Reaction Not As Expected 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!)

Continuing with science fiction romance today. Here’s an excerpt from Lady of the Star Wind, an epic portal fantasy, which is undergoing a final edit and will be released after Star Cruise: Outbreak in the April/May 2016 time frame (fingers crossed that I can keep my schedule). I’m working with the awesome Fiona Jayde on a cover now!

Sandy and Mark have been transported to an unknown world after breaking the Globe of Amarkana (you may remember those excerpts earlier in the year?). This snippet is from  quite a bit further in the novel, after Mark and Sandy have left the mysterious mountain oasis, in the company of some new friends… Sandy was bitten by a snake (who we learn today has a name), went into the green light with a woman unknown to her and now is sitting in a room she’s never seen before, with four women who seem to think Sandy is someone else…the Lady of the Star Wind…

After a moment, Amrell raised her eyes to the newcomer and spoke, “As we were telling our guest, we knew she waited in the temple so we sent Sherabti to welcome her as in days of old. Her reaction was not as expected, so I decided to personally conduct our friend and her consort to this meeting place.” Biting her lip, Amrell frowned. “His response was also odd, as if his blood fought Sherabti’s elixir. I couldn’t bring him through the barriers into this place.”

“Is Sherabti the snake? You had the snake bite me to get me here?” The adrenaline of outrage gave Sandy energy, broke the spell holding her so calm. These women were more dangerous than she’d realized.

More from this scene next week!

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What Have You Done? 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!)

Continuing with science fiction romance today. Here’s an excerpt from Lady of the Star Wind, an epic portal fantasy, which is undergoing a final edit and will be released after Star Cruise: Outbreak in the April/May 2016 time frame (fingers crossed that I can keep my schedule).

Sandy and Mark have been transported to an unknown world after breaking the Globe of Amarkana (you may remember those excerpts earlier in the year?). This snippet is from  quite a bit further in the novel, after Mark and Sandy have left the mysterious mountain oasis, in the company of some new friends… Sandy was bitten by a snake, went into the green light with a woman unknown to her and now is sitting in a room she’s never seen before, with four women who seem to think Sandy is someone else…the Lady of the Star Wind…

Maybe a star wind was what Lajollae had used to send her to this world? Somehow, the idea made sense in Sandy’s current situation. Her reception by these women was cordial enough on the surface. Again, that nagging internal alarm sounded. Mark wasn’t here, and she didn’t know where he was, much less where she was, so things couldn’t be fine. She dug the fingernails of her right hand into her palm, hoping the tiny prick of pain would help her throw off the lassitude.

What have you done?” The new voice rang strident and accusatory. Sandy shifted in her chair to see a fifth woman entering the room.

The four Moon Sisters went to their knees, heads bowed.

I’ll keep going with this scene for a few more weeks….next week the Moon Sisters explain why they  brought Sandy to this room.

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10 Things I Love About The 100 TV Show

1/24/16 Veronica sez: The giveaway is now closed and Cathy has decided to send a signed copy of her new book to each person who did comment! Thank you for visiting the blog post 🙂

Having recently binge watched the CW science fiction TV series “The 100,” I was very excited about the premiere of Season 3. I wrote a recap for USA Today Happily Ever After but here’s my Top 10 Things I Love about the series in general.

There will be spoilers if you haven’t already seen the first two seasons…

  1. Bellamy. Ok, he’s good to look at, I love his voice and wow, has the character gone through a growth arc over the seasons. He always stays true to his primary focus, watching out for his sister (although S3 previews seem to indicate they may disagree violently on  what’s best for her this year.) I like that he’s tough, a good fighter and a person you can count on. I thought it was so moving that he wouldn’t let Clarke destroy the Weather Mountain people all by herself when the moment came. He put his hand over hers on that fatal lever and shared the responsibility.
  2. Raven and Wick. I REALLY liked Wick’s character when he was introduced. He has a great sense of humor but SO serious underneath and I thought Raven deserved some happiness all her own. That girl’s been through a LOT! I hope nothing bad happens to their relationship – or to Wick. This series doesn’t hesitate to kill characters off, even major ones. The previews don’t look too promising on this point. And apparently in interviews recently the show runners have said no more Wick.
  3. Olivia and Lincoln. These two are the Romeo and Juliet of the series, although a lot tougher, better armed and not nearly as poetic. I want them to be happy but they don’t really fit into either world right now – not the Sky People nor the Grounders. I fear there’s more trouble coming their way.
  4. Abby and Marcus. It’s been nice to watch their relationship grow. I thought he was a goner several times  and that made me sad. I’ll be chewing my nails in S3 over this, I can tell!
  5. Indra, the Grounder. I have a feeling she really disagrees with things her Commander has done and I think she might be a wild card.
  6. Maya. I’m going to miss her. She tried so hard to do the right thing. I have a feeling Jasper is going to take some dire actions over his mourning for her. Along with her, Jasper and Monty are two of my favorite characters. I like that they’ve gotten to do more and more…
  7. The costume designer. I don’t know the ins and outs of who should have the credit here because the Internet Database of Movies lists a lot of people with titles relating to costumes, but they are GENIUS. I love the way the Sky People and the Weather Mountain people wore clothing that was ‘vintage’, with holes and patches and you had to think about the fact that these garments must have been handed down for the last 97 years, because new ones really weren’t being made. And I think the way the Grounders dress in leather and metal and chains and studs emphasizes the nature of their society.
  8. The Grounder language. I love reading the subtitles while I’m listening to them talk and you think you catch a word here and there that is almost English but not quite. Well done. Kudos to the actors for speaking it as if they’d been doing it since birth.
  9. The secondary characters who come and go, both in the Grounders’ ranks and in the Sky People. There have been a lot of really good short character arcs – Marcus’s Mom, Charlotte the VERY disturbed 13 year old in S1, Anya the Grounder, Maya’s Dad….Dr. Tsing (“you’re all very special to us” – yeah RIGHT!)
  10. OK, last but definitely not least – Clarke. She’s a strong, kickass heroine trying to do her best. I like that she has doubts sometimes, things don’t always go her way, I wish she’d lean on Bellamy a bit more…she provides an indomitable anchor for the series to revolve around!

 

Cathy Pegau Talks Change, Alaska & Murder on the Last Frontier

MotLF Covercopy.jpgVeronica: Today’s guest is my friend, author Cathy Pegau, talking about a change in her writing choices, moving from science fiction to murder mystery. We have an excerpt and a giveaway for her new book:  Murder on the Last Frontier. Take it away, Cathy!

Cathy: Change is good.

Variety is the spice of life.

Try the goat now and again (I’ll explain in a bit…).

For years, I considered myself a speculative fiction writer and that alone. Everything I wrote, every plot bunny that leaped out and attacked, had some sort of fantasy, science fiction, or paranormal bend to it. I love that stuff. Love reading it, love writing it.

I enjoy reading other genres as well, but had never considered writing in them. Tackling a mystery or historical was intimidating, knowing they took a lot more research, organization, and plotting than I thought I had in me. I wrote my science fiction romances, worked on sword and sorcery fantasies, and sketched out plots and characters for paranormals.

Then something happened.

While researching local history for a post-apocalyptic story set in the not-so far future (it makes sense, trust me, but I won’t go into it here) I became completely caught up. The changes in my community from Native village to booming railroad terminus for the copper industry and fish canneries to its current small town vibe intrigued me. There was a colorful past that was ripe with potential, including the death of a “sporting woman” that triggered my imagination. As I listened to that particular tale, my brain came up with a story behind the murder and wouldn’t let it go. Would. Not.

But I was a science fiction author! I was planning a post-apocalyptic book or two or three! I had half-finished manuscripts with demon hunters and sword-swingers and starship captains! Why was my muse suddenly pushing a story set in the early 1900s? Why was the protagonist who drove the story a suffragette and journalist? Why couldn’t I set this thing aside, as I’d been able to do with other plot bunnies?

I have no idea. So I ran with it.

I dove deeper into the history of my town. And I fell in love. With Cordova, with the people who had been here for ages, with those who had come up to find a new start. I fell in love with Charlotte, my main character, who follows her brother to Alaska under the justification of writing a series of articles about women who set out for the Last Frontier, and has her own reasons for fleeing “civilization.” Man, talk about changes. And nary a woo-woo aspect to be found.

What prompted this shift in genre?

Maybe I was getting a little burned out on speculative fiction. I love it, always have and always will, but it was time to try something new. Like checking out a new restaurant, or at least trying a different dish at your favorite place. There’s an Indian restaurant we frequent when we go to The Big City. Most of the time, we order the lamb or one of a few other items from their vast menu. Then one day, they had goat on the specials menu. I’d never had goat. What the heck? When would I get the chance to try goat again? So I ordered it. Was it the best thing I’d ever had? Well, it was the best goat I’d ever had, and not bad at all. Plus, it got me out of my restaurant “rut.”

I felt a similarly about my writing, I wasn’t in a rut, exactly, just feeling the need for…different.

I wrote different, at least as far as genre was concerned. No gadgets, no swords. No space ships, no dragons. For these books, there’s steamships and Linotypes. Coal stoves and pocket watches. The research has been intense and frustrating, and I’ve enjoyed almost every minute of it. I haven’t stopped writing speculative fiction, by the way; I’m just expanding my repertoire.

No matter what the sales figures or reviews end up for this series, I’m glad I took the chance in trying something new and thrilled that I was given the opportunity to get it out there. Because as much as you love your favorites, you should check out the rest of the menu now and again.

GIVEAWAY TIME!!! Tell me a little something about changes you’ve made and a random commentor will win a signed copy of Murder on the Last Frontier! I’ll choose a winner sometime after Sunday 1/24 and let you know, so have a valid email handy : )

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About the Author: Cathy Pegau lives in Alaska with her husband, kids, critters and the occasional black bear that roams through the neighborhood. She has three science fiction romances out through Carina Press. Her latest, a historical mystery and book one of the Charlotte Brody series, Murder on the Last Frontier (Kensington, Dec 2015) is available in paperback and ebook  http://tinyurl.com/pb8p5x7 . Borrowing Death (Book Two) hits the shelves in late June 2016.

Find Cathy at http://cathypegau.com , on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Cathy-Pegau-184452628282206/ ) , or on Twitter (@CathyPegau).

Blurb for Murder on the Last Frontier:

There’s many who feel the Alaska Territory is no place for a woman on her own. But Charlotte Brody, suffragette and journalist, has never let public opinion dictate her life choices. She’s come to the frontier town of Cordova, where her brother Michael practices medicine, for the same reason many come to Alaska—to start over.

Cordova is gradually getting civilized, but the town is still rougher than Charlotte imagined. And when a local prostitute—one of the working girls her brother has been treating—is found brutally murdered, Charlotte learns firsthand how rough the frontier can be. Although the town may not consider the murder of a prostitute worthy of investigation, Charlotte’s feminist beliefs motivate her to seek justice for the woman. And there’s something else—the woman was hiding a secret, one that reminds Charlotte of her own painful past.

As Charlotte searches for answers, she soon finds her own life in danger from a cold-blooded killer desperate to keep dark secrets from seeing the light of day…

Excerpt, Chapter One of Murder on the Last Frontier: 

Cordova, Alaska Territory, 1919

The stench of rotting fish, salt, and tar rose from the dock and the water surrounding the S.S. Snow Queen, nearly making Charlotte Brody gag. Even if she’d had a free hand, she would have refused to press her handkerchief to her nose. She was in Alaska now, and Alaskan women were made of sterner stuff. They also probably breathed through their mouths to preserve their senses.

The midnight arrival had infused the steamship with bustling energy. The crew dashed about, doing whatever tasks were necessary when they made port. Disembarking passengers followed the signs and lanterns on the deck to the gangplank.

Clutching her satchel against her side to keep thieving hands from its contents, Charlotte grasped the rain-slick rail and made her way down the incline. The chest-to-back press of her fellow travelers was a situation calling for the protection of a scented handkerchief if there ever was one. Most of the passengers, herself included, hadn’t seen a real tub in the seven days since leaving Seattle. There had been facilities for a washup each morning, but a long soak in a hot bath was definitely in order, and soon.

A gust of icy, wet wind blew in from the bay, plastering stray hairs to her cheek and sending a chill through her. Three weeks ago, Charlotte had been wilting in the heat and humidity of Yonkers. Now, she was shivering. Late August in Alaska was nothing like the summer days back East.

The Snow Queen bobbed against the pier, rocking the gangplank. Charlotte tightened her grip on the rail, taking care not to run into the sack slung over the shoulder of the man in front of her. If it weren’t for the rain, the angle wouldn’t have been nearly so treacherous. She shuffled along, grateful that current fashion put the hem of her skirt well above her ankles so it wouldn’t catch on the rough planks or under her heels.

Michael was down there somewhere. The Snow Queen’s late arrival due to storm delays wasn’t unusual, and the good-sized crowd on the dock attested to Cordovans’ patience.

“Alaskans are used to things getting here when they get here,” the captain had said during dinner one night.

Well, I’m here now.

A shimmer of anticipation skittered across Charlotte’s skin and tickled her stomach. Her parents had tried to talk her out of going, but she was determined. Sidestepping the real reason she needed a change, she’d barely managed to keep her argument even-toned under their disapproval.

Eventually, they’d conceded, but only because Michael would be there. Not that their parents could have stopped her. At least the dark cloud of discontent had been lifted between the three of them.

Just a week’s travel by train from Yonkers to Seattle, then the steamer to Alaska, and here she was. The Last Frontier.

The scenery on the way up the coast had been breathtaking. Glorious mountains, stretches of blue-white glaciers, even a number of small icebergs that made a few passengers fret. The Titanic disaster was still quite fresh in people’s minds.

Charlotte hadn’t been concerned. The extended daylight hours so far north meant hazards were easier to avoid. She often stayed out on deck, bundled against the chill and unaware of the time, watching porpoises swimming in front of the bow, sea otters floating on their backs as they bobbed on the waves, and large brown bears ambling along the not-so-distant beaches. She was familiar with the gulls that followed the boat, but the sight of bald eagles soaring overhead was a first for her. One time, a great leviathan had breached off the port side, close enough to see barnacles clinging to its lower jaw. Charlotte thought her heart had stopped as the beast threw itself up into the air and crashed to the surface, spraying water onto the lower deck.

“Charlotte, over here!” Michael’s familiar voice called up to her over the crowd.

Her gaze darted among the upturned faces illuminated by the pier lights. Michael waved his fur cap, his blond hair fluttering in the sea breeze and a grand smile on his moustached lip.

A moustache? Her brother sporting a moustache? Mother would have had a say about that.

But Mother and Father were thousands of miles away.

Charlotte smiled, as happy to see Michael as she was relieved to leave the past back East, and released the rail to wave back. Her boot caught on the edge of the next plank, and she stumbled. Strong hands grabbed her long, wool coat from behind to keep her from falling into the man in front of her.

“Easy, miss,” the gravelly voice behind her said, not unkindly, as she was set back on her feet. “No call for ye flyin’ into the drink.”

She glanced over her shoulder at the burly man who had saved her. “Thank you, no.”

He touched his hand to his wide-brimmed hat and grinned. Or she assumed he grinned. The corners of his blue eyes creased and the tangle of graying brown facial hair moved in that manner.

Charlotte resumed her grip on the rail and safely made it to the bottom of the gangplank. Passengers veered off into the crowd waiting beyond the low wooden safety barrier. Michael shouldered his way to the front. The green mackinaw over his black suit was dotted with rain. She hurried over, dropped her bag, and threw herself into his arms.

Michael laughed and lifted her off her feet in a tight hug. He might have swung her around, but there were too many people within kicking range for such a thing. The town doctor shouldn’t create patients.

“God, I’ve missed you, Charlie,” he said, setting her on her feet.

Charlotte slapped his chest playfully. “I’ve missed you too, but not so much that you can call me by that nickname.”

She was an adult now. Charlotte Mae Brody had made it to Alaska on her own and could take care of herself.

Michael rubbed his chest, still chuckling. “Fair enough.” He hefted her satchel and gave an exaggerated grunt. “Goodness, what do you have in here? Bricks?”

Charlotte slipped her hand around his other arm. “Books. Be glad I packed my typewriter in my trunk.”

They both glanced up at the block-and-tackle winch conveying pallets of cargo from the ship’s hold. Longshoremen swung the heavy load expertly to the dock where workers sorted passenger bags onto open horse-drawn carts.

“Sullivan’s rooming house has a storage shed,” Michael said. “Your things should be there later. They’ll be safe until morning when we can get them to your room.”

Michael had told Charlotte he’d secure her a room as soon as she announced her intention to come to Alaska. Living at Sullivan’s, he’d explained, would be more comfortable, as his own home, with its attached office and exam room, would be too small for the two of them.

“That’s fine. I packed the necessities in my satchel.”

“Yes, along with the bricks.” They laughed again, and Michael guided her away from the ship. “There isn’t much in the way of transportation to town. You up for a midnight stroll?”

A lone motorcar idled in front of the steamship company’s office. Several people argued or haggled with the driver—and each other—for a ride in the six-passenger Model T. Even if there had been plenty of taxicabs, Charlotte would have refused a ride, as she felt quite awake and energized.

“I’m not in the least tired.” She started toward the road, following the majority of folks who had disembarked. If Alaskans walked to town at midnight in the rain, so would she. “How far is it?”

“Half a mile or so.”

The packed-dirt road was slick with mud. Michael drew his flashlight from the deep pocket of his coat to navigate around puddles. Walkers ahead and behind them had kerosene lanterns or flashlights as well. The chatter of conversation and the occasional burst of laughter accompanied them as Charlotte brought Michael up-to-date on family and friends.

The road followed the shoreline, curving in and out of patches of spruce trees to provide glimpses of the town ahead. Vague outlines of buildings and several streets lit with electric or gas lamps indicated it was larger than she had assumed.

“How many people live here?”

“One thousand or so, including the Natives who mostly live along the lake and homesteaders who live outside of town but use its services.” He narrowed his gaze as if evaluating Cordova from a distance. “Things are a little different in these parts, Sis. It takes some getting used to.”

“You know I’ve never been afraid of a challenge, Michael. I want to know what it’s really like.” She pulled him closer. “Not what you prettied up for Mother and Father, or what you glossed over for me. I want the real story of living here.”

Jody Wallace DREAMWALKERS Turns the Tables on Veronica

Tanglible jodyVeronica: I invited Jody to be my guest today since her DREAMWALKERS series is currently on sale. She turned the tables and wanted me to be the subject of the interview, so here goes!

Jody: The premise of the Dreamwalkers series is that certain human brains are so vivid that their nightmares can come to life and eat people. The heroes and heroines (so far) are the folks who fight these monsters and hide their existence from the rest of the world. Oftentimes these nightmares take the shape of popular culture creations, but sometimes there are classics.

What are the scariest movies, TV and books you can think of?
Veronica: Probably ones I don’t watch! I’m not into horror movies much – I find the images linger after the show is done. I did like Joss Whedon’s “Cabin in the Woods.” I used to love Stephen King novels but then there came a point I had to stop reading them because they just got too dark. The Shining is probably my favorite. I should mention the photographer who did my author headshots is also an actor and appeared in one of the Friday the 13th movies, so there’s a little horror connection. But he’s a lovely person in real life!

What monsters do you think your brain would create or has created in your books? (Caveat: real world human monsters don’t tend to get created, just things like vampires and mega spiders, and the size of the monster tends to be between 3-12 feet. If your nightmare is more of an “event”, like falling or appearing in public naked, I bet there’s a monster that represents that kind of horror!)

Veronica: I have an evil alien species in my Sectors Science Fiction Romance series, never described in too much detail but humans are said to go insane looking at them. The hero fought them off in Wreck of the Nebula Dream, for example. I think the Alien in all “Aliens” movies would be pretty much of a nightmare to face, don’t you?

What kind of dreamwalker hero or heroine do you think would be required to dispatch your nightmares? (Romance optional!)

Veronica: I always go for the Special Forces soldier, so he’d have to have the additional skill of entering the dream and taking weapons with him. Hmmm….

Disciple jodyBonus question: What pop culture monsters do you think the dreamwalkers have the most trouble killing?

Veronica: The ones that get the most press? Have the biggest box office on opening weekend? I don’t know!

(Jody sez: My biggest influences in this series were Joss Whedon, Supernatural, and all the funny T-Rex memes out there.)

There are two Dreamwalker novels:
TANGIBLE (courtesy of Samhain Press): When Zeke Garrett is reactivated to mentor the next dreamer that pops up on the Somnium’s radar, he’s sure it’s a mistake. The covert organization is still struggling to conceal the fallout from his last assignment, a fatal catastrophe.

From the first blast of her pepper spray, he realizes this neonati, whose nightmares manifest vampires straight from the pages of pop-culture, is more than he bargained for—a potential dreamwalker. But before her training can begin, he has to convince the stubborn, mouthy woman she’s not dreaming.

Maggie Mackey hasn’t slept well in a month, but that doesn’t explain how the monsters from her nightmares suddenly seem so real. Or why, when a team of intimidating, sword-wielding toughs rescue her, their leader captures her mouth in a swift, knee-weakening kiss.

Once he tears himself away, Zeke’s mental forehead smacking begins. Their embrace has confirmed they have a rare tangible bond, a phenomenon which fooled him once before. Somehow he must tutor the woman of his dreams without getting attached. Otherwise her nightmares could become his own.

Warning: Contains lots of cussing, pop culture references and monsters with nasty, big, pointy teeth.

Amazon

DISCIPLE (courtesy of Samhain Press): When student dreamwalker Maggie Mackey was first discovered by Zeke Garrett, now her mentor, their sexual attraction blazed off the charts, as did their tangible dreamspace bond.

Three months later, their relationship is as stalled out as Maggie’s training. Zeke isn’t sure what’s to blame. His clumsy mentoring, Maggie’s stubbornness, or something more sinister.

When the pair is summoned to a restricted outpost for troubled and sick dreamwalkers to investigate the deaths of several patients, a nightmare from Zeke’s past resurfaces to further complicate Maggie’s training. In fact, there’s a better-than-good chance she’ll be yanked away from him and reassigned to a curator. Disciples sent to curators are rarely heard from again.

To survive the secretive inner workings of their organization and the deadly new force emerging inside the sphere, Maggie and Zeke must confront their inner demons as well as their feelings for each other. Because in the world of the dreamwalkers, inner demons never remain politely inside one’s tortured soul. They prefer to manifest…and eat people.
Warning: Book contains sex, cursing, more cursing, T-Rexes, dire peril and explosives.

Amazon

About the Author:
Website: http://www.jodywallace.com (More buy links and other offers there)
Catsite: http://www.meankitty.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jodywallace
FB Author: https://www.facebook.com/JodyWallaceAuthor
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jody-Wallace/e/B003XN186Q/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/realmeankitty/
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/jodywallace
Tumblr: http://crochetpeen.tumblr.com/

Jody Wallace grew up in the South in a very rural area. She went to school a long time and ended up with a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. Her resume includes college English instructor, technical documents editor, market analyst, web designer, and general, all around pain in the butt. She resides in Tennessee with one husband, two children, one grandma, six cats, and a lot of junk.

Let Me Handle This 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!)

Continuing with science fiction romance today. Here’s an excerpt from Lady of the Star Wind, an epic portal fantasy, which is undergoing a final edit and will be released after Star Cruise: Outbreak sometime early next year.

Sandy and Mark have been transported to an unknown world after breaking the Globe of Amarkana (you may remember those excerpts earlier in the year?). This snippet is from  quite a bit further in the novel, after Mark and Sandy have left the mysterious mountain oasis, in the company of some new friends… Sandy was bitten by a snake, went into the green light with a woman unknown to her and now is sitting in a room she’s never seen before, with four women who seem to think Sandy is someone else…I should explain that there is an actual key is carved from amethyst and worn as a necklace.

“I’m the senior in the sky at the moment, let me handle this.” The leader, Amrell, seemed annoyed, frowning, tapping her toe on the mosaic floor. Gazing at Sandy, she said, “How came you to own the key?”

“I found it in the Oasis of the Travelers, inside the mountain dwelling when we arrived,” Sandy said. “Mark and I were sent to this world by Lajollae, with one of her globes. Maybe you know of her?”

Her audience gasped. The three who’d remained standing hastily sought chairs.

“We believed you were the Lady of the Star Wind, returned at long last, reborn perhaps,” said Amrell, rubbing her forehead. “We’ve much missed your—her company, and when it became known you were waiting in the temple, we had no other thought but to bring you here as we did in olden times.”

I’ll keep going with this scene for a few more weeks – there’s quite a bit more. I’m really impatient to release this one! But STAR CRUISE: OUT BREAK is my priority….

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A Rash Proceeding 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!)

Continuing with science fiction romance today. Here’s an excerpt from Lady of the Star Wind, an epic portal fantasy, which is undergoing a final edit and will be released after Star Cruise: Outbreak sometime early next year.

Sandy and Mark have been transported to an unknown world after breaking the Globe of Amarkana (you may remember those excerpts earlier in the year?). This snippet is from  quite a bit further in the novel, after Mark and Sandy have left the mysterious mountain oasis (which wasn’t a zoo after all), in the company of some new friends… Sandy was bitten by a snake, went into the green light with a woman unknown to her and now is sitting in a room she’s never seen before, with four women who seem to think Sandy is someone else…(the Rothan mentioned here is a local, traveling with Sandy and Mark.)

“I told you she wasn’t who we believed her to be,” The diminutive redhead spoke, voice triumphant, “We’ve made a mistake.”

“She has the key,” answered the blonde, sinking into one of the empty chairs.

The first woman who’d led them into the room made a shushing gesture. Turning to Sandy, she said, “We’re the Moon Sisters who watch over this world—Amrell, Terali, Lifnid, and Tresa.” She raised her eyebrows, “And you are?”

“Alessandra of the Outlier Empire.” She thought at least one of the names in the introduction sounded familiar – hadn’t Rothan made some reference to Amrell a few days ago?

“A name we’ve never heard before and a mortal we don’t know.” Tresa, the redhead, poured herself a drink, “We’re going to regret this rash proceeding.”

I’ll keep going with this scene for a few more weeks – there’s quite a bit more. I started the search for stock photos for the cover last week.

And in other news, I’m a new contributor to Amazing Stories, with my emphasis on science fiction romance. Here was my first post: http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2016/01/veronica-scott-talks-science-fiction-romance/

I’ll be blogging there twice a month, in addition to my USA Today/HEA SciFi Encounters column.tarantula nebula

 

6 Reasons to Love a Cyborg from Cara Bristol

Mated600x900Veronica: I’m very pleased to have Cara Bristol as my guest today, celebrating the eagerly anticipated release of her newest book MATED WITH A CYBORG, the second book in this terrific series. Take it away, Cara!

CB: One of the things I’ve been asked about Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series is why I chose to write about cyborgs. Why not aliens? Why not androids? Here are six reasons:

  1. Cyborgs are human—modified and enhanced—but human. If you find it hard to fall for a six-eyed, blue-skinned tentacle man, you’ll appreciate the humanness and compatibility of a cyborg.
  2. They’re smart. Not only do they have human intelligence, but they have computer enhancements which give them all sorts of special “mental” abilities.
  3. They have the brawn too! Nanocytes (robotic cells) have enhanced their physique and physical performance. They are stronger and faster than normal males.
  4. They are true heroes. In my Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series they’re fighting against terrorism in the galaxy.
  5. They’re loyal, and when they fall in love, they’ll do anything for the heroine.
  6. A cybernetic organism is possible and plausible. Although the technology isn’t advanced enough now, it’s likely that in the not-so-distant future computer brain implants and natural-looking prosthetic parts will be developed. So the concept isn’t far-fetched. As for aliens? It’s possible extraterrestrials exist, but if were to meet them, chances are it won’t end well.

The story: Kai Andros’s orders were simple. Get in. Gather the intel on the terrorist organization. Get out. Then he met her. Mariska. Beautiful. Innocent. Ignorant of her father’s atrocities. And marked for death. His orders said nothing about saving her. But he did. He went off-mission.

Can a rogue cyborg outrun both Cyber Operations and the terrorists to save the woman he loves?

Mated with the Cyborg is an action-packed erotic sci-fi romance between a man with a mission and a woman with a secret that jeopardizes their lives and the fate of the galaxy.

Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01A62XIEG?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01A62XIEG?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon AU – http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B01A62XIEG?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon CA – http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B01A62XIEG?*Version*=1&*entries*=0
Barnes & Noble  – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mated-with-the-cyborg-cara-bristol/1123191554?ean=2940157647988

All Romance –  https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-matedwiththecyborg-1958978-143.html

Author bio:

Cara Bristol 315 smallMulti-published, Cara Bristol is the author of more than 24 erotic romance titles. She writes science fiction, contemporary, and paranormal erotic romance. No matter what the subgenre, one thing remains constant: her emphasis on character-driven seriously hot erotic stories with sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Cara has lived many places in the United States, but currently lives in Missouri with her husband. She has two grown stepkids. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading and traveling.

Cara Bristol web site/blog

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A Fond Look Back at Andre Norton’s Witch World

001The last few weeks have been a bit up and down for me and so I wanted to lose myself in some other author’s well realized, complex world. I decided Andre Norton’s Witch World was just the thing I needed. I’ve mentioned before that Year of the Unicorn is my absolute favorite novel in the series and I’ve reread that many a time. I haven’t revisited the other books in decades so I dug ALL of them out of the bookcase and sat down to start at the beginning, with Simon Tregarth’s  journey in Witch World.

Right off the bat I realized I had remembered some things not quite right and some things exactly, and forgotten a ton! (There might be spoilers in this post if you haven’t read all the books.)

006After a brief setup in our own world as to why Simon was willing to risk the Siege Perilous and travel through a Gate, he was plunged into the action, with the Witch Jaelithe. Simon is an interesting guy, archetypal member of the GI Generation, fought in World War II, then in the early Cold War…I realized he was the perfect choice to fall into Witch World, which at this point in the series is at war with the Hounds of Alizon and the alien Kolder. His military skills were immediately transferable and he found his footing. It helps that the Witches of Estcarp are familiar with people arriving on their world through Gates. And of course he has Power, which they believe their own males don’t and can’t.

There was more on the page between Simon and Jaelithe than I had realized, including one scene when she’s in disguise and casting a love potion for someone where Simon (locked in a cupboard!) gets hot and bothered, listening in. I’m sure that part of the scene went right over my head when I read it as a much younger person. Of course a lot of the relationship between them is inferred with glances and oblique remarks, given the time Ms. Norton wrote this. Web of the Witch World concludes the direct story of Simon and Jaelithe.

005I was puzzled though, because it ends without the dramatic “turning of the mountains” wherein the Witches seal off Estcarp, seal out Alizon and lose a lot of their own number. So I continued on through the trilogy centered on the children of Simon and Jaelithe – Three Against the Witch World, Warlock of the Witch World and Sorceress of the Witch World. Ah ha, the Turning is in the first of these books and necessary as a plot device on the individual level to allow two of the triplets to rescue the third from the Witches. I remember as a younger reader not liking the way Simon was said to have been as a parent, but now, thinking of him as a member of the GI Generation, I get it. Yup.

These three books still weren’t my favorites, and I feel the sister Kaththea really got cheated when it comes to her romance – nothing but a single warm embrace at the very end of the book. A lot of instalove going on, which I can certainly handle but I’m used to the fantasy romances we write and read nowadays, you know? I also got very overwhelmed with the East being home to virtually ALL the creatures of myth that the former residents of Estcarp had ever heard of.  Every time I turned a page, there was another  new one…..and another Gate and more Kolder-like aliens (on their own world this time)…

So now I decided to return to Herrel and Gillan from Year of the Unicorn and see where else they were mentioned, besides their own book. I always want more of them! I knew they appeared a few other places.  Bloodspell, a short story by A. C. Crispin, which can be found in Tales of the Witch World, explains what the Wereriders did that was so awful they got exiled from Arvon for all those long years, and how the Pack really owes Herrel a debt that things didn’t turn out worse for them. I loved this glimpse of the backstory. Also, Neevor and Ibycus appear, as well as others. I love when the threads of Witch World pull together in the various tales.

A short aside, this volume also contains one of my favorite Wererider stories, Were-Hunter by Mercedes Lackey, about Glenda of our world, who goes through a Gate and eventually meets Harwin, son of Harl and Kildas, who was one of the Brides from Year of the Unicorn. Harwin was on his way to find Herrel and Gillan, so even though they don’t actually appear in the story, it’s fun.

Gillan and Herrel do play a supporting role in the novel Jargoon Pard…

Thinking that was it, I backtracked and started reading the Gryphon trilogy, set in the Dales right before and during the invasion by Alizon. I found it fascinating to read of the time before the war began and then how the dire times changed everyone’s life forever. I had virtually no memory of reading these books before, other than the fact that Kerovan, the hero, had cloven feet. The POV alternates between him and Joisan, his Lady, in all three novels. There were more glimpses of supporting characters we’d met before, especially at Norstead Abbey (where Gillan was at the start of the Year of the Unicorn). MUCH more lore of the Witch World and the Waste and the Old Ones…and I realized with excitement in the second book, Gryphon in Glory, that Kerovan was the person first sent by Lord Imgry to entreat the Wereriders to help the Dalesmen against Alizon. And he had an extended encounter with Herrel!

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I also enjoyed seeing Elys and Jervon in Gryphon in Glory because I’ve always been fond of them, and to my knowledge before, they only appeared in two short stories. She was the daughter of a Witch, who saves her ungrateful twin and then rides on with Jervon, a Dales warrior. All too soon though in the Gryphon novel, the Power decrees they must leave Joisan and Kerovan to follow their own road (literally), and we never see them again. But they certainly did serve as good, “married equals” role models for  the main characters while they were on the page.

Gryphon’s Eyrie, the third book, concludes with an actual declaration of love from Kerovan to Joisan! In so many words! And along the way a hint of a sweet sex scene or two. EEP! Although it was co-authored by Ms. Norton and A. C. Crispin, and published in 1984. (Versus 1963 for Witch World.)

I know there are super dedicated fans who have compiled timelines and exhaustive lists regarding all the Witch World books, but I kind of enjoyed finding all these intertwining threads and appearances on my own. Along the way I read or reread all the books of short stories by Ms. Norton I could find, as well as the anthologies where she invited other authors like Ms. Lackey to ‘play’ in her Witch World. MUCH good reading. If you haven’t treated yourself to the fairly recent  Tales From High Hallack anthologies in three volumes, you really should – they gathered up all of her short stories and it’s a fun mix of Arthurian, Witch World, SF space stories and more. Some I’d read before, in the original anthologies where they first appeared, but many were only printed in magazines and very hard to find.  I really enjoyed The Way Wind  Witch World short story in the second volume, which was completely new to me.

What if I’d ever been invited to ‘play’ in Witch World? What would I have written? Probably something with Wereriders….and a Gate….how about you?

Understand Me Now? Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedI hope your New Year is going well so far – three days in and all resolutions intact LOL!

Here’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!)

Continuing with science fiction romance today. Here’s an excerpt from Lady of the Star Wind, an epic portal fantasy, which is undergoing a final edit and will be released after Star Cruise: Outbreak sometime early next year.

Sandy and Mark have been transported to an unknown world after breaking the Globe of Amarkana (you may remember those excerpts earlier in the year?). They found themselves in an oasis-like area with no exit. This snippet is from  quite a bit further in the novel, after Mark and Sandy have left the mysterious mountain oasis (which wasn’t a zoo after all), in the company of some new friends… Sandy was bitten by a snake, went into the green light with a woman unknown to her and now is sitting in a room she’s never seen before. Last week four women entered the room, trying to talk to Sandy, who didn’t understand:

“Selata menorasta tintre—” Tone definitely one of irritation, eyes narrowed, the tallest woman flicked Sandy’s forehead hard with two fingertips. “We haven’t time to waste before we’re interrupted.” She tilted her head, eyebrows raised, “Do you understand me now?”

Rubbing her brow where a headache throbbed, Sandy nodded. 

“Be seated, refresh yourself.” The woman made a graceful gesture, indicating the waiting beverages, “We brought all your favorites.”

Sandy sat. Inside, a tiny voice took umbrage at her own meek demeanor, when she’d clearly been kidnapped and separated from Mark, but she felt an overwhelming sense of peace, lassitude almost. Studying the drinks, she wondered if she’d been drugged, “I’ve never had any of these before, to my knowledge.”

I’ll keep going with this scene for a few more weeks – there’s quite a bit more. Next week I’m going to start working with Fiona Jayde on a cover for this novel.

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