Saturday, October 21, 2017

Snippet Saturday

Today I'm kicking off a new series of blogs where I'll be posting a story snippet each Saturday from a current book or future work.

Since USA TODAY bestseller Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 has been such a hot topic the last couple of weeks, I thought I'd kick off the inaugural Snippet Saturday with a passage from my story, Courting Disaster: StarDog 2.

This is Captain Jagger and Ketsia Tayah's first meeting in the story.

The Set-Up
Jagger's pride has just taken a direct hit. He watched his dream command of a state-of-the-art battleship vaporize when the fleet admiral instead assigned him to masquerade as the civilian pilot of the Sheeban, a dilapidated, second-rate cargo transport. It's all a guise to escort an ambassador's daughter through a dangerous sector of space after her yacht was fired upon by dangerous rogues.
___________________________________________

The future cover of Courting Disaster
The young girl had paused with her entourage midway up the boarding passage, appraising Sheeban not with a look of utter disdain but pure reverence. Her mouth parted to form a silent word his lip-reading skills couldn’t decipher. The two uniform-clad-but-not-up-to-military-standard males escorting her were most likely flight officers from her private transport.

Jagger popped off the ridiculous helmet and gave Jaeo’s dependent a quick once-over, puzzling at the expression of rapture that still lingered on her face. How could a wreck like Sheeban get this reaction from anyone?

Jagger made his way down the boarding passage to greet the party, which was when he realized that Ketsia wasn’t the mid-teen girl he’d been expecting. Petite, yes, but a beauty of at least twenty calendars, with flawless deep bronze skin, a generous smile, shimmering black hair, and the most luminous ebony eyes he’d seen in his thirty calendars.

Ketsia Mennelsohn wasn’t just a surprise, she was an EMP exploding through his systems.

She turned as he approached, her poise transforming a simple black suit into a garment of stately elegance. With a graceful bend to her knees, she lowered her case to the ramp beside her feet.

Jagger came to a stop a respectful three strides out from her and her escorts. “Captain Jagger with the Carduwan Fifth Fleet.”

One of the men stepped forward to make proper introductions—possibly her pilot, judging by the fringed shoulder boards and elaborate gold chevrons marching down the sleeves of the uniform. “I’m Captain Farrol of the Trigate transport yacht.” He emphasized the last two words, his gaze making a critical sweep over the battered hull of the Sheeban. “This is Roham, my co-pilot. And may I introduce Ms. Ketsia Tayah, ward of Ambassador Gant.”

“Captain.” Jagger shook the man’s hand mechanically. “Co.” His attention settled on the young woman. “Ms. Tayah. It will be a pleasure serving you on behalf of the Carduwan Fleet.”

“Thank you, Captain Jagger.” She accepted his offered hand and slanted her head in an affirming nod. The unabridged definition of charming. She wasn’t Rathskian, as he’d expected. Based on her features, he guessed she was Tectolian, a subspecies rumored to have originated on a scattering of sun-blessed islands in some forgotten sea.

Jagger addressed her chaperones. “Which of you will be accompanying Ms. Tayah to Rathskia?”

“Neither, I’m afraid,” Farrol said regretfully. “We’ve been ordered to remain with the yacht to oversee repairs. She took quite a strafing from the renegades.”

“I see.” No question the lightly-armed luxury craft had gotten the worst of a skirmish with a rogue guerilla gunship. His gaze returned to Ketsia. “I was told you’d have a companion.”

She gracefully bent and hefted the case beside her feet in one hand. “I do.”

Jagger scowled at her luggage, noting the hard sides and narrow slots. Not a bag then—a crate. “You’re bringing an animal aboard?” Jagger regretted his gruff tone as soon as it slipped out. Intolerance wasn’t one of his more admirable qualities.

“Not just an animal.” She gave him a wary—and utterly heart-stopping—smile. “My StarDog.”

“A pet?” He tried, and failed, not to sound cynical.

“A friend,” Ketsia clarified.

“I wasn’t aware I’d be transporting live cargo.”

“Luna’s not cargo, Captain. She’s well-trained, and she was reared on starships, so she won’t be any trouble.”

Her yacht jock spoke up. “You can rest assured the animal won’t sully your…” Captain Farrol squinted at the Sheeban with obvious distaste. “…fine ship.”
_________________________________________________

Find out what happens next in Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2And don't forget this novella comes with eleven other acclaimed stories by bestselling and award-winning science fiction romance authors as part of a very popular--and now bestselling--collection of books!


 View the collection at most popular vendors by clicking here

Thanks for stopping by to read this excerpt of Courting Disaster: StarDog 2.

P.S. Want to know a little more about the heroine, Ketsia? Read my guest blog on Alexis Glynn Latner's site "Meet Kesia."

 

Friday, October 20, 2017

BLADE RUNNER SEQUEL OFFERS NOTHING NEW




Okay, I guess I shouldn’t have had high expectations for Blade Runner: 2049 in the first place. After all, the original Blade Runner (1982), starring Harrison Ford and directed by Ridley Scott, is one of the greatest SFR films (yes, you read that right) of all time. Based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick, that film set the standard for futuristic film noir and broke cinematic and philosophical ground in so many ways we’re still talking about it.

I didn’t really expect the sequel, starring Ryan Gosling (and Harrison Ford—briefly) and directed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), to rise to the original’s level. But I did hope for an entertaining film that built on the original premise. I was disappointed.

My fault, though. I should have checked the directing credit. Villeneuve is the man responsible for last year’s Arrival, a glacial exercise in SF naval-gazing that critics loved, but left audiences scratching their heads. Villaneuve’s heavy hand is apparent in this film, too. BR:2049 is just under three hours long, most of which trundles along without a sign of Harrison Ford. If you ask me, Ford’s the only reason a sequel to Blade Runner makes any sense at all. But we don’t get to see what’s happened to Ford's original blade runner Rick Deckard until the film is well past its halfway point.

Villeneuve is also fond of slow, lingering shots of his actors. (If you saw Arrival, you know whereof I speak.) The problem here is that his main protagonist is an emotionless replicant named K. As played by Ryan Gosling, this human-looking cyborg has one expression no matter what is happening around him. Staring into his face looking for insight is pretty much a waste of time.

At least we can be grateful that the set design and artistic direction that were trademarks of the original film are not lost in this sequel. The future city of Los Angeles is just as bleak and rainy, the holographic ads just as ubiquitous, as in Ridley Scott’s cinematic masterpiece. These visions are nothing new, however. Hard to believe this film couldn’t improve over the special effects produced for the original some 35 years ago. The only addition in this film was a jaw-dropping scene of San Diego as a literal scrap heap of rusted junk. Kudos for that one.

Blade Runner was (and is) acclaimed not only for the way it was made, but for the things it had to say—about what it means to be human, about self-discovery, about love and loyalty. Those ideas weren’t exactly new in 1982, at least to any reader of science fiction, but they were expressed onscreen in a way that movie-goers at the time had never seen before. The 2017 sequel adds nothing new to the discussion of those ideas, but simply rehashes what has been said before, throwing in an improbable quasi-religious twist and some gratuitous torture porn (ick). 

The original film had something else that this film lacks: enduring characters. Rick Deckard  and his Rachel (Sean Young) were lovers whose love couldn’t possibly succeed; Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) was a villain you could almost cry for. They were unforgettable. They have no equivalent in BR:2049.

Yeah, I know I sound like a grumpy old curmudgeon, and almost every critic out there disagrees with me. But I insist films like this one need to be seen in context. Watch the original, and you’ll see there is no comparison. Better yet, stay home, read the short story, watch the original and save your money. This sequel is a No-Go.

IN OTHER NEWS

Congratulations to co-blogger Laurie Green and her partners in the Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 anthology! Y’all are on fire, with sales and media attention galore! You go, girls!

Cheers, Donna

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Wonder Woman at ten thousand metres

Hi there. Did anybody miss me? I've been away overseas to (literally) the other side of the world. It wasn't the best trip I've ever had. Getting sick while you're traveling really does suck. However, as usual, I'm blogging the journey, so if you're interested you can find the trail here.

I want to offer huge congratulations to all the authors in the Embrace the Romance anthology on achieving New York Times best-seller status. That's a fabulous effort - especially because it's not free, or $.99 cents.

I'm becoming increasingly depressed at how so many authors are tossing their hard work away. Readers just have to sit on their wallets and wait for the next "twenty-something full, brand new books for 99 cents" deals. They're coming out there, thicker and faster, all in the hope of NY Times best-seller status, or attracting new (paying) readers. On that point, I can see some value in having something like a first in series free. I do it myself, with The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy. But sorry, folks, the days of giving away my work are over for me.Writing is too much of a hard slog. Besides, it's not just the writing. We have to PAY for editing, covers, maybe some marketing. It all ends up with a negative balance that is very hard to claw back on other titles.

One thing about looooong haul travel is you have time to catch up on a movie or two. I got to see Wonder Woman somewhere over Asia. Here's the trailer. I'm not going to give it an enthusiastic five stars because I'm not a super heroes fan. I watched this one because it's a WOMAN. And it was very well done. I loved that the older women were older women, scars, wrinkles, and all. Despite my known aversion to women going into fights in bikinis, with WW it's different. She's an Amazon, a Greek warrior. Back then the men didn't wear too much armor into battle, either, so it fitted the background. Also, the color scheme was toned down from the bright crimson and blue in the comics, so it worked much better.Sure, I had to suspend disbelief with the Greek gods thing. Given the history of the Wonder Woman comic, I guess that's unavoidable.

I had some quibbles, and I don't think I'll be giving much away when I ask what happened to the gunship? But all in all, it was a fun movie with a wonderful heroine. If I was a comics fan I'd be looking forward to seeing WW in future Avengers movies and such.

One of the best bits of dialogue in the film comes when Steve is getting all doubtful about sleeping in close proximity to Diana, who doesn't turn a hair. At one point she says something along the lines of, "You need a man to procreate, but that's not necessary for pleasure." Love it.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Meet Henry aka Puma the Barn Cat - Guest Post by MK Eidem

Today I have USA TODAY bestselling author M.K. Eidem here to talk a little about one of the pets in her life--Henry.
_______________________________________________

Henry/Puma, because he's so fur-ocious, is a two year old barn cat, one my future son-in-law fell in love with as a kitten. He's 'his' cat although he'll let you cuddle up on him, if he's in a good mood. We have all decided that Henry is bi-polar with a quick switch. One moment he's happily purring in your lap and the next he's hissing and digging in his claws.

I wouldn't give him up for anything.

My story in Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space is A GRIM PET, a novella in the Tornian Series. Grim’s two young daughters discover an injured raptor and their love, faith, and kindness creates far-reaching consequences no one expects.

About the Author
I have always loved to read and writing is just a natural extension of this for me. Growing up I loved to extend the stories of my favorite books and TV shows just to see where the characters went. I’ve been happily married for over twenty-five years to an awesome man and have two great kids. Now that the kids are out of the house, at least most of the time, I’ve found I have the time to write again.
USA Today Bestselling Author.

Facebook Handle: @mkeidem        Twitter Handle: @mkeidem


NEW RELEASE!

Twelve leading Science Fiction Romance authors’ team up to deliver a dozen original never released stories that will take you to new worlds! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2! Get your copy today! http://www.petsinspaceantho.com

10% of the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

BUY IT HERE:

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iBooks      B&N      Kobo       Google Play 

 



Monday, October 16, 2017

#Touch the Stars #Other Worlds #Kindle Fire Giveaway #PetsInSpace 2 #Release Updates

Lea Kirk is here today to talk about her new release--Touch the Stars--that's coming as part of the Other Worlds boxed set of Science Fiction and Fantasy Romance novels and novellas. You can see a special cover for the story below. I asked her to tell me a little more about her story and the boxed set of novels and novellas.

Touch the Stars Blurb 

When her twin disappears without a trace, Kaitlyn Faulks can't accept that she's gone. In her heart, she knows her sister is alive out there, somewhere. One alien abduction later, Kait finds herself on a posh spaceship, the honored "guest" of a sexy seven-foot-tall alien of questionable sanity. He insists she's the heir to his "Star Empire" and that the fate of Earth, and the empire, depends on her compliance. What hooey.

Warrior Baatar must retrieve the Earth woman for the emperor. It is the only way to restore his family's honor and insure that they do not pay the ultimate price for his brother's treachery. But the future empress, Kaitlyn, is a difficult, wily female who challenges him at every opportunity. And Baatar begins to have doubts about the truth behind his mission.

As the stakes rise and the fate of an empire hangs in the balance, Kaitlyn and Baatar are thrust into a conflict decades in the making, where nothing is as it seems, and no one can be trusted.

Excerpt from Touch the Stars:

Weird images flashed through Kaitlyn’s mind. A giant of a man…a sheriff’s deputy…a flash of bluish light. Her body jerked, like it did when she slept through her alarm. Her heartbeat pounded in her ears as she gasped for air.

Had she overslept? Probably, because her goddamn bed had never felt so soft and comfortable. She blinked at the stark white ceiling once, twice, three times. Wait a minute. Her ceiling wasn’t white, it was sage green. And this was so not her bedroom. Her bedroom was full of furniture, mostly old, garage-sale deals she’d refinished herself. This place had no furniture at all, except for the bed. It did have gently blinking blue lights lining the walls at different intervals.

“Where in the hell am I?” And what was that humming sound? White noise or something?

Apaṇ graṇa samṭa cy corgaṭa kasagān rava jhāta,” a woman’s voice said.

“Eep!” Someone was in the room with her. She sat up, or tried to except she was strapped to a wide bed. “What the ever-lovin’ f**k?”

“You are aboard the Grand Emperor’s stealth class galaxy traveler,” the unseen woman said.

“The grand emperor of what?”

Nothing in this room looked even vaguely familiar. What the hell was going on? Oh! The gigantic man…alien…thing. He’d…shot her?

“Oh, for the love of god. Have I really been f*cking abducted?” Unbelievable, but not impossible. It did explain the stark, furnitureless room and the sporadically placed blinking blue lights on the walls.

Well, mostly furnitureless, except for the bed. Was she an alien sex slave now? The big guy was in for a shock if he thought she’d cooperate with that little fantasy. And apparently, he didn’t think it was necessary to restrain her completely. Mr. Alien Genius had left her hands free.

Big mistake, buddy.

She lifted her head, and a wave of dizziness crashed over her.

Okaaay, let’s just lay back down for a moment.

This always happened when she skipped meals. Inhale…exhale…repeat. Her hypoglycemic body was not going to let her down. It couldn’t, not this time. Her freedom was at stake.

Steak. Saliva filled her mouth. Oh, god, what she’d give for a nice, juicy, medium-rare steak. A low growl came from her stomach. “You’re not helping.” She ran her hands over the strap across her hips. No buckle, but there was something that felt like a tab. She slowly raised her head again. Yes, a blinking blue tab. She grasped it and gave it a yank.

Click. Pop.

The strap retracted over the edge of the bed and disappeared. That had worked? Okay, one down, two to go.

“Remain strapped in for your safety,” the voice said.

“My ass.” She repeated the process on the strap across her chest, then the one over her ankles.

Ah.

So much better. Now to get out of here. It was probably too much to hope that the door would just open for her.

The entire room dropped like a rollercoaster in freefall. She flipped onto her stomach and dug her fingers into the mattress. The thin film of a blanket covering the bed bunched in her fists. A moment later everything stabilized again. Everything except her stomach, which threatened to expel all the nothingness that was in it.

She clenched her teeth together. “I hate roller coasters.” Which was weird because the rest of her family had loved those nauseating, head-jerking, puke-inducing rides.

The room tilted to her right. “Oh, shit, not again.”

She clawed at the blanket and dug-in with her sneakers against the slick material trying to get a grip as the room tilted farther. It was no use. The only thing she was accomplishing was pulling the useless excuse for a blanket loose.

I should have left the straps on.

If she had, she wouldn’t be sliding down the bed toward the wall that was now below her. Literally.

The bed cover came completely free. “No.”

The wall rushed up to meet her.

About the Author
Lea Kirk loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her science fiction and paranormal romances. She is the author of the popular SFR Prophecy series, and a Magic, New Mexico PNR story, Made for Her.

She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her wonderful hubby of twenty-seven years and their five kids (aka, the nerd herd).

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bwGBDT
Website: http://www.leakirk.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLeaKirk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeaKirkWrites

Other Worlds:
A Limited Edition Collection of Science Fiction Romance and Paranormal Romance

Fierce Aliens.
Elite Hackers.
Dragons.
Dark Vampire Lords.

How can you fight the world's monsters when you're in love with one?

OTHER WORLDS takes you on a journey across the stars and plunges you into immortal realms, in a collection of Science Fiction Romance and Paranormal Romance that reaches beyond the boundaries of imagination.

Step into new worlds and distant universes, in 20 full-length novels and novellas, all contained in one limited edition box set overflowing with NEW STORIES from today's hottest USA Today and Award-Winning authors!

But grab it fast! This limited collection of Paranormal and Science Fiction Romance will soon be gone forever.

Amazon: http://ow.ly/NSP430dEONB
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Website http://www.otherworldscollection.com/

And here's a fun bonus! You can get a FREE sneak peak at the beginning of all of the stories in Other Worlds via Instafreebie. << Just click there.

Many thanks to Lea for visiting today to share more about Touch the Stars and Other Worlds.
__________________________________

Now I've got some fun updates for you on our recent book release!
 
News Flash!

Would you like to win a Kindle Fire 7?

Bestselling author M.K. Eidem, one of the authors of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 is holding a drawing for a brand new Kindle Fire 7 on her blog. All you need to do to enter is go to her website and answer one simple question (and I'm guessing there aren't really any wrong answers).

But here's the catch...you have to hurry! The drawing ends in just days! Here's the link:



Book Launch Update

Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 launched last Tuesday and my oh my, what a ride it's been! Readers have given us some wonderful reviews, and we're hoping we'll be able to do great things for our charity, Hero Dogs. I even got my esteemed Top 100 Paranormal Author ranking on Amazon as the book danced around at the top of several bestseller lists!

Some of the heights it reached:
 
#2 Hot New Releases
#3 Science Fiction Romance
#9 Paranormal Romance
 
and *drum roll* please
 
#281 overall
(of every book for sale on Amazon)

And the reviews have been equally awesome. Readers, we love you! Mwahhh!




Exciting News: Hero Dog Mitch!

As you probably know, Pets in Space 2 is donating 10% of all preorders and first month's profits to the amazing Hero Dogs.

Last year, during the launch of the original Pets in Space, as a special side project I "adopted" one of the Hero Dogs in training at the Hero Dogs headquarters in Maryland. His name is Mitch--short for Billy Mitchell--and I picked him out because he was one of my favorite breeds--a Labrador Retriever--he resembled our own Kiva (a yellow Lab) and he had the same name as the hero in my upcoming novel, The Outer Planets.

As part of the "adoption program," I made several donations toward Mitch's training and the amount of my donation increased every time someone commented on a post about Mitch.

Well, I've got some big news!

Mitch will be successfully graduating from the Hero Dogs training program on November 5th and he will be paired with a US Coast Guard veteran as a fully-fledged service dog! Hip, hip, hooray!

The Hero Dogs training program is very stringent and only a select few dogs who enter the program will successfully graduate as a service dog, so this was very important news indeed.

As one of Mitch's (many) sponsors, I was sent an invitation to the event, but alas it's far, far away and I won't be able to make the trip. But I will share the invitation with you here:

Please Join Us in Celebrating our 2017 Graduates

So three cheers for Mitch the Hero Dog! Job well done, boy, job well done!

We Got Blogs!

As part of the launch each author wrote a variety of blogs about our stories that got shared across the internet. Here are a few that I'm particularly proud of, and that will tell you so much more about my story--Courting Disaster--and its characters.

The Sheeban: Starship and Metaphor
A guest blog with bestselling author M.K. Eidem (Tornian SFR series) that explains how the "derelict" ship in the story is actually a metaphor for the hero, Captain Jagger.

Courting Disaster Release Day
Here I explain more about the hero and heroine--Jagger and Ketsia--as a guest of Lea Kirk, author of the popular Prophecy series.

Once Upon a StarDog
Fellow Pets in Space 2 author Jessica E. Subject hosted me for this blog that's all about StarDogs and how they've forever changed the Inherited Stars Universe.

Courting Disaster Cover Reveal and Excerpt
This blog from right here on Spacefreighters Lounge includes a cover reveal that will be the future cover for Courting Disaster after it's expanded to a novel. It also has a story excerpt, more about my pet--a StarDog--and a few other fun things to discover.

We also received this fabulous review from Riley at WWMB ReviewsCourting Disaster got a very nice mention in this one. Thank you, Riley!

I hope you'll check out all the links. I love getting deeper into the roots of the story and how it came to be.

Hope you all have a great week!


Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Future is Pink: Guest Blog by Lea Kirk

Today I'm hosting science fiction romance author Lea Kirk with a special message:

The Future is Pink
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month
 
 
Roses are Pink,
Our books are too;
We're fighting breast cancer,
With a little help from you!

Nine sci-fi/paranormal/fantasy romance authors have banded together to fight against breast cancer. Ten percent of any of the following pink-covered books sold during the month of October will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Please join us in the fight, by reading your way into the future where everything is pink!

 
 
#AuthorsInPink
 
Participating Authors and Books
Alora’s Love Potion by Rosalie Redd
Salvation by Lea Kirk
Building a Hero by Tasha Black
Crazy for Carly by Crystal Dawn
Captive by K.M. Fawcett
Avenger Mine by T.M. Slay
Terran by Cara Bristol
Bound by Water by Monica La Porta
Not His Werewolf by Annie Nicholas

Friday, October 13, 2017

OFF TO PLAY NONNA

Hey, y'all,
Sorry, no post this week. I'm off to meet my new granddaughter, Savannah! So, in keeping with the pets theme this week on Spacefreighters, imagine me as this happy kitty snuggling with the little one. I'll be back next week with a review of Blade Runner 2049.


P.S. If you're a sucker for real baby pics, check out my personal page on Facebook!
 
Cheers, Donna