Monday, March 31, 2014

Meet the #Author - Anna Hackett

Please tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m Anna Hackett and I write action romance stories to thrill, excite and hopefully leave my readers inspired. I write about people overcoming unbeatable odds and achieving seemingly impossible goals to inspire you with the truth that the possibility exists for all of us to do the same.

I blame my parents for my insatiable need to mix action and romance. When I was young, I raided my mother’s romances and as soon as I could reach the shelf, my father’s action adventure thrillers. I love being exhilarated and left just a little breathless. I love car chases, explosions and spaceships…and of course when the boy wins the girl. Oh, and I’m a sucker for that moment when the team is walking in slow motion, shoulder-to-shoulder heading off into battle. I’ve been a sci-fi fan as long as I can remember: Star Wars, Star Trek, BSG, you name it.

I grew up in Australia—running around in the sunny weather and turning my mother’s outdoor furniture into spaceships. As a mining engineer, I’ve traveled the world from icy, subarctic Northern Canada to the heat of Southern Africa. On a work trip a few years ago, I ran out of books to read in the evenings (this was before the days of my beloved Kindle) and I decided I’d have to try writing my own. A passion was born.

I’ve been living in Africa for the last year—yet another adventure—but my hubby, son and I are now headed back to sunny Australia. Oh, and by the time this hits the SFR Brigade blog, I’ll have a new little bundle of joy (another son) in my life! 

Tell us about AT STAR’S END:

First off, today is release day for AT STAR’S END! I am super excited.

AT STAR’S END is a non-stop, action-packed adventure across the galaxy. It’s a good old-fashioned treasure hunt tossed a long way into the future.

A rogue treasure hunter and a rule-loving astro-archeologist team up to find the legendary lost colony of Star’s End…reputed to be the resting place of the last surviving fragment of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Needless to say, the route to get there is hardly straight or safe and these two make sparks fly!

This is the first book in my new PHOENIX ADVENTURES series. There’ll be more action-adventure treasure hunts as the hero of AT STAR’S END, Dathan Phoenix, has two brothers in desperate need of their happily-ever-afters.

What inspired you to write this particular story?:

I’m a huge ancient history fan (I’ve visited Egypt twice) and I love reading about the exploits of treasure hunters, explorers and antiquarians of centuries past. Adventures like that aren’t possible anymore…we’ve either discovered it or the law doesn’t allow it. Then I realized I could write my own treasure hunt, set well into the future, with archeologists and treasure hunters searching for the artifacts that remain of our world.

Oh, and of course, I have this burning need to mix action and romance in all my stories. Put that all together and you get AT STAR’S END.

Please share a favourite snippet from your book:

A quick glance and Eos saw four armed men headed for them.
“Time to go.” Dathan gripped her arm. “Stay low.”
They ran along the line of the roof.
“Up there.” He pointed to some sort of tower topped with a small terrace.
She followed and resisted looking down. She wasn’t afraid of heights but she didn’t love them either.
Suddenly there was the loud roar of engines. Dathan’s salvage ship, the Infinitas, hovered above them. The ship’s body was shaped like a scorpion. A large movable tail was a powerful crane and the two large pincer claws at the front were, she guessed, excellent for in-space salvage.
In the angular synth-glass cockpit at the front she could just make out Zayn at the control screen and Niklas’s large frame leaning over him.
A line fell down in front of them. Dathan clipped the end onto a hook on his belt. “You’ll have to wrap yourself around me.”
She didn’t hesitate to wrap her arms around his neck.
“And the legs. Don’t want to lose you on the way up.”
He helped boost her up and she wrapped her legs around his lean waist.
She forgot all about being chased. As the line retracted and they whizzed upward, she stared into his blue-green eyes.
That handsome, battered face was so compelling. So much life. Adrenaline and the flush of success zinged through her veins. It felt good.
He was hot and hard pressed against her in the most intimate way. If she moved her hips, she’d feel the hard ridge of him settle against the space between her legs.
She was attracted to him. To a man she wasn’t sure she even liked. But he was just so alive, leaped into adventure, into life, in a way she never had.
It had to be the adrenaline making her feel like this. Nothing else.
They jerked to a stop. Niklas hauled them aboard the ship. “You two okay?”
She nodded, releasing Dathan and standing on shaky legs.
“There a reason Eos was wrapped around you like a pleasure worker? You could have used the secondary harness I sent down.”
Her gaze dropped to the second harness rigged to the bottom of the line. She smacked Dathan in the stomach. “Idiot.”

Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?:

This is a hard question…I think it’s different for each character but most of the time it’s personality. Take Dathan Phoenix for example – I knew he’d be a rogue, a treasure hunter, a loyal brother, a little wild and daring – his name and looks came after.

Any tips for aspiring authors?:

Write, write, write. Write every day. There’s no magic secret to learning to write or to writing more except to sit down and do it.

Questions for fun:
If you had the power of time travel, is there anything you would go back and change? Why/why not?:
No, I don’t think so. I believe everything happens for a reason and we can learn from everything that happens to us. Besides, I wouldn’t want to mess with the time line and accidently change things I didn’t want changed!

What super-power would you choose?: Teleportation. I have far too many frequent flyer miles and have spent far too many hours on planes (and with a toddler). I’d love to zap myself wherever I needed to go.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be?:
Health, wealth and happiness. No, really. Good health for me, my kids, my family and friends. Wealth from doing the things I love to do and so I have the opportunity to give my children fabulous opportunities and experiences, and to help others. Happiness from seeing all my dreams become reality.

Coffee, tea or wine?:
Oh, a tough choice between my beloved red wine and my tea (Earl Grey, hot). I’ll go with tea.

What is your favourite book? (aside from one of your own!):
I don’t have just one! I do have favorite authors which include Nora Roberts, Nalini Singh, Pamela Clare, Wilbur Smith and Matthew Reilly. That said, I am a HUGE Pride and Prejudice fan.

Favourite genre and why?:

Action romance. I find good action romance spread across paranormal romance, science fiction romance and romantic suspense. But I definitely lean toward paranormal and sci-fi. It’s always fun, thrilling, exciting and leaves me inspired.

Favourite colour?: Red. A nice deep wine-red or blood-red, not red like a tomato!

Upcoming news and plans for the future?:

Book #2 of the PHOENIX ADVENTURES will be coming soon. It’s called IN THE DEVIL’S NEBULA.

The last three short stories in my WINDKEEPERS series will be out after Devil’s Nebula. These are action romance with a paranormal background (based on Roman mythology) and feature some sexy brothers.

And I have a brand new action romance series, TEAM 52, coming in the second half of the year. I am SO excited for these books to hit the virtual shelves.

Oh, and a new baby. That’s some pretty big news (-: <Congrats!!

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!

So much fun to be here! I love the SFR Brigade and its dedication to all things sci-fi romance.


Dr. Eos Rai has spent a lifetime dedicated to her mother’s dream of finding the long lost Mona Lisa. When Eos uncovers tantalizing evidence of Star’s End—the last known location of the masterpiece—she’s shocked when her employer, the Galactic Institute of Historic Preservation, turn its back on her. Left with no choice, Eos must trust the most notorious treasure hunter in the galaxy; a man she finds infuriating, annoying and far too tempting.

Dathan Phoenix can sniff out relics at a stellar mile. With his brothers by his side, he takes the adventures that suit him and refuses to become a lazy, bitter failure like his father. When the gorgeous Eos Rai comes looking to hire him, he knows she’s trouble, but he’s lured into a hunt that turns into a wild and dangerous adventure. As Eos and Dathan are pushed to their limits, they discover treasure isn’t the only thing they’re drawn to…but how will their desire survive when Dathan demands the Mona Lisa as his payment?

Buy Links:

Where readers can find me:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

SFRB Recommends #12: Terms and Conditions Apply #scifi #sfromance #sfr

Terms and Conditions Apply - by Pippa Jay

Venus Ascendant, a Public Grade space station in the Andromedan Galaxy designed to meet your every desire, be they sunlit beaches or dark BDSM dungeons. Innocent Marie finds herself dumped and alone on Venus Ascendant with no credit for a transmat and the next starship home not due for another hour. But the all-seeing AI isn’t going to leave anyone aboard the space station with their dreams unfulfilled. Marie's boyfriend might not have made it to the station, but there are others willing and able to take on the role - even if they aren’t entirely human.

An entertaining read all around. Marie’s transformation was realistic and the story has some interesting twists. I love the way it played out with the leading man. As an added bonus, I didn’t see the ending coming. Love it when that happens.

Available from Smashwords.

This week's recommendation comes from Sabine Priestley.

Author site: Pippa Jay - Sci-fi and the Supernatural with a Romantic Soul

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ruled by Cool: How Much Science is Too Much?

Hello hello!

So, a quick post today. As some of you will know, I'm an editor as well as a sci fi writer, and that means that I fix a lot of errors. But, being a writer, I also make them.

I've been watching Mythbusters a lot lately. Unfortunately, I don't spend my days firing guns, breaking down doors, fending off wild jellyfish, etcetera, so my understanding of how to do these things is impaired. And Hollywood certainly doesn't help. Did you know, for instance, that bullets don't ricochet and produce sparks? Sure, they do ricochet, but--as frequent readers of may also know--they certainly aren't as fatal as advertised, either. In movies, TV, and a lot of books, one shot means you die.

But what about science fiction? We often talk about matter transporters, Faster Than Light (FTL) travel, fast-growth cloning, and other semi-realistic and sometimes purely fictional technologies. (Yes, I know cloning is real, but we haven't cloned any humans and we haven't sorted out that pesky issue of the telomeres yet.) So when it comes to the little details, do we follow the 'Rule of Cool' (doing whatever seems coolest) or do we try our best to create something realistic? There's a few approaches to this, which I'll outline below.

Approach 1: Whatever is The Coolest

This is what it says on the tin. Ricocheting spark-bullets? Diving through suspiciously close asteroid belts? Ignoring side-effects of a drug treatment? Convenient amnesia? Arguably, this is sloppy writing, but it's also within most readers' comfort zones and is often easy to picture. As well, most readers won't be experts, and most who are will recognize the value of entertainment rather than something that's, well, more rigorous in intent. However, some readers are annoyed by this, and too many scientific errors or historical anachronisms will bounce you right out of a story.

Approach 2: Scientific Rigour

Jack McDevitt stands out as an author who follows this; Charles Sheffield, too. It characterizes a lot of Golden-Age sci fi, but not the pulp sci fi (which tends to follow Approach 1). This is more realistic, and that can be nice, but it can also be bogged down by exposition. Sometimes it's also a bit inaccessible. After all, not all of us who write sci fi are teachers or astronomers. It also involves a lot of research. However, 'getting it right' is really satisfying, and readers often compliment it.

Most sci fi falls into the middle, but there's a skew towards each end. Personally, I think that due to the lack of scientific education, we should be aiming a bit more towards Approach 2, but modifying it. Really, it's okay to have space be silent and sacrifice sparkly bullets and deal with injuries realistically. The thing about Approach 1 is that it arguably makes a story too easy for the characters. Consider Starship Troopers, which is intentionally a satire, and which makes use of Approach 1 very heavily. Consider Alien instead, which was a bit more realistic, and much more difficult for characters to survive.

It's a matter of taste, but consider doing your research very thoroughly before your next story--question the little stuff, too, not just the location of the nearest habitable moon or planet. How would doors work? You don't have to--and shouldn't--explain everything, but a little realism can go a long way.

Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr, and find her work on Amazon. Check back on the blog to see when one of the irregular posts has careened onto your feed. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

5 Ways Rabies Influenced my (Zombie) Romance

by Tara Quan

Once upon a time, I was fortunate enough to have one of those jobs where I was expected only to (a) have a pulse, (b) answer the phone, and (c) track down a place in the United Arab Emirates that sold HRIG (Human Rabies Immunoglobulin). I won’t confirm or deny whether or not I spent any work time writing my novel, but let’s just say I had plenty of brain capacity leftover for plotting.

When writing science fiction, I prefer to base my more pie-in-the-sky ideas on a grain of truth. When I decided writing a fairy tale set in a zombie world was going to be my path to fame and fortune (man was I in for a world of disappointment), I drew inspiration for the Undead Reanimation Virus (URV) from Rabies.

Here are 5 things Rabies and my Undead Reanimation Virus (URV) have in common:

  1. Transmission: Rabies is transmitted when infected saliva of a host (a monkey, in the case I dealt with) comes into contact with a patient, most commonly through a bite. Sound familiar?
  2. Prevention: Rabies is prevented by eliminating hosts, usually through ensuring adequate animal vaccination and educating those at risk to recognize signs of the disease in animals, to include changes in behavior, reduced food and water intake, increased saliva production, violent out bursts, and biting at the slightest provocation. URV is prevented by eliminating zombies, usually through a shot in the head, and educating survivors to recognize signs of zombie-ism, including violent behavior, foaming at the mouth, and excessive biting.
  3. Disease Progression: Rabies has an incubation period between 10 days -7 years, though the average is 3-6 weeks. Symptoms include drooling, convulsions, excitability, loss of muscle function, fever, muscle spasms, as well as numbness and tingling. For story purposes, I reduced the incubation period of URV to 24 hours, but the rest of the progression of rabies jived well with zombies, so I kept it as is.
  4. Treatment: For an unvaccinated patient, rabies is treated by cleaning the wound well with soap and water, followed by an injection of human rabies immunoglobulin at the site of the bite the day it occurred. This provides immediate antibodies until the body can respond to the vaccine by creating antibodies of its own. This injection is followed by 5 doses of the rabies vaccine. Guess how URV-immunoglobulin works.
  5. Vaccine: Made from inert rabies virus, the vaccine is given to people at high risk to protect them if they are exposed. It can also prevent the disease if it is given to a person after exposure. It should be considered for people who might come into frequent contact with rabies and international travelers. In both Tower in the Woods and Catching Red, Federal Military Agents sent from Washington, D.C. into the wastelands (which I equate with international travel) receive the URV vaccine. Refugees from the wasteland who have been bitten also receive the vaccine as a form of treatment.

Catching Red

Scarlet “Red” Ryding is on a mission. To prevent mass suicide, she must fulfill her grandmother’s evil wishes and return posthaste. With knives in hand, she dives headfirst into an abandoned hospital full of zombies. But after getting trapped within, she is forced to accept help from the world’s most dangerous predator—a man.

Covert Agent Marcus Woodsman received strict instructions against interfering in the affairs of nomads. As a spy for the Federal Military Agency, his mandate is to observe and report. But when he finds a little redhead caught in the center of a brain-eater swarm, conscience compels him to put his ax to good use. By the time he realizes this smart-ass scout comes equipped with a world of trouble, it’s too late—he would do anything to keep her safe.

As Red and her Woodsman work together to survive undead, brave a snowstorm, and bring down an evil cult, they learn to laugh, love, and fight for happiness. The second book in Tara Quan’s Undead Fairy Tales series, Catching Red is a post-apocalyptic thriller with a happily ever after.

Buy Links: Consolidated | Amazon | AllRomance | LSBooks | GoodReads

About the Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, Tara enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Armed with magical powers or conventional weapons, her characters are guaranteed a suspenseful and sensual ride, as well as their own happily ever after. Learn more at 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cover reveal! "In the Black" by Sheryl Nantus

I'm thrilled to present the cover to "In The Black", book one of "Tales from the Edge"!

 When Sam Keller left the military, she ran to the far end of the galaxy. Now she captains the Bonnie Belle, a spaceship full of courtesans who bring a little pleasure to hard-up men on mining colonies. When one of her girls turns up dead, it's Sam's job to find out who killed her, fast.

Marshal Daniel LeClair is as tough as steel and quick on the draw. But when his vacation gets replaced by an assignment to help find the killer, he can't help angling for a little action with the saucy, hard-charging Sam. She's got brains, attitude and a body he wouldn't mind investigating.

Sam, six months lonely, might just indulge him. But the Guild that owns the Belle wants the case closed yesterday. With pressure coming from all quadrants, Sam and her marshal clash over false leads and who's on top. But when the killer threatens the Belle again, romance will have to wait. It's a captain's job to save her crew, no matter the cost.

It'll be on sale from Carina Press May 12, 2014 but right now you can pre-order from Amazon and B&N!

I hope you'll come along for the first visit to the Bonnie Belle - after all, everyone loves a Mercy woman!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Midsummer Blog Hop - Choosing the Theme

It's that time of year again! I'm starting to make plans for the SFR Brigade's Midsummer Blog Hop, and your input is wanted. Last year the theme for our hop was Out of this World, and we talked about world-building, favourite settings in our own books and others, discussions about alien places etc. Now we need a new theme for this year - something that conveys what SFR is all about. Brigaders have made suggestions, and now you can vote on your favourite. The poll below will let you vote on as many as you like and add suggestions for new ones if you have a sudden brainwave. Go crazy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Character with a Disability: Not a How To Post

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be a guest on the Science Fiction Romance Brigade Blog today! I’m going to be discussing a topic that is very close to my heart as an author and as a person. To start off, let me tell you why I chose this topic. I was born three and a half months early, weighing one pound. This resulted in an eye condition called ROP, where my retina detached in one eye (if not treated right away it can happen in both eyes). But I didn’t and haven’t let my vision stop me from living a full and happy life. I faced many obstacles but I never gave up. It’s the same for my characters—or any character with a disability.

I love reading about strong, determined characters who beat the odds, no matter what it is. But the thing about writing characters with disability is to write it in a way that’s respectful. Write the character how you would any other character, only make sure you stay true to their disability. If you have a character who is blind, they would most likely take public transportation to get places or get rides from friends or a taxi service. I have vision in one eye—though its not perfect—and no vision in the other—and I tried driving my grandma’s golf cart. Ran straight into the apple tree. I never drove the golf cart ever again. I also tried driving a real car and again, will never ever drive ever! That’s not to say no one who is blind or visually impaired won’t drive. I just choose not to—for a very good reason.

Also, I rely a lot on sound. I pay attention to how someone speaks. I don’t see visual cues nor do I use facial expressions. Someone with better vision than myself may be able to see those things. Know your character!

I know this turned into a post about writing a character who is blind/visually impaired but I wanted to give examples from my experiences. Everyone has different experiences and like every writer, I drew inspiration from my own life. They say write what you know: now that’s not ALWAYS true. If it were I’d be writing stories about a small southern town. I still may do that one day haha! But I want to branch out. Writing—and reading—is a chance to experience other ideas, other cultures, step into the shoes of someone else for a while. So when you write a character—whether they have a disability or not—get inside their head. Who knows, you may learn something while in there. You will come out on the other side with a different perspective.

I know this blog post was a little different than you probably expected. But I didn’t set out to write a how to blog! Why? Well, I may have a character who has a disability but that doesn’t mean I’m an expert. I don’t have all the answers. I’m still learning and will continue to learn the craft of writing for the rest of my life. So write, research, learn, and strive to write the best book you can!

Bio: RA Odum grew up and still lives in Georgia. Her love for writing and stories started in her grandmother's attic and never stopped. Born sixteen weeks early and loss of vision in one eye, RA faces obstacles head on. From the time she was very small, she has had a host of characters in her head, screaming for their stories to be told. When she is not writing, she loves to spend time with her family, sing and read. She also enjoys learning and teaching others American Sign Language. She hopes her novels will inspire and make a difference.


Facebook author page:

Monday, March 3, 2014

Meet the #Author Monday - Edward Hoornaert

Please tell us a bit about yourself:
Edward Hoornaert is not only a writer, he’s a certifiable Harlequin Hero; he inspired N.Y. Times bestselling author Vicki Lewis Thompson to write her favorite Harlequin Desire, Mr. Valentine, which was dedicated to him. In the past, he wrote contemporary romances for Silhouette Books, but these days he writes science fiction adventures spiced with humor and romance. In addition to writing, he has been a teacher, technical writer, and symphonic oboist.

After having 30 different addresses in his first 28 years, his rolling stone paused for 14 tears in the Canadian Rockies and now has stopped in Tucson, Arizona. His high school sweetheart has been his wife for more years than he has fingers and toes to count. Ed and Judi have four children, a dog, and a cat which (unlike some famous authors’ cats) is of absolutely no help in writing.

Tell us about The Tribulations of Tompa Lee:
This is a sequel to The Trial of Tompa Lee, which was published several years ago in hardcover by Five Star Speculative Fiction.  When I got the rights back, I published Trial as an eBook and then as a trade paperback, and now (as of February 26) I’ve done the same with Tribulations.  During last November’s NaNoWriMo, I drafted a third book in The Trilogy of Tompa Lee, titled The Triumph of Tompa Lee.

Here’s the tagline:  Goddess or Madwoman?  Even she isn’t sure.

And here’s the blurb:

Tompa Lee serves as ambassador to the Shons’ planet and is hailed as their goddess … but she has a dead man living in her head, distrusts fellow humans, and fears an imminent attack by Klicks, mankind's greatest enemy.

Ming Mengliev is posing as a mere musician when Klicks destroy the Terran embassy … but although he strives to win Tompa's trust—and her heart—whose side is this secret agent really on?

Lord Keevie, the leader of warlike Klick missionaries, wants to drive humans off Zee Shode … but above all he wants to eviscerate Tompa in person, because killing a goddess will surely make him a god.

Can Tompa survive Keevie’s pursuit, the onset of divine madness, the predators of Palla Pelly Park … and conquer her mistrust of humans long enough to shepherd a ragtag group of Shon and human refugees to safety?

What inspired you to write this particular story?:
First: Tompa, the lead character.  Even though I first wrote about this feisty underdog years ago, her memorable personality (part kick-ass and part neurotically insecure) haunted me.  The travails I put her through in The Trial of Tompa Lee would have changed her profoundly, and I wondered how.

Besides that, Tompa deserved to find love.  Since I play the oboe, I decided she simply must fall in love with a swashbuckling secret agent whose cover involves performing on interstellar cruise ships.  (Aliens adore human music; bet you didn’t know that.)  He’s not oh-oh-seven; he’s oboe-seven.

Second: I’d never read a story set in an alien national park.  What would an alien park be like?  The aliens I invented for Trial are cute and cuddly herd animals, but with a bloodthirsty streak.  Their version of a national park would be a wildlife refuge for every predator on the planet, and since the only way across Palla Pelly Park is by foot, the hike is fraught with danger.  The perfect setting for a book, in other words.

Please share a favourite snippet from your book:
Although my books are serious (seriously, they are!) humor always creeps in.  I can't seem to help myself.

For example, take misunderstandings between humans and intelligent aliens. These could lead to disaster--but they might also lead to laughs. Here's an example from The Tribulations of Tompa Lee.

Background: Tompa Lee became the human ambassador to planet Zee Shode almost by accident. Now she is meeting with an important visitor from the Galactic Trading Council, who has the power to save--or destroy--mankind's fragile presence on the planet.

 “Please forgive me, Ambassador Lee,” said the four-foot tall caterpillar. “I am young, inexperienced, and apprehensive, as this is my first off-planet mission.”
“Me too.” Tompa sniffed, wishing she had a handkerchief. Tears and snot running down her face would not be correct protocol. “Young and inexperienced and in space for the first time, I mean. And it’s not your fault. To make myself less nervous I was—”
Don’t say it!
“—trying to imagine what you looked like naked.”
Oh, maggots and cockroaches. She’d said it.
The Detchvilli screeched. Tompa leap to her feet and cast her eyes toward the nearest exit.
“My profound apologies,” he said. “To converse with humans, I must plan several words ahead, like a human playing chess. That was a burst of surprise and pleasure, and not, as you obviously feared, a threat.”
Tompa sat. To read his expression, she realized, you had to ignore his face and watch his tentacles, which were suddenly loose and graceful.
 “Humans, and especially planetary ambassadors, are usually insufferably punctilious,” he said. “I must compliment your superiors on choosing an ambassador for her affinity with other species, rather than for mere business acumen.”
Tompa grinned through her tears.
“And now,” he said, “you and I must disrobe.”

Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?:
The story comes first, not the character.  A perfect character for one tale might be lousy for another tale.  It depends on whether the character needs to learn what the situation has to teach.

Another thing about my lead characters: I give them a handicap to overcome, and that’s more important than how they look.  Tompa was a homeless orphan who grew up on the streets of Manhattan, which did not prepare her for being a planetary ambassador.  In my SFRom novella Farflung Angel, due out later this year from MuseItUp books, my heroine has no tongue (which makes French kissing, amongst other things, difficult).  The bigger the handicap, the more impact when the character overcomes it.

Any tips for aspiring authors?:
This is a marvelous era in which to become an author, but if you’re looking to build a following, be careful.  Getting a story or book accepted by a traditional or even an independent publisher is a sign that you’re ready for the big time.  Without that sign of approval (or its equivalent), self-publishing can be a trap.  Don’t self-publish before you’re really ready, because you have only one chance to make a first impression.

Questions for fun:
If you had the power of time travel, is there anything you would go back and change? Why/why not?:
No, nothing.  Having grown up with tales of blundering time travelers, I’d be afraid the ripples from my changes would swamp the gunwales of history.

However, I wouldn’t mind seeing what might have been, as long as it was like a movie rather than reality.  (Hmm.  There could be a story in that.)

What super-power would you choose?:
I honestly don’t know.  Surprisingly, such impractical musings don’t interest me much.

But since you’re twisting my arm, I’ve thought of one.  How about being the world’s best lover for my one lucky lady?

If you could have three wishes, what would they be?:
A book atop the New York Times list would be nice.  Maybe a Hugo or a Nebula.

I need one more, don’t I?  Okay, how about the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Coffee, tea or wine?:
Tea.  During the blistering Arizona summer, ice is essential.

What is your favourite book? (aside from one of your own!):
It’s impossible to narrow down to one, so I won’t try.  In science fiction, Dune by Frank Herbert, or anything by Jack Vance.  In romance, Don’t Forget to Smile by a university mate of mine, Kathleen Gilles Seidel.

Favourite genre and why?:
Depends which month you ask me, as I concentrate on one genre for months or years, then drift to another genre.  I’ve been reading a lot of Regencies lately, but over the long haul, nothing is closer to my heart than science fiction.  (Except, of course, for my wife.  And my children.  And my brand-new grandson.  And my dog and cat.  And my beloved Vancouver Canucks hockey team.  And … okay, I’ll shut up now.)

Favourite colour?:
I don’t know.  Blue, maybe, but colors aren’t terribly important to me, which is probably why I’m a writer and musician, not a visual artist.

Upcoming news and plans for the future?:
My idea folder is bulging, as yours may be, too.  I need to finish my edits for The Triumph of Tompa Lee, send them to my editor, then do the cover and formatting for publication.  (As a tech writer I gained a lot of experience in graphics and production, so I do all that stuff myself.)  I’ve started a sequel to Farflung Angel, loosely based on The African Queen, so I need to finish that.  I have a manuscript that never sold but has huge promise, Alien Contact for Idiots, which desperately needs a major rewrite.  I’m putting together an anthology of my short stories, some previously published and some original, that I want to self-publish.  Despite all these plans, it’s depressingly likely that a brilliant idea will supernova in my skull and demand to be written right now.

And finally, sometime next week I need to carve out time for a shower.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!

The Tribulations of Tompa Lee is available wherever fine ebooks are sold. It's also available in trade paperback from Amazon. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly #2: Steampunk Romance Issue--Now Out

Download your free copy of the Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly! Issue #2 is now out and you'll discover all kinds of steampunk romance goodies inside, including an original short story.

SFR Brigade Bases of Operation