Dear Readers:

We appreciate the fact the current political environment is highly charged, but we want to keep Spacefreighters Lounge a stress-free place for everyone to visit and exchange ideas about SFR.

Therefore, we ask that you please refrain from making political references that may antagonize those with differing viewpoints. Thank you for your consideration.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Would you change the colour of your skin?

During a discussion with another author on skin colour, she happened to mention the blue people of Kentucky to me. I'd never heard of them before, so I rushed to Wikipedia to look them up. And there they were! Seriously, this isn't a joke.

They suffer from a rare genetically inherited condition called Methemoglobinemia characterized by a higher percentage of methemoglobin in the blood - an oxidised form of hemoglobin - causing tissue hypoxia. Basically, less oxygen gets to the tissues so they turn blue, just as you would if you were suffocating. Certain drugs can also cause 'acquired methemoglobinemia', and the classic 'blue-baby' syndrome is caused by nitrates ingested in tap water.

Argyria sufferers - taken from Wikipedia
There's also a condition called Argyria caused by excessive exposure to silver, which affects humans and animals as silver is accumulated in the body over time. Because of the low toxicity of silver and its related compounds, the condition is considered 'cosmetically undesirable' rather than medically threatening. With my hero in Keir being blue-skinned, the whole subject fascinated me. The idea of him being blue came from the alien entity in his ancestry, but now it seemed the idea of blue skin wasn't such an alien one. It happens!

But blue skin isn't the only odd colour change for humans. Carotenosis is a more common one - or one perhaps more well-known - where the excessive intake of carrots (or other vegetables containing the pigment carotene) turns the skin orange. It occurs most often in vegetarians and younger children, and is more noticeable in those with fair skin. It's a benign condition but one likely to draw attention!

Carotenoderma of the nose - taken from Wikipedia

Of course, you can brown your skin by tanning in the sun, or by using spray tans. Unless, like me, you're white-skinned and redhaired, burning at the mere touch of a summer sunbeam. But scientists are now looking at the possibility of taking a pill or smearing on a cream to naturally turn your skin darker, or even lighter if you wish it. Skin, hair and eye colour are mostly determined by the pigment melanin. Scientists have been working on a way to chemically stimulate melanin production in the skin of mice to give them natural protection from the sun. The same technique could also be used to lighten skin, and potentially hair and eye colour. All with far less mess than using dyes. Perhaps in the future we might even see a pill that could turn your brown eyes blue. :-P

Or maybe we'll find a way to transplant the chromatophores that allow chameleons to change their colour into our own skins, changing it at will or to match our mood. Would you like the ability to change your appearance with a thought? Or might it lead to public embarrassment if the colour change revealed your secret feelings for someone in public? No more guessing if that man across the room is giving you the eye or has noticed that your skirt is tucked in your knickers. Passion and hate shown by a single, simple colour change.



And if we could change the colour of our skin to show our true feelings, would we give up wearing clothing? Who needs that little black dress when we can change our skin to every colour of the rainbow. How might our language change? Would we give up speech and communicate in colour?

So what colour would you like to be today?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wild Hogs Memorial Day

MISSION SUCCESS
Laurie's Journal

On the writing front, I had a bit of "home work" to do over the holiday weekend including a few tweaks to a couple of scenes in my first novel...and *drum roll* christening it with a new title!

I'm not going to share what that new title is just yet--I've learned the value of suspense--but watch for a future post on that subject. In the meantime, it shall be known as:

The Novel Formerly Known as P2PC

(tee hee)

My next task is to get back to work on The Outer Planets. I've set a goal of RWA Nationals for the completing the final rub out, polish, and shine. *rolls up sleeves*

Wax on, wax off.

Memorial Day Outing

I'm very lucky to live in an area that's known for being the setting of Hollywood westerns and aging biker flicks. For Memorial Day, David and I made the short drive to Madrid (MAD-rid), New Mexico to enjoy the rustic charm of the mining-community-turned-artist-colony and Harley Club destination.

Madrid gained a bit of fame (and a lot of sprucing up) as the main set for the movie Wild Hogs, but it was already a died-in-the-wool Biker Central long before the movie was filmed. The narrow tree-lined main road, quaint artists shops, Mineshaft Tavern and quirky eateries make for quite a draw.

We enjoyed people-watching, motorcycle-admiring and truly spectacular weather from our restaurant patio table over a scrumptious fish and chips lunch. Ahhh, summer!

Here's a few photos from our day.

From the patio at The Holar Restaurant 
overlooking the Mineshaft Tavern deck.
(Visits from local dogs provided at no extra charge.)

A purdy yeller trike that caught my eye,
parked at the Mineshaft Tavern.

The famous/infamous Mineshaft Tavern

Mug Shot! On the deck at the original soda fountain shop.
(This is the look you get when you snap a Candid Camera on me. heh)

Of course, Memorial Day is all about remembering those who sacrificed so much for our country and our way of life. If you have a minute, please check out the video David put together from recent pics of some of the monuments and memorials in DC and posted on Facebook. I think he did an excellent job. What do you think?


~~ * ~~

Friday, May 25, 2012

SUZANNE BROCKMANN'S NEW SFR: GENIUS AT WORK

Occasionally you pick up a book and you know you’re in the presence of genius.

It’s like stepping onto a train and being instantly, soundlessly whisked away from the platform. Within seconds, the landscape changes outside the train’s windows and before you take your next breath you’re in a new world, filled with fascinating people. That train just keeps speeding along, and it seems like you never want the ride to end. But, inevitably, you reach your destination, the doors open and you step back onto the platform in your own world again. Wide awake now. Smarter, or better or at least happier.

I could have predicted that kind of reading experience from romantic suspense writer Suzanne Brockmann. The prolific author of over 50 books, including the popular Tall, Dark and Dangerous series (originally for Harlequin Silhouette, now out in HQN) and the Troubleshooters series, both featuring U.S. Navy SEALs as heroes, has a huge, devoted following. She’s a regular on both the USA TODAY and NEW YORK TIMES bestseller lists. She’s won two RITA awards and RWA’s “favorite book of the year” three years running. Paranormal superstar J.R.Ward considers her a mentor, as do the many writers who have benefited from her workshops and classes. What’s not to like?

Well, um, Navy SEALs? I’m not a huge fan of military anything—science fiction, thrillers, or suspense. (And before you start—Classic TREK was not military SF, despite the ranks and discipline of Starfleet.) I like to see things blow up as much as the next geek, though, so I will make exceptions. Military guys are just not my preferred romantic heroes—too many strong, silent, military types in my own family—so for a long time I thought Suzanne Brockmann might not be my cup of tea.

Still, when I heard that she had started a new series set in the future, that she’d started what was, in essence, a science fiction romance series, I just had to read it. The book is Born to Darkness, the first in her Fighting Destiny series, about an organization of people with enhanced psy skills fighting a war against kidnapping and drugs in a world on the edge of full economic collapse. And Oh. My. God.

Genius.

Okay, the science is not overwhelming. Our heroes’ psy skills are enhanced because they are already capable of using a greater proportion of their brain power than the rest of us. Computers have identified them among the population and brought them into the organization for systematic training. (The drug they are fighting does the same thing chemically, but has the nasty side effect of making people psychotic.) Nothing really new here. Just a few twists.

But the writing skills! Within seconds of meeting any character on the page, we know the essentials about him or her. We know that Michelle “Mac” MacKenzie is smart, but insecure, tough, but vulnerable, not because of any info-dumping, but because of some subtle magic of integrative story-telling. We know that ex-SEAL Shane Laughlin may feel guilty over what happened on his last mission, but he’s the last guy to ever have done anything wrong, not because Suzanne tells us the whole story, but because somehow she shows us who Shane is by how he acts.

Such a contrast to some of the more recent SFR reads I’ve experienced, in which the story drags on and on while I wait for some clue as to who the main character is—what made her like this? What is his problem? Why are they acting the way they are?

Everything works together seamlessly in this book to reinforce the characters’ goals, motivation and conflict. For example, Suzanne could have given Mac any kind of psy skills—telepathy, telekinesis, clairvoyance, the ability to read objects—but she gave her heightened empathy (the ability to read emotions, even past emotions) and the ability to change her appearance. Part of the consequence of the combination of these skills is that Mac can make herself super-attractive to others on demand. So when she and Shane hook up for a mind-blowing one-night stand, Mac refuses to trust Shane’s attraction to her. She thinks he’s responding to her unconscious manipulation of him, which just feeds her self-loathing.

And his reaction? He’s a SEAL (forget the ex-, that doesn’t even count). What do you think? Yep. Just makes him that more determined.

More complications ensue when he’s recruited as a trainee for the same organization she not only works for, but is second-in-command for. Her vow to never see him again gets shot to hell when it’s discovered he’s nothing special in the psy department, but he has the ability to boost her powers just by being in the same room. Add sex and the numbers go through the roof. Awkward!

All this plays out against a suspense plot of the first caliber, set in a near-future world that is chillingly believable. The secondary characters, including gay lovers Elliot and Stephen, all have stories of their own and are as lovingly drawn as Mac and Shane, promising a rich and diverse series ahead.

As yet another major author enters the SFR field (and Sherrilyn Kenyon hits the bestseller list with Born of Silence, the latest in her League series), we can only hope this augurs a trend. Are you listening, New York?

Cheers, Donna

Friday, May 18, 2012

A NEW AUDIENCE FOR NAUGHTY

Recently my blog partner Laurie sent me a link to a YouTube® video parody of E.L. James’s breakout novel trilogy 50 Shades of Grey. I haven’t read the books, but who hasn’t heard the buzz, and the parody was hilarious. I would share the video with you all here, but I’m not sure it’s appropriate for a general audience.

The point is that the books have become such a phenomenon that even a determined effort to ignore them will be wasted. So, let’s discuss. How is it that something like this can happen?

Those of us who aspire to be professional authors slave over our computers for years, tweaking every word, seeking just the right formula of character and plot that will catch the agent’s eye or the editor’s ear. For us progress is glacial, though we occasionally have a little melt that carries us a few feet in a good day or a mile in a huge jolting leap forward.

But here’s this piece of hastily re-written fan fiction (yes, this was originally posted to a Twilight fanfic site) that somehow goes viral, snags the attention of the Powers That Be in New York and its unknown, (apparently) unskilled author wins the publishing lottery.

Is it that the ideas expressed in the work are new, or done differently somehow? Okay, I haven’t read the books, but from all accounts the answer is no. Nothing about the story of a young “innocent” woman in New York City having sexual adventures with a rich, sexually sophisticated/demanding man is new. The book is erotica, plain and simple. Our own Friend of Spacefreighters, Barbara Elsborg, writes in that genre and does an excellent job of it, thank you very much. And she’s not the only one (she’s just one of the best).

What E.L.James and her handlers managed to do was find a new audience for something that has been around for quite some time. For the crowd that is swooning over 50 Shades of Grey, erotica truly is a new thing. These are grown women who love Twilight, even though it is aimed at a much younger audience. Twilight deliberately avoids sex, for appropriate reasons. Twelve-year-olds shouldn’t be having any.

Romance novels aimed at adult audiences, especially paranormals featuring vampires, do anything BUT avoid sex. Christine Feehan, who along with Sherrilyn Kenyon started the whole paranormal phenomenon, writes some of the hottest vampire novels around in her Carpathian series. For readers of her books, well-written erotica is hardly shocking. It’s expected.

But for the mommies who were reading their daughters’ Twilight books, not so. When they got wind of this new thing, they suddenly discovered they were adults. Now they can’t seem to get enough. It’s a “mommie porn” stampede, worthy of laughs on Saturday Night Live.

The one good thing that could come out of this is that the competent writers of elegant erotica (like Barbara) and better paranormal romance (like Christine) should benefit from the expanded audience of enlightened readers. I’ve been telling everyone who brings up 50 Shades of Grey with me about Barbara and her books and sending them to Amazon to buy them. (Barbara—if you have business cards, send me a bunch.)

Meanwhile, E.L. James is getting paid, and as my friend Linda says, I ain’t mad at her. She got lucky—proof that the lottery does have winners. The rest of us keep buying our tickets and hoping our numbers come up.

Donna’s Journal

Action

The partial I sent out a while back yielded a request for a full from a major agent this week—for both my novels! The same day I got another request for fulls for both novels from another well-known agent based on a query-plus-five pages. Woo-hoo! Now my fingernails are being bitten down to the quick while I wait for their responses. Fingers and toes crossed, y’all!


Ping Pong


Huge congratulations to Laurie on signing with her agent last week! We are indeed building some momentum around here.

Cheers,
Donna

Monday, May 14, 2012

One Giant Leap...

LAURIE'S JOURNAL

When Neil Armstrong first stepped on the Moon, he uttered a timeless statement: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Today, I have a "giant leap" to announce in my writing career:

I've been offered representation by Amanda Luedeke of MacGregor Literary, Inc!

My agent search has been a long and challenging one, but I've always believed the right agent was out there--the one who could really get behind my work (and SFR)--and someday I'd hit the jackpot.

*ding! ding! ding!* 

So how did this all come about? It began with a tip to read an article on the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Chiseled in Rock blog from peer Isis Rushdan. (Thanks again, Isis! You are amazing!) If you click the link to read it, I think you'll see why I was so excited to query Amanda.

MacGregor Literary doesn't accept unsolicited manuscripts, so after a bit of digging I found a way to contact Amanda (where there's a will, there's a way!) and told her I'd read the interview, and my first three SFR manuscripts had all finaled in the Golden Heart. She invited me to query her with the first chapter of P2PC. That was about three weeks ago.

Within days, she'd written back asking for the full! (Okay, now I was REALLY jazzed!)

Off went the full, and less than a week later Amanda contacted me to say she loved P2PC--"couldn't put it down"--and asked if we could set up a time to talk. We scheduled a telephone appointment and at the end of our (hour and a half!) talk, she offered me representation. By that point, I was already sure of my decision but asked for a couple of days to think of any further questions.

By the end of the week, I had a contract in hand.

As soon as I get the signed contract back to Amanda, I'll be shouting my news from the nearest jumbotron, but since our MISSION: SUCCESS journals have been all about our journey--and especially our forward momentum--I wanted to break the news here on Spacefreighters Lounge. You heard it here first.  :)   

THE POWER OF POSITIVE THOUGHT

We started our MISSION: SUCCESS journals about a year ago, and since then some amazing things have happened! Sharon sold her debut novel to Tor that will release on October 30th. I finaled in the Golden Heart (twice in 2011 and again in 2012), Donna doubled finaled in the Golden Heart in 2012, Pippa Jay launched her debut novel, and now...I have an agent.

Setting positive goals and striving to achieve them, no matter the obstacles and setbacks, does pay off. I once read a quote that I've thought of many times when I was struggling through some more discouraging times:

If you give up too soon, you'll never know how close you were to success.

I think it's so true. In this business, sudden opportunities can arise that give your writing career a boost to light speed...but only if you don't abandon your course. You never know if tomorrow, next week, next month or next year just the right opportunity will appear on your scanner. I can vouch for that.

"Never give up! Never surrender!"

CONTINUING EDUCATION

As writers, we're permanently enrolled in a self-directed continuing education program. Books on craft, and online and real time workshops can help us hone our storytelling skills to a finer point. At our LERA chapter (local RWA) meeting on Saturday, fellow SFR Brigade Sarah Shade gave a mesmerizing presentation on:


The Secret Language of Words: How to Use the Power of Myth 


Sarah based her Master's thesis on these elements in dance--or how to communicate these ideas via physical expression without words. Writers can use these techniques to better connect with readers via cultural and universal symbolism, metaphor and primordial images. Examples gleaned from popular media such as Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones were wonderful illustrations:

What is the significance of Number Four Privet Lane?

What did Gandalf's transformation in Lord of the Rings represent?

What's the metaphorical meaning behind the four directions in Game of Thrones?

I discovered, much to my surprise, I subconsciously include these elements and ideas in my work, but the presentation really opened my eyes on how to do it better.

Sound intriguing? You bet! For those attending RWA in Anaheim in July, you'll have an opportunity to attend Sarah's workshop on Saturday. Be sure to mark your schedule.

RESEARCH RADAR

Looking for a fresh idea? Inspiration? A cool, new discovery? Predictions for the near future? I've got a couple of  tidbits for you, gleaned from our news bar.

io9's interview with Prometheus writer John Spaihts reveals his take on the newest movie that isn't necessarily an offspring of the wildly-successful Alien franchise, but "shares DNA" with it.  A fascinating read about SF on the big screen.

How to Create a Great Space Movie

To BOLD-ly go. Biological Oxidant and Life Detection--BOLD, a new Mars exploration initiative--will be discussed at the "Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration" to be held June 12-14 at the Houston area Lunar and Planetary Institute. But you can read more here...

A BOLD New Chance for Mars Exploration

PING PONG

Pippa:
Congrats again on the release of your debut novel, KEIR. It's been so fun and exciting sharing your launch and watching the kudos roll in on your wonderful story.

Sharon:
You're next!!!

Donna:
I know it's a matter of time before you'll be breaking some very big news, too. I think SFR's time has come and we're ready to ride the wave!

~~ * ~~

Friday, May 11, 2012

Donna’s Journal

The Agent Hunt, Redux

Finaling in the 2012 RWA® Golden Heart® contest is no guarantee of publishing success. But it certainly opens a lot of previously closed doors, particularly when it comes to querying agents. Whispering (or in some cases, shouting) the words “Double Finalist” while knocking at the big oaken slab at the gates of Oz does sometimes make the little peephole way at the top slide open for a brief moment. And you don’t hear that standard answer, “No one sees the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz, not no way, not no how!” nearly as often.

All of which is to say that my search for an agent, moribund for more than a year except for the occasional conference meeting or request from a contest, has been revitalized by my Golden Heart® nominations. I’m devising a new list of agents to query and planning to send out a new batch between now and July, when I pitch to yet another big name at the RWA National Conference in Anaheim. All because I get to say in that opening line: I thought perhaps you’d be interested in my science fiction/suspense romance novels Unchained Memory and Trouble in Mind. They both finaled in the Paranormal category of the 2012 RWA® Golden Heart® contest.

I’m hoping there are a few new agents out there that I might have missed in my first pass. A few may sit up and take notice that didn’t bother to reply before. I think I’ve refined my pitch, too, since the early days of querying and that will help. Still, the stories are what they are—if they appeal, I’ll get the response I want. If they don’t, the agents will give them a pass, Golden Heart® or no.

I do have some resources available to me now that I didn’t have the first time around. My fellow GH finalists are quite active, sharing information about agents on an online loop. That supplements the inside scoop I get from my own personal GH gurus here at Spacefreighters!

Recently the ladies on the loop were raving about something called QueryTracker, an online resource to help writers get information on agents and publishers and to track their own query lists (www.querytracker.net). Okay, you all know I’m a techno-Luddite, but, people, this is the best thing for writers since email submissions. All in one place, you have the information about the agents and their agencies (or the publishers), what they’re looking for, their submission requirements, their average query rate and response time (!), and loads of other valuable information. You can find an agent based on a number of search factors—genre, for example, or geographic region. But that’s not all.

You can set up a tracking system for your own agent search which will maintain the records of which agents you’ve queried and when, when they replied and what they asked for, when you sent them and what and what their response was, all in a neatly displayed format. You can program the system to remind you that Agent So-and-So should have responded to your query by now, so you can gently tweak her with an email. And, of course, QT will provide you with various reports of the number of queries, submissions, responses, etc. you’ve done or received.

You can set up a profile and interact with other aspiring writers in QT’s forum, exchanging information about your search and theirs. And there’s a blog with tips and help for the ongoing struggle that is our lot.

And the best part? I can’t decide. Is it because IT’S ALL FREE? Or because IT’S ACTUALLY EASY TO USE!!

You know me. I don’t take to these things easily. But QueryTracker was so easy to use I found myself wanting to play around with stuff. Even the demo video was clear and understandable. Wow! When was the last time you sat through one of those without falling asleep?

There is a premium membership option that involves some cost, but I’m not sure why you would need it. The freebie version provides me with a big enough playground, but perhaps others would need more.

Of course, the old reliable www.agentquery.com, a database of agents and agencies, is still available to help with your agent search. You can search by genre, but the information is laid out in somewhat haphazard fashion, so research can be a bit slow using the site. Click to search “romance” genre, for example, and the first files to come up are Kristin Nelson of the Nelson Literary Agency and Jenny Bent of the Bent Agency. Not exactly alphabetical, but at least the files’ details are there for you to see.

Up-to-date information on individual agents, once you’ve identified them, is best done by going to their websites/social media or through each agent’s Publishers Marketplace listing (this is also true of QueryTracker). You can reach these through the direct links provided in each agent’s file.

So, how is all this searching coming along? Well, I did get one answer back from the Great and Powerful Oz last week—a request for a partial (for both manuscripts) from a big-name agent that in my earlier go-round had been a complete pass. So, who knows? I’ll just keep knocking and saying the magic words and maybe one day the gates to the Emerald City will swing wide.

Meanwhile, WATCH THIS SPACE for a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT from one of my blog partners! Yeah, the hits just keep on coming around here!

Cheers, Donna

A good day for Ghost Planet

171 days until launch. Today was a very good day!

Last year when my agent received the offer from Tor, a good friend of mine put me in touch with a friend of his who is a multi-published author, thinking I might be interested in chatting with a pro about the very big step I was about to take.

It turned out the author was Kat Richardson (bestselling author of the Greywalker paranormal detective series). I knew who she was, because a few years ago when I toured the Seattle Underground in hopes of using that setting as a sort of sanctuary for the homeless in my second novel (ECHO 8), I found that Kat had already done something similar. (I decided to use a creepy old boat instead. Kat's forthcoming release SEAWITCH is set on . . . a creepy old boat. But no homeless people!)

I found Kat a generous person full of good advice. We even have a similar marketing challenge, with our books having two distinct audiences. Since our first email exchange, I have consulted her another time or two, and have joined her local write-in group.

When the time came for blurbs, I immediately thought it would be AWESOME to get Kat. But I was nervous. She was a friend of a friend, and had been kind, and I didn't want to put her in an awkward position. Finally I worked up the nerve to ask, assuring her I would completely understand if (A) she didn't have time, or (B) she decided to read the book but didn't like it.

She graciously agreed to read it, and I heard from her today. Her email was titled "GHOST PLANET," which is of course what it would be titled, but it took me back to my days of querying, and staring at those responses, afraid to open them.

Kat is part imp. You can tell by reading her posts on social media. This is how she started the email:

I've been having a hard time figuring out how to say this, so I guess I'll just blurt it out and get it over with:

Heart drops through stomach. And chair. And floor. And center of the earth.

I was already working on my internal pep talk by the time I absorbed the rest of the email, which took a few passes. Here is an excerpt from her feedback, which included an endorsement she posted on Facebook, Google+, and her personal blog.

OH MY GOD! Finally a Science Fiction novel where the Relationship is as important as the Science and the won't-let-you-go story literally will not work without BOTH! Perfect balance! The pace was great and the story hooked me right up front and kept on twisting and turning all the way to the satisfying end...A novel about complex relationships, dependence, independence, and identity that's also about ecology, science, and coexistence...Fantastic! Congratulations on a wonderful read!

And really, there's nothing else to say about that except THANK YOU, KAT! And everyone go out and buy Seawitch. (Note: GP also received an awesome endorsement from award-winning author Linnea Sinclair, which you can read about here.)

Playlist & Pinterest

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one day, I had even more fun with promotion. I finally got the iTunes playlist for GHOST PLANET updated and linked from my web site. And I spent far too much time fooling around with Pinterest, so there's now a GHOST PLANET board.

I'll give the links below. If you click the one for the playlist, you'll be asked if it's okay to launch iTunes. If you'd rather skip that, you can also just search the iTunes store for "Ghost Planet playlist."

- Ghost Planet Playlist
- Ghost Planet Pinterest Board

Do you guys do playlists? Pinterest boards? Would love to see them!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Keir Book Release Tour - Why Keir is oh so blue!


The original image for Keir

The normal response to discovering my male MC has blue skin used to be “Oh, so like Avatar?” (grrr!) Okay, yes, I fully understand why that comparison leaps to mind. The sad fact is that Keir popped into my head all blue, tattooed and tortured five years before Avatar was even rumoured. How’s that for irony? And, of course, Avatar is hardly the first scifi to have blue aliens either, but that’s usually the one mentioned first.

Diva Plavalaguna - The Fifth Element


The Groske - Doctor Who/Sarah-Jane Adventures

So why blue? I mean apart from it being my favourite colour along with green. Aside from an obsession with a certain magician with woad tattoos (see Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle - Merlin) and a fascination with The Nightcrawler from X-Men.

Well, let’s take a few colours in order. Firstly red. Red is a good strong colour, but already synonymous with demonic kind - a bit of a cliché perhaps? Also the fact that blood doesn’t show up so well (yeah, I’m blood-thirsty - it needs to show up!), and it’s a very powerful, dominating colour - not really Keir’s personality. Orange? Hmmm, Quin’s hair could technically be described as orange (she’s a redhead and my female MC) and I wanted a strong contrast between their appearances, so that’s a no. Yellow - urgh, a touch bilious? I could have described him as golden, but again, that’s an almost angelic description and so going too far in the opposite direction. Green is definitely out - The Hulk, The Green Goblin, and the often used green ichor/blood for aliens/monsters. Indigo is nice, that mid-shade between blue and purple, but there’s not many other words you can use for it. Purple? Hmm. I’m not a fan of purple. The lighter shades I feel are a bit girly (well, my daughter likes them and my boys don’t, so it would be hard for me to visualise Keir in mauve!) and the darker ones - no.

Now blue. Blue is a good colour. Tranquil, which is certainly part of Keir’s personality. Goes with almost anything. And while the Avatar aliens are more sky blue, Keir’s skin is that dark, rich shade of the sky before true dark falls. The blue that’s almost a hint of indigo.
 
I know the image I first bought for Keir is probably more like the Avatar aliens, but at the time it was the only one I could find that came close, and the expression was perfect. Even though I now have cover art, that image has been with me for so long and has been such a favourite that I’ve kept it, even if it does scream ‘Avatar’!

So Keir is blue. End of. :)