Today I’m featured at Liza O’Connor’s blog with a science fiction romance novel with an alien shapeshifter and a family mystery. This unique story is available both in ebook and paperback from Kensington.
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.
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?
It 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.
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.
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!
Tags: adventure, author, book, dark energy, Laurie A. Green, Lyndi Alexander, military, New Mexico, publishing, RWA, science fiction, science fiction romance, science fiction romance Brigade, space, strong women, writer, writing
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.
The 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.
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!
The 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.
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.
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 world’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!!
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.
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
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
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 beings 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.
Please pass it on, and I hope you’re enjoying these soon!
First, I’d like to thank Lyndi Alexander for inviting me to be a guest on her blog today. I plan to discuss the setting of my debut novel, Shift Happens, which is now available exclusively on Amazon. At the end of the post, you can enter for a chance to win one of five kindle ebooks of Shift Happens.
Shift Happens takes place in Vancouver, Canada. In this case, I took Mark Twain’s “write what you know” quote literally (although I personally feel he referred to emotions). I’ve lived in Vancouver for many years and definitely know it. Born and raised on the West Coast, I feel at home in the rain, with the ocean breeze, and the picturesque views of snow-capped mountains and dense evergreen forests.
My not-so-secret plan is to spotlight a beautiful city in a beautiful country. With writing Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, I add “supernatural” elements to the location to make it my own, but I keep a lot of the landmarks, street names and areas the same, hopefully preserving the ”feel” of the city. I like mixing the known with the unknown. Isn’t that what Urban Fantasy is all about?
Does that mean every book I write will be set in Vancouver? No. In fact, I’m currently working on a short story set in Maine. Writing a piece with an unfamiliar area takes a lot of research. It’s definitely not the easy way out. What types of birds do they have? Flowers? Trees? What kind of slang do people from the area use? It’s exhausting. As much as I love research, the need for accuracy (total A-type here) means I’ll never do something like Historical Romance. Not only do historical writers have to get the area and landmarks right, they also have to get the time period aspect correct as well—when did they stop wearing pantaloons, when did indoor plumbing come about, when did men wear knee-high boots, etc, etc. Exhausting!
So did I “cop out” by placing my series in Vancouver? I don’t think so. Vancouver fits with the dark, gloomy and rainy image I’m going for with Shift Happens. I needed a city that could be beautiful and bright, and at the same time be seedy and grimy; and all surrounded by the brilliance of pristine nature, namely forests and mountains. In other words, Vancouver! My imagination took me on a journey; one that specifically took place in a city I love.
What’s your take on setting?
Does it matter to you if you read a book set in Vancouver, versus New York or LA?
Do you like it if you read a book set in a place you know really well, or do you find it distracting, even insulting (if they describe a place you like negatively)?
Do you prefer to read about a place you’ve never been to? Escapism at its best?
Thanks for taking a moment to join me. Happy writing and reading!
· HER PAST DESTROYED HER HEART, CAN SHE PUT IT BACK TOGETHER IN TIME?
Andrea McNelly’s job as a government agent is not asking questions, but then a routine assignment turns into a botched assassination of a Master Vampire’s human servant. Answers become a priority. Her search to discover the truth is riddled with obstacles, the largest being an oversized Werewolf who resembles a Norse god. Andy can’t afford the distraction he offers, because if she fails, she faces eternal enslavement.
Wick’s job is to monitor Andy, but he prefers more intimate activities, none of them G-Rated. His choices, however, are often not his own. His ability to help Andy is limited by his bond to the Master Vampire.
Facing many trials and challenges along her path to redemption, Andy learns the value of her freedom might be set too high.
A large black wolf trotted into the clearing to confront me. He had a white-tipped snout, white boots and mitts and would have looked cute had he not been the most intimidating Werewolf I’d ever seen. Standing tall and solid, power rolled off of his body. His eyes bore into mine. I sniffed the air. The strong Werewolf scent of rosemary swirled around me, strong and seductive, laced with sugar. A weird fuzzy sensation spread out from my chest. Whoa.
My other form growled low, demanding release, straining against my skin. The energy of the wolves built—layers upon layers of excitement and impatience. The air pulsated with anticipation. They could sense the imminent kill.
Let me out! My other form repeated, throwing her power against my built up walls, howling in defiance.
When the energy of the Werewolves surged, I finally released her. My wolf form flowed out fast, wiping out the feline in little more than a heartbeat. Smaller, weaker and the size of a natural wolf, a Shifter in this form was no match for a Werewolf, especially a dominant one. I had time to meet the eyes of the Alpha for only an instant before the pack leapt forward. My limbs shook. It went against every instinct ingrained within me, but I rolled onto my back—submissive.
Available exclusively in Kindle electronic format on March 27th, 2014
Available in print and all other electronic formats on July 16th, 2014
Born and raised on the Haida Gwaii, off the West Coast of Canada, J.C. McKenzie grew up in a pristine wilderness that inspired her to dream. She writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/j.c.mckenzie.author
Facebook Account Name: JC McKenzie
Twitter Page: www.twitter.com/JC_McKenzie
Twitter Account: @JC_McKenzie
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So excited that A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE is back on the “shelves” as a Kensington product now– check it out!
Great new reviews, too–
“…highly recommend this story to young adult to adults who enjoy a smart, well written, interestingly different sci-fi story with lighter romance in it.” Open Book Society
“The author grabs you in the beginning of this amazing story and doesn’t let go. I loved it. I loved the characters; Kylie–she rocks, I’m in awe of her. She’s tough, not perfect, and totally loyal to her family (sort of) and job. Then of course Griff, so sweet and loving and sexy in both forms…” Up All Night, Read All Day Reviews…
Tags: A Small Degree of Hope, adventure, alien, author, book, Kensington, Lyndi Alexander, Lyrical Press, publishing, reptile, science fiction, science fiction romance, shapeshifter, strong women, writer, writing, YA
Today’s snippet comes from WIP JOURNEYS, the second volume in the Color of Fear series, that follows WINDMILLS. Lin Kwan and Valery Paz have started their trip east to find Kwan’s father in Cincinnati, carrying their precious medicine, but one of their traveling companions has come up on the losing end of a meeting with a rattlesnake. They stop in Holden, Utah to pick up some medicine at what they think is an abandoned drug store. But they’re not quite right about that:
The display came crashing over on top of Kwan, driven by a heavy male body that took her down. Her head hit the floor and she blinked dizzily, trapped under the man’s weight. Light flashed off the barrel of a gun in his right hand.
She reached out almost instinctively, grabbed the gun from the inside of his grip with her left hand as she flexed her knee into his crotch. He pulled back and she planted her foot solidly in his midsection and pushed, squeezing her fingers tight on the gun, his momentum allowing her to pry it into her own hand. She slapped it into her right, pointing it at him.
Surprised blue eyes locked with hers. “Now just take it easy, miss—”
Another gun cocked, above them. Valery said, “No, chief, you take it easy—get your ass up and I won’t put a bullet in your head.”
Bio-terrorists release a plague in the United States that spreads to kill most of the world’s Caucasian population. As the deadly virus mutates, Tzu Shin, a renowned medical doctor and biologist, defects from China to help develop a cure. His only daughter, Lin Kwan, is left behind in Hong Kong with her aunt.
Then Kwan’s father summons her from across the sea to bring him Chinese medicinal herbs he needs to develop a cure. Lonely and missing her parents, she accepts the challenge, traveling with her sensei Li Zhong to the New World.
But a Chinese assassin is on her trail, determined to kill her and Li Zhong, and when Kwan discovers her father has disappeared, she sets out on a journey to find him and deliver her precious cargo, a quest that she may not survive.
Book two should be released some time this summer, and carries the story east as Kwan and her companions head for what remains of civilization in the east, perhaps St. Louis, Cincinnati or beyond, unaware that danger travels with her every step of the way.
Tags: adventure, author, book, journey, Lyndi Alexander, publishing, science fiction, Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday, SFFS, St. Louis, strong women, travel, Utah, virus, writing, YA, Zumaya Publications
BATTLE CRY by Melissa Snark
A Victoria Storm novel
#3 Loki’s Wolves series
Genre: Paranormal/urban fantasy
Coming in June 2014 * * * Add to your Goodreads Shelf
“We meet Valkyrie Victoria Storm in the middle of a blood bath, and we did continue on from there. I must say Melissa Snark has all the makings of an awesome story teller.”
Sr. Reviewer and Review Chair for the Paranormal Romance Guild
“A definite must read for anyone who enjoys urban fantasy.”
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better…
Hydra Publications is running a special sale this Christmas season– Starting Christmas Day, Hydra will be running Hydra for the Holidays, using Kindle Countdown.
Starting Christmas morning, select Hydra titles will be .99. The next day 1.99, third day 2.99 and then regular price. The titles involved are: Reality Check, Gnosis, The List, Dearly Departed, The Heart Denied, Heart of the Hunter, Love Me Kiss Me Kill Me, Eternal Patrol, Anon, The Wall Outside, Empyreal Fate, Bounty Hunter, Ukishima, The Hand of God, Amy the Astronaut, The Know it All Girl, Without a Conscious, and The Parrot Told Me. Here’s an easy Amazon link.
What are people saying about Love Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me?
“LOVE ME, KISS ME, KILL ME is a riveting suspense thriller with supernatural themes. Fans of the genre will very much enjoy this novel.”
“This was a well written and very unique take on the vampire theme. It kept me hooked and wondering who was good and who wasn’t up to the very end.”
“Lyndi Alexander’s newest release, “Love Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me,” is heart stopping. The author has skillfully crafted a thriller filled with danger and suspense, which also happens to involve a romance. When the main character becomes involved with a popular local healing center, she becomes suspicious of its management, as several local young women her age mysteriously die of “natural causes.” Each of these victims had a connection with the healing center. As she begins quietly investigating to learn the truth of the deaths, she learns that she is in danger herself, and realizes that she has no one to turn to that she can trust. Read to learn how the mystery is solved, which you won’t know until the very end, for a real surprise. I was still guessing all the way!”
Interested? It’s waiting for you–Merry Christmas!