No post this week. We're all busy putting up the Christmas tree--and the cats are "helping!" It's their favorite time of year, too. Hope everyone had a grand Thanksgiving. Enjoy your hunt for holiday bargains or snuggling at home, whichever is your preferred way of spending the day!
Friday, November 27, 2015
Thursday, November 26, 2015
This week Cynthia Sax is going to tell us about her favourite character - Mira from Breathing Vapor.
For a writer, choosing a favorite character is kind of like choosing a favorite Star Wars character. They’re all great but we love them for different reasons (except for Jar Jar Binks – he’s very difficult to like - grins).
I’m always most passionate about the characters in my recent releases. In Breathing Vapor, my sexy cyborg romance, I love both Vapor, the hunkalicious cyborg hero, and Mira, the human heroine.
Mira, however, has a sweet spot in my soul.
Because, although she acts super strong, she truly has the softest and most fragile heart of all the heroines I’ve written about.
She’s known as Mari the Merciless. Almost everyone thinks she’s a nasty piece of work, a shallow self-absorbed and extremely mean female. She ridicules her father’s employees, torments the already hurting cyborgs, sells cyborg babies for credits she doesn’t truly need. She lies constantly. No one can believe a word coming out of her mouth.
But this is all an act. She has taken on a secret solo mission to free the beings the Humanoid Alliance oppresses. The cyborg babies she sells are deemed defective and are slated to be decommissioned. The buyers of these babies are childless couples who will love and protect them. The warriors Mira torments were targeted for greater reprimands. She never tells the truth because the truth puts the beings she saves at risk. She expects, some planet rotation, to be betrayed and executed for these activities.
She undertakes them anyway because it’s the right thing to do and she cares. Greatly. She’d trade her life for a baby cyborg’s in a heartbeat.
I think we all have a bit of Mira in us. We help others, knowing we won’t be thanked, that our helping might even hurt us. We act strong when we aren’t. We might even lie to make others happy, telling a friend that everything will be okay when we believe it won’t be, or saying we’re fine when we’re far from fine.
This is why Mari will always have a slice of my soul.
Vapor is the most advanced cyborg the Humanoid Alliance has ever developed. He’s a finely honed weapon, a warrior without parallel, half man and half machine. No lock can contain him. No being can stop him. Whatever he wants, he takes.
He wants Mira Breazeal, the Designer’s daughter.
She’s his one temptation, his sexy target. Vapor shouldn’t crave her caresses, steal her kisses, make her scream with ecstasy. The cyborgs want her dead and they would question his loyalty if he didn’t kill her. The humans would shoot him on sight if he dared to touch her.
Their love is forbidden. Their desire could be lethal. One human and one cyborg will risk everything for a moment of passion.
About Cynthia Sax
USA Today bestselling author Cynthia Sax writes contemporary, SciFi and paranormal erotic romances. Her stories have been featured in Star Magazine, Real Time With Bill Maher, and numerous best of erotic romance top ten lists.
Sign up for her dirty-joke-filled release day newsletter and visit her on the web at www.CynthiaSax.com
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
As an author, I have absolutely no idea how non-writers view the whole process of writing and publishing a book. I know if I'm struggling with edits or squeeing over cover art or fretting over hitting release dates or word counts, my fellow authors will at least understand what that means and how it all works. I'm sure to non-writers, especially those who don't know anybody at all who writes, it might seem alien and untranslatable territory.
So this post might not make a lot of sense unless you write. Just lately, I have really, really struggled with edits. Editing is a process conducted by a profession who helps turn a book, whatever its level, into something great. Trust me, it doesn't matter how good or experienced you are as an author, an editor can always make it better. Well, providing you have a good one and you're prepared to work with them. I might flinch when I open edits, squirm at many of the comments, tear out my hair when I fail to hit the mark, and make frequent complaints on Twitter, but I adore my editors and appreciate every single comment or suggestion they make (even if I don't always agree with them. The trick is achieving a balance and discussing any issues raised. In general I've been told I'm a good author to work with because I tend to take all my edits to heart. There are occasions, though, where I refuse point blank to change something, or protest and maybe meet the change halfway. You don't have to accept every change in your MS).
With Keir's Fall, my issues with the edits were entirely of my own creation. Now, I've been writing all my life, from the very first moment when I can remember harassing my dad to write out my rather long winded birth name for me to copy (I can't remember how old I was, but probably about four). Okay, so technically for 41 years of my 45. I've been published for three and a half years. By now you might think that writing should come easy to me. Well, it does. I can sit and write a few hundred, maybe even a few thousand words a day without really thinking about it too much. I can string sentences and plots and characters together reasonably well. But the challenge now comes in saying the things I've said a dozen times or more but in a new way. You can only describe pain as searing, scorching, piercing etc so many times before you feel like you're repeating yourself. You can only make so many analogies before they stop being fresh and new.
And I don't know how to fix it. I spent my summer holidays binge reading partly in the hope of refreshing my vocabulary, but when it came to editing Keir's Fall this autumn, the words just weren't there. I knew what I wanted to say, what I wanted to make readers feel, but I couldn't come up with the way to say it that I hadn't done before. On the whole, that's what hampered my edits most of all, especially when I was getting comments of 'repetition' and 'you've said this before'. My main editor has been working with me long enough that she knows all my favourite words and phrases, even if they crop up in a new book. Le sigh. (I also got my wrist slapped for lack of emotional punch, but again, that ties in with the running out of words issue).
So I'm wondering if it's time for me to go back to school. Or rather, to school full stop. The majority of my craft has been learned from the simple acts of reading and writing, and most of the technical stuff from a short Writing Creative Fiction course and professional edits. But I feel I'm still missing something. Maybe some workshops of some kind will help me, or at least make me feel less inadequate. I have some special projects I'd like to work on next year, but right now I don't feel as if I have the proper skills to pull them off.
In the meantime, apologies for taking so long to get Keir's Fall out to you. Not only did I fall behind schedule, but being a Brit I forgot to take Thanksgiving into account and the fact that most of the publishing platforms I work with are US based and therefore hugely affected by that holiday. Yet another excuse, but a valid one. Have another promo teaser as compensation. I can only hope you find the sequel worth the wait...
Round one of the secret project and round two of Reunion are still with my editor, but since these aren't due for release until June and May respectively, there's less haste required (and at least you know those will more likely release on time, unlike Keir's Fall. >.< ). The cover reveal for Reunion will take place after Keir's Fall releases. Revived, my Rebecca finalist, will probably go to my editor in the New Year as I want to expand a couple of scenes and tweak it a bit more. My superhero short for an anthology submission still requires a bit of polish before submission, but again this is being left to one side until I get KF out.
Keir is still available at most online digital retailers for just $0.99/99 Euros/99p until the end of the year. It'll go back up to $4.99 after that until further notice.
|A Science Fiction Romance Novel|
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At Romancing the Genres I shared a list of Christmas (and other holiday related) scifi romances for your seasonal pleasure. :P
Just three more posts before I take an extended break over the Christmas/New Year holiday. Woo hoo!
Friday, November 20, 2015
The Russians had Laika, the first dog in space. NASA had HAM, the chimpanzee, who not only rode atop his rocket, but actually manipulated some of the controls. Jim Kirk was inundated with tribbles. Jonesy the cat survived ALIEN. Linnea Sinclair’s SFR heroes included cat-like furzels. And even STAR TREK’s Data had Spot.
Humans on Earth seldom go anywhere without their pets, and it looks like we won’t be going into space without them, either. Even when resources are limited—air, water, food, warmth carefully calculated and apportioned as it would be on a starship or in a hostile alien environment—we humans will always make some accommodation for our pets.
In some cases, the expenditure of resources is justified by their usefulness. Cats or small dogs kill the rodents that always seem to hitchhike on ships or in storage containers. No reason that would change in space, really. Rats are wily critters. Dogs of all sizes serve as security, alerting their owners to the presence of strangers, be they humans or aliens. Larger dogs serve as protection from the same.
But we all know that’s not the real reason we’d bring those pets along. A dog, cat or furzel represents home, family, community, sometimes the only piece of those things we have when we are alone and away from the people who love us. It’s no surprise that soldiers so often adopt stray mutts in war zones, or prisoners make pets of friendly mice. The animals offer comfort and love unconditionally. Well, except for cats, who have standards.
There’s another reason for keeping pets around, of course. They make us laugh. Daily, sometimes hourly. Goofy dogs. Acrobatic cats. Mice racing in a maze. Celebrated jumping frogs. They bring relief from the stress of everyday life with their craziness—and the greater the stress, the more they are needed. No wonder cat videos are so popular on the Internet.
The heroine of my first book, Unchained Memory, has a cat, The Outlaw Jesse James, JJ for short. He is all she has left of “family,” since she lost hers in a tragic accident at the beginning of the book. He and the hero take to each other right away, a good sign.
It’s a symbol of their essential rootlessness that the hero and heroine of my second book, Trouble in Mind, are without pets. They have to find their “home” and “family” in each other. Maybe they’ll get a dog or cat sometime in the future.
In my third book, Fools Rush In, Captain Sam Murphy’s home is his ship, the Shadowhawk, and his family is his crew. The ’hawk has a menagerie of small dogs and cats aboard, to keep down the population of veers, naked, two-tailed rodent-like creatures that haunt the cargo bays. My independent heroine, Rayna Carver, has to adjust to this homey environment.
Finally, in my work-in-progress, Follow the Sun, a dog takes a more major role, as the sidekick and therapy partner of my heroine. Happy has the most success in reaching an old man with dementia who may know the location of an alien doomsday weapon.
So pets can perform the same function in our stories that they perform in our lives: working at useful jobs, providing aid and comfort, standing in for home and family, cementing the bonds of community. Who is your favorite pet in space? And do you have pet characters in your stories?
UNCHAINED MEMORY COUNTING DOWN!
Looking for that early Christmas gift for an SFR- loving friend? Somehow missed the first book in my Interstellar Rescue series? Well, it's your lucky day, 'cuz Unchained Memory is only $0.99 for a limited time on Amazon NOW! Hurry, because the price goes up to $1.99 on Sunday, November 22 at 7:00 p.m. And by Friday, November 27 at 3:00 a.m. the countdown ends and the price reverts to its regular $2.99. Click HERE to get your best deal!
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Joining me today to tell us about her favourite character is Auror Springer.
My Favorite Character in the Grand Master’s Trilogy
I am fickle. My favorite character is likely to be the male lead in my current story/series. Since I am finishing the third book in my Grand Master’s Trilogy, I offer the Grand Master, Athanor Griffin, as my favored character. He is a complex character who changes over the course of the trilogy, partly due to the influence of the female lead, Violet. I had fun inventing the weird adventures and conversations of the main characters. At first, Athanor appears only as the gruff voice from the griffin statue. His personality and background are exposed gradually during the story.
His native talents are telekinesis and teleportation. These psychic powers were amplified when he survived the ritual to become a Grand Master. In addition, he has a handy device to enable him to teleport between planets. I’d love to have that ability. His immense powers are counterbalanced by crippling limitations. Exposure to his raw power is lethal to normal people. He must shield his powers, which expends energy and is uncomfortable. He is lonely. A short fling with one of the human female Grand Masters ended badly.
Physically, Athanor is tall with long black hair, a cruel hook of a nose and glowing blue eyes. He exudes menace, even when he wants to be friendly. As a Grand Master, he expects obedience from his pawns and everyone below his rank. You may feel the sting of his psychic power if you don’t obey quickly.
His childhood was miserable. No one wanted the kid with the weird talents. He loved pranks as a child and still takes risks. Mother Tingu, who teaches many psychics, considers him a troublesome brat. He would teleport away whenever she discovered his pranks, like transporting spiders into her bed. Teleporting out of trouble is still his favorite trick. Unfortunately for him, I find ways to undercut his powers.
The Griffin is the most junior of the twelve Grand Masters. He is not in favor because he has questioned their policies. He took a risk in selecting Violet as his pawn, or perhaps he wanted to shock the other Grand Masters. What other Grand Master would choose the daughter of the man who prophesied their doom? After choosing Violet, he is annoyed by her questions and her disobedience. Even when she defies his orders, she succeeds in the missions. To learn why she is successful, he must accept her challenge to meet in person rather than speaking through the griffin statue. When they meet, he is disguised and shielded, since he believes his raw power would kill her. Luckily, she has her own powers and she is undaunted by him.
Violet, and subsequent events, kick him into action. He joins Violet’s quest to uncover the malevolent Grand Masters who are destroying the interplanetary portals. In Book 2, Athanor plans the next moves to defeat their enemies. In Book 3, he will experience despair and gain new responsibilities. Read the books to learn more about my favorite character.
Grand Master’s Pawn: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TP1N5PM 99c for November
Grand Master’s Game: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0104OFJJ8
One young woman challenges the super psychics ruling the galaxy, and finds an impossible love. Science fiction adventure melded with fantasy and romance.
Young empath, Violet Hunter, travels through the galaxy on missions for her mysterious Grand Master. Life-threatening cracks appear in the vast web of portals and Violet agrees to investigate the disruptions. When she discovers the perpetrator comes from within the ranks of the Twelve Grand Masters, she must penetrate their curtain of secrecy to fulfill her task. Her challenges escalate when she meets the enigmatic man behind the griffin avatar. Armed with only her erratic powers and a mishmash of allies, she must challenge the most powerful beings in the galaxy.
Do you have fond memories of Alice Through the Looking Glass? Enjoy exciting adventures with aliens on exotic planets? Discover the fantastic universe of the Grand Masters in Book 1 of the Trilogy
The room was so dark that at first Violet could see nothing. Suddenly, two blue beams emerged from the round eyes of a stone gargoyle and cast a weird light over the walls of the small room. Very faintly, she sensed a distant masculine presence. Violet blinked, and the gargoyle resolved into a winged griffin with round eyes and a cruel beak of a mouth. She guessed the griffin was an avatar for her Grand Master, since she perceived no powerful entity inside the room. She felt a thrill of anticipation as the eyes flared to bright blue.
A deep, resonant voice spoke, “I am the Grand Master and you will serve as my pawn.”
“Yes, Grand Master,” Violet said, refusing to show fear at the eerie, disembodied voice. “What may I call you?”
“You will call me Grand Master,” the haughty voice held an unpleasant edge.
Violet resolved to assert her independence instead of retreating into her usual passive acceptance. She asked indignantly, “Grand Master, do your pawns have individual names?”
The room vibrated and psychic pressure built up against her. “You are insolent, Violet Hunter!” the Grand Master growled.
Shivering at the menace in his words, she stepped back against the wall, and instinctively shielded her mind. His psychic power was impressive since he was not physically in the room. Unexpectedly, Violet sensed a faint drift of amusement, the mental equivalent of a smile. She was unsure if it was her empathic talent or a glimpse he had permitted her. Did a sense of humor suggest he was human?
“Hunter is a good name for your vocation,” he remarked in a milder tone.
Violet stiffened; he must never learn the truth. She hunted him.
Aurora Springer is a scientist morphing into a novelist. She has a PhD in molecular biophysics and discovers science facts in her day job. She has invented adventures in weird worlds for as long as she can remember. In 2014, Aurora achieved her life-long ambition to publish her stories. Her works are character-driven romances set in weird worlds described with a sprinkle of humor. Some of the stories were composed thirty years ago. She was born in the UK and lives in Atlanta with her husband, a dog and two cats to sit on the keyboard. Her hobbies, besides reading and writing, include outdoor activities like gardening, watching wildlife, hiking and canoeing.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
“Mr. Cruz, I hope I don’t have to tell you that interfering with a Federal investigation is against the law.”
Somehow, he found her warning intensely sexy. “I have no intention of interfering. I’m simply here helping a friend recover something he’s lost. In this case, starting with his memory of what happened yesterday at the river.”
Alana’s gaze narrowed. “Are you also a psychiatrist of some sort, sir?”
“Then how do you expect to be able to help?”
He shrugged. “I have my ways. Some people would consider them somewhat . . . unconventional.”
Her lips curved. His breath stopped.
“Really. Okay. Maybe I should sit in on your meeting today, see for myself.”
He almost laughed. He hadn’t planned on this, but he could see no real harm in it. He would leave her behind long before he got to the point where the chase got dangerous.
Her smile widened, revealing white, even teeth, and she waved a hand toward the office. “After you, Mr. Cruz.”
“Thank you, Agent Matheson. And, please, call me Gabriel.”
“Might as well call me Lana,” she murmured as he passed her. “We’re going to be very close friends from now on.”
The words, the breathy whisper of their delivery, her scent, caught in the air as he passed—all sent the blood rushing to Gabriel’s groin so fast his head spun. He had to force himself to keep walking against an irrepressible urge to take her in his arms, to bend his head to those lush, full lips and drink until they were both dizzy and falling down drunk. He looked at Lana in alarm, unsure of himself, unsure of her. This was not something he experienced. Ever. Interest, yes. Lust, even. But this? This was . . . God, what the hell was this?
Go on! You know you want to read more! Just click here to pre-order your copy on Amazon NOW! Trouble in Mind will be sent directly to your Kindle when it releases February 16, 2016.
What? You missed the first book? Countdown deal!
You don't have to have read the first book in the Interstellar Rescue series, Unchained Memory, to enjoy Trouble in Mind, but resistance is futile in the face of this Amazon Countdown Deal starting Thursday, November 19! Check it out:
Starting at 11:00 a.m. EST Thursday, 11/19--Get your ecopy of UM for only $0.99! until . . .
7:00 p.m. Sunday, EST 11/22--Hurry! The price goes up to a still-discounted $1.99, but just until . . .
3:00 a.m. Friday, EST 11/27--The price reverts to its usual low $2.99.
The sooner you buy, the more you save! Already read the book? Buy for your SFR-loving friends! It's almost HanaKwanzaChristmas!
Monday, November 16, 2015
If you want to catch up on the two previous Cutting Room posts, you can read them HERE and HERE.
To recap these characters' roles:
Meet "Chief" Greg Farr, the head of security on the planetary exploration vessel NSS Robert Bradley. He's also an inspector in the RCMP--Royal Canadian Mounted Police. So, yes...he's a Mountie in spaaaaaaace.
His love interest? Elena Stevens, a wise-cracking, happy-go-lucky med tech (the futuristic equivalent of a nurse-slash-physician's assistant) in the ship's Medical section, more popularly known as Med Bay. Elena is Hispanic and hails from San Antonio, Texas. (She's also a huge Spurs fan. Yeah, I'm making a gamble that the Spurs are still alive and kickin' in the early 2040s.)
* * *
Greg hadn’t seen Elena for three days when she stepped onto the lift that morning and gave him an uncertain smile.
“Hi,” he said.
When he didn’t—couldn’t—say anything more, Elena leaned against the back wall of the unit, dropping her head and the smile. Greg fought the urge to gather her in his arms and breathe in the scent of her hair. He knew what happened between them had no rationale, but he couldn’t pretend it hadn’t happened at all.
Before he was fully aware his body was in motion, he had pressed the HOLD button on the lift panel.
Her head came up, questions in her eyes.
Greg moved to stand in front of her. “Talk to me.”
She straightened, folding her arms across her chest defensively but didn’t avoid his eyes. “I don’t know where to start.”
He tried to read her body language and failed. "Just talk."
"Okay." Elena’s arms unfolded and eased down to her sides. She never looked away. “I know you needed me. I needed you, too. I guess it’s a little late to second guess ourselves, now. It happened.”
"Yeah." Greg studied the generous bow of her lips and the intelligence in her dark eyes. He’d crossed a line, broken through a wall, recklessly and without a plan. He was on the other side now, in that place where right and wrong blurred, deep in a purgatory he once believed he should avoid at any cost.
And it was costing him.
Greg reached out to brace his hand against the wall, leaning in. “’Lena,” he whispered, shaking his head.
The cold, wary steel in her eyes warmed a degree. “We made a mistake, Greg. We’re human.”
He moved his hand from the wall to cup her cheek. “We are.”
“Don't you wish you could just erase it from your memory banks?”
He lowered his mouth and she met him halfway. It was a soft, slow meeting of souls. His fingertips settled lightly on her throat, feeling her pulse jump against his touch. She reached for his free hand, threaded her fingers with his and gently squeezed.
She was the first to break contact, eyes closed and mouth still parted when she tucked her head beneath his chin. “This can’t happen again.”
He nuzzled her hair. “I know.”
“I’m running late,” she breathed.
“Me, too.” His hand trailed from her neck to her shoulder and down her arm before he broke contact and stepped away to release the HOLD button.
When the lift stopped on Main she moved to the seal and angled her head his way. “See you around. Chief.”
“You bet. Stevens.” The right side of his mouth curved up in a half-smile and he watched her beat a quick tempo toward Med Bay. The lift seal closed, leaving him alone.
* * *
This was actually one of my favorite scenes between Greg and Elena.
Greg is a man of few words. He speaks exactly eighteen in this exchange, but the subtext and his internally monologue serves to fill in the blanks.
Elena is still processing their encounter. Though she's mentally trying to chalk it up to "just one of those things" it's apparent she's struggling with the aftermath.
These are two disciplined, ethical individuals who both put a high value on morality and now must deal with the emotional consequences of breaking their own rules.
Though I'm sad to see this personal interaction go, I agreed it was distracting from the main mystery and suspense of the primary plot line. The novel was too "busy" and required a sound trim to better focus on the essential elements.
Though I'm sad to see this personal interaction go, I agreed it was distracting from the main mystery and suspense of the primary plot line. The novel was too "busy" and required a sound trim to better focus on the essential elements.
Seven Weeks of the Season Holiday Celebration
Happy Holidays! Right up until the third week of December,
random commenters on selected posts will be chosen to receive special gifts.
It's our thanks to you for visiting Spacefreighters Lounge.
We didn't have any outside comments on last week's post, so I'll sweeten the pot for this week. A random commenter will receive the special gift package with both week's prizes.
Good luck and have a great week!
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