Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Losing Time by Barbara Edwards

Yesterday was my husband's birthday. Mine is tomorrow and in a leap year my grandson's. so How did I lose track of time?
I've been plotting my paranormal, something I rarely do since I'm a pantster.
The story is part of my Rhodes End Series and I need to keep all those pesky details right. I've been using Scrivener and find it to be terrific for keeping track.
So how does this old dog learn new tricks?
I got Scrivener for Dummies, and took a couple classes. Hah. I forgot everything the day the class ended. Lucky for me I saved all the lessons.
I did use the section for character descriptions and faithfully filled in what I needed to recall.
This actually helps for not only this book but the next two in the series.
I hope you all get a chance to catch up with  the first three.

Here’s a small excerpt from Ancient Awakening if you haven’t already read it.

The terrified servant fumbled her armload of logs as she eased the laboratory’s paneled door open. The pounding of her pulse shredded his concentration. Hunger stabbed through his gut. His fingers flattened the quill’s nib against the parchment and ink smeared the last entry like blood. Saliva pooled in his mouth while she built up the fire, then scuttled to safety. 
His low growl muffled the soft snick of the latch. Once again, he had resisted the impulse to rend, to carelessly feed. A frustrated sigh heaved his chest. The only way to keep good servants was to reward them richly and let them live. The lesson had been difficult to learn. 
He held the parchment to the fading light streaking through a slit in the thick stone. The pale glow outlined his fleshless fingers before a freshly-penned phrase caught his attention. He threw the broken quill into the fire and selected another. The correction had to be made and he bent over his desk to take care of it. 
Satisfied with the change, he straightened and stared into the dancing red and orange flames until his stiff muscles eased. He had to eat, but he resented interruptions. His latest research into a cure had been so promising; the details so fascinating, only the relentless blood hunger forced him to stop. 
Although he had searched the world, he had never found a remedy for the curse he had inflicted on himself. He eased erect and rubbed at his blurred eyes, before slowly stacking the parchment sheets, aligning the unused quills and corking the ink well with shaky hands. He was weak, but the priests would have his nourishment ready. They always did. 
A snapping log showered glowing embers onto the slate hearth. He pondered the coals for a moment before he swept them aside with his bare hand. His changed flesh didn’t burn. Along with his soul, his body had surrendered its ability to feel pain, to age, or scar. 
Legend gave him many names, but the wide halls of his mountain retreat no longer echoed with countless worshipers. He could have ruled the world had his ambition not died with the passage of time. The endless whispers were from the cold winds and the few praying priests. He didn’t care that he couldn’t remember his real name or birthplace.
For an eon he’d regretted the loss of softer emotions. Love had been the first feeling to die, along with the woman who had insisted he would never harm her. He couldn’t recall her features, just the merry tinkle of her laughter and the bright smile she had greeted him with every morning. He licked his lips. She’d tasted sweet. 

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Guest Toni Sweeney


Beauty and the Beast—Space Opera Style
Toni Sweeney

“… if you're looking for a romance that's not another of the cookie-cutter offerings out there, this is a great place to start.”   --Nights and Weekends reviews

“Ms. Sweeney always creates stories that are thrown miles outside the box, and Sinbad’s Wife is no exception.” –Margaret Marr reviews

“…the dramatic sh'en Singh family dynamics…in this book makes for a truly wonderful read” –Two Lips reviews

Many years ago, I was intrigued by a TV show called Beauty and the Beast.  In homage, I wrote my own spin on that story:  The Adventures of Sinbad.  My Beast isn’t simply a man who by some quirk of birth looks like a lion.  He is a lion, a native of Felida where the inhabitants evolved from a feline species instead of simians.  Sinbad’s Last Voyage was published in 2016, with Sinbad’s Wife, the story of his courtship and winning of his Beauty, published in January of this year.

My Beast is Sinbad sh’en Singh, a half-feline smuggler, a man wanted on seven worlds of the United Terran Federation, with more than a million Credits bounty on his head.  That was all right with Sin, because he intended to thumb his nose at the UTF for as long as he could—and then he met a little Terran named Andrea Talltrees and got shot right out of orbit…in flames.

His Beauty is Andrea Talltrees, a feisty little woman, raised by the Navajos after her father is killed in the Terro-Felidan War and her mother dies of a broken heart.  When her husband is accused of being a spy in yet another war and is arrested, she doesn’t just sit around.  She goes to the one person her godfather suggests might help…a certain Felidan smuggler who hates Terran women almost as much as he hates the Federation…

…And that’s the way they meet.  It’s a culture clash of epic proportions with a disturbing explosion of instant attraction as Andi and Sin try desperately not to fall in love with each other. 

The current story is Sinbad’s Pride, Novel #4 in the series.

When Andrea Talltrees married Sinbad sh’en Singh, she knew they would have problems.  All newly-weds do, bBut married life with a part-Felidan ex-smuggler seems to be nothing but one crisis after another. 

Now that Sin’s been pardoned for his, he whisks Andi and his ready-made family away to his home planet, where he wants his expected daughter to be born.  There he finds he has more adjustments to make other than those of married life. 
Being law-abiding simply isn’t part of Sin’s lifestyle and he’s already found a way to legally restore Felida’s pre-war glory by making it a prime smuggling planet—and the Federation can’t do a thing about it!  In order to do that, however, he needs the cooperation of the second and third most powerful prides on Felida, and they in turn want to cement the deal through a family relationship. 

Felida is a male-oriented planet, chauvinistic to the nth degree and the fact that Sinbad sometimes consults his wife and concedes to her wishes doesn’t sit well with his grandfather or any of the older males in the Pride.  Andi being a hated Terran doesn’t help, either, and the feisty little Navajo finds herself forcefully striving to act more like a Felidan female and less like her usual independent self. In other words, the newly-reinstated heir and his spouse have a lot going against them and only their determination to be accepted going for them. 

That’s why Sin finds himself with a very angry Prime Wife, as he tries to explain to Andi why he’s taking not one but two concubines though he swears he loves her and wouldn’t be unfaithful in a million years.  If he doesn’t handle this right, Sin is facing a future which may involve sleeping on a sofa until he’s an octogenarian.
In the meantime, sons Cash and Adam are growing up and becoming men—in every sense of the word—though Sin sometimes thinks sense doesn’t enter into their actions.  When a former smuggling associate declares war on Sin’s new criminal efforts, the two youngsters are brought into the fight and the decisions they make soon lead to a tragedy threatening to tear Sin’s newly-made family apart. 

Sinbad’s Pride is a play on words.  A Pride on Felida is made up of various clans loyal to one chief.  Sinbad is the heir to the largest pride.  He also has plenty of pride in the usual sense of the word, and occasionally he has to decide when to let that pride go and when to balance revenge with mercy.

It’s also a story about family, and how, in the face of crises usually blasting a family apart, a man who has lost everything must now keep together those he’s now blessed with. 

Sinbad’s Pride is sometimes funny, sometimes tragic adventure, very occasionally erotic, and one I think readers will enjoy it. 


Being a family man can’t keep a smuggler on the straight and narrow.

Sinbad sh’en Singh returns to his former occupation, with help from a loophole in Felida’s treaty…which means the Federation can’t do a thing about it.

The Fed may not be a threat, but wife Andi is. She doesn’t want a smuggler for a husband.

Things get even rockier when two of the pride chiefs offer their daughters as concubines to the pride chief’s heir. It’ll take a great deal of sweet talk to make Andi agree to that!

Then there’s that smuggler who received Sin’s territories, and won’t give them up without a fight…

Overconfident as always, Sin’s sure he can handle it all…except for Andi. Bringing her around will be his biggest challenge.

Domestic bliss may soon be a thing of the past.


“I’ve received a message from Salu-Khan,” Murad announced, glancing at the scroll he held.  “He’s eager to become a part of your operation, Andrew—so eager in fact that he’s requesting permission to join!”
            “Grandsire, that’s great!  With Salu-Khan’s participation, we’ll have two-thirds of the Prides behind us.”
“Salu-Khan wants more than a business association, I’m afraid,” Murad went on.  He tossed the scroll onto the desk and looked down at his grandson.
“What do you mean, Grandsire?”
“He has a daughter of breeding age.  He’s requesting a union with our Den through marriage.”
            “Doesn’t he know Amir-Kasdan’s bonded?”
            “He wants you for his daughter, Andrew.”
            It wasn’t respectful to laugh at his grandfather but Sin couldn’t help it.  “Guess he’s out of luck then since I’m already married—“
            “—and I’ve sent him my reply, agreeing to the affiliation,” Murad went on, as if he hadn’t spoken.
            “B-but I can’t--  Grandsire, I already have a mate!”
            “Salu-Khan’s aware of that and accepts the fact that his daughter will be merely a concubine,” Murad went on imperturbably.
            “Concu--  I don’t want a concubine!” Sin exclaimed.  “Besides, Andi wou—“
            He broke off quickly.  He’d almost said Andi would never allow it, and that was definitely the wrong thing to say to the Head of the Clan.
            “Andrea went through a Felidan marriage ceremony with you, Andrew,” his grandfather reminded him.  “She agreed to follow our customs and laws and Felidan law allows a kh’ta concubines.  Your mate has no say-so in the matter.”
            Murad’s tone made it final, the matter settled, but Sin wasn’t about to accept his grandfather’s command so easily.
            “What about my say-so?  I say I don’t want another female, either as a wife or a concubine!  I—“
            “As you just pointed out, Andrew, we need Salu-Khan’s backing.  In something this important, there can’t be any dissention among the participants.”  Murad was forcing himself to remain calm, since he understood how his grandson felt about his wife, having himself been so in love with his own mate that he’d never thought to take another after she died.  “As Pride Heir, you must obey.  You have to do this.  For the Pride.”
            “Forget it!” Sin retorted, turning away and stalking to the window.  From Grandsire’s side of the house, he could see the high cliffs rising above them and the trees trembling in the winter wind.  He looked back at Murad.  “No.”
            Just that one word.  No arguments.
            Murad sighed again.  “I’m afraid you have to, Andrew.  We can’t afford to insult Salu-Khan’s Clan a second time.”
“Second time?” Sin frowned.  “Other than his obvious important, Grandsire, why does Salu-Khan’s name sound so familiar?”
“His brother was the Pride Chief your mother was bonded to, the one your father killed in order to make her his mate and save the unborn whelp that became you, my beloved grandson!”
“Oh.”  Sin was suitably silenced for a moment.  He stood there without speaking, for once not really knowing what to say, and Murad seized his moment of uncertainty to plunge on.
“The female will arrive here in four days.  On that afternoon, the Ceremony will take place.  You will receive her and make her your concubine.”
Silently, Sin glared at his grandfather, wanting to argue but knowing there was nothing he could say.  Murad sh’en Singh had spoken.  The Pride Heir had to obey.
Ducking his head in a quick bow, he answered, “I’ll obey, Grandfather, but I wish to go on record as protesting this union, and state that I’m definitely entering into it unwillingly!”
Before Murad could reply, he whirled and stalked out.
Oh God!  How am I going to tell Andi?



This past December, Toni V. Sweeney celebrated her 74th birthday. This month, she’s celebrating the release of her 74rd novel.

Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone.   In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books (US) . She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books and the paranormal Romance Guild, and in 2016 was certified a professional reader by netgalley.com..

Find out more about Toni:

Twitter:  @ToniVSweeney

Monday, February 27, 2017

Finder's Keepers with Guest Tracey Clark

Hey, y’all… The weather is warming up, and new books are flying our way. I don’t know about you guys, but March is my favorite reading month. It always seems to be the best month for new reads. 

This year, my Finder’s Keepers series will be adding to the March Reading Madness, as Book Three – Twin Findings (A Finder’s Keepers Novel) comes out between mid-late March. Woo Who…
For now, how about some excerpts for Book One – Shocking Finds, and Book Two – Southern Discoveries… and let’s take a look at the cover for Twin Findings.

Let’s jump things off with Shocking Finds… the story of Marin Yarthine, and her entrance into the Fae Community. Marin works at Finder’s Keepers, using all five of her enhanced senses to locate the lost and missing. From priceless artifacts to abducted kids, she can Find anything.

Shocking Finds – Blurb & Buy Links
An act of rebellion, Marin doesn’t think that running into the new store in town will hurt anything. Her aunt will never know… right? One car wreck later, her aunt is hospitalized, Marin is forced to spend her twenty-first birthday fighting for her life, and magic – the very thing her aunt has always sworn to be for fools – is real. And so is the irresistible Fae dedicated to Marin’s protection.

Kyland has searched Earth-side and all the other realms, looking for a missing Fae child. A child his Queen prophesied would be able to one day save the Fae people from the Danshue, as the evil Fae threat tries to overwhelm the entire Supernatural Community. A child that would know nothing of her blocked gifts, or her Fae heritage waiting to be claimed. A child that has grown into a curvy, delicious morsel he would love to taste

Together Marin and Kyland will fight Fae assassins, overcome betrayals, and if they’re lucky … they will find the Danshue responsible for their plight. That’s if Marin doesn’t shock him to death with her erratic new gift, and her out of control emotions.

Buy Shocking Finds for 99 cents

Shocking Finds – Excerpt
“Oww,” Marin whispered, wincing at the sound of her voice. Remaining mute sounded like a very good idea, at the moment.

Opening her eyes, she received both good news and bad. The cheap motel d├ęcor and her beaten and bruised flesh said that she still lived. Making matters worse, Marin realized that one of those scratchy motel comforters, and nothing more, covered her aching body.

The window's air conditioning unit loudly worked to keep the room nice and cool. The overwhelming sound made Marin rethink her stance on heat stroke. Did she really care if she slept in a puddle of sweat? Did she really care if she needed to wring out her hair every few minutes? She could learn to keep the dripping out of her eyes if someone would just stop the incessant noise. She already had enough going on in her head, thank you very much.

-Moving on to Southern Discoveries, we see Marin deal with catty co-workers, exploding powers, and an ever increasing Fae family. And let’s not forget, Kyland – her hotter than heck soul-mate.

Southern Discoveries – Blurb & Buy Links
As far as Marin knew, Makayla thought of her as a waste of space, so why the invite to lunch? Curiosity killed the cat… Marin just hopes that this time curiosity doesn’t kill the Finder. Could Makayla be a Fae assassin hiding in bitchy-southern-bell clothing?

Makayla can’t believe that her life has been reduced to this… asking the flighty office girl for help. Could Marin really be capable of working the decades old Find that has plagued Makayla for most of her life? With her goal within reach, she will take a chance on Marin, avoiding all distractions. Especially the overwhelmingly delicious stranger begging for her attention.

Quaidin Lari wants to get in, finish his mission, and get out. Anything to get back to Out-realm and as far from Earth-side Kentucky as possible. His band of mercenaries – the Fianna – have one goal… to locate Marin, the highly sought after Fae Princess, and see to her protection. As the Incubus on the squad, he needs to focus on persuasion and manipulation.

The mission was a walk in the park… until her. Quaidin never saw Makayla coming. A woman with enough sexual allure to bring him to his knees…

Buy Southern Discoveries for $3.99

Southern Discoveries Excerpt
Slapping at his hands, Marin shrieked, "Stop. Son of a... please stop."
Kyland ceased his attack, holding her in a tight embrace.
"What was that for?" Dang. Her entire body was still twitching, her heart still racing.
"Oh, that? That was a playful cub attack. Maybe I did it wrong... let us try again."
As Kyland loosened his arms, moving his hands slowly up her sides, Marin jerked back and out of his embrace, screeching as she made a run for it. "Oh no you don't!"
Both Kyland and Diego followed her into her bedroom, Diego nearly doubled over in laughter at the spectacle.

Twin Findings Cover – coming out mid-late March
-Alright, that’s all we have time for. But feel free to drop by one of my Author links for more book fun, and a bit of my every day insanity. Happy wordage, Tracey Clark

Author Links & Newsletter signup form
Author Site – https://traceylclark.com/

Sunday, February 26, 2017


My new book, Destiny’s Promise will be coming out within the next couple of months. It was a project I loved and hated at the same time.  I loved the story and the characters, even the antagonist, Disa. She was a character I enjoyed creating, not just as the bad guy, but a complex individual. I loved writing Carina and Randolf’s story and their love that spanned over two lifetimes.
It was a great experience expanding Randolf’s character, going from a secondary character to the hero of his own story. If you read my other two books, Randolf powers will surprise you.  Carina is the woman I always wanted to be. Her independence and compassion is compelling. Over two lifetimes the tether of love could not be broken between the two of them, despite Disa’s vow to separate their souls and banish them to desolation.

As I said, I hated this book at the same time. In my mind I knew the beginning and the end and all the events in between, but it was the details that had to get them from one scene to another that was a challenge. I kept thinking, “How do I get from here to there?” and I spent a great deal of time playing every scenario that would make it work. As a writer, wouldn’t it be nice to know everything, from beginning to end including all the details in between. I envy the writer who can breeze through it effortlessly.

Don’t get me wrong I love my stories. My head would explode if I didn’t get them written down, I just had a love, hate relationship with this story, but I persevered and made it one of my best projects.
I can’t continue without saying my husband worked with me side by side editing this book. He challenged me to dig deeper into the characters and plot. I grew angry with him sometimes, telling him, “I can’t,” but he always said, “you can.” I was exhausted at the end of each night after answering the really tough questions. I can’t tell you how much his input helped me as a writer, and for that I will always be grateful.

For you writers out there, do you sometimes love and hate you work?

Destiny’s Promise
Disa is in love with Arys, but he’s in love with Carina. Out of heartache and rage she murders them on their wedding night and vows they will never find happiness together. Now the two souls are about to reunite.  Disa makes a pact with the red demon to destroy Carina’s soul so she can never be with Arys again. On his deathbed, the sorcerer who raised Carina tells her she’s in grave danger and only the Black Knight can protect her. But she has no idea who the Black Knight is or where to find him, and she’s being evicted.
Randolf, known as The Black Knight, is a powerful warrior and possesses strong magic, but he is plagued by dreams of a woman pleading with him to find her. After yet another dream, restless and frustrated, he goes to a local inn where he encounters Carina. She’s familiar but he doesn’t know why. Not then. Will their souls reunite before Disa carries out her diabolical plans?
He lay dying on the terrace floor. His life’s blood flowed from the gaping wound across his throat. The light was beginning to fade. Stars in the night sky watched as his life drifted away.
His dead wife lay beside him. Her face was splattered with blood, and her eyes vacant. Her soul had already departed. Tears ran down his face as he clutched her hand. The amulet he gave her as a wedding gift signifying their love was now defiled with blood. “Until the next life,” he whispered as his spirit let go.
A small brilliant light pierced the darkness. He was drawn to it as it grew larger and more intense. Soon it saturated him with love and warmth. There was no pain, no sorrow, and no regret.
His spirit traveled through the light. When his journey ended, he found himself standing in the middle of a meadow where flowers of every color graced the landscape. In the distance, mountains rose out of the ground with blue-green water falls cascading down their rocky surface. Birds with a myriad of hues glided on the air currents above him like kites. The sweet smell of lavender and new grass wafted to his senses while soft lyrical music floated on a breeze, welcoming him with their song. He was overwhelmed by its beauty, and was immersed in pure bliss.
“Aris!” she shouted as she crested the hill. He ran to her and scooped her up in his arms.
Her brilliant smile filled his heart with glorious joy, and when she laughed her spirit grew brighter.
She covered his face with kisses as tears of happiness streamed down her face. “I thought I lost you,” she cried.
“You will never lose me, my love.”
She looked around. “Where are we?”
“We’re somewhere in the heavens.”
She touched his face. “For eternity.”
Something in his heart told him it wasn’t. He pulled her closer, “This place isn’t for us-not yet.”
Her eyes looked wary. “What do you mean?”
He caressed her face. “Our lives were cut short and we must go back.”
“We can’t go back, Aris. Our lives as we knew them are gone.”
“We’ll travel in different lives.”
Her eyes widened with panic. “No. If we leave here, how am I going to find you?”
I’ll find you.”
“No, Aris, stay here with me,” she said wrapping her arms tightly around his waist.
“That is my deepest desire, but even now the new life pulls us apart. It’s what has to be done.”
He held her tightly, as she desperately clung to him. New tears ran down her face filled with sorrow. Seeing her pain clawed at his heart. “You must promise to find me, Aris. Swear you will find me.”
“I swear, I will find you.” His lips touched hers. Their souls wove around each other like coils in a rope. A heavy wind of earth-bound life began to pull them apart. He fought the clutches of the unseen, but his struggle was futile. She reached out to him, as her spirit was being pulled away.
“I love you, Aris,” she cried out over the roaring wind.
“I will find you, Carina. I promise.” His spirit floated into the mist of the mountains. “I love you,” he shouted, but she was already gone, yet still her voice echoed, “Find me Aris. Find me.”

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Claimed and Tamed and a New Release

by Nancy Gideon

In this waning month of romance, my thoughts turned to how differently we present love and relationships in our paranormal worlds than in the traditional romance. Our characters don’t just exchange verbal vows that can be broken. In many cases, they form a lifelong connection to one another. In my “Touched by Midnight” vampire series and in my “By Moonlight” and new “House of Terriot” shape-shifter series, whether it’s a rather pointed kiss or a lusty mating, it’s forever. And that’s a long time. It really is ‘til death us do part (and even that, is negotiable!).

In the primitive animal kingdom, many species form a bond that pairs them together for the lifetime of their mate. They’re protective of and loyal to each other. And isn’t that what we aspire to when we say our “I do's?" In my preternatural worlds, the pairing bond goes beyond just the physical connection. There’s a psychic connection as well that enhances the union. Sharing each other’s thoughts, emotions and awareness of one another on a metaphysical plane heightens the link between a mated pair and does incendiary things to the heat level of their attraction. With stakes that high, it isn’t a step taken lightly, as my hero Colin Terriot discovers in PRINCE OF POWER in this excerpt:


That word whispered with possibility. Look at Sylvia and his brother, Row. Together. Blissfully content. Forever. That could be him and Mia.

He’d never thought of it. Had never thought he’d be ready to close the revolving door leading to his bedroom to settle down with one female. He hadn’t been looking or even thinking in that direction when Mia Guedry burst into his life and held his heart hostage.

She was right.  Everything about them was wrong. Except how well they fit together, even when sex wasn’t in the picture. He’d never expected that, to just enjoy the presence of another without the main purpose that rush into the sheets. She challenged him, made him mad, made him think, made him crazy with longing as well as lust. Her smile melted him like a snow cone on a French Quarter summer sidewalk. He admired her independence, her loyalty to her people, her fierce protection of them. What a perfect mate she’d be, strong enough to weather his moods, fiery enough to satisfy his desires, brave enough to brace their differences, tender enough to bear his young.

His steps faltered under the enormity of his decision.

It was no longer just a dream, a hope.

It was his battle plan.
Nothing says “I love you” like knowing that having that other person forever will cost you everything, which is the heartbeat of PRINCE OF POWER, Book Two in my “House of Terriot” series, a New Release on Monday, February 27!

Obsessed with an enemy - the only female to ever walk away from him . . .

Colin . . . Prince in the House of Terriot

Brawny, cynical negotiator for his clan, Colin Terriot sees a move to New Orleans as an escape from a painful past and his reputation as a legendary lover. What he didn't expect was to fall hard for a rival spy, the female who tricked and betrayed him by leaving his bed for his brother's. Now, he now must work with her, up close and personal, as the envoy for her clan. Things are about to heat up.

Determined to have him - even if having him means losing all . . .

Mia . . . Strong-willed Guedry heir

Denied her rightful legacy, Mia Guedry plans to stake her claim over the bodies of those who killed her family. But best laid plans fall before her desire for the one male she can't resist, the one who will never trust her once burned by her necessary deceptions. Saving her Terriot prince from plans already in motion may cost more than her inheritance . . . the price could be her life.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Get ready for fifty shades of tall, dark and deliciously dangerous with Colin Terriot, the hottest shifter yet! Five Stars!” – Book Bling

“Hold onto your heart (& your panties, ladies!) . . . the Terriot princes are back! Things are heating up in New Orleans in this powerful story of obsession, betrayal and revenge. Intricately woven plot lines and complex characters carry PRINCE OF POWER to a block buster revelation in another Page Burning Must Read! Five Hearts!” – Cross My Heart Reviews

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I don’t know about you, but that extra layer and level of intimacy is what drew me to paranormal romances in the first place, whether the link is eternal and just lifelong. That ‘more and beyond’ is what gives our books their appeal. Higher stakes and greater rewards. That’s what it’s all about.

Nancy Gideon on the Web

Friday, February 24, 2017

"Lieutenant Girl, Report to the Bridge. We're out of Coffee" The Sometimes Weird World of Women in Science Fiction by L. A. Kelley. (Plus a free ebook for you!)

Science fiction has come a long way. The genre had roots in the nineteenth century stories of Jules Verne and H. G. Welles, but exploded as a genre after World War II. As technology advanced and women were allowed to embrace more professional roles, science fiction began to reflect a changing world. Instead of characters whose sole purpose was to be saved by the hero, women began to serve alongside them fighting monsters and alien hordes. Often they appeared as scientists, but the division of labor was hardly fifty/fifty. Even a female scientist still had to serve coffee and be slave girl to a robot.

Who Was That Masked Man? Oh, He’s a She.
Why a robot needs a slave girl is beyond me, but then it was a male writers’ world. Science fiction publishers (an all-boys club) dismissed women’s manuscripts unopened if they didn’t use male or gender neutral pen names to disguise their identity, believing men wouldn’t read a story written by a woman. Alice Norton became Andre Norton to hide the woman behind the words, and also wrote under Andrew North and Allen Weston. Carolyn Janice Cherry became C. J. Cherryh, Alice Bradley was James Tiptree, Jr., Even as late as 2001, Joanne Rowling used the pen name J. K. Rowling at the insistence of the publisher.   

Roles in science fiction movies have improved since the fifties. Occasionally, a woman will even nab a lead, but screenwriters are almost exclusively male, so the differences between the way men and women are treated in dialog and action sequences can be eye-roll worthy, if not downright bizarre. Case in point is the film Prometheus. The heroine, Elizabeth Shaw, needs an alien entity removed from her body. Luckily, nearby is a robotic medical surgical pod. Oh darn, it’s only designed for men. She has to drag herself down the passageway to another one for women.
Say what?

Yes, apparently scientists can send a spaceship hurtling across the galaxy, but scratch their heads at constructing a single medical facility to care for male and female crew. (Hello, Mr. Male Screenwriter, they’re called sick bays.) Curse those lady parts. They’re just so darn complicated. Can you imagine a man in a science fiction film ever facing a similar dilemma? You’d never see a bunch of female doctors standing around scratching their heads. “So sorry, we can’t help you. It’s the testicles, you see. They’re icky, and we can’t figure them out.”

Thinking Hurts Her Wittle Girl Bwain
In science fiction a heroine’s journey generally parallels

that of a hero. She goes from girl or woman on a quest to the climax where she confronts the antagonist. Often, fighting is not merely one of the options offered for victory, it’s the only one. Except for her gender, she’s pretty much a clone of the guys. Displaying feminine traits is even used as an insult. How many times have you come across a variety of, “What are we, a bunch of girls?”

This is a crying shame. Don’t get me wrong.  I like warrior women. They can be lots of fun, but why do they seem to be more of a requirement and less of an alternative, particularly in science fiction books and films? Why do female and male characters have to always be so darn similar? Why can’t a girl show a softer side without being thought of as weak and not as good as the boys? Why must she  fight more than she thinks?

Smart girls can be done well. Two recently acclaimed science fiction films, Gravity and Arrival, both had female leads and neither one packed heat. Teenager Meg Murry in A Wrinkle in Time is both smart and brave and doesn’t need ninja training to rescue her father or brother. All the women in Andy Weir’s The Martian are intelligent, strong, and engaging individuals. I suspect not one of them ever picked a bar fight.

There’s no need to toss warrior women. They have a place, too, but I say add more clever girls to the mix; tough, brave, smart girls who don’t realize their abilities until put in an impossible situation and their true strengths shine. They don’t have to walk, talk, and act like the boys to get the job done or always rely on magic or a gun. They can have both hobbies and adventures and be brave, loyal, true leaders who understand femininity doesn’t equal space slut in spandex with her boobs hanging out. Then maybe the next time someone says, “What are you? A bunch of girls?” the answer will be, “Absolutely, and you’re lucky to have us.”

A Special Free Offer for You!
To celebrate the release of book 3 in my YA space opera, book 1, Rimrider, is free on Amazon. The series has smart females of all ages, and the heroine, Jane Benedict, is brainy rather than brawny. Hurry, offer ends February 28.

Orphan, pirate, spy.

Teenager Jane Benedict is awakened by her father and ordered to memorize a mysterious code. Hours later, Mathias Benedict is dead and Jane and her brother, Will, are wards of United Earth Corporation. To evade the company's murderous clutches and uncover the meaning of her father’s last message, Jane leads Will on a desperate escape across the galaxy aboard the Freetrader smuggler ship, Solar Vortex. Tangled in the crew’s fight against UEC, Jane saves the life of young smuggler Mac Sawyer and learns her father’s code identifies a secret cargo shipment that can spell doom for the entire Freetrader cause and the extinction of an alien race.

Piracy, intrigue, romance, and a daring rebellion from Earth wait on the planet Rimrock. Will Jane answer the call to adventure and find new purpose on the galactic rim or will death for high treason be her fate?

L. A. Kelley writes scify/fantasy adventure books with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. She’s never picked a bar fight, but could if she wanted.


email: l.a.kelley.author@gmail.com

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Follow Me Into the Woods My Dear

Follow Me Into the Woods My Dear: A Paranormal Valentine Poem 

By Francesca Quarto
Follow me into the woods my dear 
the leaves are green with fragrance fair
Follow my steps each footfall  clear
the cloven shapes, makes one to stare.
Follow my shadow when sun is hidden
let milky moonlight become your guide
And as for Faeries who come unbidden
their promised love will not abide.
Follow me under the bowing Willow
the earth beneath your form is humming
I've made for you a downy pillow
so drowse my dear, our storm is coming.

While Valentine's Day is past, it's never too late for passion when it grabs the imagination and squeezes out a sigh!  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tips from a Newbie by Guest @MiaJoCeleste

Tips from a Just-Published New Author
Mia Jo Celeste

When I was pregnant with my first son, my friend, a new mom herself, kept saying, “You have no idea what you’re in for.”
I was a little offended. As a teacher and a former nanny and babysitter, I thought I did. But when my son arrived, and I was responsible for him twenty-four-seven, I began to think my friend was right—the experience was totally new. In January, my first release Other Than came out, and again, my friend’s words rang in my head—you have no idea.
Being newly published is both exhilarating and scary. There were and probably still is a lot I’ve yet to learn about marketing books, but here are five helpful tips I’d like to pass along.
First, preparation is important. Read articles and study what other writers say about reaching readers. Ask authors you know for advice. Consider writing blog or Facebook posts in advance. Line up places where you might post. Get some early reviews.
Second, cut yourself some slack. Remember that humans learn by trial and error. Mistakes are part of the process. Inevitably, you’ll slip up or miss something. It’s okay.
Third, start working on your next novel. If you’re like me, writing is the fun part. My favorite stories are always the ones I’m currently working on.
Fourth, don’t be afraid to ask for help. So far, I’ve gotten a lot of advice and assistance from friends and strangers, as well as from experts and novices. I bet your experience will be the same.
Fifth, give yourself time. Embrace the newness. Know that tasks you’ve never done before will take longer. Let them. Schedule that in and while you’re at it consider adding extra minutes, so you can pause in wonder when it all comes together.
I’m guessing most of this post’s readers are authors. Please pipe in, share something you learned about the publishing process or something that surprised you in the comments.

As I said before, my novel just came out. OTHER THAN, a Gaslamp Fantasy/ Paranormal Historical Romance is only weeks old and I’d love to share its blurb and an excerpt with you.

It only takes one drink from the Water of Immortality to kill Evie Woods—halfway. Trapped in undead flesh, the world’s last skin-slider wakens on an island purgatory where a cursed spring bubbles with immortality, and zombie cannibals crave living flesh.
Her only hope of escape rests in the hands of the one man who would see her fail. Bound to her by cords stronger than death, Lord Victor Lowell is both the man of her dreams, and her darkest nightmares. Contrary and intractable, Victor preys on others to maintain his angelic charisma and preternatural prowess. Drawn to the compellingly gallant and vulnerable soul behind his mercurial humors, Evie can only watch as protecting her forces Victor to sacrifice yet more of himself to the ancient evil long tethered to his soul.
Trapped in an ever-escalating war they can’t stop, Victor and Evie fight time for a cure, but as the long days pass blackness tears at Evie, ripping her thoughts from her one memory at a time. Victor will to do whatever it takes to prevent her from deteriorating into a rotting husk, even if it means dooming himself, but Evie won’t surrender his soul without a fight. Battle lines drawn, the soul mates resolve to find redemption or die trying.


He materialized in the inky shadow.

Or rather his apparition did. His ghostly frame hovered before her, sinuous and lithe. Against his shadowed form, the string glimmered like liquid silver. Slowly he unwrapped her, tossing the spectral bands to the floor until a coil lay between him and her.
Something inside her chest fluttered. “You followed me.”
An accusation.
He nodded. With a slight shrug, he spread his hands. “You shouldn’t be alone.”
She wanted to turn, giving him her back, but her betraying gaze remained fixated upon him. When he paced around her, she waved him away. “Don’t.”
He caught her hand and placed an insubstantial kiss in her palm. “Let me help you…please.”
A gallant gesture, perhaps, but her skin-slider sensitivity noted the rigidity of his stance, the twitch along his jaw, and the slight narrowing of his eyes. How could he think of helping her when he was in so much pain?
Ordinarily, she might be grateful. Might…if loss hadn’t hollowed her.
She ripped her cooling flesh from his spectral arms. “I don’t deserve kindness.”
“Good.” He gave her a rakish smirk. “Because I’m not kind.”
She shook her head, biting back the emerging smile that had no place on her countenance. She couldn’t be civil, couldn’t risk the involvement. “I can’t go on like this—stuck betwixt life and death.”
“You must. Don’t you see, sweet dove? You’re beyond both. You’re immortal. Like me.”

If you’re interested in getting a copy of Other Than you can find it at these places.

Mia Jo Celeste comes from a family of writers and English teachers, so it was no surprise when she chose to pursue both careers. She grew up watching horror movies and reading romances. To her, the two genres go together like salty and sweet in kettle corn. If you’d like to contact Mia Jo, you can find her at these places.

In addition, I’d be honored if you’d like to review a copy. Feel free to contact me miaATmiacelesteDOTcom if you’re interested. Thanks.