SFR Brigade Showcases ‘Titanic in Space’

SFRB ShowcaseOnce a month the Science Fiction Romance Brigade authors showcase snippets from new work, WIPs, cover reveals or other fun things. The link is here for all  the participants.

Because April is the 104th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic, I’m going to do one more excerpt from my SFR Galaxy Award-winning novel Wreck of the Nebula Dream. The story is loosely inspired by the Titanic, but set in the far future in outer space.

Wreck-of-the-Nebula-DreamFinalHugeThe hero, Nick Jameson, is attempting to rescue two children trapped in their cabin after the ship meets with catastrophe.

He shoved his way into the darkness of the children’s bedroom, pushing the hand lamp in front of him, trying not to think about all the hundreds of tons of debris piled above him. Standing up as soon as he cleared the threshold, lamp in hand, Nick faced a tangled mess, hardly recogniz­able as a bedroom. The bulkhead flexed intermittently in an alarming fash­ion, accompanied by the shriek and groan of overstressed metal.

Not much time before the wall goes and we go with it. Sweeping the pale light over the room, he found the children huddled together against one overturned bed. “Hi, remember me? I’m Nick. I was on the shuttle with you guys a few days ago.”

“You took the knife away from the lady. And you rescued Gianna when she was drowning.” Paolo nodded in the gloom. He got up and pulled his sister forward, dragging her with one chubby hand clamped around her wrist. She eyed Nick dubiously, left thumb firmly planted in her mouth, the other hand clutching the big teddy bear.

“Okay, Paolo, you seem like a pretty level-headed trooper,” Nick said, squatting to be at eye level with the boy. “We need to get out of here as fast as possible. You see the outer wall there?”

Paolo nodded. “It’s going to break, isn’t it?”

Nick tried to be reassuring. “We’ll be long gone first. Now, can you help me get your sister –”

“Her name’s Gianna.” The boy pushed his sister closer to Nick.

“Help me get Gianna to crawl out through all the mess to my friends? We’ve made a tunnel for you. She’ll have to leave her toy, though.”

The girl hugged the bear tightly and shook her head, trying to retreat from her brother and Nick. “Won’t,” she informed Nick, taking her thumb out of her mouth briefly.

“Sweetheart, we have to go. It’s going to get pretty windy and cold in here soon.” Don’t scare her, if she retreats deeper into the wreckage, might not be able to retrieve her. With an effort, Nick kept his voice level and calm.

“Carry me.” She raised her arms to him, the bear dangling in one grubby hand.

“Sorry, I can’t, there isn’t room,” he said with a small laugh, reaching out to tousle her hair. “We have to crawl. It’s like a game but really important. Tell her, Paolo.”

“Captain, what’s going on? Did you find them?” Khevan yelled from the other side of the debris barrier. “We’re running out of time.”

Nick ignored him, focusing on the scared children. He kept his voice reasonable. “Okay, Gianna, I tell you what, you go first and then your brother will follow. The bear and I’ll bring up the rear.”

She regarded him solemnly with huge eyes. “Promise?”

“I promise.” Hurriedly he crossed his heart.

She thrust the bear at him. “He’s not a toy. His name is Huntington the Bear.”

Good thing no one I know is here to see this. Nick took the bear, said, “Hello, Huntington,” and tucked it under his arm. Gently clutching the girl’s shoulder with his free hand, he steered her to the small crawl­space he had come through, right outside the bedroom door. Paolo followed.

“I’m sending the girl through,” he yelled, then moved aside to let Gianna creep on her hands and knees. “See the light?” he asked, pointing down the tunnel to where Khevan’s hand lamp gleamed faintly.

Gianna nodded, her curls bobbing.

“Crawl straight to the light, and be careful not to get your clothes or your hair snagged on anything, okay? Stay low.” Patting her shoulder, Nick waited while the child wriggled down the tunnel, stopping once or twice to look back at him for encouragement.

The next seconds were an eternity to wait. No sooner had Khevan shouted he had her and she and Mara were going out into the main corridor, then Nick nodded to Paolo. “Go ahead.”

The boy blinked. “My mommy –”

Give the kid credit, he doesn’t want to leave his mother behind. Nick squeezed Paolo’s shoulder.  “I’ll check on her. You go ahead.”

“She’s dead, isn’t she?”

 Too calm by half. Probably in shock. “I don’t know,” Nick said. “If I can get her out, I will, okay?”

“Okay. Don’t forget my sister’s bear.” Paolo pointed at the plush creature.

“I won’t,” Nick assured him.

“It’s important.”

“I got it, kid.” Nick snapped him a salute with his free hand.

Nodding gravely, Paolo got down on his knees to enter the escape tunnel. Nick made sure the boy was well on his way before searching for the missing mother. The beam of the hand lamp swept across a broken, bloody figure on the deck, all the way across the room, lying partially underneath half the ceiling.

Beyond my help. Nick crossed the cabin anyway and felt for a pulse. Finding none, he gently closed the woman’s staring eyes. At least her last sight had been of her two children, safe and unharmed beside the beds, which was some small mercy, Nick supposed. He stood up and took one final look at her. “We’ll take good care of them for you. I promise.”

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, 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?

Buy Links:   Amazon  Barnes & Noble  All Romance eBooks    iTunes   Google Play   Kobo

Veronica Is A Red Shirt in Star Trek Audiobook

CITY_ON_THE_EDGE_OF_FOREVER_Poster_CAtT_(1)smallI’ve been a Star Trek fan since the series began – used to watch it in black and white! (My family were late adopters of the color TV, much to my dismay.)  And now I’ve finally had the opportunity to become a real member of the starship Enterprise crew, via a new audiobook version of Harlan Ellison’s “City on the Edge of Forever”. As a Kickstarter backer of the project, I have one spoken line in the audiobook….blogging about the whole experience over at USA Today Happily Ever After today…I hope you’ll jump over to read about it! It was a real fangirl experience and so much fun to do.

I didn’t mention it in that article but I also got the chance to play a Video Reviews reporter while in the recording studio, interviewing ‘Gene Roddenberry’ back in the day, about this episode. That was three more lines for yours truly, which will be in the part of the audiobook where Mr. Ellison discusses some of the controversy surrounding the script that was shot for TV, versus his original script, which is this audiobook. The interview actually took place decades ago and I read the transcribed questions the real reporter asked.

Just to be clear, when doing an audiobook, you don’t usually get to act with any of the other people playing parts so I didn’t meet any cast members but I did get to sign the cover of the script, alongside the signatures of some people a LOT more famous than I am.

002I used to write to the show for autographed photos of the cast when I was a kid (and the series was being newly broadcast LOL) and I got these four, which in those more innocent days I never for a moment doubted were actually signed by the actors. Who really knows? I choose to keep believing!  I also received a number of colorful unsigned postcards from the publicity people. Found these in my scrap book box.

‘Crew Woman’ signing off!

005

Guest Author Ashley York THE SEVENTH SON Excerpt

TheSeventhSonFinal.300Today my guest is Ashley York, who I met on the Weekend Writing Warriors snippet hop. She’s sharing an excerpt from her new book, The Seventh Son!

The story:

Drogheda, Ireland 1075

The sixth son bears a curse as certain as the seventh son bears a blessing. When Tadhg MacNaughton’s betrothed is ripped from his arms and married to another, he believes the legend is true.

Tisa O’Brien’s life slams into a downward spiral at the news she is no longer betrothed to the love of her life but to the tanist of a warring, prideful clan with dangerous political aspirations, the Meic Lochlainn. She faces her destiny with all the strength and dignity of her Irish heritage despite dealing with a husband who resents her and meets his needs in the arms of others, fighting off the lustful advances of her father-in-law, Aodh, and longing for the husband of her heart.

Tadhg MacNaughton makes a deal with the devil to ensure the survival of his clan as he is commanded to fight for Aodh who envisions himself the new High King of Eire. Up close and personal, Tadhg must witness his true love’s marriage and remain silent even as it rips him apart. When a sinister plot to overthrow King William of England led by the exiled Leofrid Godwin and Clan Meic Lochlainn comes to light, Tadhg is faced with saving his clan or endangering his sister and her Norman husband.

An Irish beauty and a warrior betrayed, doomed in love from the start or does fate have something else in store for them?

The excerpt:

“Oh!”

Tadhg swallowed, unable to move. The one sound had been so familiar. He’d come home to demons haunting his waking hours. He forced himself to turn toward the open door. His body tensed in preparation, his mind struggling to dismiss the burgeoning hope of seeing Tisa standing there in the doorway.

“Tisa.”

Her hair was pulled back, her eyes sparkling with life. A cluster of herbs overflowed a small basket she held to her breast. And her feet were bare.

“What do ye here?” Tadhg asked.

She dropped her head and walked past to put the basket on the only table in his small room. His room.

“Why are ye in my home?” His tone was hard.

His gaze shifted to the pallet. It hadn’t been his own longings that left her scent in his bed. She’d lain there. Lain there as he’d dreamed of her laying there far too often. Had she lain there alone? He turned back to her.

“Where is yer husband?”

“He will be here anon. I was to wait for him with Thomasina and Sean.”

Tadhg’s chest tightened. He couldn’t take a full breath. He strode to the door. “I will find another place.” He grabbed the small sack he’d dropped upon entering and left.

“Nae. Please.” Tisa followed him out.

Tadhg refused to turn toward her. He did not need to see her again. “‘Tis not a problem, Tisa. Ye and yer husband may continue to stay here. I will find another place.”

“I have not—my husband dinna—”

Tadhg whipped around to face her. “What? Yer husband dinna what? What do ye have to tell me? What pain do ye wish to inflict on me now?” His eyes dropped to her waist. All thoughts ceased save one. She could be with child. “There is no need for words here.”

Her eyes never left his face but she did not reply.

“Stay.” He held up his hand to stop her from following. “I will find another place.”

Amazon     Kobo     iBooks

rsz_smaller_headshotAshley’s Bio:

Aside from two years spent in the wilds of the Colorado mountains, Ashley York is a proud life-long New Englander and a hardcore romantic. She has an MA in History which brings with it, through many years of research, a love for primary documents and the smell of musty old libraries. With her author’s imagination, she likes to write about people who could have lived alongside those well-known giants from the past.

Connect with her online at:

Website    Twitter: @ashleyyork1066

 

 

Veronica Recaps The 100 Wondercon Panel

003I hopped onto the freeway and buzzed down to the LA Convention Center for Day 3 of Wondercon, primarily to attend ‘The 100′ panel. Although as always the cosplayers are amazingly creative and the exhibition hall is full of of all the things I crave but I digress….

The panel began with thirteen minutes of footage from the next episode, which airs this coming Thursday. All I can say is, the action continues on many fronts nonstop and nothing goes quite as expected anywhere. It was amazing to see up on the BIG screen.

After the video, Jason Rothenberg, Executive Producer and showrunner, spent some time addressing head-on the controversy and fan unhappiness with the way  the character of Lexa was killed, the trope that was used to kill her and the distress caused to many fans. He returned to this topic several times during the panel. I personally felt he was being sincere and did now better understand some things from the fans’ point of view he hadn’t grasped before the episode aired. Paraphrasing or quoting as best I can (any mistakes mine, had to take notes in the dark), he was genuinely creatively excited about the episode in question at the time. He now feels that his enthusiasm on his social media, and the way he was interacting with fans about ‘Clexa’ may have created an expectation for fans that ‘Clexa’ was going to have a happy ending. Versus the way things did end, with Lexa’s death. He said he was previously unaware of the similar death of a character on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” during that series’ run. Had he known about that, he said he might have written a different ending for Lexa. But he was clear she still would have died, just via some other method than intercepting a stray bullet.

Mr. Rothenberg was careful to state that even though people wished for Lexa to have a heroic death, that’s not how the show goes. Life is fragile and even someone as powerful as she was can die at any moment.

Also in addressing the social media exchanges after that episode aired, he said it “took him awhile to figure out how to listen and understand the anger.” He said  he needs “to be aware of the power of the story he’s telling” and how the audience is experiencing it. He indicated that they will try to apply these thoughts to the newly approved Season 4 and mentioned more than once that he plans to “be more careful” on social media, in the context of creating fan expectations, I believe.

Then the actors on the panel spoke, answering questions from the Moderator. The Q&A was tightly organized, although they did take a few fan questions at the end. It was a treat to see the cast in real life – I was in the third row. They interacted nicely, a lot of camaraderie and teasing going on, you can tell they definitely have on-set in jokes, but you could also tell their characters meant a lot to them. Everyone was super careful not to give spoilers.

I’ll just give a few highlights:

Eliza Taylor (Clarke): Clarke is very good at compartmentalizing her emotions over the death of Lexa but will push forward trying to save her people.

Bob Morley (Bellamy): Bellamy will prove himself again, has some hard lessons to learn but will prove his worth and can be redeemed. Bob discussed how the betrayal at Weather Mountain had been the last straw for Bellamy, after he freed all those Grounders and then was abandoned by Lexa, so when Pike showed up and was ready to take action, Bellamy was in. Act first, ask questions later. He also pointed out that Bellamy didn’t know the same things Clarke and Lexa knew. He never got to compare notes with them. (Bob’s Aussie accent is fun to hear.)

Lindsey Morgan (Raven): Talked quite a bit about Raven’s pain and how she’s so used to being tough and able to do everything. The disability really threw Raven into a depression She said Raven’s friends will help her…Mr. Rothenberg talked a bit about the conflict between what ALIE wants and Raven’s free will.

Devon Bostick (Jasper): According to the actor, Jasper has serious PTSD. Devon spoke at length of the trauma of Maya having “melted in his arms.” Now I know perfectly well actors are NOT their characters but Devon seemed the most like his “100 self” today. He also said Jasper was not really tuned into the politics going on at Arkadia, as he’s wrapped up in his grief over Maya. He does want to find out what’s going on with Raven.

Christopher Larkin (Monty): He gave quite a nice speech defending Monty’s mother, reminding the audience that his character had had a loving relationship with his mom on the Ark, she’s now been widowed and only has her son Monty left. “Nothing is black and white.” It was touching to hear. Christopher and Devon also talked quite a bit about how their characters were such good friends earlier in the show and now are not.

Richard Harmon (Murphy): The actor’s dry wit during the panel reminded me a LOT of his character. The audience cheered when he was introduced (as they did for each of the actors) and he teased that it would have been booing in Season One. True! He indicated Murphy may be in for a few more beatings over the rest of this Season. Mr. Rothenberg pointed out that Murphy knows EVERYTHING, because of all the places he’s been. Richard said whatever Murphy knows, Clarke now knows too. Richard said his character is in love with Emori, the Grounder girl, but it wasn’t clear to me if we’re going to see her again or not.

A few random fun things:

Quite a bit of light hearted, teasing discussion as to what the ALIE chips would taste like, what flavors people wished for, what if you ate two…

Fun technical discussion of what it’s like to act with ALIE in a scene where the actor isn’t supposed to be able to see her…

Everyone enjoyed the one lighthearted scene early in this season where the group was out on patrol in a car, singing…

Eliza would like Clarke to have a scene where she can smile and be light hearted.

In response to one fan question about favorite scenes, Eliza mentioned enjoying the Season One finale because it was so huge and immersive…she also stated the Lexa kissing scene was really cool…

One member of the audience used her time at the microphone to discuss The Trevor Project and the large donations that have been made to the cause as a result of fan upset over the way the culmination of the Lexa and Clarke love affair was then followed almost immediately by Lexa’s death by stray bullet.

(Here was my recap of “Thirteen”, the episode where Lexa dies. I regret to say at the time I wasn’t aware of the “Buffy” trope either so I didn’t address those issues.)

So that was pretty much it for the panel! Just like an episode of the show does, the time flew by.

 

 

 

 

One Without the Other Weekend Writing Warriors

WeWrWaHere’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!)

The Lady of the Star Wind is an epic portal fantasy, which is undergoing a final edit and will be released after Star Cruise: Outbreak in the late April/early May 2016 time frame.

Sandy and Mark have been transported to an unknown world. This snippet is from  quite a bit further in the novel, after they’ve left the mysterious mountain oasis, in the company of some new friends… Sandy, who picked up an odd stone key in the Oasis, was bitten by a snake named Sherabti, 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…A new player, Haatrin, entered the chamber and scolded the Moon Sisters, after which an even more senior goddess, Nuet, arrived to scold them ALL and sent the Moon Sisters fleeing. Sandy is speaking:

“Please, whatever’s going on here, don’t hurt Mark. Neither of us meant any harm or disrespect – take your anger out on me if you must, but not him.” She might be at odds with him for personal reasons, but she didn’t want the foolishness of the younger women to cause his injury or death.

Haatrin shook her head. “There cannot be the one without the other. If you’re the Lady, or to become her, he must be your warrior, your consort. Live or die in unison, the twined fate is inescapable if you claim these titles.”

“Potential and problems, this girl carries both,” said Nuet. She traced lines across Sandy’s palm, her touch cool. Sandy’s skin tingled where the woman’s fingertip had been, and faint golden runes glowed for a heartbeat.

The story:

Are they merely luckless lovers … or a legend come back to life?

Mark Denaltieri, ex-Sector Special Forces, has been hired by the Outlier Empress to rescue her granddaughter, Princess Alessandra, from kidnappers. Since the Empress once had him tortured and banished, she’s the last person Mark wants to work for. But he takes the job. He’ll save Alessandra, his first love, and discover why she didn’t speak for him when he desperately needed her. Then he’ll be on his way, finally free of his past.

Alessandra would rather her rescuer was anyone but Mark–after all, he let her believe he was dead all this time. But when the couple are forced to flee her captors by Traveling via a strange crystal globe, they find themselves in a lovely Oasis on a desert planet, the old attraction sizzling between them again. 

They soon discover they are far from alone. The Oasis holds the entrance to another world, one in which the inhabitants are convinced Sandy and Mark are the Lady of the Star Wind and her Warrior, come to free them from an evil Queen. 

Mark and Sandy must work together to unearth an ancient mirror, and crown the true king of this land.  Can they fulfill the prophecy of the Lady and her Warrior … and this time, will their love survive the test?

Hubble image 1 gorgeous

 

Author Cara Bristol on Four Tips for Describing Sci Fi Romance Characters

Captured_600x900Veronica: My guest today is Cara Bristol, author of Captured by the Cyborg, book 3 in her Cy-Ops series. She’s talking about character traits!

Cara: Readers of all genres like to know what the hero and heroine look like, but often in contemporary romance, whether a character has brown hair or blond, blue eyes or green, isn’t that essential to the plot. But in science fiction romance, character details can be critical.

In science fiction and sci-fi romance a character’s appearance contributes to the world-building. One cannot assume in SFR that a character has two eyes, normal human skin tones, or ten fingers and toes. One can’t assume that a character is human. He/she might be alien, an alien/human halfbreed, android, cyborg, a clone, or genetically altered in some way.

Here are a few suggestions for creating/describing SFR characters:

  1. Even if the hero or heroine is alien, it’s a safer bet (sales wise) to create main characters who are humanoid in appearance. Readers need to be able to envision themselves with that hero or as that heroine. This is where SFR diverges from SF. But even in Stars Wars, Luke Skywalker was human. He doesn’t look like Chewbacca.
  2. You can have fun and go all out with secondary characters and especially villains. That’s where you can be the most creative. Here’s how Illumina in Captured with the Cyborg describes some of the alien races:

Employers weren’t supposed to ask about species or origin—not that one couldn’t tell from looking. Malodonians had blue skin, Arcanians had webbed fingers and six eyes, Lamis-Odg had ridged foreheads and vestigial horns. Slime crawlers…well, their species name said it all. Faria had wings. Without those specialized appendages only the tendency to glow would betray her origins. With that under control, there wasn’t much to distinguish her from a Terran, hence, her choice of disguise.

  1. Focus on the unique details of your character. If hair & eye color don’t matter, maybe you don’t need to describe them at all. Let the reader fill in her own details and pick another or unique physical traits to focus. The arch villain of the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series is a race of aliens called the Lamis-Odg. They’re as ugly as they are evil. Their distinguishing characteristic is a ridge that runs across their forehead from temple to temple. This is how Kai Andros of Mated with the Cyborg sees a Lamis-Odg woman

He glanced at Janai. White and red, old and new scars crisscrossed her mottled skin. Besides the irregular ridges outlining her face, two lumps protruded from her forehead like vestigial horns.

  1. Show a character’s reaction to another’d physical traits. In Captured by the Cyborg, Illumina’s hair plays a big role in the story, more than just the fact that the hero likes it. But this is how he reacts to what he sees when he first meets her.

The woman’s head didn’t reach his shoulder. But what she lacked in stature, she compensated for with hair.

Shimmering, silvery-blonde waves of it tumbled to her hips. The platinum shade didn’t reflect light, it radiated it, almost as if the individual strands were composed of fibers of light itself. Although women could and did take chemical supplements to alter pigment at the cellular level, and platinum hair was not unusual, the combined effect of the color and shine was. Striking under the harsh artificial illumination—what would it look like in moonlight?

In a complete violation of propriety, he reached out to touch. He caught himself and snapped his hand to his side, calling upon his nanocytes to stamp out the kindling of desire. Turned on by a job candidate’s hair. This is what happened when you didn’t get laid often enough. Not entirely his fault though. He’d planned to visit the Darius 4 pleasure resort, until Lamis-Odg terrorists had destroyed the place. Under reconstruction, reopening hadn’t been scheduled yet.

He forced his attention away from her hair.

And noticed her clothing. What the hell was she wearing? Masculine, almost military-style trousers in a fabric mottled in various shades of tan led to clunky coyote-brown boots. A loose-fitting jacket in the same variegated pattern covered her top half. Fatigues—but from what century? The twenty-first maybe? Where had she acquired the getup?

“Mr. Homme?” Gray eyes met his in a direct stare. “I’m Illumina Smith. Thank you for seeing me.” Her voice tinkled like chimes blowing in a gentle wind, but the hand that seized his gripped like a steel clamp.

What memorable characteristics have you run across in your reading? What tips do you have for creating memorable SFR characters?

Captured by the Cyborg Description

Sometimes the biggest risk is to one’s heart….

An ex-Cyber Operations field agent, Dale Homme has kissed danger and betrayal more times than he cares to count. Now he runs a clandestine factory beneath the surface of the moon Deceptio, where confidentiality and security matter more than anything. When a beautiful young woman arrives seeking a job, Dale knows within minutes she’s lying. Everything about her is false: her past, the people she claims to know, her reason for being on Deceptio. Illumina Smith? Even her name is an alias.

Logic says send her packing. His gut says she’s in trouble. She needs him. So he’ll do anything to keep her safe….even if it means keeping her captive.

Captured by the Cyborg is third in the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series but is written to be read as a stand-alone novella.

Buy links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Barnes & Noble | All Romance

Cara BristolAuthor bio/links

USA Today bestselling author Cara Bristol has published more than twenty-five erotic romance titles, including contemporary and science fiction 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 website | New Release Newsletter | Amazon Author page

Facebook  | Twitter

She Made Proper Sacrifice Weekend Writing Warriors

WeWrWaHere’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!)

The WIP is an epic portal fantasy, which is undergoing a final edit and will be released after Star Cruise: Outbreak in the late April/early May 2016 time frame.

Sandy and Mark have been transported to an unknown world. This snippet is from  quite a bit further in the novel, after they’ve left the mysterious mountain oasis, in the company of some new friends… Sandy, who picked up an odd stone key in the Oasis, was bitten by a snake named Sherabti, 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…A new player, Haatrin, entered the chamber and scolded the Moon Sisters, after which an even more senior goddess, Nuet, arrived to scold them ALL and sent the Moon Sisters fleeing.

Haatrin stepped to Sandy’s side, taking her left wrist and gently rotating her arm to display the angry puncture wounds. “Here is Sherabti’s mark, Mother of Us All.”

The elder leaned closer, peering at the bite. “My servant is never mistaken, regardless of the foolishness of those girls. Sherabti saw potential.”

“And the woman and her mortal companions were in your temple,” Haatrin said as if citing a point in Sandy’s favor, “She made proper sacrifice.”

“We took shelter there from a sandstorm,” Sandy felt compelled to clarify. The stakes in this room were high, with her life and maybe Mark’s in danger. She didn’t want any further misunderstandings between these beings and herself. Had her simple gesture helping Tia place water and fruit on the broken altar gotten her into this jeopardy?

More from the scene next week. I apologize if anyone is growing bored with the same scene but it seems logical to give you all of this one…

HealerOfTheNile_highresExciting news – I’ve released Healer of the Nile as a standalone (it was in a boxed set) for $.99. I had run excerpts from that novella here (remember the dreamspace and the omens?) Here’s the lovely cover, if you missed my reveal last week!

The story: When Pharaoh sends injured warrior Tadenhut home to die, his noble family asks Mehyta, the local healer, to ease his path to the Afterlife. Mehyta discovers he’s trapped between Life and Death, caught in the dreamspace. Touched by his fighting spirit and will to live, Mehyta vows to use all the powers Shai, god of fate, gave her. Together Tadenhut and the brave healer battle to overcome his injuries, as well as threats from devious family members. While struggling to rescue her patient, Mehyta comes to realize he matters more to her than any man ever has before. But even if his life can be saved, what do the omens say about a match between a highborn soldier and a simple healer?

Buy Links:

Amazon     Kobo     iBooks    All Romance eBooks     Barnes & Noble

 

Healer of the Nile Cover Reveal and Release

HealerOfTheNile_highresI’m happy to announce that my novella Healer of the Nile has now been released as a stand alone ebook. It was previously published last November in the Here Be Magic box set.

Here’s my gorgeous cover from Frauke Spanuth at Croco Designs!

The story:

1550 BCE

When Pharaoh sends injured warrior Tadenhut home to die, his noble family asks Mehyta, the local healer, to ease his path to the Afterlife. Mehyta discovers he’s trapped between Life and Death, caught in the dreamspace. Touched by his fighting spirit and will to live, Mehyta vows to use all the powers Shai, god of fate, gave her. Together Tadenhut and the brave healer battle to overcome his injuries, as well as threats from devious family members. While struggling to rescue her patient, Mehyta comes to realize he matters more to her than any man ever has before. But even if his life can be saved, what do the omens say about a match between a highborn soldier and a simple healer?

Buy Links:

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As My First Act 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!)

The WIP is an epic portal fantasy, which is undergoing a final edit and will be released after Star Cruise: Outbreak in the late April/early May 2016 time frame. (NEWS: I have a blurb now! See below the excerpt!)

Sandy and Mark have been transported to an unknown world. This snippet is from  quite a bit further in the novel, after they’ve left the mysterious mountain oasis, in the company of some new friends… Sandy, who picked up an odd stone key in the Oasis, was bitten by a snake named Sherabti, 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…A new player, Haatrin, entered the chamber and scolded the Moon Sisters, after which an even more senior goddess, Nuet, arrived to scold them ALL.

“…you’re dismissed, all of you. Having done your unthinking mischief, your presence is no longer desired.” Nuet waved one hand in a curt, shooing motion. “Be grateful I don’t choose to reclaim my domain here. I might hurtle your namesakes away from this world as my first act.” 

Like children released from school, the Moon Sisters fled in a pack without backward glances, leaving Haatrin, Sandy, and Nuet, the crone.

Sandy studied her. Was it her imagination or did the woman stand taller, her spine not as bent? And her hair had definitely been a wild tangle of dull gray curls, but was now more silver blond, wavy rather than curly. The eyes were the same, deep and unfathomable, but the wrinkles surrounding them were now fewer, the cheeks rosier. 

Nuet has more than one aspect, you see.

Here’s the long awaited story summary for LADY OF THE STAR WIND:

Are they merely luckless lovers … or a legend come back to life?

Mark Denaltieri, ex-Sector Special Forces, has been hired by the Outlier Empress to rescue her granddaughter, Princess Alessandra, from kidnappers. Since the Empress once had him tortured and banished, she’s the last person Mark wants to work for. But he takes the job. He’ll save Alessandra, his first love, and discover why she didn’t speak for him when he desperately needed her. Then he’ll be on his way, finally free of his past.

Alessandra would rather her rescuer was anyone but Mark–after all, he let her believe he was dead all this time. But when the couple are forced to flee her captors by Traveling via a strange crystal globe, they find themselves in a lovely Oasis on a desert planet, the old attraction sizzling between them again.  

They soon discover they are far from alone. The Oasis holds the entrance to another world, one in which the inhabitants are convinced Sandy and Mark are the Lady of the Star Wind and her Warrior, come to free them from an evil Queen.  

Mark and Sandy must work together to unearth an ancient mirror, and crown the true king of this land.  Can they fulfill the prophecy of the Lady and her Warrior … and this time, will their love survive the test?

By the way, I worked with Cathryn Cade, The Blurb Queen, and she TOTALLY rocks at writing blurbs, which I’m not good at.

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Veronica Does A Magazine Quiz Up Next

I found a fun quiz in January’s issue of Marie Claire magazine, entitled “Up Next.” They interviewed Zendaya, who I’ve like since seeing her on “Project Runway” a while ago and  “Dancing With the Stars.”

You know me and magazine quizzes – can’t resist ’em!

Next Way To Reward Myself: Ms. Zendaya wants sleep. I’m out for the bling, have my eye on a new ring. Or a plant for the balcony.

Next Fear to Conquer: Sky diving? But I won’t be conquering it. I’m going to let it lie in my subconscious unless I’m ever in a plane that’s crashing or invited for an afternoon of sky diving by hot Navy SEALs.

Next Short Term Goal: Have fun at RT2016 in Las Vegas, in April, and meet lots of readers, book bloggers and other authors!

Next Long Term Goal: Get six new books out this year! (Checking in with Zendaya, she wanted to buy a big house for family to come over. Been there, done that, downsized to my apartment as the family grew up.)

Next New Hobby: I don’t have time for new hobbies really, too busy writing.

Next Book to Read:  Anything new from Nalini Singh, Patricia Briggs, Jeffe Kennedy or Grace Draven.

Next Piece of Clothing to Get: There are some cute T shirts I’m craving at Threadless and ThinkGeek.

Next Dish to Cook: probably something with a lot of chocolate.

Next Project: I’m working on the sequel to Mission to Mahjundar, which will be a story for Johnny Dark. Zendaya was doing an album but trust me, no one wants to pay me to sing. I’ll stick to writing.

Next Good Habit to Take Up: Zendaya says cleaning her room daily. Let’s don’t get drastic here! I should probably dust more often though.

Next Bad Habit to Break: Have I mentioned my addiction to chocolate???

Next Movie to See: Are they making one from my books yet? No? OK, then probably the new “Ghostbusters” or the “Independence Day” sequel. Zendaya was waiting for “The Incredibles 2”, which would also be a good choice.

Next Tech to Adopt: I’d love a driverless car. The LA freeways make me crazy and I hate parallel parking (which I realize one doesn’t do on the freeway).

Adding a couple of my own:

Next Planet to Visit: I’m still waiting for a chance to go to Pern, where Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders live.

Next TV show I’m Waiting For:  The second season of “Killjoys”! Although I’m very much hooked on “The 100” and recapping that weekly for USA Today  HEA.

A few of my T shirts (I have drawers full of them!):

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