kleenex, key, koala….

Now to start pondering the letter L!

keanu facing awayalt

 

 

 

Too Bad You Never…MAGIC OF THE NILE Weekend Writing Warriors

WeWriWa buttonA fun way to sample new books and find new writers! Here’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…

Continuing with the excerpts from MAGIC OF THE NILE =>This excerpt follows after last week’s. Finally alone in the temple’s office, Sahure has confronted Tyema about her “masquerade” on the night of the festival. The conversation continues. (A little creative punctuation has definitely occurred here so I can give you a complete exchange.) :

“I rarely go outside the temple compound, and my reasons are strictly my own,” MagicOfTheNile_1600x2400she said, striving for dignity, her heart racing a bit. “I thank you again for the dinner and the evening’s entertainment but now, I’m sure I must have others waiting for a moment of my time on temple business – my scribe said there was a full slate.”

He wandered over to admire a fresco on the east wall, of Sobek amid a gathering of his crocodiles, rendered in vivid colors. “Too bad you never leave the grounds; that’s going to present a challenge to me teaching you to drive a chariot while I’m here.” Glancing at her over his shoulder, Sahure grinned, one eyebrow raised.

Mouth open, she simply stared at him for a long moment.

“Shifting into the frog goddess Heqet now?” he teased, “Careful, you’ll be catching flying insects.”

We’ll get her reply next week. Nearly done with excerpting this section of the novel. As always, I love your comments and feedback. Although this is a published work, the input helps for the future novels…

Here’s the story blurb for MAGIC OF THE NILE:

???????????????????????????????The standalone sequel to Priestess of the Nile…picks up about fifteen years later and tells the tale of Tyema, who was the younger sister in Priestess of the Nile…

After a childhood spent scorned and ignored by her family because of her crippled foot, Tyema was magically healed then installed as the High Priestess of his temple by Sobek the Crocodile God. But Tyema is still haunted by her memories, scarred by the abuse she endured. Despite Sobek’s protection, as an adult she’s become a near recluse inside the temple grounds…

Until Captain Sahure arrives in her remote town, sent from Thebes on an urgent mission for Pharaoh, requiring High Priestess Tyema’s help. From that moment on, her quiet, safe life is upended in ways she never could have expected.

But after a whirlwind romance with Sahure, the two part as Pharaoh orders him to undertake another assignment on Egypt’s dangerous frontier, far from Tyema’s remote town.

Heart-broken, Tyema is ready to return to her life of loneliness, official duties and, now, regret. But the Crocodile God has other plans for his priestess: she must uncover the sorcerer who threatens Pharaoh’s life with black magic. Soon enough, Tyema finds herself thrown into the chaos of Pharoah’s court, neck deep in intrigue and danger. Just when she thinks she can’t take the pressures of a very public court life and her secret investigation for the Crocodile God any longer, Sahure re-enters the scene.

But is her former love there to help or to hinder? Can they resolve their differences and work together to find the dark sorcerer who threatens Pharaoh and Egypt? Will the love between a proud warrior and a shy priestess lead them to a future together?

Available at Amazon   Barnes & Noble  All Romance eBooks  iTunes   Google Play Books

004alt

More Sizzling Steampunk for Summer

third daughterOver at USA Today Happily Ever After blog, I’m interviewing more steampunk authors for the SciFi Encounters column. I started HEAwith Susan Kaye Quinn, whose “bollypunk” novel Third Daughter really grabbed my attention and kept me reading nonstop. It’s the first part of a trilogy, although fully satisfying in its own right, so now I can’t wait for the next book. And then my friend PJ Schnyder turned me on to the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, a series by Pip Ballentine and Tee Morris. Dawn’s Early Light was the most recent releases in that series. So I had extra fun interviewing Pip and Tee. the-three-musketeers-movie-poster-2011-1010744995I LOVE the look of steampunk. I wish there were more and better movies featuring this genre. I let Pip and Tee do the movie-recommending for the SciFi column but before they weighed in with “Van Helsing”, I was thinking about “The Three Musketeers” of 2011, which featured “gearpunk” dirigibles built to DaVinci’s airship blueprints, stolen by Cardinal Richelieu’s agents of course. The tagline for the movie is  “Every legend has a new beginning.” I enjoyed parts of that movie although I had to begin by disassociating it in my head from the actual Three Musketeers.

I’ve read and reread the novel by Alexandre Dumas any number of times and for me the definitive movie is always going to be the 1970′s version filmed by Richard Lester, with a screenplay by George MacDonald Fraser. I’m quite eager to see the latest BBC TV series based on the book, however. I’d been reading the weekly reviews at Den of Geek in England and was so jealous we couldn’t watch the show over here. But now BBC America  is running the show. (Alas, opposite apocalyptic series “The Last Ship” but I’ll catch up on All The Things at some point.) I’m still assembling components for my costume for the steampunk dinner party at the Romance Writers of America conference later this month. Here are my two latest acquisitions, a cannon ring and COOL goggles: ???????????????????????????????    

Favorite Apocalyptic SF Movies

Day AfterOver at the USA Today HEA blog, I’m running a second column where I’m asking SF&F authors for their favorite  science fiction or HEAfantasy movies and TV shows. For my post here today, I thought I’d narrow in on some of my favorite End Of The World As We Know It (or EOTWAWKI) movies. I was reading Entertainment Weekly at breakfast and they have an “Ultimate Apocalyst” of 52 movies, which is what started me thinking along this vein.

On the magazine’s list of 52, I’ve seen 37, which I guess tells you how much I do enjoy this subgenre. EW might be missing a few but probably nothing too major. I mean, they’ve omitted the 1955 “Day The World Ended” AND the 1967 TV movie remake, entitled “Year 2889″, both of which I’ve seen. “The Day After” is missing.  They only include one version of “War of the Worlds”, the original in 1955 (sorry Tom Cruise) and they include “The Thing,” which I’m not sure counts because the world doesn’t actually end…

EW includes a lot of big budget flicks, like the Terminators, World War Z and Hunger Games, plus some lower budget classics. I’m not sure I would have included “WALL-E” but seeing it on the list did make me stop and ponder for a moment.

Elsewhere in the magazine they discuss how each era creates EOTWAWKI movies around the particular threat that seems most snowpiererlooming at the time, so the 1950s was all about aliens and the 1960′s had a lot of nuclear wars and currently we’re having ecological/climatological disasters. (I can’t wait to see “Snowpiercer,” which sounds wayyy cool, set on a train that endlessly circles the frozen globe.) Oddly EW left off “Day After Tomorrow” and “Independence Day,” maybe because humans figure out ways to survive. “The Walking Dead” TV series is missing too.

The epic movie I’m waiting for would be about the effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP).  Of course that might be due to my having the power suddenly and mysteriously go out in our area last week! (It did come back on in about two hours.) Maybe EMP wouldn’t be dramatic enough for the movie/TV folks but it sure would be hard to live through if it ever happens!

I don’t have a single favorite – what I watch and rewatch depends on my mood at the time. I occasionally pull out “Testament,” which was a very well done, grim little 1983 film starring Jane Alexander, where “the life of a suburban family is scarred after a nuclear attack” says the Internet Movie Database. That’s putting it mildly! The thing that’s fascinating about this movie is how it starts out like so many others – brave survivors, carrying on as best they can, neighborhood stalwart ham radio operator getting news of the outside for them, they go ahead and let the children perform their school play, everyone’s rationing, pulling together…and then things get worse…and worse…and it’s pretty clear no one is going to survive this.

On_The_Beach_(2000)Which leads me to “On The Beach,” neither version of which is on the EW list. Taken from the excellent, if grim, Nevil Shute novel, Australia is pretty much the last place on Earth anyone is left alive and the radiation is advancing with such mathematical precision that a person can literally count the days he or she has left. So they have the big road race, they open the fishing season early, they break out the blue poison pills…

I think part of the attraction of EOTWAWKI movies and novels is trying to figure out what we would do, what edge or knowledge or advance planning we have that would give us and our loved ones that tiny advantage, enabling us to survive. Because surely we would, right?

YES!

Do you have a favorite EOTWAWKI movie?

 

 

Merely a Priestess? MAGIC OF THE NILE for Weekend Writing Warriors

WeWriWa buttonA fun way to sample new books and find new writers! Here’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…

Continuing with the excerpts from MAGIC OF THE NILE =>This excerpt follows after last week’s. Finally alone in the temple’s office, Sahure has confronted Tyema about her “masquerade” on the night of the festival. The conversation continues. (A little creative punctuation and some editing has occurred here.) :

“Does the god restrict your comings and goings – are you going to be in trouble?” MagicOfTheNile_1600x2400He frowned.

Wrinkling her brow, Tyema tried to follow the train of thought, saying, “No, Sobek is very considerate of me.”

The captain from Thebes didn’t seem pleased by the answer, clenching his jaw. “Are you sworn to serve him personally, then?”

Now she saw where his thoughts were running. “Of course not, I merely do him honor as a priestess – many in my family have been priestesses at this temple in past generations.”

Throwing out his arms, palms up, Sahure had exasperation written on his face as he said, “Then why is your attending the festivities in the village with me such a wonderment ?” 

We’ll get her answer next week. As always, I love your comments and feedback. Although this is a published work, the input helps for the future novels…

Here’s the story blurb for MAGIC OF THE NILE:

???????????????????????????????The standalone sequel to Priestess of the Nile…picks up about fifteen years later and tells the tale of Tyema, who was the younger sister in Priestess of the Nile…

After a childhood spent scorned and ignored by her family because of her crippled foot, Tyema was magically healed then installed as the High Priestess of his temple by Sobek the Crocodile God. But Tyema is still haunted by her memories, scarred by the abuse she endured. Despite Sobek’s protection, as an adult she’s become a near recluse inside the temple grounds…

Until Captain Sahure arrives in her remote town, sent from Thebes on an urgent mission for Pharaoh, requiring High Priestess Tyema’s help. From that moment on, her quiet, safe life is upended in ways she never could have expected.

But after a whirlwind romance with Sahure, the two part as Pharaoh orders him to undertake another assignment on Egypt’s dangerous frontier, far from Tyema’s remote town.

Heart-broken, Tyema is ready to return to her life of loneliness, official duties and, now, regret. But the Crocodile God has other plans for his priestess: she must uncover the sorcerer who threatens Pharaoh’s life with black magic. Soon enough, Tyema finds herself thrown into the chaos of Pharoah’s court, neck deep in intrigue and danger. Just when she thinks she can’t take the pressures of a very public court life and her secret investigation for the Crocodile God any longer, Sahure re-enters the scene.

But is her former love there to help or to hinder? Can they resolve their differences and work together to find the dark sorcerer who threatens Pharaoh and Egypt? Will the love between a proud warrior and a shy priestess lead them to a future together?

Available at Amazon   Barnes & Noble  All Romance eBooks  iTunes   Google Play Books

egypt postcard