Monday, August 21, 2017

SFRB Recommends 75: Relaunch Mission by Robyn Bachar #sfr

Living mission to mission on the fringes of civilized space, Captain Lindana Nyota has managed to keep her crew paid and her ship in one piece. Barely. The privateer's life of stealing Soviet supplies for the Alliance is taking its toll on everyone. Down a crew member, she now has to take on a new intel officer and hope it's someone she can trust. 

Lieutenant Gabriel Steele knew Lindy wasn't expecting him to walk out of the air lock and back into her life, but he didn't think he'd get his nose broken. As an intelligence agent for the Alliance, Gabriel has spent his career in deep cover, his sense of self crushed under layers of deceit—starting with the lies he had to tell Lindy years ago when he left her. A fresh start is all he wants, but the Alliance and his secret orders have already jeopardized that. 

When an infamous pirate and friend of Lindy and her crew is reported alive and in possession of knowledge of a powerful Soviet weapon, finding her before the enemy does is paramount. But Gabriel can't do it without regaining Lindy's trust—and hopefully rekindling what he once sacrificed in the name of duty.

Gabriel and Lindy get a second chance at love, although he has some proving to do before she'll accept it. He's got some groveling to do, and his feelings for Lindy are complicated by his current mission and several revelations about the hidden agendas of both of their bosses.

Factional politics play a big role in the story. The alternate history and future presented are well articulated and though-provoking. In this universe, the Cold War didn't end, and the space race only ramped up. Some of the technology showcases Soviet aesthetics: I was reminded of the Soviet specimens in the Museum of Flight.

Bachar keeps raising the stakes for our heroes, and the tension is punctuated and amplified by action scenes that flow well: the fights are meaty and intense. The crew of the Mombasa is fully fleshed out, with vivid characters: the rivalry between engineering and the captain's brother always entertains!

Book page: Robyn Bachar - Books

This recommendation by Lee Koven.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

#Workshop: Why #Worldbuilding is the Secret Ingredient

Thanks to SFR Brigade for letting me jump on their blog for a hot minute! Y’all are the absolute best!
One of my favorite aspects of writing is worldbuilding. I am that girl who will sit for hours researching some of the most random stuff because “Wouldn’t it be cool if—?” and “How does this work?” are my two most common settings when it comes to planning a story. I am the girl who spent three months building a religion for a book I haven’t written yet.
I am the girl who builds worlds.
And I love every second of it.
But I’ve realized that a lot of writers…don’t. They have the basis of their world (a planet somewhere, a generic fantasy realm, a bland magic system, a universe with some kind of shifter that is like every other shifter), but they focus much more on the story and characters. That might sound normal, but a fleshed out world is just as important as fleshed out characters and plot.
Some writers just don’t know how to worldbuild. And that’s where I come in.
When I was writing Gemini, my science fiction romance fairytail retelling (say THAT three times fast!), I had an idea of how I wanted my world to operate. I’m an avid gamer, and I also spend entirely too much time on Pinterest, which for me, is filled with writing ideas people have pinned from Tumblr. As a result, I have consumed a lot of interesting detail, and one of the things I wanted to play around with was that basically every alien thinks humans are Chuck Norris. If you’re not familiar with Chuck Norris facts, please do so. I’ll wait.
I also started daydreaming about the way humans use the internet and the running joke about how it’s basically just for cat videos, which led to that gag on Futurama with the Omicronians and their obsession with Single Female Lawyer, a rip-off of Aly McBeal. THAT led to the fact that media from decades ago is likely still pinging around somewhere in space and possibly being viewed by aliens right now
All of that resulted in the fahir, a race of highly intelligent cat-creatures, who are primarily used as bounty hunters and hired muscle; and also some plans for the sequels, including but not limited to a cult dedicated to Prince.
And some terrible cat puns (I’m sorry, guys).
All of the above formed the basis for Gemini’s world. One in which humans are feared because they come from a planet where everything wants to kill you, AKA space Australia, so they must be practically indestructible. One in which humans are one of the dominant species, so they have a place on the council (suck it, Mass Effect!), and they’re one of only five species it’s illegal to enslave. Of course, that restriction just makes them more sought out. This background shaped the main characters—Uri, a former slave, and Shadi, a current slave at the beginning of the book—and their relationships to each other and the ragtag bunch who becomes their crew. Without any of those elements, Gemini would be a completely different book.
 Every little world detail snowballs into a world that jumps off the page and can become just as memorable as the characters who inhabit it.
Why Worldbuilding (is the Secret Ingredient) is a 5-week online course, hosted through my website, that is essentially an intro to worldbuilding. We’ll cover what worldbuilding is, how it affects every aspect of your story, what to consider when designing your world, and how to weave those elements into your narrative. Using examples from some of science fiction and fantasy's best known worlds from books, tv, movies, and video games, you'll gain the tools and insight you need to create your own. Why Worldbuilding runs as follows:
Oct 16-20 – Intro to Worldbuilding: What is it? And why should I do it?
Oct 23-27 – The Basics: What you need to know and why you need to know it.
Oct 30-Nov 3 – Playing God, pt 1: The Building Blocks of Civilization
Nov 6-10 – Playing God, pt. 2: Constructing Your World
Nov 13-17 – Weaving the Tapestry: How does it all come together?

Registration starts August 15th. Each week is $30, or you can complete the set for $130 (save $20!)
Put on your apron, grab your chef’s hat, and join me in October!

Author Bio:
Catherine Peace has been telling stories for as long as she could remember. She often blames two things for her forays into speculative fiction—Syfy (when it was SciFi) channel Sundays with her dad and The Island of Dr. Moreau by HG Wells. She graduated in 2008 from Northern Kentucky University with a degree in English and is still chasing the dream of being super rich and famous, mostly so she can sit around in her PJs all day and write stories. As it is, she's content to spend half the day in her PJs and write stories.
When not being a slave to the people in her head, she’s a slave to two adorable dogs.
​Find her at: 

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