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 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 is proud to present this excerpt from Scandal: Scions of the Star Empire Book 1 by Athena GraysonIone wrapped her fingers around the delicate glass of champ-ale. Pairing up with Den was a practical move for them both. Their families moved in the same social circle and they spent enough time in each other’s company that a pair-up was a foregone conclusion. The only variable was the timing.
A week ago, she wouldn’t have even questioned Den’s declaration. She’d have responded in kind, pressed her body against his in a move carefully calculated to both keep his interest from waning and feed the mills of the gossip streams.
But everything seemed different now. Emptier. Landfall’s soaring strato-scrapers, the massive arcologies that housed the entire world in which she moved, once felt as if they were the universe itself. At least, the parts of it that mattered. The movers and shakers and power-brokers of the settled star system either curried her favor as daughter of the ruler, or jockeyed for position among themselves.
Alliances and feuds, fueled by the engines of Social Capital, influenced negotiations that turned on a social snub or a carefully-timed acknowledgment. Behind it all was the Probabilities Index—the information market that determined the likelihood of potential outcomes that drove the engines of the economy. What used to be the Grand Game had become no game at all. And it was all because of Denaat.
Between one calculated moment and the next, she’d slipped. Suddenly gone weak-kneed and wobbly when his eyes turned smoky and he noticed her as a woman. Some small, winged part of her no longer saw the dome above as protection from the atmosphere, or the floors below, sealed off from the rest of the arcology, as a secluded garden. A part which lost its wings every time his gaze went cool and reminded her that it was indeed a grand game they played.
Den’s hands rested on her shoulders. His touch was light and as carefree as his voice. “All I’m hoping for is a little breathing room.” He leaned in to whisper close to her ear. “Maybe a little sweetness from my favorite princess?”
He wasn’t fooling her, even if his breath tickled her bare skin. And she wasn’t fooling herself. His hands glided down to her back where his warmth was drained away by the cold hardness of the crystals of her dress. His forehead touched hers, and to an outsider, they appeared to be sharing a moment of affection.
Shielded by the gemstones, something in her chest fluttered. That part of her was liable to land her in a choke-chain of an alliance for the rest of her life if she let it take control. Instead of hard crystal, she felt thinner than the threads weaving them together. So she squashed it ruthlessly, and stepped into the circle of his arms to meet his mouth for a kiss that promised, teased, and couldn’t deliver.
And if the warmth of his body made hers a little malleable and tingly, the solid core of her made sure to shift her body so their activities could be observed by the eyes that rested above the mouths that would report to the right ears.
Den’s grip tightened, pressing the gem-encrusted fabric into her skin, but she remained protected from the points of the gems. The carbon-silk threads were indeed as thin as thought. But strong enough to do what they were designed to do—hold it together.
Athena Grayson writes romantic fiction ranging from sci-fi romance to magical realism and contemporary fantasy. She loves to write characters who are more than they seem, and loves to play with beloved genre tropes in engaging and unique ways. She adores smart, sexy, beta heroes, and savvy heroines who aren’t afraid to demand–and get!–the best from their relationships. Find her online at athenagrayson.com, or get a free book from her private readers’ group at http://readers.athenagrayson.com/huntressOn the surface, princess Ione Ra and her friends seem to have it all. Money, power, fame. Fortunes are won and lost based on their every whim. But the fortunes are not theirs to lose. The sons and daughters of the most powerful families on Landfall have nothing but their reputations to call their own.
When the right scandal at the wrong time threatens to knock Princess Ione’s reputation into the trash can, damage control sends her after notorious gossip journalist Jaris Pulne, a thorn in her side since age twelve. For Denaat Hades, caught up in the scandal with Ione, notoriety is what he desperately needs to emerge from his father’s long shadow, but fame could expose secrets that could get him killed.
But what starts as a social scandal soon reveals that there is more at stake than her reputation. When her scandal runs afoul of the secrets of the most powerful cabal on Landfall, even her crown can’t protect her from the consequences.
Scions will be out in early 2017.