Wednesday, January 12, 2022

A new year and a new book


Hello everybody and welcome to 2022, the year of Getting Back to Normal. Maybe? I'm sure we're all living in hope.

It's wonderful news for all us astronomy buffs that the James Webb space telescope was launched on 25th December. It will be a while before we know if all the intricate parts that deploy the telescope's dish have all worked as they should and I guess I won't be the only one with my fingers firmly crossed. If James Webb gives us results comparable to the stunning achievements of the ageing Hubble device, we're in for decades of stunning photos and spectacular science. I can't wait!

On the writing front, after a long hiatus I have finally published a new book.

One hundred years ago the pirate ship Crimson Lady terrorized the space lanes, then she disappeared without a trace, leaving behind nothing but tall tales and legends. Until Tara Wyndham finds an artefact from the lost ship

Rys Kovas made a mistake when he left Fleet to take over his uncle’s tourist business. He jumps at the chance to hire out his luxury yacht to go hunting for a ghost ship with the lovely Tara and her grandfather. But murder, sabotage, and accidents mar their journey.  It’s clear somebody doesn’t want them following the trail. As the danger ramps up Rys suspects there’s more to the mystery of the Crimson Lady than a long-lost spacefarer’s story.

Can Rys, Tara, and her indomitable grandfather unravel the mystery and escape with their lives?

The Search for the Crimson Lady is available at a retail store near you. Select your favorite retailer.

Here's a short taste of what it's all about. Tara is attending a deceased estate sale.

Tara glanced inside one of the boxes and caught a hint of red. She picked up a cracked mug with a picture of a woman in a flowing red dress wrapped around the outside.

Her hands trembled. She knew that design. This was the Crimson Lady, mascot of the famous ship. It was good quality porcelain, with a fine texture, basically white, with a red and gold rim. The handle had broken off and it was cracked, the line running down through the woman's head almost to the base but even so, if it was genuine, if it came from the legendary Crimson Lady, it would be worth… she sucked in a breath… thousands. She turned it over, reading the words on the base. 'Beecher Designs, Kendon.' She didn't know what the symbols meant, but Archimedes, Grandfather's house IS, would be able to find out.

Tara took a couple of deep breaths and tried to look blasé, then went back to Miz Jepson and held up the mug. "How much do you want for this?"

She stared at Tara. "You know it's broken?"

"Yes. But I like the design. We might be able to get it fixed."

She pulled an 'if you say so' face. "Take it. You can have it. I was going to throw it out."

The woman obviously had no idea. Tara smiled, thanked the woman, and forced herself not to hurry out of the house.

This is a brand new Dryden Universe story with new characters, although there is a cameo appearance from Admiral Ul-Mellor. It’s a mystery and a puzzle with a romance thrown in.

I hope you enjoy it.

On another note, I'll be publishing a monthly newsletter. It will be filled with book news, reviews, progress on my latest WIP and similar. Needless to say, you will not be spammed, I won't sell your email address, and you can unsubscribe at any time. If you're interested, here's the sign-up page

 While you're here, if you wish to add to your TBR pile, and you like stories featuring pets, you can't go wrong with this bundle. Here's the link.

As you can see, the bundle offers paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy romances. You just might find something that excites you.



Monday, January 10, 2022

Snippet Monday: Dream Stealing Planet


New year, new start. Having been repeatedly AWOL here I'm hoping that some new medication is going to help with the terrible brain fog that I've had for...well...years. Not just burn out, not just exhaustion, but a lack of hormones. I am officially a woman of a certain age. 😆 Anyway, a new year is a good time to kick off with some new prompts on the blog, starting with some snippets. So here's mine for my week to post - from one of my pandemic releases and seven years in the making. A sci-fi mystery with a hint of a love story therein, though the opening might not sound like it...

Mission day one. 

Two days from Caprelli and fourteen days before solstice.

Mel stared at the innocuous, dirty-white globe on the wide screen, her eyes burning. The planet was just a big ball of ice and rock, spinning in space. Not much to look at. Not much more to be seen down on the surface, especially with the tempestuous weather that rarely abated. And yet from the instant she’d learned about the mission to Vintro, it had obsessed her every waking moment until nothing else had existed.

And now it sat there, taunting her. The planet that had stolen all her dreams.

Vintro. The planet that had stolen all her dreams.

Melandria Solei has always dreamed of commanding a starship and exploring the universe. When her own dark-eyed older lover steals the position she's worked for, she never expects to go chasing after him in a stolen ship to a world colder than revenge...

Click HERE for buy links.

Friday, January 7, 2022

New Year, New Start

We had a wonderful holiday. Hope you did, too! But New Years Day is when we started packing up the ornaments and decorations and dismantling the tree, to squirrel all the Christmas adornments away for another year. 

The holidays came and went so quickly for us this year, partly due to some background dramas that unfolded. (I had to have a double root canal on December 23rd, for one, after a specialist discovered a completely painless abscess and infection that had probably been present for months. The dread turned out to be the worst part of it. I slept through most of the procedure.)  

We even got our tree up a couple of weeks early, but there it stood--stark and forlorn--bare of any lights or ornaments for nearly a week. Eventually, it all came together in plenty of time to enjoy it for the holidays.

Seeing the tree come down this year hit me particularly hard. Our pups were quite dismayed because Christmas is a Really Big Deal for them. The sad looks about broke my heart. They don't understand why we can't have Christmas -- and presents and treats and pretty lights and discarded paper to romp through -- every day. 

That made us decide to leave the lights up on the lilac bushes in our courtyard, and the three wreaths on our two courtyard doors and front door so all the magic didn't get banished. We'll take those down when we're ready.

So here I am, holidays over and facing 2022 with a big sigh.

Because of our bout with Covid in late September and early October, and the weeks of trying to recover from lingering brain fog and memory issues, everything writing related got put on hold for the last part of the year. I had two books from past Pets in Space volumes I was working on -- one a quick scan away from going to the editor and another that needed a bit more work but was almost there. In addition, I have five more books in the series and multiple one-off stories that have been floating around in my head for years, or stowed away on my hard drive as completed manuscripts. 

But I just couldn't bring myself to tackle them once I had recovered. 

Mental Jeopardy. Things Authors Deal with for $100, Alex.

But...I have to be honest. Some of my foot-dragging was due to the state of the industry, as well. 

Society in general--and the publishing industry, in particular--is taking a different tack from the  expectations I had when I started publishing my books almost six years ago. The author community used to be welcoming, happy and supportive group for the most part, but lately it seems to have turned a lot less friendly. I blame both social media and the frustrations that the present industry--and Covid--have imposed on writers. Since 2015, one of the big book conventions has all but ceased to exist for authors who aren't big names, and the other has undergone a major identity crisis. Whatever the cause, the"rising tide that floats all boats" seems to have definitely gone out. 

So I recently had to take a deep breath and ask myself if I really wanted to continue to do this. Did I want to publish another book? Did I want to attempt to kickstart my efforts in 2022, or was it time to just wave the white flag (as I've seen so many of my peers do in the last couple of months) and hang it up? Or should I, instead, try to invent some other imaginative method of getting my work out there for people to read that doesn't involve an industry that continues to make things really difficult for authors.

I ultimately decided I'm going to keep working on publishing some of my work in 2022, but with a  different focus. From now on, I'm going to work in my own time, at my own pace, with a focus on sharing some of these stories that have been rampaging around in my head (or lurking in a digital file), and not to stress over sales, numbers and stats. Stress can be a real creativity killer, and I want to start enjoying the writing process again. I want to put the fun back  in it. 

I'm now acknowledging that I don't need to be a commercial success to be a happy author. If a few people read my stories, great. If they care enough to leave a review, fantastic! It's the sharing that's important to me, not the bottom line, not the promotional push, and not the USA Today bestseller tag. Not anymore. 

So...I may be posting some of my work free online to get the stories out to readers. I tried that here on this blog with my short story The Recruit last year, and it was an interesting experiment. But The Recruit was never meant to be more than a bonus companion piece that took a scene from the novel Draxis (working title), turned it inside out and expanded it, relating it from a fresh POV. For this to work, I need to present fully fleshed out books, and the book chapters or sections will need to come a lot faster than every five weeks. I'm still working that out. 

But hey, it's 2022 and I'm still here. Let's see what the year brings. 


Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Throwback Wednesday: Swearing in SFR

Spacefreighters Lounge has featured some blogs in the past that have gotten a lot of attention. This is one of the more popular blogs regarding curse words in sci-fi/SFR, from July 2019. We thought you might like to take another look, or catch up if you missed it the first time, with this #ThrowbackWednesday post. [Updated or edited to remove content that is no longer timely.]


If you write sci-fi romance, soon or later you'll have to decide: "To swear or not to swear." Swearing is such an ingrained part of our culture now (for better or worse) that's it's hard to make a highly dramatic, tension-filled, or shocking scene work if it doesn't incorporate some form of an oath. But when writing stories set in the future or alternate universes (et al) it's something an author may need to devote some thought to.

Some time ago, I read as article on several archaic swear words -- 10 Old Swears You'll Want to Bring Back (which is sadly no longer available on the internet). It was quite entertaining. The author thought some of these phrases might be fun to re-integrate back into modern speech. Here's a sampling:

Arfarfan'arf  (really!) Victorian slang for a drunk. An "arf" is a half pint of alcohol, so if he or she is an arfaran'arf, they've had way too many drinks.

Bed-swerver  - From Shakespearean literature, meaning cuckold or unfaithful. (I dunno. For me, the phrase summons a mental image of someone in a bed careening down a steep road. But maybe it's just me.)

Fustilarian - Also Shakespearean, from Henry IV, an adjective meaning low or common

Swounds - it's medieval and actually stands for "God's wounds"

Thunderation - Evolved from damnation and tarnation, the meaning is equal to "hell!" or "damn!"

These are just a few, but it also included a few more *ahem* colorful references.

Though I'm not sure all of those terms would work in modern day, I used a form of one of the above in a future novel -- "Thunderin'" instead of Thunderation. It's actually a Newfie term, or slang spoken by those who hail from the Newfoundland area of Canada. (Also, T'underin', according to my source). 

I had a character who was originally born in Newfoundland and went to space as a resident of Yellowknife, Northwest Territory, Canada, use it as part of his speech. He says the word as an exclamation or combines with other words for a more emphatic statement (such as "What the thunderin' hell?")

Adding swear words in Sci-Fi can be fun or even poignant, especially if the words are given a particular meaning in the story or significance to the character. Much of our iconic Science Fiction used particular phrases as a form of cursing, including frak, a futuristic term for another four-letter word used in Battlestar Galactica

Firefly gave us gorram as well as several colorful Chinese/Cantonese-inspired curses.

Farscape used frell and dren as their futuristic alternatives to some of our brief present-day terms.

I couldn't think of an instance of swearing in Star Wars, but upon doing a little research I discovered that some of the related books included the terms fierfek (supposedly from Jabba the Hutt's world) and sithspawn, which was a Corellian term, with a meaning that's probably clear to Star Wars fans. Spawn of sith. 

Then there are the more amusing phrases like Mork's shazbot!, which probably has no real meaning other than pure entertainment. 

Clearly the use (or non-use) of swear words and the frequency is up to the author, but IMHO it's important to keep the relevancy in line with the tone and flavor of the story. Amusing terms along the lines of shazbot! might work in a humorous sci-fi tale, but in a more dramatic piece they could stand out as silly or out-of-place or the dread 'trying too hard to sound sci-fi.' Still, how a particular word fits the story is ultimately the judgment of each individual writer...and each individual reader.

When it comes to swearing, I try to tread lightly, but there are several phrases throughout my series that are considered oaths. Here's an abridged Inherited Stars Series glossary of swear words and oaths.

blue devil - an exclamation, "What the blue devil are you doing?" is like we would say "What the devil..."

blue hades - a bad hell where the blue devils hail from. See also "sixth hell"

Empora's Hades - is like saying "deep dark hell." The characters often use hades alone, but Empora was a legend and adding her name to the mix makes any "hades!" a particularly bad one.

fug - what a very common modern swear word (more politely shown as f***) evolves into in 1500 years.

gigadam (one that seems pretty popular with and amusing to readers) translates to "damn to the nth degree"

Gods of Gellen - see below

Haley's Crest - a perilous area of space that spacefarers adopted as an oath. Sometimes shortened to just "Crest"

heo - both a curse and an insult, from the Purmian language, meaning 'gutless eunuch.'

peitchau - another Purmian curse, literally meaning 'Yele-damned' which is a very powerful form of damning in the Purmian culture. 

rifted - a reference to treacherous dark nebula known as Bradley's Rift. Means the same as 'blasted' or 'bloody.'

sixth hell - a particularly nasty level of hell

As to the note above, the "Gods of Gellen" is a phrase with an ancient reference that has lost it's context and meaning, like some of those old oaths from the referenced article above. Or at least, it's lost it's meaning for most of those in the 36th century (when the series takes place).

But that particular brand of curse opens a can of worms between two of the characters in SpyDog, which is a story in the Inherited Stars Series (originally released as part of Pets in Space). 

It creates a bit of high drama when one of the characters spits it out it in an offhand way, like we might say, well...swounds!...and is then challenged by his companion for uttering it. 

After learning the true root of the term, his journey takes an unexpected turn. [Can you say 'foreshadowing.'

Have you read (or written) any new swear words that are tailored to a particular story or universe? Any that you found especially amusing, or hard hitting? Please tell us more in comments below.

For the few who read this far, I have a special bonus for you! Get SpyDog FREE from Prolific Works/Instafreebie in the format of your choice. But hurry! Only three copies will be available!

Monday, January 3, 2022



Welcome to our new regular feature, #SnippetMonday.

Today I'm featuring the opening of Inherit the Stars, the anchor novel in the Inherited Stars Series. Since it's the introduction of the hero, no scene set-up is needed. 

One chance. No mistakes.

Sair took a deep breath and peered out the open airlock of the merchant ship. This was it. Make a wrong move now and he’d end up as the main course at an Ithian feast. Heart pounding, he studied his escape route. No threat in sight; he had a clear path to the street outside the hangar. He gripped the edge of the hatch, palms slick, legs twitching.



Inherit the Stars
is available on Amazon, but as a special gift for the first readers of our new  #SnippetMonday blog series, I'm offering five free copies of Part I: Flight* from ProlificWorks. 

(*Part I is roughly the first third of the novel and it does end on a cliffhanger.)

And thanks for stopping by Spacefreighters Lounge.



Something new for 2022! 

The authors of Spacefreighters Lounge will be posting 

snippets and brief excerpts 

from current and future works on #SnippetMonday. 

We hope you enjoy this new feature. 

(Watch for our first #SnippetMonday later today.)

Thursday, December 16, 2021

From Everyone at Spacefreighters Lounge

It's that time of year again when our crew takes a break for the holidays. 

Our regular blogging schedule will resume on January 8, 2022. 

Meanwhile, we hope all our readers have a great holiday 

and a fantastic beginning to the New Year! 

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.