Monday, February 6, 2017

Stopping to Smell the Roses--Excerpt and More

While in the midst of revising, re-working and re-plotting my next full-length novel, The Outer Planets, I often had to look at a passage and ask, "But what about the roses?"

In what amounted to disassembling the entire story and then deciding which of Humpty Dumpty's pieces needed to be pieced back together again, it required writing some pretty major chunks of the manuscript from scratch to serve as the glue. And that led to some issues. The contrast between the original, highly-polished scenes and the newly penned material was "in-your-face" evident. The "roses" were missing.

"Stopping to smell the roses" is my analogy for layering-in sensory detail, emotions and mental processing to every scene. Being a total pantser, getting the bare bones down and then fleshing in these elements during a later pass seems to be the process that works best.

The subject of The Outer Planets and stopping to smell the roses makes a great segway into this excerpt, where the heroine taps into her deep appreciation for nature.

Imagine being aboard a planetary research vessel while orbiting Jupiter. The year is 2040 and more than a year has passed since you've enjoyed anything as sensory as a quiet walk in the park. You spend your days enclosed in a finite artificial environment of metals, carbons and plastics, breathing scrubbed oxygen and drinking recycled water. And then one day, you walk into the ship's Biodeck research lab...

Lissa took the TL lift to main deck and walked to the Biodeck entrance, stepping through the huge, transparent doors into the botanical realm. It took time for her eyes and senses to adjust to the dense mist and high humidity. She drew in a deep, invigorating breath. The air hung heavy with oxygen and the heady smells of nature.

Brushing droplets of water from the surface of a heart-shaped leaf, Lissa rubbed the moisture between her fingers. Cool. Wet. Organic. She closed her eyes and tipped her head back, absorbing the garden through her pores. Nowhere else on the Bradley could she feel so near to Earth, so close to the memory of nature. Nowhere else could she delight in the aroma of blossoms and pungent tang of herbal perfumes.

She walked between the stark hydroponic cubes of vegetables growing in rock wool and past the hazy green of algae tanks to stare spellbound at the jungle ecosystem that occupied one section of the huge lab. Tall trees stretched toward the high ceiling, clothed in vines and slippered with ferns and creepers. Vibrant red and orange blooms exploded in the dense green backdrop.

Heaven. Lissa sighed. Heaven in space.

The characters in The Outer Planets develop a deep appreciation for Earth and nature during their long voyage, but these sentiments also have a much darker side--and that behavior is expressed through the villain's POV.

Inherit the Stars to be featured on Backlist to the Future

Ever wonder if there are some really great SFR books out there that you may have missed in the years and months gone by? That became the basis for bestselling author Cara Bristol's new Thursday blog series, Backlist to the Future.

Each week, Cara will highlight a SFR book that has been out for at least six months. The blog includes the usual content like blurb, excerpt, author bio and sales links, but it will also have a special section written by the author where they talk a little about the book's background, backstory or special notes about the story.

You can read more on Cara Bristol's Backlist to the Future info page.

Catching you up to date, featured books have included:

Prophecy by Lea Kirk (Feb 2) where Lea reveals the double double trouble that pushed back the debut of her author career by many years.

Cerelia's Choice by D.A. Hill (Jan 26) where the author dishes on why they wrote the book without even realizing sci-fi romance was a genre.

On Thursday, February 9th, my 2015 novel, Inherit the Stars will be featured, and in the author's section I describe two of the things that make this novel a little different from other science fiction romance stories. Cara created a beautiful graphic for my book's appearance, and here it is:

Pets in Space Wins Two SFR Galaxy Awards

As Donna mentioned in her blog on Friday, we had four--count 'em, four!--SFR Galaxy Award winners associated with Spacefreighters Lounge.

Wow! What an honor. It was especially cool to have winners because this is the 5th Anniversary of the awards. (Check out the special banner below that was created by my--and Pippa's-- fabulous cover artist, Danielle Fine, for the occasion.

Donna's Fools Rush In and Pippa's Quickshot both scored an award, and the Pets in Space collection (which includes my story StarDog) pulled in two more--for Best Anthology and Best Interstellar Menagerie.

Pets in Space has had a wonderful run since its debut in October, previously being named one of the Best Books of 2016 in E-Originals Fiction by

Here's what the SFR Galaxy Award judges had to say about Pets in Space:

Here's a reminder that this collection of terrific science fiction romance stories -- *with pets* -- will only be available as a complete set until April and then the book will go out of e-print forever. You can read more on Amazon > Pets in Space.

Have a great week!


  1. You're so right about "smell the roses". They are the bits I tend to add when I edit. The first time around you get the story down. Then you add the details.

    Also, I've only just gotten round to reading more of Pets in Space. Wonderful stuff. The awards are well deserved.

  2. So glad you're reading and enjoying Pets in Space, Greta. :) Thanks for the kudos. I think all the authors did a fantastic job.

  3. My method is similar - bare bones of what's happening, then paint in the finer details.
    My TBR pile is shameful...

  4. I can relate. My TBR pile could double as a community library. :(


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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.