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Steampunk dreams

A few summers ago, I got the wild hair to turn my living room into a steampunk masterpiece. Not that I knew a whole lot about steampunk, mind you. But I’d been fascinated by the fashions and decor for awhile, and I liked Wild Wild West and Firefly (which isn’t steampunk but it is Chinese and Chinese is cool).

steampunkery and zoos 027We added the Victorian interest in nature by having mounted butterflies with microscopes, the old steam trunks, the Persian rugs… and this Chinese cabinet which was truly a beautiful antique, with lacquered carvings all across the front panels.steampunkery and zoos 024

This was the highlight of our collection, acquired in a dusty old antique store in Asheville, North Carolina. We were in love with it. (Right now though, I’d love to sell it so I don’t have to move it again. It’s very solid and heavy!!)

 

We added the gear-naked clock, and a gear-laden chicken. (see below).

So what have I written that qualifies as Steampunk?

Absolutely nothing.

One of the delights of steampunk is the adherence to knowledge of machinery and science. I’m a mother, not an engineer, damn it, Jim. One day, I might take the time to research and educate myself in an effort to get up to speed enough to write on the subject. I like what I see that other people do, for sure. I mean, who doesn’t like magic steampunkery and zoos 029flying machines and submarining 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea??

steampunkery and zoos 031Another facet of steampunk that I love is the focus on travel. People are always flitting about in airships, or on boats or underwater or into space, even. The curiosity of the Victorian Era just continues on in spades.

Sure, there’s still politics and poverty and all the other parts of modern society, but the chase for knowledge seems to be valued above all else.

And they love one thing I also love: the octopus.

Not just your average little inking cephalopod, either. They don’t mess around. Their octopi can take down whole boats. And they are ubiquitously useful. Do you need one of your very own? Check out this video! They come in chandeliers and door handles. They make lovely Halloween costumes. Need I say more?

What do you think about steampunk? What’s your favorite example?

One of my sister authors has a beautiful photographic novel entitled THE DOOR—this post is part of her campaign to raise funds for its publication before she goes on for her Masters’ degree. Hit the link above to enter the contest and capture your clue words for the scavenger hunt of the week. Win wallpapers and other bonus gifts. Most of all, support starving artists everywhere! 🙂

octopus

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you thought a poltergeist was bad–what about a deadly cyber-geist?

    


 

Maxx Fragg, V.P.I.

 

S.A. Check
Genre: Young Adult / Sci-fi / Paranormal
Release Date:09/03/15

 

Publisher Ink Smith Publishing

 

Cover Designer: Macy Stom
 
pasted image 0When Maxx lost his brother in a car accident, his world fell apart.  It didn’t help he was driving the car when it happened.  Finding an escape inside the virtual world of Other Syde, Maxx runs the Maxx Fragg Virtual Paranormal Investigative Agency with his best friend, Tane. But in a world where dreams become reality, can nightmares be far behind?

      When a real ghost attacks Maxx inside the program, he’s saved by the last person he ever expected to see again, his brother. Risking everything for a chance to say he’s sorry, Maxx, Tane, and Maxx’s almost-girlfriend Emi, need to figure out why real ghosts are haunting a virtual world while on the run from a murderous cyber-geist, high-tech security guards, a corrupt corporation with their own plans for the technology, the recluse genius who created the program, and Maxx’s own demons.

About the Author

 

 
 

 

Excerpt
Tucked between the shadows and the night, standing in a darkened corner of the room, Maxx Fragg watched the young couple huddled on the couch. They had no idea what he had in store for them. He almost felt sorry. Almost. He watched as Travis stroked Debbie’s hand and whispered something in her ear. Maxx locked eyes with her as he moved across the apartment. He saw the desperation mixed with fear in her eyes and he grinned. He liked it that way. Pulling a pair of gloves from his belt, Maxx cinched them tight around his wrists. The rush of adrenaline rose up from his chest. This was far from his first job but he still got a thrill each time. He clicked off the lamp and the room went black.
         Debbie gasped. “Can’t we leave a few lights on?”
         “I prefer to work in the dark. It helps me concentrate,” Maxx said. It really didn’t matter but he felt it intensified the experience.
         “I think I’d rather see what’s coming.” Travis pulled a cushion on his lap, clutching the fabric.
         “Why? You expecting a pillow fight?” Maxx dropped the equipment bag slung over his shoulder.
         Debbie jumped. “What are you going to do with that?”
         “What I’m being paid to do. My job.” Maxx nodded across the room to his partner, who shook his head in disapproval. Bending next to the couch, Maxx slowly unzipped the bag. He was close enough to see the goose bumps on Debbie’s arm rise with each click.
         “I don’t care what it takes. Just get that thing out of my house,” Travis said.

         “Don’t worry. You’ll be ghost free in no time.” Maxx knew his clients needed to believe he could make it better, take away their fears. If only it was that simple. Everyone wanted to name the night, put a label on their personal horrors. He wished someone could shut the door to the monsters in his own closet.

Inherit the Stars–with Laurie A. Green

2011 Rita & Golden Heart AwardsWelcome today to my Science Fiction Romance Brigade sister LAURIE A. GREEN! Thanks for being with us today.

First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?

Thanks for inviting me to your blog today! I’m Laurie A. Green and I live in the great state of New Mexico, though I’m a native Michigander. My husband and I own a small ranch, so yes, we have the usual menagerie of critters—dogs, cats, horses.

As far as addictions (assuming the internet doesn’t count), I generally can’t function before I’ve had my two cups of coffee in the morning—and on really rough days I need an afternoon booster from Starbucks. I’m also a peppermint chain-popper, especially the soft puffy variety. Did you know peppermint is a natural antacid? Works wonders.

I don’t have a degree though I have quite a bit of unfinished business at various colleges. I’ve worked for 20 years as a military budget director, so the lack of a degree hasn’t hindered me and likewise, I don’t feel it’s had any adverse effect on my writing career.

Inherit_the_Stars_Complete_NovelTell us about your most recent publication. 

I just became a debut author in January with a novelette, Farewell Andromeda, but my first novel, Inherit the Stars, launched in February. (It actually had two debuts—first as a serialized novel in three parts, and again as a complete novel in one volume.) Both titles are part of a Science Fiction Romance series. It’s now available in print, too!

What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?

The core idea for Inherit the Stars came to me in a dream. It’s about one man’s attempt to escape enslavement by a galactic superpower. To evade his captors, he strikes a desperate deal with the female captain of a prototype starship, and soon finds himself not only emotionally connected but fatefully entangled in her destiny–a course that will take him full circle to face the very evil he most fears.

I have to avoid spoilery here, but I can say I did quite a bit of research on theories surrounding dark energy, camouflage capabilities in space, and high tech communications, and then let my imagination take the reins. Writing is an education in and of itself. I always learn new things when I’m researching a novel.

Sounds fascinating! How would you best describe your books?

Unapologetically Science Fiction Romance with a side of high adventure. Most of my novels include military elements in some form, which seems to flow naturally from my long career in military in civilian support. Honor and duty are themes readers will see often in my work, and a love vs. duty scenario can lead to some powerful emotional conflicts.

What is your favorite genre to write? To read?

Oh, it’s SFR on both counts, but I do have one slipstream SFR/Paranormal manuscript completed and I do occasionally read outside the genre.

What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?

New Mexico picIt would still be Science Fiction Romance, but I have to confess…I do have a family saga Historical on slow simmer in the back of my mind. It takes place in Spain, Mexico and the colonial Southwest (New Mexico) in the 1600-1700s. Maybe when I’m retired and have the time to do all the necessary research, I’ll see where it leads. It would be an ode to my adopted state.

When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I’ve written stories ever since I learned how to scrawl words out on paper. Just wired that way, I guess. I was a very shy, quiet kid, and it was about my only outlet for self-expression. I think I have to credit my dream to become an author to a junior high English teacher who gave me a ton of encouragement and once told me to never stop writing. Someday I’d like to be able to tell her, “Thank you, Ms. Phillips. I never did.” I’m sure she has no idea what a huge impact her words had on me.

What do you love most about writing and what do you not like?

I love everything about writing. I totally get lost in the stories and the world when I’m in the zone. A whole day can pass in a blink. What I don’t enjoy is trying to juggle the time I want to spend on writing with all the other priorities in my life—the promotional duties, professional job and household chores all add up to a lot of demands on my time. If I had my druthers, I’d spend that time at the keyboard.

sfr

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

I’m one of those who can’t listen to music while I’m in the process of creating the story. I need absolute quiet for that. But I do listen to music when I’m plotting or brainstorming. I do a lot of that on my two-hours commute to and from work and it helps set the mood or tone for the story. I prefer soft and classic rock—America, John Denver, ELO, John Mayer and Moody Blues are some of my faves. I have “soundtracks” on my iPod for my various novels.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

Yes, I’m a member of RWA, LERA (Land of Enchantment Romance Authors), FF&P (Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal), and The Golden Network local chapters, CritiqueCircle, and the SFR Brigade.

CritiqueCircle.com was a huge find for me. I joined in 2007 and I made more progress in that first year than I had in the previous ten! I learned oodles about the craft through the critiques, and three of the novels that went through the CC queues went on to final in the RWA Golden Heart Awards. I also developed bonds with a large group of peers who have since become published authors—Barbara Elsborg, Arlene Webb, D.L. Jackson and Liana Brooks, to name just a few.

I know I love my critique group. You do learn so much!  Do you belong to a critique group? What do you find most valuable about the experience? 

I think having a critique group is an essential tool for a writer. I have a pool of writers and authors that I exchange critiques with, many of whom I met on CritiqueCircle. Most of the writers on our joint blog—Spacefreighters Lounge—are close peers that I can count on to critique or beta-read my work or just help me hash out a new idea. I also have a couple of local peers I work with for face-to-face critiques. It’s more time consuming, but it can be really energizing to get that direct, immediate feedback.

I believe critiques are essential. No writer can work in a vacuum. You need to get your work in front of others’ eyes so they can point out issues or problems you may not see because you’re too close to your work. It has to be a peer you can trust to give you solid advice. Critiqueing is an art form in itself. Not everyone makes a good critique partner.

Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one?

This is actually the second go-round for me. I was ardently pursuing a career in publishing back in the mid-1990s when I got so discouraged that I stopped writing for a decade. When I decided to reboot and take another shot at it in 2007 (I credit that inspiration to a Halloween eve movie marathon of the Lord of the Rings trilogy), I’d lost a lot of time but I was twice as determined.

Four years later in 2011, I was named a double finalist in the RWA Golden Heart Awards and then became a single finalist again in 2012 with three separate novels. (One of them was Inherit the Stars, under its original title P2PC.) I found my agent, Amanda Luedeke of MacGregor Literary Agency, during that time after a peer read a guest blog she wrote and urged me to query her. Over the next two years we knocked on a lot of doors, but Science Fiction Romance just wasn’t getting any takers. We decided to forego the traditional path last September, and we co-published my first two works in January and February. C0-publishing is the term I use for being published via my agent.

Farewell_Andromeda-FinalHow did you find a publisher? How did you receive the Call?

As per the above, I’m co-published through my agent—I call it “Indie with benefits”—so when I talk about “the call” it was the one I received from Amanda when I first queried her, and she emailed to say “we should talk.” I was so nervous before we had that first telephone conversation, pretty much scared to death we wouldn’t click. Not to worry! We ended up chatting for hours about my work, my plans and the industry in general. Then she made her official offer to represent me. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to find someone so enthusiastic and excited about my work and who wanted to be my agent.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

Inherit the Stars was a very different experience from all my other novels because the idea hit so hard and the scenes unfolded so fast when I began writing that I blasted out the first draft in six weeks. I mentioned the original inspiration came from the remnants of a dream, but the story that unfolded from that single idea was like a driving force. My muse seemed to be on auto-pilot! And this novel is no lightweight, it weighs in at around 112,000 words.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you? 

Right now, I’m working on shining up the next novel in my series, The Outer Planets, for a fall release, and that will be followed in the Spring of 2016 with the third novel, also complete but in need of a good spit and polish. The next three books haven’t been written yet, but I’ll be retiring from my day job next February so I can devote more time to getting those wrapped up.

I’ll be attending the RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas from May 12th-17th. This is my first RT, so I’m really looking forward to the experience. Next year, I hope to get to several more conferences and events.

What would you like to tell readers?

If you’re the sort who loves a good romance and feels a real sense of wonder when you gaze up at the stars, you’d probably enjoy my work. After all, space is the final Romance frontier.

If you’d like to learn more about my books, please visit my website: http://www.laurieagreen.com

Best wishes with your release!

 

Dark skies, dieselpunk and super heroes: welcome author Pippa Jay!

Welcome a writer friend from across the pond, the fabulous Pippa Jay!! And don’t forget to read all the way to the bottom to learn about her intriguing contest, which runs until December 19–take it away, Pippa!

WP_20141125_007pippaHi, I’m Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. Over the last year I’ve written things I never imagined I would, from subgenres of SF to paranormal and urban fantasy. From aliens and space-faring humans to zombies. And now to superheroes. If you told me I’d be writing those a couple of years ago, I’d have laughed. But here I am, with my first superhero story out in the wild.
Several things influenced the setting for When Dark Falls. When I first started thinking about the story, it materialized as an urban fantasy, something I’d never written and don’t read a lot of, so the idea scared me off a bit. I tried to put a SF twist on it as I started Camp NaNoWrimo in August 2012, but soon I realized I was trying to write two different genres in one and I had to stop. When Dark Falls stumbled to a messy stop.
Then I was listening to Living Things by Linkin Park, and the music transformed the story. The album had a quite dark/industrial sound. It made me think of Art Deco buildings, of technology out of synch with the period feel. It reminded me of Dark City and Skycaptain and the World of Tomorrow. Smoke, oil and metal. Bronze and chrome. Black skies and flame.
A bit of research took me into dieselpunk and decopunk. I’d found the setting I wanted for my characters, and a bit of research into Egyptology (which was so tied into the Art Deco/Art Nouveau periods) gave me a name for the city from the goddess of funereal custom – Nephthys. So Neophopolis, with its bronze futurist towers and dark skies with pillars of flames came to life.
Just think what might have happened if I’d been listening to something else…

About the Story:

In a city where Dark Technologies Inc. now runs the show, Kadie Williams has more immediate concerns than the fall of Blaze, their guardian superhero. Almost every morning for the last few months she’s woken up with cuts and bruises on her body, and no idea how she got them. There are no nightmares. No evidence that she sleepwalks, or any sign of a break in. And nothing to tell her who’s been cleaning up after her. As just one of thousands of civilians conscripted to slave away in the labs of Professor Dark, she knew there’d be trouble ahead. But she never expected it to be so bad, or so personal.

Desperate for answers, Kadie looks to the new defender of the night, the only person who can hinder the total domination of Professor Dark—Nocturnelle. The mysterious vigilante superhero came from nowhere with her cybernetic sidekick Shadow, set on putting an end to the brutality of Dark’s regime. But as his laboratories work on a new secret super-weapon, Nocturnelle and Shadow may not be enough to save Nephopolis…or to save Kadie either.

When Dark Falls is an alternative 1920s superhero romance released by Breathless Press on the 21st November. Add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE. Sign up to my no-spam newsletter HERE to stay up to date with releases, cover reveals, sales and giveaways for all my titles and more.

whendarkfalls_1650x2550Excerpt:

Nocturnelle perched on the carved griffin statue decorating the tower’s cornerstone, with hundreds of feet of empty space between her and the ground below. Her second skin felt tight. It was a familiar sensation and yet always the first thing she noticed on waking, as if her body needed to remind her of the fact. She stretched and her outer skin crackled like leather. She flexed her fingers, the delicate oh-so-white digits a stark contrast to her black arms. Silver lines marked her left forearm, and she frowned at them. She was meant to be impervious to blades and bullets, and yet somehow, not too long ago, she must have injured herself.
As she rose, her skin creaked. She stretched again, and then tugged her hands through her hair, pulling the thick swathe of black silk from her face and knotting it at the back. Darkest Night forbid it should get in her way. The second skin pressed tight against her forehead, running around her eyes and mouth, cradling her chin. She ran her fingers around the edges, tracing the outline. Perfect. Her body tingled as though electricity danced in her veins, and she smiled. Breathed in the evening air. This was her time.
Viscous and reeking, the night sky hung over the city of Art Deco towers and buildings like an oil-slick. Behind her, the metallic chinking of the cloudburner cooling after a day spent scorching the sky ticked away the seconds like a clock.
“Nelle?”
The deep male voice sent a shiver down her back, and she turned. “Ah, my faithful Shadow. Ready for another night-time jaunt?”
A figure stepped out of the shadows to join her. He matched her for height; his whipcord frame clad in a charcoal-colored armor vest, black combats, and a hip-length military jacket. When the rooftop lights hit his face, the chiseled jawline showed; his skin a dark tan. He wore a mask over his eyes, but his teeth gleamed white when he smiled. And when he smiled, something inside Nelle set her heart racing.
“Ready and set, Nelle.”

About Pippa Jay:

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include YA and adult stories crossing a multitude of subgenres from scifi to the paranormal, often with romance, and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

Website – http://www.pippajay.co.uk
Blogs –
Adventures in Scifi – http://www.pippajay.blogspot.co.uk
Spacefreighters Lounge – http://www.spacefreighters.blogspot.com
Romancing the Genres – http://www.romancingthegenres.blogspot.co.uk/
SFR Brigade – http://www.sfrcontests.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/pippajaygreen
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5054558.Pippa_Jay
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Pippa-Jay-Adventures-in-Scifi/114058821953752
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/pippajaygreen/
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/101080630877126516448/posts
Wattpad – http://www.wattpad.com/user/PippaJay
Amazon page – http://www.amazon.com/Pippa-Jay/e/B0080QVWEE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1406376408&sr=8-1

Buy Links:

Breathless Press – http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&cPath=25&products_id=691
Bookstrand – http://tinyurl.com/kkonr53
All Romance eBooks – http://tinyurl.com/n873eap
Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/When-Dark-Falls-Pippa-Jay-ebook/dp/B00P5MQR6Y/
Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/When-Dark-Falls-Pippa-Jay-ebook/dp/B00P5MQR6Y/
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/495412
Web page to other links – http://www.pippajay.co.uk/#!when-dark-falls/cl15

Contest:

Open internationally until the 19th December. I’ve donned my superhero guise for the length of the tour, and you get to name me and decide my talent(s)! If I like it, I may include it in the sequel to When Dark Falls and credit you in the acknowledgements. To enter, please put the name, talent, and your contact details in the comments. Please note – by entering this contest you are giving me full permission for me to use the superhero name without any recompense to you, financially or otherwise, other than the acknowledgement, and you are waiving any rights to the name. You’ll also get a digital format of your choice for When Dark Falls.

***

How exciting is that? Your very own superhero in Pippa’s next book? Can’t wait to see all the possibilities.  Thanks for visiting, Pippa! Cheers!

Love through a lens of secrets: Gemma Brocato’s EXPOSED TO PASSION

ETP CoverToday we welcome Gemma Brocato, whose new release EXPOSED TO PASSION, book #3 of the Five Senses series, is released just in time for holiday giving. Here’s a bit about the story:

They walked through the shadows individually. Will they emerge into the light together?

Leading a vagabond life as a curator for a traveling photography exhibit translates to a lot of bad days for Rikki Salerno. But her trouble doubles when a careless high school student shoves her into a marsh. Being rescued by teacher Sam Kerrigan should have made things better, but Rikki’s inability to confess her true identity casts a shadow over their budding affair.

When Sam refuses an overly aggressive parent’s marriage proposal, she’s determined to ruin him. Not only does she doctor photos to make it look like Sam’s behaved inappropriately in front of students, she hacks the foundation website to reveal Rikki’s true identity. Faster than the blink of a shutter, Rikki’s focus changes from pursuing her full-color future to the black and white necessity of clearing Sam’s name.

Now let’s learn a little more about Gemma!

Thanks for being with us today.

Thanks for having me here today, Lyndi.

First, would you tell us about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?

This should be easier. I love to talk about myself, doesn’t everyone? I live in the Kansas City area, American’s midsection. I love the big city/small town vibe and the amount of green space here. Prior to moving here, my husband and I lived in London for a few years. That’s where I wrote my first novel. The story was great, the writing was crap! So that one remains on my laptop. I get it out and tinker occasionally. I love coffee and wine and reading. Hey – at least one of those addictions is not bad for you. I do have a degree in journalism, which has helped throughout my career, but I don’t think you have to have a writing related degree to write a great story. The grammar and punctuation and deep POV things you need to know can be learned.

 Tell us about your most recent publication.

Exposed To Passion is the third book in the Five Senses series, but each book reads as a stand alone. The story centers around Sam Kerrigan and Rikki Salerno and deals with the sense of sight. Rikki is a photographer. I tossed in a high school girl who is being bullied, a grown-up mean girl and a little over-exposure of Sam and Rikki’s affair.

 What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?

I knew when I started the series I wanted each book to represent not only a sense, but a social cause. This book deals with bullying behavior, which is beyond reprehensible. Not only have Sam and Rikki both dealt with bullies growing up, they are still dealing with it.

MC900039215(1)I did have to research photography and cameras and learned how to do astro-photography. Have you seen those pictures of the Milky Way? That’s what astro-photography is. I loved writing a scene that detailed it.

 How would you best describe your books?

I’d call them sexy, sensual contemporary romances with heart.

What is your favorite genre to write? To read?

I recently made a foray into Science Fiction with my story, Mission: Mistletoe and I really loved it. But, I’m most comfortable writing contemporary romance. As far as reading, heck, give me the back of the cereal box. I’ll read anything.

What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?

Well, it sure wouldn’t be writing about financial products (which I’ve done). I’d love to write paranormal or urban fantasy, but I’m not sure I can suspend my own disbelief enough to make it believable.

 What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I love to create the world with just words, to infuse emotion and passion into a world in order to make it three dimensional. When I quit a full time job I loved in order to be available when my teenaged children got home from school, I started considering writing. Then, after a transfer for my husband’s job took us overseas, I finally took the plunge.

 What do you love most about writing and what do you not like?

I like the freedom of setting my own schedule, which is also what I don’t like about it. Because the schedule I set is usually 12 hour days, at least 5 days a week. That doesn’t include weekends.

 Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

I am president of my local RWA chapter and I’m in a critique group, which is awesome.

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

I’m more of an instrumental kind of gal. I find I can’t write to any music with words. I can edit to popular music, though.

What do you find most valuable about the experience in your critique group?

I love my critique group. They are terrific about catching issues in my manuscript and even better about brainstorming.

Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one?

I currently have five books available. Three that were traditionally published and two I’ve self-published. When I finished my second novel, I shelved it until I finished the second in the series before I began trying to submit my first. After I pitched Cooking Up Love, and an editor asked for a full manuscript, the rest is history.

 How did you find a publisher? How did you receive the Call?

I did an online pitch with an editor through Word Wranglers. After she requested a full manuscript, I sent it and then kept writing until I heard a month later that Lyrical Press wanted to offer me a contract for the book. After the shock wore off, there was a lot of celebration.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

I was very excited to write about Sam Kerrigan. He has been featured in the first two books in the series and I’ve been eager to tell his story.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you?

I’ve just submitted the fourth book in the series, based on smell. And I’ve begun working on a new story I hope to have out early next year. I guess I better get busy adding words to that story.

What would you like to tell readers?

Keep reading and always remember to review the books you’ve read. Reviews really do help authors.

Excerpt:

Sam’s attention wandered yet again off the homework papers he was supposed to be correcting. The universal law of gravitation wasn’t nearly as riveting as the memory of Rikki Salerno wearing a purple jacket and tight running shorts in the early morning sunlight. He’d resisted the urge to wrap her in his arms when he’d run up on her in the park that morning. A fiery halo had lit her hair, glints of red winking in her messy ponytail. The sight of her when she turned back toward town and ran ahead of him! He’d have been happy to follow her for all twenty-six miles of a marathon. But, his need to talk to her overruled his desire to watch her spectacular behind, so he’d quickened his pace to catch her.
Rikki had tensed when he’d started ranting about Marguerite Sims. Without knowing how, he’d made her angry again. He didn’t understand it, but she seemed defensive when he’d made disparaging remarks about her boss. He was going to have to watch his comments about the pampered princess when he was around Rikki.
And, if wishes did come true, there would be a whole lot of around Rikki time. Her image in his mind’s eye—exotic, interesting, and intriguing, all wrapped up in one sexy package…. He fidgeted in his hard teacher’s chair, suddenly uncomfortable with the tightness of his khakis. Thank God, there weren’t any students in the room. That’d be a hell of a thing to explain to a bunch of horny teens.

Buy Links
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Exposed-Passion-Senses-Gemma-Brocato-ebook/dp/B00MMMGY18
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exposed-to-passion-gemma-brocato/1120138660?ean=9781616506162
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/exposed-to-passion/id908402553?mt=11&uo=4
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/exposed-to-passion
Kensington: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/30951?category=313085

Gemma BrocatoAbout the Author:
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to ‘Dear Author’ were gratifying.
After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.

Social Media Links:

www.Gemmabrocato.com
https://www.facebook.com/gemma.brocato
https://twitter.com/GemmaBrocato
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7229886.Gemma_Brocato
http://www.wattpad.com/user/GemmaBrocato
https://plus.google.com/+GemmaBrocato/posts

Also By Gemma Brocato:
Cooking Up Love
Hearts In Harmony

Welcome to DESTINATIONS!

I traveled to Austin, Texas this week at the invitation of my publisher, Liz Burton of Zumaya Publications, for a launch party for the second book in the Color of Fear series, DESTINATIONS.

IMGP1978The first adventure was tracking down the books. Liz had brought so much stuff for Zumaya, that she’d inadvertently left the box with the books at home. She had to send someone to get them.  So we sold other books and held on to the dozens of colorful cupcakes she ordered for the occasion.

IMGP1972Little Miss was a great help. 🙂

Along with Rie Sheridan Rose and Gloria Oliver, we got the table inventoried and set up while we were waiting. The dealer’s room was populated with really nice people–I’d never heard of Armadillocon, but it appears to be a science-fiction based con, with a lot of really interesting discussions and panels from the Aztecs to the DNA of mummies. Who knew?

Finally we got the table set up, the drawing ready to go and we let her rip!

IMGP1980The afternoon went faster than I expected, and the books looked great. I had to laugh that the guy across from us tried a unique technique to attract readers. He tied his book to a long string and set it in the middle of the floor, drawing them in a bit at a time.

 

 

 

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All in all, it was a huge amount of fun meeting these writers and readers. We had a great day and followed it with a wonderful dinner.

IMGP1989I  finally got to wear the new outfit I got for the signing but didn’t get time to change into before the books got found! Thanks, Megan for the beautiful green manicure!

If you couldn’t get to Austin this weekend, remember you can order your very own copy of DESTINATIONS on Amazon.com or other online booksellers:

 

 

Xi San saved the life of a mysterious girl one night in his ravaged San Francisco neighborhood. He can’t get her out of his mind, but believes that she’s lost to him.

Lin Kwan came to America to bring her scientist father Chinese medicinal herbs, hoping to stop the virus that killed most of the DestinationsWEBfsworld’s Caucasians before it mutates to infect the rest of the world. On her way to finding him, she meets again the man who once saved her, a man she can’t forget.

With a diverse group of fellow travelers, they head for St. Louis, where civilization is being rebuilt. Between them and safety, danger lurks—Gabriel, a self-styled religious leader and white supremacist, who has organized his army from Upper Midwest survivalist and militia followers, determined to take revenge for the white man.

But Gabriel isn’t their only enemy. Before they reach their destination, they will battle nature, prejudice and even those hidden among them who wish their destruction.

AND there’s a Goodreads giveaway for a copy of WINDMILLS and DESTINATIONS through August 7–https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/99329-windmills  PASS IT ON!!

Have you met Eddie yet?

eddieEddie Garrick is one of my favorite characters of the Color of Fear series–he’s telling the story of his journey across a virus-devastated America in the Splendid Expedition of Eddie Garrick, Esquire.   Come check out his backstory, and get ready for the next book, DESTINATIONS, coming from Zumaya Publications in July 2014.

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Are you ready for Eddie?

Eddie Garrick, teenage electrogeek and wunderkind

Eddie Garrick, teenage electrogeek and wunderkind

Today begins a new column here at the Worlds of Fancy, where one of the characters in The Color of Fear series gets the chance to share his story, one that isn’t told directly in WINDMILLS or DESTINATIONS. His life and journey, however, impact all the other characters’ lives in ways they could never have suspected.

Credit Flickr Photos, Donna Sutton Creative Commons license

Credit Flickr Photos, Donna Sutton– Creative Commons license

Eddie’s wry observations of life on the road as he leaves the home he’s always known in San Francisco for a life away from the smell of death and the danger of the street gangs. He didn’t intend to go alone, but when his best and only remaining friend Xi San refused to give up his self-appointed job as vigilante protector of their Pacific Heights neighborhood, he didn’t have much choice.

Eddie may no longer have the cutting blog he loved back when they had internet as free as running water, but he can cut and piece a good journal together. You’re invited to come along on his journey. You might see some country you’ve never seen. You might meet some people you’d never have imagined you’d know. But you will meet one indomitable spirit, who helps save what’s left of America after the terrorist attack known as the Second Holocaust.

Windmills Finalbanner2Read The Splendid Expedition of Eddie Garrick, Esquire now!

(For more on the story, click the WINDMILLS tab above–and stay tuned for DESTINATIONS, coming this summer from Zumaya Publications!)

Eternal life as a zombie–is it for you?

Welcome author Katherine Wynter to the blog, with her new book, BLACKOUT!

zombieBlurb:

Zombies walk among us. Look like us. Talk like us.
When Chicago scientist Bryan Southworth found the secret to eternal life through nanocell technology, he didn’t know it’d come with a cost: death. The process of Reanimation requires physical death for bio-synthetic cellular replication to take hold, but maintaining eternal life depends on timely injections of fresh cells to replace those used. Should a patient’s supply run too low, the computer chip installed at the base of the neck deactivates consciousness, freeing up the body to seek out new cells any way necessary.
Mikal Edmonds is your average zombie – or Reanimated Citizen as they prefer to be called – on his first date in over a decade when an attack by the religious terrorist group calling themselves the Naturalists changes everything. Now the target of a zealot’s fervor, Mikal’s willpower is tested as he confronts his past and tries to avoid the one thing he fears above all else: a blackout.

Excerpt:

Chapter One
He scanned the darkened bar, his gaze passing quickly over worn tables and chairs, couples whispering in darkened booths, drunks playing virtual pool with neon balls projected on an old-style wooden table, and the ever present football game covering the back wall with brightly colored violence but no sound. Life had changed dramatically over the many years since his Reanimation, but a bar was still a bar and people were still people. Under normal circumstances neither interested him.

Few things did.

Blind date. Never should have let them talk me into it.

He spotted her sitting at the bar – right where Jose had promised she’d be – and froze. That hair, strawberry blonde, reached in waves past her shoulders, and her slender silhouette seemed as familiar to him as his own breath. Emily? In his mind, he was sitting at a different bar, and her blue eyes sparkled at a joke of his, something about politics though he didn’t remember what exactly. They had been happy then. Before. No. If Emily were still alive, she’d have to be over a hundred years old; this wasn’t Emily. She had moved on. Probably remarried with children and grandchildren by now.

He shook his head, banishing the unwanted memories, and slid onto an empty bar stool next to the girl who could not possibly be his former wife. How old could this new girl be, anyway? Early twenties? Twenty-five, tops. It didn’t matter. With the potential for surgery and Reanimation, apparent age wasn’t an accurate guide anymore.

She wore a Parisian-Oriental fusion dress which hugged her just enough to be alluring yet showed no more than a small taste of ivory skin and knee-high black leather boots. She was attractive, he was forced to admit. Especially with those green eyes. Green, not blue, he reminded himself. Emily’s eyes had been blue.

“Mikal, I presume,” she took a delicate sip of her pink cocktail then pressed a series of buttons on the touch screen built into the surface of the bar. The noise level faded to a hum as the environmental sensors kicked in, shielding them from their surroundings. He rubbed his sweaty palms on his jeans. He could have changed it back, but explaining why might be awkward. “I expected you to be…older.”

He grunted and leaned away. Even with six inches of space separating them, the heat of her body warmed the chill that never left his skin. “I am older.”

A pink flush spread across her cheeks to the tips of her ears as she looked away.

The gesture seemed quaintly sweet. Almost antiquated. Maybe the date hadn’t been such a bad idea after all.

He sat up a little straighter and tapped the touchscreen twice. “Scotch on the rocks,” he said when the bartender appeared inside the controlled environment. Mikal pricked his finger on the scanner set into the bar and opened his tab. As the drink was prepared, the computer system scanned his manufactured genetic code and registered the purchase to his company account. A yellow light flashed on the scanner, completing the transaction.

“Fucking zombie freaks,” the balding bartender muttered but he still set the scotch down before he disappeared into the hazy background.

“I’m…I’m Rose,” she extended her hand, which he took, her fingers like feathers, steel feathers, against his clammy grip ”It’s such a pleasure to meet you, you have no idea.”

“Same here.” He tried to smile, curling his lips up and baring his teeth. Rose didn’t run, so it probably worked.
He took a long pull of the scotch, savoring the line of fire that trailed down his throat and settled in his stomach. A wave of lightheadedness moved through him, relaxing his muscles and bringing a small sigh to his lips as he settled onto the stool. The sensation faded quickly, however, as the tension returned in a rush. Stuck sober just when I need help the most. Not bothering to lower the controls this time, Mikal gestured for another round and waited for it to appear.

She arched one eyebrow.

Shit. I need to say something.

“Have you been waiting long?” Mikal asked, his stomach knotting as soon as the words passed his throat. What a stupid question to ask. He ran his hand awkwardly through his hair.

“No, not long.” She lifted her glass slightly: “This is my first.” The silken material of her dress parted briefly when she uncrossed and then re-crossed her legs.

He swallowed, hard. The movement had bared her smooth, defined legs along the line of the slit, exposing a tantalizing expanse of thigh for the briefest of moments. He ran his hand though his hair again. “Can I get you another?”

She laughed, a sound like the ringing of small bells, and tossed back the rest of her drink. “I’d like that.”

Mikal signaled for the bartender again, and the conversation stalled while they waited for the drinks to appear. He tried to find something appropriate or suave or at least inoffensive to say, but the words just wouldn’t form in his head much less make their way past his lips. What do girls in this decade like? The only ones he saw were usually naked and dancing on a table at the club where he worked. Do I talk about the weather? Politics? Shopping? Please not shopping.

The empty glasses disappeared and a moment later there were two fresh drinks on the bar next to them. Rose picked up the glass, wrapping her slender fingers around the stem, and sipped. “So, Mikal, my friend tells me that you work at NightWatch. How’s that?”

So it was work then. He shrugged, relieved to be on safe ground. “It’s a job. Had worse – not many people want to employ some like me.”

“You mean a zombie?”

“I used to hate that word but anymore…I guess I’m getting more tolerant as I age.”

Her eyes lit up. “You don’t look a day over thirty-two.”

“Pretty spry for the oldest man alive, huh. Maybe next time I’ll bring a cane.”

She laid a hand gently on his wrist. “Next time?”

Warmth flooded through his hand. Life. She hummed with it, vibrated joy and youth and everything he’d missed by hiding himself away the past few decades. Mikal didn’t move away from her touch. “I’m boring and old. Tell me about yourself. Do you have a job?”

Small lines tightened around the corners of her eyes, only to vanish a moment later. The change was so brief he almost missed it.

“Not right now. The economy, you know. I studied cellular bionics at the university before I had to drop out. Now, without a degree, there aren’t many options for a girl like me.”

“A girl like you?” What was he missing? He couldn’t imagine her having trouble finding work. Problem was, the more desperate people became the more depraved their tastes. He studied the angles of her face again. Had he seen her at NightWatch? He clenched and unclenched his fist. She deserved better than that.

She sipped her cocktail and shrugged delicately.

Can I tell her she’s too beautiful to have trouble finding work? Would she think it flattering or creepy this early in the evening? Girls liked compliments. That couldn’t have changed. Mikal opened his mouth to speak.
That’s when he heard it.

A sound, nothing more than a slight ringing, something that shouldn’t have been able to get through the environmental sensors, pulled his attention. First one and then another shadow flitted across the blurred edges of his vision.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, but he gestured for her to be quiet.

The time for civility had ended. No one should have been that close besides the bartender, and they had already received their drinks.

Mikal tapped the touchpad twice; the environmental controls lowered in response. What he saw didn’t make sense. Half of the bar’s hundred-odd patrons drank contentedly, oblivious to their surroundings.

The other half ran for their lives.

One woman tripped in the mad rush for the front doors, knocking over a chair on her way down as a younger man stepped on her back, using her to vault himself up and over her. Three guys in football jerseys each grabbed one of the antique wooden cue sticks off the wall and used it to shove an older man aside, sending pale ale flying up into the air and startling a couple out of their environmental sensors.

A girl screamed.

A lone man with sunken, bloodshot eyes, loomed in the center of the bar, his balding head glistening from sweat. The jacket of his camo-green duster parted momentarily as he raised his arm, revealing a series of clear tubes filled with a greenish liquid strapped to his chest. Thin wires connected the tops of the tubes.
His left hand rested on what had to be a trigger.

“…deserve to die. You are abominations of existence, a blight on the sight of the God who had given you breath and life. Death is sacred and pure, feared only by those certain of their own damnation. Prepare to face His judgment, monsters, and know the wrath of God!”

Instinct took over. Mikal stood, hooked Rose around the waist, and pulled her over the bar with him.

I’m going to die. His shoulders slammed into the hard concrete floor as shattered glass fell around him like rain. He covered her with his body. Maybe this death will be the last.

The world exploded around them.

Bio:

katherineKatherine Wynter is a fantasy/horror/steampunk author of novels and short stories. Her debut novel Blackout is being rereleased by Under the Moon, an imprint of Final Sword Productions, in April 2014. Her second novel, Reaper Legacy, is due out later this year.
Katherine fell in love with the horror and fantasy genres at a young age, hiding in libraries whenever she had the chance and reading till they made her leave – usually by throwing her book out the door so she was forced to follow. When she was old enough for an allowance, she spent it exclusively at bookstores and began building her own library which has grown and been donated only to grow again like a bookish vestigial tail. Although she once planned a career in genetic engineering so she could create her own time traveling dragon, she abandoned this profession when it became clear that sometimes the best science lives only in the imagination of readers. (Okay, her friends pointing out that said dragon, should she create it, would probably just end up having her for lunch instead of letting her ride its back may have also influenced that decision.)
On a less crunchy note, Katherine lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and three insane cats of doom and destruction. She’s an avid reader, hiker, and world traveler. Nothing makes her day more than taking off for somewhere new and getting to experience different cultures and ways of life (probably why she spent two years with the Peace Corps serving in Kazakhstan).
She’s always happy to answer questions or hear from readers. You can email her at katherine@katherinewynter.com or visit her website http://www.katherinewynter.com

Amazon Book Link: http://www.amazon.com/Blackout-Katherine-Wynter-ebook/dp/B00JWR2K8M/ref=la_B00JX6YW6K_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398394128&sr=1-1

Price: $1.50

Great news–book discounts for my special readers!

Dragonfly Publishing has negotiated a great promotion over at Smashwords on the science fiction novels TRIAD, HORIZON SHIFT and HORIZON STRIFE–50 percent off!! That’s less than three bucks or the price of a cup of coffee! Here’s your special codes for those ebooks, and they should be good for the near future.

cvr200x300triadTRIAD:
After five years of silence, the Arkosian space pirates are back to terrorize the sector where Trezanna Len fights to save her Solarii colony, a small group of Terran descendants settled on the planet Induna. To survive, the Solarii need assistance. And soon. Trezanna could ask for help from the neighboring group called Dragonfleet, but its cruel leader Estrella Drake has been on a rampage to annex Solarii space. Estrella would never agree to an alliance with the Solarii. Or would she?

CODE: Get 50% off at Smashwords with the code: ER34U

 

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HORIZON SHIFT:
When Captain Temms Rogers of the Confederation spaceship Doubtful disobeys orders to attack innocent civilians, he and his crew become hunted rebels. In the midst of a desperate space battle, they risk using an experimental alien device that opens a wormhole which hurls them into a new universe.
CODE:Get 50% off at Smashwords with the code: DY37V

 

 

HORIZON STRIFE:

In FIVE-STAR REVIEWED  Book II of the Horizon Crossover Series, Captain Temms Rogers and the crew of the spaceship Doubtful are caught between a powerful interplanetary group called the Agency and mystical cvr200x300horizonstrifebeings known as the Ancients. With the voices of the Ancients haunting his dreams and a mysterious illness plaguing his crew, Rogers must find a derelict space station and discover its secrets before the Agency destroys them all.
CODE:Get 50% off at Smashwords with the code: NK38Y

Don’t miss your chance to read these exciting space operas! Get caught up on the Horizon Crossover series before the final book, HORIZON DYNASTY, is released later this year.

cvr200x300horizondynastyIt’s a great time to share the news with your friends who love action-oriented science fiction, with diverse and interesting characters, and a host of strong women, too.

Please pass it on, and I hope you’re enjoying these soon!

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