Titanic and the Mummy’s Curse

titanic mummyVS Note: I published the first portion of this post on my blog in 2012 originally.

Did the Titanic sink because of an Ancient Egyptian curse? Was the mummy of Princess “Amen-Ra”  from 900BC to blame for the disaster?

Of the many legends swirling around Titanic, this one appeals to me not only because of my fascination with the ship, but also because I write paranormal romances set in Ancient Egypt. Sad to relate, this exciting tale is untrue. Per the myth-debunking website Snopes, not only was there no mummy – cursed or otherwise – on board Titanic when she sailed, said mummy does not exist.

But there is a twist here – the man who created the legend did perish on Titanic!  William T. Stead was a  journalist who also believed in the paranormal, consulting mediums and psychics. He and a friend came up with this elaborate story of an evil mummy to boost newspaper circulation.  Supposedly the Princess had been a tortured, unhappy soul and consequently her mummy created death and destruction wherever she was taken.  Mr. Stead claimed to have hidden her under his car to sneak her aboard the Titanic. He spoke to some fellow passengers about his alleged “traveling companion”, the beautiful 2000 year old Egyptian princess in her sarcophagus.  Supposedly Stead broke a superstition of the sea by starting  his recital of the tale of the mummy before midnight on April 12th and finishing it in the wee hours of April 13th.

After the ship struck the iceberg on the 14th , Stead helped several women and children into the lifeboats. After all the boats had gone, he went into the 1st Class Smoking Room, where he was last seen sitting in a leather chair and reading a book. He must have been an interesting character as he was rumored to be in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize that year due to some of his crusading journalistic work.

Stead had often claimed that he would die from either lynching or drowning and had published two pieces that gained eerie significance in light of his fate on the Titanic. In 1886, he wrote the fictional article “How the Mail Steamer Went Down in Mid-Atlantic, by a Survivor” where a steamer collides with another ship, with high loss of life due to lack of lifeboats. Stead had added “This is exactly what might take place and will take place if liners are sent to sea short of boats”. In 1892, Stead published a story called From the Old World to the New,  in which a  fictional ship Majestic rescues survivors of another ship that collided with an iceberg.

I’ve also read several accounts that, prior to embarking on Titanic,  he told friends he’d been dreaming about cats being thrown out of a tall building into icy water and feared this was an omen of impending doom.

Mr. Stead had a small kernel of truth at the heart of his hoax, in that there is a wooden, painted sarcophagus lid in the British Museum for a high born woman, whose name is unknown. She may or may not have been a priestess or a princess but it has been verified this coffin cover never left the Museum in  1912 and is there still. Wooden hands were affixed to the coffin lid as if she’s reaching out, which is spooky! And at least one person who studied her and wrote about her died at a very young age so she is known as the “Unlucky Mummy.”

The Titanic was an unlucky ship but apparently not subject to an Egyptian curse.

Titanic

And don’t miss award-winning Wreck of the Nebula Dream, my science fiction take on the Titanic, set in the far future on an interstellar cruise liner!WRECK_canva_plainThe 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 the Book:
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Dear Author Review (2/22/15):

Jayne at DA says, in part:

“…I was 4 chapters into this story when it dawned on me that I was lost in it and totally concentrating on this created world….The details of the doomed Titanic’s fate are cleverly re imagined in a space voyage…the tension builds, then recedes just a little, then increases, then is countered just a bit, then smacks the reader around some more before smacking the characters even worse. And then when I think this must be it, they’re safe, right? they aren’t. Safe that is….”

To read the rest of the review go to http://ift.tt/1CZbNio

 

Cover Reveal Star Survivor Sequel to Wreck of the Nebula Dream

star-survivorsfinalUPDATE: Now that the 24 hour exclusivity window is finished, I’ve added the complete cover to this post too!

USA Today Happily Ever After is doing the exclusive cover reveal today for my latest scifi romance novel Star Survivor, which is the long awaited sequel to Wreck of the Nebula Dream! There’s also an exclusive excerpt to go with the cover reveal.

I’m not doing preorders – sorry! – as they can be so nerve wracking – but I expect the book to go live next week at all major ebook retailers and will send out a newsletter and announce it here and well, everywhere LOL.

A tease of the cover and the blurb below:

The survivors of a terrible wreck meet again—but this time only one can survive.

The long-awaited sequel to The Wreck of the Nebula Dream

They survived an iconic spaceship wreck together. She never expected to see him again … especially not armed to kill her.

Twilka Zabour is an interstellar celebrity. She built on her notoriety as a carefree Socialite who survived the terrible wreck of the Nebula Dream, and launched a successful design house. But now the man who gave meaning to her life, then left her, is back–this time for the worst of reasons. Will he kill her … or help her survive?

D’nvannae Brother Khevan survived the Nebula Dream in the company of a lovely, warm woman, only to be pulled away from her, back into his solitary life in the service of the Red Lady.  Now Twilka’s within his reach again–for all the wrong reasons. Khevan will do everything within his power to discover why Twilka has been targeted for assassination, and to save her.

But Khevan is not Twilka’s only pursuer. Will allies Nick and Mara Jameson arrive in time to aid the couple, or will Khevan and Twilka’s ingenuity be all that stands between them and death?

Available now – Buy Links:

iBooks      Amazon    Kobo       Barnes & Noble    MORE TO COME SOON!

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?

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Does She Outrank Me? Weekend Writing Warriors

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

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

I’ll excerpt something new next week, promise!

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

“Why do you call me trooper?”

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

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

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

Wreck-of-the-Nebula-DreamFinalHugeThe story:

Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces Captain Nick Jameson is ready for ten relaxing days, and hoping to forget his last disastrous mission behind enemy lines. He figures he’ll gamble at the casino, take in the shows, maybe even have a shipboard fling with Mara Lyrae, the beautiful but reserved businesswoman he meets.

All his plans vaporize when the ship suffers a wreck of Titanic proportions. Captain and crew abandon ship, leaving the 8000 passengers stranded without enough lifeboats and drifting unarmed in enemy territory. Aided by Mara, Nick must find a way off the doomed ship for himself and several other innocent people before deadly enemy forces reach them or the ship’s malfunctioning engines finish ticking down to self destruction.

But can Nick conquer the demons from his past that tell him he’ll fail these innocent people just as he failed to save his Special Forces team? Will he outpace his own doubts to win this vital race against time?

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Deleted Scene Mara POV Wreck of the Nebula Dream Tuesday Teaser

Tuesday Teaser

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

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

Here’s the deleted scene:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

           He definitely looked like fun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It is an archaic game of strategy – “

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The story:

Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces Captain Nick Jameson is ready for ten relaxing days, and hoping to forget his last disastrous mission behind enemy lines. He figures he’ll gamble at the casino, take in the shows, maybe even have a shipboard fling with Mara Lyrae, the beautiful but reserved businesswoman he meets.

All his plans vaporize when the ship suffers a wreck of Titanic proportions. Captain and crew abandon ship, leaving the 8000 passengers stranded without enough lifeboats and drifting unarmed in enemy territory. Aided by Mara (and Khevan), Nick must find a way off the doomed ship for himself and several other innocent people before deadly enemy forces reach them or the ship’s malfunctioning engines finish ticking down to self destruction.

But can Nick conquer the demons from his past that tell him he’ll fail these innocent people just as he failed to save his Special Forces team? Will he outpace his own doubts to win this vital race against time?

Tuesday Teaser Interview with a D’nvannae Brother

Tuesday Teaser

Wreck-of-the-Nebula-DreamFinalMedFor today’s Tuesday Teaser, I thought I’d do a character interview from WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM. Readers seemed pretty intrigued with one of my secondary characters, Khevan, a member of the D’nvannae Brotherhood, an order of assassin/bodyguards, serving a mysterious alien deity The Red Lady.  (I get asked about a sequel featuring him all the time, and I do have the plot in mind, so it’ll be written at some point.)

Here’s a description from the book of the first time Nick encounters Khevan, on the shuttle ride up to the Nebula Dream:

Sipping his drink, Nick assessed the only other man on the shuttle who was as deadly as Nick himself could be when the occasion demanded –  a D’nvannae Brother, dressed all in close fitting, soft black leather, as they usually were when traveling outside their world. The swirling red tattoo all D’nvannae wore proudly inscribed on the right side of the face, as a sign of fealty to their Deity, was particularly well defined on this man. He must be senior in the hierarchy, given the number of details in the tattoo. Gotta earn those the hard way in the Lady’s service. Halfway paying attention to a broadcast of an inter Sector sports semifinal, the Brother was unbraiding his long, jet black hair, signifying his contract had been successfully completed and he was now at liberty to accept another.

Who on backwater Glideon might have needed such a high-priced, exotic bodyguard? Or been the target of such a relentless assassin? The D’nvannae could be hired for either purpose, conflicting offers resolved by the whim of the goddess.

As if sensing Nick’s gaze, the Brother turned, eyeing him for a long minute, eyebrows drawn together in a frown. He had a strong face, thin lips, high, chiseled cheekbones, and intense black eyes which betrayed nothing of the thoughts going on behind them. Sensing no challenge, nothing on Nick’s part but bored curiosity, the other man nodded, the fine muscles of his face relaxing.

Raising his glass in salute, Nick tossed off the drink as the Brother dismissed him, in favor of watching a replay.

So now let’s interview Khevan!  What was your life like growing up?

Khevan: When I was very young, perhaps 3 or 4, my father brought me to the Brotherhood on our home world. I am told he was poor and hoped that by dedicating my life to the service of the Red Lady, he could ensure a better future for me. It is a fairly common occurrence. I’ve known no other life than the Brotherhood until now. It is a life of discipline, sacrifice and rewards.

From boyhood I have studied, trained and practiced to be very very good at what I do. Martial arts, assassination techniques, culture, history – one must be well rounded to reach the highest levels of the Brotherhood. (Khevan smiles and lowers his voice.) And then there are the…other arts that the Lady decrees her high ranking servants must learn, to please her in human form. Those skills come in handy on certain assignments as well.

Before the action in the book, what were your plans/hopes for the future?

Khevan: I was on the path to reach the highest levels of my Brotherhood, completing many dangerous missions of assassination or guarding others against death. The Lady decrees who we contract with and whether we are preserving life or taking it. Some say it is at her whim. I chose to believe she had a plan that was beyond our human comprehension. (Shifting uncomfortably in the chair, Khevan frowns.) I needed to believe that to carry out my assignments at times. I was an Intimate Initiate of the Order, which means I have been privileged to serve the Lady of the Flames herself. Those private rituals are not to be spoken of outside the Brotherhood.

What changed your path?

Khevan: It became necessary on the Nebula Dream to in essence defy my Lady in order to save lives. There were consequences, to myself and to another…

VERONICA sez:   I think we’ll leave it there. (NOTE: The interview is from my Archives.)  The ebook of Wreck of the Nebula Dream is currently on sale for $.99

Amazon    Barnes & Noble     All Romance eBooks     iTunes   Kobo

The story:

Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces Captain Nick Jameson is ready for ten relaxing days, and hoping to forget his last disastrous mission behind enemy lines. He figures he’ll gamble at the casino, take in the shows, maybe even have a shipboard fling with Mara Lyrae, the beautiful but reserved businesswoman he meets.

All his plans vaporize when the ship suffers a wreck of Titanic proportions. Captain and crew abandon ship, leaving the 8000 passengers stranded without enough lifeboats and drifting unarmed in enemy territory. Aided by Mara (and Khevan), Nick must find a way off the doomed ship for himself and several other innocent people before deadly enemy forces reach them or the ship’s malfunctioning engines finish ticking down to self destruction.

But can Nick conquer the demons from his past that tell him he’ll fail these innocent people just as he failed to save his Special Forces team? Will he outpace his own doubts to win this vital race against time?

wreckmemealt1

Was Nebula Dream Jinxed? Tuesday Teaser

Tuesday Teaser

TitanicToday is the 103rd anniversary of Titanic striking an ice berg (she sank at 2:20 AM on the 15th). Over at USA Today/Happily Ever After today, I’m talking about Titanic and how the events of that ill fated cruise influenced my science fiction novel  Wreck of the Nebula Dream.

For the Tuesday Teaser, I thought I’d give you the deleted Prolog to Wreck of the Nebula Dream from my Archived posts:

The heroine tells the hero at one point that there were rumors the ship had been jinxed by an accident during construction (much as rumors of similar things haunted Titanic). 

Originally I’d written a short prolog for the novel, showing the reason the ship was jinxed, but eventually deleted the scene. Here it is:

Wreck-of-the-Nebula-Dream2Audible“Come on, Frazet, you’re gonna cost the whole team its bonus, man.”

The foreman stood over him, mercilessly berating his decision. “You don’t finish installing that damn upper engine interlock adapter this morning, they can’t keep schedule for installing the engine itself either. Then the whole thing goes to hell, we maybe get fired – you’re critical path, man, don’t you get it?”

Methodically, Frazet continued fastening the closures on his zero grav construction safety suit. He didn’t look up. “Can’t install no damn adapter if I ain’t got one that works, Jonzile, now can I?”

Throwing his hands up in the air, the foreman glanced around at the rest of the crew for support. Mostly they avoided his eye. Lowering his voice and leaning closer, Jonzile asked, “How much out of tolerance is the adapter? I know the backup was a piece of shitty scrap but what about the main unit?”

Frazet considered.  “It barely passed acceptance testing.”

“But it did pass?” The foreman was eager.

“Once. Out of three times I checked it,” Frazet said, reaching for his helmet.

Jonzile put out a hand, holding the helmet down on the locker shelf. “But it did pass, you’ll admit that?” His tone changed, became friendlier again. “Don’t you want the bonus? Don’t you need those extra credits, like the rest of us? Heard your wife was gonna have another baby. That makes four kids, right? On your wages, her not working, that’s a tight orbit.”

Frazet sighed. Jonzile’s right, things are tight. And just yesterday the company doc said there might be complications with this baby. The bonus would sure come in handy. And after all, as Jonzile kept saying, the part was within tolerance. Just over the line into the green. But that was all the manual called for, so why am I holding up the entire crew on this job? Sure, I can sign it off in good conscience.

Decision made, Frazet yanked his battered helmet away from the foreman and stood up. “Quit your complaining, would ya? We’ll make schedule today.”

Patting his shoulder, Jonzile nodded. “Good man.”

*************************

The immense spaceyards of Baktanir & Fox hummed with activity. Construction was ongoing for several military jobs as well as the Nebula Dream, designed to be the biggest, most advanced spaceliner ever. Dik Frazet was just one of thousands of sentients on the payroll that month, a skilled worker at all the trades involved in engine installation; experienced, careful, good safety record. Right after the midshift break, he finished the last connection holding the adapter  device in place, where the new Yeatter hyperdrive engines developed especially for the Dream would fit.

Dik stowed his tools, moving gracefully and economically in the absence of gravity. Powering up his suit’s maneuvering nozzles, he transmitted the sign off for completion of the install, preparing to cross the yard back to the lockers. He needed some fresh supplies before switching to the next job on the new battleship across the yard.

Halfway to his goal, Dik couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that he’d overlooked something, forgotten something, back in the half finished engine nacelle on the civilian liner. He finally  swung around and returned to the site of his previous task. Taking out his field test kit, he ran a few checks on the troublesome adapter. It failed the first time, passed the second, was borderline on the third. Swearing to himself, Frazet made the decision to yank it out.

Critical path be damned, I’m not going to sign off on the install of an intermittently malfunctioning part and just hope for the best. Hell, my family might travel on this ship someday.

“Shoulda done this in the first place,” he muttered, working to undo the adapter from its fasteners. “Damn supplier must be on the take, substandard parts half the time, don’t work right–“

He knew he’d better report this decision to Jonzile first. The foreman was going to go interstellar when he heard the news. Frazet was worrying over the loss of the bonus, maybe even the job, if the team couldn’t make up the schedule.

He never even saw the massive engine swinging in above him, moving into its tightly fitted place in the nacelle, right on schedule.

****************************************************************

The Company arranged a very nice funeral. Mr. Baruc Baktanir the 12th attended and personally gave Frazet’s wife a generous amount of credits to make sure she could return to her home world, far across the Sectors. Jonzile and the rest of his crew received their bonus, tripled, before being reassigned to other shipyards.

The accident was treated by the Sector’s media as routine, mundane, a common enough event in the perilous world of spacecraft construction. Basically a nonevent in a week when there were enemy incursions in the neighboring Sector and a major vid fic star was caught in bed with highly outlawed feelgoods and an underage co-star.

The Company was satisfied that SMT, the Customer, never heard about the incident. The strong impression was carefully cultivated that poor Frazet had been crushed by drifting debris in the middle of the spaceyard, nowhere near the hull of the Nebula Dream. Foreman Jonzile had been only too happy to sign off on that safety report, exonerating him completely in the loss of life on his crew.

But the rumors spread anyway, in the bars where the spaceworkers gathered after long shifts.

It was said the Nebula Dream was cursed….

So there you have it….Nick isn’t wrong about his uneasy feeling early in the voyage that something or someone may be haunting the Nebula Dream. Of course, I’m not saying that’s the only reason for all the things that go wrong, leading up to the disaster! If you want to read the novel and decide for yourself, the ebook is on sale for only $.99 at Amazon    Barnes & Noble    All Romance eBooks    iTunes  Kobo 

The book blurb:

A reimagining of the Titanic disaster set in the far future among the stars…

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?

Deleted Scene From Wreck of the Nebula Dream for Teaser Tuesday

Tuesday TeaserThis deleted scene is from my archived posts, shared it a couple of years ago on Weekend Writing Warriors.

(We do know there’ll be an HEA for Wreck of the Nebula Dream, right? so this isn’t a spoiler…)

This scene takes place on the Sectors battleship Andromeda, after Nick has given his formal report to the Admiral and has been released to seek medical attention. He goes to sickbay but refuses treatment until he’s seen Mara.

Wreck-of-the-Nebula-DreamFinalMed She lay sound asleep on the hospital bed, hair tousled on the pillow, silken strands drying after a recent shampooing. He felt three times as grimy and in need of a shower as he had before, standing here with her. She slept easily, her face calm, peaceful, which he was relieved to see.I’m going to have enough nightmares for both of us, at least I’ve been trained for dealing with the horrors we saw. She’s pretty tough though.

Standing beside the bed, he murmured her name, not wanting to wake her, but hoping she would know on some subconscious level that he’d come as promised, as soon as possible.

Stirring just a little at the sound of his quiet voice, Mara didn’t open her eyes.

Bending over, he kissed her cheek, acutely conscious that he was going to be interrupted any second by the impatient doctor.

Here’s the story for Wreck (which is on sale this month for $.99 by the way):

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    Kobo

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

Dear Author’s Take on WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM

Wreck-of-the-Nebula-DreamFinalMedGot up yesterday, had a leisurely breakfast, was drinking my tea and perusing the social media and favorite websites and…..OMG, Jayne of Dear Author reviewed Wreck of the Nebula Dream (my “Titanic in space” scifi adventure novel)!!!! I was thrilled and SO excited that she enjoyed the book overall.  Made my whole day 🙂

Here are a few extracts from the review and please go over to the Dear Author website to read the entire review, which received a B rating, about which I’m also ecstatic.

“I was 4 chapters into this story when it dawned on me that I was lost in it and totally concentrating on this created world….The details of the doomed Titanic’s fate are cleverly re imagined in a space voyage…the tension builds, then recedes just a little, then increases, then is countered just a bit, then smacks the reader around some more before smacking the characters even worse. And then when I think this must be it, they’re safe, right? they aren’t. Safe that is….”

Wreck of the Nebula Dream was a 2013 SFR Galaxy Award Winner and a Laurel Wreath Finalist…

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