Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sex in Space and the 2Suit

Recently, my IPs and I had a discussion about the topic of sex in space. Turns out it's not as simple as all we science fiction romance writers like to make it sound. There's an extreme degree of logistics involved in doing the, zero gravity or microgravity. Of course, many solve this complexity in novels by mean of AG (artificial gravity), but that's currently one of the fiction elements in the science fiction.

But let's stick to the contemporary topic. Why is sex in space so difficult? Well, because nothing acts in space like it does on good old gravity-enhanced Earth. Things tend to float around, like people, limbs, get the drift (pun intended). So attempting something as simple as a kiss can send you off on an unplanned trajectory...usually in a direction away from your partner. Things can get tricky.

Though NASA astronauts have (supposedly) not done any research or experimentation in this area, sooner or later it's going to become a question for someone, somewhere. Most likely on the three-year mission to Mars.

Vanna Bonta, author of FLIGHT: A QUANTUM FICTION NOVEL has taken this research topic to heart by inventing the 2Suit which she and her husband took on a trial run in a G Force One aircraft the simulates weightlessness (ala the Vomit Comet as the NASA version was known). Their attempts were documented in a Universe series episode entitled Sex in Space.

What's a 2Suit? It's a specially designed flightsuit where the right side detaches and can be pulled forward. When your partner dons his 2Suit, the the panel of your suit can be pulled forward and velcroed to the side of his suit, while he does the same with his, fastening to yours. The outcome? Two 2suits become like one, and allow more intimate contact while velcroed together to thwart inpromptu launches in opposite directions.

How did the experiment work? Well, marginally. It took Ms. Bonta and her husband nearly all thirty seconds (the length of time they could be weightless in the parabolic flight path) just to manage one kiss before they were floored, quite literally. It seems the human species has a bit of practice to do if we're going to master an act of love in the stary, stary night.

Fun research project though, don't you think?

Check out this 9 minute video that includes the introduction to the Universe Series Sex in Space, Vanna Bonta, the 2Suit demonstration and the challenges of sex in space. It's quite an education.

Writer Musings Blog: Free Book Drawing

One of my fellow members on Critique Circle is having a celebration. In honor of the one year anniversary of her blog, Writer Musings, she's announcing monthly drawings for free books. The first book is National Book Award nominee, THE SPECTACULAR NOW by Tim Tharp. You can check out the post here.

Congrats to Tabitha and Writer Musings on achieving this blog landmark.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Don't Understand Twitter

I just checked out Twitter because I've been hearing so much about it in the media. I watched the little video and thought to myself, "Huh?"

According to the video, Twitter is a site dedicated to answering one question--"What are you doing now?"--in short little bites in between blog posts, cell phone calls or emails. I'm sorry but...isn't living your life what you're supposed to be doing in between?

I can't understand why people would possibly be interested in a day that goes something like this:

I turned off my alarm and overslept (again).

I just stubbed my toe making coffee.

I'm watching the news. Stock market fell again.

I can't find anything to wear.

I've lost my keys.

I just packed two slices of bread and a pickle for lunch (again) and fed the dog a treat.

I'm cleaning up dog vomit when I should be heading out the out the door.

[Insert LONG gap because work computers do not allow access to blogs and Twitter.]

Eleven and a half hours later
(yes, eleven and a half...and you wonder why I never have time to blog)....

I just walked in the door, dropped an armful of mail (on top of my keys so they'll be lost in the morning again) and turned on the news.

Graham crackers and milk for dinner again.

I'm sitting down at my computer to work on my WIP

[Another long gap while I get lost in WIP land.]

Well, g'night. Going to bed now.

Uhhhh...why would anyone want to read this drivel? There must be a lot of people out there with way too much time on their hands. You know the sort, same breed as the ones who live with a cell phone permanently glued to their ear?

But seriously...I really don't get Twitter. Would any of you TwitterDudes or -ettes out there be kind enough to explain the fascination? I must be missing something major, because a lot of people love Twitter.

I'm going to close this post now.

Goodbye. :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Book Rant: Category Five

Just for the record, a book rant is a Good Thing. :)

I just whittled down my Leaning Tower of TBR(c) and finished CATEGORY FIVE. I got four words for ya.

What. A. Freakin'. RIDE!

This is not a romance, but I think it might qualify as romantic contemporary Sci Fi. The author, Philip Conlay, cranks up the tension at every turn—mental, emotional and otherwise. Just when you think things are beyond recovery...they get worse. And there's a big surprise at the climax. This book made me laugh, cry, cringe, bite my fingernails and say "Ahhhh."

I can't think of one single plot thread that wasn't tied up in a nice little bow.

I did have some editing issues—mechanical stuff like USING ALL CAPS FOR SHOUTED WORDS which drove me to distraction and I couldn't see the characters using long, drawn out sentences while they're getting thrashed by the rain and wind of a hurricane, but I can overlook such minor nuissances when the story is so good. The MCs are totally likable, I could relate to both their situations and their emotions. A couple of the supporting characters are outstanding. Michael is the kind of guy I think a lot of female readers will fall in love with, the kind of man male readers wanna be.

The wealth of knowledge this author had on his subject matter was either indepth to an awesome degree, or he totally had me believing he knew what he was talking about. [I did a little research after completing this book and as a pilot with over 30 years of flying experience, I now know he wasn't dazzling me with bulls**t. He knew his stuff.] A couple of situations pushed my Suspension of Disbelief envelope just a tiny tad, but didn't break it. Hey, it's fiction. It's all about possibility.

If I graded books on a scale (which I don't) I'd give it five stars out of five (which I didn't). *smirk*

I'll do a full blown review later, but for now, you can find this one on Amazon. Oh, and the buzz is Philip Donlay's second novel in the Nash Donovan series, CODE BLACK, might be even better!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why, Yes, I am Still Alive

::: brushes away cobwebs and clears throat :::

Well, hello there. I know I've been a bit quiet the last few weeks. I've been alligator wrestling my latest SFR project and busy with work and legislature. But I did want to pop in and let you all know I'm still alive...since you're all hanging on every word I type, and all. :D

I hope to do more regular posts going forward. (Yeah, I know you've heard THAT before.) I'm reading a *gasp* non-SFR book from my Leaning Tower of TBR(c) that's exceptional so far, and of course you know that means a review may be forthcoming. Pssst. Here's a little tip. If I don't likes 'em, or am not in various stages of absolutely in love with 'em, you won't see a review on my blog. So anything reviewed here is a good read. Take my word for it. ;)

I'm thinking of adding a new section to my critiques, since critiqueing seems to be my one true forte of late. (At least, several people I've been critiqueing have been getting published.) I'm going to add "Critiquers Comments" section that outlines suggestions I would have made to the author, had I critiqued the novel. Yeah, a bit cheeky and outrageous I suppose, but possibly interesting reading. We'll see (or more likely, we'll see if I lose my nerve).

Thanks for stopping by. :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009


By Linnea Sinclair
Science Fiction Romance
Bantam Books

OPENING NOTES FROM REVIEWER: I try to avoid spoilers in my reviews for all potential readers. Knowing major chunks of the story takes the fun out of the read. So, while deftly skirting the plot hot spots, here's my take…

COVER ART: My review copy is a PDF ARC, so no gorgeous cover to sit and gaze at for hours, but I've posted the artwork I found on the internet. The cover fit my mental image of the main characters.

INITIAL IMPRESSION: The story kicks off with a Mission Impossible style self-destructing Imperial Security bulletin that Admiral Philip Guthrie, a traitor presumed dead, is now believed to be alive and his capture and/or termination is top priority to the Imperial powers-that-be (i.e. "the bad guys"). Guthrie is, of course, the ex-husband of Captain Chasidah Bergen of the first two books in the series, GABRIEL'S GHOST and SHADES OF DARK. And alive he is. Injured, hobbling, disillusioned, lonely and with the weight of the universe and the hopes of the rebel Alliance on his shoulders...but still breathing. He's dismayed to find he's saddled with a derelict former citrus hauler as his command ship. This scrap-ready heap is named HOPE'S FOLLY, an unfortunate tag that Philip must live with. He hopes it's not prophetic.

MAIN CHARACTERS: Admiral Philip Guthrie, the dynamic silver-haired, steel-tongued warrior was introduced via both of the earlier books in the series. The Great Guthrie is marked for assassination when arch-nemesis Darius Tage assumes control and guts the Imperial Fleet, and Philip becomes leader of the outnumbered and ill-equipped rebel opposition. New to the series is Sub-Lieutenant Rya Bennton, formerly of Imperial Fleet Security Forces Special Protection Services (aka ImpSec) and fully capable of her motto: Polite, Professional and Prepared to Kill. She's assigned herself as Philip's personal bodyguard, much to his confoundment. She's also the daughter of the late Captain Cory Bennton, Philip's long-time friend and subordinate who met an untimely death in the power struggle with the Imperial Fleet. Philip is Rya's childhood hero. Rya is Philip's horrible-brat-from-the-past now all grown up and a comrade in the fight against the Imperial Fleet. They share a magical connection; a love of weapons.

SUPPORTING CHARACTERS: There is an assortment of ship's officers and crew that are interesting and well-drawn, and at turns either suspicious or suspect. I had hopes that Chasidah "Chaz" Bergen and Gabriel "Sully" Sullivan would make an appearance, but alas, it was not to be in this story. (I did miss them.)

VILLAIN/S: The biggest threat--Darius Tage--remains off-stage, but his influence is felt in his personal crusade to capture and/or kill Admiral Guthrie. Philip could have reason to doubt the loyalty of just about every member of his hastily-formed crew, including Rya. Rya is a danger, but in ways he doesn't want to think about.

OTHER CHARACTERS: There is a cast of effective and memorable personas, not the least of which is the vessel's former "captain," one of the curmudgeonly four-legged variety the Alliance inherits with the ship. He plays a small role in helping Rya feret out danger. No tellin'. See for yourself.

WORLD BUILDING: This Dock Five universe with its various ports and jumpgates felt familiar from the previous books. The ghost of the flagship's former life manifests itself in the gentle and persistent waft of oranges in the cabins and corridors, which I found a very humorous touch.

CONFLICT: Conflict exists on almost every level, and tension cranks higher with each turn of a page. There are obviously some major issues to overcome if Philip and Rya are to find love, not the least of which are merely surviving, the problems with a superior officer-junior officer relationship, the age difference, the perception of the command staff and crew, and the question if they have true feelings for each other or simply share a deep grief brought on by the death of Cory Bennton--her father, his friend.

ROMANCE: Don't look for a fast and furious fling. Like most of Ms. Sinclair's other SFR novels, the relationship takes time to develop and many questions and obstacles must be overcome in getting there. A major hurdle is Philip's tendency toward self-sacrifice, in more ways than one.

EVIL AUTHORS GUILD STAMP OF APPROVAL: The Evil Authors Guild exists to encourage writers to inflict appropriate amounts of terror, angst and emotional torture into their characters’ lives, and to leave them twisting in the wind at every opportunity. Give this one the gold stamp.

Gritter: nick for a GR-10 plasma cannon
ittle-doos: slang for cobbled fixes; from "it'll do"
Subbie: slang for sub-lieutenant
Star-Ripper: a formidable enemy ship
SUMMARY: Linnea Sinclair is a RITA-Award winning author of Science Fiction Romance novels. If you're already familiar with her work and/or enjoy tormented characters, imaginative future worlds and pressure-cooker tension, you're sure to enjoy HOPE'S FOLLY.

NOTE: HOPE'S FOLLY will be released on February 24, 2009.
Click here to see the trailer posted on YouTube.
To see Linnea Sinclair's website, click here.