Tuesday, October 30, 2012

GHOST PLANET: LIFTOFF!



Today we're celebrating the launch of GHOST PLANET, from Tor/Macmillan! (Click for buying options on Sharon's web site.) Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy, as well as a DVD of the film Solaris!* (You can read about the connections between GP and Solaris at SF Signal today.) Need a question for a prompt? I'll repurpose the one from my guest post at Book Chick City!

If you could have the ghost of anyone follow you around (or could follow someone else around AS a ghost), who would you choose?

Other giveaways are happening at the following locations:  
  • Drop by the Facebook online launch party for a glass of virtual champagne. Or if you don't like the virtual kind (I sure don't), BYOB, I won't tell!
  • Author interview by Heather at The Galaxy Express -- Why I mixed sci-fi and romance, getting to know my characters, and the most challenging and fun parts of writing the novel.
  • Guest post at SF Signal: The GHOST PLANET / SOLARIS Connection -- In which I discuss how the sci-fi classic inspired me, and how the two stories differ.
  • Author interview at Castles & Guns -- Three things everyone should know about me, advice to aspiring authors, and thoughts on worldbuilding.
{very sci-fi image of my favorite party beverage - please have a glass!}

*Fine print: DVD and signed copy US/Canada only. Otherwise, Amazon gift certificate.








Monday, October 29, 2012

T-Minus Seven Hours and Counting!

Well, it's a huge week for us here on Spacefreighters Lounge -- launch week for Sharon's GHOST PLANET!

Check out that launch clock which has been steadily counting down the months, days, and now...hours! So exciting!

(If you pre-ordered this instant classic, your books are shipping now!)

Great big group squeeeeeeeee!

There will be virtual launch parties on this blog, on Facebook and Sharon will be beaming all over the internet for guest posts and blogs (see post just below for details and links).

Later this week, we'll leave Spacefreighters Lounge in the capable hands of coblogger Pippa Jay while Donna and I jet off to Seattle to enjoy the in-person Launch Party on Saturday night. (Now, I ask you, isn't "Launch Party" the perfect name for a Science Fiction Romance novel?)

If the Techno-Gods are kind to us, we hope to be posting pics live from GHOST PLANET Central in Seattle both here and on Facebook.

Stop back tomorrow to join in on the festivities and imbibe in some virtual champagne and chocolate chip cookies.

(Pssst. We're also planning a special giveaway for one lucky commenter on our launch post.)

Six...

Five....

Four....

Three...

Two...

One......


Saturday, October 27, 2012

GHOST PLANET release day fun (with giveaways)!

I can't believe the launch is only a few days away! Here at Spacefreighters we'll be partying all day. And a number of blog tour stops are coinciding as well (see below). We'll also give away a copy of GHOST PLANET to a commenter on release day!



OCTOBER 30, 2012 


Book giveaways at all these stops!

Drop by the Facebook online launch party for a glass of virtual champagne. Or if you don't like the virtual kind (I sure don't), BYOB, I won't tell!

Author interview by Heather at The Galaxy Express -- Why I mixed sci-fi and romance, getting to know my characters, and the most challenging and fun parts of writing the novel.

Guest post at SF Signal: The GHOST PLANET / SOLARIS Connection -- In which I discuss how the sci-fi classic inspired me, and how the two stories differ.

Author interview at Castles & Guns -- Three things everyone should know about me, advice to aspiring authors, and thoughts on worldbuilding.

Friday, October 26, 2012

REINCARNATION: A KARMIC DO-OVER



The sprawling new epic film CLOUD ATLAS has everybody talking—can the Wachowskis (of MATRIX fame) do it again?  Can anyone make cinematic sense of the ambitious novel by David Mitchell on which it is based?  Can an audience be expected to sit in their seats for three hours and follow a host of characters through untold costume and make-up changes just to learn we are all connected in the end?

And, not surprisingly, since CLOUD ATLAS is a movie about reincarnation, people are talking about the idea of the soul recycling through many lives.  Even the actors—Tom Hanks, Halle Barry and Susan Sarandon among them are talking about it in interviews.  Halle says she’d like to be a lion.  Tom argues that he wants to be something that is happy when it’s old—you don’t see any old, happy lions.  He leans more to historical figures, like the Wright brothers.  

Susan likes being what she is, but she’d opt for a great set of pipes the next time around.  “That must be so joyful to be able to open your mouth in the shower and have Alicia Keys come out of you.”

The man who started us thinking in this direction, author David Mitchell, says he’d be happy to come back to square one.  “We’ve really lucked out in this life.  We’re sort of reasonably middle-classish people in a lucky, privileged country where existence isn’t a grim scramble for survival in brutal conditions.  I’d be delighted to be here again, thank you very much.  If there’s space for me.”

Well, yes, but you see, that’s not how reincarnation works, as far as I understand it.  The whole point is that we’re supposed to be learning something with each life; we’re supposed to be progressing.  Western misunderstanding of Hindu teachings notwithstanding, I don’t believe you really get “sent back” to live life as a cockroach (or a toothless old lion) for misbehavior in this life.  You might get stuck at your current level for a while until you learn what you must, but you can’t go back, you can only go forward.

Similarly, you can’t go back in time, you can only go forward.  Tom’s chance at being the Wright brothers has already passed.  (Maybe he was Wilbur or Orville, who knows?) Unless, of course, our understanding of time as linear is completely false, in which case all bets are off.

So if someone were to ask me what I would like to “come back as”, I would have to answer, I would like to come back as a better person, one who would not make the same mistakes I made (and continue to make) in this life.  Otherwise there is no point to the philosophy of reincarnation.  It’s not about having more time on this plane of existence for fun; it’s about having more time for learning.

This is a timely message for me this week because I had to make the devastating decision to remove a family pet from this plane of existence.  Euthanasia is a difficult enough choice when a pet is suffering from age or illness; it is almost impossible when the animal is young and healthy.  But Pepper, our 10-month-old rescue dog from the shelter, had developed a prey drive so strong, both my vet of 25 years and the trainer we’d been working with could make no other recommendation.  Pepper had attacked me in a struggle for dominance.  She had attacked and injured a small dog at the dog park, and only quick action avoided a tragedy.  

Unlike the dominance issue (which was resolved with the trainer’s help), the prey drive cannot be trained out of a dog.  Some dogs simply have more of it than others.  As my trainer put it, this would have been Pepper’s role in the pack—to chase and bring down the prey.  That’s an excellent trait for a wild wolf (which she was not, by the way; she was a lab/pit bull mix).  It’s an intolerable one for a family pet, who might be around children.

In good conscience I could neither keep Pepper nor allow her to be adopted by others who might, through ignorance or failure or inability to control her, put a child or even another animal at risk. Even the pit bull rescue group in my town could only offer to put her information up on their adoption website.  So, with my husband’s help, I made a hard choice.

It’s difficult to look into a pet’s eyes and think they are without any kind of a soul.  So I’d like to believe I’ve given Pepper another chance to go back and try again.  She was six months old when I adopted her, a stray, from the shelter.  She clearly had had no socialization and may even have been abused in her early life.  Maybe next time around, her puppyhood will be among caring humans and she’ll have a chance to be a better dog.

I’m not sure whether the afterlife is more as a Hindu, a Buddhist, Billy Graham or Shirley MacLaine describes it, but there is something beyond this one life, of that I am certain.  And there will be another chance for every soul.

Cheers, Donna

Check back next week for a review of CLOUD ATLAS!

Information for this article was drawn from “CLOUD ATLAS Cast Ponders Prospects for Sunny Afterlife” by David Germain, Associated Press, October 24, 2012.


 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sitting In My Happy Place


You see that patch of sun where the light has broken through the clouds? That's where I'm sitting right now. Oh, not literally. Today it's pretty dark and dismal out there, and I'm most definitely staying indoors. But have you ever sat out on a grey day and been hit by a sunbeam like that? Feels good, doesn't it?

That's how I'm feeling with my writing just now. A couple of projects that had really been hanging over my head are done. It's taken a lot longer than I expected, but now that they're completed I'm feeling pretty good. Well, aside from having caught a cold. So what am I so happy about?


Success!
Keir's Fall, the long overdue sequel to Keir, is done and off to the publisher. Yay! Of course, there's no guarantee they'll contract it. But the sheer satisfaction of completing it and turning what I felt was a pretty sucky first draft into a story I'm actually excited about and proud to submit is...well, it makes all the banging my head on a desk sessions worthwhile. At this point I have to say a huge, huge thank you to my editor Danielle Fine. Despite leaving my publisher, she's continued to be a massive support to me and my writing. Her input and encouragement with the sequel have been invaluable.
Dani has also been working with me on my sfr short Terms & Conditions Apply, both as an editor and as the cover designer. This story was originally written for an anthology call by Misa Buckley that sadly never came to pass. So rather than let the story go to waste, and with Misa's permission to use her anthology canon. I decided to self publish. This will be released sometime next month, and the gorgeous cover is also Dani's handiwork.


On that note, I read this post here on the demise of editors with some surprise. I know some self published works don't use editors - a good one costs money, and I know many authors who can't afford it, much as they'd love to. But is the role of the editor dying out? I hope not.

Action!
Last week I did something I thought I'd never do. I walked into a local independant bookshop in my home town of Colchester and asked if they'd consider stocking my book. At worst I expected I'd get laughed at. What actually happened was they promised to look into it. Okay, that may sound like a bit of a brushoff, but they were interested, in a typically quiet British way. Their main concern was that, being with a US publisher, shipping costs combined with the trade price might make it unfeasible for them to stock. But being a shop that favours speculative fiction AND local authors, they were intrigued by the idea and willing to look into it. I'm going back tomorrow to see if they've had any joy. Fingers crossed!

I'm working on a short story for the SFR Brigade anthology. If you're a member and interested in submitting, the closing date for submissions is the 1st January 2013 and the guidelines are here.

My SFR Tethered, which scored 26.5 out of 30 in The Rebecca, has come back with comments from my two beta readers - Gayle Ramage and Chantal Halpin. Overall, my three major issues with the story don't appear to give them any problem. But Chantal raised an interesting point about relationships between clones, which sparked a debate in the SFR Brigade's group on Facebook and led to a blog post here. The general opinion seemed to be that it depended as much upon the role the clones took in relation to one another as the biological connection. The generation gap also made a difference. I'd still love to hear more opinons on this subject if you have time to stop by.

Happenings:
The monthly tagging party signup is open here! Today is the last day to sign up your titles for tagging before the party tomorrow. Please feel free to enter older titles that haven't been tagged for a while if the list is quiet - with all the new members over the last few months, there's a good chance of some new tags and likes.
Keir got a mention over on The Galaxy Express last week as Heather Massey discussed her take on my not so typical hero. Heather says "...KEIR's hero is one type that can challenge readers' expectations about the hero/heroine dynamic in an interesting way." Also, Lyrical Press Inc. has a 50% off sale until the end of October so you can pick up a copy of Keir here, or snag yourself some other excellent titles at half the price.
I'm also a guest at Sarah Grimm's Friday Quickie here. Amber Norris, who visited Spacefreighters Lounge last week with a post on healthcare, will be guesting on my blog next Wednesday.

It's less than a week until the release of GHOST PLANET!!Woo hoo! Early reviews and articles are already coming in and you can check out the tour schedule by clicking on the link in the right hand side bar. :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Heroes and Heartbreakers First Look at Ghost Planet

Stop by Heroes and Heartbreakers to read Heather Massey's First Look review of our own Sharon Lynn Fisher's Ghost Planet.

How did Sharon do on tackling the blend of science fiction and romance in the story?

CLICK TO READ the answer.

Multiple award winner and Golden Heart finalist Ghost Planet debuts on October 30th.

Prepare for launch!

Friday, October 19, 2012

FIGHT LIKE A GIRL: THE CASE FOR REAL WOMEN AS HEROINES IN SFR



Original cover for Sinclair's book

Diane Dooley’s excellent piece on motherhood in science fiction earlier this week got me thinking about how we tend to characterize our heroines in SFR.  Most of us grew up with kick-ass captains of starships and battlers of marauding aliens like James T. Kirk and Han Solo.  It was only reasonable to expect Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley to pick up their weapons and grit their teeth in the face of the alien threat in much the same way our heroes had.

Sarah and Ellen are terrific characters, iconic and multidimensional.  As both Diane and Laurie (in her comments) pointed out, they even display fiercely maternal instincts, certainly a feminine characteristic.  But too often, those uniquely feminine elements of their characters are overlooked, and only the “kick-ass” elements—the physical courage, the strength, the independence, the resourcefulness—are replicated in the women who populate many SFR (and urban fantasy and YA) novels. 

Now, before you draw breath to howl in protest that I am advocating a retreat to some Paleolithic era where women “knew their place” and acted in more demure fashion, let me assure you I have no such intention.  I simply think it is possible to display physical courage, strength, independence and resourcefulness without cutting oneself off from human contact, refusing to accept help from others, carrying an impossible load of angst, lashing out in anger and so on.  This has always been the emotional profile of the “wounded hero”, the “loner” who goes through life with shields up, unwilling to form emotional bonds with anyone until the heroine somehow reaches him. 

Today very often the roles are reversed, and it’s the heroine who has relationship issues.  I’m guilty of it myself.  In my second book, Trouble in Mind, FBI agent Lana Matheson is just that sort of person—emotionally isolated, pathologically independent, dedicated to her job, in many ways just like a man (sic).  The challenge in writing her kick-ass character was to allow her to think like a woman.

Take hierarchy, for example.  Forgive the broad generalization, but guys love a good, solid hierarchy.  They want to know their place in it—who’s first, second, third.  They’ll size each other up when meeting for the first time, and when meeting again after a long separation.  Has he lost a step?  Have I?  Every acquisition, every promotion, every loss is added into the equation.  (As a woman, I would see this constant evaluation process as nerve-wracking, but my observation is that most guys are hardly aware of it.  It just is.)

Women, on the other hand, tend to operate in groups, or circles of relationships.  The groups work more cooperatively (though they may have their own kinds of hierarchies) and they may overlap.  Generally, with women, the question is whether you’re in or you’re out of a particular circle.  Within the circle, quite a lot is tolerated.  Outside it, well, not so much.  And if a woman is in need of emotional support, she can rely on the friends and family members that make up these circles.

My character, Lana, works in a male-oriented world, full of hierarchy (the Bureau, the law enforcement agencies she deals with) and full of men who are constantly assessing their place in that hierarchy and with each other.  But, as a woman, she is not inclined to play the game.  She stands outside it as an observer.  I’ve got several scenes where that happens, not overtly, but subtly.  If she thought and acted like a man, Lana’s reaction to the bluster at the scene of the crime between the agent who is her ex-boyfriend and the private tracker who’s been hired by the family on her kidnapping case would be quite different.  As it is, she sees the confrontation as the circling of two wolves—and it’s pretty clear who is the alpha male!

Women’s leadership styles are quite different, too.  According to studies, effective women executives are much more likely than their male counterparts to seek out different opinions from their subordinates before they act, and to seek consensus on difficult decisions.  I’ve always thought Captain James T. Kirk had a particularly feminine style of leadership, in that he always asked his senior officers what they thought before he gave his orders.  No one could accuse Jim Kirk of being indecisive or weak.  He was just in touch with his yin side.

In the best of SFR, we find complex heroines like Lois McMaster Bujold’s Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax or the women carrying the story in Linnea Sinclair’s or Susan Grant’s many novels.  These are women operating out of a web of relationships, both of family and friendship.  They are strong and self-reliant, but they think and act differently than your typical action hero.  In some cases, they may begin by denying their femininity (like Grant’s Coalition starship admiral Brit Bandar in Moonstruck), but they always reclaim it by book’s end. 

They fight like girls, which in this case is a good thing.

Cheers, Donna

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Guest Post and #Giveaway with Diane Dooley

Motherhood in Science Fiction

 
I love to read and watch science fiction, particularly space opera, and I’m always kind of surprised that there isn’t more emphasis on the future of motherhood, the family group, parenthood, etc. A major theme in space opera is space travel and colonization of new planets. The first people on a new planet may very well be scientists, explorers, military types, but at some point the goal is usually to provide a habitable planet that will then be colonized by people who are, presumably, boldly going and popping out the future generations. I would imagine that on lengthy space journeys, too, people will still be doing what comes naturally.

I’ve encountered several characters whose role as a mother is a large part of their identity - think Sarah Connor from the Terminator franchise - and I do love these characters. They’re always so determined and fierce in defense of their children that they make for extremely dynamic and active characters. Watching Sarah change from a rather timid girl to the warrior she became was fascinating, and I can enjoy this type of character over and over again.

But sometimes I long for a quieter story; one in which the female character struggles with her identity as a mother, rather than picking up a really big gun and blowing her child’s enemies to smithereens. I’m as protective a mother as the next, I guess, but in my real life I often struggle with the demands of children and the difficulty of retaining my identity as a person in the face of constant demands of raising the offspring.

My recent release, Blue Nebula, from Carina Press very much deals with this kind of interpersonal struggle. Sola de la Vega has an enemy that she must destroy if she is ever to know safety and happiness, but she’s also pregnant, and is not having the easiest time with her pregnancy. It’s, erm, challenging to be a kick-ass mutha with a really big gun when you keep getting laid low by morning sickness. Sola also has a very protective husband to deal with. Captain Javan Rhodes would much rather they left the intergalactic shenanigans to other people. And just to complicate the parenthood issues even more, the enemy Sola must destroy is her own father. The story follows Sola as she attempts to deal with all these difficulties, and the poor thing doesn’t have an easy time with any of them, I’m afraid. *grin* 


Blue Nebula is the sequel to Blue Galaxy, also from Carina Press. Although both books stand alone I do recommend you read Blue Galaxy, in which Sola and Javan meet and fall in love, first. I am therefore giving away an e-copy of both books to a random commenter on this post. To enter the giveaway please answer the following question: who is your favorite mother in science fiction, books or film? Remember to include your contact info. 

Thanks, Pippa, for hosting me! 


Blurb: Sola de la Vega is on a mission to save the galaxy, and nothing will sway her. Not even the pleas of her beloved husband, Captain Javan Rhodes, to keep herself and their unborn child safe. Fitted with a series of technological "enhancements" entwined with her central nervous system, Sola is not fully human. Her father is the undisputed leader of Earth, and Sola is driven to put an end to his genocidal rule--before he can follow through with his plans to consolidate power over the universe into the hands of the aristocracy. Despite Javan's fears for her safety, and coping with a difficult pregnancy, Sola's quest has become an obsession she cannot control. Compelled to choose, duty must come before her love for Javan. And when Sola joins forces with Destin Grady--her father's sworn enemy--in a plot to execute the dictator and seize power, she soon uncovers secrets from the past that have her facing a future she never could have imagined... 

32,000 words 
* * * * * 
Diane Dooley writes science fiction, romance and horror - sometimes all in the same story. You can keep tabs on her website for current and future releases, check out the links to her short stories on her blog or interact with her on Facebook or Twitter. She blogs at Contact: Infinite Futures and is also a regular contributor to The Galaxy Express.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Health Care of the Future: Guest Blog by A.R. Norris


Please welcome our special guest to Spacefreighters Lounge today, multi-published author A.R. Norris, who on October 11th released END OF ETERNITY, the final novel in the Telomere Trilogy. 

I am so excited to be hanging out at Spacefreighter's Lounge today. Oh, what to geek out about, what to geek out about? Hmm... I know! One of my favorite SF concepts to work on is healthcare and medical.

Diagnosing, treating, monitoring, all of it interests me. Maybe it's because my day job is researching all the cool advancements in the healthcare field. It's really fun to read a report or research study on a new technology or approach and then sit back and imagine what it will become in 50 or 100 years.

Most of these little tidbits I put into my blog on posts I call Science Update. It's an inconsistent post series, depending on what I find that's interesting. Now, in The Telomere Trilogy one of the main characters is a doctor, and gave me a great opportunity to include more of my ideas in my writing than usual.

Some of my favorites included in the story?

Portable Imaging Unit
This neato gadget fits in a med bag when the medical team is in the field. It folds out into a wand, ran over the injured part of the body and reads like a 3D CT scan.

Body Tome
This is a stationary chamber is similar to the MRI machine, but not only does it screen and diagnose the problem, it can do autonomous robotic surgery repair what's broken or torn. As it scans, a smaller 3D holographic form of the person materializes and highlights their injury points and recommends treatment or surgery.

Regeneration Treatment Chamber
For those things that are not broken, torn or otherwise obliterated, there's the regeneration chamber. The injured person lies in a tank of liquid medication that reacts to electric currents and special lighting to heal the wounds, bruises and infections.

Those are some of the big technologies, but there's also smaller things like  gel pads that when activated will stem blood flow and antiseptic spray with nano treating technology to sterilize and then prep wound edges for surgery by dissolving the damaged edges.

"Okay, breath A. R., breath." Sorry all, my geekfest ran away from me a little. Let me just include a short excerpt and call it a day. Of course, one commenter will win the first book in the trilogy, Revelations of Tomorrow. And if anyone wants to like my Facebook Fan Page (link below), they can enter an opportunity to win the whole trilogy.

Excerpt:
"Get him on the bed." She pulled the bed scanner from the ceiling and ran it across him from head to toe, then moved to his miniature image on the screen, on the bedrail's patient network system. "Severe lung damage, at least one tear... here." She made a mark. "Several broken bones along the rib and hip bones. Dislocated shoulder and serious bruising, well, all over."

She pushed the scanner up into its ceiling carriage. Gripping the small image, she turned it, eyeing his damages from all angles. She entered her treatment plan and sequence. "Get him in as soon as possible--"

He stirred and woke with a start. Trying to sit up, he cursed and rolled. She grabbed his upper body to prevent him from falling and his steely green eyes focused and glared.

"Telomere bitch." It was an injured whisper, but said with such venom Brenda flinched. "Don't touch me. I won't have you touching me."

"Too bad, Mr. Rafferty." Brenda pushed him down again, firm but careful of his injuries. "I can't let you die on my table."

She pulled out a sedative patch and rubbed it to activate the cells.

"I see him in you... Howell's blood through and through." He squinted at her. "Where is she? Where is the woman who let my baby girl die while she pined for that monster?"

"I'm right here, Rafferty." Noah stepped into view and braced the patient rail. "We'll talk once Dr. Bonney has done her job."

"I won't talk to you. I'll kill you is what I'll do." He winced and grasped his side but still pushed up. "I've waited forty years!"

Brenda pressed the patch to his neck and he dropped instantly. She glanced at her mother, recognized the masked expression. No, not her mother right now. Her captain right now. Over this last mission, she learned to respect that and after quick orders to her medics, began working.

"I'll let you know when he's done," Brenda said to her.

Purchase Links: All Romance, Amazon,  B&N, and Books on Board
Where to Find Me: Facebook, Blog, Website

Thanks so much, A.R., for making Spacefreighters Lounge one of your blog tour stops. 

Please leave a comment below for a chance to win the first Telomere Trilogy novel, REVELATIONS OF TOMORROW. And if you want a shot at the whole trilogy, you can "like" A. R.'s Facebook fan page at the link above.

~~*~~

About Spacefreighters Lounge

Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.