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Cowboy adventures in time and space

Welcome Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend Alice Renaud!!

I write paranormal romance about shifter mermaids and time travelling warlocks and witches. Fantasy is my first love and I still enjoy reading it. I like science fiction too. Some sci-fi stories are heavy on the tech, and can be quite good, but I’ve always preferred the stories that feel more like fantasy. Ray Bradbury and Ursula Le Guin are two of my favourite science fiction authors, and both have written fantasy as well as sci-fi. The barrier between the genres is porous. Science fiction has technology, alien planets and the future, fantasy has magic, imaginary worlds and the past, but one great theme that runs through both genres is the adventure, or quest. The hero or heroine goes on a journey, through a wardrobe, down the rabbit hole, on a spaceship, and finds another world… and usually they find themselves, too.

I’d never thought of writing a sci-fi story. But then during the first lockdown in the UK, in the spring of 2020, I had a curious dream, about a man who goes to another planet and finds a mysterious ancient city. The planet is deadly for humans (yes, definitely a lockdown dream). When I woke up I knew I had to write the dream down. Then my publisher and fellow authors at BVS floated the idea of an anthology of cowboy stories. I made my hero into a space cowboy, and while I was at it, I added some unicorns – because why have boring old cattle when you can have blue space unicorns?

The resulting story, Space Cowboy Blues, is included in the BVS anthology Cowboy Desire, out now in ebook and paperback. I tried to keep some of the dreamlike quality of the tale as it appeared into my mind, especially with the ancient alien city. It was certainly inspired by a  picture I saw of sea-glass pebbles piled up in a tower. One of Ray Bradbury’s stories in the Martian Chronicles was also an unconscious influence. In it, settlers from Earth travel to Mars but the red planet turns them into natives without them even realizing.

Josh the space cowboy is certainly an adventurous friend. I hope you will enjoy reading his story and that of the beautiful blue alien Melynas in Cowboy Desire.

Cowboy Desire is an eclectic assortment of short stories. Including contemporary, historical, fantasy, and even outer space romance, Cowboy Desire offers fourteen stunning short stories.

These fourteen authors provide a range of sweet to sexy stories all with a cowboy theme. They feature strong men and women battling the weather and dangerous terrain, here on earth and in outer space.

The collection is as diverse as the authors who wrote them. Here’s a chance to discover new talented authors and the characters they create. Within these pages, there are blends of tender, often moving, thought-provoking and downright sexy stories.

Blurb for Space Cowboy Blues

Josh is a space cowboy. His job? Taming alien species. But on the blue planet Albastra, the beautiful Melynas is more than a match for him. He’d love to get close to her… but everything on Albastra is lethal. Including her…

Buy Links

https://amzn.to/2LmdUhD

https://books2read.com/u/mqgDk6

Excerpt

The ancient city rose before Josh like a fever dream, its beauty undimmed by the passage of time. The smallest houses had seven levels, and many buildings were higher. The curved walls of the storeys made the towers look like piles of sea-glass pebbles… luminous pebbles, for they glowed in the dark, every shade of blue and green with the occasional flash of purple. He let out a sigh. “It’s wonderful. I’ve never seen anything like it. And I’ve seen plenty.”

Melynas beamed, obviously delighted by his reaction. “Come, I’ll show you my favorite spots. There’s a lot to see; the city is six thousand years old.”

They ambled through the maze of dusty streets. Blue grass grew between the worn stones that had once been a pavement. As they walked, Melynas pointed out buildings and monuments and explained their history to Josh. She was the perfect guide, as cultured and intelligent as she was gorgeous. He listened, entranced, while the wind blew over the deserted towers. He watched her lovely face, while stars glittered overhead and ancient sculptures gazed at him with jewel-bright eyes. Hers was the kind of beauty that seeps into a man’s soul and stays there for life.

As the evening wore on, he realized that he hadn’t been keeping the required distance from her. In fact, he was walking so close to her that his arm bumped against hers from time to time. But he didn’t care. And she didn’t tell him off… or step away.

Midnight found them in an elegant square. A statue of a hunoowin stood at the center, shimmering like a giant sapphire amid an expanse of grass.

Josh stroked the statue’s nose. “I wonder what makes the stone glow like that.”

Melynas’s expression was wistful. “No one knows. The city was abandoned centuries ago, and we’ve forgotten its secrets. We don’t know how to maintain it anymore. But it’s still here, and still beautiful.”

“Not as beautiful as you.” The words came out of Josh’s mouth without going through his brain first. He swallowed, appalled at his clumsiness. She’d think he was coming on to her, drooling over her, like the dumbass settlers in the Dome.

Melynas laughed. The silvery sound cascaded around them, as if a fountain had burst into life. “You’re such a flatterer.”

He wanted to say that it was only the truth. She was the most precious treasure in this otherworldly city. Her hair fell in glossy emerald waves onto her shoulders. Her short midnight-blue dress left her arms bare. She stood only inches away from him… he only had to move his hand a little to touch her flawless skin.

She gazed at him from under her dark eyelashes. “What are you thinking?”

His mouth grew as dry as the dust on the cobblestones. He couldn’t tell her where his thoughts were wandering… could he? Her perfume wafted towards him, a mix of flowers, ripe fruit and exotic spices. He couldn’t help himself. He had to get closer to her, to inhale this bewitching scent. He took one step forward. Now they were almost touching.

Her gaze caressed him, soft and full of longing. “Josh…” she murmured. His name in her mouth was like a promise. He inclined his head to touch her lips with his… and bumped her nose with his face covering.

She stepped back, shaking her head. “Oh Josh, I’m so sorry. The mask is so thin, for a second I forgot it was there…” The words tumbled out of her, laden with regret.

Acidic frustration burned his chest. “Sod the mask.” He raised his hands to remove it.

She gasped and slapped his wrist, a sharp sting that reverberated into his heart. “What are you thinking?” Her voice hissed across the square like an angry wind. “You will die if you remove your mask, Josh! You will die if I touch you!” She clasped her hands and twisted them. “We can never be together. Never.”

Bio

Alice lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she’s a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and time-travelling witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in the Sea of Love fantasy romance series, inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second and third books, “Music for a Merman,” and “Mermaids Marry in Green,” are out now. Both the Sea of Love series and Mermaids Marry in Green won their categories in the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award 2020. Alice has also contributed short stories for the BVS anthologies “Mystic Desire,” “Desire Me Again,” and “Cowboy Desire,” all available now. Alice loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AliceRenaudAuthorRomance/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alicerauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18670218.Alice_Renaud

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/alice-renaud

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Renaud/e/B07L52P17B

Website: https://nomadauthors.com/alicerenaud/alicebooks.html

@BVSBooks First to get freebies! Deals! And latest news! Hot and steamy! Soft and tender! Romance you will love! Become an Insider, sign up to our newsletter. https://blackvelvetseductions.com/?page_id=2472

The ladies always love the cowboys…even in space #MFRWHooks

Valeni Pascual wants to be free to make a living hauling cargo with her spaceship and to understand the shapeshifting alien who presents sometimes as the steamy male Nik and other times as the blonde bombshell Nikki.

As a rebel insurgence builds against the oppressive government known as the Agency, Valeni and Nik/Nikki encounter a sexy Terran cowboy named Garrett Rawls. Since being pulled into this region of space by another mysterious wormhole, Garrett has looked for a way to return to Earth. After meeting Valeni and Nikki, he might have found something worth staying for.

 However, dark forces may have a much bigger picture in mind for all of them. Valeni, Nik/Nikki, and Garrett are pulled into a life and death fight that lays bare all of their secrets and their desires. Will they lose everything as the battle against the Agency rages around them or can love pull them through?

BOOK TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jixU6FfqNZ0

SIXSHOOTER [©2021] A Horizon Crossover series novel by Lyndi Alexander | Cover Art by Kat Hardy | Science Fiction Romance (R) 280 pages / 100,000 words | Available in ebook and print from the DFP Books label of Dragonfly Publishing

Print editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more. Find ebooks at retailers, lending libraries, and subscription services, including: Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Blio, Kobo Books, Open Library, Overdrive, Scribd, Smashwords, and more.

Excerpt:

One man in particular caught Nik’s attention. He was long and lean, dressed in a simple blue work shirt and denim pants over hand-tooled boots. He wore a broad-brimmed hat, which he took off to speak. His speech was slow, his vowels drawled, and his grin both shy and genuine.

               Rogers called on the man for his opinion. “Now here we have an import—a genuine cowboy from the old Terran system.”

               “Cow boy?” Nik asked Valeni. “Is he part bovine, then? He looks human.”

               Valeni chuckled. “I suspect he is human. Wait a minute.” She pulled out her handheld communication device and typed in the question. “Hmm. It is a old Terran term. A cowboy herds animals from horseback on a ranch.”

               Nik then asked about the term “horse” and the term “ranch,” both of which were unfamiliar. “It seems unlikely such a person could exercise these pursuits in space.”

               Valeni shushed them as the man spoke.

                “I’m Garrett Rawls, come from a planet called Earth which ain’t in your system here. Not sure how I got to this place, exactly, but somehow I got sucked through some kinda wormhole.”

               His dark eyes sparkled with good will. “Been makin’ my way pretty well with my ship, the Six-shooter—some of you know it—mostly keeping to the planets of Marriel and Terza, staying under the radar as much as I can. But just like back on Earth, the government cain’t help trying to keep us good ol’ boys down.”

               He looked around the room, stopping to focus on Valeni for a moment. “And good old gals.”
               Val blushed, and Nik felt her whole body set change. Rawls’ gaze slid to Nik, curiosity in his eyes. Nik felt a definite weighing of possibility.

For more great stories, check out the rest of the Book Hooks links here!

https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=301774

Sixshooter cover reveal!

Yes, ladies and gents, boys and girls, aliens of all natures…it’s time for the big reveal for SIXSHOOTER’s cover! The book itself would be released in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for more details there. Meanwhile…

Like space, love has no boundaries.

Valeni Pascual wants to be free to make a living hauling cargo with her spaceship and to understand the shapeshifting alien who presents sometimes as the steamy male Nik and other times as the blonde bombshell Nikki.

As a rebel insurgence builds against the oppressive government known as the Agency, Valeni and Nik/Nikki encounter a sexy Terran cowboy named Garrett Rawls. Since being pulled into this region of space by another mysterious wormhole, Garrett has looked for a way to return to Earth. After meeting Valeni and Nikki, he might have found something worth staying for.

However, dark forces may have a much bigger picture in mind for all of them. Valeni, Nik/Nikki, and Garrett are pulled into a life and death fight that lays bare all of their secrets and their desires. Will they lose everything as the battle against the Agency rages around them or can love pull them through?

SIXSHOOTER [©2021] A Horizon Crossover series novel by Lyndi Alexander | Cover Art by Kat Hardy | Science Fiction Romance (R) 280 pages / 100,000 words | Available in ebook and print from the DFP Books label of Dragonfly Publishing

Life Mirrors the Cosmos

Welcome to Lyndi’s Adventurous Friends author Addison Brae!

Do you know people who always get the short end? The poor souls who are as careful and as nice as humanly possible but bad luck finds them anyway? Why does this happen?

My theory is based on one of the great mysteries of the cosmos. Dark matter, scientists believe, brings planets and stars together while dark energy pushes them apart and destroys things to create massive voids. Astronomers speculate 96 percent of our universe is composed of dark matter and dark energy. But no one has ever seen these dark substances, and they only have theories as to what are.

To take the theory further, I see a parallel between karma and dark matter and dark energy. Some astronomers believe dark energy will eventually destroy our universe. This is similar to how karma can destroy lives—deserved or undeserved; explainable or not. The dark energy theory—or bad karma—is what continues to happen to Gillian, the smart, badass heroine of Dark Energy, Return to Becker Circle who never breaks her word. And she believes her boss/mentor serves as her dark matter.

Do you have people in your life who connect people to create bonds and shape things for the better like dark matter? And alternatively, people who always seem to be victims of back luck—or dark energy? It takes many dark matter people to resist dark energy—the empty space that slips into our lives’ voids to disrupt. Like dark energy, karma is random. If there is logic to karma, why do bad things happen to good people?

Links

Read more about Addison Brae on her website, Tirgearr Publishing, Amazon, and BookBub.

Connect with Addison Brae on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

You can find Dark Energy (Return to Becker Circle) on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Smashwords (50% off through July), Apple Books, Kobo, and B&N Nook. A portion of the author proceeds will go to Staff Meal to help provide meals and other aid to restaurant workers in need during the pandemic.

Title/genre:  Dark Energy (Return to Becker Circle), contemporary romantic suspense

 

Bio

Addison Brae lives in Dallas, Texas on the edge of downtown. She has been writing since childhood and continues today with articles, video scripts and other content as an independent marketing consultant. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary young adult fiction. When she’s not writing, Addison spends her time traveling the world, collecting interesting cocktail recipes and hosting parties. She’s still addicted to reading and enjoys jogging in her neighborhood park, sipping red wine, binge-watching TV series, vintage clothing and hanging out with her artistic other half and their neurotic cat Lucy.

 

Blurb: Cybercrime doesn’t talk. It creeps in and destroys lives right under Gillian’s nose when a cryptojacking scheme lands her boss, Pinkie, in jail. Gillian had just started over with a new career, boyfriend, and confidence after escaping a vicious murder investigation that shattered her ability to trust. Then Pinkie’s arrest leaves her struggling to run his two bars while also unraveling the conspiracy.

Gillian will not let her mentor and friend go down for something he didn’t do. Neither will Jon, the most talented musician on the bar’s stage and the perfect boyfriend…until his good fortune sends her reeling. Gillian forces herself to trust the cops, people who hurt her, and known criminals. Will it be enough to free Pinkie and save her life?

Excerpt – Chapter Two

Car traffic and jets stir me awake. I stretch and don’t open my eyes since I haven’t slept enough after such a long, incredible day. Then I remember restaurant reviews may be out. Slivers of the May morning sunlight make stripes across my soft grey and yellow comforter. I grab my phone and open the news feed, page through the day’s headlines. Do I want to know?

A headline jumps out at me—New Uptown Bar Opens to Sell-out Lunch Crowd. It must be us, and most definitely not PinHead Preston’s review.

Uptown’s newest place to be seen is Pinkie’s Too, the satellite site to its sister bar in Becker Circle.

Yes! It’s a good one!

The trendy but chill invitation-only crowd lunched on a full menu with Creole cuisine and pizza as the bar’s specialties. The cocktail menu is creative but non-pretentious with options including the Creole Cosmo and Pinkie’s Old Fashioned.

As a Dallas cultural history buff, the most unique Pinkie’s Too feature is the tables—each custom designed to commemorate a musician with Dallas roots who carved notches in music history. Some of the tables I could inspect without interrupting patrons’ meals were dedicated to Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Demi Lovato, Edie Brickell, Michael Nesmith, Boz Scaggs, LeAnn Rimes, Steve Miller, and even Meat Loaf—the musician, not the food.

 It’s a great reminder of Dallas’ diverse, deep music culture.

Today’s soft opening only covered lunch. Friday is the true grand overture with the doors unlocking in time for happy hour with an appetizer menu from open until last call. The highlight will be one of Dallas’ up-and-coming bands, ShowStoppers. Come back to the website this weekend for my review of the nighttime experience.

I point and flex both feet, doing my under-cover happy dance and continue flipping through other news. No sign of a Dallas Daily News review from Don Preston yet until I choke on my own breath. Doctors Clear Accused Murderer for Trial. My happy feet halt.

Two photos appear underneath the headline—one shows a dark-haired man with a deep tan teeing off at a charity golf tournament. A chill runs through as it all floods back. The other is a mug shot, the usual sparkling dark eyes now chilling and full of hatred. The same hate I saw in Kyle’s eyes that night when he held the sharp, cold blade to my neck. The photos capture two of Kyle’s opposing sides.

I pull the covers tighter and squeeze my eyes closed to erase the vision.

Shattering glass.

The ear-splintering ring of the 9mm round going off outside my bathroom.

Kyle folding on the floor. Blood oozing from his shoulder.

My arms extended in front of me with my fingers frozen around the gun.

My resolve for no one to control me again. Ever.

The news brief says the judge threw out the venue change request. It also says the Dallas district attorney is withholding charging him for the attempted murder of his ex-wife and aggravated assault of another Dallas woman pending the trial outcome.

The “another Dallas woman” reference is me. It still seems like it was a different Gillian.

Fancy a cold-blooded lover? #MFRWHooks

reptile love

A short time later, Kylie noticed the man at a table near the door. His intent stare dissected her in a way that felt not like he was undressing her, but that he looked into her. Kylie stared back, putting a forbidding expression on her face. Usually, that was enough to scare off a would-be masher. But it didn’t seem to faze this one.

The man’s persistence triggered a defensive response, and she lost interest in the alcohol. She left half a dozen plat coins on the counter, enough to cover her tab and something for Lin, and then headed for the door.

As she approached the man’s table, he stood up. “Please join me,” he said.

“No, thanks, I’m on my way out.”

“Please,” he said more firmly. She stopped to look at him. That glance froze her steps. His eyes were the exact yellow tone of the dead woman’s. Exact.

She surveyed the room, but no one seemed to be paying attention. One gesture from her would have garnered assistance, but those eyes compelled her to wait. “Why should I?”

His voice softened. “I have information that could be of use to you.”

“Then perhaps you should come down to the Cendiary. That’s where SIRT’s camped while mfrw-book-hooks400this investigation is going on.” Her mind clicked along frantically trying to reject the half bottle of alcohol she’d consumed. There was something about this man, something about him. His eyes, but more than that. Taller than most men, and broad-shouldered. Hair, perfectly combed, his skin, without a blemish. Not even the hint of an old scar. Clothing, unremarkable. Hands, not quite perfectly proportioned, his fingers a little long, the nails even but lengthy for a man.

“No. I need to talk to you now.” His gaze continued to dance with hers.

She blinked and looked away. “This isn’t a good time, friend.”

He cocked his head, a, thin eyebrow raised. “You consider me your friend?”

His hesitation made her miss a beat, too. “No, I don’t consider you my friend.” She frowned. “Come to the Cendiary in the morning.” She turned to go, but her wrist was suddenly caught in an iron grip.

Tugging on her captured hand, she looked over her shoulder. He held no apology in his eyes, and his expression was grim. He nodded to the empty chair beside his. “I need to talk with you, Investigator Kylie Sanderson. Please hear what I have to say before any more females are damaged or killed.”

small degree

**************************************

Even the smallest degree of hope can spark love.

Against her wealthy father’s demands, and the usual blockades of a male dominated profession, Kylie Sanderson proves worthy of her position as lead investigator of planet Andan’s Scientific and Investigative Research Taskforce. Someone is killing Andan’s women in an attempt to mutate them into reptiles. Kylie makes it her mission to discover who’s behind the murders and prevent more grotesque deaths.

Shapeshifting lizard Griff comes to Andan to stop his brethren from mutating other planet’s women into mindless breeding stock. Overcoming Kylie’s suspicious and defensive nature proves difficult, but he must in order to help the SIRT team thwart his planet’s scientists.

When Kylie is abducted and becomes the first human to survive the transformation, it’s up to Griff to rescue her so SIRT can restore her human form. On the run and desperate to unravel the mysteries of Kylie’s past to solve the crimes of their present, can she and Griff forge a future for themselves?

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A snippet from A Small Degree of Hope–Science Fiction Romance Brigade

 

AlexanderLyndi_ASmallDegreeOfHope

The new cover for PRINT!!

“Griff?” She waited, watching on the monitor until he stopped his circuit of the small cell. “Do you need medical attention? Something to eat or drink? What can we get you?”
He leaned on the wall on the right of the picture. “They’re going to die.”
“We don’t want that to happen, Griff. You can help us.”
“I want to talk to you.”
“Then talk. I’m right here.”
“No. Talk to you.” He whirled, almost faster than her eyes could follow. Taking the thin mattress off the narrow bunk, he ripped it in half. Claws flashed out of his fingertips amid the shredded bits of cheap stuffing that showered the room.

As the detritus settled, he glared at the monitor. “Talk to you like equal being. Face to face. I tried. You won’t let me! Now one is probably lost, maybe more because you are too inflexible to listen.”
Everyone held their breath, frozen at the demonstration of Griff’s swiftness and power. She made herself breathe as she gathered her thoughts. Those claws. An inch long at least. He wanted her to go in there with him.
Her nerves tingled. “You keep saying women are going to die. But you won’t tell us where they are. You won’t help, like you say you want to. This shows me you don’t really mean what you say. You’re going to let those women die. You’ll be an accessory, Griff. You’ll go to prison.”
He turned away. “Then you are, too. Because you won’t listen.”

********

Even the smallest degree of hope can spark love.

Against her wealthy father’s demands, and the usual blockades of a male dominated profession, Kylie Sanderson proves worthy of her position as lead investigator of planet Andan’s Scientific and Investigative Research Taskforce. Someone is killing Andan’s women in an attempt to mutate them into reptiles. Kylie makes it her mission to discover reptile lovewho’s behind the murders and prevent more grotesque deaths.
Shapeshifting lizard Griff comes to Andan to stop his brethren from mutating other planets’ women into mindless breeding stock. Overcoming Kylie’s suspicious and defensive nature proves difficult, but he must in order to help the SIRT team thwart his planet’s scientists.
When Kylie is abducted and becomes the first human to survive the transformation, it’s up to Griff to rescue her so SIRT can restore her human form. On the run and desperate to unravel the mysteries of Kylie’s past to solve the crimes of their present, can she and Griff forge a future for themselves?
CONTENT WARNING: Language, Violence, Sex

Buy the book!

Publisher https://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/30085
Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Small-Degree-Hope-Lyndi-Alexander/dp/1616508396/
Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-small-degree-of-hope-lyndi-alexander/1115425659
Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-small-degree-of-hope-2 

Catch a bonus interview with hero Griff at Romance Lives Forever here!

Can you learn by reading fiction? Author Pamela Cummins thinks so!

Check out this blog post from author Pamela Cummins, who finds value in reading fiction for gaining knowledge—even romance books! Not only can you study human nature, but also learn facts about history, famous people and more. I know this to be true, reading author Kathy Otten’s Western historical romances. I was lucky enough to be part of her critique group , and learned all kinds of things, even how to birth a calf with your own hands!!

 

I’m proud to be one of Pamela’s “favorite authors”– why don’t you jump aboard??

Is truth just another version of fiction? Or vice versa?

My reptile shapeshifter romance book A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE is featured at author Cara Bristol’s blog this week. Check out the story of how it came to be written, through a real life romance!

Even the smallest degree of hope can spark love.

Against her wealthy father’s demands, and the usual blockades of a male dominated profession, Kylie Sanderson proves worthy of her position as lead investigator of planet Andan’s Scientific and Investigative Research Taskforce. Someone is killing Andan’s women in an attempt to mutate them into reptiles. Kylie makes it her mission to discover who’s behind the murders and prevent more grotesque deaths.

Shapeshifting lizard Griff comes to Andan to stop his brethren from mutating other planets’ women into mindless breeding stock. Overcoming Kylie’s suspicious and defensive nature proves difficult, but he must in order to help the SIRT team thwart his planet’s scientists.

When Kylie is abducted and becomes the first human to survive the transformation, it’s up to Griff to rescue her so SIRT can restore her human form. On the run and desperate to unravel the mysteries of Kylie’s past to solve the crimes of their present, can she and Griff forge a future for themselves?

From Kensington Publishing/Lyrical Press.

Buy here: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Degree-Hope-Lyndi-Alexander-ebook/dp/B00IPQWY9G/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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!

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