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When push comes to shove, resistance turns to revolution–are we ready?

bab5Recently Amazon Prime started showing the series BABYLON 5. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a critically acclaimed science fiction show from the 1990s, written primarily by J. Michael Straczynski, (of SENSE8 fame).

From IMDB: In the year 2258, it is ten years after the Earth-Minbari War. Commander Sinclair takes command of a giant five-mile-long cylindrical space station, orbiting a planet in neutral space. At a crossroads of interstellar commerce and diplomacy, Cmdr Sinclair (2d season Captain Sheridan) must try to establish peace and prosperity between various interstellar empires, all the while fighting forces from within the Earth Alliance. It is a precarious command, particularly given that sabotage led to the destruction of Babylon stations 1, 2, and 3 and 4 vanished without a trace.

 

I didn’t watch it first time around for some reason, and I’ve picked up bits and pieces of it in reruns over the years. But I’m finally watching it in toto, and getting some really wild vibes, considering our current political situation.
So, early in the series, a president of Earth (which is apparently under one government in 2258) comes to power through questionable means.  He puts his friends in positions of power. He starts a campaign against aliens. When he begins receiving criticism, he starts a program called Nightwatch, where citizens are encouraged to spy on each other and turn neighbors and friends in for “unpatriotic” speech. He co-opts the media, drowning out any source that is not complimentary to him. He sets up a Ministry of Peace, which is headed by a gung-ho sycophant who, I swear, is the mold from which Kellyanne Conway is made.

As the series continues through assorted alien crises and other wars, we keep comingb52 back to the corrupt presidency. Eventually our B5 heroes stand up to the ridiculousness, violence and flat-out lawlessness on Earth and lead a revolution.

Watching it. it seems to me that those of us wanting to take our country back, and frustrated by the slow pace of the investigations (tho not their ongoing indictments) might take a lesson from this narrative. Captain Sheridan finally  breaks his wait-and-watch stance when the president orders the destruction of a ship full of 10,000 refugees. Were we less shocked at the immigration debacle, the caged children and deported parents? Or perhaps the destruction of all the protections that have been hard-won by previous administrations for our air and water? Or the even harder-fought laws that give our citizens equal rights to conduct business, marry and drink from water fountains? How much are we willing to stand?

It’s worth a watch, whether you’re a sci-fi fan or not, with lessons in moral judgment and the reminder that following illegal and immoral orders is not mandatory. We don’t have to quietly go along the path into that good night. Other characters urge waiting to handle the problem through the vote, through political manipulations and other methods. But Sheridan and his team choose resistance and finally open revolt. Where do you stand?

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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.

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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!

 

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