SFR Brigade Presents An Epidemic 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.

I had a new release in April – STAR CRUISE: OUTBREAK, so here’s an excerpt from the book. I realize this coming weekend is Mother’s Day in the USA, so I picked an excerpt involving one of the guests, caught in the epidemic aboard the interstellar liner. This episode is early in the book, when everyone believes the bug is an annoying but pretty harmless norovirus.

The actress was pale, which emphasized the dark shadows under her eyes. “I’m StarCruiseOutbreak-FJM_Mid_Res_1000x1500predictably nauseous the first few days of traveling at hyperspeed,” she said, rubbing her abdomen. “But this is excessive. I haven’t been able to keep anything down today.”

            “You should rest after I give you the Galamialate,” Emily advised. She frowned at her scanner and redid the readings. “Hold on a minute. No Galamialate for you, I’m sorry.”

            “But, Doctor, I have commitments. I have to be in the casino in two hours. We’re filming a segment of the infotainment special there with the ship’s dance troupe. That’s why I called you—the show must go on, you know. It’s not merely a nice slogan—we have a contract to fulfill.” Liora twisted the blanket in her trembling hands. “Can’t you give me something to relieve this nausea? Give me an energy boost?”

            Emily hesitated, but there was no easy way to broach the topic. “Are you aware you’re pregnant?”

            Tears glistening in her eyes, Liora nodded. “I hoped I might be. We’ve been trying for some time now. Sid doesn’t know yet.”

            “I won’t tell him unless it becomes medically necessary. But you can’t have Galamialate, which can cause birth defects in Terran-descent humans. Have you been pregnant before?”

            “Not to my knowledge. We’ve had no luck at all. Until now, apparently.” Liora’s smile grew but was only a pale imitation of the glowing expression she was known for across the Sectors. “I’m from a big family and so is Sid. We’ve wanted children so badly.” She laughed. “You must not read the gossip feeds. The story of my infertility has been a headliner for the past two years. Ever since we got married.”

            “I’ve been pretty much immersed in my own life.” Frustrated at her lack of direct experience in obstetrics after one rotation in med school years ago, Emily thumbed through the reference library on her personal AI. “I’m afraid my clinical training on pregnancies is limited. I was a military doctor on the frontlines. Blaster burns, trauma from explosions and the like. Not much here for morning sickness.” She asked a few questions about other symptoms and performed a more detailed exam than she’d planned. “The pregnancy appears to be progressing well. No issues there. My diagnosis would be nothing more than a mild case of the norovirus compounded by morning sickness.”

            “All-day-and-night sickness.” Liora grimaced, rubbing her stomach. “She must take after me, hates space travel.”

            “She?” Emily glanced at her scanner and smiled.

            Liora held up a hand. “Don’t tell me. I’m old-fashioned and I want to be surprised. Until the birth, I’m going to think of the baby as she. I’ve dreamed of having a little girl.” The actress frowned. “The gossips would pay a fortune for this story.”

            “I’ve had some experience with being hounded by the media myself,” Emily said. “You’ll have nothing by sympathy on that score from me.”

            “Oh right, you’re the Angel of Fantalar. I’m sorry, I forgot.”

            “I wish I could.”

The story:

She saved countless soldiers in the wars … but does she have the weapons to fight an outbreak?

Dr. Emily Shane, veteran of the Sector Wars, is known as “The Angel of Fantalar” for her bravery under fire as a medic. However, the doctor has her own war wounds–severe PTSD and guilt over those she failed to save.

Persuaded to fill a seemingly frivolous berth as ship’s doctor on the huge and luxurious interstellar cruise liner Nebula Zephyr, she finds the job brings unexpected perks–a luxe beach deck with water imported from Tahumaroa II, and Security Officer Jake Dilon, a fellow veteran who heats her up like a tropical sun.

However, Emily soon learns she and Jake didn’t leave all peril behind in the war. A mysterious ailment aboard the Zephyr begins to claim victim after victim … and they must race against time and space to find the cause and a cure! Trapped on a ship no spaceport will allow to dock, their efforts are complicated by a temperamental princess and a terrorist–one who won’t hesitate to take down any being in the way of his target.  If anyone’s left when the disease is through with them…

Buy Links:     Amazon     Kobo      Barnes & Noble   Apple iBooks

 

Advertisements

Only A Pawn SFR Brigade Showcase

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.

Escape-from-Zulaire2x1000I’m sharing an excerpt from my SFR Galaxy Award and National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award winning novel Escape from Zulaire, which is on sale through December for $.99. (Buy links below the excerpt)

Captain Tom Deverane is trying to persuade the very stubborn Andi Markriss to come with him and his troops:

Deverane walked closer, leaned on the table. “Have you received any communications from the office, or anyone since you came out here?”

            “No, but it’s the summer slow period. Even the Loxton office is all but closed.” She gave him a challenging glare. “Look, on the basis of what you’ve said so far, I don’t appear to need rescuing. You still haven’t told me anything to justify leaving tonight, missing the reception, insulting my hosts, and driving back to the capital like a prisoner.” Wishing the deep upholstery didn’t make rising such an ungraceful process, Andi left the chair.

            “You aren’t getting the picture.” Jaw clenched, he took a few steps to stand next to her. The glare from his green eyes was scorching, and Andi recoiled from the intensity. Apparently taking note of her unease, the captain gentled his voice. “Though why that should surprise me, I don’t know, considering the warnings Lord Tonkiln and the other members of the Coun­cil have ignored.”

            “Warnings?” Andi took a step back, crossing her arms over her chest.

            “To get their families the hell out of this isolated, inde­fensible spot and into safety at the capital.” Deverane took a deep breath. He walked over to stare at the carvings on the mantel. Andi got the impression from the rigid set of his broad shoulders he was trying to control his temper. After a minute, he came to sit near her again. “I was told your boss made numerous attempts to get in touch with you, right until the moment he and the rest of the Loxton staff took a ship offworld.”

            “Dave left Zulaire? They’ve all gone?” Now Andi fell back into the chair, raising a small puff of dust from the plush cushion beneath her. A wave of nausea rippling through her gut, she ran a hand through her hair, looping the tendrils behind her ear. “I don’t understand any of this. Why would my boss and my co-workers leave without me? Why wouldn’t the Tonkilns tell me? You’re still not making sense.”

            Deverane came to hunker down in front of her chair, caging her with his arms, invading her personal space. Inhaling sharply, she caught a whiff of musk and forest and man, threaded with some delicious spicy note. She glanced down at his hands, strong, capable, locked on the chair close to her body. As if to calm an upset child, his voice was soothing and low. “Relax. We can get you offplanet in a military transport once you’re safely in the capital.”

            She lifted her head, gazing straight into his eyes. Half-formed thoughts chased each other in her mind. The longer he talked, the more nervous she got, but it was still all too much to take in. Loxton only pulled staff offworld in the most serious situations. I haven’t heard a whiff of trouble. Dave wouldn’t have left me behind. Would he?

         Deverane touched her arm lightly. “There have been incidents all summer. People disappearing, vehicles abandoned on the transportway with no sign of the occupants. There have even been some small-scale massacres in isolated villages, both Obati and Shenti. The violence keeps escalating.  Command thinks a full-blown war is only a breath away, waiting for some convenient incident to touch it off. Lord Tonkiln and the others have chosen to keep things quiet, leaving their families at risk out here in order to demonstrate their belief in their own supremacy. Putting on a pretense of things going along as usual. Or else they refuse to see what’s coming. Civilians.”

          He might as well have said idiots.

           Deverane frowned at her, three deep wrinkles marring the strong sweep of his forehead. “Are you prepared to take the same risk?”

            He’s invading my personal space, damn it. I don’t intimidate that easily, pal. She pushed at his rock-hard shoulders. Standing, he moved away a pace or two, still keeping his eyes locked on her. Licking her lips, Andi smoothed down her silky skirt. “You’re insinuating my hosts have deceived me and deliberately put me in harm’s way? I find that insulting.”

            Eyes closed, he pinched the bridge of his nose. “You’re a pawn to them.” Now he reopened his eyes and flung his arms out, hands wide open. “You mean nothing to them. If you’re going to refuse my offer of evacuation, then you’d better be ready to take care of yourself, because I guarantee you the Obati won’t.”

Blurb:
Andi Markriss hasn’t exactly enjoyed being the houseguest of the planetary high-lord, but her company sent her to represent them at a political wedding. When hotshot Sectors Special Forces Captain Tom Deverane barges in on the night of the biggest social event of the summer, Andi isn’t about to offend her high-ranking host on Deverane’s say-so—no matter how sexy he is, or how much he believes they need to leave now.

Deverane was thinking about how to spend his retirement bonus when HQ assigned him one last mission: rescue a civilian woman stranded on a planet on the verge of civil war. Someone has pulled some serious strings to get her plucked out of the hot zone. Deverane’s never met anyone so hard-headed—or so appealing. Suddenly his mission to protect this one woman has become more than just mere orders.

That mission proves more dangerous than he expected when rebel fighters attack the village and raze it to the ground.

Then Andi is captured by the rebel fighters, but Deverane has discovered that Zulaire’s so-called civil war is part of a terrifying alien race’s attempt to subjugate the entire Sector. If he pushes on to the capitol Andi will die. Deverane must decide whether to save the woman he loves, or sacrifice her to save Zulaire.

AMAZON   Nook Kobo All Romance eBooks  iTunes   Xin Xii  Google Play

Audiobook: Amazon  itunes

 

Not Going to Panic SFR Brigade Showcase

SFRB Showcase

Once 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.

MaroonedFinal-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700This month I’m sharing another excerpt from my best selling novel Star Cruise: Marooned. This month’s follows directly from what I shared last month:

“I swear, you know as much as I do.” She leaned closer and lowered her voice. “Drewson was boning Pirankai in the private cabin when I got to the shuttle, coms off, so if there were any bulletins, he missed them.”

“Idiot.” Red retreated a step or two, eyeing the door. “Well, nothing for it.”

“Are you going to break it down?”

Eyebrows raised, he gave her a glance. “Thanks for the compliment but it’d take a battle robo to get through this storm portal by brute force.”

“What then?”

He stepped to the keypad, flipping open the cover, and entered a series of numbers and symbols so rapidly she had no idea what the sequence might be.

“You’ve been here before?” Meg asked.

He shook his head. “Special Forces, Team Twelve. We each have a special access code enabling our entry into any door, ship, vault, or facility in the Sectors.”

The storm door jerked away from the threshold and then began to roll into the roof recess. The window shutters on all four sides of the building followed suit a moment later. Meg knew her mouth was hanging open. Biting her lip, she tried to make sense of this new information. “You’re on active military duty, but working as crew on a charter ship? Are you undercover or something?”

“Retired. Wasn’t sure my code would work, but we have a saying in the Teams—no one is ever completely released from service.” He grimaced. “Not until we die or the Mawreg have been erased from the Sectors. I should live so long.” He pushed the inner door open. “Let’s see what we have here. Stay behind me.”

The lights didn’t respond to voice command or their physical presence. “I guess the rangers powered down before departing. Shutters must be on auxiliary. I’ll have to check the situation out later,” he said, pausing on the threshold. “At least the windows let in enough ambient light for now.”

“How long do you think we’re going to be here?” Meg was disturbed by his mention of later.

“Depends on what the problem in orbit is.” He stopped, giving her a hard look. “Anything like this ever happen before?”

“No. Drewson is an idiot, but he’d never abandon us. And Captain Jonsle certainly won’t maroon us.”

“He may not have a choice. I don’t want to alarm you, but we could be in a bad situation here. I hope not, but just between the two of us, I’m not feeling too positive. Whatever spooked the TDJ captain into recalling his people had to be damn serious. I don’t want to alarm our passengers because panicked people are hard to handle. Drewson’s takeoff seems like the act of a panicked person.” He studied her face, the expression on his serious. “You’re not going to panic, are you?”

“Of course not.” She straightened her spine, irritated he would even ask.

He squeezed her shoulder. “Good. I didn’t think so. Stay here, let me check the rest of the place, and then we’ll bring Sharmali in.”

Moving so quietly she couldn’t hear his footsteps, Red left her. Meg sank onto the nearest chair, resting her head in her hands. If she and the people she was responsible for were in survival mode, even for a short time until someone sent help for them, she had to reprioritize her thoughts. By the time Red returned to the small lobby, she was on her feet, pacing, and making lists on her personal AI.

“Nothing left behind but the furniture as far as I can see,” Red reported brusquely. There’s a big conference room or maybe it’s a dining room, and a small kitchen, couple of offices.”

“Right. We’ll bring Sharmali in here, lay her on the couch. If you can’t get the power going, we can build a fire for tonight. The temperatures plummet after dark and the wind rises. There’s a fireplace in the conference room too, right?”

He nodded. “Plenty of wood stacked out back. We can do the rustic thing. Maybe the guests will enjoy the novelty of camping out tonight.”

“Hope so, as that’s their only choice. I think we leave the guests in blissful ignorance for now, until the Primary asks about missing the deadline for retrieval. It’ll dawn on them soon enough we’re marooned, if we truly are.” Meg checked his reaction. “Seem okay to you?”

His calm face betrayed nothing. “Yes, Ma’am. But eventually they’re going to get upset. Especially the Primary, Mr. Finchon. He has a short fuse.”

“He’s not in charge anymore, I am.” Meg dropped her AI into a handy pocket. “This is a survival situation and I’m the senior crew member.”

She half expected him to protest, but his eyebrows lifted in mock surprise and he agreed with enthusiasm. “Yes, you are. And I’m here to back you to the hilt.”

The story:

Meg Antille works long hours on the charter cruise ship Far Horizon so she can send credits home to her family. Working hard to earn a promotion to a better post (and better pay), Meg has no time for romance.

Former Special Forces soldier Red Thomsill only took the berth on the Far Horizon in hopes of getting to know Meg better, but so far she’s kept him at a polite distance. A scheduled stopover on the idyllic beach of a nature preserve planet may be his last chance to impress the girl.

But when one of the passengers is attacked by a wild animal it becomes clear that conditions on the lushly forested Dantaralon aren’t as advertised – the ranger station is deserted, the defensive perimeter is down…and then the Far Horizon’s shuttle abruptly leaves without any of them.

Marooned on the dangerous outback world, romance is the least of their concerns, and yet Meg and Red cannot help being drawn to each other once they see how well they work together. But can they survive long enough to see their romance through? Or will the wild alien planet defeat them, ending their romance and their lives before anything can really begin?

Buy Links: Amazon     iBooks     Kobo     Barnes & Noble

Something You Forgot to Tell Me? SFR Brigade Showcase

SFRB Showcase

Once 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.

This month I’m sharing an excerpt from my best selling novel Star Cruise: Marooned:

MaroonedFinal-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700           What in the seven hells had Drewson been thinking, taking off without them?

            The ranger station was ominously quiet. The storm shutters were latched and the usually immaculate landscaping had become overgrown, weeds running riot, untrimmed vines establishing a foothold on the ornamental fence, and even scaling one wall.

            “How long do you guess the rangers have been gone?” Meg said, eyeing the building. She glanced at the living quarters to the left, noticing the same general run down air. The three small houses were tightly sealed, as if hunched against a coming storm.

            “The forest grows fast,” Red said. “Probably not more than a few months. I wonder why we weren’t warned, though.”

            “Warned?” Callina Bettis picked up on his remark. “Are we in some kind of danger?”

            Red and Meg exchanged glances. “He means we should have been notified there wouldn’t be any immediate help onsite,” Meg said, forcing herself to speak the lie calmly. “In case of an emergency, like the unfortunate bite Sharmali suffered.”

            Setting the injured woman on a picnic table, Red went to the front door of the station, Meg on his heels. She tried activating the portal to no avail, punching the tabs hard. “You think the last person out would have left it set to open, general access, in case anyone needed help the way we do.” She thumped her fist on the door.

            “Unless the staff didn’t expect anyone to be here,” Red said. “Are you sure there’s not something you forgot to tell me?”

The story:

Meg Antille works long hours on the charter cruise ship Far Horizon so she can send credits home to her family. Working hard to earn a promotion to a better post (and better pay), Meg has no time for romance.

Former Special Forces soldier Red Thomsill only took the berth on the Far Horizon in hopes of getting to know Meg better, but so far she’s kept him at a polite distance. A scheduled stopover on the idyllic beach of a nature preserve planet may be his last chance to impress the girl.

But when one of the passengers is attacked by a wild animal it becomes clear that conditions on the lushly forested Dantaralon aren’t as advertised – the ranger station is deserted, the defensive perimeter is down…and then the Far Horizon’s shuttle abruptly leaves without any of them.

Marooned on the dangerous outback world, romance is the least of their concerns, and yet Meg and Red cannot help being drawn to each other once they see how well they work together. But can they survive long enough to see their romance through? Or will the wild alien planet defeat them, ending their romance and their lives before anything can really begin?

Buy Links: Amazon     iBooks     Kobo     Barnes & Noble

Where Are The Crew? SFR Brigade Showcase

SFRB Showcase
On the first weekend of every month, the SFR Brigade Showcase is a chance for the authors to showcase excerpts from their latest releases, snippets from a work-in-progress, a new cover for their book or just have fun. Here’s the link for the Showcase hub, so you can find all the offerings!

Wreck of the Nebula Dream, my “Titanic in space” scifi novel, recently got an overall favorable review from the Dear Author site, which was wonderful, so I’ll excerpt a bit of the book for this month’s showcase. (Wreck of he Nebula Dream was a 2013 SFR Galaxy Award Winner 🙂

The hero, Nick Jameson, is awakened in the middle of the night by something gone seriously wrong with the ship. He emerges into the corridor to find utter chaos:

Wreck-of-the-Nebula-DreamFinalMedBack pressed against the half-open door, he stood for a moment, assessing the current situation in the corridor. It now added up to pandemonium in any language. The alarms were continuing to blare, inciting some passengers to panic and immobilizing others. A prerecorded voice urged calm, in flat, female tones, speaking in a rapid rotation of Basic and the five other primary Sector languages.

No one was paying the slightest attention. People ran in both directions, shoving past each other. Some were half dressed, others were burdened with luggage. There were no crew members at all.

Frowning, he waded into the crowd, going to the left and staying as close to the wall as he could. Since a Special Forces team’s survival depended on familiarity with all aspects of their environment, Nick had noted the location of the nearest lifeboat portal relative to his cabin upon arrival the first day. Now he worked his way aft to get there.

With supreme – if sadly misplaced – confidence, the captain of the Nebula Dream had not seen fit to order a lifeboat drill in the first few days of the cruise, not even after the middle of the night engine anomaly. Lack of a drill, which was mandatory per the Interstellar Commerce Commission regulations, was adding to the panic, Nick had no doubt. Most had probably not even paid attention to the short holo on safety the Ship played on first entry in each cabin. Now the civilians were clueless, desperate, and those charged with responsibility for their safety were nowhere to be seen.

As he came up to the lifeboat portal, Nick was astounded to see the light flashing red, indicating the LB had been launched.  What the fuck? There couldn’t possibly have been time since the sirens came on to fully load and deploy a boat, even assuming a full complement of SMT crew had been standing by, waiting to usher passengers on board.

Continuing down the corridor, Nick wondered who took the LB, and how many people had managed to escape with it. He suspected he wouldn’t like the answers much, but he intended to find out, after this was all over. For an event of this magnitude, an ICC investigatory hearing was a foregone con­clusion.

The crowd increased in size, and the screams and yells became more specific, the closer he got to the next LB davit. Since Nick was a tall man, he could see over the heads of most of the crowd. Despite the fact the alarms had been raging for a good five minutes standard now, he could see the indicator light was green; this LB had not even been unlocked.

“No one’s boarded yet?” he said, half to himself.

“Two idiots up there, fighting over who gets on first, and neither one has a clue how to open the damn thing.” A stout woman in a garish pink and orange robe spun to face him, her voice disgusted but shaking, tears glistening in her eyes. “They wouldn’t listen, not to me or anyone. I watched the safety holo my first day on board, so I know how to open the portal, but would they let me try? No, they would not. I got out of the way when they started throwing punches.”

Nick wished for a squad of Space Marines or even one other Special Forces operator.  I could sort this out and get people loading. There was no time to waste. Disasters in space tended to be abrupt, over with in a violent moment. Whatever had happened to the Nebula Dream, it was nothing short of amazing they weren’t all dead already. Can’t push luck too far.

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?

Amazon Barnes & Noble  All Romance eBooks iTunes  Google Play   Kobo

Audiobook, narrated by Actor Michael Riffle – Available Now at Amazon and iTunes

wreckmemealt1

Only One Among Many SFR Brigade Showcase

SFRB ShowcaseOn the first weekend of every month, the SFR Brigade Showcase is a chance for the authors to showcase excerpts from their latest releases, snippets from a work-in-progress, a new cover for their book or just have fun. Here’s the link for the Showcase hub, so you can find all the offerings!

SFR Galaxy AwardI’m happy to say that my most recent science fiction romance Mission to Mahjundar just received an SFR Galaxy Award, so I’m going to give you a short excerpt from the novel. Princess Shalira, who is blind, is summoned in the middle of the night to the bedside of her estranged father, the planetary emperor, Kajastahn. The emperor speaks first:

“Heard you were caught in a terrorist explosion this morning.”

“I was on the edge of the blast, yes. I took no harm, other than a superficial wound in the arm. The military officer from the Sectors rescued me.” Touching the fresh bandage on her upper arm, Shalira felt her cheeks grow warm as she remembered how commanding and strong Major Varone had been, how gallant. I wish I knew what he looked like. She pushed the stray desire to the back of her mind. Important to concentrate in this rare audience with her father.

“Not the first sign of unrest and rebellion. Maralika thinks she and her son will rule after I die, but she may have miscalculated how much the people will swallow. New taxes, new gods, she’s imposing too much change, moving too fast. Make no mistake, though, she’ll hold power for some span of time after I’m gone, which is why I wanted you well away from here.”

Shalira was startled again. “I thought my marriage was arranged to ensure peace along the western border? To seal a treaty.”

“Come closer.” Kajastahn patted the edge of his bed and Shalira obediently moved toward the sound, sitting once she had bumped into the mattress. A heavy, beringed hand closed around hers. Stroking her hand with his thumb, the emperor said, “I’ve not been much of a father, not since your mother died and your brother was killed. Too painful to behold you.” Unspoken was, Why them? Why not you?

Pain clenched around her heart to hear him admit what she’d always suspected. Shalira fought not to cry. Time for self-indulgence later. “What’s changed now?”

“I don’t have much time left. Trying to settle old debts, fix some problems I allowed to fester. Now look, Bandarlok is reputed to be a strong man, holds what’s his. I think he’ll keep you safe, even if you aren’t to be his chief wife. Give him an heir with royal blood and your position will be secure, even after I’m dead. Maralika can’t touch you there.”

Icy shock poured through her, and Shalira’s heart skipped a beat. “I don’t understand. Are you telling me he’s already married?”

“Customary among the hill people, just as it is here in the city. By the Ten Gods, girl, surely you didn’t think a powerful man like him was going to take a blind woman past her prime as his chief wife? Not even with the dowry I sent.” Kajastahn’s laugh was like acid on top of his harsh words.

Shalira fought not to faint, drawing in deep breaths and digging the fingernails of her free hand into her palm. Never once had it entered her mind she’d be one among many wives. He makes it sound as if Bandarlok had to be paid to take me off his hands. She wanted desperately to be anywhere but in this room, listening to Kajastahn’s revelations. She’d been so proud to have the marriage arranged for her, to be serving a critical diplomatic purpose for her father. How little she’d understood. Forcing herself to remain seated, Shalira waited for the next blow to fall.

MissionToM2-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700The story:

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.

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?

Amazon     Barnes & Noble   iTunes     All Romance eBooks     KOBO     Google Play

 

Did He Ask? MISSION TO MAHJUNDAR Weekend Writing Warriors

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

Doing excerpts from my soon-to-be published science fiction romance WIP, Mission to Mahjundar…Princess Shalira has maneuvered her father the emperor into insisting the hero, Major Mike Varone of the Sectors Special Forces, and his companion, must accompany her on a journey. Mike’s not exactly pleased. Shalira is speaking. (Creative punctuation has occurred.)

 “At the presentation ceremony, did the minister ask if you’d be willing to ride in myMissionToM2-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700 caravan?”

“Ask? More of a threat.” Mike knew his frustration was showing, “Ride with you or else my own mission gets cancelled.”

“And you don’t sound pleased – I wish I could have made the request myself.” She nibbled on a cracker, brushing crumbs from her lap.

“Forgive me, Your Highness, but why do you want us to go with you?” Setting his glass on the table, he leaned forward. “I’m on an urgent mission – your route causes me quite a delay, which I can’t afford without good reason.”

She’s going to give him a good reason, of course.

The story:

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. 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?

Can there be a future for a simple soldier and an intergalactic princess?

(Still working on the blurb…)

As always, I love your comments and feedback.

heart of rose nebula

Guest Author Pippa Jay Talks TETHERED and SFR

Tethered_600x900Veronica: I’m very excited today to have author Pippa Jay as my guest, discussing her latest science fiction romance novel TETHERED. Pip and I are both members of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade and we share a love for all things sci fi. Take it away, Pip!

Pippa:

From the age of eight, when a certain Tatooine farmboy captured my imagination (and my heart), I’ve considered myself a SciFi author. I wrote my own version of Star Wars, a series of scifi stories linked by a bloodline spanning several decades inspired by Anne McCaffrey’s writing, some Doctor Who shorts (what would now be called fan fiction, I guess), and finally a Doctor Who novella that was my first ever completed work (rejected, but the fact that I finished was kudos enough for me at age eighteen).

Then I didn’t really write anything again until 2009, when I completed my second novel, Keir. It wasn’t until attempting to get what became my debut novel published that I discovered what I was writing was actually a little known genre called science fiction romance. And having found what felt like home, I had no intention of leaving. I love heavy tech SF and reading up on technology, but I try not to put too much into my writing. I won’t spend pages on technical details for how my characters throw themselves through space or the genetics of an alien species for fear it might slow things down too much. I do have psi talents such as telepathy and telekinesis (though these abilities are mostly alien in nature rather than magical). One of my even WIPs has intelligent griffins in it, though that’s not what they call themselves. As I began writing fantasy before I got hooked on SciFi, I guess it’s inevitable that there are still elements of my old genre seeping in.

But Tethered started out with the working title of Succubi. So how did I get from SF to writing a being that sits very firmly in the UF/paranormal category? Well…

I’d been chatting to a couple of friends on Twitter about how elves and dragons had cornered more than their fair share of the mythological representation in books. I was looking for some story ideas, and wondering about taking a lesser known mythical being and putting a SF twist on it. And so Succubi in Spaaaaace began.

Succubi was only the working title though, and a rough summary of my heroine’s ability. Because I am (or was – I’ve written paranormal since) a SF author at heart. And she certainly wasn’t a Daughter of Lilith type succubus. No. Tyree was a genetically engineered clone, and an assassin. She could alter her molecular density to either crush an opponent, or become incorporeal to ghost down corridors faster than a human could run, or walk through walls. Her method of assassination…well. ‘Succubus’ should give you a clue. As Tyree says herself, at least her victims die in ecstasy. 😛

While her abilities might appear more magical/paranormal, they have a scientific basis. Her people—the Inc-Su (taken from incubus and succubus—have genetically ‘perfected’ themselves over the centuries since they divided from humanity. Now living in seclusion from the rest of the human race, they regard themselves as superior, but their limited numbers put them at greater risk, so they still rely on their human neighbours. And as Tyree discovers, she needs a certain human more than she thought, even with her succubus abilities.

Tethered was a lot of fun to write, and I hope it will be fun to read. In the meantime, I’m going to carry on mixing those paranormal and fantasy elements into my SFR, and probably write some more PNR too.

Here’s the blurb for TETHERED:

She can kill with a kiss. But can assassin Tyree also heal one man’s grief, and bring peace to a galaxy threatened by war?

For Tyree of the Su, being an assassin isn’t simply something she was trained for. It’s the sole reason for her existence. A genetically enhanced clone—one of many in Refuge—she’s about to learn her secluded lifestyle, and that of all her kind, is under threat by a race capable of neutralizing their special talents to leave them defenseless.

For Zander D’joren, being a diplomat has not only cost him his appearance, but also the love of his life. Scarred, grieving, he must nonetheless continue in his role as co-delegate to the fearsome Tier-vane or risk a conflict that could only end one way.

Now both of them need to keep each other alive and maintain a perilous deception long enough to renegotiate the treaty with the Tier-vane, or throw their people into a war that could wipe out Terrans and Inc-Su alike. But there’s more at stake than humanity, whether true or modified. Can the love growing between them save them both? Or merely hasten their destruction?

Buy links:

Breathless Press –  (and for the whole of August, Breathless Press is offering 50% off to celebrate their 5th birthday!)

Smashwords    Bookstrand    All Romance ebooks     Amazon US     Amazon UK

Add it to your Goodreads TBR here – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22085149-tethered

Sign up to Pippa’s no-spam newsletter to get updated on the latest releases, giveaways and special offers. Exclusive snippets and stories coming soon! http://pippajay.blogspot.co.uk/p/newsletter-signup.html

A little more about Pippa herself:

pippaAfter spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

(Veronica: I happen to know there are some “chooks” and walking stick insects in the Jay household as well!)

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), three self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply, The Bones of the Sea, and Reboot), and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

You can stalk her at her website http://pippajay.co.uk, or at her blog http://pippajay.blogspot.co.uk, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

Other Blogs & Social Media:

Adventures in Scifi – http://www.pippajay.blogspot.co.uk

Spacefreighters Lounge – http://www.spacefreighters.blogspot.com

Romancing the Genres – http://www.romancingthegenres.blogspot.co.uk/

SFR Brigade – http://www.sfrcontests.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/pippajaygreen

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5054558.Pippa_Jay

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Pippa-Jay-Adventures-in-Scifi/114058821953752

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/pippajaygreen/

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/101080630877126516448/posts

Wattpad – http://www.wattpad.com/user/PippaJay

Amazon page – http://www.amazon.com/Pippa-Jay/e/B0080QVWEE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1406376408&sr=8-1

 

Science Fiction Romance Brigade Midsummer Blog Hop

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

The Hop and Giveaway are now OVER. Because I had so many people commenting on my blog, I randomly selected two winners instead of one and they have each been sent a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card. The winners were Meri and “Shannon Hollow Kitty Flynn”. Thanks to everyone for stopping by! Happy summer!

Welcome to the third annual SFR Brigade Midsummer Bog Hop!

To be entered for the prize available just on my blog, which is a $25.00 Amazon gift certificate, please leave a comment about science fiction romance. The winner for my blog will be randomly selected…

To enter the Blog Hop rafflecopter itself and be eligible for the Grand Prizes listed below,  you’ll have to go to the main page – click HERE.  (NOTE: No cash or other prize alternatives will be offered for the Grand Prizes.) You can also find the links to the other 40+ participants on the main page.

Starry Nights Blog Hop Grand Prizes:

1st  $100 Amazon or B&N gift card plus 41 ebooks

2nd $50 Amazon or B&N gift card plus 28 ebooks

3rd  3 separate winners each receive $25 Amazon or B&N gift card plus 11 ebooks

In my award winning SFR novel ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE, the two main characters have an intimate conversation under the starry skies, which is the blog’s theme. Here’s the story for the novel:

Andi Markriss hasn’t exactly enjoyed being the houseguest of the planetary high-lord, but her company sent her to represent themEscape-from-Zulaire2HighRes at a political wedding. When hotshot Sectors Special Forces Captain Tom Deverane barges in on the night of the biggest social event of the summer, Andi isn’t about to offend her high-ranking host on Deverane’s say-so—no matter how sexy he is, or how much he believes they need to leave now.

Deverane was thinking about how to spend his retirement bonus when HQ assigned him one last mission: rescue a civilian woman stranded on a planet on the verge of civil war. Someone has pulled some serious strings to get her plucked out of the hot zone. Deverane’s never met anyone so hard-headed—or so appealing. Suddenly his mission to protect this one woman has become more than just mere orders.

That mission proves more dangerous than he expected when rebel fighters attack the village and raze it to the ground. Deverane escapes with Andi, and on their hazardous journey through the wilderness, Andi finds herself fighting her uncomfortable attraction to the gallant and courageous captain. But Deverane’s not the type to settle down, and running for one’s life doesn’t leave much time to explore a romance.

Then Andi is captured by the rebel fighters, but Deverane has discovered that Zulaire’s so-called civil war is part of a terrifying alien race’s attempt to subjugate the entire Sector. If he pushes on to the capitol Andi will die. Deverane must decide whether to save the woman he loves, or sacrifice her to save Zulaire.

Excerpt: Andi and the small group of Sectors Special Forces soldiers are on the run from rebel forces and have camped for the night:

Deverane looked up as she walked over, patting the rock beside him in invitation. “Can’t sleep?”

Shuddering as she sat, Andi rewrapped her shawl more tightly. “You’re surprised I’m having bad dreams?  After everything we saw today? What time is it?”

Reaching over, he tucked the fabric more securely around her shoulder. “Still middle of the night, I’m afraid. A long time to go until sunrise chases away the nightmares.”

“That’s what I was afraid of. I’m drowsy but scared to risk closing my eyes for more than a second. There are a lot of vivid images forming a queue in my subconscious tonight. These kinds of things don’t affect soldiers, I suppose.” Leaning back, she tilted her head to look at him, eyebrows slightly raised in query.

He continued to gaze across the rippling water and said nothing for a long minute. When he did speak, his voice was low and measured. “I went into the military because the abuse and slaughter of innocent civilians do bother me. At least in the service, I can do something to prevent atrocities.”

Biting her lip, she looked away across the lake. “I’m sorry. Was I being rude? Maybe I’d better go back to bed and leave you alone.”

“No, please stay.” He grabbed at the shawl, which promptly came off her shoulder again. Their hands met as he tried to reposition the wrap and she tried to keep it from falling off.  “I apologize if I sounded abrupt.”

She stared at him for a minute then smiled as she settled back down. “It’s all right. The last few days have been…rough. For both of us.”

Deverane set his pulse rifle on the rocky surface and picked up the metal cup that had been sitting on the other side. “I’d offer you a cup of coffee, but since wakefulness is your problem—”

Andi smiled ruefully. “I’d love some, but you’re right. That won’t help my insomnia.”

He drank before setting the cup down, steadying it with one hand as it rocked on the uneven surface. “I have nightmares sometimes, but from my own private collection. Have you ever heard of Merenia 12?”

”Sounds familiar.”  Racking her brain, Andi chased down the reference. “It was one of the first worlds the Mawreg attacked in Sector Fourteen, wasn’t it? A long time ago?”

“Right. I’m the sole survivor.” He stacked a couple of small stones on top of each other, then toppled the tower with a flick of his finger.

“You must have been very young.”  What could it have been like, going through an ordeal like that as a child?

This National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award Finalist novel is Available on AMAZON for kindle and as POD paperback   Nook  Kobo All Romance eBooks  iTunes   Xin Xii  Google Play

The book trailer:

 

 

We Have to Help ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE for SFR Brigade Presents

THE SFRB Presents(The link is here to find this week’s excerpts from novels or WIP written by other Science Fiction Romance Brigade group members. A fun way to sample new books!)

From my SFR Galaxy Award winning novel, loosely inspired by the Sepoy incident in 1857 but set on another planet in the far future….

In the last few weeks I gave you the opening of the book and then as Andi has returned from theSFR Galaxy Award wedding of the Planetary High Lord’s daughter to her host’s summer home, she found a squad of Sectors Special Forces soldiers waiting. The officer in charge, Tom Deverane, claimed they’d come to rescue her and needed to leave at once. Unconvinced, she argued.  And as it turned out, they couldn’t leave right away.  So of course the conflict breaks out at the worst possible moment…

I’m skipping quite a bit of the action because SPOILERS.  This incident takes place as the party continues to make their way through enemy territory.

Escape-from-Zulaire2HighRes“Trouble ahead, sir,” Wilson reported crisply. “Party of hostiles has four civilians stopped on the transportway. Looks like things are going to get ugly fast.”

“We should go help them.” The urgent thought impelled Andi to her feet, and she took a step or two in the direction the scouts had just come from.

Tom moved fast, grabbing her elbow hard and glaring down at her. “I thought I told you—more than once—my primary orders don’t allow me the discretion to go around the countryside rescuing everyone in distress.”  He spaced out each word for emphasis. “I have to get back to the capital. We’ve got vital information that could stop the entire planet from descending into war. I can’t conduct firefights and rescue individuals. You were an exception because someone somewhere pulled a lot of rank and got special orders issued. Okay?”

Biting her lip, Andi flushed and jerked her elbow away from him. I wish he wouldn’t keep rubbing it in my face that I got special treatment. I didn’t ask for him to come rescue me.

Apparently satisfied she wasn’t going to argue, Tom’s next remark was addressed to the waiting sergeant. “How many hostiles?”

“Fifteen. Armed with standard planetary-issue weapons, from what we could see.” Rogers nodded his agreement with Wilson’s rapid assessment. “No heavy stuff. No Sectors contraband. We could take them, sir.”

Brow furrowing, Tom glared at Wilson. “We have to stay on mission here. You’re starting to sound like her.” He jerked his thumb at Andi. “I need a reason to break our rules of engagement.”

Wilson looked at Rogers, getting no help from him beyond a sheepish shrug. Turning back to the captain, the sergeant continued to plead his case. “They’re roughing up a bunch of priests, sir. Defenseless noncombatants. Don’t seem right to walk away, orders or no orders. I…can’t explain it any better.”

Tom pulled out his blaster and checked the charge. “All right, I’ll commit to going and assessing the potential for intervention.” He fixed Andi with a stern gaze. “I am not promising to intervene. So don’t push it, Miss Markriss.”

Afraid to say anything and risk changing his mind, she simply nodded. From what she’d seen of Tom so far, he’d intervene all right. Soft heart inside a very tough exterior.

The story:

Andi Markriss hasn’t exactly enjoyed being the houseguest of the planetary high-lord, but her company sent her to represent them at a political wedding. When hotshot Sectors Special Forces Captain Tom Deverane barges in on the night of the biggest social event of the summer, Andi isn’t about to offend her high-ranking host on Deverane’s say-so—no matter how sexy he is, or how much he believes they need to leave now.

Deverane was thinking about how to spend his retirement bonus when HQ assigned him one last mission: rescue a civilian woman stranded on a planet on the verge of civil war. Someone has pulled some serious strings to get her plucked out of the hot zone. Deverane’s never met anyone so hard-headed—or so appealing. Suddenly his mission to protect this one woman has become more than just mere orders.

That mission proves more dangerous than he expected when rebel fighters attack the village and raze it to the ground. Deverane escapes with Andi, and on their hazardous journey through the wilderness, Andi finds herself fighting her uncomfortable attraction to the gallant and courageous captain. But Deverane’s not the type to settle down, and running for one’s life doesn’t leave much time to explore a romance.

Then Andi is captured by the rebel fighters, but Deverane has discovered that Zulaire’s so-called civil war is part of a terrifying alien race’s attempt to subjugate the entire Sector. If he pushes on to the capitol Andi will die. Deverane must decide whether to save the woman he loves, or sacrifice her to save Zulaire.

Available on AMAZON  Nook  Kobo All Romance eBooks   iTunes   Xin Xii   Google Play