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Guest Post: Area 51 and Time Trap

The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Pauline Baird Jones as a guest blogger to talk about Area 51 and how this relates to her story in the Pets In Space 2 anthology. Take it away Pauline!

Area 51 and Time Trap By Pauline Baird Jones

So, the guy who used to do my hair was also a pilot who has flown near Area 51 and he said he saw Area 51. He says that it’s there, right where the government said it isn’t. Though, in 2015 (according to wikipedia), after a FOIA request, someone admitted that it was there. But, according to the CIA, it’s not called Area 51. It’s Groom Lake and/or Homey Airpot (somewhat ironic that, don’t you think?). Except the CIA used Area 51 in a document dated back during the Vietnam War.

So, do we believe my hair dresser or the CIA?

I’m going with my hair dresser, because he saw it.

So here’s a few “facts” about Area 51:

  • In addition to Area 51, it is sometimes referred to as ‘Dreamland’ or ‘Paradise’ Ranch.
  • The air space above it is restricted.
  • It’s located in southern Nevada (like Schroedinger’s Cat, it is there and not there, if you believe the CIA, which sorry, I don’t.)
  • It’s purpose is not publicly known but based on historical evidence ‘Secret Stuff Happens There. All The Time’.
  • The area around Area 51 is on the “Extraterrestrial Highway,” which is also a popular tourist destination.
  • My Project Enterprise expedition launched from Area 51. Details are sketchy because the expedition is super highly classified and secret. Crew who returned from PE explorations usually end up working at Area 51. Sara (The Key: Project Enterprise 1) and Doc (Girl Gone Nova: Project Enterprise 2) are currently working there and might have sent something from there to Briggs for his birthday that kind of gets him in trouble.

Well, if Area 51 actually existed. Which, according to my hair dresser, it does. Then this could happen…

There was a note on top of the straw. At least they’d been smart enough not to send him an actual birthday card.
We found this in the Area 51 garage sale and immediately thought of you.
Cha-cha-cha,
Donovan and Doc (and their significant others)
P.S. According to the files, this was collected on 2789645. Ring any bells?
Area 51 garage sale. Briggs chuckled. He should have known. Those two did know the way to make his engineer’s heart happy.

Except from Time Trap A Novella in the Project Enterprise Series

Hiding in time is not as easy as you’d think…
Madison lives by the rules of a time travel rebel – never tell anyone your real name, not if you want to remain alive. On the track of a traitor, Madison and her parrot partner, Sir Rupert, time travel into a trap. Their only way out sends them back in time and into the arms of a man that ignites a fire inside her.
USAF Master Sergeant Briggs is in trouble – not the kind he’d like to be, but still in trouble. He is bored out of his mind! Ordered to recuperate on a quiet bay away from the Garradian outpost, he’s ready to mutiny and go back to his beloved engines. When his friends send him a gift from Area 51, he figures it will relieve his boredom for an hour or so – until he turns it on and he gets his second present of the day.
Madison would love to get to know Briggs better, but it is just too dangerous. Unfortunately, she might not have much choice. With a Time Service Interdiction Force on their heels, can the three craft a plan that will save a base full of geniuses and technology and discover a happy-ever-after forged through time?

Appearing in….Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2!
The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors, brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!
10% of all preorders and the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

Available October 10, 2017 via:

Pauline Baird Jones never liked reality, so she writes books. She likes to wander among the genres, rampaging like Godzilla, because she does love peril mixed in her romance.

Interview with Author Karen Thrower

It is a pleasure to welcome Karen Thrower author of Curse of the Siren and the upcoming release Demons Within.


Welcome Karen 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 story better!

Do the names of the characters in your novel have some sort of significance or importance to you?

Demons Within was originally going to be part of an anthology where all the stories take place in Oklahoma, since all the writers that would have been contributing are from Oklahoma. The anthology never took off, but my story did. I wanted to write a western, and being from Oklahoma I had lots of things to inspire me, including real live people.

The three main characters are real people. James Masterson, is brother to famous lawman Bat Masterson (who had a TV series of his exploits!) Rose of the Cimarron and her boyfriend George ‘Bittercreak’ Newcomb were notorious robbers. So these were real people and it was a lot of fun researching them.

What prompted you to write in this genre and who or what inspired you to?

Being from Oklahoma I was inundated with western culture and history growing up. It’s something that comes naturally to me and I wanted to write a story that would re-introduce these lesser known characters of history.

What kind of research did you have to do for the novel, series or set of stories that was different from others?

I think what was different about the research for this story was it was mainly looking up the exploits of real people and places. Logan county Oklahoma was where the first capital of Oklahoma was (Guthrie) and where the story takes places. It was very interesting seeing how much the city has changed since 1890.

I knew about Bat Masterson, but he had two other brothers who were also Federal Marshalls, James and Ed. I read about James dying in Guthrie Ok, and I started wondering if I could give him a more glorious death than tuberculous at age 39. He was famous for the Battle of Ingalls, which George Newcomb participated in and its said his girlfriend Rose helped save his life afterwards. If they encountered each other once, it could happen again and this time, things would be much different.

What makes you laugh?

Almost anything makes me laugh but what always gets a giggle out of me is my four-year-old laughing. It’s so infectious it’s hard not to be happy while hearing it.

What makes you cry?

Seeing others in pain, especially pain that could have been avoided.

What are you a fan of and is this reflected in your writing?

I am a fan of demon lore and I always wanted to really dig in and find a demon to write about. I found two that seemed to work well with the story I wanted to convey, Basmu and Naberious. They’re real demons you can look up and read about!

When will this story be available?

Demons Within will be appearing in the January 2018 edition of Broadswords and Blasters and I would be tickled if you would order a copy! They will have four issues out by this time so don’t be afraid to get them all. They have exceptional cover art and wonderful stories! Find out more at https://broadswordsandblasters.com.

Where can we find out more about your other stories?

You can keep up with up me via my author pages on Amazon.com or Goodreads.

I have some books on Amazon, paperback or Kindle including a five-book romance/fantasy series and an urban fantasy one shot, Curse Siren Rekindled, but I might write more for those characters one day.

I also have a flash piece coming out December 8th for Lonesome October Lit, ‘A Demons Favor’. It’s a new, very nice little horror webzine for poetry and flash fiction. The editors are some real stand up people so give them a look! Learn more at https://lonesomeoctoberlit.wordpress.com/

Thanks again Karen for stopping by today, I really appreciate it!

Interview with Adam Bray about Ultimate Marvel

The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Adam Bray to talk about his latest project for DK Books, Ultimate Marvel.

Adam Bray at Motor City Comic Con in 2016

Adam Bray at Motor City Comic Con in 2016

  
Welcome Adam to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl and thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions about the recently released, Ultimate Marvel!

 
What interested you most about working on this project in comparison to working on other DK Projects?

It’s always fun to work on something new and different. This is my second Marvel book. It takes an exhaustive look at the entire library of Marvel comics and characters, so it was a chance to explore all of canon and learn a lot. It’s also nice to work on these big books because it means I’m guaranteed to have work for a good chunk of the year without having to hunt for new projects!

 
I was very surprised that this reference book was only references the comics and not the MCU Movies and TV shows. Was this always intended or did this come up during the process?

It was always planned to only cover comics in this book. I don’t think DK has published any books about the movies or TV shows yet, but hopefully they will some day. However, I did make sure we added characters from the Agents of Shield series to this book, since they have appeared in recent comics, and I am a big fan of the TV show!

 

Key Moment spread from Ultimate Marvel image via DK Books

Key Moment spread from Ultimate Marvel image via DK Books


 
What areas of this book did you work on?

With such a big book, I think all 4 of us contributing authors worked on a wide selection of characters, locations, weapons, technology and other items. I wrote sections about the Avengers and core characters like Ant-Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, all things Spider-Man (apart from his main character entry, which was written in-house at DK as the original sample spread) and Daredevil. And of course I’m a fan of the Netflix series and the Avengers movies, so it is fun and interesting to compare how the comics differ from the MCU. In total, I think I wrote around 42 spreads, which is 84 pages, if I remember correctly. There was so much material to write that I spent several months writing 7 days a week from the time I got up till the time I went to bed! And then another couple of months working on daily batches of image captions, diagrams and text revisions or additions.

 
What is your favorite entry within this book and why?

That’s hard to say because there are so many—and partly because I can’t remember everything I wrote! Captain America and Spider-Man are among my favorite characters so I really enjoyed working on all the spreads related to them. But I also like working on characters that I’m not familiar with so I can learn something new.

 

Example from Weapons And Technology section image from DK Books

Example from Weapons And Technology section image from DK Books


 
What approach did you take when researching this book? Did you need to reference original comics for this? If so which ones did you need to refer to the most?

Writing a book like this is really more like running a marathon. It’s all about staying on schedule and completing a substantial amount of work every day. Each day I had to write an average of 1500-2000 words, and all of it had to be researched that same day. I consulted a wide variety of things—particularly DK’s own Marvel reference books, as well as online Marvel Wikis and fan sites for cross-checking and tracking down sources. I used Marvel Unlimited’s online comics library and occasionally retail sites to check dates and issue numbers. Throughout the book we have Key Moments spreads that cover important stories in the timeline. This required me to sit down and read whole mini-series for particular Captain America and Spider-Man story arcs.

 
What is your favorite character or section to work on and why?

I like Spider-Man because he’s definitely Marvel’s most relatable, every-day human character, despite his amazing powers. Also Captain America is a good old-fashioned patriotic hero; an archetype that’s maybe even fallen out of fashion in our contemporary pop-culture.

 
Did you learn anything new by working on this project?

I learned so much! The thing about Marvel is we are approaching a century of comic book history. It’s impossible for any fan to know everything—maybe even impossible to know everything about some of the long-running characters themselves. So much of the material is actually new information to me too! And that’s one of the most rewarding thing about writing—is the ability to learn along the way—and something I strive to do no matter what the subject matter is.

 
Is there anything else you would like to share about Ultimate Marvel?

What sets this book apart is that it covers everything in chronological order, as the characters, locations, weapons and technology were introduced in publishing. And the book is full of timelines. So it gives fans a very good picture of how everything fits together and when events occurred.

 
Where can fans find you?

The best place to find me is on Twitter and Facebook: @AuthorAdamBray. I also have a website at www.AdamBray.com, though it’s a bit out-of-date at the moment.

 
Thanks again Adam for a wonderful interview! 

Ultimate Marvel is the definitive in-world guide to the Marvel Comics Universe featuring, in chronological order, every significant Marvel Comic character, location, vehicle, and weapon in the company’s history. This reference book is available through the following online retail sites: DK Books UK, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, BN.com, Books A Million, Indie Bound, Indigo, McNally Robinson, Waterstones.

Interview with Author Stephanie Osborn

It is a pleasure to welcome Stephanie Osborn author of the Division One series.

Welcome Stephanie 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 stories better.

What does the title of this novel, series or set of stories signify?

Division One is a series based on my take of the urban legend about the covert group of men and women who show up at UFO sightings, alien abductions, etc. and make the evidence… disappear. They are, in reality, a branch of the Pan-Galactic Law Enforcement and Immigration Agency, or PGLEIA. This galaxy-wide organization reports to the Galactic Council, and is broken into the equivalent of precincts, or divisions, for the sake of structural hierarchy, and Earth is the Headquarters for Galactic Division One.

The first book, Alpha and Omega, chronicles the inadvertent induction of Agent Omega into Division One’s brand-new department, Alpha Line. Alpha Line is the equivalent to a SWAT team, or perhaps the Texas Rangers – one situation, one team.

She is partnered with the new department’s chief, Agent Echo, the top field agent in the entire Division, and second in line for the Directorship. Together, they are designated as Alpha One, the premier team in Alpha Line. They work under Agent Fox, a human with considerable galactic experience and a fascinating – and unusually long – back story; he was a teenager in the Nazi concentration camps, yet he appears to be only around 50 years of age, if that.

The first two books of the series, Alpha and Omega, and A Small Medium At Large, came out earlier this year, in print and ebook formats. Book 3, A Very UnCONventional Christmas, just came out, and book 4, Tour de Force, comes out in October. The series will continue next year with several new books.

Do the names of the characters in your novel have some sort of significance or importance to you? If so, give a few examples…

Special significance? Not really, though the “real” surnames of the two main characters were pulled from my own genealogy – a little trick I sometimes use just to help me quickly build the characters, since it means I know a bit about about the family background. I do usually try to pick character names that are reflective of the character, if possible, though not always.

For instance, Agent Echo’s name (on his birth certificate) was Alexander Ian Bryant. Bryant is loosely Celtic in origin (and in my family tree), hence I used variants of Celtic given names. Except Echo’s mother was Lipan Apache, and his middle name was SUPPOSED to be Elan, which is Apache for “friendly.” Only the registrar misheard and followed the Celtic flow of the rest of his name, making his middle name officially Ian on his birth certificate. (Strictly speaking, the Celtic equivalent of Alexander is Alistair, but I liked the sound of Alexander Ian better; Alistair sounds too pompous for that character.) “Friendly” as a name for him evokes an interesting dichotomy in my mind, since he is fierce in battle, and anything BUT friendly to an alien perp. He is also a reserved, “still waters run deep” kind of man, but he cares deeply about the people around him, those with whom he’s close. He doesn’t exactly show it a lot to said people, but it’s there. And over the course of the first book, we find that Omega becomes one of those people.

And since Echo is from Texas, and Bryants figured prominently in Texas history, I tied it in, just a bit, as being a branch of the family who founded Bryant Station, etc.

What prompted you to write in this genre and who or what inspired you to?

Oh, SF was always my favorite genre, growing up. I read ‘most every science fiction book I could get my hands on. I wanted to work in the space program (which I eventually wound up doing), and it fired my imagination and made me excited for the future. My second favorite genre to read was mystery, and I always liked action-adventure, a bit of thriller, and a soupcon of romance. Which probably explains why that is the recipe for most of the books that I write!

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer and do your characters reflect some of these attributes?

I try to be disciplined about it, meaning that I write almost every day – it’s a job, after all. I can become a real workaholic if I’m not careful, though, and I’m handicapped, so – well, if you are familiar with the ‘spoons’ analogy of chronic illness (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoon_theory ), I just don’t have as many spoons as I used to have. So sometimes I have to just MAKE myself take a break. Otherwise…I’ve ended up quite sick as a result of pushing past my limits. And that can set me back for months, as I try to recover. Because let’s face it, creativity requires significant amounts of energy. And if all your energy is being funneled into getting well, there isn’t anything left for creation.

And yeah, I do find that several of my characters wind up being a lot like that. If you really enjoy what you’re doing, then in a fashion it stops becoming work, and you don’t WANT to stop.

What kind of research did you have to do for the novel, series or set of stories that was different from others?

Well, for this set of books, I had, and have, to do a lot of research regarding the Milky Way Galaxy and its structure. My graduate work was in astronomy and astrophysics, so I consider it a lot of fun, but what I have to do is to figure out where things are in the galaxy with respect to each other; what areas are potentially inhabitable, and what are not. Even just relative orientations! For instance, I’m currently writing book 5, Trojan Horse, and I had to ascertain where the Orion Nebula was with respect to Earth, and what was visible from the location of the nebula when looking back TOWARD Earth. So…kind of a galactic map, if you will.

What makes you laugh?

A well-constructed pun; a good joke with an unexpected punchline; my husband’s excellent one-liners. I love my husband’s sense of humor, and one of the things I have always adored about him is his ability to find a way to make me laugh, no matter how down or upset I may be about a situation.

One of the funniest things I can recall in recent years was when I discovered a webcomic called Vexxarr. The eponymous alien is an outcast from his kind, a space traveler who has collected a hodgepodge crew about himself, and who is constantly getting into all kinds of scrapes and getting out on his wits.

So in this one particular sequence of strips, Vexxarr gets nearly eaten by a large alien kaiju kind of monster, and is rescued before he can go down the creature’s gullet. Upon being returned to his ship, he is in severe shock and is monosyllabic for a bit, as his crew tries to find out exactly what happened. Finally the story gets pieced together and as one of them recounts it in toto, he makes this vivid, horrible description of Vexxarr entering the maw of the beast, with its slavering jaws, huge, razor-sharp teeth, ravening tongue…

And suddenly Vexxarr pipes up with the only polysyllabic word he’s said since the whole horrid event started.

“UVULA!” he yells at the top of his lungs.

I howled laughing. I laughed until tears just ran down my cheeks. I laughed until I was out of breath, but I couldn’t stop. I laughed hysterically for probably ten minutes, until I was gasping for air. And it was probably half an hour or better before the very thought of the strip didn’t send me off into fresh gales of laughter.

For quite a while that was the rallying cry on the Vexxarr message board…

I got to meet and get to know the webcomic’s creator a few years ago, and he’s as fun and funny as his strip. I have hopes that one of these days he’ll let me coauthor a short story arc in the strip with him. I’d love to see him bring our ideas to a kind of life like that.

What makes you cry?

Watching a hero/heroine sacrifice him/herself for the sake of someone or something s/he loves. Seeing a baby anything die or be killed. Bittersweet endings. Seeing misunderstood creatures or people be mistreated.

I watched the Japanese kaiju film, Rodan, the other day and was SO sad when the creatures died at the end, because in the end, one fell into the lava, and the other chose to dive in after it, preferring to die at its side than live without it…and there was something so loving, so touching, about it that it kind of ‘humanized’ them even though they had killed people.

What are you a fan of and is this reflected in your writing?

I’m a big film buff, particularly of science fiction and fantasy movies, but also the related genre of comic-book movies. My writing has been described as very cinematic in style, so that when someone reads it, it creates the effect of a movie playing in his/her head. And that’s pretty much correct, because when I write, it’s like watching a movie in my head and just transcribing it.

I think the funny banter found in most of the comic-type movies also comes out in my writing, too, as I find my characters have a tendency to do the same kind of banter.

###

Thanks Stephanie for taking time to let us get to know about the Division One series and yourself better!

Division One series, published by Chromosphere Press is available through Amazon:

Division One series

Division One series

About Stephanie Osborn

Few can claim the varied background of award-winning author Stephanie Osborn, the Interstellar Woman of Mystery.

Veteran of more than 20 years in the civilian space program, as well as various military space defense programs, she worked on numerous space shuttle flights and the International Space Station, and counts the training of astronauts on her resumé. Her space experience also includes Spacelab and ISS operations, variable star astrophysics, Martian aeolian geophysics, radiation physics, and nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons effects.

Stephanie holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in four sciences: astronomy, physics, chemistry and mathematics, and she is “fluent” in several more, including geology and anatomy.

In addition she possesses a license of ministry, has been a duly sworn, certified police officer, and is a National Weather Service certified storm spotter.

Her travels have taken her to the top of Pikes Peak, across the world’s highest suspension bridge, down gold mines, in the footsteps of dinosaurs, through groves of giant Sequoias, and even to the volcanoes of the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest, where she was present for several phreatic eruptions of Mount St. Helens.

Now retired from space work, Stephanie has trained her sights on writing. She has authored, co-authored, or contributed to almost 30 books, including the celebrated science-fiction mystery, Burnout: The mystery of Space Shuttle STS-281. She is the co-author of the Cresperian Saga book series, and has written the critically acclaimed Displaced Detective Series, described as “Sherlock Holmes meets The X-Files,” and its pulp-bestselling prequel series, Gentleman Aegis, the very first book of which won a Silver Falchion award. She has dabbled in paranormal/horror as well, releasing the ebook novella El Vengador, based on a true story. Currently she’s launching into the unknown with the Division One series, her take on the urban legend of the people who show up at UFO sightings, alien abductions, etc. to make things…disappear.

In addition to her writing work, the Interstellar Woman of Mystery now happily “pays it forward,” teaching math and science through numerous media including radio, podcasting and public speaking, as well as working with SIGMA, the science-fiction think tank.

The Mystery continues.

You can learn more about Stephanie and the Division One series via her webite, http://www.stephanie-osborn.com/

Excerpt: Clone Me a Lover

The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl is proud to present this excerpt from Clone Me a Lover by Rosalie Redd
Excerpt from Clone Me A Lover

“I…didn’t hear you come in. How long have you been here?”
He leaned against the doorframe, his arms crossed. A slow smile tugged at his lips, and she focused on them. They were so tempting, and it was all she could do to pull her gaze to his eyes.
“Long enough to watch you make that…squirrel?”
A nervous laugh broke from her lips. “This is an ornithium, a small sub-surface dweller from our planet. The tiny creature comes above ground to retrieve nuts that fall from the trees during the season’s first frost. It is the good luck symbol for our winter celebration—Lintria, representing hope and love, for if this small animal can survive in the harshest of conditions, so can we.”
“I see. When is your next observance?” His calm demeanor called to her, sending a tingle of curiosity and excitement along her nerves.
“In a few days, when our sun is lowest in the horizon in the southern hemisphere. This special day is celebrated by everyone in our culture.” Her throat constricted. Not everyone. Toman was still in jail. If she didn’t return to get him out before the celebration, he’d observe the rite in the mines and never participate in another. I can’t think about that.
With a quick swallow, she focused her attention on the sexy man in front of her. “Thank you, again, for replacing the reactor.”
His gaze flicked to her mouth before returning to her eyes. The brown in his irises deepened.
Warmth spread between her thighs, and she bit her lip.
He took a step forward, closing the distance between them. “It was the least I could do, given you saved me from a long, cold, lonely journey through space.”
“Well, then, seems we’ve saved each other.”
Love is a dangerous, forbidden emotion.

Human clone Angelo Thirteen craves something illicit—to fall in love. When a tenacious female Altonian retrieves his escape pod from the rubble of a shipwreck, he may just get his chance. Drawn to her determined spirit and mesmerizing golden eyes, he must pierce the battle thickened walls surrounding her heart to uncover what he covets most.

Elle cares about two things in the universe—her ship and her brother. When her sibling is imprisoned on a savage ice world nothing will derail her from her recovery mission, that is, until she rescues a sexy human clone from the icy coldness of space. Falling for his tender, sensuous nature wasn’t part of her plan and now she must choose between saving her brother from Alta’s prison or risking her heart.

Lose yourself in the Interstellar Lovers series with this delicious tale of sensual discovery and longing. You can buy Clone Me A Lover from the following retailers:

After finishing a rewarding career in finance and accounting, it was time for award-winning author Rosalie Redd to put away the spreadsheets and take out the word processor. She pens paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy romance in her office cave located in Oregon, where rain is just another excuse to keep writing. You can find Rosalie via her Website: http://www.rosalieredd.com and the following social media sites:

Guest Post: Turning Unhealthy Obsessions Into Viable Fiction

The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl again welcomes author Alexandra Christian as a guest blogger to talk about how unhealthy obsessions can be turned into viable fiction.

Take it away Alexandra!

Turning Unhealthy Obsessions into Viable Fiction, or Why “Sapiosexual Love Monkey” Really Just Means Benedict Cumberbatch Fanfiction By Alexandra Christian

Sapiosexual: (adj.): being sexually aroused by intelligence.

In my bio, you’ll notice that part of my mission statement with Little Red Hen Romance is bringing sapiosexual love monkeys to intelligent readers everywhere. It’s a concept I came across several years ago as I began nursing an unhealthy fangirl obsession with the BBC’s series Sherlock and its star, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Lemme start at the beginning. Around that same time, I became miserable at my day job and really depressed about writing in general. I was adrift in a sea of uncertainty and was desperately trying to find my way to shore. The kinds of books I wanted to read didn’t seem to exist and I felt like there was little to no market for the kinds of books I wanted to write. I loved romance novels, but couldn’t stand the heroes. Christian Grey was a whiny Mama’s boy with too much time and money on his hands. Edward Cullen had a God complex. The standard Harlequin hero was just an oiled torso stereotype. I wanted more. I refused to believe that I was a freak for wanting action and intrigue with her romantic stories. I wanted a hero who was not only able to rush into battle, but could also engage in a battle of wits. A hero who could think his way out of any situation. A cool, calculating hero who was interested in more than just what lurked between the heroine’s thighs. When I aired my grievances to my sister she said, “Have I got a show for you.”

By the middle of the first episode, I was offering my body as tribute. The deduction monologues made my heart (and other less-mentionable parts) flutter. The way Sherlock just seemed to know things. The way he studied EVERYTHING. It made me (and I suspect many others) wonder what a man like that would be like as a lover. By the end of series one, I was more inspired than I had been in more than a year. By the end of that week, I had written a short, erotic horror story titled “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” about an obsessed fangirl. And by the end of the month, the hero of my new Phoenix Rising series, Macijah “Cage” St. John, was born.

In the first chapter of Naked (Phoenix Rising 1), if you’ve watched Sherlock at all, you can see the influence. He’s extremely sharp and does not suffer fools. His English wit cuts like a knife. And the physical description of Cage, while more Khan (from Star Trek Into Darkness) than Sherlock, is very definitely Cumberbatch-ish. See..

The man who had come to her rescue was standing in the impromptu doorway that had been made by his and the wolf-man’s bodies hitting the wall. Her mouth hung limply from her jaw as she realized that he hadn’t a stitch of clothing on his body. Pale skin stretched over a lean musculature, lined with scars that kept drawing her eyes downward. Phoebe felt her face go up in flames and she commanded herself to look up into his face. His dark, curly hair was wild, but his blue eyes burned brightly.

Cage embodies the Alpha hero I always wanted. He’s not just a meathead with lots of disposable income. Or a shifter that can’t control his primal urges. Cage uses his brain, not just his fists or his weapons. He’s complex with a past that’s reflected in eyes that are lined with age and experience, not guy-liner. And because of that, I suppose that most of my stories and books that have been written in the last couple of years have a healthy dose of my Cumberbatch obsession.

So there. I’ve confessed. Whew… it feels good. Freeing. But I can’t promise that I will go forth and sin no more. In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s some sin going on in my WIP even as we speak.

###

Thanks again Alexandra for being a guest blogger today and for sharing this insight with us!


You can find out more Alexandra by visting the following:
Website: http://lexxxchristian.wixsite.com/alexandrachristian
Blog: http://lexxxchristian.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheSouthernBellefromHell/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lexxxchristian
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b5c_Un

Alexandra Christian is an author of mostly romance with a speculative slant. Her love of Stephen King and sweet tea has flavored her fiction with a Southern Gothic sensibility that reeks of Spanish moss and deep fried eccentricity. As one-half of the writing team at Little Red Hen Romance, she’s committed to bringing exciting stories and sapiosexual love monkeys to intelligent readers everywhere. Lexx also likes to keep her fingers in lots of different pies having written everything from sci-fi and horror to Sherlock Holmes adventures. Her alter-ego, A.C. Thompson, is also the editor of the highly successful Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series of anthologies.
A self-proclaimed “Southern Belle from Hell,” Lexx is a native South Carolinian who lives with an epileptic wiener dog and her husband, author Tally Johnson. Her long-term aspirations are to one day be a best-selling authoress and part-time pinup girl. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Broad Universe—an organization that supports female authors of speculative fiction.

Note: Alexandra was kind enough to share an excerpt of Naked and you can find this here!

Excerpt from Naked: Phoenix Rising #1

The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl is proud to present this excerpt from Naked: Phoenix Rising #1 by Alexandra Christian

Excerpt from Naked

There is no situation that can’t be made worse with the addition of heavy rain. Phoebe stumbled down the path behind St. John, her sensible pumps sinking into the squishy ground with every step. His long-legged strides weren’t particularly fast, but she was practically running to catch up. She was also trying to pull a bulky suitcase behind her without much luck. Finally she ran over a large rock, tipping the case over and taking her with it. She sat down hard on the wet ground, the standing water in the grass splashing up and peppering her with a spray of muddy freckles. “Damnit!” she cried, wanting to throw herself down and have a kicking and screaming tantrum. Instead she took off one of her shoes and threw it as hard as she could. It whizzed past St. John’s ear, and he finally turned.
“Problem?” he asked, strolling back toward where she sat in the grass.
“Can you slow down a minute, please?” Her tone was teetering on annoyance. Couldn’t he see that she was having trouble? So much for the politeness of the British.
He stared down at her, his arms crossed over his chest. “Actually, no. We need to get as far away from that crash site as soon as possible and you to that spaceport so I can be on my way.” He looked over the assortment of items that had fallen out of the case as it tipped over. “Got any trainers in there?”
Phoebe looked up at him like he had suddenly lapsed into Chinese. “What?”
“Trainers. Shoes. Like shoes you wear for running.”
“Oh. Not really, no.”
“Jeans? A jumper?”
“No. I didn’t think I’d be trekking through the forest,” she replied, taking his offered hand and letting him pull her upright. She limped over to where she had thrown her shoe, searching the grass.
“Is there anything in there that’s helpful or important?”
“Well of course,” she replied. “My clothes and toothbrush… anti-bac hand lotion…” She continued listing off all of the things as she pulled her discarded shoe back on. Heaving a sigh, he grabbed the suitcase and slung it as hard as he could over the ravine.
“What are you doing?” She could feel the pressure of angry tears behind her eyes as she watched all of her worldly possessions take a header down the bank, spilling her delicates over the dirty ground. How dare he have such disregard for her personal property! Not to mention that the items in that suitcase were her security blankets. There might not be anything of value or anything “helpful,” but there were things she needed! A picture of her family, her allergy medicine… her copy of Gone With the Wind. Phoebe started to run after the case, but St. John held her back. She beat her fists against his arms and chest. “Let me go! That’s my stuff! I need it!”
“Your stuff is slowing us down. Look, I said I would help you, but I’m not a bellhop or a hero! If you’re going with me, you play by my rules.” He looked up into the sky and let her go. “Come on… it’s nearly dawn.”
She watched him go, starting to reconsider her pleas for his help and then realizing that she had little choice but to follow him. They were now so far off the beaten path that she’d never find her way out. Steeling her jaw and giving a last glance back to where he’d thrown her suitcase, she started walking. Despite his growling, he did slow the pace a little so that she could keep up.
As they walked on and on, the trees rose up around them in an ominous canopy that nearly obliterated the early morning light of dawn. She could hear the stream that ran along beside them at the bottom of the ravine. It was hard to believe in their world that places such as this still even existed. It was almost desolate, but beautiful. Watching him as they walked, she slowly realized that St. John seemed almost as distressed as she felt. By now they’d been walking for hours, and in that time he’d become increasingly irritable. After several attempts at conversation, Phoebe had just given up and walked beside him silently. But his mood was starting to make her worry even more than she had been already.
“So… you don’t really seem like the normal space traveler,” he said, surprising her by breaking the silence. St. John shifted the backpack from one shoulder to the other. “What’s taking you to New London?”
“What? Oh… yes. My sister,” she replied. “I’m going to visit her.”
“Interesting,” he replied blandly.
Her heart pounded in her chest. She didn’t fully trust St. John and wasn’t sure that she should reveal her true intentions. Anyone could be working for Machine. Maybe he had been sent to keep an eye on her. Phoe was a fan of James Bond, so she had spent many an hour watching spy movies. He could be some kind of operative that was just waiting for an opportunity to steal the medallion and leave her broken body in the woods. And of course there was the werewolf thing. “Not really. I mean… it’s just a visit.”
“Well considering that no one really lives on the space colony unless they’re either filthy rich or a scientist of some sort. Judging by your clothes, you don’t appear to be particularly wealthy. So that leaves scientist.”
“She’s an archaeologist,” Phoebe answered. “She works for the Interplanetary Union, looking for natural resources and such. I’m a librarian.”
“I didn’t know those existed anymore. Libraries, I mean.”
“In small towns mostly, I suppose. I mean, I used to work for a digital archive in New Orleans, but I… I didn’t really like it there.” She bit down on her lip, wishing she could take it back. Her brain whirred, already constructing the story that she would tell him when he asked why she’d left New Orleans. Everyone asked why.
To her surprise, St. John just nodded, glancing toward the lightening sky again.
“What about you?”
“What about me?” he parroted.
“Well… what do you do?”
“I… I’m not really sure how to describe what I do. I’m a problem solver, I guess.” Given the things Phoe saw in his backpack, his problem solving skills must involve heavy artillery.
###
Librarian at one of Earth’s last paper libraries, Phoebe Addison is about to have a romantic and interplanetary adventure wilder than anything she’s ever read.

OUT OF THE STACKS

Librarian Phoebe Addison has lived her entire life within a seventy-five mile radius of her small Louisiana town, but when she receives a strange medallion from her adventurous, off-world sister, reality tilts toward the bizarre. Everything Phoe thought she knew is…well, wrong. Dead wrong. But bone-numbing fear has no place in this brave new world—nor by the side of the dangerous, exquisite man who saves her life.

…AND INTO THE FIRE

Following the tragic slaughter of his family, operative Macijah “Cage” St. John understands evil in a way no man ever should. He traded happiness for a magnificent and terrible power, and fate isn’t done with him yet. He wasn’t looking for comfort. He didn’t need tenderness. But today he’ll play hero to a damsel in distress, and his quest will deliver him to the uncanny Martian colony of New London—and his heart to the demure Phoebe Addison. The bookish beauty’s hidden talents and deep abiding love just might save Cage from himself.

Boroughs Publishing: http://boroughspublishinggroup.com/books/naked
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071CRSKV2
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/naked-alexandra-christian/1126242975?ean=2940154124833
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/naked-65
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/718364
Print: https://www.createspace.com/709449

Alexandra Christian is an author of mostly romance with a speculative slant. Her love of Stephen King and sweet tea has flavored her fiction with a Southern Gothic sensibility that reeks of Spanish moss and deep fried eccentricity. As one-half of the writing team at Little Red Hen Romance, she’s committed to bringing exciting stories and sapiosexual love monkeys to intelligent readers everywhere. Lexx also likes to keep her fingers in lots of different pies having written everything from sci-fi and horror to Sherlock Holmes adventures. Her alter-ego, A.C. Thompson, is also the editor of the highly successful Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series of anthologies.

A self-proclaimed “Southern Belle from Hell,” Lexx is a native South Carolinian who lives with an epileptic wiener dog and her husband, author Tally Johnson. Her long-term aspirations are to one day be a best-selling authoress and part-time pinup girl. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Broad Universe—an organization that supports female authors of speculative fiction.  You can find out more about Alexandra by visiting:

Website: http://lexxxchristian.wixsite.com/alexandrachristian

Blog: http://lexxxchristian.wordpress.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lexxxchristian

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b5c_Un

Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Alexandra-Christian/e/B009QU3UD4/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

INSTAFREEBIE: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/bfwiS

Guest Post: The Challenges of Writing Short Stories

The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl again welcomes author Veronica Scott as a guest blogger to talk about the challenges of writing short stories for her futuristic universe, the Sectors.

Thanks again Veronica for being a guest blogger today!

Thanks for having me! Always a treat to come and visit the EverydayFangirl Blog and talk science fiction romance!

The Challenges of Writing Short Stories by Veronica Scott

I usually think and write in novel length format, but in 2016 I accepted a couple of challenges to write shorter, for three very different anthologies. The collections are no longer available, so I’ve put the three stories together in one volume myself now and released them under the very unwieldy title Star Cruise A Novella: Stowaway Plus Rescue and Token Short Stories. I thought it was really important to be clear that the book doesn’t contain three novel-length works. But wow, what a title, right?

I thought I’d talk a little bit about the stories and why I wrote them. First of all, if I’m going to come up with a 9k to 25K story that has a beginning, a middle and an end, plus the HEA, I needed to work within my already established futuristic universe, the Sectors. This allowed me to show new readers a bit of my worldbuilding by giving them the feeling there is a well-defined setting, and people who have read my books will feel right at home and perhaps see some familiar characters in supporting roles. To that end, two of the stories involve the crew of my luxurious interstellar space liner, the Nebula Zephyr. Of course I’m also hoping new readers will want to dash off and read more Sectors stories after finishing these!

Pauline B. Jones and I had the idea to create an anthology that blended pets into stories of scifi romance and adventure, which became the award winning Pets In Space, with seven other terrific authors. For that project, I wrote Star Cruise: Stowaway and created one alien pet, added in a ship’s cat, and took off with a romantic suspense story. (The blurbs are given below.) I had so much fun writing this and became so intrigued with the addition of a major interstellar crime syndicate to my Sectors, that I wrote another full novel, Danger in the Stars (which released in April), and am now working on a second novel that explores some other aspects of romance and adventure the mob and the captive empaths provided. So as an author, I think taking the time to do this novella really worked for me, and readers were very kind with their reviews. We are doing a Pets In Space 2 this year, by the way with a slightly different mix of authors.

Star Cruise: Rescue was for an anthology with mostly or all Science Fiction Romance Brigade authors and there was no central theme, so I brainstormed what kind of mischief my crew members might get into if they spent an evening on a planet. Fortunately around this time I read an article in Business Week of all places, discussing curated events for the very wealthy. I had an ‘a ha’ moment about how the bored, rich ‘Socialites’ traveling on board the Nebula Zephyr might end up taking a crew member with them to such an exclusive event and the trouble that might ensue.

The third anthology was Dealer’s Choice, for the 2016 RT Booklovers Convention and was a limited edition paperback, only handed out at Linnea Sinclair’s Interstellar Bar & Grille event. (I was a co-host.) There was no way I was going to miss a chance to be in an anthology with Linnea Sinclair and to have my story edited by her as part of the process! She gives great notes by the way. The unifying theme of the collection was to involve a scifi casino as the setting. Now I do have a casino on the Nebula Zephyr, but for some reason I wanted to write a story in the style of a classic Western, where the hero rides into town, gets involved with the local problems, falls in love with a dancehall girl and….HEA ensues. So I put the story on a space station with a casino, but still in the Sectors. The Golden Token is the title of this story.

I find I enjoy writing the occasional short story or novella as a change, and it can be something of a ‘palate cleanser’ for the Muse, before diving back into my longer novels. I was also happily surprised to have the characters in the Stowaway novella prompt me to now write two more novels that hadn’t been on my mind at all. I seem to be able to hit the different word limits of each project, which is satisfying as an author. I think my biggest challenge or frustration perhaps is that I tend to take my time for my characters to reach the point where they experience physical intimacy, so a novella or short story from me doesn’t give the full flavor of one of my novels, which do usually contain a few moderately warm bedroom scenes. (I’m a 3 on a 5 point scale of steaminess.). I’d definitely consider doing another anthology project someday, besides the Pets in Space series.

Thanks again for having me as a guest here and I look forward to guest blogging here in the future!

As a special treat, here is an excerpt from one of the short stories The Golden Token.  Charlie has just arrived on the space station and expects to connect with his next ship immediately but learns there’ll be a delay of several days:

He plucked his ticket from the man’s fingers, taking a glance to see how much oxygen tax he was paying. “Wait, there’s some mistake here. I’m not staying on the Station.”
Tongue between his teeth as he concentrated, the station agent reviewed the information on the screen before him. “You’re hopping a ride on the Centauri Dawn to your destination in Sector 46, right?”
“Yes, but she’s supposed to be docking later today.”
The clerk shrugged. “Updated info as of an hour ago. Ran into some rogue comets. She won’t be here for three days. Be glad she’s coming at all, would be my advice.” A small alarm sounded and the man held up one hand. “Hold on, this could be your lucky day.”
“I fail to see how.”
“Says here you’re arrival number one hundred for this cycle and entitled to a golden token, redeemable at the Hall of Good Fortune.” He handed Charlie a large, fake gold coin, embossed with a dragon on one side and blank on the other.
Astonished, Charlie flipped the coin over. “You must be kidding me. Nobody uses metal money these days, not even in a backwater Sector like this.”
The clerk said, “That’s for gambling at the Station’s casino, up on Level A. Only place to get drinks, gamble, have some fun. Depending on your preferences, of course. The menu’s not as extensive as it used to be in the old days. Kumisarc Corporation’s always cutting back.”
In an effort to stem the tide of the now-garrulous agent’s information, Charlie asked, “This station got a hotel?”
“Temporary housing only for non-residents, rents by the day. I can reserve you a unit.”
Charlie scanned the lobby. There were a few seats on the far wall and he knew he’d seen some in the arrival area.
“Security don’t allow vagrants,” the man said as if reading his mind. “No camping out in the waiting areas. Even with a valid transfer ticket.”
He stifled a growl of irritation, drumming his fingers on the counter. So far this station was a racket, trying to separate him from his credits and doing a good job of it. “How much for the room?”
Not surprised to be quoted a predictably exorbitant price, Charlie set the useless coin on the counter while he transferred the credits, got his code key strip and picked up his bag, ready to make the best of his unexpected layover.
“Hey, don’t forget the token.” The clerk held it up before tossing it to him. “This plus a few credits’ll get you a drink or a spin of the roulette wheel. Not good for much else.”
Charlie made a one-handed catch and slid the disc into a pocket on his utility pants.
“No open carry weapons, by the way,” the clerk said, leaning over the counter. “Gotta keep them stowed in your baggage. Security does a body scan before anyone gets into the casino. They get real upset if they see weapons. Had a few incidents with hotheaded miners over the years, trying to settle their personal grievances with blasters. Tempers are short these days.”

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak!

STAR CRUISE A NOVELLA: STOWAWAY PLUS RESCUE AND TOKEN SHORT STORIES is available via Amazon, iBooks, B&N and Kobo.

Star Cruise: Stowaway: Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.
Star Cruise: Rescue: When a shore leave excursion goes terribly wrong for Mira Gage, a member of the Nebula Zephyr’s crew, Security Officer Clint Miltan races the clock to find her before the ship leaves orbit and abandons Mira to her fate. Clint’s got more than a professional interest in Mira, but will he be able to save her from the aliens holding her prisoner?
The Golden Token: Sectors Special Forces operator Charlie McBrire had a few days to kill on a layover at Space Station 47. He never expected to find himself in the middle of a miners’ rebellion, fighting to save the life of a casino dancer he just met but can’t imagine living without.

Author Veronica Scott

Author Veronica Scott

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.

Seven 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.”

You can learn more about Veronica Scott by checking out her Blog, her Amazon Author Page, and by following her on Twitter or Facebook.

Interview with Author J.L. Carter

It is a pleasure to welcome J.L. Carter author of The Sky Regency.

Welcome 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 stories better.

What does the title of this novel, series or set of stories signify?

The Sky Regency could be best summed up as “a Jane Austen story with sexy aliens”. I wanted to play with the world “regency”, which literally means a change of governance while a ruler is absent. The new governance comes in the form of an extraterrestrial entity. An alien species with human appearance people chose to call “Sky Men” (the notion of space was quite primitive at the time).

Do the names of the characters in your novel have some sort of significance or importance to you? If so, give a few examples…

Yes, a lot of significance! Even though the novel can be seen as sci-fi, it borrows the codes and setting of Regency-era romance. Therefore, all the characters’ names (first and last) had to remain accurate to the place and era. However, I did take some liberties for a few ones, as I launched a contest for my first readers to have their name appear in the story (either as humans or aliens) and the characters reflecting their personality. It is my way of thanking them for their great support!

Oh, and there’s also a character that is a reference to a famous Mark Twain novel (you’ll have to guess this one!)

What prompted you to write in this genre and who or what inspired you to?

I think it goes all the way back to my childhood. I was the only girl child in my family and all the boys (brothers and father) were into sci-fi. Only my mother read Regency novels quite voraciously, and so I was raised with this two vastly different influences. Growing up, I gained the geeky personality of my brothers while staying a hopeless romantic, just like mom. As a first-time author, I wanted my book to be a synthesis of these two worlds… And so, The Sky Regency was born!

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer and do your characters reflect some of these attributes?

Actually, the book often deals with the themes of madness and remaining sane. I identify with Margaret, the main character, who is sometimes seen as an escapist but knows how to separate dreams and reality, even when her own reality is challenged.

What kind of research did you have to do for the novel, series or set of stories that was different from others?

Lots and lots of historical research on Regency-era England. I wanted to explore the basis of what made this period so memorable in British History, from fashion to architecture to the political environment. There are many references to actual historical figures, including King George III and the Prince Regent. George III was known to have developed dementia in the later part of his life, which triggered the Regency Act, but it was never officially revealed how he developed it. I thought seeing spaceships and being visited by aliens could be a theory 

What makes you laugh?

SNL, my geeky husband, politics (sometimes).

What makes you cry?

Hatred, onions, politics (sometimes).

What are you a fan of and is this reflected in your writing?

I’ve always been a fan of epic series, either historical or sci-fi, which explores entire civilizations, real or fictional. Star Wars of course comes to mind (I named my second daughter Leia!). I think one of my favorite writers would be Philip K. Dick. Even though his stories are essentially short, he always managed to build a futurist world that is believable and add a suspenseful plot that keeps you turning pages. The Sky Regency is obviously inspired by The Man In The High Castle, one of his finest works to me, as it masterfully imagined an alternate History, based on the idea “what if the Nazis won World War II?”

Thanks J.L. for letting us get to know you and your story better.

THE SKY REGENCY by J.L. Carter is available for pre-order, FREE with KU!
Release Day: April 30, 2017
All she wanted was a change.
All he wanted was a mate.
It’s 1810, and Europe is at war as Napoleon stages his great march across the continent and the British Empire battles the threat. King George III’s illness leaves him raving about sky invasions—rants that his courtiers dismiss as the thoughts of a madman.
Margaret Swinton has her own problems; unwillingly promised to Julian Barwick, Duke of Bridgewater and a royal insider, she struggles to find feelings for him, something that her family cannot understand.
However, History will soon be transformed when strange lights start to appear over England: a new invader with a power that easily overwhelms the primitive British forces. As George III repeals the Regency Act, Margaret meets Aidar, the gorgeous and dreaded Prince of the Sky Men.
Margaret quickly finds herself trapped in a deadly, deceit-filled love triangle in a world that has changed forever. The stakes are high, and one wrong move could easily spell disaster…

Add it to your TBR on Goodreads: https://goo.gl/nu5dDH
Amazon US : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XBGXFCZ
Amazon UK : https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XBGXFCZ
Amazon CA : https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XBGXFCZ
Amazon AU : https://www.amazon.com.au/d/B06XBGXFCZ

More about J.L. Carter

J.L? Carter was born in small town Texas from an avid Regency romance reader and a sci-fi geek. As a result, she was destined to marry a Jedi Duke and be trained to become an a**-kicking lady.
Growing up as a financial analyst in Austin, she used to write kinky fan-fiction on the back of Excel spreadsheets. Thankfully, her boss never found out (but his secretary did!).
When she’s not writing, J.L. likes to read sci-fi and paranormal romance books (the more fangs and claws, the better), try not to burn everything she cooks, Netflix with her husband and raise her two kids to not become as weird as she is.

Guest Post on Star Cruise: Outbreak

The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl again welcomes author Veronica Scott as a guest blogger to talk about her story Star Cruise: Outbreak.

Take it away Veronica!

Guest Post on Star Cruise: Outbreak by Veronica Scott

Thanks for having me as your guest today!

I decided to focus on Star Cruise: Outbreak for this interview because it was recently honored with a double SFR Galaxy Award mention and I thought it might be a timely topic. The novel also received a third place award in the Judge A Book By Its Cover contest, judged by professional book sellers, which was exciting but mostly due to the artistry of Fiona Jayde, who does all my wonderful SFR book covers.

What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

It was my usual combination of many various topics that would come together on board the interstellar cruise ship Nebula Zephyr. I had to research the cruise industry, to have lots of cool amenities for my passengers, and so I looked at travel blogs, the union for cruise ship workers, job listings, books on running large ships successfully, etc. I also did ‘research’ by watching current reality shows like “Below Deck,” and I read the synopsis of every single episode of the old TV show “Love Boat,” trying to get a feel for what overall story and worldbuilding elements contributed to it being such a successful program. And of course long ago, I’d done my research into Titanic for the book Wreck of the Nebula Dream, so I still have those notes on cruise ships and the passengers.

I also had to do extensive research into communicable diseases, with emphasis on the types found on cruise ships or other closed environments. I read up on Legionnaire’s disease and even brain eating amoebas. Yes, watching the TV shows on cruises was more fun than perusing medical sites, but I had to create a plausible and terrifying illness for my cruise ship, and keep the symptoms and prognosis believable as the crisis continues. I don’t know about you but if I read too much on sites like WebMD and the Mayo Clinic, I start convincing myself I have every single disease known to man LOL. I do know I don’t have the one afflicting the Nebula Zephyr.

And the third aspect I researched was PTSD, particularly for medical personnel who served in frontline combat hospitals. There were several nonfiction accounts from fairly recent events like Iraq that were grim but useful. My heroine, Dr. Emily Shane, is known as the “Angel of Fantalar” for her deeds in frontline combat, but she’s quite self-critical for not being able to save everyone. The cruise ship is a totally new environment for her and in the beginning she’s not sure how well she’ll fit with pampered passengers. Most of the crew members are military veterans like her, however, and she finds common ground with them.

Do the names of the characters in your novel have some sort of significance or importance to you?

I can’t usually quantify how I arrive at my character’s names – I just like the ‘sound’ and my Muse kind of goes “Oh yes, your heroine’s name is Emily and your hero is Jake,” as in this case, and I start writing. Actually, when it comes to names, I had more of a process for how to name my cruise ships. I researched what sort of names the modern day ocean-going ships tend to have and I decided to use the world “nebula” as the first half of the title, and also in my head, as a class of luxury interstellar cruise liner. For the second word of the names, I went with something more ethereal and evocative – “dream” for my original novel and “zephyr” for this one.

What prompted you to write in this genre and who or what inspired you to?

Veronica's Influences: Forbidden Planet and Flash Gordon

Veronica’s Influences: Forbidden Planet and Flash Gordon

Since my Dad loved science fiction, one of the first movies I ever remember seeing (on late night TV) was “Forbidden Planet,” so I guess you could say I was imprinted with scifi early on. The local TV station also broadcast the old episodes of the 1930’s “Flash Gordon” serial with Buster Crabbe daily and as a little kid I was blind to the outdated production techniques and acting, and totally enthralled with the stories. In fact, I keep a framed photo from one of the Flash episodes next to my writing desk and a small Robby the Robot on my bookcase as reminders of my scifi ‘roots’. But I always felt there needed to be more romance in everything scifi, so I supply that element in my writing.

I’m also fascinated by disasters and how people act and react, going back to the fact that my mother’s family had a belief that one of their distant relatives survived the Titanic as a second class passenger. Living in the age of the internet, I’ve come to sadly accept that the lady probably wasn’t related to us, despite the unusual surname, but the story still inspired me. I’ve also always been drawn to medical mysteries, especially the work of epidemiologists tracking down outbreaks, so it was a nice extra to be able to include some of that mystery in this novel. My father was one of the few people in the country to contract and survive a certain disease as a young child, thoroughly mystifying the medical authorities of his time, and the story of how they eventually tracked it back to the source fascinated me.

What makes you laugh? Currently?

My brand new grandbaby, the antics of my cats and certain episodes of the “Big Bang Theory” TV show.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer and do your characters reflect some of these attributes?

I’m not aware of anything special I do to remain sane as a writer. I just am one and I write like I breathe. I don’t even try to explain the process by which my Muse (or subconscious) generates my fiction. I do believe very strongly as a human being in never giving up, no matter the situation, but also looking for unusual or different ways to problem solve if the straight ahead approach isn’t working. My characters very much do that. They don’t panic in the crisis, they’re hopeful and they believe in romance and the Happy Ever After, just as I do!

She saved countless soldiers in the wars … but does she have the weapons to fight an outbreak?
Dr. Emily Shane, veteran of the Sector Wars, is known as “The Angel of Fantalar” for her bravery under fire as a medic. However, the doctor has her own war wounds–severe PTSD and guilt over those she failed to save.

Persuaded to fill a seemingly frivolous berth as ship’s doctor on the huge and luxurious interstellar cruise liner Nebula Zephyr, she finds the job brings unexpected perks–a luxe beach deck with water imported from Tahumaroa II, and Security Officer Jake Dilon, a fellow veteran who heats her up like a tropical sun.

However, Emily soon learns she and Jake didn’t leave all peril behind in the war. A mysterious ailment aboard the Zephyr begins to claim victim after victim … and they must race against time and space to find the cause and a cure! Trapped on a ship no spaceport will allow to dock, their efforts are complicated by a temperamental princess and a terrorist–one who won’t hesitate to take down any being in the way of his target. If anyone’s left when the disease is through with them…

Buy Star Cruise: Outbreak: Apple iBooks,  Amazon, Kobo or Barnes & Noble

Author Veronica Scott

Author Veronica Scott

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.”

You can learn more about Veronica Scott by checking out her Blog, her Amazon Author Page, and by following her on Twitter or Facebook.

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