Thursday, May 31, 2018

Geek Day, Inspiration, and support for a great cause


I'll admit it. I get quite nostalgic when a new Star Wars story comes out. It was Geek Day just the other day – 25th May, the anniversary of the first release of the movie forty-one(!) years ago. Who could have imagined back then what a juggernaut the franchise would become?

I thoroughly enjoyed the film (back then simply called Star Wars – A New Hope was added later) but when I saw The Empire Strikes Back I was smitten, lost in starry-eyed WOW. I've been a fan ever since. In fact, one of my earlier forays into writing was Star Wars fan fic.

Several years ago, I was at a loose end for plot ideas. But I had listened to the mantra that thou shalt not throw away what thou hast written, so I rummaged around in the archives and fished out a fan fic I'd thought was pretty darn good back then. My initial thoughts? After I'd stopped cringing? The execution was dreadful, but the bones of the story were there. I wrote a blog about it. Of course, any references to Star Wars characters, ships, planets etc etc would have to be replaced with something else. I expanded the plot, created my own Empire (maybe not Galactic, but pretty big), invented my own characters, and my own aliens.

About that time, I was contacted by some people wanting to set up a kind of writers' sandpit, a place where we could use each other's' universe and characters

The Dryden Universe is a science fiction universe available under the Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license for use by authors, artists, and other creatives. This story is part of the Belle Epoque section of the timeline. find out more about the Dryden Universe and its timeline at its website Dryden Experiment

 There's plenty of room in Dryden for pretty much anything, really. I had a look through the NASA images of star clusters and decided upon the open cluster M24 in Sagittarius for my Empire, around 20k years in the future. I chose a star cluster because I wanted an area where the star systems are quite close together and yet the stars are old enough to have evolved intelligent life.

I had a story and I had a setting. That was enough for me to (re)write my first Dryden story, A Matter of Trust.

I still had a lot to do, though. I needed to identify my alien species and their history, as well as flesh out my Empire. Ah, but I had a whole new series to work on that. You can find all the books here.

On another topic, I watched the movie about Stephen Hawking's life the other day. It's not my usual sort of movie, with no action and not a single shoot 'em up, but it's fascinating for all that. Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) at the age of 21. He was given 6 years to live. He died recently, aged 76, recognised as one of the most brilliant minds of the era. What's wonderful about this movie is how Eddie Redmayne,  the actor who played the part of Hawking, portrayed the manifestation of the disease and its effects not just on the sufferer, but on those closest to him. Redmayne receive a best actor oscar for his efforts.   

If you've no concept of the disease, take a look at the movie The Theory of Everything.

And on that note, today is the last day of theSky's the Limit promotion in support of research to find a cure for ALS.



Looking for Blue skies and smooth sailing to cure ALS

The skies are Blue,
Our books are too.
​We're fighting ALS

with some help from YOU! ​

Twelve enthusiastic sci-fi romance and paranormal romance authors. Fifteen fantastic blue covered books. One month to help support an outstanding organization.

From May 1-31, 2018 these authors will donate a minimum of 25% of their sales of these books to the ALS Association, an organization dedicated to providing ALS patients and their families with a multitude of different types of assistance, and continuing research to find a cure for this deadly disease. 
See all the books here: http://www.leakirk.com/supporting-als.html

Please help us if you can. Every dollar will make a difference.



Tuesday, May 29, 2018

May-be I'm Back #amwriting #Authors4ALSA #ThinkBlue4ALSA

And here we are with May almost over. Wowzers. I can't believe how quick it's gone, and there's a few important things to mention before the end.

Final days for Authors For ALSA
May marked our Authors Supporting ALSA month, including two of my co-bloggers here at Spacefreighters - Laurie and Greta - and the Blue Cover Brigade. But May is drawing to an end, which means you don't have long left to help support the ALS Association by picking up on of the beautiful blue cover books from Authors Supporting ALSA!

Looking for Blue skies and smooth sailing to cure ALS

The skies are Blue,
Our books are too.
​We're fighting ALS
with some help from YOU! ​

Twelve enthusiastic sci-fi romance and paranormal romance authors. Fifteen fantastic blue covered books. One month to help support an outstanding organization.

From May 1-31, 2018 these authors will donate a minimum of 25% of their sales of these books to the ALS Association, an organization dedicated to providing ALS patients and their families with a multitude of different types of assistance, and continuing research to find a cure for this deadly disease. 

Already got Keir? Don't panic. I've decided to add any sales from any of my other blue cover books as well (but not The Bones of the Sea as that's a free book so there are no royalties to donate). 



Already got those too? You can always go to the Blue Cover Page on the ALSA site and make a donation direct here: http://webgw.alsa.org/site/TR/Endurance/GoldenWest?team_id=367681&pg=team&fr_id=12950
ALSA Twitter: https://twitter.com/napaALSride
ALSA Facebook Group:  https://www.facebook.com/RidetoDefeatALS/?hc_location=group

Now, I understand things can be tight so there is still another free way you can help us by sharing this post anywhere on social media. All it will cost is a few seconds of your time, and it could make all the difference.
However you choose to do it, thank you so much for your support!

Going Solo: A Mini Review
I'm not going to post spoilers and I'm going to keep it brief. I can't say I was all that onboard with the idea of the film - I'm not a fan of the character, and my leaning is much more towards the Jedi and the Skywalker family. However, I loved Rogue One and I went into Solo trying to view it as another chapter in the Star Wars universe rather than who it was about, and elements of the trailers looked interesting. But while I liked the film, I didn't love it and I felt it was rather shallow and a little on the dull side overall. It could have been so much more. My favourite bit was the train heist and the first appearance of Chewbacca, with the finale my least favourite and falling flat. Oh, well.

Writing Update
Don't freak out but...I've been writing. Oh, yes. I've been working on a side story in my main scifi romance series, a *missing* novella my editor thought should take place before book three. I've also done some tweaks on a Christmas story for Keir and Quin that I gave away as a limited edition freebie in the last two years, but that I'd now like to get edited and with some proper artwork for an official release, AND I've pulled out my SF mystery novella in the hope of finishing it. No, I still can't just work on a single project...

Chick Update
The babies will be three weeks old tomorrow, and they're at the scruffy stage as the last of their feathers start to grow through. They only really have chick fluff left on their heads now, but I'm still none the wiser on gender. By now my Pekins had shown signs of gender, but not my d'uccles! Little teases. 


Monday, May 28, 2018

New Scene from StarDog #amwriting #excerpt

I'm in the process of expanding StarDog, originally one of the stories in the very popular 2016 Pets in Space (Volume 1) collection, with many new scenes and details for a planned re-release later this summer.

Because the story is no longer limited on length, I can now explore some of the remarkable--and sometimes dangerous--work that hero Taro Shall engages in, in a little more depth.

Here's a fresh-off-the-press segment in the POV of Taro, navigator of the starship Calypso, as the ship and crew are about to undertake a daring research mission near a volatile nebula.

_______________________________________________________

Cunari Nebula
15,000 Light Years from Carduwa

“Wouldja just look at that,” Pareen muttered from his Com console.

Taro took in the massive planetary nebula. A giant gas cloud--tinted to hydrogen blues, oxygen greens and scattered points of nitrogen reds by Calypso’s filters--stretched out across the cosmos framed by a great shining oval of brilliant dots that gave the nebula its class-name: necklace nebula.

Those points of color merged and blended in a spectacular aquamarine ellipsoid, the hues reminding Taro oh-so-poignantly of a certain female vendor’s unforgettable eyes.

“Heard it said that glowy ring is caused by one star eaten t’other,” Pareen drawled, “and then spittin’ out pieces from its belly.”

Photo credits NASA.gov, ESA,
Hubble Heritage Team
Close enough. In the endgame of a binary star system, one of the pair of stars could expand until it engulfed its smaller partner, causing a rotational spin-up that cast off gases from its equator, forming the distinctive necklace pattern.

Calypso was now parked at a relatively safe distance from the ballooning nebula to capture real-time images. The dangerous part came next, when they’d execute four sensor drops around the outer fringes of the gas cloud to collect the data Dr. Emboratyr required for his research. The good astrophysicist wasn’t aboard, of course. He preferred to play it safe back in his lab while his instruments weathered the chaos of the distant nebula’s maelstrom.

Getting the equipment deployed was only half the equation, however. They’d already placed the skip buoys at strategic locations on the flight out—or actually the series of hops across the cosmos—that would transmit their client’s data signals across the void in virtual real-time.

Taro set to work running the second of a set of three independent cross-verifications of his navigation calcs. The quad of jump-drops had to be absolutely precise and timed to the millisecond to ensure optimum placement and reduce exposure to ultraviolet radiation and charged particles.

His mouth quirked into a crooked smile. Feats of daring nebula-hopping. All in a day’s work.

___________________________________________________________
 
In my story, necklace nebulae is the class name given to a certain type of nebulae as described in the story. The inspiration was provided by NASA via Hubble Space Telescope images of the Necklace Nebula. You can read more on the NASA Mission Pages. And here's an article on Space.com about the discovery of the Necklace Nebula in 2011.
 
Thanks for tuning in. I'll be back with another excerpt and/or more commentary about StarDog next Monday.
 
Have a great week!
 
 
 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Final Days to Support ALS Research!


Two of my cobloggers -- Pippa Jay and Greta van der Rol -- and I want to remind you that time is running out on helping to support ALS Research via our Blue Book Cover Brigade. Our fundraiser ends the last day of May.

Long story short, there are several ways you can help, and we'd be grateful for whatever way you decide you can chip in.



Here are six different ways you can help us raise money to fight ALS right now:

- Buy Inherit the Stars on Amazon. For every e-book purchased, I'll donate a minimum of 25% to the ALS Association, so you get a great book to read at $3.99 and at least $1.00 of that will be donated. If you prefer your books in hard copy, I'll donate a minimum of $5 for every print book sold.

- What's that? You've already read it? No problem! You can also buy any of my peers' books. See the Blue Book Cover Brigade Page for all participating books and links. Same deal. They'll donate a minimum of 25% of their sales.

- Make a direct donation by credit card on my ALS Associate Blue Book Cover Brigade personal page which you can find right here: Laurie A. Green. Look for the red button in the upper right that says "Donate Now." No amount is too small.

- Prefer to make a donation by check? You can do that, too. Go to My Page and scroll down to find the link in blue letters that says: Prefer to make a donation by check? Click here for a printable donation form!

- Or, make a direct donation to any of my peers' pages. You can find their names listed HERE. Click their name for the link to their personal campaign page.

- Don't feel you can make a donation? We understand. You can still help us by sharing this blog or the Blue Book Cover Brigade Fundraiser Page or the Blue Book Cover Brigade Landing Page on social media or in messages to your friends.

And if you've already donated, you have my sincere thanks! This campaign is very special to me for many reason, but I explained two important ones in this video.


Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 25, 2018

MEET CHARLIE, HEROINE OF NOT FADE AWAY


Heroines come in all shapes, sizes and degrees of kickassery. Some just leap off the page into your face, like the come-in- stunners-blasting, pint-sized-but-all-the-way-badass Rayna Carver of Fools Rush In, the third novel in my Interstellar Rescue series.

Others, like Charlie McIntyre, the heroine of Not Fade Away, Interstellar Rescue Book 4, exert a more subtle charm. In the end, they display a quieter form of courage. Charlie is a home care nurse in a small mountain town when she is hired to care for an elderly, wheelchair-bound man suffering from dementia. Her client, Del, is a stranger in town, with only his son to care for him, and from the beginning, his case raises questions.

Del isn’t like most of her patients. Oh, he has many of the symptoms she’s familiar with, but he has freakish otherworldly hallucinations that seem almost like memories of another time and place—one that couldn’t possibly exist. And, then there’s his son, Rafe. Charlie feels an irresistible pull toward the younger man, despite his obvious lack of social skills and an almost pathological tendency to overprotect his father.

Yes, her new clients are an odd pair. But, somehow, Charlie can’t help getting attached to both Del and Rafe. She opens herself to all her clients and their families, just like she opened her home to Happy, the shelter puppy who became her therapy dog and best friend. Still, her kindness led to serious trouble once, and an ongoing running battle with the ex in question. When it comes to intimate relationships, Charlie has erected a few walls of her own to protect a vulnerable heart.

The island of peace Charlie has created around her mysterious clients can’t last forever, though, and neither can the secrets Rafe has been guarding. Charlie’s gentle soul will be tested to its limits when the truth Rafe has been hiding is finally revealed. When her world is suddenly remade in the light of what he tells her, Charlie will have find the courage to face a new future—with him.

Earth shielded his secrets--
Until her love unlocked his heart.

Rescue agent Rafe Gordon is human, though Earth has never been his home. But when his legendary father Del becomes the target of alien assassins, Rafe must hide the dementia-debilitated hero in the small mountain town where the old man was born—Masey, North Carolina, USA, Earth.

Home care nurse Charlie McIntyre and her therapy dog, Happy, have never had such challenging clients before. Del’s otherworldly “episodes” are not explained by his diagnosis, making Charlie question everything about her mysterious charge and his dangerously attractive son. Rafe has the answers she needs, but Charlie will have to break through his wall of secrets to get them.

As the heat rises between Charlie and Rafe, the deadly alien hunters circle closer. The light they seek to extinguish flickers in the gloom of Del’s fading mind—the memory of a planet-killer that threatens to enslave the galaxy.

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.