You Have A Lot To Learn 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! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

I’m doing a different excerpt from Wreck of the Nebula Dream this week – I KNOW, I promised something new, but I do have a reason, which I’ll explain after the snippet, so as not to violate the Rules!

Nick and the others are working on a plan to escape the dying ship, which involves flying a small shuttle out of the hangar deck. But – of course! – there are obstacles Nick has to deal with and the enemy is hot on their trail. Lucky for them all, Mara has unexpected skills:

            Impatiently, Nick tried to direct Mara to a passenger seat, but her next words forestalled him.

            “I have an intra system pilot’s license,” she said matter of factly, “You go deal with the other shuttles and the air lock, and I’ll get this baby revving.”

            He stared at her, evaluating this suggestion.

            “Go on,” she urged him, impatient now herself, but good-natured­ly. “You have a lot to learn about me. I tried to tell you once before, up on the Observation Deck, but you were in too big a hurry to listen. Trust me – I can pilot this class of ship, okay?”

            “Right.” He shook his head, assimilating this unexpected piece of luck – a qualified co-pilot. “Okay, she’s all yours – get the engines hot, stay below redline.”

OK, so the reason I excerpted Wreck  again today is that Mara Lyrae was included on a list of the “Best SFR Heroines in a Book” by the Smart Girls Love SciFi blog and now they’re doing a vote…so IF you had time and the inclination, I’d really appreciate a vote for Mara. I’m honored to have my character on the list, some really excellent authors and heroines there, terrific company 🙂 Here’s the link: http://smartgirlslovesfr.com/2015/10/29/vote-for-the-best-sfr-heroines-in-books-and-movies/

Wreck-of-the-Nebula-DreamFinalHugeThe 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?

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  All Romance eBooks iTunes    Google Play   Kobo

           

        

Last Time Veronica Did A Magazine Quiz? Today!

I enjoy the One Last Thing quiz at the end of most issues of People magazine, so here are a few selected questions from various issues:

Jake chasing the red dot

Jake chasing the red dot

Last thing I misplaced: Actually it was the cats’ laser pointer toy and I finally had to give up and go buy a new one. On an ordinary day, it’d be my keys or my phone EXCEPT that I long ago learned to have one special place where those items go, and they’re not allowed to be put anywhere else. Or catastrophe ensues. I used to be really bad with scissors and staplers, and each time we’d move, I’d discover I actually owned about twenty pairs of scissors and probably five staplers. I kept buying them when I couldn’t find a handy pair. Oh, and the last time I moved, we found a brand new iPod that had evidently slid between the pillows and the mattress and dropped under the bed. Yes, after searching high and low for it, I’d eventually bought myself another one! Not good to misplace things!

Keanu after we finally got him to the vet

Keanu after we finally got him to the vet

Last time I was late: I never am. My mother believed if you arrived on time, that was late, so therefore we arrived everywhere early. I’m notorious for this and I always take reading material to while away the extra time between when I arrive and when I’m supposed to be there. Now we didn’t make it to the last veterinarian appointment at all, because after four tries Keanu was NOT going into the carrier.But technically I wasn’t late. We just rescheduled!

Last time I was injured: I suffered a bone bruise when I moved in early July and I’m reliably informed it can take up to a year to heal! Bummer. Kinda aches. I had it Xrayed so we’re sure it isn’t a hairline fracture.

Last indulgence: a happier topic! Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Brownie Fudge ice cream. Or if you want to talk about a more material item, I bought a pair of killer002 bling earrings!

Last time I was nervous: Last week, at a book reading in Burbank! But it went well (or so I was told) and I had fun…once I started reading, it was a piece of cake.

Last time I got frustrated: trying to cram Keanu into the cat carrier for the aforementioned trip to the vet.

MissionToM2-FJM_Thumbnail_150X240Last gift I gave: a copy of my new Mission to Mahjundar audiobook, to a special person.

Last time I cried: Well, not full bore weeping or anything but I might have teared up the first time I saw this wonderful commercial:

Victorian Veggie People for Halloween

016

013I’ve been saving these Victorian trade (advertising) cards all year, since they 001make me think of Halloween. The Victorians seem to have been fascinated by the idea of people-vegetable hybrids. I feel lucky to have the small collection that I do, because sometimes these cards go for pretty high prices. And then, some of the cards are just too grotesque for my taste, so I skip those.

Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow. William Blake

I could happily lean on a gate all the livelong day, chatting to passers-by about the wind and the rain. I do a lot of gate-leaning while I am supposed to be gardening; instead of hoeing, I lean on the gate, stare at the vegetable beds and ponder.  Tom Hodgkinson

Cabbage: a familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man’s head. Ambrose Bierce002

A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables. Gertrude Stein

The vegetable life does not content itself with casting from the flower or the tree a single seed, but it fills the air and earth with a prodigality of seeds, that, if thousands perish, thousands may plant themselves, that hundreds may come up, that tens may live to maturity; that, at least one may replace the parent. Ralph Waldo Emerson

004An onion can make people cry but there’s never been a vegetable that can make people laugh. Will Rogers

Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself. Henry David Thoreau

The West is color. Its colors are animal rather than vegetable, the colors of earth and sunlight and ripeness. Jessamyn West

The essential quality of an animal is that it seeks its own living, whereas a vegetable has its living brought to it. Henry Mayhew

And of course sometimes the Victorians just portrayed vegetables or other foods as people, with arms and legs, which can also be amusing to the eye!

009006

Here are the rest of my 010015Veggie People cards for your enjoyment this Halloween!017

Does She Outrank Me? 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! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

I wasn’t sure what to post this week since we’re taking a hiatus from Healer of the Nile while we wait for the anthology to be released. But yesterday Nalini Singh (who is one of my very favorite authors in the whole world) told me she’d enjoyed Wreck of the Nebula Dream! I was walking on air about that, so here’s a quick excerpt from the book (also known as “Titanic in space…”). I know many of you have read the novel – thank you! –  and I’m always appreciative and thrilled when a reader tells me they liked it! But somehow the idea of my favorite author reading my book is just….well, FUN.

I’ll excerpt something new next week, promise!

The first speaker is Paolo, an eight year old Nick has rescued, along with his little sister, from a destroyed cabin. They’re traveling with the rest of their small party in a gravlift inside the damaged ship:

“Why do you call me trooper?”

“Well, because the rest of us are taller than you and we outrank you, but you’re definitely one of the team, which makes you a trooper.” Nick reached out and ruffled the boy’s hair. “First class.”

“I like it.” Paolo glanced shyly at Nick as they continued to descend. “Gianna doesn’t outrank me, does she? She’s just a baby.”

Nick laughed. “No, you rank her by age; relax and watch your feet – don’t want to land wrong and twist an ankle.”

Wreck-of-the-Nebula-DreamFinalHugeThe 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?

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  All Romance eBooks iTunes    Google Play   Kobo

SFR Audiobook Narrator Turns the Tables on Veronica Scott

MissionToM2AudioThe audiobook of Mission to Mahjundar is now available on Amazon, Audible.com and iTunes (sound sample below). Actor Michael Riffle and I’ve done a fun interview on the subject, over at USA Today Happily Ever After. This time, for the sake of variety, we’ve turned the tables and he interviewed me, asking questions about my science fiction world of the Sectors. We invite you to check out the interview!

Here’s the story for Mission to Mahjundar:

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?

One question we didn’t have room for in the USA Today column:

Michael: While narrating Mission to Mahjundar, I noticed several places where there were hints of deep political intrigue, but the story couldn’t have easily followed it. Without giving too much away, can you tell us more about what was going on behind the scenes with the explosion that led to Michael and Shalira meeting? I smelled a hint of a rebellion or insurrection.

Veronica: Originally there was a lot more in the book about the growing resistance to the empress and her plans. Her attempts to install a new religion were part of the political upheaval. Captain Rojar played a much bigger part in the attempt to overthrow her, and I was setting him up for a possible sequel throughout the book when I first wrote the story. I’d even considered a sequel with Mike and Shalira returning to Mahjundar!

Strike up the Victorian Ladies Band! Wednesday Whimsy

001I lucked into this set of  Victorian trade (advertising) cards awhile ago. I have no idea what they were meant to advertise or who issued them. Also, 002they’re numbered, which implies they were part of some kind of set originally. Maybe as an inducement to collect them all by buying a certain product? Mine have numbers in the 90’s, so there must have been at least 100 in the series.

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. Plato

Where words fail, music speaks. Hans Christian Andersen

Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman. Beethoven

003Music is the strongest form of magic. Marilyn Manson

It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature and everlasting beauty of monotony. Benjamin Britten004

For me, singing sad songs often has a way of healing a situation. It gets the hurt out in the open into the light, out of the darkness. Reba McIntire

Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music. Jimi Hendrix

Jazz is smooth and cool. Jazz is rage. Jazz flows like water. Jazz never seems to begin or end. Jazz isn’t methodical, but jazz isn’t messy either. Jazz is a conversation, a give and take. Jazz is the connection and communication between musicians. Jazz is abandon. Nat Wolff

006Music is the shorthand of emotion. Tolstoy

Music is everybody’s possession. It’s only publishers who think that people own it. John Lennon

Music is moonlight in the gloomy night of life. Jean Paul

Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until005 you die. Paul Simon

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. Maya Angelou
007008009

Ignore the God of Fate? 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! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

I’ve switched to an excerpt from a brand new novella set in my version of ancient Egypt, working title Healer of the Nile, which is for a boxed set later this year.

Tadenhut, elder son of a noble house and heir to the Hunting Cat estate, has been gravely injured in a battle against Pharaoh’s enemies and brought home to die. Mehyta, a woman from the estate’s village who has skills as a healer, has been ordered to assist the physicians in his care.

Having used her healer’s magic to assess his injuries, she found herself dreaming of Tadenhut, who remains in a coma in the real world. Her dream took place on a battlefield, after the combat has ended. Now she’s back in the real world, pondering what to do. I’ve edited out some details here just to simplify.

As the first rays of sunlight lanced into the room and across the bed, she took her pouch of fortune-telling beads and sat outside, next to the fish pond. Closing her eyes, she repeated to herself the old proverb, “There is no one who can ignore Shai.” Yes, the god of Fate was the only one who could decide whether Tadenhut was to live or die. But at least Mehyta could ask for an indication of which it was to be and decide what to do accordingly.

She performed an act almost never done in fortune telling, except in an extreme situation—she spilled the entire contents of her pouch across the flat paving stones of the garden. Taking a deep breath, she opened her eyes to read the pattern. The black of death and the white of life lay together, surrounded by other omens speaking of struggle, danger, and hardship. Mehyta reached to touch the green malachite bead, symbolizing hope in this array. It sat by itself in a small indentation of the paving stone directly north of the black and white omens. 

As she gathered the stones to replace them in the pouch, she pondered the message from Shai. 

I’m not going to do any more excerpts from this story, or at least not until the anthology in which it’s included gets released. Thank you so much for all the comments – I’m really happy people have been enjoying the adventure.

GhostOfTheNile_1600x2400In the meantime, if you can’t wait, you can always read one of my other novels set in ancient Egypt LOL! Maybe Ghost of the Nile for Halloween.

As always, thanks for visiting!

Veronica Takes a Quiz About Time

006Vanity Fair magazine reported on a CBS News poll taken earlier this year, with some really interesting questions about time, in terms of looking forward or reflecting on the past. (You’re supposed to be able to view the entire poll results on their webpage but the specific poll link didn’t work for me.) You know how much I love answering questions! And since I somehow wasn’t included in the randomly chosen group who answered the original poll, I’m taking my chance here, on some selected questions.

Which is more important, lessons of the past or possibilities of the future? Personally I like to use my lessons learned from the past and apply them to the future choices I make. If I had to go with just one, the future is always where I’m at. Eternal optimist here! In the poll, the future was the answer for more than half the people who answered,

Which is most likely to disappear in a thousand years? The top choice was “grocery shopping with a basket”, with 25%. Ok, I’ll give you that, in 1000 years probably no one will shop with the assistance of a wobbly, flu-spreading wire basket. And as for formal thank-you notes, at least the hand written variety – hey, aren’t they pretty much gone already? I write them to my great-aunts these days, you know? I DO say thank you – all the time – but in e mails. What came in third surprised me though – it was the handshake. Personally, I’m guessing it’ll hang on, considering the gesture’s already been around for thousands of years. We may not do it to show we’re not carrying weapons any more but it’s a pretty solid greeting ritual.

If you were reborn in the future which city would you live in? Vancouver came in first. I guess I’m one of those “grow where you’re planted” kind of people…I’d probably still be here in Southern California. Or wherever my family was, actually.

008Which of these discoveries do you most wish you could witness firsthand? Number one choice with 35% was the first moon landing. The opening of King Tut’s tomb only got 11%, for fourth place. I think I’d go with that one myself, being so enamored of all things to do with ancient Egypt. It must have been SO amazingly exciting to see those objects revealed for the first time. I have to confess I always envy the little girl in the beginning of the “Stargate” movie, who gets to just pick up an interesting necklace at an archaeological dig and keep it. I realize that’s not ok, more of treasure hunter behavior than proper, respectful archaeology but….there are some earrings from King Tut’s tomb that I just crave. (The ones at left are in my jewelry box – from the Elizabeth Taylor collection.) Ah well….moving on!

Which performance would you most want to attend? The Beatles in 1965 at Shea Stadium tied with Woodstock. Hmmm. I guess I’d want to know if I was attending in the giant crush of a crowd at either one, or do I get to be backstage, mingle? And you know, actually, it might have been cool to attend the first performance of “Romeo and Juliet”. Can you imagine?

If you were about to be transported to a random point in time, what would you bring? My reading glasses! The Bible was the first choice in the poll, followed by antibiotics. (I’m allergic to all of them so no use to pack those in MY purse.Aspirin maybe…)  Gun came in fourth, not a bad option, but how much ammo do you get?

LOVED this question: Which of these figures is most likely to have been visiting from the future? The poll said:

Jesus, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Salvador Dali and Liberace, in that order.

I think I’d go with da Vinci, given the amazing things he invented, even if he couldn’t build them all. Or how about H. G. Wells? He certainly “imagined” a lot of cool technology, including the time machine!

HGWells tme machine

Beatrix Potter for Wednesday Whimsy No Bunnies!

004Everyone knows Beatrix Potter wrote about rabbits, as in Peter and his family. Her mice and her kittens are nearly as famous. Even her hedgehog laundress, Mrs. Tiggywinkle! I thought today I’d feature a few of her other creatures, from my collection of figurines.

012Did you know she included a few dogs in her tales? Here are Duchess with a pie, and John Joiner…

The following quotes are all from Ms. Potter, collected from various sources:

Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality. 

There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you. 

I do so hate finishing books. I would like to go on with them for years. 

“In the time of swords and periwigs and full-skirted coats with flowered 010lappets – when gentlemen wore ruffles, and gold-laced waistcoats of paduasoy and taffeta – there lived a tailor in Gloucester.”

Everything was romantic in my imagination. The woods were peopled by the mysterious good folk. The Lords and Ladies of the last century walked with me along the overgrown paths, and picked the old fashioned flowers among the box and rose hedges of the garden.

011For quiet, solitary and observant children create their own world and live in it, nourishing their imaginations on the material at hand.008

The pigs aren’t my personal favorites but at the end of the post are a trio, including “Yock-Yock in the Tub”. I must confess I’ve never read whatever story featured this scene!

015

Keeping You From Death? 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! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

I’ve switched to an excerpt from a brand new novella set in my version of ancient Egypt, working title Healer of the Nile, which is for a boxed set later this year.

Tadenhut, elder son of a noble house and heir to the Hunting Cat estate, has been gravely injured in a battle against Pharaoh’s enemies and brought home to die. Mehyta, a woman from the estate’s village who has skills as a healer, has been ordered to assist the physicians in his care.

Having used her healer’s magic to assess his injuries, she finds herself dreaming of Tadenhut, who remains in a coma in the real world. Her dream takes place on a battlefield, after the combat has ended.

The scene began to fade in front of her and she knew she’d run out of time. Stepping into the mist again, sticking out her tongue to catch a few droplets, she tested a theory. The taste was familiar, dizzying.

            “The same as the potion in the alabaster bottles,” she said, sitting up in the darkened bedroom.

            Rising, she went to stand beside the bed, moving one of the oil lamps so the light fell on Tadenhut’s face. He remained lost in his unconscious state, showing little trace of the strong individual she’d met in the dreamspace. She took his hand, twining her fingers with his for a moment, wishing to offer him some comfort. Now she knew how his ka was trapped in the bleak hell of the battlefield, it hurt to see him lie there so unmoving. “But are the drugs and spells keeping you from going to your death? Or keeping you from life?”

Next week I’ll share what the dilemma Mehyta has to resolve, regarding her choices, but then we’ll have to let the story go and switch to something else.

I don’t have a cover or a blurb for this one yet. but in includes copious quantities of magic and a bit of romance, of course. Locked in his coma, Tadenhut isn’t as ready to give up his hold on life as everyone assumes, especially after this meeting in the dreamspace. The novella took on a sort of Cinderella-by-the-Nile air in some ways as I wrote it.

GhostOfTheNile_1600x2400In the meantime, if you can’t wait, you can always read one of my other novels set in ancient Egypt LOL!

As always, thanks for visiting!