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Interview with Author AK Shelley

It is a great pleasure to welcome AK Shelley author Star Knight Errant: Thrust.

Welcome AK 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 more about you and your new story better!

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

This story was the cumulation of several separate threads in my life. For years, I’d wanted to write a romance to fulfil my membership requirements for Romance Writers of America, but I had few inspirational ideas that fit the form of a traditional romance, especially when it came to an HEA (happily ever after).

I’m a huge fan of speculative genres—science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal stories. I’ve been writing fantasy for years under a different pen name (Angela Shelley) and had always intended to write scifi one day. Then with the climate of the past couple years, in which science is not held in high regard by many people, it just seemed an important thing to elevate. It’s where I wanted to put my energy.

And, this particular story came to me in a dream, of all things. I dreamt the first scene almost exactly as it’s written—with the blue, axe-wielding Devants, non-responsive AI, the superhero, and all. When I woke, I had a bit of a eureka moment. Finally, the romance I could write!

So I wrote it for all of my friends at RWA who’d encouraged me over the years—Louisa Bacio, Kathleen Harrington, Dax Varley, Tara Lain, and many, many others (too many to list). And then I entered the story in two contests, mostly because I’d also promised these people I’d enter something as soon as I could (last year, they expanded rules for many unpublished writers’ contests to include those who’ve published but not in that particular genre—prior to that change I was over-qualified to enter). When the story won both contests, I was amazed. As a result of those contests, I sold the story to an editor at The Wild Rose Press. I’m very grateful people enjoy this crazy dream story as much as I do.

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

Remaining sane as a writer—that phrase makes me laugh! Like writers, as opposed to any other profession, have a particular challenge to remain sane. I have heard talk of a high number of writers fighting depression or anxiety. However, these problems are prevalent in our society overall, and I don’t believe writers have any special affinity toward these particular difficulties. I have noticed some writers tend to have especially big egos, though. Many tend to reify themselves as author, or best-selling author, or award-winning author. Then when they don’t find the success or accolades they believe are deserving of that label, they become upset. They forget that are not the label. So being aware of the pitfalls of ego is helpful for a sanity-check.

The key for success in any career, I think, is to hold the primary reason that convinced you to enter the field like a flame in your heart. The highest motivations are those centered around helping others, and they will give you energy to complete your task even when you don’t succeed. Of course, if your reason for writing is primarily selfish—to become famous or wealthy—then that won’t be much help when you encounter obstacles, which we all do, from time to time.

And then, beyond that, it can help to remember everything in this life is impermanent. Everything about this life comes together and falls apart. Life is just like that. Writing isn’t outside of that. You can’t cling to it. You need to come to a space where you are at peace with what you do and who you are. Sometimes that will include writing. Sometimes not.

Writing can be a powerful tool for spiritual development. But like all tools, it is neutral in nature. You need to wield it in a positive direction for it to have a positive result.

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

In my previous stories, mostly fantasy, I researched mythological creatures, climate change, and magical systems. So they were completely different from this one. Here, my research has been about what we know of Mars, the solar system, and the Andromeda Galaxy. Speed of light, space travel, stuff like that. And since I’ve been a fan of scifi for a long time—I’ve even done a little science journalism, much of what I write stands on the information I’ve gathered in the past. There is also a bit of a magical element hidden in the romance, and that research was based on some non-western traditions of spiritual development and healing through intimacy.

What else do you want to share about Star Knight Errant?

I am happy to share this teaser trailer and blurb for Star Knight Errant!

When newly-divorced Martian Air Science Engineer Cass Hedley takes a dare to use her new Home Artificial Intelligence system for a night of fun, there’s only one man she can imagine spending time with: her school-girl crush, the legendary comic book hero Star Knight Errant. She imagines strong hands, hard abs, and bubble baths, but her black market AI has another idea: an illegal fight club that will only end in the companion’s—or her own—death.
When Evander Mór transports to an unknown desert planet, he’s not surprised. Transport clones disappear often enough to not cause alarm. Back home on Exeter, his origin will see his cloning data didn’t arrive at Station Alpha and he’ll send another. Meanwhile, he’ll figure out what backwater he’s found himself on and enjoy the company of this gorgeous, sassy scientist. And apparently destroy a house AI bent on murder. But when things get hotter than a supernova between him and Cass, he discovers he’s only got 18 hours to stop the AI, convince her he’s more than fiction, and find a way to cross the gulf between galaxies to bring her home with him.
Star Knight Errant: Thrust, is expected August 26, 2019 through The Wild Rose Press.

What is the best way for readers to interact with you?

Readers can interact and find out more about me and my stores through the following ways…

http://akshelley.com

https://twitter.com/AKShelley_

https://www.facebook.com/AKAShelley

https://www.instagram.com/akaskelley/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/883424453

https://www.amazon.com/author/akshelley

https://www.thewildrosepress.com/

 

Interview with AW Cross about Clara, Dreaming

It is a great pleasure to welcome back A.W. Cross author of Novel/Series: Clara, Dreaming: A Science Fiction Romance Sandman Retelling (Foxwept Array Book 2).

Welcome back A.W. 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 more about your latest release!

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

Clara, Dreaming is the second book in my current Foxwept Array series, which are SFR fairy tale retellings. Clara is the heroine of this particular story. In it, she must save Nate, the man she’s loved since childhood from the clutches of the Sandman, an unethical virtual reality scientist who is manipulating Nate’s dreams.

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

My son and I love reading fairy tales together, and scifi romance is one of my favorite genres. For me, it was a natural fit! I was inspired to write this particular book after a week of extremely peculiar dreams I had as a result of the medication I take for my chronic illness (Crohn’s disease). I spent a day in bed wondering, what does it all mean? Which of course, led me down the rabbit hole of what dreams mean in general. Are they messages from the future? The past? A sinister government tool? Or just a result of too much cheese? I’ve always been a very vivid dreamer!

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

I actually do see some of myself in Clara, or at least, the person and writer I want to be. She’s very cool-headed and pragmatic, responding to things with logic and rationality rather than emotion. I find the days that I’m able to do this as a writer are the best, as I don’t get frazzled by deadlines or by spending forty minutes trying to find just the right word (which I’ll then delete thirty seconds later). That being said, when she needs to use her emotions to accomplish something, Clara does it in spades!

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

For Clara, Dreaming, I researched the concept of tactile virtual reality in terms of emotional and physical therapy. Although it’s only in its infancy at the moment, this is something I can see being a huge component of therapy in the future, especially for those with severe chronic illnesses or significantly debilitating conditions. It would also provide greater options for emotional therapies by taking patients out of an office or hospital setting.

I also researched haptic (tactile feedback) technology, imagining how it could be used if it were an implant sending signals to our nervous systems—both to help, and to hurt.

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

I’m a huge fan of strong imagery and symbolism, so I always try to make that come through in my writing, especially in more surreal elements such as dream sequences. I’ve lately also rediscovered my passion for formal language (the language in which most fairy tales are written). In fact, I ended up having to rewrite large parts of Clara because that formality seeped through into my own writing, to the point where it read like historical fiction rather than SFR. On the plus side, those original scenes will make fun exclusive content for my newsletter!

What is the best way for readers to interact with you?

Facebook and Twitter! I always love to hear from people 😀

A.W. Cross is made of 100% star stuff. She write social science fiction romance and lives in the gorgeous wilds of Canada with her family and a deep nostalgia for the 80s.

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Interview with Author: Carol Van Natta

It is a great pleasure to welcome Carol Van Natta author of the Central Galactic Concordance space opera series.

Welcome Carol 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 more about you and your series better!

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

The title of my space opera romance series is the Central Galactic Concordance. The series is set millennia in the future, when humans have faster-than-light travel and have spread out among the stars. Future us has the galaxy to ourselves, so we mine resources at will and pick “goldilocks” planets to terraform and colonize. The series—and the box set—is named after the current government that manages 500+ planets.

The big damn story arc of the series concerns a revolution that will end 200 years of peace. Minders—people with mental talents such as telepathy and telekinesis—were once a minority, and helped save civilization during the catastrophic fall of the previous empire. Now that there are more of them, they are no longer content to be regulated and controlled. As you might imagine, this doesn’t go over well with the government agency tasked with the mission to keep the galactic peace.

I’ll be the first to admit that “Central Galactic Concordance” doesn’t roll trippingly off the tongue. However, I wanted the series name broad enough that I could tell other stories in the universe that dealt with interesting characters and smaller issues, too. I like to think I’ve made up for the series title by having more evocative story titles: Overload Flux, Minder Rising, Pico’s Crush, the three books in the box set, plus Jumper’s Hope (Book 4), and the upcoming Spark Transform.

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

Sometimes, both story titles and character names come easily and quickly, and sometimes they change half a dozen times before I find the perfect name.

In Overload Flux (book 1 of the series), the main female character is an ex-assassin trying to learn ordinary social skills. I wanted her name to sound both old-fashioned and a bit awkward, so it took me a few tries to settle on Mairwen Morganthur. The main male character’s name, Luka Foxe, came more easily. His first name is Polish and his last name English, but his ancestry is a mix of Nordic and several others.

In Minder Rising (book 2), Lièrén Sòng is the hero, estranged from his old, rich family because of his job as a covert agent. The lingua franca of the galaxy used to be Mandarin, before the present government changed it to Standard English, so Lièrén’s name reflects that history. The title of Pico’s Crush (book 3) came before I even had the outline finished. Pico is the daughter of the main male character, and his military nickname was Crush. There are a couple of other meanings for the title, too, which readers will discover for themselves.

In the galactic civilization, people are highly multicultural and interracial, so family names don’t necessarily help in guessing the person’s actual ethnicity or what their primary language is. Furthermore, if you have the money, it’s safe and easy to get a full body makeover to change height, skin color, bone structure, and physiognomy. I usually name ALL my characters. I then have to remove the names of the bit-players during the edit process so readers don’t think they’re stuck in a Russian novel.

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

My muse’s home base is science fiction. One summer when I was young, my parents gave me science fiction books (starting with Andre Norton) to stop me from whining about having nothing to read. I burned through every SF&F paperback in the house and never looked back. Romance came a little later, when I was in high school, and writing Star Trek fan fiction with my friends.

Fast forward to a few years ago, when my muse marched in with the plot for this big, sprawling space-opera plot about evolution and revolution. I wanted the relationships to be romances, because in trying times, hope and justice are needed more than ever.

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

Whoever told you I am sane has taken one giant step away from their good senses. 😉

Seriously, the advice I give to new writers is to first, finish the manuscript, and second, protect your muse by separating the business side from the art side.

Starting manuscripts is easy; finishing them is hard. Want proof? Ask for a show of hands on how many people have started a novel, then watch how many hands drop when you ask how many have finished it. Figuring out how to finish the first novel, then repeat that with the second, third, twelfth, and fortieth novel is the secret sauce for a successful career. By separating the business side, you can relegate the trolls, naysayers, and basic mistakes as the price of doing business, not personal attacks on the stories you love to tell.

My characters reflect attributes of me, my family, friends, the cashier with the annoying voice, the energetic plumber, the coworker who permanently smells of cigarette smoke, the parent who lets their kids decorate them like a holiday tree… I am a secret observer and a shameless thief of attitudes, mannerisms, style, nervous tics, and relationships that sooner or later end up in my books. My primary physician suspects I’m a hypochondriac because I ask him about odd diseases and conditions. My chiropractor gleefully helps me figure out what happens to people in a fight, and if they could limp away afterward.

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

Research, otherwise known as creative avoidance when I’m supposed to be writing, is one of the most entertaining parts of writing. For the space opera series, I’ve haunted the physics and materials science groups, pondered islands of stability, learned how long a parsec is (93 million miles/ 150 million kilometers—the Milky Way galaxy is about 30 kiloparsecs across), and watched hundreds of YouTube videos on everything from 3-D printing with molten glass to astronauts in zero gravity. I happily invent technology (such as new metal alloys for faster-than-light ships) and weapons (beamers, force blades, spider mechs) galore, but I like them to at least be plausible and consistent.

What makes you laugh?

Pretty much anything, actually, because I love to laugh. Good improv comedy. Tripping over my own feet. My silly cats.

What makes you cry?

The same things that make most people cry—sad movies, brave rovers left alone on a far planet, romances with all the feels, the last of the Thin Mints Girl Scouts cookies.

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

I am a fan of science, humor, book series, found families, romance, fantasy, good people, magic, justice, cats and other pets, whimsy, perseverance to do what’s right, and happily ever afters. And yes, they’re all reflected in my writing, because life is too short to write about things I’m not a fan of, like entitled jerks and eggplant.

What is the best way for readers to interact with you?

I love meeting new people and finding out what they like to read. Come say hello Facebook (https://facebook.com/CarolVanNattaAuthor), or sign up for my monthly newsletter at https://bit.ly/CVN-news. My website has book news, a blog, and extras for readers: https://author.carolvannatta.com. You can also learn more about the series at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3980825.Carol_Van_Natta.

Interview with Author: AW Cross

It is a great pleasure to welcome A.W. Cross author of Pine, Alive (Foxwept Array Book 1).

Welcome A.W. 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 more about you and your stories better!

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

The title of the book, Pine, Alive, refers to both the source inspiration and the “theme” of the book. It’s an SFR retelling of Collodi’s Pinocchio, and the name Pinocchio means “pine nut.” So the name references the source without being too on-the-nose. The character, Pine, is a sentient android in a time and place where her sentience isn’t yet equated to being truly alive by the world in which she lives, which is one of the themes explored in the book.

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

I do! I always try to use names that have a meaning relevant to the story or are a nod to something or someone. In Pine, Alive, for example, all the characters names reference their counterpart in the original Pinocchio in some way. For example, James’s last name, Cruicéad, means cricket in French (I’m Canadian), and that is the role he plays in the book.

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

I’ve always loved both SFR and fairy tales. I was reading Pinocchio to my son one night during the week when I was planning what my new series would be about. In the middle of the story, inspiration struck!

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

I think for me, the most important attribute for remaining sane is being strict about making time for self care. I have Crohn’s disease, so managing stress (of which there’s a lot when you’re an author) is incredibly important to my well-being. Unfortunately, I’m not always successful!

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

For this particular series, I’m reading a lot of fairy tales and researching their origins, themes, interpretations, and how they’ve changed with those different interpretations. I like to start as close to the original story as I can, then incorporate some of the various changes that have been made to them over the years. And, since there are also science fiction aspects to this series, I have to research scientific concepts such as artificial intelligence, dream therapy, ocular influence, genetic mutation…things like that. I used to be a scientist, so I enjoy this part of the research almost as much as the fairy tales, though I have to try to keep it brief—there’s a rabbit hole of great research out there!

What makes you laugh?

I love memes! I find they’re always a great pick-me-up. And pretty much anything that comes out of my four-year-old’s mouth. Right now he’s going through a phase where he’s telling everyone, “ya basic!”

What makes you cry?

Sooo much. Usually the news and whenever people are awful to each other. I also have my heart constantly broken by movies, TV, and books. I cry A LOT, lol.

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

I always add little easter eggs of things I like in my writing—but of course I can’t tell you what those are, or it would ruin the hunt!

What is the best way for readers to interact with you?

Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! I love interacting whenever I have a chance 😀
You can also find more about me and my stories through the following: Website, Goodreads, BookBub or Amazon

 

Interview with Author: EG Manetti

It is a great pleasure to welcome EG Manetti author of the Twelve Systems Chronicles series!

Welcome EG 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 more about you and your stories better!

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

The Twelve Systems Chronicles was selected to convey both science fiction and the epic fantasy. As of February 19, 2019, there are seven volumes and another four or five to come. Why 12 systems, not 10 or 14? That’s my subtle homage to George Lucas and the original Star Wars movies: I have the death sentence on twelve systems.

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

Great question and one that came up in one of my reader groups recently. Super convenient for me because I have the response all set. The character names come from many sources; family, friends, my erratic muse. Some are deliberate choices based on meaning. Others are simply names, although I try to pull from the full range of cultures. A few of the main and supporting characters:

With the heroine, Lilian; it was her name from the first. I have no idea where it came from or why it is spelled as it is. The same is true of the Five Warriors and Adelaide—they and their stories emerged from my psyche full-blown.

The alpha male main character, Lucius took some time to settle – I wanted something that evoked the ruthlessness and warrior culture of ancient Rome, but also Rome’s commitment to law and order. According to ‘Behind the Names’ –Roman praenomen, or given name, which was derived from Latin lux “light”. Two Etruscan kings of early Rome had this name as well as several prominent later Romans, including Lucius Annaeus Seneca (known simply as Seneca), a statesman, philosopher, orator and tragedian.

Lucius’ sons; Cesare & Raphael because I wanted to keep the Latin theme. Cesare Borgia has always fascinated me. Raphael because – art.

Lilian’s mother, Helena is a version of my given name — I couldn’t resist.

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

The story started as a vivid dream that I had the morning before a five-hour car trip. By the time I reached my destination, I had the outline in my head. That I dream in science fiction romance does not surprise me.

I’ve loved science-fiction since I found Captain Kirk and Spock on cable when I was a teenager. Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, and Andre Norton were huge favorites that I interspersed with romance authors Georgette Heyer, Kathleen Woodwiss, Amanda Quick, and others.  Then I discovered Anne McCaffery and science fiction romance – it has been my go-to ever since.  Although I’ve also been heavily influenced by fantasy authors; J.R.R. Tolkien, Mercedes Lackey, Jacqueline Carey, and Stephen Donaldson, to name a few.

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

Commitment, determination, endurance, tenacity, and imagination. And yes, Lilian embodies all of these and more.

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

This is my first set of novels. I’ve researched everything from ancient swords and daggers to crystal computing to poisons.

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

I love good world-building, nuanced characters, and well-constructed plot with elements of action and/or suspense. Like Dune or Star Wars it takes place in a galaxy far, far away, although the characters and plot hold the moral nuances of Dune rather than that the clear-cut good versus evil of Star Wars. The society of the Twelve Systems has similarities to twenty-first western culture, but also some critical differences.  It is a ruthless society, driven by power and wealth, rigid and often violent. At the same time, while the class distinctions are extreme, they are based on genealogy, not ethnic group or religion. For all its tolerance of violence, there has not been whole-sale ware in over a millennium, they take care of the environment, and is compassionate with the mentally ill.  Romantic love is rare and not highly valued. Sex is considered a pleasant past-time. Honor, duty, strength are the core of the value system and most relationships.

Where duty and passion collide – The Twelve Systems Chronicles.

Is there anything else you want to add about the story, series that has not already been mentioned?

This is not a conventional series in terms of romance tropes, one review called it ‘a slow-burn with sex.’ Although the heroine triumphs in every volume, the classic HEA is not an element. Yet. The narrative line is complex, and the series should be read in order. Although sex and romance are integral to the long-term story arc, each volume contains mystery, intrigue, action, adventure and some violence. The sexy bits tend to be more graphic than the violent bits.

According to InD’Tale Magazine: Science fiction is a genre known for its technical and often intricate world building, its epic battles and futuristic technologies. Romance, however, is rarely a required aspect. . . until now. EG Manetti is the newest name and hottest rising star for the very fact that she so beautifully weaves those two elements together. With characters that jump off the page, love that is forbidden yet unstoppable mixed with top-notch worlds and technology, sci-fi has never looked so good or become so addictive!

What is the best way for readers to interact with you?

I have Goodreads and Facebook pages, a Twelve Systems Chronicles Facebook page as well as a blog.   And there is my monthly newsletter, Red Gems.

Interview with Author: Nix Whittaker

It is a great pleasure to welcome Nix Whittaker author of Lady Golden Hand.

Welcome Nix 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 more about you and your stories better!

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

I did this one backwards. I started with cover with a woman with a brass mechanical hand and the name of the novel Lady Golden Hand just popped into my head. But the series name is based on another series in this world called Wyvern Chronicles. Since this was going to be my first foray into mystery I went with Wyvern Mysteries so at least readers knew what they were getting into and yes there are dragons in this story.

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

Not particularly in this series. I do like to delve into multiple meanings for the names of my characters but since this was set in 1830’s London I knew I had to stick with the names that were around then. Since this is an anachronistic retelling of history and there was no Queen Victoria I was a little tongue in cheek about calling the dragon Victor. But Rayne was just about having an authentic name to balance out the other liberties I take with history.

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

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

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

So one of the reasons why I like steampunk and Gaslamp is because I can take liberties with history. But I also wanted to stay true to the feel of 1830’s England which meant I had to do some research. It helps that my sister-in-law is busy working in the Tower at the moment and could help with some of the research. Though you’d be surprised what you find like the fact that eye rolling was more about flirting at this time than some sarcastic gesture. Or that newspapers weren’t competitive and shared stories.

What makes you laugh?

Dry wit and since I teach English I love a good pun.

What makes you cry?

Soppy movies. The cornier the better.

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

I love a good romance. So even though all of my stories have strong plots in another genre I always have multiple romantic tropes in there as well. In Lady Golden Hand we have enemy to lover trope as I think the sparks help with the romance.

What is the best way for readers to interact with you?

Readers can always sign up to my newsletter on my website www.nixwhittaker.com where they can get free books and short stories. But I’m also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Nix-Whittaker-1540555802866070/

More information on Lady Golden Hand and my other stories are available through the following links:

Lady Golden Hand: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MDSP3LW

Blazing Blunderbuss: https://books2read.com/u/31xNd6

The Mechanicals: https://books2read.com/u/mVBM1A

Wyvern’s Trim and other stories: https://books2read.com/u/mvvr0J

The Jade Dragon: https://books2read.com/u/3RVVrY

Ruby Beyond Compare:  https://books2read.com/u/bQ9Yvd

Hero is a man: https://books2read.com/u/b5rn2p

You can run: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YPU0OVQ

Sorrow also sings: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015PHRUUK

Blind Leading: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01B9VERNO

Model: Serenity: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FD4HJT9

Model: Scribe: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MYNVQCP

Interview with Author: Cynthia Sax

It is a great pleasure to welcome Cynthia Sax author of Choosing Chuckles.

Welcome Cynthia 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 more about you and your stories better!

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

Cynthia Sax:  Chuckles is the name of the cyborg hero of Choosing Chuckles. Cyborgs are assigned a model number when they are manufactured. They give themselves their names. Chuckles is known for being a bit grumpy. His name pokes fun of that. The fact that he has embraced that name tells us he isn’t as bad-tempered as he makes some others believe he is.

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

Cynthia Sax:  I named the heroine of Choosing Chuckles Bettina as a nod to Simone Micheline Bodin aka Bettina. She was considered to be one of the first supermodels and was best known for her beauty, but she was much more than that. She was a designer, a poet and a composer.

Like the supermodel, Bettina, my heroine, is viewed by some beings as merely a pretty face, but she is much more than that. She designs jewelry (not clothes), has honorable, worthy, secret goals that have nothing to do with her beauty.

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

Cynthia Sax:  I fell in cyborg romance after reading stories by Laurann Dohner and Eve Langlais. When they both took a break from their awesome series at the same time, I decided to write the stories I was craving to read.

I was most interested in exploring WHY cyborgs, soldiers manufactured to fight, beings programmed to be loyal, would rebel against their makers. My series, both Cyborg Sizzle and, the new one—Cyborg Space Exploration, are, as a result, a bit darker than some other Cyborg Romance series.

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

Cynthia Sax: A sense of humor is necessary in this wonderful business. I think it is also necessary for a happy life and for relationships. Things go wrong. The unexpected happens.

My main characters, yes, even Chuckles, our grumpy cyborg, all have senses of humor. They might not crack jokes all the time but they do tend to laugh and see the irony in the universe.  

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

Cynthia Sax:  One of my favorite sciences is Evolutionary Biology and I tend to weave that into my Cyborg and SciFi Romances. In Choosing Chuckles, our hero and heroine end up stranded on a rainforest type world. It was great fun crafting new alien species based on existing Earth rainforest creatures.

This, however, requires learning quite a bit about these species. I can talk for hours about the Panamanian white-faced capuchin, for example. (laughs) Yes, I’m a fountain of useless information, as my Dear Wonderful Hubby jokes.

Patty: What makes you laugh?

Cynthia Sax: I have a weakness for VERY bad puns. I also love hearing other people laugh. That usually sets me off. My Dear Wonderful Hubby makes me laugh all the time. He is always making jokes.

Patty: What makes you cry?

Cynthia Sax: If someone else is crying, I’ll cry. I also tend to cry while writing the cry scenes in my own stories. A death of a secondary character will almost always make me cry, especially if that character sacrifices her or himself for another being.

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

Cynthia Sax:  I’m a fan of many Cyborg Romance writers (Laurann Dohner and Eve Langlais being two of my earliest favorites). That has definitely influenced my writing as I would never want to write something that didn’t grow the niche or that brought shame to it. I want to leave Cyborg Romance as great as it was when I first discovered it.

Do no harm. (grins) That sounds very Star Trek-like, doesn’t it?

Patty: Is there anything else you want to add about the story, series that has not already been mentioned?

Cynthia Sax:  Choosing Chuckles is the first story in a Cyborg Sizzle spinoff series called Cyborg Space Exploration. I’ve tried to craft this new series so it could be read on its own, with readers knowing nothing about the Cyborg Sizzle world. But I’ve also tried to craft it so Cyborg Sizzle readers will be super happy. That was a challenging balancing act but, with my awesome editor’s help, I think I accomplished it.

Patty: What is the best way for readers to interact with you?

Cynthia Sax: There are many ways for readers to interact with me or find out more about Choosing Chuckles including:

Visiting my Website: http://cynthiasax.com/

Signing up for dirty-joke-filled release day newsletter,   http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cynthia.sax

Twitter:  @CynthiaSax

Blog:  http://tasteofcyn.com/

More about Choosing Chuckles and where to Pre-Order…

A Cynical Cyborg Meets A Bad, Bad Female.

Chuckles hates all humans. In the past, humans betrayed him. That treachery caused permanent damage to his muscular form, resulting in a lifespan of pain.

When the primitive D Model cyborg answers a distress call sent by a pink-and-blue haired, sparkly human female, he knows it’s a trap. He still has to respond to her fake cry for help. She belongs to him, is the one being genetically fabricated for him. But he plans to be her captor, not her captive.

Bettina, aka Bait, works with a team of females, snaring sexual predators in space, seizing their ships and transporting them to primitive planets. As soon as she speaks with Chuckles, she knows he’s not like the others. He has honor, is a being worthy of respect, of caring.

But she can’t let him go. She has to trap him. His dominance thrills her. His deep voice evokes desires she’d never experienced in the past. She’ll risk it all, breaking every rule for one wild encounter with the male she calls Sir.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Choosing-Chuckles-Cyborg-Space-Exploration-ebook/dp/B07MXQ13WS

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Choosing-Chuckles-Cyborg-Space-Exploration-ebook/dp/B07MXQ13WS

Apple/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/choosing-chuckles/id1450000541

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/choosing-chuckles-cynthia-sax/1130326339

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/choosing-chuckles

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/918618

Interview with Author: Linda Mooney

It is a great pleasure to welcome Linda Mooney author of JEXX.

Welcome Linda 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 more about you and your stories better!

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

JEXX is the name of Jelia and Kaxx when their bodies meld and become a single new entity, the one with enriched powers and energy.

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

I fell in love with the sci-fi genre with Podcayne of Mars, back when I was a kid. My first taste of adult sci-fi romance was Janette Taylor’s Moondust and Madness. Since then, I’ve had the passion to write in that genre.

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

You need a sense of humor, patience, the drive to finish what you start, imagination, and the belief in yourself that, although the book may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it was important enough for you to tell the story. Therefore the story has worth.

And, yes, I think my characters reflect some of those attributes.

What makes you laugh?

Snarky remarks. Comments that come from out of nowhere, but perfectly fit the situation.

What makes you cry?

When the hero or heroine feel they’ve lost all hope. When there’s an ultimate sacrifice. Deliciously happy endings.

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

I want the heart of the story to be the budding romance between the main characters, but I don’t want the book to be all conflict between them (misunderstanding and constant verbal fighting). I want a plot that is unique to anything I’ve read before, and for there to be action and adventure, maybe some mystery, and a resolution where the H/H realize they were meant to be together for their own sake, as well as for the good of others.

Yes, these are definitely reflected in my stories.

Is there anything else you want to add about the story, series that has not already been mentioned?

Although JEXX is a standalone, I learned a long time ago never to say there won’t be a sequel, or even a series sprouting from it in the future.

What is the best way for readers to interact with you?

Email me. Talk to me on Facebook or Twitter. Comment on my blog. Join my newsletter. Details below:

Website: http://lindamooney.com/ (Join my newsletter!)

Blog: http://lindamooney.blogspot.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Mooney/e/B002BMES1W

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/linda-mooney

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

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/735249946549380/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaMooney

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/lindam54

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lindam54/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Linda_Mooney

Instagram: http://instagram.com/macwombat

Interview with an Author: Libby Doyle

It is a great pleasure to welcome Libby Doyle author of the The Passion Season: Book I of the Covalent Series.

Welcome Libby 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 more about you and your stories better!

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

“Passion” is part of the title of Book I of the Covalent Series for the reason you might expect. My two main characters—Zan and Barakiel—fall into a sizzling hot passion for each other that goes beyond the merely physical. The consequences of their love—and its beauty—is central to all the books in the series.

Barakiel is a superhuman warrior from another dimension. The leaders of his homeworld have outlawed serious relationships with humans so his passion for Zan is complicated, to say the least. It’s lucky she can handle pretty much anything that’s thrown at her.

“Season” also has an important meaning in the book, specifically, the change of seasons in the Earthly Realm. At every solstice and equinox, the Earth’s orbit stretches the fabric of existence to open rifts between the dimensions. Barakiel’s evil father, Lucifer, sends his minions through these rifts to attack his son. As you can imagine, if Lucifer were to discover that Barakiel is in love, it could get a bit dangerous for his girlfriend.

I’ve also published The Pain Season and The Vengeance Season, Books II and III of the Covalent Series. As for the meaning of pain and vengeance in these titles, I’ll leave it to your imagination!

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

This is such a great question for me! Almost everyone is familiar with the name Lucifer, the angel that defied God and was expelled from heaven. Barakiel is a lesser-known angel name, one of seven archangels and the leader of the Guardian Angels. In my book, however, Barakiel and Lucifer are not angels. They are Covalent, ancient beings who hold the cosmos in Balance. When human society was primitive, the Covalent often visited the Earthly Realm. They were the source of a lot of human mythology – not only angels but avatars, the djinn, the gods of the Greeks, a whole array.

Lucifer inspired all those human tales about Satan. He rebelled against the Covalent leadership and was driven out of Covalent City, but not completely defeated. He fled with his loyal dark warriors and regrouped. By the time the story begins, he’s become the powerful Lord of Destruction and the two sides are locked in a grim war.

As for Zan. Her name is short for Alexandra. I used it because I think it sounds cool.

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

I spent my formative years devouring all the fantasy and science fiction I could find. I started with A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle and moved onto J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, Roger Zelazny and Frank Herbert (the Dune books), to name a few. I guess all those stories had to ferment in my brain for thirty years until The Covalent Series poured out.

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

Beats me. I don’t think I am sane. A person has to be a little nuts to do so much work for so little money. I get frustrated that I can’t quit my day job. Ha Ha! I can dream.

What kind of research did you have to do for the series?

Physics! One of my main characters is Pellus, a friend and mentor to Barakiel, my male hero. Pellus is a being known as a Covalent traveler adept, born with the ability to perceive the molecular composition of things at the quantum level. Travelers study for a long time until they can move through the cosmos using interdimensional rifts. When they achieve mastery, they become adepts, the highest rank of traveler.

Adepts are BADASS. They can manipulate and alter the bonds that give structure to all things. Pellus can shift light to hide things. He can form impenetrable barriers out of thin air and burn or freeze his adversaries. He can travel through space in the blink of an eye. I read a book about physics so I could describe how Pellus sees the world.

What makes you laugh?

My husband. I make him laugh, too, the secret to our happy marriage.

What makes you cry?

Whenever an animal dies in a story. I simply cannot take it.

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

I’m a big fan of Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel fame. He inspired me with this quote, one of my favorites: “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.”

Words to live by! I took his advice. A lot the dialogue in my books is rich in humor.

Is there anything else you want to add about the Covalent Series that has not already been mentioned?

My heroine, Zan O’Gara, is a tough, battled-tested FBI agent. She does not submit and she does not need to be rescued. She is not claimed or owned and she will not be mistreated. Not anymore.

In addition, these books aren’t really light reads. Sure, they have lots of humor, but they go dark at times and the plots are complex. If you like total immersion in a world, I think you’ll like them.

What is the best way for readers to interact with you?

Through my website! You can contact me directly through my website’s “contact” page, as well as find all my social media links (Amazon Author Page, BookBub, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Goodreads) and my mailing list sign up.

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The Passion Season: Book I of the Covalent Series by Libby Doyle

A superhuman warrior from another dimension. An FBI agent with a troubled past. A love that will burn through the cosmos.

When Special Agent Zan O’Gara investigates a ritual murder, she meets the only man who’s ever been able to reach beyond her emotional defenses. Little does she know he harbors a dangerous secret.

Barakiel accepted his solitary life after the rulers of his homeworld banished him to Earth, but his encounter with the fascinating Zan O’Gara changes everything. He knows he should stay away from her before his enemies make her a target. No matter. There’s no taming the unruly passion of a Covalent warrior.

As Zan’s investigation brings her closer to the truth about her lover, Barakiel realizes his presence on Earth has placed its most vulnerable citizens in danger. Compelled to protect them, he undertakes a series of duties he may not survive, even as Zan rescues him from a deadened heart.

“A tale about Lucifer’s son that deftly draws in readers with engrossing characters.”

— Kirkus Reviews

WARNING: This book contains foul language, violence, explicit sex, and sexual violence. Adults only! This is not a stand-alone novel, but the first in a five-part series. The romantic science fantasy continues in The Pain Season, Book II of the Covalent Series, available now.

Available via:

Amazon http://mybook.to/CovalentOne

Apple Books

Kobo

Walmart

Other retailers

Libby Doyle escapes real life by writing extravagant tales, filled with adventure, sex, and violence. When not tapping away at her fiction, she’s been known to work as an attorney and a journalist. She loves absurd humor, travel, hiking, punk rock, and her husband. Libby is the author of The Covalent Series, a romantic science fantasy in five parts. Read more at https://libbydoyle.com.

Guest Post: Romance, Consent and the #metoo Movement

The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes back author Corrina Lawson as a guest blogger to talk about her newest release, A Hanging at Lotus Hall.

Take it away Corrina!

Thanks so much Patty!

Romance, Consent and the #metoo Movement by Corrina Lawson

It’s been one of my longstanding goals as a romance writer and as a geek to breach the wall between the two. My books are in genres like my upcoming steampunk, A Hanging at Lotus Hall, or superhero-style romances, like the Galaxy-award-winning Phoenix Institute series.

But, still, bridging that gap isn’t as easy because while there are many romance-writing geeks, like the owner of this blog, there are many science fiction and fantasy-loving female geeks who have internalized much of society’s views of romance. Like “they’re formulaic,” and “the woman have to be rescued,” and “the heroes are all way too pushy.”

All of us who know the romance book genre know that these clichés are, in general, falsehoods. Indeed, much of what the general society views as romance is from entertainment created by straight white men that inevitably puts women in second-place, as a sidekick or helper. These stories almost invariably inform people’s views of romance books, which is frustrating because, for the most part, this stuff contains terrible romances, even when the love interest survives the story.

But because romance is viewed this way by those outside the genre, questions about consent and the #metoo movement have naturally gained some traction. Even many in the romance community have started to look at their books with a fresh eye about consent.

This is a good thing because it’s always good to be aware of any unconscious harmful societal assumptions that have made their way into our work.

But it’s also a bad thing because it feeds on our assumption that the romance genre, overall, has a problem with writing consent properly. It doesn’t.

I’ve spent the last year reading the romance books that have won the Rita, the Romance Writers of America’s award for excellence in romance. That means I’ve read 112 books so far, starting with the winners in 1982, when the award was called the Golden Medallion.

I, too, had unconscious assumptions about what I’d find in these award winners, particularly the older ones, especially about whether there would be heroes who rape or sexually assault their heroines.

Because I’d heard “romances used to be rapey.”

The truth was not even close to that. The first winner I picked up, A Day Beyond Destiny, started with a woman trapped in a loveless marriage, with a husband who rapes her, and she finds the courage to leave him for the lover who values her. Clearly, romance-reading and romance-writing woman in 1982 already knew what was what.

Over and over again, I saw few issues with consent in the Rita-winning books that I read. There were some problems in the short contemporary romances with overly pushy heroes, heroes who thought they knew a job better than their heroines, heroes who thought nothing of grabbing purses to look in them, heroes who assumed they were superior. And, yes, most of the heroines overlooked this pushiness. But there was always a moment in these stories where the heroine stood up for herself, forced the hero to understand her point of view, and made him, well, grovel.

In short, in these older contemporaries, women were writing about women in the workforce who pushed back and stood up for themselves, in bed and out. And the sexual consent was clear in these stories.

I expected this not to hold true in the older historical romances, with the leeway given heroes with a literal medieval or Regency-mindset. Instead, I read historical romances that could stand up to the scrutiny of today, with heroines who demanded respect and the heroes who gave it to them. That held true in the bedroom, especially for those trapped in marriages of convenience. In one medieval, it was made clear that the heroine could escape, if she choose, but because of reasons related to her love for their estate, she choose to stay and deal with the hero.

It was obvious, as I read books from 1985, and 1995, and 2005, and 2015, that the romance genre as a whole understood consent.

The one book that I could not finish, Shadowheart by Laura Kinsale, did have a hero who outright raped the heroine. But this was an outlier even for Kinsale, who wrote the incredible and wonderful Prince of Midnight. I can’t say what was in Kinsale’s mind while writing this, but I suspect she was exploring how dark a romance can go and how much punishment can be doled out to a hero in order to make him grovel and consider him redeemed.

Other than Shadowheart, I can only count three Rita books with problematic consent. That’s slightly less than four percent of the overall total.

And, like with Shadowheart, the authors were deliberately exploring the boundaries of consent, and power, and the push-pull between two independent people. These romances aren’t to my taste, as a sexual assault survivor, but it’s also clear the authors of these books weren’t ignoring the idea of consent but deliberately delving into it, to see what was and what was not over the line.

All this doesn’t mean that we, as writers, need to ignore the importance of the #metoo movement. A workplace romance with a power imbalance has an inherent consent issue that needs to be addressed perhaps more head-on than in the past. Readers, even of romance, are coming into stories now with eyes that have been opened.

For instance, when I wrote my dark paranormal BDSM, Love’s Inferno, I knew I was pushing boundaries of the S/M aspect. My hero gets off on pain and he can heal his injuries, meaning to fully enjoy himself, the pain has to be at a level high enough to cripple an average person. That meant exploring knife-play and fireplay (my Google results were quite interesting for a time). But it also meant discovering how explicit the consent had to be, at each stage in the fetish scenes, as is done in the majority of non-fictional BDSM communities.

On the fictional side, what I found is that BDSM romances are more likely to have openly verbal and informed consent at every step of the way than in a regular romance, where the consent is clear but our heroes and heroines can be swept up in the moment, jointly consenting but with body language and actions, rather than explicit verbal instructions of what the other wants.

BDSM romances are inherently careful about consent for each individual sex or fetish act in a scene. That’s no a bad idea to carry over to romances in the other sub-genres, either, as verbal banter can be an excellent way to add sizzle to sex scenes. There’s nothing sexier than two people telling each other how much they enjoy what the other person is doing in bed (or elsewhere).

Overall, as writers, it’s good to ponder consent more than in the past, even if it doesn’t change your writing, because readers are coming at scenes with a different set of assumptions.

But, in reading the Rita-books, the stories given by writers to other writers, it’s clear that the romance genre already knows the pitfalls inherent in problematic consent and not only actively works to avoid that pitfalls, but it has always done so.

Corrina Lawson is a former newspaper reporter with a degree in journalism from Boston University. A mom of four, she now works from home writing romance novels with a geeky twist, as a sci-fi and fantasy blogger for Barnes & Noble, and is a founding editor of GeekMom.com.

Corrina also writes about mysteries and suspense for CriminalElement, a site that reviews any genre with a mystery edge, and writes about romance at Heroes & Heartbreakers.

Corrina has written in a variety of genres. She loves to delve into the worlds of paranormal romance, science fiction/fantasy, steampunk, urban fantasy, Vikings and alternative history, and superheroes. She loves to intertwine these worlds, such as in her Phoenix series which are romance novels with a superhero twist.

She is the author of the Amazon bestselling Victorian-steampunk, The Curse of the Brimstone Contractthe Seneca series, three stories set in an alternate world where the Romans and Vikings have colonies in North America, and the Phoenix Institute paranormal series, featuring heroes and heroines with psychic superpowers who secretly combat evil, a series that has been compared to the X-Men, and won the 2015 science fiction romance Galaxy Award for Best Superhero origin series.

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