I Think She’s Sleeping WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM 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…

The luxury ship Nebula Dream has suffered a middle of the night catastrophe in space. My hero, Nick Jameson, has fought his way to the nearest lifeboat and found chaos. Some creative editing and punctuation has occurred. As he’s just about finished loading the lifeboat, businesswoman Mara Lyrae arrives, much to his relief. But she refuses to get on the lifeboat, as there are children in need of rescuing…after a brief argument, Nick sends the lifeboat on its way. He and Mara set out to rescue the children, accompanied by Khevan, a D’nvannae Brother (think bodyguard/assassin sworn to serve an alien goddess).

This snippet is after they’ve reached the family’s cabin and discovered a growing hull breach.

The door suddenly released completely, and the two men half fell into the cabin. Mara shoved past them, stumbling over them in her haste, calling to the children.

“Paolo? Gianna, where are you, sweeties?”

“In here, with Mommy, in our bedroom. She’s on the floor. I think she’s sleeping a while now,” the high-pitched voice, choked with repressed sobs, said from the darkness.

The three adults exchanged glances in the gloom of the main cabin.

Wreck-of-the-Nebula-DreamFinalMedThe Story
Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces 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?

Wednesday Whimsy S Is For Shoes

???????????????????????????????S Is For Shoes and I’ve got more Victorian trade cards to share…it seems to have been quite a “thing” in 1880’s advertising to have a pretty shoe with a bouquet of flowers artfully arranged inside. The one above is my favorite, and was advertising the White Sewing Machine Company, with 700,000 of  them in use by busy seamstresses at the time!

???????????????????????????????“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” Marilyn Monroe  I’m totally with her, although I suspect she and???????????????????????????????I were thinking of something a lot sexier than these pretty Victorian slippers I’m showing today.

“A shoe is not only a design, but it’s a part of your body language, the way you walk. The way you’re going to move is quite dictated by your shoes.” Christian Louboutin  My secret wish for a long time has been to have just one pair of his shoes….don’t ask me where I’d wear them!

“I think I have something tonight that’s not quite correct for evening wear. Blue suede shoes.”  Elvis Presley Oh yes, those blue suede shoes of his were something else all right.

“Let your dreams outgrow the shoes of your expectations.”  Ryunosuke Satoro

“The time has come,’ the walrus said, ‘to talk of many things: of shoes and ships – and sealing wax – of cabbages and kings.” Lewis Carroll There was also a theme in Victorian advertising of people sailing the seas in shoes. And another theme of the ubiquitous cherubs playing in  and around shoes.

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The great thing about writing is that you always put yourself in the shoes of the character. If you’re doing it right, you can see into the heart of all your characters. Usually, when there’s a writing problem, it’s because you aren’t doing that. Peter Gould (Director of Breaking Bad)

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I Gave My Word WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM 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…

(I’ve now set a new record of 9 days without a trip to the hospital or ER so I think I’m making good progress out of the woods. Thanks for all the support and encouragement, Warriors! It has definitely helped.)

The luxury ship Nebula Dream has suffered a middle of the night catastrophe in space. My hero, Nick Jameson, has fought his way to the nearest lifeboat and found chaos. Some creative editing and punctuation has occurred. As he’s just about finished loading the lifeboat, businesswoman Mara Lyrae arrives, much to his relief. But she refuses to get on the lifeboat, as there are children in need of rescuing…

After hearing about trapped children, Nick knew he’d stay on board as long as it took to free them. But first, she needs to be safe. “Tell me exactly where on the Second Level and I’ll go – you get in this LB.” Nick reached out to take her by the arm, intending to guide her through the portal.

“No,” She took a hasty step away from Nick, shak­ing her head vehemently, “I promised that little boy I’d come for them myself, as soon as I found their father, or someone -if you’re going to help me with this, then we have to hurry.”

“I swear to you I’ll go up there and do my best to get them out of whatever trouble they’re in, but I want to see you safely off this ship first,” Nick said. “Now please take your place in this lifeboat so I can seal it and send it – you may not have another chance at a seat on an LB later.”

“I gave them my word – I can’t leave them.” 

And she doesn’t……

Wreck-of-the-Nebula-DreamFinalMedThe Story
Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces 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 ofTitanicproportions. 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?

Earth Ship Siren – New SciFi Romance Continuity Series

es siren1Over at USA Today/HEA, I’m interviewing a trio of Australian science fiction romance authors who had an inspired idea for an SFR continuity series. All three novella-length stories are set on the same ship, heading for the same colony planet.  My friend Shona Husk, who I’ve known since my days as fellow authors at Carina Press, had the original idea, and invited Mel Teshco and Denise Rossetti to play along with her.

The books are best read in order and here are the summaries (courtesy of Momentum):

Yours To Uncover: ES Siren 1, Mel Teshco: It’s the year 2202. Earth is grossly overpopulated and seriously polluted. Rita Songworth has spent half her twenty-two years trying to escape the dying planet. But the journey to Unity, the new colony, isn’t easy. Rita has to resist an attraction to hard, brutish prisoner, Tristan MacFallan, whose masterful hands create more than the beautiful art he’s been assigned to make. But obeying Kane, her ex-lover and malicious lieutenant, appointed to keeping the prisoners under guard, comes at a high price. Is Rita willing to sacrifice everything to keep her secret and her lover safe?

Yours to Command: ES Siren 2, Shona Husk:  Corporal Sienna Jade wasn’t given a choice about joining the mission to Unity. Alex Tariel knew his only chance to get a place on ES Siren was as a prisoner, so he stole water rations. Becoming Sienna’s ship husband puts Alex between her and the lieutenant who tried to kill her for kicks on Earth. While Sienna tries to keep control of her feelings for Alex, Alex would do anything to protect her, if only she’d let him.

essiren2Yours to Desire: ES Siren 3, Denise Rossetti: On board ES Siren, the brilliant Doctor Lily Kwan has worked in secret to develop an antidote for the aphrodisiac rape drug, sexmeth. The antidote has no effect on her extraordinary reaction to Connor Madison, the Siren‘s tough quartermaster. A former gang rat from the slums of a dying world, Con came up the hard way, so when geeky Doctor Kwan tops his hit list of possible drug runners, nothing’s going to save her—not her family’s money, nor her clever mind. Not even the smile in her eyes.

A few Q&A we ran out of room for over at USAT:

Veronica: Do you have a favorite line from Yours To Command?

Shona: Only one? I’m going to cheat and say these three.

He was pretty sure they weren’t just talking about the fruit. If they were, he’d just gotten his first peach-driven hard-on. It didn’t feel entirely wrong.

Veronica: What’s on your Bucket List?

Shona: I don’t think I really have one. I have a list of stories that I want to write a mile long and I want to travel and perfect my macarons (I keep trying and they keep failing–not so badly they are inedible though). I’d also like to develop super powers at some stage…however that is unlikely (I may have watched too many X-men cartoons as a kid)

es siren3Mel: Travel! I want badly to tour Europe. But I also want to see more of Australia. Though I’ve moved over twenty times in my life, I’ve only ever lived on the East Coast and haven’t even explored that side of Australia fully. When I travel I get to write too, so it’s great knowing I can combine both loves.

Denise:  I’d love to go on safari and see big cats and elephants and rhinos in the wild. Sometimes, I think about sky-diving. Then I stop.

There’s much more about the books, the authors and the characters over on my SciFi Encounters column.

 

 

October for Wednesday Whimsy

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???????????????????????????????I LOVE the month of October! Yes, ok I was born in this month, but I generally love the cool, crisp Fall ???????????????????????????????weather and this is my favorite time of the year.  I’ve been keeping my eyes open for October-themed or autumnal 1880’s Victorian trade cards…found a few to share today. I also scooped up an alphabet card,  V for Veronica of course, although the maker of the card series seemed to feel the letter is best represented by volcanoes and vipers and vino.

We had a poem we had to memorize in elementary school, “October’s Bright Blue Weather” by Helen Hunt Jackson, published in 1893. Here’s the first stanza:

O SUNS and skies and clouds of June,
        And flowers of June together,
    Ye cannot rival for one hour
        October’s bright blue weather;

The poem goes on for six more stanzas along these lines, SO much bounteous praise for my favorite month, and then the poetess concludes:

O suns and skies and flowers of June,
        Count all your boasts together,
    Love loveth best of all the year
        October’s bright blue weather.

Totally works for me!

014So the 8th is my birthday…here’s me hard at work tomorrow on the current WIP, because birthday or no, we authors must get the words out….I did actually learn to type on a typewriter nearly that old, a Royal that my Dad picked up for cheap at a thrift store when I was a kid. That’s why I still literally pound the keys,  even on my nice laptop, because you had to use force to get those metal strikers to fly up and leave a letter imprinted on the paper.

And here’s me, trying on new earrings for the family dinner party we’re having to celebrate the event???????????????????????????????…She was actually advertising Magnolia Balm on this card. And then here’s The Author celebrating in the last card below:

The bottle contains “Compound Oxygen” created by Drs. Starkey & Palen of Philadelphia. The back of the trade card admonished sternly that this was “not a drug” and  listed numerous Editors, Ministers, Foreign Consuls and Members of Congress who swore by the stuff. All I can say is she looks pretty darn relaxed and cheerful for someone who’s just “restored the Fountainhead of all mental and physical activity to a state of integrity, thereby causing her muscles, nervous system and organs to all act more kindly and efficiently.” GIVE me some of THAT!

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Trapped! WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM Weekend Writing Warriors

A 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…

(Friday night was another ER trip (that’s three in three weeks due to medication side effects,WeWriWa button for those who are counting –  can’t wait for life to settle down a bit), doing ok again now, so just going to continue posting from WRECK, which was my first SFR….)

The luxury ship Nebula Dream has suffered a middle of the night catastrophe in space. My hero, Nick Jameson, has fought his way to the nearest lifeboat and found chaos. Some creative editing and punctuation has occurred. As he’s just about finished loading the lifeboat, businesswoman Mara Lyrae arrives, much to his relief. (Do I need to mention he’s been distracted by her since they met on the shuttle coming to the ship at the start of the novel?) She’s shouting for help.

He’d been prepared to search the entire ship for her if necessary, but now here she was.

Sensibly dressed but disheveled, her hair loose around her shoulders, Mara worked her way through the rapidly thinning crowd, gaze locking onto him. “Please, I need someone to come to Level Two.” His men let her through the cordon and she grabbed at Nick’s arm. “I’m so glad you’re still aboard. It’s the family who was on the shuttle with us – I can hear the children crying in their cabin, but I can’t get the door to open far enough to get in. The boy says his mother is trapped under something,” Mara bit her lip, shoving her hair away from her face, “And they can’t get out of the back bedroom, or won’t try.”

Don’t expect Mara to be getting into the lifeboat, is all I can say!

Wreck-of-the-Nebula-DreamFinalMedThe Story
Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces 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 Titanicproportions. 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?

Risque Ladies of the 1880’s for Wednesday Whimsy

???????????????????????????????I thought since we had Queen Victoria herself last week, this week I’d do “R Is for Risque Ladies” as my ???????????????????????????????Wednesday Whimsy/A to Z Challenge post. I must hasten to add though that what was risque in the 1880’s, is pretty tame to our eyes.

I’m using Mae West quotes today although she’s obviously not from the 1880’s but the flavor is there…

“I didn’t discover curves; I only uncovered them.”

“Love thy neighbor – and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier.”

“I’ve been things and seen places.”

“If I asked for a cup of coffee, someone would search for the double meaning.”

“Cultivate your curves – they may be dangerous but they won’t be avoided.”

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??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????025This one to the left’s not very risque until you realize her skirt is hiked all the way up in front…oh my ;-)

And then there were the Bathing Beauty cards, usually associated with cigars or cigarettes….this lady below is smoking a cigar herself, in fact.

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There were probably much racier cards in the 1880’s but those don’t show up in a price range I can afford, in the places I shop….sorry! These final two Bathing Beauties were advertising a shoe store, of all places….

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No One’s Going to Make It WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM 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…

(Last night was another ER trip, doing ok now, so just going to post something from WRECK, which was my first SFR….)

The luxury ship Nebula Dream has suffered a middle of the night catastrophe in space. My hero, Nick Jameson, has fought his way to the nearest lifeboat and found chaos. (SMT is the name of the shipping line.) Some creative editing and punctuation has occurred. I hope this is only eight sentences, kinda struggling with the medicines and a flu variation I picked up!

“Quiet down now,” he said, watching the people in the front row of the mob, getting eye contact, to personalize his commands, make them feel like responsible individuals, not a mindless, panicking herd.

The blaring sirens and recorded emergency warnings cut out, resumed briefly and then died away in a slowly fading gibber­ish. The lights in the corridor flickered, causing gasps here and there in the crowd.

“Are there any SMT officers or crew here?” Nick said.

Desperation, fear, and puzzlement on the faces in front of him, many sidelong glances, mute head shakes.

Silence.

“All right, then, I’m Captain Jameson, Sectors Special Forces and I’m taking charge of this LB portal. You can’t all get into this LB –  no one’s going to make it off unless you keep your heads and we go about this calmly and quickly.”

Wreck-of-the-Nebula-DreamFinalMedThe Story
Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces 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?

 

Q Is For Queen – Victoria That Is

???????????????????????????????Continuing with the A to Z challenge, when I came across this Victorian era trade card, I thought I had to have it. It’s entitled “Queen Victoria at Home – Balmoral Castle” and was one of a series of six from Clark’s Spool Thread. (The US entry in the series was Mrs. Grover Cleveland.) I didn’t make this a Wednesday Whimsy because I don’t think of “whimsy” when thinking of this Queen, do you?

Here are a few quotes from Her Majesty:

The important thing is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.

Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves.

I feel sure that no girl would go to the altar if she knew all. (Veronica sez: I think that one has been pretty well disproven LOL.)

We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They do not exist.

Actually, I like the version of Queen Victoria that was presented in the movie “The Young Victoria”, with Emily Blunt.young victoria

Can You Handle ALL The Apocalypses? End is Nigh and End Has Come

THEENDISNIGHI’ve mentioned here before how much I enjoy the End Of The World As We Know It (EOTWAWKI) branch of science fiction. I’ve talked about Alas, Babylon and  the TV shows “Jericho” and “The Walking Dead.”  Love the movies “Testament,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” “World War Z,” “Contagion,” “Outbreak”  to name a few.

BIG fan of the genre.

So last week John Joseph Adams let me know about the exciting new trilogy of anthologies he’s edited with Hugh Howey – THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH, of which two volumes –  THE END IS NIGH and THE END IS NOW – have been issued. I read straight through both books and I am here to tell you this is a LOT of apocalypse goodness. The idea for the trilogy is that for the most part the same authors will be writing stories for each anthology, describing their apocalypse from the time right before the Big Bad happens, during the events, and then the aftermath. These books have everything  from your basic nuclear war and killer flu to aliens to comets, volcanoes, brown stars and advanced nanotechnology. There’s even one that will make you very afraid of bread mold. Very. Afraid.

Reading so much disaster and death over just a few days was a bit overwhelming. I probably should have paced myself but the stories were so good. I also couldn’t resist reading THE END IS NOW right away to see how things were turning out from the first installments in THE END IS NIGH. Some of the authors pick up the action in the second story literally right after the first story ends. Others tell the second portion of their apocalypse from the POV of someone else who was mentioned in the first story or who could have been in the same vicinity. And a couple of the stories are standalone (for now anyway, don’t know what will be in the third and final book). There were some twists I didn’t see coming (no spoilers from me), which kept the reading fresh.

I didn’t fall in love with every single story but that’s the beauty of an anthology – much to choose from.

Some of the stories which stand out in my memory, in no particular order:

Goodnight Moon and  Goodnight Stars by Annie Bellet. Absolutely heart tugging.

Spores and Fruiting Bodies  by Seanan McGuire. There shall be no bread mold in my house. EVER. (Gets out the Lysol, starts scrubbing)

The Fifth Day of Deer Camp and The Sixth Day of Deer Camp by Scott Sigler. He gives the reader a twist that I never saw coming but loved. Can’t wait to see what transpires in the third installment, if there is one.

System Reset  by Tobias S. Buckell. I loved the two main characters in this, Charlie and Toto (not a dog) and was eagerly anticipating more about them in the second book but alas, no.

In The Air and In The Mountain by Hugh Howey. SO good, with a twist and then another even darker twist…I wish this was a full length novelThe End is Now because I was totally drawn into the story and the characters. Can’t WAIT for part three.

Enjoy The Moment by Jack McDevitt. Seemed like a set up for a super, classic EOTWAWKI story but no second installment so far.

I have to mention This Unkempt World Is Falling to Pieces and By The Hair of the Moon by Jamie Ford. The author created a very noir, very cool alternate reality for May 1910 and the return of a certain comet that we know as Halley’s here, known as “the Tramp” there. The world building included steampunk elements woven into the stories  and although these two connected tales weren’t among my top favorites, they stay with me. (I’m not usually much for noir but the setting tugged me in anyway.)

There were many other stories included in the two books, including a pair by Charlie Jane Anders that took aspects of current social media and Generation Z and extrapolated into a chilling but highly believable future….YMMV as to which ones really grab you and won’t let go. For me, apparently the bread mold is THE winner LOL. (It is a scary scary pair of stories.)

Another excellent aspect of these anthologies is the diversity of the characters in meaningful roles, which I very much appreciated.  Tananrive Due’s heroine Nayima in Removal Order and Herd Immunity is one outstanding example, and Jake Kerr’s couple Em and  Lynn in The Wedding are another.

So if you never get enough of reading apocalyptic tales with strong characters of all types, I recommend checking out the two anthologies. Me? I’m waiting with bated breath for the third one!

jericho skeet

Here’s a cast photo from the gone-but-not-forgotten “Jericho,” which I loved and which SO reminded me of Alas, Babylon in the early episodes.