The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Veronica Scott as a guest blogger to talk about her latest story, Star Survivor.
Take it away Veronica!
Star Survivor Guest Post by Veronica Scott
Thanks for having me as your guest! I always love visiting your blog to talk books…
What does the title of this novel signify?
Star Survivor is the sequel to Wreck of the Nebula Dream, which has been my most requested sequel in fact. Twilka and Khevan were secondary characters in the first book and people definitely wanted to know what happened to them next. That kind of reader interest is a high compliment to an author, let me tell you. But also a challenge to “get it right’, which I hope I have. This book is a standalone story but a reader will probably enjoy it even more if they’d read Wreck first. Wreck of the Nebula Dream was my 2012 SFR Galaxy Award-winning, “Titanic in space” novel, inspired by the sinking of the Titanic, but set aboard an interstellar cruise liner in the far future. It’s not a spoiler to say Twilka, the heroine in this new book, is definitely a survivor, not only of the wreck, but also of other events in her life. She’s stronger than she ever understood.
One of my jumping off points for this story was the realization as an author that a person will probably only ever have one “Titanic” type of event in their entire life (except for certain real life crew members of the Titanic but that’s not my story today). Then life goes on. So I thought about what changes surviving the catastrophic wreck of the Nebula Dream would have made to someone like Twilka – rich, carefree and previously sheltered from consequences – and then how she’d go on afterward. I looked into the stories of real Titanic First Class passengers who survived the sinking and what they did next, which was interesting and illuminating, as far as choices for Twilka.
The hero in this book is Khevan, the D’nvannae Brother – he’s sworn to serve an alien goddess, as either a bodyguard or a deadly assassin, at the whim of his Red Lady. At the end of Wreck, he and Twilka were together…but again, I had to consider what might have happened to him after the first few weeks of relief at surviving…
So, lots of good, rich character-based possibilities for me to explore!
Do the names of the characters in your novel have some sort of significance or importance to you?
When I was writing Wreck, the name Twilka struck me as appropriate for someone who was a Socialite, as they’re known in the far future. It sounded like a carefree person and I enjoyed the sound of the syllables. I was also inspired by a fashion layout photo I clipped from a magazine at the time and the name seemed to fit the model. (I wish I had the rights to share the photo but alas….). I was satisfied that the book’s cover model (whose name I don’t know, sadly, as it’s a stock photo) represented Twilka as she is at the time this story begins. I like the depth of personality in her eyes, and the strength and determination I feel she projects. Excellent for my heroine.
The name Khevan was chosen as a nod to the person I thought at the time in the late 1990’s was the partial inspiration for his character but as Wreck went through various drafts over the years, the character morphed and changed to become ‘himself’. Pretty much totally different from who I’d envisioned at the start. Strong characters tend to do that to an author – take on a life of their own! Be it noted that ‘Khevan’ isn’t the original real life person’s name either, but an altered name that reminded me at the time of the individual. The name of his D’nvannae Order is drawn from a family name, heavily revised, which is an old Celtic warrior name. So there you have that
The book cover model, Vikkas Bhardwaj, pretty much embodies the way I visualize Khevan, I do have to say. The cover art is by the fabulous Fiona Jayde. I actually met Vikkas at the RT conference last year and he’s amazing – a lovely person and someone who definitely has the height and the build to be a D’nvannae Brother.
If you wrote the first draft of Wreck of the Nebula Dream in the 1990’s, why such a long time until it was released in 2012?
I had a fulltime day job at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, plus I was a widowed single mother, so while I wrote my science fiction romances whenever I had spare time, I didn’t start making a concerted effort to become published until late in 2010. (Carina Press released my first book in January 2012.) Wreck was my first independently published novel, timed to release on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking. Then it’s taken me four more years to figure out the plot for Star Survivor!
Here’s the story for Star Survivor:
The survivors of a terrible wreck meet again—but this time only one can survive.
The long-awaited sequel to The Wreck of the Nebula Dream…
They survived an iconic spaceship wreck together. She never expected to see him again … especially not armed to kill her.
Twilka Zabour is an interstellar celebrity. She built on her notoriety as a carefree Socialite who survived the terrible wreck of the Nebula Dream, and launched a successful design house. But now the man who gave meaning to her life, then left her, is back–this time for the worst of reasons. Will he kill her … or help her survive?
D’nvannae Brother Khevan survived the Nebula Dream in the company of a lovely, warm woman, only to be pulled away from her, back into his solitary life in the service of the Red Lady. Now Twilka’s within his reach again–for all the wrong reasons. Khevan will do everything within his power to discover why Twilka has been targeted for assassination, and to save her.
But Khevan is not Twilka’s only pursuer. Will allies Nick and Mara Jameson arrive in time to aid the couple, or will Khevan and Twilka’s ingenuity be all that stands between them and death?
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Three time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
It is a pleasure to welcome Natacha Guyot who is a French researcher, public speaker and author of both fiction and non-fiction publications.
Welcome Natacha to The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl and thanks so much for taking the time out your busy schedule to help us get to know you and your latest publication, Dream Crusher, better.
What does the title of this novel, series or set of stories signify?
Dream Crusher relates to a threat featured in the novella. The universe is called the Dantek System Records, based on the system where the story takes place. I don’t plan a direct sequel to Dream Crusher, but will continue to write more stories, whether featuring the protagonists of the novella or brand new characters. This is also why I chose to include a bonus short story in said universe, Homeless, in the print version.
What prompted you to write in this genre and who or what inspired you to?
I have loved storytelling since I was a child and creating new worlds is one of my passions. That was why I have always written in the Science Fiction (or Fantasy) genre. Even my nonfiction and academic works relate to Science Fiction. Dream Crusher was originally a short story and liking the characters and the world as I did, I decided to expand on everything and this was how I realized I would continue to write in this universe. Among my greater inspirations to write Science Fiction, you find Star Wars (including many Expanded Universe titles), C.J. Cherryh’s Serpent’s Reach, Anne McCaffrey’s Dragons of Pern. Joseph Campbell’s work has also been very inspiring to me.
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer and do your characters reflect some of these attributes?
Wrestle with the stories and characters to make them understand I will only write one project at a time, but will still engage in note-taking for any other projects. Trying to tell the characters to keep quiet by my bedtime is going better but I still recall my Clairvoyance Chronicles villain decided to tell me his whole background (since Stone Age) at 1am one night. I try to keep organized folders pertaining to individual writing projects, as well as a document for bullet point short/vague academic papers. (You can find more about my writing process with my Digital Quill’s Writing Tips blog series.) Organization, perseverance, patience and learning not to be a perfectionist and burning out are reflected in several of my character, but not necessarily in a single one of them.
What kind of research did you have to do for the novel, series or set of stories that was different from others?
I had to work more on the history of the system where my story takes place, how humans came to live there a few generations ago, and what happened between the other species. I needed that from the start, but more so as I realized it would become a novella and a universe where more stories would take place. Developing the different cultures, at least to a point where I could understand the interactions was important to me. It tends to be a pattern in my writing as I tend to have multiple groups interact to different degrees in my fiction. Works I wrote when younger tended to be more focused on two groups, but in the past years, I tend to have more than two. I always have solid character background and the extent of the world building depends on what I need for the given story.
What are you a fan of and is this reflected in your writing?
I was playing a lot of videogames while working on this project: Star Wars: The Old Republic, Mass Effect 2, Torchlight II, and the immersive aspect of gaming inspired me for how I depicted some of my settings. I am not a huge comic book fan, but I love the Yoko Tsuno series and it has had influence on several of my stories, including Dream Crusher, whether with the multi-species or Morden’s heterogeneous team. I am overall a huge Science Fiction fan, whether in books, TV shows, video games or movies. And I love compelling female characters (some of my favorites are Dana Scully from The X-Files, Leia Organa and Mara Jade from Star Wars). Dream Crusher is my first title with a male protagonist, but I consider Vahika of great importance in the story and naturally had several supporting female characters develop as I wrote the novella.
Thank you Natacha for stopping by and answering these questions and letting us get to know you better! For more information about Natacha and her works…You can connect with her via NatachaGuyot.org | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | LinkedIn.
Natacha Guyot is a French researcher, author, and public speaker. After studying at Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle and King’s College London, she relocated to Texas in summer 2016. There, she has embarked on a new academic journey: she started doctoral studies in Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas.Her main fields of interest are Science fiction, Gender Studies, Children Media and Fan Studies. Besides her nonfiction work, she also writes Science Fiction and Fantasy stories. She is a feminist, nerd, Christian, cat lady, book dragon and Earl Grey drinker.
Her new Science Fiction novella, Dream Crusher, is coming out in Kindle and paperback format in November 2016.
Are you you excited about this film as much as I am?
It is a pleasure to welcome Jay Shaw author of The Hunted.
What does the title of this novel, series or set of stories signify?
The Hunted refers to the human X2 gene carriers who are being hunted by the Arcadians as part of their plans for galactic supremacy; but it’s also a nod to the demons we all carry within us. The ghosts from our pasts, and the expectations of whatever society we inhabit. Everyone has something someone else covets and desires, and there’ll always be those who are prepared to go to great lengths to obtain what they want, no matter the cost.
Gosh, I just read over that and it sounds heavy, I promise there’s romance in there too, lol.
What prompted you to write in this genre and who or what inspired you to?
Ever since I first saw Star Wars I’ve been in love with the romance and otherworldly action of science fiction, the what if and the wonder of worlds undiscovered, and sexy space pilots – let’s not be forgetting them. Science Fiction, and Fantasy, provide a playground and scope for my imagination to play in. It allows me to create worlds and characters in glorious technicolour, so when you look up to the stars at night, maybe, just maybe, you’ll wonder what my characters are up to, what new adventures, hardships, love, and mysteries are befalling them out in the vast ocean of space, in galaxies you’ve never heard of but long to explore…Ahem, yes, well, you see what I mean. I’m completely hooked.
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer and do your characters reflect some of these attributes?
Honestly, I’ve got no clue. I don’t consider myself to be all that sane. My characters talk to me at all hours of the day and night, they argue about what their dialogue should be and they demand to have their own books. But determination, honesty, a rock solid vision of the journey and how you’ll get there, even when the road is rough and paved with naysayers, a sense of humor, and an ability to function on four to five hours sleep come in handy. My characters do tend to reflect some or all of these attributes in varying degrees. Whether they’re aware of it or not is a different story, and sometimes the reason for the story in the first place. A character’s growth is something we all enjoy, especially if we can relate it back to our own lives in some way.
What kind of research did you have to do for the novel, series or set of stories that was different from others?
For the Dragonus Chronicles series I haven’t had to do traditional research, since I created the world from scratch. If I need something I imagine it and create its pros and cons based on what I need it to do or be within the story. I think the most research is on weaponry so that I have comparisons on which to base my made up ones. Readers are intelligent and most of the time if a character accepts something as part of their world then the reader will too. In The Space Colonel’s Woman (Dragonus Chronicles I) the main character is a search and rescue chopper pilot, so I watched a lot of those ride-along TV shows so I could learn the radio lingo and their operating procedures while caring for patients. Mostly, it’s more about remembering which spaceships you blew up, and what physical attributes belong to which character. This last is extremely important when working with an entire galaxy of players.
Wolfhaven (book one of Duality) had me looking up the hierarchy of wolves, their global territories, and images of isolated Alaskan towns.
In the new year I’m beginning a series of stand-alone contemporary romances. The first of which is set in Africa in the world of rhino poaching – not an area of personal expertise, so there’ll be plenty of research for that one.
What makes you laugh?
This is the hardest question ever, lol!
I think I’ll have to go with the spontaneous laughter brought on by good food and drink, and having family and friends around.
Oh, and the seatbelt scene from Robin Williams’ movie RV
What makes you cry?
Stubbing my toe
The opening scene of Star Trek 2009 – every single time I watch it!
Characters connecting in a beautifully crafted moment
What are you a fan of and is this reflected in your writing?
Food, music, books, movies. Whenever a character needs any of these and it fits, the one that appears in the story will invariably be one of my favorites; or in the case of food, whatever I’m hungry for at the time of writing. As a reader I’m a fan of feeling as if I’m right next to the characters on their adventures. I like to include texture in my writing, if the sun’s shining, I want to feel the heat of it on my shoulders, breathe in the dry air, and squint because it’s reflecting off the crystal buildings of the alien city on the horizon. Every little visual helps with the illusion of escape.
Thank you again Jay so much for stopping by and letting us get to know you and your latest story better!
The Hunted, A Dragonus Chronicles story
Abducted without a trace, Colonel Mark Holden remains in the clutches of Arcadia’s Grand Chancellor – a maniacal dictator who continues to enslave and experiment on X2 humans.
Meanwhile, far away on an alternate reality Earth, Julia Holden lives a life she no longer belongs to. She spends her days rescuing those who cannot save themselves, and pining for her lost love.
Can the Arcadians achieve galactic domination, or will Hayden rescue Mark before his genetic secrets are stolen?
And when Phoenix City calls, will Mark and Julia return to fight for the hunted?
Jay Shaw is a New Zealand author, a mum of two teens, and a lover of books. She’s an incurable romantic who stays up early and sleeps in late, writes in bed, loves both action and romance movies, survives on a diet of M&Ms, bottled water, and steak with mushroom sauce.
Jay has a preference for tall, dark-haired, military men in thigh holsters and combat boots, but isn’t opposed to the occasional shirtless cowboy in tight denim.
Her favorite books to write are fantasy and sci-fi stories about characters who will ultimately find their one great love. A love all of time and space will lie down and be still for.
You can find out more about Jay Shaw and her stories by visiting her Facebook page, Amazon Author Page, Goodreads Author Page, and of course on Pinterest.
The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl is proud to present this excerpt from THE GOLDEN SPIDER The Elemental Web Chronicles – Book One by Anne Renwick
Excerpt from THE GOLDEN SPIDER
There was a lull in the conversation. Thornton cleared his throat and looked up at his audience, expecting all eyes to have focused attentively upon him. Instead, he saw the backs of fifty odd heads and only one face.
A very beautiful face. One with deep pink lips, high cheekbones and a dainty nose between wide eyes that had just a hint of an exotic tilt. Smooth skin, all surrounded by elaborately coiffed hair the color of midnight. Unlike the crows in the back who rolled their eyes in disgust, this woman was garbed in the latest of fashions, a tightly corseted and bustled teal gown with a low cut neckline that had all the men leering.
All but him, of course.
Striking blue eyes met his gaze.
He lifted his eyebrows and drew out his pocket watch to consult the hour. It was five past. She was late.
Her lips curved upward at his obvious reprimand, but she made no effort to hasten her steps. A gentleman in the front row stood, gesturing to a vacant seat he clearly intended for her to occupy. She nodded in greeting, then with the twist of a knob at her waist to collapse her bustle, she removed her feathered hat and settled into the chair beside the smug-looking gentleman.
Instinct told Thornton she would be a problem. A woman with such obvious physical charms expected attention. Best to not provide it. He waved his hand at his assistant and the room plunged into darkness. Sliding home the first glass plate, an illuminated image appeared on the large screen hanging at the front of the hall.
Tomorrow, he would not wait. If she could not manage to arrive promptly, she could damn well stumble her way down the stairs or sit in the back.
“Neurons and glial cells,” he intoned. “Later in the laboratory you will closely study the features of both.”
Amanda leaned forward in her chair, entranced by the deep, booming voice of this new professor. The light cast by the limelight lantern threw his angular face into sharp relief. What captivating facial bone structure. Prominent zygomatic arches and a long square jaw made the planes of his face appear wide and harsh. Between his dark eyebrows, nasal bones stretched into a long, straight and distinctive nose. Damp hair severely slicked back from his forehead betrayed the man by daring to curl at its tips. Full lips formed words in a tone that made the features of a neuron sound utterly entrancing.
She rather thought she could be content to spend the entire morning listening to him read the index of her anatomy text. Clearly brilliant, he was also the best physical specimen she’d laid eyes on in a long time. Too bad about that clause in the school’s charter forbidding professors from entering into relationships with their students.
A flush rose upward across her face. Such thoughts. She forced her gaze to the projection on the screen. Focus, Amanda.
He was proceeding at such a rapid clip that she would soon be left behind if she could not pull her head out of the aether.
Though she put pen to paper, she could not stop herself from asking. “What happened to Professor Corwin?” she whispered to Simon, or Mr. Sommersby as she addressed him in public.
Simon shifted to lean his shoulder lightly against her own. Male instinct, she supposed, to mark her as his own. Behavior she’d encouraged. “No idea. But it seems Lord Thornton is to finish the lecture series.”
Her indrawn breath was audible.
Though Anne Renwick holds a Ph.D. in biology and greatly enjoyed tormenting the overburdened undergraduates who were her students, fiction has always been her first love. Today, she writes steampunk romance, placing a new kind of biotech in the hands of mad scientists, proper young ladies and determined villains. Anne is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She lives in Maryland with her family.
Anne brings an unusual perspective to steampunk. A number of years spent locked inside the bowels of a biological research facility left her permanently altered. In her steampunk world, the Victorian fascination with all things anatomical led to a number of alarming biotechnological advances. Ones that the enemies of Britain would dearly love to possess.
Learn more about Anne and her stories by visiting her website http://www.annerenwick.com
The Elemental Web Chronicles – Book One
London papers scream of dirigible attacks, kraken swarms, and lung-clogging, sulfurous fogs. But a rash of gypsy murders barely rates mention.
Lady Amanda is tired of having both her intelligence and her work dismissed.
After blackmailing her way into medical school, she catches the eye of her anatomy professor from the moment she walks into his lecture hall. Is he interested in her? Or only her invention–a clockwork spider that can spin artificial nerves?
Lord Thornton, a prominent neurobiologist, has been betrayed.
Secret government technology has been stolen from his laboratory, and a foreign spy is attempting to perfect it via a grisly procedure… using gypsies as test subjects. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a beautiful–and brilliant–new student, even if her spider could heal a deteriorating personal injury.
Until her device is stolen and used in the latest murder.
Lord Thornton has no option but to bring her into his laboratory as well as the investigation where they must fight their growing, yet forbidden, attraction. Bodies accumulate and fragile bonds are tested as they race across London, trying to catch the spy before it’s too late.
Traditional Thanksgiving Dish
I do not have a passion for cooking and baking in general. However on Thanksgiving and other holidays, I have a traditional dish that I make and share. The dish is a cheesy potato casserole that is a variation of a recipe found in many magazines.I tweaked the original recipe a bit because my husband has a food allergy and a few ingredient preferences. These tweaks include using Southern Style hash browns instead of the normal hash browns, not adding onions and adding extra cheese. I also use low fat and low sodium ingredients where I can.
There is not much prep needed for this dish, one bowl and a mixing spoon, and the task can be done and in the oven within 20 minutes. In addition, because of the tweaks I made, the mixed ingredients fill two casserole dishes instead of one.I am very proud of my cheesy potato dish especially since my Dad and friends believe that my tweaks make it better than the original recipe. As a result, I been making this dish for over 20 years.
So do you have a traditional dish you make for holidays like Thanksgiving?
The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl is proud to present this excerpt from Scandal: Scions of the Star Empire Book 1 by Athena GraysonIone wrapped her fingers around the delicate glass of champ-ale. Pairing up with Den was a practical move for them both. Their families moved in the same social circle and they spent enough time in each other’s company that a pair-up was a foregone conclusion. The only variable was the timing.
A week ago, she wouldn’t have even questioned Den’s declaration. She’d have responded in kind, pressed her body against his in a move carefully calculated to both keep his interest from waning and feed the mills of the gossip streams.
But everything seemed different now. Emptier. Landfall’s soaring strato-scrapers, the massive arcologies that housed the entire world in which she moved, once felt as if they were the universe itself. At least, the parts of it that mattered. The movers and shakers and power-brokers of the settled star system either curried her favor as daughter of the ruler, or jockeyed for position among themselves.
Alliances and feuds, fueled by the engines of Social Capital, influenced negotiations that turned on a social snub or a carefully-timed acknowledgment. Behind it all was the Probabilities Index—the information market that determined the likelihood of potential outcomes that drove the engines of the economy. What used to be the Grand Game had become no game at all. And it was all because of Denaat.
Between one calculated moment and the next, she’d slipped. Suddenly gone weak-kneed and wobbly when his eyes turned smoky and he noticed her as a woman. Some small, winged part of her no longer saw the dome above as protection from the atmosphere, or the floors below, sealed off from the rest of the arcology, as a secluded garden. A part which lost its wings every time his gaze went cool and reminded her that it was indeed a grand game they played.
Den’s hands rested on her shoulders. His touch was light and as carefree as his voice. “All I’m hoping for is a little breathing room.” He leaned in to whisper close to her ear. “Maybe a little sweetness from my favorite princess?”
He wasn’t fooling her, even if his breath tickled her bare skin. And she wasn’t fooling herself. His hands glided down to her back where his warmth was drained away by the cold hardness of the crystals of her dress. His forehead touched hers, and to an outsider, they appeared to be sharing a moment of affection.
Shielded by the gemstones, something in her chest fluttered. That part of her was liable to land her in a choke-chain of an alliance for the rest of her life if she let it take control. Instead of hard crystal, she felt thinner than the threads weaving them together. So she squashed it ruthlessly, and stepped into the circle of his arms to meet his mouth for a kiss that promised, teased, and couldn’t deliver.
And if the warmth of his body made hers a little malleable and tingly, the solid core of her made sure to shift her body so their activities could be observed by the eyes that rested above the mouths that would report to the right ears.
Den’s grip tightened, pressing the gem-encrusted fabric into her skin, but she remained protected from the points of the gems. The carbon-silk threads were indeed as thin as thought. But strong enough to do what they were designed to do—hold it together.
Athena Grayson writes romantic fiction ranging from sci-fi romance to magical realism and contemporary fantasy. She loves to write characters who are more than they seem, and loves to play with beloved genre tropes in engaging and unique ways. She adores smart, sexy, beta heroes, and savvy heroines who aren’t afraid to demand–and get!–the best from their relationships. Find her online at athenagrayson.com, or get a free book from her private readers’ group at http://readers.athenagrayson.com/huntressOn the surface, princess Ione Ra and her friends seem to have it all. Money, power, fame. Fortunes are won and lost based on their every whim. But the fortunes are not theirs to lose. The sons and daughters of the most powerful families on Landfall have nothing but their reputations to call their own.
When the right scandal at the wrong time threatens to knock Princess Ione’s reputation into the trash can, damage control sends her after notorious gossip journalist Jaris Pulne, a thorn in her side since age twelve. For Denaat Hades, caught up in the scandal with Ione, notoriety is what he desperately needs to emerge from his father’s long shadow, but fame could expose secrets that could get him killed.
But what starts as a social scandal soon reveals that there is more at stake than her reputation. When her scandal runs afoul of the secrets of the most powerful cabal on Landfall, even her crown can’t protect her from the consequences.
Scions will be out in early 2017.
Viz also announced that the villain, Fiore will be voiced by Ben Diskin, who previously voiced Sai in Naruto Shippuden.
Teaser trailer released after the Moonlight Party is below…
Details on when and where the showings are or when tickets will be available to purchase are not available yet. However. Viz said to watch their offical Sailor Moon North America Twitter feed for more information coming soon!
So are you a fan of this movie?
Will YOU be going to see this in theatres in January?
The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Corrina Lawson as a guest blogger to talk about the Superheroines that inspire her.
Take it away Corrina!
The Superheroines Who Inspire Me by Corrina Lawson
Once upon a time, I dreamed superheroes were real. Of course, they’re not, not in the traditional sense of heroes with colorful costumes and extraordinary powers, but the heroic traits they possess is something I still want to emulate. Naturally, when I began to write paranormal romances, I drew on superhero mythology.
My first superhero, Alec Farley, the hero of Phoenix Rising, may have been born with powers like the X-Men, but he owes far more of his personality to the traits to the ones who inspired me: namely, his optimism, his kindness, and his insistence on always doing the right thing.
So here are the heroines who inspired me, in the order that I encountered them growing up. What strikes me about this list is that it’s full of grown woman for the most part. One would think I would have identified more with teenage characters but this list of ladies appealed to who I wanted to become, rather than who I was.
I’ve said this before, many times, but Lois Lane is the reason I became a journalist. She was the first female character I encountered who had a job other than teacher or nurse or secretary and it was a really cool job! There has been so much analysis about Lois Lane, everything from she’s not too smart to she gets kidnapped all the time, but the bottom line is she does the same job Superman does, fighting for truth and justice, but she does it without powers. In other words, she’s Superman’s hero.
Huntress/Helena Wayne Helena Wayne was the daughter of an alternate Earth Batman and Catwoman. Whoa. Who wouldn’t want those parents? Alas, Helena was driven into crimefighting by revenge as her mother was killed after being blackmailed, and then her father later died fighting a villain possessing magical power. This, however, did not change her essentially optimistic personality. She became Huntress to find justice, not to hurt others, and she was a lawyer by day to do the same.
If you’ve only watched the movies, well, you’re missing out on Jean Grey/Marvel Girl/Phoenix as she’s been consistently underused on the screen. That’s the problem with her comic book self, too, as Jean was never the same after the Dark Phoenix saga in which she gained the ability to devour worlds (and did) but killed herself to save the universe from her own power. What she taught me in the Dark Phoenix saga is that a powerful woman could be an equal in a relationship, even with the leader of the X-Men, (Cyclops), and she could even initiate sex. (“Scott, I wanted to see your eyes.”) Jean, until power consumed her, showed what equality was like when you’re in love.
Agent 13 was created many years ago but she’d been pushed to the side when I first started reading Captain America comics in the late 1970s. Heck, she was even killed off. But she was brought back in a short run by Mark Waid and has never been sent to the sidelines again. What’s great about Sharon? She’s the proto-typical bad-ass secret agent, she’s the intellectual equal of Steve Rogers, and she’s fiercely independent. When Sharon was impregnated against her will by the Red Skull with (handwaveycomicbookscience) a child/clone to use against her and Steve, Sharon escaped custody and when her enemies were closing in again, she stabbed herself in the gut, taking control and ownership of what was being done to her own body.
Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel
Like Black Canary/Dinah Lance, Carol has been knocking around since the 1970s, though she’s in the Marvel universe. Originally, she was a female version of Captain Mar-vell, but then a newspaper publisher, a member of the Avengers, then depowered, then a member of the X-Men powered by star energy called Binary, then Warbird, then…well, you get the picture. Writers, mostly male, made Carol into whatever they wanted. Then Kelly Sue DeConnick led a revamp of the character, Carol took on the mantle of Captain Marvel, she owned her experience as a pilot and Air Force Colonel, and now she’s a confident leader who can defeat any threat. In other words, she came through the fire better than ever and now she’ll have a movie. Go, Carol.
She’s the last addition to my list and it’s by virtue of her Netflix show. I read some issues of the comic Alias that introduced Jessica and they didn’t speak to me. Perhaps it was that Jessica seemed angry all the time but it was never clear why.
But in the show, we know right away why she’s angry and dysfunctional. She was mind-controlled and raped and abused by a telepath, and she’s by turns pissed off and traumatized by it. But to Jessica, the worst thing that can happen, ever, is that someone dies on her watch. She was under compulsion to kill once and she refuses to do it again. Oh, she’s not a saint. She’s profane, an alcoholic, she’s rude, and she often refuses to let anyone help with her pain. But she pushes past that because, dammit, she hates to see people hurt, even people she doesn’t like. Her story is also one of healing for rape survivors and we never get enough of those.
Her novels include The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, a romantic steampunk mystery and the Galaxy award-winning and USA Today recognized superhero romance series: Phoenix Institute series: Phoenix Rising, Luminous, Phoenix Legacy, Ghost Phoenix, Ghosts of Christmas Past, and Phoenix Inheritance.
The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl is happy to present this excerpt from Santa Baby by Colleen Keehne.
Bruce Springsteen’s gravelly voice singing about Santa Claus coming to town streamed from the jukebox in one corner of the diner. Multicolored twinkling lights covered the long bar near the back, coloring the glasses of beer and drinks that lined it. The tree at the far end of the bar was seven feet of old fashioned, symmetrical White Spruce. The colors of the dancing lights reflected in the shiny ornaments and tinsel that hung from its full branches. A silver star tree topper gave the tree a finished look. Patrons sat scattered among the tables and along the bar, eating or nursing drinks as they chatted. Rudy’s Diner was the only place to gather in the small but bustling town of Mistletoe, North Pole.
Bruce’s voice faded away, replaced by Elvis Presley lamenting his blue Christmas. The diner’s door opened as two tall, bulky men walked in, stopping inside the doorway. Both men were dressed for Mistletoe’s dry polar climate: insulated pants, down parkas with fur-trimmed hoods, boots, and gloves. Their brown eyes scanned the room, stopping a moment to give the tall, buxom blond waitress an appreciative once over. Her tight jeans and t-shirt showed off her ample curves. Turning, as if feeling their gazes on her, she grinned at them.
“Hey guys, take a seat anywhere.” She waved them in toward the open dining area. “Be with ya in a minute.” Both men watched as Kandy disappeared through the swinging doors. They shrugged out of their parkas, hanging them on the large pegboard next to the door.
Jamie, Kandy’s best friend and newest member of Rudy’s staff, looked up at the clock over the doors that led into the dining room. 7:30 p.m. “Two more hours,” she thought. All she wanted to do was go home, roll into bed, and sleep for days. Sleep had been elusive the last few weeks because of a sense that something was going to happen, she just didn’t know what. Closing her eyes, she could almost feel the coolness of her sheets as she imagined herself sliding between them. A bump from behind brought her back to the diner’s staff area.
“Hey Jamie, you OK?” Kandy asked. “Sorry about the bump girlfriend, but Rudy is yelling for you.”
“Yeah, I’m fine, just tired.” Jamie gave Kandy a small smile before she walked toward the kitchen. Stopping, she turned around and looked at Kandy. “I have this feeling that something is going to happen.”
“Happen?” Kandy asked. She had known Jamie since they were freshman roommates at the University of Oregon and had learned to take Jamie’s premonitions seriously.
“Yeah,” Jamie said, “I haven’t been sleeping. The feeling has been getting stronger each day. I think it’s going to be soon.” She shook her head, trying to dispel the overwhelming anxiety.
Kandy’s eyes grew wide. Jamie was never able to pin down what was going to happen or when with her premonitions. But, good or bad, they always came true. “Something bad?” She asked. “Soon?” She glanced toward the kitchen where Rudy bellowed for Jamie.
I don’t know,” Jamie answered, walking to the pickup counter between the serving area and the kitchen where three steaming plates waited for her.
“Jamie…orders up!” Rudy yelled from the kitchen. “Table six!”
“Rudy, I’m right here,” Jamie pointed out with a smile. “You can stop yelling.” Rudy grinned at her. He only had one volume when he was in the kitchen.
Jamie moved the plates from the pickup window to a large tray and added some condiments then headed toward table six. A shiver of anticipation raced through her body as she moved through the dining room.
Meanwhile, the two newcomers had settled in at a large round table off to one side of the diner. After sitting down, each had grabbed a menu from the stack in the middle of the table. As they looked them over, Bing Crosby’s voice crooned from the jukebox, wishing everyone a Mele Kalimaka. It was a catchy tune, and before the song was over, both men were singing along with it. A sigh drew their attention to Kandy, who stood next to the table.
“God…I’ll have that blasted song stuck in my head for the rest of the night!” she groaned, rolling her eyes at the two men’s less than stellar musical talents. “Lucas, Myles.” She nodded at each man. “What’ll it be?”
“Hey Kandy.” Myles tossed his menu down, a dimple showing as he grinned. “I’ll start with Alaskan Winter Ale.”
“Same thing for me,” Lucas muttered, still looking at the menu. “And an order of Spicy Fried Zucchini.”
Myles grimaced. “Man, you do remember what those did to you the last time you had them?” He looked at Kandy. “Gave him gas for a week. No one wanted to get near him.”
Kandy laughed, her large breasts jiggling under her tight t-shirt. Both men stared, mesmerized by the sight. A large hand reached out, slapping the back of Lucas’s head. “Hey!” Lucas protested, rubbing the spot and looking up at the tall man who had approached the table unnoticed. “What the hell Silas?”
Silas sat down with a scowl that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Dude…you know Rudy will kick your ass into next week if he catches you looking at Kandy that way.”
“Not likely, Silas,” Kandy snorted, “Then I’d be doing some ass kicking of my own. Where’s the rest of the crew?”
Silas tilted his head toward the door before dropping into an empty chair. Kandy glanced at the door as it blew open and four tall men walked in, followed by a willowy auburn-haired woman. The men were jostling each other and laughing. The woman strolled into the diner behind them, acting as if she didn’t know them. It was obvious she was a part of the group despite the distance she kept from the men. All five made their way to the table where Lucas, Myles, and Silas sat. Kandy greeted each of them by name as they pulled chairs out and sat down
“Hi Donny, Oliver, Adam, David.” The men nodded, and a chorus of hellos echoed around the table. Kandy looked at the lone woman among them. “Hi Vicky,” she said with a smile, “Things going OK?” Kandy knew that Vicky was coming off a broken relationship, and being surrounded by men could be painful for her now.
“Things are…improving,” Vicky replied. She left it at that. She tended to keep her feelings close to herself. With all male co-workers, she’d claimed it was better that way. Kandy nodded in commiseration.
“OK boys…” Kandy said. She had to speak louder to be heard over the cacophony of male voices. “You guys need some time before you order?” She pointed to Myles and Lucas. “I have two Alaskan Winter Ales and an order of Spicy Fried Zucchini.” At the mention of the fried zucchini, everyone at the table except Lucas groaned. He just grinned.
“Alaskan Winter Ale all around Kandy,” David said then continued to order for the table. “Nachos, Stuffed Mushroom Caps, and a couple orders of Cheesy Garlic Bread.” Everyone at the tabled nodded in agreement. Kandy scribbled their order on her order pad then turned toward the kitchen. As she walked away, seven pairs of eyes followed her tight, swaying ass. Vicky watched her table mates and rolled her eyes.
“Men!“ she thought then chuckled softly as Nat King Cole’s voice filled the room, singing about chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Oh yeah, she knew of seven pairs of nuts that needed roasting.
Santa Baby Synopsis
Looking for a slower pace of living after a family tragedy had derailed her life’s plans, Jamie Winters moves to Mistletoe, North Pole at the urging of her best friend, Kandy. Even though she envy’s the love shared between Kandy and her mate Rudy, Jamie’s not looking for a romantic relationship. That changes when she literally bumps into Chris Kringle, the CEO of North Pole, Inc while waitressing at Rudy’s Diner.
Chris Kringle falls for the curvy brunette with the dark chocolate eyes the moment his eyes land on her. And when she had swayed toward him, her hands landing on her cheat, he had known she was the One. His fated mate. But his wooing of her won’t be easy. She’s human and he’s… more than human. Can she accept what Chris is? He’ll have to tread carefully to make it work between them before the menace stalking NPI and the Kringle family steals Jamie away.
Santa Baby is available now at:
About Colleen Keehne
Colleen’s debut novel was published in October 2016. It took her a year and half to accomplish this feat. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, and holds down a full-time job. Throw into that mix two very spoiled cats and about 60 fish and you can see why it took so long. You can learn more about Coleen via her Amazon Author Page, her Author Page or her Goodreads Author Page.