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Guest Post: Pets in Space 4 And Hero Dogs

The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes back author Pauline Baird Jones as a guest blogger to talk about the latest Anthology release, Pets in Space 4 and the charity that it supports, Hero Dogs!

Take it away Pauline!

The authors of Pets in Space® 4 have blogged at other places about our wonderful charity, Hero Dogs (who helps to place specially trained dogs with veterans and first responders) and we’ve all also blogged about our love of pets and how we believe it is the pets who give a special kind of heart to the stories in our limited release anthologies. So I wasn’t sure what was left to blog about unless it is science fiction romance—our genre.

Both Veronica Scott and myself love to read and write science fiction romance, but we will also agree that it is an often misunderstood genre. I think readers are sometimes afraid of the science in science fiction romance, fearing it will be technical or boring. So that is also one of the reasons we wanted to do our anthologies—to introduce new readers to the fun, adventure, accessibility, and yes, romance of science fiction romance. 

Inside the pages of Pets in Space® 4 readers will journey to far off worlds with Anna Hackett’s House of Roan or board Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr for another amazing Interstellar cruise (who doesn’t want to take a cruise??). From S.E. Smith’s Lords of Kassis, Tiffany Roberts’ The Infinite City, to Pauline Baird Jones’ Project Enterprise series, you’ll find the perfect story along with a few unusual pets. 

I think this year’s anthology has our most diverse selection of pets—and their owners—ever. As one of the organizers (along with Veronica Scott), I get to read the stories first and it has been both wonderful and painful waiting for readers to get a their chance to dive in and take their armchair journey to distant worlds. The heroes are fearless and so are the heroines and the pets will make you laugh, cheer and fall in love, too.

I promise that what science there is in the stories is very accessible and introduced to make the stories more exciting—things like space ships and cool weapons so they can smack down the bad aliens. LOL

If you love pets and love romance, there is a really good chance you’ll love this anthology—and who knows, you may end up becoming a fan of science fiction romance, too.

For the price of a cup of coffee, readers run the “risk” of discovering a fun new genre, and thirteen new, favorite authors. Okay, so maybe your TBR pile should be afraid. LOL

Here’s all the details you need to know:

For a limited time only! Pets in Space® 4 is proud to present 13 amazing, original new stories! Join the adventures as today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors take you on a journey to another world. Pets in Space® proudly supports Hero-Dogs.org, a non-profit charity that provides service animals to veterans and first responders in need. Join New York Times, USA TODAY and Award-winning Bestselling authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Tiffany Roberts, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Donna McDonald, Regine Abel, Alexis Glynn Latner, JC Hay, E.D. Walker, Kyndra Hatch, and Cassandra Chandler for another exciting Pets in Space® anthology. Get the stories before they are gone!

Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space® authors have donated over $7,100 in the past three years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans and first responders. 10% of all pre-orders and the first month’s royalties of Pets in Space® 4 will again go to Hero-Dogs.org. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Pets in Space® 4 today so together we can continue to assist this worthy charity! 

You can order your copy at the following vendors:

All Buy Links: https://www.petsinspaceantho.com/books/pets-in-space-4/ 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WCQF358/ 

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07WCQF358/ 

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07WCQF358/

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07WCQF358/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/pets-in-space-4

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/pets-in-space-4/id1476281234

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pets-in-space-4-s-e-smith/1132911108?ean=2940163094325

GooglePlay: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/S_E_Smith_Pets_in_Space_4?id=jXuoDwAAQBAJ

Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Pets in Space® 4 today so together we can continue to assist this worthy charity!

About Pauline Baird Jones

USA Today Bestselling author Pauline Baird Jones never liked reality, so she writes books. She likes to wander among the genres, rampaging like Godzilla, because she does love peril mixed in her romance. Loves chocolate, bacon, flamingoes, and mid-century modern anything. If you would like to contact Pauline directly, she can be reached via email at pauline@paulinebjones.com or by visiting her website, her Blog or any of the following social media outlets:

Pauline Baird Jones Facebook Fan page

Twitter: @paulinebjones

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/117517921948256287348/posts

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/perilouspauline/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/247227.Pauline_Baird_Jones

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.

Guest Post: A Peak at the next BADARI WARRIORS Novel: GABE

The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes back author Veronica Scott as a guest blogger to talk about her newest release, GABE.

Take it away Veronica!

A Peak at the next BADARI WARRIORS Novel: GABE By Veronica Scott

Thanks for having me as a guest! Always thrilled to have a chance to talk about how things are going with the writing and the books!

I had a special thrill recently when AYDARR, book one of the series, won the I Heart Indie contest in the SF&F romance category.

GABE is the fifth book of the series, although – why did I do such a confusing thing?! – TIMTUR actually came out in mid-October under the In the Stars Romance label and is book 2.5 of the entire line of Badari adventures. His story fell between the events in MATEER and JADRIAN on the series timeline. So if you missed the story of how Timtur the healer and Lily the human teacher became mates, please do go pick that title up from your favorite ebook seller.

But getting back to Gabe, he’s a human, kind of devil-may-care ex-military guy and a supporting character since book one of the series. I have a special fondness for him and I always knew I’d give him his own book. There’s a special twist to the story, relating to who his mate turns out to be. The reveal comes pretty early in the book but SPOILER alert:

SPOILER

SPOILER

SPOILER: Keshara, the heroine, isn’t human. She’s a Badari woman!

The very fact that everyone has been so adamant all along in the series that there are no Badari females, that the evil alien scientists never created any, has been tantalizing to me as the author. I had to ensure there ARE Badari women just to confound everyone on the planet. But they needed a good solid backstory of how they came to be and how Gabe of all people meets them. I had great fun writing this book and I hope the readers will enjoy seeing the events unfold.

Now enjoy this excerpt of GABE!

Setting: Keshara is on the run, escaping from her home, and sees Gabe’s flyer crash. She debates whether to go investigate…

Deciding not to risk herself in the storm for mere curiosity’s sake, she prepared to return to the cozy den when a flash of lightning illuminated the sky and she caught sight of a new problem. A man was falling, clinging to a strange harness. He seemed to be fighting whatever was slowing his fall, and it was clear to Keshara he was descending much too fast.

Heart pounding, hand on the hilt of her knife, she watched him attempt to blunt the shock of hitting the ground by allowing his body to go limp. As he collided hard with the muddy, rock strewn ground near her den, she winced in unwilling sympathy. Through the driving rain she watched him, but he made no attempt to rise. After a minute, she heard an exclamation of pain and a few words with the force of a curse.

Enemy or not, Keshara didn’t have the heart to leave the poor man to die in the cold rain. She could at least go check out the situation, see if he had any chance to survive his amazing fall.

Adjusting her rain cape, knife at the ready, she crawled from the tunnel, rose to her feet and ran to where the man lay. Cringing as thunder boomed overhead, she prayed the lightning would hold off. The man lay on his back, one arm flung over his eyes and, as she drew close, she froze in astonishment.

He had no large crest of red and yellow hair and his skin tones were pale. He wasn’t Khagrish.

He was of some species unknown to her, similar to her own perhaps.

Groaning, he attempted to sit up but cut the move short with a jerk as he realized she was nearby. He fumbled at his hip as if searching for a weapon that was no longer there, lost in the turbulent fall perhaps. Then he spoke in a variation on her own language, the secret tongue the Director was unaware the sisters all knew. His accent was odd, some of the words made no sense, but the general meaning was clear.

“Well, you’re the last thing I was expecting.” He managed a lopsided grin despite obvious injuries, blood welling from a bad cut on one thigh and another on his head. He swiped moisture from his face. “Can we get out of the rain before we do introductions?”

Tongue tied, she stared at him. His face was undeniably handsome, although set right now in lines of pain, radiating from his eyes and lips. He was probably the same height as she was, well over six feet, and since his odd uniform was plastered to his body by the rain, Keshara could tell he was solidly built, with the muscles and sinews of one who was a deadly fighter. And what the wet fabric outlined between his legs was impressive as well. Her primary knowledge of males was gleaned from study modules, and observing the few Khagrish men left at the Retreat. This man put them to shame with his physique.

Thunder crashed again and lightning stabbed a tree at the far end of the meadow, throwing massive sparks high into the air and breaking her concentration. “We’d better get inside,” she said in her own tongue since he obviously understood the language. Reflecting on his aborted search for a weapon, she showed him the knife. “I’ll help you, but don’t think me easy meat for your taking.”

“Aww, seven hells, lady, if you’re what I think you are, you have better weapons than that.” His smile, although strained, was warming. “Do you have a shelter?”

###

GABE (A BADARI WARRIORS SCIFI ROMANCE NOVEL): SECTORS NEW ALLIES SERIES BOOK 4 is available through the following outlet: Amazon, Apple Books, Nook, Kobo and Google Play

Gabe Carter, hotshot pilot and ex-Special Forces soldier, is far from his home in the human Sectors, kidnapped by alien scientists to be the subject of horrifying experiments. Shot down by the enemy over desolate territory far from his Badari allies and gravely injured, Gabe’s only hope is a mysterious woman on the run herself.

Keshara has to decide whether to abandon the human to die of his injuries on a windswept mountain top or give up her own quest for freedom and take him to a place he can be helped. The undeniable spark between them complicates matters.

His attraction to her is off the charts but when she betrays him to the Khagrish enemy, Gabe doesn’t know what to believe. Trapped inside an alien lab bursting with mysteries and lies, his only hope may be to trust her…again.

Because the renegade alien scientist running her own private experiments wants to use him to accomplish her goals and perpetuate the evil, no matter what she has to do to ensure his compliance. Keshara’s life hangs in the balance and Gabe has to make a choice.

About Veronica Scott
USA Today Best Selling Author, as well as the “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”

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

Guest Post: Veronica Scott Talks About Darik

The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes back author Veronica Scott as a guest blogger to talk about her newest release, DARIK.

Take it away Veronica!

DARIK (A BADARI WARRIORS SCIFI ROMANCE NOVEL): SECTORS NEW ALLIES SERIES BOOK 4 By Veronica Scott

Thanks for having me as a guest one more time so I could once again update how things are going with the series! I’m happy to say that book three, JADRIAN, and now book four, DARIK, have been among the bestselling titles of my entire author career and I’m so very grateful to the readers for taking the time to find my series and enjoy the adventures and romance.

I had a special thrill recently when author Laurann Dohner, whose New Species series is a huge favorite of mine, said on my author page about DARIK: “It’s an awesome book and series. I’m hooked!” I was floating on air, let me tell you!

Darik is the fourth book of the series and focuses on a soldier in the pack which was created with canine DNA influences. I wanted to tell a story about a ‘lone wolf’ Badari warrior, sent off on a solo mission and enjoying time away from the pack. He thinks he’d be happy to have a mate someday maybe, but he’s not in any rush. So of course he promptly meets the human woman he suspects is his mate, but she’s a prisoner of the evil Khagrish scientists, held for much of the book in a basically impenetrable underground lab.

I had a lot of fun with this one and threw in some nods to a few of my favorite scifi movies, like “Aliens”, “Puppet Masters” and “Outbreak” but remember, I’m writing romance so the on the page gore level was kept low and of course there’s a Happy For Now ending. (It’s HEA for Darik and Nicolle but as far as the arc for the entire series, things are only HFN because the bigger challenges of defeating the enemy still exist.)

I’m working on book five, Gabe, now and this one will spring a huge surprise on the Badari and the humans. But no spoilers!

I released Jadrian, book three, in May. The books can be read in any order but the series does build upon itself with each successive book.

For now, enjoy this excert of Darik…

Setting: Nicolle is trapped inside a zoolike, outdoors portion of the alien lab complex. Darik and his metallic Artificial Intelligence companion are outside the force field barrier. This is their first meeting:

The pretty stream flowed through a meadow. The berries had lured Nicolle here as the Khagrish rations upset her stomach but, apparently, the wild animal had been breakfasting on the berries as well.
And now it wants me for a meal too.
Raising its outsized head, the predator sniffed the air and took a step in her direction. Rising to its hind legs and towering over her, the animal roared a challenge before dropping to all fours again and coming toward her, moving faster as it approached.
Frozen, hand clenched on the nearly useless forked stick, Nicolle had a vague idea of throwing herself into the creek or falling to the ground and playing dead.
A roar sounded from behind her, across the water, maybe even from outside the force barrier. Startled, she screamed and slipped on the mossy rocks, barely keeping her footing. The animal in front of her rose to its full height again, bellowing and displaying an impressive array of sharp teeth, as well as yellowed claws on its massive front paws. Nicolle cowered, but the beast wasn’t paying any attention to her now. All its attention was on whatever was beyond the stream.
The next roar from behind her was even more impressive. It sounded almost…human?
Ears flattened, the beast pivoted, dropped to all fours, and scrambled away from Nicolle as fast as it could go, bushy tail tucked away between its legs.
Breathing shakily, she steeled herself to turn, hoping this new threat was outside the force barrier and couldn’t get in.
Having wheeled to face the other direction, at first she couldn’t believe her eyes. Nothing but one man stood across the force barrier from her. Granted, he was incredibly tall and well built under his camouflage uniform, but there was nothing about him to suggest the ability to utterly terrify a creature like the one recently slavering to eat her. Had the beast been frightened off by the sight of his lethal pulse rifle? But then who or what had been roaring? “Thank you,” she said, her vocal cords barely working. “Who are you?”
“A friend.”
Thank the Lords of Space—he speaks Basic.
He looked her up and down critically. “Are you ok? No wounds?”
She dropped the stick into the water, wrapping her arms around herself in an effort not to shake so hard. “Just scared. Can you—can you get us out of here?” Nicolle sank onto the nearest boulder as her legs gave way from reaction to the danger so recently averted.
Brow furrowed, he glanced at the oddly colorful small orb floating in the air beside him and shook his head. “Not today. How many of you are there?”
“Twenty, including me. We arrived late yesterday, shipped from the lab in the flatlands.”
“Originally from the Amarcae colony in the Sectors?”
She blinked in surprise at how well informed he was and nodded. “Most of us. How did you know?”
“We must retreat,” said his metallic companion in a warbling birdlike voice, moving side to side as if nervous. “The other humans approach. We must not be detected.”
“I have to go,” the man said, slinging the pulse rifle over his shoulder. “Promise not to mention me to anyone. I’ll see what I can do about calling in a rescue, but it’s complicated. The Khagrish can’t know I’m here, so you can’t even tell the other prisoners. Not all humans can be trusted.”
She ignored his slur on humans’ integrity. “I swear not to talk about you, but please, please help us. These aliens conduct experiments—”
“I know all about what the Khagrish do.” He seemed reluctant to abandon her, taking two steps in the direction his metal companion had gone but then turning to face her.
Hoping knowing her name might make her plight more difficult for him to ignore, she said, “I’m Nicolle, by the way.”

Darik is available via Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Google, Kobo

Nicolle James is far from her home in the human Sectors, kidnapped by alien scientists to be the subject of horrifying experiments. Her only hope might be a mysterious soldier she’d glimpsed outside the laboratory fence. She’d managed to sneak a few words of conversation with him when her captors weren’t watching but now the aliens were taking her inside the lab to begin the experiments.
Darik, a warrior of the genetically engineered Badari pack, is on a solo recon mission to check out a mysterious new lab high in the mountains. His orders are strict – do not engage. But when he has a chance meeting with the woman who might be his mate, he vows not to abandon her, orders or no orders.
Can he get inside an underground lab, find Nicolle and rescue her without getting captured himself? And when he learns the lab’s deadly secrets, can he get word to his pack about the new dangers?
Because the ruthless alien scientist running the experiments wants to get her hands on him too and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.

About Veronica Scott
USA Today Best Selling Author, as well as the “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”

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

Guest Post: Fun with Tropes

The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Cynthia Sax as a guest blogger today to discuss the fun she has with tropes.

Take it away Cynthia!

Fun With Tropes by Cynthia Sax

A trope is a common plot device. Popular romance tropes include enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, Beauty and the Beast, duck out of water, billionaire hero and fated mate/love at first sight.

Tropes often get a bad name and, sure, when written poorly, stories using tropes can be cliché, boring or predictable. However, that can be true of any plot devices, original or not.

When written well, stories using tropes are magical. Tropes can be found in some of the best written, most loved stories in Romanceland.

I LOVE tropes. I love reading them and I love writing them. I could read a different Beauty and the Beast story (my favorite trope) every day for the rest of my life.

My most recent release, The Cyborg’s Secret Baby, plays with a few tropes. Of course, it is a secret baby story (the hero doesn’t know he has become a father). That trope is in the title.

It is also a second chance romance (the hero and heroine have another opportunity to make their relationship work). They are fated to mate (cyborgs are genetically compatible with only one being). There’s a bit of a love triangle (an alternate possible love interest). Their love is forbidden at the beginning of the story. I’m certain there are other tropes I’m forgetting.

(grins) Clearly, I enjoy tropes. The challenge of bringing a different angle to a heavily used plot device thrills me. It is fun to surprise a reader while still adhering to the expectations of the trope.

The Cyborg’s Secret Baby is a secret baby romance unlike anything I’ve ever read. It is a more powerful story because I used this plot device. I can’t imagine telling it any other way.

What are your favorite tropes?

The Cyborg’s Secret Baby

A fierce cyborg warrior and his curvy human female share a no-longer-so-little secret.

Stealth, a K Model cyborg, knows his passion for Zebrina, the commander’s human daughter, is forbidden, yet he can’t resist the curvy female. He craves her touch, cherishes her sounds of pleasure, would do anything to keep her safe.

When he’s faced with the choice of protecting his fragile human or living to see the next sunrise, he chooses her, always her, sending Zebrina halfway across the universe to safety. He doesn’t realize their stolen moments had consequences neither of them believed possible.

After hearing her warrior died in battle, Zebrina focuses on the last gift he gave her. Doing what is right for their child is her sole priority. She will put their son’s happiness first, even if that means choosing another male over the love of her life.

The Cyborg’s Secret Baby is a STAND-ALONE story loosely connected to the Cyborg Sizzle series. It is also a Second Chance Cyborg SciFi Romance set in a dark, gritty, often-violent universe. This is available now via:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Cyborgs-Secret-Baby-Stars-ebook/dp/B07F2NK6D4

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cyborgs-Secret-Baby-Stars-ebook/dp/B07F2NK6D4

Apple/iTunes : https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-cyborgs-secret-baby/id1404800721

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-cyborgs-secret-baby-cynthia-sax/1128976169

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-cyborg-s-secret-baby

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/870968

About Cynthia Sax

USA Today bestselling author Cynthia Sax writes SciFi, contemporary and paranormal erotic romances. Her stories have been featured in Star Magazine, Real Time With Bill Maher, and numerous best of erotic romance top ten lists.

Sign up for her dirty-joke-filled release day newsletter and visit her on the web at www.CynthiaSax.com

Website: http://cynthiasax.com/

Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Facebook: facebook.com/cynthia.sax

Twitter: @CynthiaSax

Blog: http://tasteofcyn.com/

KG Strutts Birthday Sale!

Today, KG Strutts returns as a Guest to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl with an exciting announcement! Take it away KG!

Hi, Patty! Thanks for having me this week.

I am celebrating my 36th birthday this week and to celebrate, I am putting all eight of my sci-fi romance books on sale for $.99 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble! Find your new sci-fi addiction with the Mirror trilogy or Amethyst Chronicles.

Mirror Trilogy

1st book in the YA trilogy. Madison Mackenzie Rhodes has a comfortable life with a daily routine. When her life is disrupted by an unexpected stranger, she learns there is nothing typical. Her entire world is turned upside down when she finds out that she is a clone, created to hide the secret that we are not alone in this galaxy. Her counterpart, going by the nickname Mack, works for the Intergalactic Security Commission, which works with a coalition of other planets that protect each other and create technology. As if that wasn’t enough, she can’t stop thinking about John Brooks, one of Mack’s teammates. When an enemy rises from within the ISC that targets both Maddie and Mack, they must work together to save their lives as well as the planet.

With everything changing, and now with her heart involved, saving the world might be the easiest part of it all.

Get it at Amazon or download for free at Barnes and Noble. Please let Amazon know Barnes and Noble has it for free!

2nd book in the series. It’s been two years since Maddie discovered the truth of her origins. No longer living the ‘comfortable life’ she has become a valued member of the Intergalactic Security Commission surpassing all expectations. Life isn’t easy as the ISC struggles under new leadership. Adding to the adjustment, the new leadership uncovers details that shake Mack and Maddie to their core.

Amid the chaos of what has become, Mack, Maddie and their team are sent off world on a mission that eventually fails, as they narrowly escape with their lives. En route to home their most trusted ally, the Isgurd, delivers more bad news. The team is left with the knowledge that the ISC never existed and the option to repair damage done by the time altering Synth.

Returning to 1965 is the easiest decision they face.

Get it at Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.

Final book in the trilogy! The ISC’s most dangerous foe, the Synth, is threatening Earth.

Mack, Maddie, and their team scramble to come up with a plan to defeat them once and for all. As the planet’s safety is in jeopardy, the team will have to put it all on the line, or give their lives in the process.

When the dust settles the world will stand together in support of those who are lost.

Find it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Learn about how it all started with the A Mirrors Beginning short story series. Book one, John Brooks, and book two, Seth and Logan Brooks. Coming soon: Jackson Gray!

Amethyst Chronicles

Book one in this NA series! Amethyst is a secret team of genetically enhanced humans which is Earth’s greatest defensive weapon. Leading the team of super soldiers is Ember Wilson, a tough woman with a huge chip on her shoulder. The team gets their name from the after effect of the Genesis Project which turned their eyes and even their blood purple.

For decades, Earth has been ravaged by unpredictable weather which began to cause crops to fail. Most of the planet’s food sources have deteriorated. Dr. Clayton Rudo has proclaimed he has the means to save the soil. He has created a weather machine to regulate and help replenish. But Ember knew the truth. He didn’t want to save the planet. He wanted to control it. Amethyst destroyed the machine, but was placed in stasis. Two years later, Rudo recreated the device and has frozen Washington, DC and the west coast of the United States.

General Tom Blanchard brought Amethyst out of stasis to work with an elite Air Force team, led by Major Liam Ross. Tensions between Ember and Liam rise as they butt heads. Can they work together before Earth is completely under ice?

Get it on Amazon or download for free at Barnes and Noble. Please let Amazon know BN has it for free!

Book Two: Ember lost it all when she lost Amethyst.

Now, as she recovers physically she must come to terms with her new reality. The struggle to find herself again will push those who care the most away even the men who love her.

In time, an opportunity to recreate her transformation presents itself. Will she risk herself to find what she had? Is it worth her team? Her heart?…

Find it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Recently released third book in this series! An accident sent Ember Wilson one thousand years into the past!

Amethyst was on a mission to recover a time travel device when it accidentally turned on and sent Ember back to the year 2017. She comes face-to-face with the ISC legends who shaped the future: Dr. Maddie Brooks, Dr. Mack Rhodes, and their families. Ember was expecting to lay low and get to know the men and women she has idolized since she was a child. However, destiny has other plans. While trying to figure out how to get Ember home, the team learn she is the only one who can protect a heavily pregnant Maddie from a threat. Shawn Silvers, the leader of Caeruleus team from Ember’s time has also traveled with plans on changing the future.

For so long, she has kept her heart out of her missions, except this time it might not be possible. The more time Ember spends with the legendary group, the more she feels connected with them. Especially with Logan Brooks, the handsome, enigmatic warrior who is as fascinated with her as she is with him. Her new goal is clear: protect Maddie from Silvers and return to 3018. However, how much of her heart is she willing to leave behind when she goes home, if she returns at all?

Get it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble!

All eight books will be $.99 for ONE WEEK ONLY! Love among the stars was never as exciting.

About the author: Growing up in Texas and later South Carolina as the youngest in a house full of science-fiction fans, KG Stutts had her natural curiosity and imagination nurtured since birth by family movie nights where they would watch Star Wars, Indiana Jones and even timeless Disney favorites. A prolific writer of sci-fi, romance and mystery, KG draws much of her inspiration from those amazing works that gave her an appreciation for telling rich, compelling, character-driven stories for all audiences. Find her on her blog at kgstutts.blogspot.com or on her website at kgstutts.webs.com Connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter!

Guest Post: MATEER A BADARI WARRIORS SCIFI ROMANCE NOVEL

The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Veronica Scott as a guest blogger to talk about her new book, Mateer.

Take it away Veronica!

MATEER (A BADARI WARRIORS SCIFI ROMANCE NOVEL): SECTORS NEW ALLIES SERIES BOOK 2 By Veronica Scott

Thanks for having me as a guest again so I could check in and report the progress on my new series. As I talked about last time, writing an actual, sequential series with an overarching plot arc was new for me, versus doing standalone scifi romances set in the same universe.

Mateer is the second book of the series and focuses on the first ranked enforcer or lieutenant of the Alpha Aydarr, whose story took front and center in the first book. Now Mateer is trying to figure out what it means to be a free man (although still subject to Pack rules of course) and also grappling with confusion over the whole idea of finding a mate. He knows he longs to find the one woman meant for him – he likes what he sees going on between Aydarr and Jill – but he’s not too sure how to go about it. There are only a few human women in their sanctuary valley as yet and none of them inspire the feelings he believes he ought to feel. Nor are any of them drawn to him as more than a friend. And then he gets captured by the Khagrish scientists again…

I enjoyed working with these concepts, while advancing the big plot arc addressing how and when the humans and the Badari might rid the planet of the enemy and win true freedom. Can they ever figure out a way to call in the Sectors authorities to assist? Will the colonists ever get home? I do have it mapped out in my head in broad terms and of course each book has an HEA ending as we go. No cliffhangers.

I’m working on book three, Darik, now and this one will solve one major problem that the Badari and the colonists have been facing. But no spoilers! I’m hoping to get Darik out in early April. In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from Mateer!

Setting…The alien scientists have put the humans and Mateer into a large, outdoor Preserve temporarily, for their own reasons, having to do with Mateer and Megan.

The sky gradually clouded over as the day wore on, and then the first fat drops pelted down.

Mateer appeared out of nowhere and jogged the length of the column, giving encouragement. “Not too far now, the rain will increase intensity gradually, but there’s no time to waste.” He made sure to speak to each individual then he came to her. Again Megan had the flutter of nerves in her gut, eagerness to talk with him, coupled with the bitter knowledge of Lampergg’s plot. And how complicit in this idea is Mateer? After all, he didn’t have to tell her about the scheme. Surely if he expected to benefit from it in some way—easier treatment for himself, other rewards—he’d have kept the theory to himself.

He leaned close to her. “We have to move faster. I’m going to get you to safety then return to assist the others as best I can.”

Before she could say anything, he’d whisked her off her feet and was sprinting ahead of the column, carrying her as easily as if she were a feather.

“Put me down,” she said, giving his chest a shove. Her palm ached as if she’d slapped a stone wall. Mateer was warm, hard muscle everywhere. “This is embarrassing. Grown women don’t get picked up without their permission and carried off in real life. People will want to know why you did this.”

He didn’t slacken his pace or agree to her demand, only held her tighter. “Why do you care what others think? This is between you and me. My highest priority, according to my alpha and his mate, is to ensure your safety. No one here has authority to overrule those orders. None has authority over you—I know humans don’t live in a pack structure. Time is of the essence for getting you into a secure shelter. The storm may become more violent without warning. It’s been known to happen, including swirling high winds sweeping even the most massive trees out of the ground before them.”

“That’s not what you told Harker and Walt.” She closed her eyes and gasped as he leaped across a crevasse and kept going. “Did you lie to them?”

“I don’t owe the full truth to anyone outside my pack and allies with whom we have a treaty. Your group has yet to earn the Badari trust.”

“Some code of ethics you’ve got there.”

“You have no idea what the Badari endured at the hands of the Khagrish. We have our pack rules for a reason.” His voice was steel but matter of fact. “And I’m obeying specific orders to keep you safe. Your sister is a soldier so you ought to understand the situation.

She could see his jaw was clenched and decided not to push the topic further. Besides, the rain was indeed coming down harder, and she clung to him as closely as she could. “You will go and help the others though, won’t you? A few of them are still sick from the stasis syndrome and I’m their only doctor. I never would have left them, given the choice.”

While not giving an inch or apologizing, Megan was relieved to hear Mateer show concern for the others in his next remark. “It’s my responsibility to protect those weaker than the Badari, after I’ve carried out my orders relating to you.”

A few minutes later, they arrived at a towering rock formation jutting incongruously from the grasslands. Megan thought she’d have known it was artificial even if Mateer hadn’t told her the Khagrish built it. Taking care not to bump her head or elbows on the rocks, Mateer ducked into the entrance of a cave. A fire was already blazing in a fire pit in the center of the large room and, as soon as he set her on her own feet, she instinctively drew closer to the warmth and light.

Intending to thank Mateer, she swallowed hard and forgot what she’d planned to say as she observed the way his soaked jumpsuit was plastered to his body, outlining all those muscles and his generous endowments clearly. Megan realized she must be in a similar state, if a bit drier since he’d shielded her. Closing her eyes for a second, she asked, “Will you guide the others to safety here now?”

“Yes.” He hesitated. “You’ll be safe from the storm, and no predators will be out in this weather. I’ll only be gone as long as it takes to escort your friends here.”

“I understand. Go ahead, do what you need to do to help my people.”

Megan Garrison, a doctor at the Sectors Amarcae 7 colony, goes to sleep one night as usual only to wake up in her nightgown, strapped to a table in an alien lab, destined to be the subject of terrifying experiments. Granted a brief reprieve, Megan and the other kidnapped humans are released in the middle of a forestlike enclosure on this unknown world and told to survive as best they can for now.

Her only hope is Mateer, the genetically engineered alien warrior imprisoned with the humans. He knows more than he’s sharing about this planet, their captors and the fate of other humans, including perhaps her own sisters. Turns out everyone from her colony has been kidnapped by the Khagrish, a ruthless race of alien scientists. Working for enemies of the human-led Sectors, the Khagrish have created the Badari to be super soldiers.

Mateer, a tough Badari enforcer, now a rebel, is captured while infiltrating the lab to help his pack bring it down. He’s also been ordered by his leaders to search for Megan and save her life at all costs. Tortured by the enemy, he’s offered one chance at survival – convince Megan to become his mate and assist the Khagrish with further experiments.

As the situation at the lab grows worse, Megan struggles against her deep attraction to Mateer, while she does her best to shield the other humans from the terrible Khagrish experiments. For his part, Mateer knows she really is his fated mate and despairs of being able to keep her safe, as the rebel attack is delayed and she fights the truth of their bond.

Will they be able to work together to defeat Khagrish plans and preserve human lives until the promised rescue happens? And what of their future together – will Megan accept Mateer as her true mate, or walk away if she’s freed?

Mateer is available via Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, B&N

Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Three time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”

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

Guest Post: The challenges of a “cloning” a character in science fiction romance

The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes USA Today Bestselling author Cara Bristol as a guest blogger to talk about her new book, Hunted by the Cyborg.

Take it away Cara!

The challenges of a “cloning” a character in science fiction romance by Cara Bristol

Until now, I’ve pretty much stuck to human, alien, and cyborg main characters.

Aliens and cyborgs (humans with computer and/or mechanical parts) are versatile characters. Any role a human plays, an alien or a cyborg can play. The alien or cyborg can have a backstory or it can just be.

Clones?

Their existence raises questions. Why was the clone created? Who created the clone? What happened to the original “parent?” Because of this, using a clone as a main character affects the plot of the story.
I knew fans of the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series had high expectations for Hunted by the Cyborg (book 6). This was Carter’s story. The director of Cyber Operations, a secret cyborg force, he’d been a secondary character in the previous five books. He had to have a special heroine.

I chose to make her a clone. The challenge was to give her a backstory that fit the plot, yet make her real, make her as human as any other human. I tried to create a woman who was vulnerable, but also resilient and independent. I didn’t want readers to see her as an “other.”

Beth, who begins life as an unwanted copy, strives to find her uniqueness. Here’s what readers have said about Beth:

“I enjoyed seeing Beth find her true self and live a life that she deserves.”
“Beth is such a strong character, even when she’s knocked down she always keeps trying,”
“Beth was a wonderful character. Innocent in a lot a ways, but also smart, strong and full of life.
“I fell in love with this character. Beth was given a raw deal. But even after all that she had been through she is a strong woman who knows that life needs to be lived to the fullest!”
“Beth also met all my expectations of a leading lady. She was smart, courageous and could match wits with Carter. No damsel in distress here. I loved that about her.”

Excerpt from Hunted by the Cyborg

Carter halted inside the crowded cafeteria. Aym-Sec employees gathered at their usual tables, eating and chatting the way they always did, but his cyber operatives faced away from the forward left corner of the room. They stared at the wall while gulping their chow.
He pivoted in the direction they seemed to be avoiding.
Holy bejeezus!
In the corner, sat a naked Beth, eating breakfast.
Technically not unclothed, she’d donned her Shuttleport Authority travel suit. To an operative with cybervision, the see-through SA unitard provided little more covering than transparent polymer sheeting.
A heated rush of hormones shot straight to his groin as he rushed across the room, tearing off his shirt.
“Put this on.” He didn’t wait for her response but tugged the garment over her head. The image of two perfect dusky-tipped breasts burned into his brain.
“What are you doing? Stop it!” She squirmed like a toddler as he tried to dress her, but he got her head through the neck opening.
“Put your arms through the holes,” he ordered.
“What—why are you doing this?”
“Put it on. I’ll explain in a minute.” What his actual words would be, he didn’t know. She stopped resisting and slipped on the shirt. He grabbed her arm. “Come on, we have to leave.”
Hunted by the Cyborg blurb
Billionaire Carter Aymes, director of Cyber Operations, a covert cyborg force, devotes his wealth and time to saving lives, rescuing hostages and other victims from desperate situations. His ultimate mission is to hunt down and eliminate Lamani, the alien terrorist mastermind, before he conquers the galaxy.
When Carter hires Beth O’Shea, a vulnerable yet courageous woman with connections to his past, their attraction is immediate and strong, but he knows getting involved with her is a bad idea. He’s her boss, and he has way too many classified projects to risk letting someone get close.
Rejected by the progenitors who cloned her, Beth is determined to live a normal human life, beginning by getting an ordinary job with a security firm. But, from the start, she questions the extraordinary secrecy surrounding the organization. She can’t help but wonder about the tall, muscled, larger-than-life director who gave her a chance when she desperately needed one. Could he ever be romantically interested in a woman like her, in a clone?
When Beth is attacked, they both realize how short and tenuous life is, and their mutual attraction becomes too powerful to resist.
As their relationship heats up, so does the urgency to capture Lamani before he can unleash a stealth weapon at a critical planetary Summit meeting. With time running out, Carter discovers that stopping Lamani may require sacrificing Beth’s life.

Will Carter be able to rescue her, or will his new love be the one person he can’t save?

Hunted By The Cyborg is available via Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, & GooglePlay!


About Cara Bristol
USA Today Bestselling Author Cara Bristol writes character driven science fiction romance with humor, heart, and heat. She loves introducing new readers to science fiction romance, and likes to say she writes sci-fi for readers who don’t like sci-fi. She has three science fiction romance series: the action-packed Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance cyborg series; the dark, intense Breeder series; and the new light and funny Alien Mate series. When she’s not writing (ha ha ha – she’s almost always writing) she enjoys traveling to exotic destinations and chillaxin’ with her favorite reality TV shows. Cara lives in Missouri with her own alpha hero, her husband. You can interact with her via the following:

Cara’s Website: http://carabristol.com/
Reader Newsletter: http://carabristol.com/get-your-free-book/
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cara-bristol
Chat with Cara Reader Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1761424733891183/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cara-Bristol-Romance-178661122147994/
Twitter: @CaraBristol https://twitter.com/CaraBristol
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcarabristol

Guest Post: Where Alien Bonds Came From

The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Carmen Webster Buxton as a guest blogger to talk about her new book, Alien Bonds.

Take it away Carmen!

Where Alien Bonds Came From by Carmen Webster Buxton

Well, it came out of my head, of course, like all my books. But this story took root in my mind years ago, when, after 28 years, my parents got divorced. When they got married, divorce was not common, but by the time my dad left my mom, it was more accepted. It started me thinking about what life would be like in a culture where marriage was immutable, where there was no option for ending a marriage. But of course, we had that for long periods of human history, so I took it one step further: What if there was no way to make yourself want to leave someone, even if life with them was a misery? To get to that point, I needed to change biology, so I came up with an alien world called Wakanreo. And then I found myself thinking, what if a human woman found herself in tied in that same way? What if, without warning, she found herself undergoing the same reactions that the aliens experienced? This meant Wakanreans had to be similar enough to allow some intimate interspecies interaction, but not so humanoid that they didn’t feel alien.

The cultures on Wakanreo are somewhat more homogenous than here on our world, because pheromones control when mating happens. Society and personal preferences don’t determine whether your mate is the opposite sex or the same sex, whether you have one mate or two, or even if you have a mate at all. Biology is in charge.

I got very immersed in this world while writing this book, and I’m hoping readers get the same sense of fascination while reading it. I’m hard at work on book 2 of the trilogy, so I’m still very much wrapped up in all things Wakanreo. It’s an interesting place to visit.

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Alien Bonds is available via Amazon: Kindle version or Trade paperback

As a special treat here is an excerpt from Chapter One of Alien Bonds:

“That’s one of her local stars she’s sucking up to,” Erik went on. “That one is a singer, I think. God, I hope she doesn’t ask him to sing. Wakanrean music sounds like someone torturing small animals.”
“Really?” Was it just her, or was Erik rather wearing?
“I think the two in blue are wrestlers. That’s one thing I’ll give the Wakanreans. Their wrestling is superb entertainment.”
“That’s what Jared said.”
Dina had the satisfaction of seeing her date look dumbfounded. “Jared Harlingen? You know Jared?”
“Only slightly. Actually, I was wondering if he was invited tonight.”
Erik let out a breath of explosive displeasure. “Not bloody likely. The Ambassador can’t stand him.”
“He said that,” Dina said, wondering if she was being indiscreet.
“You seem pretty chummy with Jared.”
It wasn’t said as a question, but Dina detected a speculative note in Erik’s voice. “Is that bad? Is there something wrong with Jared Harlingen?”
“Nothing except he’s always beating my time.” He put down his glass and turned to face her. “Arliana said I should wait until later to ask you, but what the heck—Do you want to go to my place for a more intimate get together? I’ve got better food and booze than the Ambassador is providing, and I’m sure the two of us could have more fun alone.”
Dina felt her face flush red. She hated that she couldn’t control her tendency to blush. Ever since she had left the comfortable familiarity of her native world, she had found herself in such situations. No longer shocked, she still couldn’t stop herself from reacting as a Fantaran.
“I’m sorry.” She fought to keep disapproval out of her voice. “I have to be at work very early tomorrow morning.”
Erik’s eyes opened wide. “Oh, come on! You can’t possibly be offended. Arliana said you were married on Croyzan.”
Her mortification faded, and annoyance replaced it. “I fail to see that my life or my reactions are any business of yours.”
Erik’s jaw went slack. “What?”
Dina put her glass down on a nearby table. “It seems Arliana miscalculated in thinking we would hit it off. I think I’d better go.”
He blinked. “What century do you all live in back on Fantar? Arliana isn’t a prude about sex. How was I to know you are?”
Annoyance morphed into anger. She was trying not to judge him, but he had no qualms about judging her. “Well, it looks like Arliana’s miscalculation is now a certainty. Will you say good night to her for me?”
“You’re really leaving?”
“Certainly.” She nodded instead of offering her hand. “Have a pleasant evening. Although if that takes finding a woman who’s liberal-minded enough to go home with you after two minutes of conversation, I have my doubts. Good night.”
She turned on her heel and stalked off, not looking back until she was almost to the stairs.
By then all she could see of Erik was his retreating back. Dina felt a qualm of remorse. Obviously, his idea of polite behavior would never be acceptable on Fantar, but did she have any right to apply Fantaran standards here on Wakanreo? In any event, she had to explain her premature departure to Arliana.
She turned to survey the crowd again, looking for any sign of iridescent blue and silver. She didn’t see Arliana, but she noticed the silver-headed Wakanrean had left the Ambassador’s circle and was standing by himself in the middle of the room.
Dina wasn’t sure, but she thought he was staring at her. She took a few steps toward the stairs, and his eyes followed her so closely there was no doubt that she was the object of his scrutiny.
No, his animosity. He looked angry—furious, in fact. She had never seen a Wakanrean show so much emotion. His eyes gleamed with rage, and his nostrils flared wide. She took another step toward the stairs, and the Wakanrean began to walk rapidly toward her.
Dina fought panic. What could she have done to make him so angry? She hadn’t come close enough to any Wakanreans to offend anyone. She clasped her hands together to reassure herself that her gloves were on.
The silver-haired Wakanrean came closer still. Under his cape he wore a long, blue robe instead of the trousers and loose, tunic-style shirt favored by Wakanreans of both sexes. He was very close now. His golden facial and body fur combined with the creamy white of his crest reminded her of some Terran animal, but she couldn’t remember which one. Other than the dark blue trim on his robe and the diamond-shaped pattern that decorated his sandals, his only adornment was a piece of silver jewelry fastened at the base of his throat; she couldn’t tell if it was pinned to his robe or his chest fur.
Dina could feel herself breathing faster, her heart pounding hard. She should walk away. Why couldn’t she move her feet? She stood waiting by the mezzanine railing, as still as if she had taken root in the floor.
The Wakanrean stood in front of her. He glared down at her, his face contorted into a scowl, his amber eyes glowing with contempt.
“I beg your pardon.” Dina tried to keep the quaver out of her voice. “Do I know you?”
He was so close, she could feel the heat from his body. Either that, or the room had gotten suddenly warmer. Dina felt herself flush from head to foot.
He didn’t answer, but all at once it was as if his anger was a physical thing, an invisible mass, pushing against her. She stepped backward, stumbled, and almost fell.
She reached for the mezzanine railing behind her, and in the same instant, the Wakanrean grabbed her arm.
Dina froze, utterly baffled. The orientation had said clearly that Wakanreans would always avoid touching a Terran, and yet here was one not only touching her, but holding her firmly by the arm and helping her to stand.
The orientation had also failed to warn her that a Wakanrean’s touch was so warm it almost burned. Dina could feel a flush of heat on her arm where his hand still gripped it. She stood straighter and looked into his face. He had typical Wakanrean features—an arched nose, large round eyes, a wide mouth.
His expression changed as she watched. His anger faded to confusion. He looked almost stunned. His nostrils still flared, but from the way his eyes had opened wide, Dina knew he was surprised rather than angry.
Neither of them had taken a step since he took hold of her arm. Dina swallowed once, conscious of discreet glances and overt stares from those around them.
“I’m all right,” she said finally, wondering if she was speaking the truth. The dizziness had passed, but she still felt lightheaded. “Thank you, but you can let go now.”
He loosened his grip but didn’t release her for a few seconds. When he did, he brushed her bare arm with the back of his hand. Dina was amazed when it sent shivers of anticipation up her spine.
“This is unexpected.” His wonderfully resonant voice had a rich, warm timbre to it that made Dina’s shivers change from anticipation to yearning.
“Yes,” she said, unsure of what he meant, but afraid to give offense.
“Where do you live?”
“I have an apartment in the off-world sector,” she said, wondering why she was answering him. She fought the urge to close her eyes and just listen to that wonderful voice.
“My house is in the cliffs outside the city. Let’s go there instead.”
“All right.”
It took Dina a moment to realize that she had agreed to go home with him.

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Carmen Webster Buxton author of Novels:The Sixth Discipline, No Safe Haven, Tribes, The Nostalgia Gambit, Shades of Empire, King of Trees, Saronna’s Gift, Turnabout, Alien Bonds and Novella: Where Magic Rules

Connect with Carmen via:

AYDARR Guest Post by Veronica Scott

The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Veronica Scott as a guest blogger to talk about her new book, Aydarr.

Take it away Veronica!
AYDARR (A BADARI WARRIORS SCIFI ROMANCE NOVEL): SECTORS NEW ALLIES SERIES BOOK 1 By Veronica Scott

Thanks Patty for having me as a guest so early in the New Year and giving me a chance to talk about my new venture into writing an actual series!

In mid-2017, I decided I really needed to try my hand at a series with an overarching plot arc that had to be resolved over the course of the books, versus ‘just’ telling standalone stories set in my interstellar Sectors civilization. The Sectors novels all fit within the same world building but I’m not really trying to resolve the bigger intergalactic issues in each book. There I’m focusing on one hero and heroine and their unique challenges wherever they may be. (I’ll still be writing Sectors novels too though because I have so many stories to tell.)

So then I had to ponder what might make an interesting series for the readers and I know I’ve always been fascinated by genetically engineered warriors, like Lora Leigh’s Breeds or Laurann Dohner’s New Species. I can never get enough of those books! I started thinking what if the alien enemies of the Sectors had created a race of such soldiers, who I named the Badari– how would these warriors gain their freedom? And to up the stakes, what if these mad alien scientists also kidnapped an entire Sectors colony of humans to experiment on as well?

Oh so many plot ideas came to me (always a good sign for an author)! And I could pretty easily see a 3 to 5 book plot arc involving the human colonists and their natural desire to escape and get back to the Sectors, while partnering with the Badari to take down their mutual captors. I can also see associated, standalone books later, if the readers want to have more Badari adventures. I had so much fun writing this first book, Aydarr, and the reader response has been very gratifying. I have the second book, Mateer, at the editor now and I’ve just started working on book three, which – breaking news – is entitled Darik.

As a special treat, below is an Excerpt from Ayadarr

Setting: Jill has just awakened and is trying to find shelter from the storm:

The ground gave way under her feet. She teetered on the edge of the sinkhole or pit, but her precarious state of vertigo betrayed her. Screaming, she half slid, half fell into the deep hole, debris raining down with her.
Scrabbling at roots embedded in the wall as she fell, the flimsy vegetation snapping off in her hands, Jill managed to partially break her fall. Landing in a substantial mud puddle, she rose to her feet, staring upward, realizing there was no easy way to climb from the pit. At least the rain was tapering off.
A rumbling sound like an engine behind her made her pivot, to find two huge, faceted glowing eyes staring at her from a tunnel opening into the hole. A giant body lurked in the gloom. The creature blinked and emitted the sound again. Jill retreated one step at a time to the opposite wall of the pit and snatched a loose rock from the small debris pile at her feet. Whitened bones were mixed in with the rocks on the pit floor next to the rainwater puddle. She shuddered and gripped her rock hard enough to make her hand sting.
The creature watched her and moved forward a bit from the tunnel, the front segment of its body sinking onto the ground, while the rest remained in the tunnel. The segmented body expanded like a child’s toy as the predator closed the space between them. Opening an outsize mouth, revealing a yellow, forked tongue, the animal hissed and reared as if preparing to charge at her.
Jill shouted defiance in a combination of rage and fear, and threw the rock hard, striking one glowing eye in the center, shattering the facets. She dodged as the predator made a high pitched sound like an exploding generator and lunged toward where she’d been. As she scrambled in the slick muddy water at the bottom of the trap, she searched for another rock, finding only small ones. She gathered a handful of them as better than nothing and spun around as the half-blind animal tried to locate her.
With a hoarse yell, a man jumped into the pit from above and landed between her and the predator. He didn’t seem to have a weapon but, as the lightning flashed, briefly illuminating the scene in stark white light, Jill gaped. Were those talons? He glanced over his shoulder at her briefly as if to see how she was doing then made a dash at the animal, slashing its neck before dancing away.
Jill moved along the pit wall as the man and the beast fought. Mud dripped from the sloping side of the hole. Resting her palm on the damp dirt, she felt vibrations. There’s another one tunneling towards us. No matter how brave and strong this guy was, he couldn’t defeat two of the animals. Frantically, she searched for more rocks, trying to pry a likely candidate out of the wall with her fingernails. I have to help.
“Incoming! There’s another one about to pop out of the wall,” she yelled. Hefting the rock she’d dug from the muck, she took a few steps forward, waited for the right moment and threw the stone at the first beast’s remaining eye, striking a glancing blow on the brow ridge above the glowing orb. The warrior took advantage of the animal’s distraction to open more gaping wounds along its upper body with the lethal claws he bore.
Something in the rapidly rising water brushed against her leg. She jumped sideways, but not fast enough. As the unseen predator made a stinging bite on her calf, Jill nearly toppled over. Unable to see below the surface of the roiling water, she hurled her handful of rocks a foot or so away from her body, hoping to drive away this new menace.
Before she could find more rocks to use as weapons, another man lowered himself into the pit on a rope, reaching for her and speaking urgently in Basic as he gestured. “He can’t fight them off forever – we need to get out of here. More beasts will arrive soon, attracted by the vibrations signaling prey.”
Figuring whatever might happen later, getting out of the trap was the best plan in the short term, she stepped closer. The newcomer grabbed her by the waist, and unseen comrades above hauled the two of them out of the hole at a surprising speed. Her second rescuer handed her off to another man and hastened back into the pit.
She sank to the wet grass, shaking in reaction and feeling the pain now from her cut foot, the mysterious bite, and the effects of the fall. With a fresh rush of fear, she glanced at the strange men surrounding her. Most were ignoring her, facing away as if watching for an attack, although all of them were oddly weaponless. She’d expected to see spears and knives at least. Then again…Had the one who’d jumped into the pit really had claws?
One man stood next to her, as if appointed as her personal guard.
A final animalistic shriek rose from the depths of the pit then the two individuals who’d come to her rescue climbed out.
The one who’d jumped in to help her first came to her side, picking her up without a word and took off to the south at a dead run, the others following them.
“Nice shot with that rock, by the way,” her captor said.

Ayadarr is available at: Amazon | B&N | Google | Kobo | iBooks
Jill Garrison, a maintenance tech at the Sectors Amarcae 7 colony, goes to sleep one night as usual only to wake up in her nightgown stranded in the middle of a forest on an unknown world. There’s no time to think as she’s stalked by carnivorous predators and rescued by genetically engineered warriors calling themselves the Badari. Turns out they and she, along with her whole colony, are now prisoners of the Khagrish, a ruthless race of alien scientists. Working for enemies of the Sectors, the Khagrish have created the Badari to be super soldiers.
Aydarr, the Badari alpha, isn’t sure he can trust Jill but his attraction to her is undeniable. He impulsively claims her as his mate to prevent her death at the hands of the Khagrish.
Can he continue to protect her from the experiments already underway? Will his claiming her put his pack in jeopardy from their alien masters?
As Jill searches for a way to rescue her fellow humans and get them all to safety, she finds herself falling for Aydarr, despite the secrets he’s keeping. She has a few of her own.
The situation becomes dire when Aydarr and his pack are sent offplanet on a mission, leaving Jill unprotected, prey for the senior scientist. Can she escape the experiments he has in mind for her? Will she be able to thwart the Khagrish plans and liberate humans and Badari alike? How will she and Aydarr reunite?

Author Veronica Scott

Author Veronica Scott

Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Three time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”

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

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