May I Have This Dance for Wednesday Whimsy

035I’m in the mood to dance this week, between the “Dancing With the Stars” finale, and the new video mashup of “Just Shut Up and Dance”, plus a new tap dance video from Christopher Rice debuting today, so I picked these Victorian trade (advertising) cards with a dance theme to share. The cards also reminded me of my favorite Regency romances, especially the ones from Georgette Heyer.

DancerOfTheNile_600x900(Some of the most challenging scenes I’ve ever had to write were the dance scenes in Dancer of the Nile…)

To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in loveJane Austen

The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.  Charles Baudelaire

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. Friedrich Nietzsche

019Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancingWilliam James

013I have no desire to prove anything by dancing. I have never used it as an outlet or a means of expressing myself. I just dance. I just put my feet in the air and move them around. Fred Astaire (Not to argue with the guy but he did a LOT more than “just dance” IMHO.)

Dance is bigger than the physical body. When you extend your arm, it doesn’t stop at the end of your fingers, because you’re dancing bigger than that; you’re dancing spirit. Judith Jamison

All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing.  Moliere

Part of the joy of dancing is conversation. Trouble is, some men can’t talk and dance at the same timeGinger Rogers014

I got started dancing because I knew it was one way to meet girlsGene Kelly

The main thing is dancing, and before it withers away from my body, I will keep dancing till the last moment, the last drop. Rudolf Nureyev

Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire. George Bernard Shaw

Dancing is the poetry of the foot. John Dryden

031Talking about music is like dancing about architectureSteve Martin (I also found this quote attributed to Martin Mull.)

Dancing is my obsession. My life. Mikhail Baryshnikov

But in reality we are accompanied by the whole dancing universeRuth St. Denis

I’ve been known to have a good step or two. I’m half Samoan, you know, and part of our culture is singing and dancing daily. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (I’d like to waltz with him. Just sayin’.)

I’ve always been good at picking up certain things, like sports and dancingChanning Tatum (Yeah, he’s a master of understatement!)

Custom has made dancing sometimes necessary for a young man; therefore mind it while you learn it, that you may learn 004to do it well, and not be ridiculous, though in a ridiculous act. Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

I’m proud of my Irish heritage and culture and this show will feature a lot of Irish dancing. Michael Flatley

People listen to music with cavemen ears: Is it a bird song or the call of a lion? The audience at a musical is dancing in their hearts. Marsha Norman

I can never stand in one place on stage for more than a minute and am always singing, dancing and jumpingSunidhi Chauhan

No one worries about genre when they’re dancing. They’re not asking themselves, ‘Is this song a dubstep song?’ Skrillex

And now, “Shut Up and Dance” (movie mashup):

Gods of Warfare? Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors!

While we’re waiting for my next two new books (one ancient Egypt – at the formatter –  and one science fiction romance – at the editor), here’s another snippet from Magic of the Nile. Tyema has persuaded Captain Sahure to tell her a bit about past battles. He’s talking about the enemy. (Snippet is edited from the published version to provide a complete thought in just 10 sentences):

“They no doubt thought themselves to be gods of warfare, having placed three men in a chariot. The enemy that day had a driver, a shield bearer and a spearman in each vehicle.” Sahure laughed, as if the memory was a pleasing one. “Fools.”

Seeing his amusement, Tyema was puzzled. “Extra manpower and weapons must give an advantage, surely?”

“But consider the weight of three men such as myself in a chariot,” he said, “Requires the vehicle to be heavier and therefore slower. Ours turn in the wink of an eye, you’ve experienced that yourself when we’ve practiced driving.”

Tyema nodded agreement, remembering the excitement of the horses galloping full out and then wheeling in a great arc, dust flying, as she redirected them in a maneuver Sahure had assured her was typical on the battlefield. She tried to imagine hundreds of chariots coming together in combat, shivering at the mental picture.

I thought since we had a baby shower last week,  it might be good balance to share a different kind of scene today.

When I have to describe warfare or battles in my Egyptian  novels, I go directly to the 3000 year old descriptions the Pharaohs themselves recorded, and draw inspiration…drawing below was done in the 1800’s, based on tomb paintings.

047

MagicOfTheNile_600x900The story:

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?

Songs of My Life

I’ve read a number of posts and magazine sidebar stories lately where someone discusses songs that have meaning in their life, and why. Today as I was doing my morning walk, I decided to write my own musical-themed post.

007Song I Consider To Be Theme Song of My Life: The Beach Boys “Fun Fun Fun”. I did take my Daddy’s car – a white Malibu with red interior and V8 engine – and cruise through the hamburger stand when I was supposed to be at the library, studying. And visited my then-boyfriend (later my husband) when I was supposed to be elsewhere. With radio blasting…which is still my favorite way to cruise the freeway. I heard the reconstituted Beach Boys sing it once in person as an adult and that, my friends, was a thrill.

The photo is me, future husband and his jazzy red Karmann Ghia, and a little girl who lived next door to my family.

First song I ever remember hearing: “The Riff Song” from the operetta “Desert Song.” My Dad, who was a basso profundo singer, had been in the play in high school and he would sing me this anytime I requested it. The whole operetta is among my alltime favorites, although sadly out of favor in the world now. I have seen it performed three or four times at local theaters, once with a lead singer whose father had performed the same role on Broadway!

First rock n roll songs I ever heard: “Rock A Hula Baby” by Elvis Presley and “Monster Mash” by Bobby Pickett. We used to eat Sunday breakfast at a local 50’s cafe and being a kid, I’d always pick these two songs on the jukebox.

“Our” Song: “Inna Gadda Da Vida” by Iron Butterfly. OK, let me explain. My husband and I fell in love on the high school Science Club trip to Oak Ridge, and someone on the bus was playing this song on repeat the entire drive! So we kept it as our song as a private joke. No, we didn’t dance to it at our wedding!

Favorite Bagpipe Song: “Steam Train From Mallaig,”as played by the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band of St. Paul, MN. No one else gets it quite right. I love the way the multiple bagpipes blend. This song is the inspiration for a book I have yet to write..

Songs I Used To Be Able to Play on the Piano: “Born Free,” “Exodus” and “Never On Sunday.” I can’t read music at all but I wanted to play the piano as a kid so I memorized the order of the keys. Yeah, I can’t play any of them nowadays.

Songs That Make Me Cry: “Amazing Grace,” especially played on a bagpipe. “Taps”.  “Red River Valley.”

Favorite Christmas Carol: “We Three Kings.”  I also love the Gatlin Brothers rendition of  “Joy To The World.” And the a capella group Straight No Chaser does a hilarious version of “Partridge In A Pear Tree.”

Favorite Back Street Boys Song: “Straight Through the Heart.”

Favorite Music Video of Ancient Egypt: Used to be Michael Jackson’s  “Remember the Time.” Now it’s Katy Perrys’ “Dark Horse” video.

XL5Old TV Theme Songs I Have Memorized: “Swamp Fox” and “Fireball XL-5″.

Favorite Hymn: an 1893 Shaker song “In My Father’s House”. Which also makes me cry…

Favorite Story About A Song and My Writing: The secondary character of Mitch in Escape From Zulaire came to me full fledged one night while listening to Clint Black’s “Nothin’ But The Taillights”. (I love that song.) Mitch was so tied to that song in my mind that when it came time to record the audiobook, I told my narrator, Michael Riffle, that I wanted the character to sound as much like the ‘voice’ of that song as possible. Southern, good old boy, deals with whatever happens and moves forward…. Later, when we ran an interview with Michael in USA Today/HEA about recording audiobooks, he happened to mention the Clint Black influence, and Mr. Black was kind enough to send me a lovely tweet in response. Color me thrilled. 

Favorite Opera Song: I’m not much of an opera fan, but my Dad sang opera as an amateur, and we heard the “Queen of the Night’s Aria” from Mozart’s The Magic Flute many a time. No, Dad wasn’t singing that – he was Pappageno in the opera, which is also a fun song, but for sheer vocal amazingness, give the Queen’s aria a listen.

Favorite Barbershop Quartet Song: “Lida Rose” from Music Man. This song is also tied to my memories of my Dad (who was a SPEBSQSA member). One day my daughters and I were at Disneyland, resting on the curb after a lot of walking. The park’s strolling Barbershop Quartet stopped right in front of us, took my request to sing “Lida Rose” and that’s one of my favorite Disneyland memories.

Favorite Lady GaGa Song: “Poker Face.”

Favorite Pussycat Dolls Song: “Buttons”, which my daughters won’t let me sing in their presence…

Favorite Song With A Good Beat: “Let There Be Drums”

Favorite Mariachi Song: “Jarabe Michoacono” by Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan…but really I love all mariachi bands and most of the music. I’d love to have a good party someday with live mariachi music.

Song I used To Know in Russian: “Moscow Nights”

Well this is getting long, so let me conclude with my most recent memory of a song. When my younger daughter was little, her favorite song was “Once Upon A Dream” from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Her late father would waltz her around the room while I sang the song. (She wouldn’t ever let him sing the song, although he had a very nice voice, even putting her hands on his lips to stop him, with the ferocious frown of a toddler on her face). So at her recent wedding, she and her groom did their first dance to “Once Upon A Dream,” as her way of including her father’s memory in the ceremony. It was beautiful and yes, I cried.

Guest Author Charlee Allden STEALING MERCURY

StealingMercury450Veronica: I’ve really been looking forward to this new science fiction romance book Stealing Mercury from Charlee Allden, so it’s my pleasure to welcome her to the blog today.

She’s been ruminating about things she’d like to see in the future and has a guest post for us. More about the new book below! Take it away, Charlee:

Charlee: Top 5 Things I Look For In A Futuristic World:

It is probably no surprise that a SciFi romance author would love thinking about the future. I’ve been enthralled with possible versions of the future since I was a teenager and discovered all night marathons of “Space 1999” and “Red Dwarf”.  Can you imagine two more different version of the future? But I love them both. Just as I love the two very different versions of the future I’ve built in my first two indie books: Deadly Lover and Stealing Mercury. I do like variety, but when Veronica invited me to her blog I decided to come up with the top five things I look for in a futuristic world.

#5 Flying cars – I don’t normally get excited about cars, but put them in the air and I’m there!

#4 Cool guns – Sure, it would be nice to have a peaceful future, but it doesn’t seem to be in our nature and it would certainly make for dull books. So, I like to imagine crazy new weapons of all shapes and sizes and with more stopping power, but less lethal. Yeah, I like to be contrary.

#3 People with flaws – perfection is boring.

#2 M-O-U-Ss – Men of unusual size. If I’m dreaming, I have to be honest and say my fantasy life is full of men with big hearts and big…muscles.  But, I’ve been told they don’t really exist.

#1 Greater acceptance of our differences – sorry, I have to throw in a serious one here. Call me an idealist, but I want this more than anything.

I hope you enjoyed my list. I’d love to hear what is on yours!

Veronica: I like your list. I’d probably add that I want to see travel to far off places in the galaxy and a lot of adventures taking place there! Here’s the blurb for Stealing Mercury:

Born a slave, Mercury is an Arena Dog, genetically engineered to fight and die in the Arena for the entertainment of others. Trained as a gladiator from boyhood, he’s gathered and led one of the most successful teams in arena history. In their violent world, where men must form alliances and share what little bounty they have to survive, his only goal has been to keep his men alive. But two of his men are dead and he, Diablo and Carnage are condemned to be hunted down and killed in Arena’s newest inhuman sport. Worse, their demise will leave Carn’s mate, a woman Mercury has sworn to protect, alone and vulnerable. And then there is Samantha—a courageous human he has no right to claim. But she is his. He feels it deep in his soul and with an ache in his body he can’t deny.

Samantha Devlin is a down-on-her-luck indie-freight pilot, working in the belly of a corporate hauler until she can earn the credits for her own ship. When an old friend hires her as an emergency replacement to pilot a cargo carrier for the Roma Company, she’s shocked to learn her cargo is three, living, breathing, and dangerously sexy Arena Dogs. When Samantha learns she’s taking the men to their deaths, she must decide is she if willing to risking everything for a man whose customs require that he share her with one of his men and demands he return to Roma to protect another woman. Her heart tells her Mercury is worth any cost, but her head sees nothing ahead but disaster.

Caution: features two scorching hot heroes and one impossibly impulsive woman. Their story may just make you want to steal an Arena Dog or two of your own.

Content labels: romance, adventure, erotic, m/f/m, alpha males, strong heroine, full length novel

Currently on sale for .99 through May 14th.

Available now at AmazoniBooks and Kobo

Excerpt:

He pressed his lips to her forehead in a gesture both sweet and scorching. “I ache for you.” Lusty agony laced through the quietly spoken words.

She cursed low. “Damn it, I can’t think straight when you say things like that.”

A rough chuckle rumbled in his throat as he lifted her higher then licked a path down to her collar bone. “There’s no need to think right now, Samantha.”

He was seducing her. The man who’d known nothing but violence was seducing her and she had to acknowledge she wanted to give in, to be seduced. His hands skimmed her thighs on their way to her ass. He squeezed, urging her to wrap herself more tightly around him. His hands felt huge on her body as he held her close and headed toward the riverbank.

She stroked her palms over his shoulders and the bunching muscles of his arms as he carried her out of the water. The moment he stopped on the grassy bank, he leaned in to take her mouth. It wasn’t a light, easy, getting-to-know-you kiss. It was a kiss of pure possession. He licked her lips and pressed his tongue past them to stroke deep inside. She met the thrust of his tongue, needing everything he offered. He growled into her mouth and her stomach did a little flip in response.

Maybe he’d been right. Suddenly, thinking didn’t seem so important.

Author Bio:

Charlee Allden is a long time fan of love, adventure, and happily-ever-after. She grew up in Florida where a huge fallen oak tree in the swampy woods near her home served as her very own Star Ship Enterprise. Today, Charlee is a multi award winning author of sexy, intense, romantic adventure and suspense. She still lives in Florida across the street from a miniature version of the swamp she lived by as a child.

charleeallden@gmail.com
Twitter: @charleeallden
Website: www.charleeallden.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CharleeAlldenAuthor

 

Baby Shower Ancient Egypt Style Weekend Writing Warriors

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

This week, in honor of Mother’s Day, I’m excerpting a scene from Magic of the Nile. We get up to 10 sentences to play with now – whee! The heroine, High Priestess Tyema, is being feted by her female relatives, close to the time of the birth. (I’ve edited out a few sentences in the middle so I can give you the most important points.). Paratiti is her aunt.

MagicOfTheNile_600x900Finally, as the temple servants brought plates of honeyed cakes and figs at the end of the meal, Paratiti gestured at the oversized basket, “Bring the gift now.”

Her daughters hauled the sturdy container to Tyema, setting it on the ground next to her. Smiling, she said, “I can’t imagine what this might be.” Lifting off the lid, she set it aside and removed the top layer of straw packing. Below the straw she found a fine pair of birthing bricks, smooth, freshly painted in white, with stunning portraits of the goddesses Hathor and Tawaret drawn on the sides in turquoise, gold and red. Protective spells were inked in black hieratic. Tyema sat with a brick in either hand, examining the art.

“I hope your god won’t mind, but birthing a child is a female mystery and he isn’t known for involvement with such things. His crocodiles come from eggs after all. We were afraid you wouldn’t have proper bricks here when the time comes.” Paratiti gestured at the temple behind the garden.

The story:

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?

Next week I’ll probably go back to excerpts from another science fiction WIP. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms!!!

From ECHO 8: One of Sharon Lynn Fisher’s Favorite Scenes

echo 8I’m interviewing Sharon Lynn Fisher over at USA Today Happily Ever After, about her latest science fiction romance novel Echo 8.

Here’s the story (courtesy of Tor Books): Three lives. Two worlds. One chance to save them all.

As a parapsychologist working for Seattle Psi, Tess has devoted her life to studying psychic phenomena. But when doppelgangers begin appearing from a parallel world that’s been struck by an asteroid, nothing in her training will help her survive what’s to come.

After dislocating to Seattle Psi from the other Earth, Jake is confined by a special task force for study. But when he drains life energy from Tess, almost killing her, it causes a ripple effect across two worlds – and creates a bond neither of them expected.

Ross is an FBI agent ordered to protect Tess while she studies Jake. His assignment is not random – he and Tess have a history, and a connection the Bureau hopes to use to its own advantage. By the time Ross realizes his mission could be compromised, it’s already too late – he’ll have to choose between his love for Tess and his duty to protect the people of his own Earth.

Veronica: One of my favorite questions to ask in the USAT/HEA interviews is whether the author has a favorite quote or short scene from the book they’d like to share. The excerpt below was Sharon’s first choice, although we ultimately had to go with a  different,  shorter one for the column. But I thougt it’d be a shame not to share her first choice over here on my blog:

Sharon: As the author, my favorites are mostly super intense, and might not play well out of context. But I like this early scene because it helps to establish the dynamic among the three main characters.

“He’s been asking for you,” called Agent Perez when she saw Ross coming.

Ross moved to Jake’s door, glancing through the square window. He jumped back when Jake appeared behind the glass, inches away.

Ross punched the intercom button and reached for his sidearm. “Back off.”

“I want to know what’s going on,” demanded the fade. His eyes flitted nervously from Ross to Perez. “Where’s Tess?”

The last thing Ross wanted was to hear her name in the fade’s mouth. “Not your concern. You keep quiet in there and maybe no one shoots you.”

Jake’s features contorted in anguish. “Did I kill her? Please—I don’t understand—”

The fade’s head swiveled, like he’d heard something behind him. His body practically hummed with nervous energy, reminding Ross of his meth­addict brother. Except there was nothing sunken or hollow about Jake—not anymore. The bastard was bright­eyed and fully charged.

Jake’s gaze anchored on Ross again. “Am I some kind of—vampire? I felt like I was sucking the life out of her.”

“You were.”

“Is she dead?”

Ross took in Jake’s distress and allowed a pinprick of compassion. “She’s not dead. Not yet.”

Jake squeezed his eyes shut. “God . . . why didn’t you just shoot me? Why don’t you shoot me now?”

Ross studied the fade—dark­blond curls, narrow forehead, brown eyes, short beard curling over chin and jaw. He was about Ross’s height but thinner, and closer to Tess’s age.

“You want me to shoot you,” Ross replied, dubious.

“Why did you let her get so close? You’re a Fed, right? You have to be, dressed like that. Were you supposed to be protecting her or what?”

Jesus. Ross felt like he’d been punched. He slipped his weapon back in the holster and turned to go.

“Hey!” called Jake. The intercom was still on.

Impatient to get back upstairs, Ross hesitated before turning. A part of him could empathize. What a position to suddenly find yourself in.

“What she told me,” said Jake, “—the alternate universe thing—is it true?”

“Probably. It’s a theory.”

“Based on what? I mean, how can you know something like that?”

“We can’t, not for sure. But they’ve questioned enough of you to piece it together.”

Jake chuckled darkly. “I thought she was nuts. Or I’d wound up in some purgatory for suicides.”

Ross lifted an eyebrow. “You killed yourself?”

Jake’s lips set, and he glared at Ross. “I’m finished talking to you. If she lives, I’ll talk to her. Shoot me if you want to. I don’t [expletive!] care.”

Sharon FisherVeronica: I found it to be an exciting, unusual story and I hope you’ll hop over to the actual interview on USAT/HEA. Here’s a photo of Sharon inside the now-scrapped ferry  Kalakala, which plays a part in the novel.

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Mothers for Wednesday Whimsy

008With Mother’s Day coming this weekend, and being a mother and grandmother myself, I figured that was the best topic for today’s Wednesday Whimsy. Oddly enough, I don’t have that many Victorian trade (advertising) cards featuring Mothers. I guess I haven’t been looking for them specifically. I did find a number of historical mothers and children on cards in my collection, so here they are for your enjoyment!

My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her. George Washington

The love of a mother is the veil of a softer light between the heart and the heavenly Father. Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgivenessHonore de Balzac

My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it. Mark Twain

Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life. Sophocles

001When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. 010You’re going to get it anyway. Erma Bombeck

I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.  Eleanor Roosevelt

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. Sophia Loren

My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

004I’m a mama’s boy because everything I do is with respect to my mother. I won’t do a movie or a video that would bring disrespect to my mother. Mr. T

Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly. Ambrose Bierce

There are only two things a child will share willingly; communicable diseases and its mother’s age. Benjamin Spock

I always tell people that I became a writer not because I went to school but because my mother took me to the library. I wanted to become a writer so I could see my name in the card catalog. Sandra Cisneros

And of course here are three of my favorite mothers from the works of Beatrix Potter!

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All I Remember Weekend Writing Warriors

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

We’re onto a new story of mine, a WIP that still needs a lot of work. Mark, an ex-Special Forces soldier in the Sectors, has been hired by the Outlier Empress to rescue a kidnap victim who’s been taken to the border planet Freemarket, where anything goes and the authorities are usually hands off. Kind of like Las Vegas…he’s broken into the house of  Barent Kliin, the kidnapper, persuaded Alessandra to go with him and fled in a stolen car, pursued by the bad guys and the planetary police. They collided with a cargo hauler…Mark knocked the driver out and assisted Alessandra from their wrecked vehicle, after which the couple flee into the crowded marketplace but are now trapped…until a strange little being showed up, offering to help…having no choice, Mark and Sandy flee with the creature and fall into a tent. The owner of the tent offered them the opportunity to Travel…not in a groundcar or a  or a spaceship…three weeks ago she showed them the Globes of Amarkana. Now Mark has picked one and shattered it and they Traveled.

The first time Mark opened his eyes, the world was still swirling around him, so he blinked hard, hoping to quell the vertigo. His head ached like he’d been on a three day bender with cheap rotgut, his left shoulder felt like someone had stuck a jagged knife into it and his stomach was on fire with cramping pain. Murmuring reassurance in a soft voice, the medic who was treating him tugged at his right shoulder.

Mark half opened his eyes to see her, preparing to tell her with a blistering string of profanity to just let him die in peace of whatever this was. But even through the dizziness and nausea, he was startled to see Sandy, not a Sectors medic.  Pressing an inject to his bicep, she said, “I hope when you wake up next time, these symptoms have worn off – I don’t think you were as good a candidate for Traveling as Lajollae thought.”

Vague memories  returning, he said, “What happened? All I remember is breaking the globe and then a whole lot of hot wind – like being in a sandstorm.”

So, the story goes on from there….they’ve ended up in a very strange place and a lot of adventure, romance and some second chances lie ahead. You’ve all been so kind about enjoying the snippets, I’ve moved this up in my schedule and will work on revisions for this next, after Star Cruise: Marooned, which I’m trying to get to my developmental editor by next Saturday. Ghost of the Nile  went to the copy editor on Wednesday, so I’m making progress!

Not sure what I’ll excerpt next week – we’ll all have to be surprised together, I guess. Best wishes!

tarantula nebula

Deleted Scene Mara POV Wreck of the Nebula Dream Tuesday Teaser

Tuesday Teaser

I’ve never shared this excerpt from Wreck of the Nebula Dream before! This is a scene from the heroine Mara’s POV, before I decided to go ahead and make the entire novel from the hero’s POV because…reasons. Some minor plot elements mentioned  here also changed slightly in the final version of the book.

Wreck of the Nebula Dream is still on sale for $.99 for a few more days. Amazon    Barnes & Noble     All Romance eBooks     iTunes   Kobo

Here’s the deleted scene:

Wreck-of-the-Nebula-DreamFinalMedThree days on the luxury space liner Nebula Dream and all Mara Lyrae had seen so far was her own stateroom. Typical when I travel. All space ships and most planets are pretty much the same to me. Life is a series of meetings, business dinners and strange beds, slept in alone.

She stretched, staring around at the beautiful stateroom, now cluttered with her three personal AI’s, files, notes and the other detritus of work.  She was constantly working. Being the Sector Vice President for the giant Loxton Galactic Trading was a highly responsible job. LTG paid extremely well but she was always on duty for them.

“On to the next crisis,” she said out loud, getting out of her chair and walking to pour herself some tea. She wrapped the blue silk robe more closely and leaned on the dainty vanity, back to the mirror, surveying the messy room. “Might as well be in my damn office.” She pushed her thick hair off her face with one hand.

Mara turned around to look in the mirror. She had circles under her eyes. She was too thin. A person could only exist on nervous energy for so long. LTG paid her extremely well for what she did but lately Mara was starting to feel the rewards were not worth the life’s blood she poured into it. The name on the business was always going to be Loxton. A person could only go so far without being one or marrying one. Yes, the company wanted her to step  into the vice president slot. Yes, Brin Loxton had made it clear he had more than a professional interest in her. She wasn’t sure of her own emotions but he was pushing.

But do  I want to be Brin Loxton’s trophy wife? Is that all there is? I’ve accomplished  most of  my goals and it hasn’t turned out the way I expected.

“Passenger Lyrae, you have messages.” The Ship’s AI spoke softly. It had a pleasant male baritone voice, at least in her quarters.

“I always have messages.” I’m rebellious today. She took another sip of the lukewarm tea, preparing to go back to work. Not for her the festivities and glamour of the Nebula Dream’s maiden voyage. She might as well be on a freighter for all it mattered. The speed of the voyage was her only concern and the brand new Nebula Dream was being touted to smash the record for this particular run.

“You have 87 messages in the queue since the last update fifteen minutes ago.”

“Show me.” Mara set the tea cup on the table and squared her shoulders to dive into the endless work demanded of her.

The AI projected the messages in the cabin, scrolling through the holographic list at a fairly rapid clip.

One message caught her eye. “Wait, wait, go back. What was the last one?”

The subject and the name of the sender had been unexpected, as well as the shipboard point of origin.

“From Consolidated Star Guard Captain Nicholas Jameson, presently on board.” The Ship’s recitation of the tag was a bit odd, not as neutral as Mara was used to hearing. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the AI sounds enthusiastic. “Shall I play it?”

“Sure, go ahead.” Mara remembered the soldier from the shuttle. It was unusual to see a military man aboard a luxury liner. He had to be traveling under orders, not for his own pleasure. He couldn’t afford the Dream, not on a captain’s salary. “Play visual as well as audio.”

The holo message opened. The holo was high quality, no wavering, no distortion.

Oh yes, now I know why I remembered him. Mara scrunched her bare toes on the plush carpet and sat a bit straighter. The guy was impressive, standing well over six feet, hard body packed with muscles, an honest, good looking face, square jaw, sandy blond hair a bit longer than military regulation. “A regular recruiting poster,” she said. He’d stood out in the crowd at the spaceport. He gave the air of being ready for action at a second’s notice. Totally calm and self confident in any situation. A man you could lean on.

            Although since she preferred to rely on herself at all times, why she cared if he was reliable was a mystery.

His eyes were hazel green, his gaze direct and serious. There was a small dimple in his chin.

Captain Jameson’s voice matched the rest of the package – deep and appealing. “I didn’t get a chance to thank you for giving me your extra seat on the shuttle the other day so I could make the Dream’s departure, Miss Lyrae.”

Right, because I did my usual thing and went right back to work. Can’t waste a minute. Don’t want to give anyone a chance to intrude on me. Because I can fire fifty people without blinking an eye but I hate social situations. Besides it was my assistant’s seat and he wasn’t using it. So why not help a guy in a jam out? Mara sipped her tea, grimacing at how cold it was.

The captain’s image was continuing to talk. “I was hoping you’d give me a chance to pay you back. Meet me for drinks at the Casino tonight?”

Mara shook her head. Oh no, no time. Nice try, soldier. She opened her mouth to tell the Ship to send back a polite refusal but the AI spoke a fraction of a second faster.

“Captain Jameson has his hopes quite high about your acceptance of his offer. He said you have beautiful blue eyes. Such an unusual vivid blue, he said.”

She could not believe her ears. Was the Ship’s AI trying to get her to go out with the guy?

The AI kept talking. “He said you were gorgeous and you’d probably never agree to dinner but maybe he could get you to have a drink with him.”

“Ship, it’s highly improper of you to repeat another passenger’s private remarks to me.” She kept her voice pleasant. She’d already learned how young the AI on this Ship was. Surprisingly unsophisticated for a high class luxury vessel. Mara tried to avoid hurting another sentient being’s feelings whenever possible so she didn’t make her rebuke too harsh.

“I’m sorry, Passenger Lyrae. I did not mean to offend.” The AI sounded worried.

“I’m not offended.” I can’t believe I’m engaging in conversation with an AI. She glanced at the captain’s image, frozen in the center of the stateroom. He filled out his uniform for sure. She was only going to be on this ship for another week and then she’d never see him again. No entanglements. A girl deserved some fun after making hundreds of millions of credits for her employer, didn’t she?

           He definitely looked like fun.

“You now have one hundred thirty two messages in the queue. Shall I go back to the start of the scroll? Fifty four are marked urgent.”

Mara shut her eyes and shook her head. She rubbed her forehead for a minute. LGT’s stream of business issues never stopped. Assistants usually sorted through the message stream for her and did triage, handing her only the highest priority issues. It had been years since she had dealt with them all herself. “What time did the captain want to meet?”

“Seven o’clock, at the roulette wheel.”

She could manage, if she took a quick shower. “Ship, what do you have in the way of evening dresses?”

The Ship projected a miniature fashion show in every corner of her stateroom, little images whirling and twirling. “Captain Jameson plays chess with me.”

“Chess?” She tilted her head, glancing more closely at one or two of the dresses, flicking the others into invisibility with a gesture.

“It is an archaic game of strategy – “

“Yes, I know what chess is.” Mara was impatient. “You have to stop making these personal comments, Ship.”

“I like you. I like talking to you. I like the captain.”

“Do you talk to everyone on board like this?”

There was a brief silence. “No.” The voice was small.

Mara patted the bulkhead, as if the Ship was a pet or a child. “It’s all right. You can talk to me. And I’m sure if Captain Jameson plays chess with you, he doesn’t mind some chatter. But most people who travel on a ship like this don’t want to hear anything from you except for business.”

“I know. I’ve been reprimanded by the AI Officer twice. Which dress do you prefer?”

“The one on the left, in dark blue. Get rid of the sequins, except around the hem.”

“I will debit your account. Shall I tell the captain you will be there at seven PM?”

“Please.” Mara headed for the lavish bathroom. A major dress like the one she had selected was going to call for some elaborate hair and makeup. And her best perfume, the expensive one from Terra.

The 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 (and Khevan), 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?

Picked Up By A Whirlwind Weekend Writing Warriors

(If you’re here for the Aprils Fools for Love Event & Giveaway, go here.)

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

We’re onto a new story of mine, a WIP that still needs a lot of work. Mark, an ex-Special Forces soldier in the Sectors, has been hired by the Outlier Empress to rescue a kidnap victim who’s been taken to the border planet Freemarket, where anything goes and the authorities are usually hands off. Kind of like Las Vegas…he’s broken into the house of  Barent Kliin, the kidnapper, persuaded Alessandra to go with him and fled in a stolen car, pursued by the bad guys and the planetary police. They collided with a cargo hauler…Mark knocked the driver out and assisted Alessandra from their wrecked vehicle, after which the couple flee into the crowded marketplace but are now trapped…until a strange little being showed up, offering to help…having no choice, Mark and Sandy flee with the creature and fall into a tent. The owner of the tent is an extremely mysterious being, who prevented him from shooting at their pursuers. She’s offering them the opportunity to Travel…not in a groundcar or a  or a spaceship…two weeks ago she showed them the Globes of Amarkana. Now Mark has picked one and shattered it.

Heat and a rush of spice scented air swirled around them. Mark felt as if he’d been picked up by a whirlwind. He was afraid to open his eyes, as the air filled with grit or sand, scraping across every inch of exposed flesh. Tightening his arms around Sandy, he buried his face in her soft, fragrant hair. From the sensations, he’d have said they were flying through the air, yet a solid footing remained under his boots.

Now that it was too late, worries flooded Mark’s mind. Had Lajolae been trying to save them, or had she sent them into the path of some worse fate?

 Too late for regrets.

Next week I’ll give you the end of the journey, or a snippet thereof, and then we’ll switch off to something else in two weeks.

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