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?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…
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.”
The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Cara Bristol as a guest blogger to talk about what inspired her latest Sci-Fi Romance!
Take it away Cara!
Cyborgs: from the Six Million Dollar Man to Cyberoperative by Cara Bristol
If you’ve noticed similarities between cyborgs in today’s science fiction/sci-fi romance and the Six Million Dollar Man, a TV show from the 1970s, you’re on the mark. The “bionic man” was a cyborg. Col. Steven Austin, played by actor Lee Majors, was an astronaut who was critically injured when his ship crashed. Two legs, one arm and an eye were replaced with bionic parts making him faster and stronger. You can see the opening credit/sequence from the show below.
The Six Million Dollar Man was based on the Martin Caidin novel, Cyborg. The show had a successful run from 1974-1978 and led to a spinoff, The Bionic Woman (1976-1978), with Jaime Sommers played by Lindsay Wagner. Like Austin, Sommers had two legs and one arm replaced, but she had bionic ear instead of an eye.
What is different about Austin and Sommers from the cyborgs in the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series and other authors’ cyborg romances, is that the bionic man/woman didn’t have any computer interfaces. In its infancy, computer technology was practically nonexistent in the 1970s. Computers were huge mainframe things (although the first PCs came out in the mid 1970s). The era was pre-internet, pre-wireless. So Austin and Sommers had mechanical limbs, but no computer chips or processors, no nanocytes.
Fictional cyborgs today aren’t just physically stronger, they have greater mental capabilities. The cyborgs in my series can communicate with each other telepathically via wireless, can hack into most computer systems, and have a database of information in their heads they can access. Their nanos, tiny robotic cells in their bloodstream, enhance bodily functions and repair injuries.
The computer age has changed cyborgs.
The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman were action-adventure stories. The Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series books are romances, focusing on the developing love relationship between the heroine and the cyborg hero who works for a secret military organization called Cyber Operations (Cy-Ops).
So, how much would a six million dollar man cost today? Factoring in inflation alone, a six million dollar man would cost $29 million in today’s dollars. However, due to technological and computer advancements, they would probably cost a lot more.
To get a feel for Claimed by the Cyborg below is an excerpt.
What the hell had gotten into these people? Wasn’t this supposed to be a friendly competition? There wouldn’t be any surprises. How could they get so emotional over a theatrical performance when they already knew the outcome?
Did they hate him because he was the challenger or because he was Terran? Even in silence, animosity fogged the arena like a heavy cloud.
At the officiant’s cue, March pivoted. The Sha’A’la was only a dramatic spectacle, but turning his back on a participant armed with a saber caused the hair on his nape to prickle. On the sixth step, as he’d seen practiced, he whipped around and charged, surprised to see Naimo closer than expected. Had he turned a step early?
Their blades connected and showered the air with sparks.
The crowd trilled with satisfaction.
His feet moved through the choreographed steps as he swung his blade to parry the thrusts of Naimo’s sword. Without a cyborg’s memory, following the routine would have been difficult. Though smaller, his opponent was strong and agile, his facial tension conveying a startling ferocity.
Naimo attacked with power and precision. Blades engaged in a loud clang of metal and a fiery glitter of sparks. From a foreigner’s viewpoint, March had misjudged the danger. One slip of the foot, one wrong twist of the wrist, and either of them could be injured.
Rocking from heel to toe, they darted back and forth, lunging and retreating. With a series of fast moves, March backed Naimo to the edge of the court and, with a swipe, nicked his arm as he’d seen rehearsed. Before the consort could claim his bride, his blood had to be spilled in her honor. Red spurted from the shallow wound, and the crowd hissed. If they’d disliked him before, they hated him now. He’d wounded their golden boy. That he’d been required to didn’t matter. He might need a protective detail to get off the planet alive.
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March Fellows assumed he had all the time in the galaxy to pursue a relationship with Jules, an alien exchange student from Xenia, until she vanished without a trace. After years of searching, he finds his lost love on the eve of her arranged marriage.
The daughter of the Xenian emperor, Julietta never meant to fall in love with a Terran man while visiting Earth. Leaving to fulfill her responsibilities on her home planet opened up a hole in her heart that could never be filled. When March, now a cyborg, unexpectedly shows up just before she is to be bonded, she struggles to find the courage to turn him away a second time and follow through with her duty. Before she can act, the lovers are thrust into a political conspiracy that threatens the Xenian empire and their lives.
About Cara Bristol
USA Today bestselling author Cara Bristol has been the no. 1 best seller in science fiction romance, bdsm erotica, and holiday fiction on Amazon. She’s the author of two science fiction romance series featuring tough alpha heroes: the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance cyborg series and the Breeder science fiction romance series, which emphasize character-driven stories written with a touch of humor and sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Cara lives in Missouri with her own alpha hero, her husband.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Cara-Bristol-Romance-178661122147994/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Cara-Bristol/e/B004D8KZTQ/
The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Greta van der Rol as a guest blogger to talk about her latest book in the Ptorix Empire series, The Stuff of Legend
Take it away Greta!
The worlds of The Stuff of Legend by Greta van der Rol
Thanks for having me on your blog, Patty.
As you know, I’m almost as much of a Star Wars Fangirl as you are. However, today’s post is going to be a bit of geeky stuff about my latest book.
I’ve just published my latest book in the Ptorix Empire series, The Stuff of Legend. If you’ve read any of my books you’ll know I like to do some planet-hopping – in the best traditions of space opera. Many of my planets are, of necessity, habitable by humans, but for this book I wanted to get a little bit more exotic.
The book’s plot centers around an open star cluster called the Maidens. It’s not a particular open cluster in our night sky – after all, who knows which galaxy this story takes place in? But I like my astronomy to be realistic. I didn’t use a globular cluster, despite the attraction of a mass of stars huddled close together. Globular clusters are tightly packed (for stars) and gravitationally bound to each other. The stars are the oldest we know of, and because of that wouldn’t be likely to have the elements created in super novas upon which life as we know it is built. The stars in open clusters are younger. They form in the usual stellar nurseries like the mighty Orion Nebula. From there, they remain in a more ‘open’ gravitational relationship until they leave home on their own. Our sun was probably part of an open cluster when it was a teenager. You can find out more about open clusters here.
Probably the best known open cluster is the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters. But I didn’t want my cluster to look quite like that. Although there are gas clouds in the Pleiades, I wanted something a bit more like the roiling clouds of Orion. And it so happens that an open cluster that had been thought to be part of the Orion Nebula, was in fact a different entity, situated in front of the nebula. Here’s the story of NGC 1980. It was perfect. So my story takes place in a star cluster that has some similarities to NGC 1980.
There’s a legend, of course. My cluster, the Maidens, can be pictured (if you cross your eyes and stand on one leg) as three women in robes of stardust guarding a hoard of stars.
Next, planets. Not every planet has seasons. Not every planet has a temperate climate. Not every planet has a bright yellow star. So I created a few ‘different’ planets for my story.
• One planet is undergoing an ice age. Apart from being cold, the atmosphere is not breathable by humans. And since there is no axial tilt, the planet doesn’t have seasons. It’s not a place where you’d want to visit the poles.
• Another planet is much, much more massive than standard (think Earth).
• Yet another planet is a close binary system, rather like the Earth and its moon, but more equal in size. Perhaps a little more like Pluto and Charon.
Each planet my intrepid explorers visit has its own challenges to overcome. There’s adventure, mystery, and action, all mixed up and sweetened with a dollop of romance.
I enjoyed writing this book. I hope you enjoy reading it.
When history professor Olivia Jhutta receives a distress call from her parents, she sets out into space with their business partner, her grandmother, and injured Confederacy Admiral Jak Prentiss to find them. But she’s not the only one interested in the Jhutta’s whereabouts. The Helicronians believe Olivia’s parents have found an ancient weapon which they can use to wage war on the Confederacy.
Jak goes on the trip to fill in time while he’s on enforced leave, helping Olivia follow cryptic clues in what he considers an interplanetary wild goose chase in search of a fairy story. But as the journey progresses and legend begins to merge with unsettling fact, Olivia and Jak must resolve their differences and work together if they are to survive. The two are poles apart… but it’s said opposites attract. If they can manage to stay alive.
Greta van der Rol loves writing action-packed adventures with a side salad of romance. Most of her work is space opera, but she has written paranormal and historical fiction.
She lives not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoys photography and cooking when she isn’t bent over a hot computer. She has a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping her in her writing endeavors. Find out more about Greta and her books at her website http://gretavanderrol.net/
The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes Sela Carsen as a guest blogger to talk about Sci-fi + mythology.
Take it away Sela!
Sci-fi + mythology a guest post by Sela Carsen
Sci-fi + mythology = alien Viking berserker werewolves
Solve for romance. And don’t forget to show your work.
What? I’m a writer, not a mathematician. *gg*
My Wolves of Fenrir series roams the hinterlands of Sci-Fi Romance because what I write isn’t purely science based. Yes, there are sexy aliens, but how they came about has little to do with science and a lot to do with some good old-fashioned Norse mythology. At best, we can call it Sci-Fantasy Romance. I’m okay with that.
I started writing a short story a couple of years ago to get me out of a writing slump. I’d been writing paranormal romance before the slump, so that’s where I was comfortable. But I needed something more than an every day wolf shifter to get me out of the hole I was in.
Hellhounds? Nah. Hit a roadblock on religion.
Regular werewolves? Yawn.
Oooh. Alien werewolves! Now I was onto something!
Please take note that the way my brain works is not strictly logical. Or anything resembling logical. I mean, what kind of lunatic goes from hellhounds to aliens in two big jumps? Yeah, a writer.
But that presented its own internal sort of logic problem. How in the world were there alien werewolves?
Werewolves…wolves…Fenrir. Hey, Fenrir was a giant wolf. A son of Loki (he had exotic sexual tastes), Fenrir was so out of control he had to be bound with a dwarf-made chain, and the only way he got into the chain was by taking a chunk out of the god, Tyr. It was prophesied that at Ragnarok, Fenrir would break his chains and be the one to kill Odin, while his sons ate the moon and swallowed the sun.
Poor, misunderstood goggie woggie.
What if he didn’t want to destroy the world? What if he simply escaped with his mate, a… umm… Valkyrie!
Again, logic is not a thing here.
What if Fenrir and his mate escaped Earth and went a-Viking on a quest for their own land, far away from the chaos of the gods? What would their children be like?
They’d establish a Norse/Viking style culture, of course. Where discovery of new lands, establishing trading routes, and blending cultures was a way of life. One where the founding mother was a warrior and shieldmaiden, so it would stand to reason that the women could kick ass as well as the men.
And because their father was Fenrir the Great Wolf, their offspring would naturally take on some of his gifts. When they were in a berserker battle rage, they’d be able to change into something not quite human warrior, but not entirely an animal. Essentially, I wanted to preserve the idea of a really freaking scary werewolf that stood on two legs with huge claws and fangs, and wolf-like abilities like a heightened sense of smell and the eyesight of a predator.
Now we add in a drive to find the right mate, the one who not only has the right lifescent, but is also a good match in other ways, and you have romance.
But it’s not exactly science, is it? Not at all like regular sci-fi, which is often incredibly well-researched and based in hard science that can be logically extrapolated. There’s that word again…logic. And I deal in magic and mythology.
Although, I’d like to say that not everything I wrote in my Wolves of Fenrir series was made out of legendary whole cloth. The nanoarmor my Fenrir wear is based on real tech that is hundreds of times stronger, lighter, and more flexible than Kevlar. The prosthesis my hero wears in “Silver Wolf Rising” is also based on experimental artifical limbs that connect directly to the wearer’s nervous system so the limb responds in a much more realistic manner with fine joint movement, and even sensation.
And my starship? Is totally based on the USS Enterprise (ST: NG). Which makes it about as Sci-Fi as it gets.
Maybe, just maybe, then, Sci-Fantasy isn’t just a mishmash of ideas thrown randomly together. Maybe Science and Mythology can blend together to create a world with its own rules and logic.
And maybe, you’d enjoy reading about it.
You can find my Wolves of Fenrir series at your favorite retailer, by following this link.
The latest story – THE WOLF WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD – is out now in the VIKINGS WILD anthology – six sexy modern paranormal and sci-fi Viking romances featuring stories by Kate Pearce, Zoe York, Anne Marsh, Holley Trent, Loribelle Hunt, and me – Sela Carsen.
Hide your virgins! From the authors of Vikings Unleashed and Vikings Untamed comes VIKINGS WILD, 6 modern, sexy paranormal and sci-fi romances with the original bad boy heroes…VIKINGS. Tall and broad and bearded, these book boyfriends will toss you over their shoulder and save the world before completing their…pillaging.
Anne Marsh — Viking’s Gift: A Viking Christmas Romance
Zoe York — A Viking’s Need
Holley Trent — The Viking’s Witch
Sela Carsen — The Wolf Who Came In From the Cold
Loribelle Hunt — Viking’s Awakening
Kate Pearce — Captive Mail
Thanks so much for sharing this with us today. Definately a fascinating math problem you gave us to work on!
More about Sela
Sela Carsen was born into a traveling family, then married a military man to continue her gypsy lifestyle. With her husband of 20 years, their two teens, her mother, the dog, and the cat, she’s finally (temporarily) settled in the Midwest. Between bouts of packing and unpacking, she writes paranormal romances, with or without dead bodies.
You can find out even more at http://selacarsen.com/
Sign up for her newsletter at http://bit.ly/selacarsennewsletter
The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Veronica Scott as a guest blogger to talk about her latest story, Star Survivor.
Take it away Veronica!
Star Survivor Guest Post by Veronica Scott
Thanks for having me as your guest! I always love visiting your blog to talk books…
What does the title of this novel signify?
Star Survivor is the sequel to Wreck of the Nebula Dream, which has been my most requested sequel in fact. Twilka and Khevan were secondary characters in the first book and people definitely wanted to know what happened to them next. That kind of reader interest is a high compliment to an author, let me tell you. But also a challenge to “get it right’, which I hope I have. This book is a standalone story but a reader will probably enjoy it even more if they’d read Wreck first. Wreck of the Nebula Dream was my 2012 SFR Galaxy Award-winning, “Titanic in space” novel, inspired by the sinking of the Titanic, but set aboard an interstellar cruise liner in the far future. It’s not a spoiler to say Twilka, the heroine in this new book, is definitely a survivor, not only of the wreck, but also of other events in her life. She’s stronger than she ever understood.
One of my jumping off points for this story was the realization as an author that a person will probably only ever have one “Titanic” type of event in their entire life (except for certain real life crew members of the Titanic but that’s not my story today). Then life goes on. So I thought about what changes surviving the catastrophic wreck of the Nebula Dream would have made to someone like Twilka – rich, carefree and previously sheltered from consequences – and then how she’d go on afterward. I looked into the stories of real Titanic First Class passengers who survived the sinking and what they did next, which was interesting and illuminating, as far as choices for Twilka.
The hero in this book is Khevan, the D’nvannae Brother – he’s sworn to serve an alien goddess, as either a bodyguard or a deadly assassin, at the whim of his Red Lady. At the end of Wreck, he and Twilka were together…but again, I had to consider what might have happened to him after the first few weeks of relief at surviving…
So, lots of good, rich character-based possibilities for me to explore!
Do the names of the characters in your novel have some sort of significance or importance to you?
When I was writing Wreck, the name Twilka struck me as appropriate for someone who was a Socialite, as they’re known in the far future. It sounded like a carefree person and I enjoyed the sound of the syllables. I was also inspired by a fashion layout photo I clipped from a magazine at the time and the name seemed to fit the model. (I wish I had the rights to share the photo but alas….). I was satisfied that the book’s cover model (whose name I don’t know, sadly, as it’s a stock photo) represented Twilka as she is at the time this story begins. I like the depth of personality in her eyes, and the strength and determination I feel she projects. Excellent for my heroine.
The name Khevan was chosen as a nod to the person I thought at the time in the late 1990’s was the partial inspiration for his character but as Wreck went through various drafts over the years, the character morphed and changed to become ‘himself’. Pretty much totally different from who I’d envisioned at the start. Strong characters tend to do that to an author – take on a life of their own! Be it noted that ‘Khevan’ isn’t the original real life person’s name either, but an altered name that reminded me at the time of the individual. The name of his D’nvannae Order is drawn from a family name, heavily revised, which is an old Celtic warrior name. So there you have that
The book cover model, Vikkas Bhardwaj, pretty much embodies the way I visualize Khevan, I do have to say. The cover art is by the fabulous Fiona Jayde. I actually met Vikkas at the RT conference last year and he’s amazing – a lovely person and someone who definitely has the height and the build to be a D’nvannae Brother.
If you wrote the first draft of Wreck of the Nebula Dream in the 1990’s, why such a long time until it was released in 2012?
I had a fulltime day job at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, plus I was a widowed single mother, so while I wrote my science fiction romances whenever I had spare time, I didn’t start making a concerted effort to become published until late in 2010. (Carina Press released my first book in January 2012.) Wreck was my first independently published novel, timed to release on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking. Then it’s taken me four more years to figure out the plot for Star Survivor!
Here’s the story for Star Survivor:
The survivors of a terrible wreck meet again—but this time only one can survive.
The long-awaited sequel to The Wreck of the Nebula Dream…
They survived an iconic spaceship wreck together. She never expected to see him again … especially not armed to kill her.
Twilka Zabour is an interstellar celebrity. She built on her notoriety as a carefree Socialite who survived the terrible wreck of the Nebula Dream, and launched a successful design house. But now the man who gave meaning to her life, then left her, is back–this time for the worst of reasons. Will he kill her … or help her survive?
D’nvannae Brother Khevan survived the Nebula Dream in the company of a lovely, warm woman, only to be pulled away from her, back into his solitary life in the service of the Red Lady. Now Twilka’s within his reach again–for all the wrong reasons. Khevan will do everything within his power to discover why Twilka has been targeted for assassination, and to save her.
But Khevan is not Twilka’s only pursuer. Will allies Nick and Mara Jameson arrive in time to aid the couple, or will Khevan and Twilka’s ingenuity be all that stands between them and death?
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Three time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Corrina Lawson as a guest blogger to talk about the Superheroines that inspire her.
Take it away Corrina!
The Superheroines Who Inspire Me by Corrina Lawson
Once upon a time, I dreamed superheroes were real. Of course, they’re not, not in the traditional sense of heroes with colorful costumes and extraordinary powers, but the heroic traits they possess is something I still want to emulate. Naturally, when I began to write paranormal romances, I drew on superhero mythology.
My first superhero, Alec Farley, the hero of Phoenix Rising, may have been born with powers like the X-Men, but he owes far more of his personality to the traits to the ones who inspired me: namely, his optimism, his kindness, and his insistence on always doing the right thing.
So here are the heroines who inspired me, in the order that I encountered them growing up. What strikes me about this list is that it’s full of grown woman for the most part. One would think I would have identified more with teenage characters but this list of ladies appealed to who I wanted to become, rather than who I was.
I’ve said this before, many times, but Lois Lane is the reason I became a journalist. She was the first female character I encountered who had a job other than teacher or nurse or secretary and it was a really cool job! There has been so much analysis about Lois Lane, everything from she’s not too smart to she gets kidnapped all the time, but the bottom line is she does the same job Superman does, fighting for truth and justice, but she does it without powers. In other words, she’s Superman’s hero.
Huntress/Helena Wayne Helena Wayne was the daughter of an alternate Earth Batman and Catwoman. Whoa. Who wouldn’t want those parents? Alas, Helena was driven into crimefighting by revenge as her mother was killed after being blackmailed, and then her father later died fighting a villain possessing magical power. This, however, did not change her essentially optimistic personality. She became Huntress to find justice, not to hurt others, and she was a lawyer by day to do the same.
If you’ve only watched the movies, well, you’re missing out on Jean Grey/Marvel Girl/Phoenix as she’s been consistently underused on the screen. That’s the problem with her comic book self, too, as Jean was never the same after the Dark Phoenix saga in which she gained the ability to devour worlds (and did) but killed herself to save the universe from her own power. What she taught me in the Dark Phoenix saga is that a powerful woman could be an equal in a relationship, even with the leader of the X-Men, (Cyclops), and she could even initiate sex. (“Scott, I wanted to see your eyes.”) Jean, until power consumed her, showed what equality was like when you’re in love.
Agent 13 was created many years ago but she’d been pushed to the side when I first started reading Captain America comics in the late 1970s. Heck, she was even killed off. But she was brought back in a short run by Mark Waid and has never been sent to the sidelines again. What’s great about Sharon? She’s the proto-typical bad-ass secret agent, she’s the intellectual equal of Steve Rogers, and she’s fiercely independent. When Sharon was impregnated against her will by the Red Skull with (handwaveycomicbookscience) a child/clone to use against her and Steve, Sharon escaped custody and when her enemies were closing in again, she stabbed herself in the gut, taking control and ownership of what was being done to her own body.
Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel
Like Black Canary/Dinah Lance, Carol has been knocking around since the 1970s, though she’s in the Marvel universe. Originally, she was a female version of Captain Mar-vell, but then a newspaper publisher, a member of the Avengers, then depowered, then a member of the X-Men powered by star energy called Binary, then Warbird, then…well, you get the picture. Writers, mostly male, made Carol into whatever they wanted. Then Kelly Sue DeConnick led a revamp of the character, Carol took on the mantle of Captain Marvel, she owned her experience as a pilot and Air Force Colonel, and now she’s a confident leader who can defeat any threat. In other words, she came through the fire better than ever and now she’ll have a movie. Go, Carol.
She’s the last addition to my list and it’s by virtue of her Netflix show. I read some issues of the comic Alias that introduced Jessica and they didn’t speak to me. Perhaps it was that Jessica seemed angry all the time but it was never clear why.
But in the show, we know right away why she’s angry and dysfunctional. She was mind-controlled and raped and abused by a telepath, and she’s by turns pissed off and traumatized by it. But to Jessica, the worst thing that can happen, ever, is that someone dies on her watch. She was under compulsion to kill once and she refuses to do it again. Oh, she’s not a saint. She’s profane, an alcoholic, she’s rude, and she often refuses to let anyone help with her pain. But she pushes past that because, dammit, she hates to see people hurt, even people she doesn’t like. Her story is also one of healing for rape survivors and we never get enough of those.
Her novels include The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, a romantic steampunk mystery and the Galaxy award-winning and USA Today recognized superhero romance series: Phoenix Institute series: Phoenix Rising, Luminous, Phoenix Legacy, Ghost Phoenix, Ghosts of Christmas Past, and Phoenix Inheritance.
The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Veronica Scott about the new anthology, Pets in Space. Take it away Veronica!
Veronica Scott Talks Pets In Space and Shares an ExcerptWhat does the title of this anthology signify?
I can’t imagine not having pets, whether I’m living here on Earth or in outer space. So late last year author Pauline Baird Jones and I were talking about how much fun it would be to put together an anthology of science fiction romance stories involving pets and Pets In Space was born! I myself have two rescue cats currently, Jake and Keanu, who supervise my writing from the chair next to the desk, so I made a cat one of my two space pets and created an alien pet to be her sidekick.
We also wanted to have the anthology benefit a pet-related charity so we selected Hero Dogs, Inc., which supplies service dogs to veterans. Susan Grant, one of our authors, is a veteran and most of the authors have relatives who served in the military, so it seemed like an excellent fit for a partner.
The human hero is Owen Embersson and I picked that name for him because I was envisioning a big strong, Viking-like ex-soldier to be the cargo master for my spaceship. So I hope the name would convey those attributes to the reader. I recently did a character interview with ‘Owen’ and here’s how he explained his cat’s name:
“She’s pure white, so I named her Moby, after Moby Dick the whale in that old book from Earth. Not that I’ve read it, too long and antiquated. I figured she’d enjoy eating a whale and she was going into the ocean of space. I don’t know, seemed good at the time.”
The alien pet is named Midorri and I simply invented that when she first appeared in my novel Star Cruise: Outbreak as the pampered pet of a princess. I liked the sound of the name!
We also commissioned an artist, Nyssa Juneau, to do sketches of all the pets in the anthology, so here are Moby and Midorri.
I’ll share a short excerpt from Star Cruise: Stowaway, my story in the anthology, where Owen and Tyrelle, the stowaway are discussing pet names. Tyrelle has been held in the sickbay and the two pets have been visiting her (because they have the run of the ship). Turns out Tyrelle can ‘talk’ to the animals.:
Midorri chirruped and slithered to the floor, going to the portal, where she scratched at the door with two of her six feet.
Owen rose to let her out.
Moby promptly entered, jumping to the bed and rubbing Tyrelle’s face, arching her spine and purring loudly.
“When one leaves, the other arrives. You’re the keeper of the animals?” she asked.
“Moby’s mine. I rescued her from kids in a rough port town as a kitten a few years ago and brought her with me to the Zephyr. Midorri belongs to the entire ship, but she spends a lot of time in the cargo bay, with Moby, hunting vermin.” He sat, trapped in the small chair. “The Zephyr’s not infested or anything, we run a tight ship, but there’s always a few space rats.” I can’t believe I’m talking to this beautiful woman about rats.
She laughed, scratching under Moby’s chin for a moment and staring into the cat’s green eyes. “Yes, this one likes you very much and the name you gifted her. Midorri is not the other one’s name, you know, but she told me she doesn’t mind answering to it.”
“I vaguely remember my grandmother telling me a story or a poem from old Earth, something about cats having three names,” he said, the memory surfacing full blown. Thoughts of his grandmother hadn’t crossed his mind in decades, but now he could picture her, smell the cookies she baked, hear her voice. “The one people called them, the one the cats called themselves and a secret name no one ever uses.”
“I like the idea.” Her cheeks displayed charming dimples as she smiled. “Even I don’t know Midorri’s secret name.”
###Even an alien needs a pet…
Join the adventure as nine pet loving sci-fi romance authors take you out of this world and pull you into their action-packed stories filled with suspense, laughter, and romance. The alien pets have an agenda that will capture the hearts of those they touch. Follow along as they work side by side to help stop a genetically-engineered creature from destroying the Earth to finding a lost dragon; life is never the same after their pets decide to get involved. Can the animals win the day or will the stars shine just a little less brightly?
New York Times, USA TODAY, Award Winning, and Best selling authors have eight original, never-released stories and one expanded story giving readers nine amazing adventures that will capture your imagination and help a worthy charity. Come join us as we take you on nine amazing adventures that will change the way you look at your pet!
10% of 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.
Star Cruise: Stowaway by Veronica Scott
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.
Pets In Space anthology is available 10/11/16 via the following…
- Amazon (TBD)
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 “City On the Edge of Forever.”
You can connect with Veronica via…
The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes author of Prodigal, Jody Wallace!
Take it away Jody!
Making Yogurt at Home
By Jody Wallace
Yogurt Making After the Apocalypse
In PRODIGAL, our world is 3 or so years into a global apocalypse. Humans are dealing with chaos, unrest, scarcity, and oftentimes survivalist conditions, with the worsts-affected area being the West coast of the United States and eastward from there.
Our heroine, Claire Lawson, is the sheriff of a buffer zone settlement in Illinois. The buffer zone is supposed to be free of the horde, which is the mass of soul-sucking black monsters trying to eat the planet. The shades don’t run around independently like zombies or your standard monster; they ooze in a continuous mass, like a giant slime coating, over the surface of the planet. Their existence, and the land they’ve taken and people they’ve killed, create difficult conditions for all survivors, even ones in lands as-yet untouched by the horde proper. Everything on the United States’ East coast is a pit of overcrowded, refugee-hosting, martial-law chaos. Choosing to live in the buffer zone means you’re pretty much guaranteed to receive no government aid.
As such, the people who live in the buffer zone have got to figure out how to feed themselves again. Electricity does exist, especially when the settlements get help from the Shipborn aliens, but electricity isn’t enough to grow crops. Can’t hop down to the corner store and pick up some salmon for tonight’s dinner or ask hubby to get milk on his way home from work. The residents of Camp Chanute banded together for safety and resource sharing. They’ve been feeding their populace by maintaining farms in about a fifty mile radius of the settlement plus trading with other settlements and learning how to produce foods that they used to rely on factories to make.
Here’s a quick excerpt in Claire’s point of view of one of the hazards of this lifestyle:
Claire ran with the change in topic, sealing off her feelings and choices with regard to Adam. “This time we brought in the big guns. Angeli. Got a patrol crisscrossing the area, scanning for shades.”
“And?” he asked.
“Nothing yet. Not a trace. Not a daemon. Just dead bodies and the silver pods, which the scientists hauled off.” In her pocket, her fingers had ceased to tremble, so she withdrew the snack she’d been saving. She ripped the wrapping off the old granola bar and bit into it viciously. “I don’t even have time for dinner, so I’m eating this nasty-ass, antique cereal bar.”
The dried-out bar was like gnawing on a tree, but it was more portable than homemade yogurt, and she hated walnuts. They’d traded for a truckload or two of them, and now everything was walnuts, walnuts, walnuts.
In honor of these hardy residents of Camp Chanute, I have attempted to make homemade yogurt myself. Granted, I’m using modern conveniences like electricity, store bought milk, and crock pots to do it, but the instructions could be extrapolated for less handy settings. The basic premise is you heat up your milk to 180 degrees, then cool it until it’s 110 degrees, then add live yogurt cultures, then cool it a bunch more, then strain out the whey through cheesecloth. The result is supposed to be creamy, delicious yogurt. (http://www.daringgourmet.com/2015/01/21/easy-homemade-greek-yogurt/)
So how did it turn out for me?
Well, it turned out pretty good, I have to say. I used regular store brand milk, and I kind of didn’t pay very good attention to the temperatures, so I let the milk cook in the slow cooker longer than I should have and then let it cool to a lower temp than I should have when I finally stirred in the “starter” cultures (which was plain store bought yogurt with the right cultures in it). It took all day to get to the point where the mixture in the crock pot got wrapped in the towels, so it sat in the towels overnight.
The next morning, I used cheap cheesecloth and glopped the stuff into two colanders. That got to sit in my sink for hours and hours while the whey dribbled out of it. (Oh – I have since read that plain cloth diapers work better than cheesecloth for anyone trying this at home.)
The end result was almost 2 quarts of whey, which is supposedly good for smoothies and such, and a giant bowl full of thick, plain yogurt. We ate yogurt every day for a week for the price of one gallon of milk. Since we’re sissies, we added various things to the tart product, like brown sugar, granola and fruit.
Definitely cheaper than any brand I could find in the store per ounce. But worth the effort? That, I cannot say, although my family has asked me not to make any more damn yogurt for a while. They’re sick of it.
I imagine in post-apocalyptic times, the hardest part would be getting your hands on starter yogurt or the appropriate cultures. The rest would be doable, though you’d need to eat it immediately or have some way to keep it chilled.
What kinds of things do you know how to do that would be useful in post-apocalyptic times?
Smart. Snarky. Seductive. And that’s just the books.
http://www.jodywallace.com * http://www.meankitty.com
The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl welcomes The Cantina Cast blogger Kat as a guest today to give us her love letter to Anime and One Piece.
Take it away Kat…
In Defense of Anime: My Love Letter to One Piece
Anime often gets a bad rap. Despite that certain nerd fandoms are now becoming accepted, mainstream, and even “cool” (Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel/DC Heroes), liking anime is still socially unacceptable. Take for example a conversation I overheard at this year’s Denver Comic Con: One attendee was admiring another’s anime cosplay, but basically told his friend he couldn’t publicly admit to liking anime for fear of being judged. How telling is it that at a convention designed to celebrate Nerd-dom, this person still felt he couldn’t openly admit to liking anime? I daresay many people who love anime (myself included) have felt the same way.
But why is that the case? I believe there are two main reasons there’s a stigma associated with anime. The first is the old belief that cartoons are for children. While that perception has been changing with the advent of many Adult Swim shows, most Western cartoons for adults are primarily comedies. Anime, in contrast, encompasses every genre: comedy, romance, action, horror/thriller, fantasy, sci-fi, and more. And, well, there simply aren’t many Western equivalents that are marketed for adults. So to the average Westerner, an adult claiming he/she loves anime can seem a bit juvenile.
The other reason I believe there’s a stigma attached to anime is the “weeaboo” stereotype. (A “weeaboo” is a semi-offensive term for a non-Japanese person who is obsessed with Japan and Japanese culture. Many people associate obnoxious behavior with weeaboos, hence the unflattering connotation.) I believe many people that don’t “get” anime tend to stereotype anime fans as being obsessed with Japanese culture. But this really isn’t the case. Think about it this way: I don’t really enjoy watching sports, but I also don’t see all sports fans as obnoxious roided-up gym rats. In the same way, not everyone will enjoy watching anime, but those folks should also understand that most anime fans are not obsessed weeaboos. (And even those who are still have a right to their opinions!)
So to summarize: When the “weeaboo” stereotype is combined with the view of cartoons being childish, the result is a negative association with liking anime. However, both these perceptions are, in fact, misperceptions. But even this is beside the point! What it really comes down to is that it’s OKAY for people to like what they like, even if you don’t get it. Not everyone will like anime – just as not everyone likes Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, comic books, etc. And most importantly, no one should be made to feel embarrassed for liking what they like! With that said, if you are skeptical about anime, or have never given it a chance, I invite you to keep reading while I tell you about one of my favorite anime series, One Piece.
One Piece is based on the manga One Piece by Eiichiro Oda that tells the story of a pirate named Monkey D. Luffy. He is on a quest to become the King of the Pirates by finding the “One Piece” treasure of the previous Pirate King, Gol D. Roger. As he begins his quest, colorful characters join his crew, and they have adventures sailing the treacherous seas known as The Grand Line.
One of the brilliant and captivating nuances of this show is that every story arc, long or short, takes place at a different island or exotic location. To give you an idea, they visit a floating restaurant, stop at islands of every climate, end up inside a whale, soar to an island in the sky, sail to an island at the bottom of the sea, and much more! They encounter friends and foes, many of whom have strange and deadly powers. They run headlong into each new adventure, dodging the Navy, defeating warlords, searching for treasure, saving innocents, exploring crazy locations, and become stronger with each new encounter.
For as much as I love this show now, I’ll admit it took a while for me to give it a chance. To the outsider, One Piece can seem weird and a bit nebulous. It does, after all, have over 750 episodes and counting (the manga is also still being published). There are many characters, which can seem confusing, and most ads fail to capture the real heart of the show. It wasn’t until a Japanese friend told me it was his favorite anime that I decided to give it a try. Fast forward a couple years and I can honestly say that no show has made me laugh, smile, and cheer as much as One Piece.
This anime is an ode to the spirit of adventure, exploration, and pursuing dreams. It has real story progression, genuine character development, and a world where anything seems possible. And the cherry on top is that it’s all woven together with a kind of ridiculous and innocent humor I can’t help but love. But what really strikes me about this anime is how happy I feel when watching it. Even when the characters endure heartbreaking trials and desperate struggles, the spirit of this show is heartfelt and inspiring.
In a way, I feel that One Piece captures the spirit of anime as a whole. It demonstrates one of the medium’s biggest advantages: its versatility. Show creators have the leeway to play with ideas, characters, and situations that might otherwise prove unfeasible for, say, a live-action production. The other wonderful thing about anime is the storytelling, and One Piece is no exception. One Piece, as do most anime, features a character-driven story that allows the viewers to develop a kind of personal relationship with the characters.
I daresay there aren’t many American cartoons that have that kind of depth or focus on character development. For instance, I love Superman, but let’s be honest, he’s pretty static as a character. I’d say one notable exception, though, would be Avatar: The Last Airbender. Yes, its target audience is younger, but over the course of the show we get to see all the characters growing in skill and maturity. Not only that, but it has some moments of real laugh-out-loud comedy. This is the experience I have when watching One Piece. The characters draw me in as they grow from the challenges they face, and I sympathize with them as I can see my own emotional struggles and dreams reflected in the characters’ struggles and dreams. This powerful effect of good storytelling is, perhaps, the key to why I love anime so much.
If I’ve managed to peak your interest and you’d like to give One Piece a try, I should warn you about the show’s one flaw. One Piece, like many classic and popular anime such as Dragonball Z, Bleach, and Naruto, follows a format that is intended to draw out the story as long as possible. While the lengthy and often slow storytelling sometimes adds a great deal of depth to the show, it can also drag it down. Because of this, the show is definitely better suited to binge-watching than single episodes at a time. However, if you can overlook this one flaw (my husband gets around it by multitasking while streaming the dubbed version) One Piece has a wonderful story to tell – full of loveable characters and grand adventures – all presented through a medium that is vibrant, versatile, and highly entertaining. And I dare you to give it a try 😉
Kat is a blogger for the Star Wars podcast The Cantina Cast. You can find her blogs at thecantinacast.net as well as their new site, thecantinacast.com. Have thoughts or comments you’d like to share? You can reach her by email at email@example.com and on Twitter @ErrantVenturer.
The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl welcomes author AR DeClerck as a guest blogger today talking about support she received when the going gets tough!
Recently I started going through a writing funk. I had the stories in my head, but no inclination to do the actual act of writing down the words. A slump like this had never happened to me before and I found myself seeking the help of my writer friends to find a cure. I want to chat briefly about all the wonderful advice and support I received.
I posted about my dilemma on social media, expecting the normal outpouring of shoulder pats and random platitudes. What I received, however, was uplifting and genuine concern coupled with good advice.
I was not, it seemed, the only one going through the writing doldrums. Other authors were experiencing, or had experienced, the same thing. This by itself was comforting. I like knowing that I am not the odd duck from time to time. I was flooded with stories of similar experiences. It was heart warming to hear others express the same struggle.
The advice I received was strong, encouraging and tough. Get back on the horse even when you’ve lost your saddle. Force yourself to write; it will come naturally again soon enough. Use a pen and paper to regain your connection to the act of writing. Listen to music. Watch movies. Read your old favorites. Feed your imagination. I was humbled that fellow authors would encourage and support me when I was down.
I followed the advice from above and wrote three thousand words. It felt great. I felt whole again. Ready to get back to the business of,storytelling. And the next time I feel down, or worried about needing a break? I hope all my wonderful friends are there to pick me up again! I will definitely pay the favor forward!
Thanks again AR DeClerck!
You can find AR: