Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Five Years Service & #Cosplay Revisited: Rey Mark II #StarWars #TheForceAwakens

Wow, it's the end of January already. That went surprisingly fast, and I can't say that I'm sorry. I want Spring to hurry along!
While I am still picking away at Keir's Shadow, January has mainly been taken up by job hunting and completing a second Rey cosplay, this time for fellow SW fangirl Patty Hammond. This was my first 'commission' piece, so nerve-racking in two respects: firstly that I wasn't doing it for myself or my kids so hoping like mad it would be well received, and secondly because there was zero opportunity for fittings during construction. This would be done purely on given measurements.
Why is that a problem? Because patterns are made to mythical averages. If you look at the image below: the ringed measurements are my eldest's, and as you can see they're not all in line under one average size. One size does NOT fit all, lol, despite assertions by clothes mand pattern manufacturers. So it's very much a case of going for the middle of the road as far as possible, or taking the largest measurement to dictate the general size.

And this time around I was making the gauntlet as well, which I skipped on my eldest's version, opting for a bought leather wrist band because I just couldn't get hold of the leather (or even fake leather) to make it in time for BristolCon. No excuse for the Rey Mark II as I'd just been out and bought some fake brown leather for eldest's planned Tauriel cosplay.
Second time around I have to say it all went a lot easier. I'm still quite a novice seamstress, and mostly self taught - I believe learning on the job by actually doing it makes the knowledge stick better than just reading a manual - but having been through the patterns once I at least knew what was coming.
Three things I learned:
1. I still hate plackets (don't ask).
2. When you've tried taking a shortcut on instructions before and they failed, maybe actually stick to the instructions on the second attempt.
3. After plackets, I hate double sided fusible webbing.

But I got there, and actually it made me want to go back and redo my eldest's Rey cosplay because the second turned out far better. Doing practice runs for every cosplay would be on the expensive side though. And the recipient was happy with the result!

Status Update

The 28th of January marked my 5th anniversary here at Spacefreighters Lounge. Five years! It only seems a few weeks ago that I logged three years service here (somehow I missed marking four years). I've come so far. On the days I feel I've failed in so many ways I remind myself of the sixteen titles I've published, the publishers and authors I've seen come and go, and the changes that have altered the paths of my fellow crew members here. We've weathered some storms and ridden the highs and lows of being an author...and we're still sailing onward. While I'm taking more of a back seat in this craziness called publishing, I am still so very proud of our achievements.

I'm still picking away at Keir's Shadow, going to sleep replaying the bits in my head that aren't working. I've found this can often help me smooth out stuff - I'm not sure how since I rarely then dream about the story, but come morning I sometimes have a solution. I guess it sets my subconscious mind working on the problem.
However, a slight accident a couple of weeks reduced my already restricted computer use. Somehow I cracked the screen on my laptop despite it being stowed away and untouched for almost a week. Weird! After spending a day ensuring all my stuff was backed up and any computer only tasks completed, it went in for repair and I only picked it back up yesterday. That was a nasty not-so-little expense to add to my publishing accounts (and of course put me straight into the red for the first month of 2017. Ouch.).

Quite by accident I discovered that pixabay.com (a site of legally free images) had approved an image for use that I'd submitted. Yay! (They'd only rejected about 30 others, so I kind of missed the one approval, lol).
Details on the gauntlet for the Rey Mark II will be posted to my Tumblr blog here while I move onto my Luigi cosplay for youngest - I've already done most of his costume with only the overalls to go. I'm also continuing with a secret project long overdue. FYI, satin is a pain to work with on small scale! ;)
Rey gauntlet

Luigi costume
Chook Update
I know you've missed hearing about them! Our girls sprung a bit of a surprise on us a couple of weeks ago by starting to lay. In January! Last year we were coming up to March before they would lay, and only after we'd put a rubber egg in the nest box as hopeful incentive. We think it's just Pitch who is laying, but at a rate of two every three days it's a good start. Nothing beats a home laid egg!
First egg of 2017!

Pitch (although perhaps we should rename her Splodge or Snowflake) with Scoop by the bin.
Back to the sewing!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Moons and Rising Waters

Spacefreighters Lounge is very pleased to host this new release announcement and Rafflecopter giveaway by author Laurel Wanrow. I first met Laurel when she showed up to an RWA FF&P Chapter Steampunk Ball in the most fabulous Steampunk captain's costume I'd ever seen. That was seven years ago when we were both pre-published. Today, she's an up- and-coming SFR author, and I'm delighted to host her for her latest SFR release, Passages.

Thanks so much for being here today, Laurel!

Have you noticed the beautiful moons on Passages’ cover?

I included two moons circling the planet Aarde because that’s what you do in a science fiction novel…

No, not really.

Placing two moons in orbit came about because part of the story plot revolves around mineral hot springs. I wanted those springs to be tidal—in other words, I didn’t want the hot springs to be available to the people all of the time. Then, ‘taking the waters’ would be a special occurrence, a revered ceremony.

So how do you create a periodic hot spring? On a trip to Yellowstone National Park, watching the geysers gave me some tips. Water pooled in the mineralized basins, it gurgled and spat, sometimes spouting up above our heads.

And then…some force sucked it all back in again, leaving those pools empty.

It was like magic.

Actually, not magic, just geyser mechanics, the buildup of water under pressure, which then releases through any fissure available. I considered using this to make my hot springs tidal, but geysers seemed too active and hot for the mood I wanted to depict for this special occurrence. I needed a scientific reason. I decided on with tides.

Earth kids learn that our moon is responsible for our tides, but not everyone remembers that it happens with the help of the sun. Their combined pull, either when on opposite or the same side of earth, makes the planet bulge and shifts the surface water. To make this shift happen to bring up Aarde’s hot springs, I needed an exceptional tide—one that required a sun and two moons.

In other words, a two-moon tide.

I mentioned this conjunction of moons as an important feature in the story in the information for the cover art, but I didn’t give any direction for the size of the moons. On the first draft they appeared the same size.

My first thought was, one needed to be red. Clearly, I was thinking aesthetics, not science because my amateur astronomer husband exploded with, “You can’t do that! It’s gravitationally unstable.” Two moons of the same size so close together would never occur in space—they would collide.

He readily admitted he isn’t an expert on orbital mechanics and I could have a computer program model what I wanted, but I simply emailed my artist and asked her to shrink one. I think they came out perfect.

Excerpt (from Quinn’s point of view):

At the edge of town, we entered a floating, wispy fog. It didn’t obscure the surrounding fields, but I couldn’t make out the hills above us, the plateau where I’d sheltered Quaene. The fog thickened among the rocky outcroppings, causing the climbing path to all but disappear. Evard grasped Quaene’s arm to guide her, and a moment later Eve slipped a hand into the crook of my elbow.

My headache dissolved with the smell of lilac from her hair as we jostled together over the twisting path. The soft warmth of her body sent a wave of longing through me. It didn’t matter where we headed at this unreal hour. It didn’t matter that this show of caring came from her function directives to keep me from harm. And maybe it didn’t matter if my Eve wouldn’t talk to me. I still wanted her.

Groups of townspeople split off, hopping over full, running streams and skirting the various pools. Water filled them to the brim, unlike the first morning I’d passed this area. Nor had the water surface steamed when I drank from it.

“How did the water turn hot today?” I asked Eve.

“The moon conjunction also creates a strong tidal pull on water from deep in Aarde. The Waters rising to Zeffir come from directly over volcanic mantle plumes.”

She kept me following Evard, who followed Evangeline and PT. A few turnings led us to a pool. Someone was swimming, but through the mist I couldn’t discern their identity, let alone see to the far perimeter.

Follow the Passages Blog Tour to read more science & fantasy tidbits!
(Links are below.)


“Find someone you can trust.”

For decades, Eve and her fellow electorgs—part human, part machine—have worked on the quiet planet of Aarde, beating back toxic spores that threaten to poison the native people. When the new commander halts work right before a deadly spore release, Eve frantically plots to protect the villagers she considers friends and family.

On the run after an ambush, Quinn holds a secret that nearly got him killed. If only he knew what it was. Though the attack scrambled his memories, Quinn is sure of one thing—he can’t trust the electorgs. But they know information he desperately needs to puzzle out who wants him dead, and why.

With the fate of life on Aarde in the balance, the logic of joining forces with Eve overrides Quinn’s fears…and erupts into an attraction that could prove fatal for both of them.

Because the planet’s commander might just be Quinn himself.

Passages is on preorder & sale for .99 through February 5th.

Add Passages to your Goodreads shelf!

Author bio:

Before kids, Laurel Wanrow studied and worked as a naturalist—someone who leads wildflower walks and answers calls about the snake that wandered into your garage. During a stint of homeschooling, she turned her writing skills to fiction to share her love of the land, magical characters and fantastical settings.

When not living in her fantasy worlds, Laurel camps, hunts fossils and argues with her husband and two new adult kids over whose turn it is to clean house. Though they live on the East Coast, a cherished family cabin in the Colorado Rockies holds Laurel’s heart.

Find Laurel at:

Below are the bloggers participating in the Blog Tour for Passages. Each stop will have excerpts and tidbits about the science & fantasy, and a chance to win the tour prizes: a $10 Amazon eGC or a signed paperback of Passages. (Giveaway open to US/CAN)

(Partial list of Blog Tour hosts from January 26 through February 1)

Jan 26: Travel toa Mineral Hot Springs on Vicki Batman’s Handbags, Books, Whatever…
Jan 27: GoudrogenCrystals on Jessica E. Subject’s Happily Ever Afters Across the Universe

Jan 27: Hornworts on C. D. Hersh’s Two Hearts Creating Everlasting Love Stories

Jan 29-31: Thermophiles on The Multiverses of Liza O’Connor

Jan 29: Author Interview with Mia Jo Celeste on Other World Diner

Jan 30: Moons and Rising Waters with Laurie A. Green on Spacefreighters Lounge [You are here.] 

Jan 31: Creating a Character’s Home Planet—in a Red Dwarf Star System on Pippa Jay’s Adventures in Scifi

Jan 31: What kind of a book is it? With Kira Decker on Toni Decker Books

Jan 31: Lacuna, aBit of Realism, a Bit of Magic on Author J. C. Nelson’s Urban Fantasy and More

Feb 1: Resolvingyour story problems…including knocking out a pesky spore? on Riley Moreland’s Whiskey With My Book

Friday, January 27, 2017


Runners! Tired of pounding the pavement listening to that worn-out club mix on your iPod? Commuters? Ready to ram the car in front of you because talk radio has you riled? Treadmill jockeys and heavyweight lifters! Think you might blow your top if that grunting Neanderthal in the corner drops his deadlift to the floor ONE MORE TIME??

Then run, don’t walk, to your phone, tablet or computer, go to Audible.com and download yourself a copy of the audiobook version of Fools Rush In, Book 3 in the InterstellarRescue series, read by Lisa Beacom. Put in your earbuds and let this space opera noir  romance take you away to the other side of the galaxy!  

The audiobook experience adds a whole other dimension to a story. Even if you’ve read the book, you’ll enjoy listening to the audio version—the alien voices, the whispered lovers’ confessions, the shouts of excitement in the space battle scenes. (Wow, I can’t wait to hear that myself!) This is narrator Lisa Beacom’s third time out with the challenging material of the Interstellar Rescue series. She’s wonderfully talented—and fearless!

Need a reminder what Fools Rush In is all about? Check out this blurb:

She thought she had the toughest job in Rescue—
until the day she had to convert a pirate into a hero.

Interstellar Rescue “conductor” Rayna Carver is deep undercover on a slave ship bound for an isolated region of space when the ship is attacked by pirates. Her liberator is Captain Sam Murphy, a man known in the spacer bars to love only profit, adventure and women.

But Murphy hates a few things, too, chief among them slavers. Will it be enough to gain his help for Rayna’s mission—ferreting out two spies bent on sabotaging an arms factory to turn the tide in an alien civil war?
I’m giving away THREE free copies of the Fools Rush In audiobook this week, and you have LOTS of chances to win! Comment BELOW, on my Facebook Author page or the Interstellar Rescue Squad Page with a good reason to listen to an audiobook (it can be a real reason or a funny one). You can comment as many times and in as many places as you like—each comment will count as a separate chance to win (but you can only win ONE audiobook). Be creative! You never know—I might take a notion and give someone a free audiobook just for coming up with a wild reason to listen!

What’s that link again?

Cheers, Donna

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Stuff of Legend is finally here!

Yes, folks. The book is done, the cover is awesome, I've published through Pronoun, and the publishing wheels are turning. Look for it at your favourite outlet in the next few days.

Buy it now on Amazon  Google iBooks Nook Kobo  Print (I'll add them as they go live)

When history professor Olivia Jhutta receives a distress call from her parents, she sets out into space with their business partner, her grandmother, and injured Confederacy Admiral Jak Prentiss to find them. But she's not the only one interested in the Jhutta's whereabouts. The Helicronians believe Olivia's parents have found an ancient weapon which they can use to wage war on the Confederacy.

Jak goes on the trip to fill in time while he's on enforced leave, helping Olivia follow cryptic clues in what he considers an interplanetary wild goose chase in search of a fairy story. But as the journey progresses and legend begins to merge with unsettling fact, Olivia and Jak must resolve their differences and work together if they are to survive. The two are poles apart… but it's said opposites attract. If they can manage to stay alive.

Next time, I'll give you some more details on Pronoun. But right now, I'm just popping the champagne cork.