Wednesday, February 29, 2012

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Pauline Baird Jones

BROADLY SPEAKING AUTHORS FOR FEBRUARY 2012

I hosted the February Broadly Speaking for Broad Universe this year and had the pleasure to discuss one of my favorite topics, Romance in Speculative Fiction, with three wonderful writers: Brenda Cooper, Alexa Grave, and Pauline Baird Jones. You'll get to meet all of them this week. Today Pauline Baird Jones picked six.


Click here to listen to the podcast or go to:
http://broadlyspeaking.posterous.com/february-2012-romance


HEIDI'S PICK SIX


Pauline Baird Jones


1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
I was at Twisted Gears last weekend and everyone kept asking me which was my favorite book. I told them, "That's like asking me to pick which kid is my favorite." LOL! But if you promise not to tell, I'd have to say Doc from GIRL GONE NOVA is probably my favorite. She really surprised me as she started to emerge from the fog. I liked her, then I didn't like her, then I loved her. The other characters describe her as a bit creepy and she is, but she's also fun and funny and she can kick serious tush.


2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
4. What else can you do besides write?
5. Who are you reading right now?
6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
My inspirations often come from desperations. There are days when I pull it out of my tush. And yeah, its kind of painful. And then there are the days where it flows from my playlist (eclectic) or from a photograph or the turn of a head or a dream. I guess the good news is, it still comes, no matter where I find it.


9. Food you could eat everyday.
Chocolate. Actually, I probably do eat it every day. Wash it down with Diet Dr. Pepper. And donuts. I don't eat donuts every day, even though I could, because I'd have to go out and get them and I'm a hermit. (grin)


10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I commit random acts of writing and that includes plotting. I literally make it up as I go along. It is in the editing where I take back control. I used to not like it, but now editing is my friend.


13. Celebrity crush.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
Probably Mary Stewart, Alastair Maclean and Georgette Heyer. And chocolate and Diet Dr. Pepper. I learned about pacing, plotting and characters from all three of them. There are more, but I give these three the most credit.


15. Do you still watch cartoons?
Phineas and Ferb and The Road Runner. Hunted down The Jetsons for an upcoming blog post and had to laugh at how forward thinking NOT it was. They set it in the future, but the people were a lot like the people then. A LOT. LOL!


Pauline Baird Jones reads across genres, so it shouldn’t have surprised when her writing went cross genre. Thankfully she does not need to understand cross genre-ing to do it, though she does concede it is a bit whacky for a confirmed hermit to write about crossing space and time.

She began her writing career penning romantic suspense (because fictional murder doesn’t get you strip searched) but she had a secret longing to ramp up the spills, chills and daring do.

Pauline planned to continue writing romantic suspense and humorous mystery, committing fictional mayhem on her characters, but a funny thing happened on the way to finishing Out of Time. This time travel to World War II was suspenseful, but it also had lots of action and high adventure. And she liked it. And she got to keep committing fictional mayhem on her characters. Win-win.

She wrote The Key, sure it was an action and adventure romance—and it was—but someone pointed out it was also science fiction romance. Wait a minute. Could it be that she’d been mixing fiction into her science since high school? (Oops, sorry science teachers!) Hmm, why not go where she hasn’t gone before? So she did.

The Key was the first in her Project Enterprise series, which will conclude with #6, Kicking Ashe.

To find out more about her and her books please stop by: http://www.paulinebjones.com

To buy her books, visit: http://www.amazon.com/Pauline-Baird-Jones/e/B000APFS0M




Also read:
PATHS TO PUBLICATION: Brenda Cooper
SECRET WRITERS: Alexa Grave

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

SECRET WRITERS: Alexa Grave

BROADLY SPEAKING AUTHORS FOR FEBRUARY 2012

I hosted the February Broadly Speaking for Broad Universe this year and had the pleasure to discuss one of my favorite topics, Romance in Speculative Fiction, with three wonderful writers: Brenda Cooper, Alexa Grave, and Pauline Baird Jones. You'll get to meet all of them this week. Today I have secret writer Alexa Grave.


Click here to listen to the podcast or go to:
http://broadlyspeaking.posterous.com/february-2012-romance


Secret Writers

Modern Magic

ALEXA GRAVE
Some writers use pseudonyms to separate their personal and writing lives, and some use them to have different names associated with different genres they write in. I'm not either of those writer types, though. Alexa Grave is who I am when I write, plain and simple.

All the way back in high school--days that are too far in the past for my taste--I was working on my first novel. This novel will never see the light of day, but the pseudonym I created while writing it will always be with me. Alexa Grave was born while writing that novel, and she is here to stay. Of course, the name means more to me than it did back then. It's a contrast of light and dark, which is what I try to infuse in my writing as well. There is a power behind the name that inspires me and calls to my muses when I sit down to write.

When it concerns my writing, I can't imagine being anyone other than Alexa Grave.

BIO
Alexa Grave loves to tell stories--it just so happens her characters occasionally take her on an unexpected ride. Her story "Kindled Morphogenesis" can be found in the anthology Modern Magic: Tales of Fantasy and Horror. Please visit her at her blog Born to Write or her website Alexa Grave's Writing Corner. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter!

LINKS
WEBSITE - Alexa Grave's Writing Corner: http://alexagrave.com


- Modern Magic: http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Magic-Tales-Fantasy-Horror/dp/0971360847



- Born to Write: http://alexagrave.blogspot.com



- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alexa-Grave/114243088591596



- @AlexaGrave - http://twitter.com/AlexaGrave


Also read:
PATHS TO PUBLICATION: Brenda Cooper

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: PAULINE BAIRD JONES

Monday, February 27, 2012

PATHS TO PUBLICATION: Brenda Cooper

BROADLY SPEAKING AUTHORS FOR FEBRUARY 2012

I hosted the February Broadly Speaking for Broad Universe this year and had the pleasure to discuss one of my favorite topics, Romance in Speculative Fiction, with three wonderful writers: Brenda Cooper, Alexa Grave, and Pauline Baird Jones. You'll get to meet all of them this week, starting today with Brenda's path to publication.


Click here to listen to the podcast or go to:
http://broadlyspeaking.posterous.com/february-2012-romance


PATHS TO PUBLICATION

Wow. I had an easy path, comparatively. I have been good friends with writer Steven Barnes for decades, and he introduced me to his collaborator, Larry Niven. Larry and Steve and I shared an interest in yoga, and through enough twists and turns for a novel (which I won't subject you to), Larry and I began collaborating as well. We sold a number of short stories, and I began to sell short stories of my own. One day while walking around Lake Sacajawea in Longview, Washington, we came up with an idea for a novel. The idea eventually became Building Harlequin's Moon, which took a few years to finish, and which I'm still proud of today. Larry and I haven't done any other books together since then, but I will always be grateful for the introductions he provided and for the advice. I learned a lot from writing with him.

So I guess I took the "be lucky enough to find a fabulous mentor" path into publishing. I was doing my work – I was writing and studying and learning. If I hadn't been, either the opportunity wouldn't have come my way, or I wouldn't have known enough to take it and make it work. Come to think of it, a lot of the stubbornness that keeps me working can be directly traced back to Steve, and some classes I assisted at while he taught. So maybe I even had "dual mentor luck." But at any rate, I know I am blessed in my friends. While I don't think anyone should expect this path to be visible or available, and while I don't think it can be found (a stranger generally can't walk up to a published author and ask to collaborate – that's a better way to get awkward silences than help), it does happen. Often not this directly. But in the speculative fiction field, the tradition is to help one another, to pass it forward, and to smooth the path for new writers. At this stage in my career, I've had help from more than just Larry and Steve, and been help other people. This is, after all, a community.

My most recent book is rather close to my heart. It's called Mayan December, and its the first fantasy, the first contemporary (partly) novel I've ever written, and the first historical (partly) novel I've ever written. Mayan December is set at the end of the Mayan Calendar on the Yucatan Peninsula, which is one of the most beautiful places in the world. And no, the world doesn't end. Mayan December came out last August from Prime Books, and can be found in physical and electronic forms in all of the usual places. The first few chapters are available for a sample at http://www.mayan-december.com. My next books out will be science fiction duology that Lou Anders is publishing over at Pyr. Let's call it blended story that's a bit of hard SF set on a generation ship and a bit of the Eva Peron story. And also a nice little space revolution. Oh, and…

-Brenda Cooper
February 2012


--

Brenda Cooper lives in the rain-sodden and beautiful Pacific Northwest where she works as a technology executive and writes science fiction and fantasy in the wee hours of the morning. Her most recent published novel, Mayan December, came out from Prime Books last August, and Pyr will be publishing a duology that can loosely be described as "Evita in Space" in 2011 and 2012.

Also read:
SECRET WRITERS: ALEXA GRAVE

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: PAULINE BAIRD JONES

Friday, February 17, 2012

SFFS: Snippet from Greenshift #9

SFFS Snippet

A TALE FROM THE AMBASADORA-VERSE: GREENSHIFT

Greenshift is a novel set in the Ambasadora-verse one month before Ambasadora begins.

DESCRIPTION: David Anlow, a fleet captain forced into early retirement and jaded by an ex-lover, now spends his lonely days shuttling around a group of scientists for hire.

Boston Maribu, Mari to her friends, is one of his passengers, a young botanist who is as beautiful as she is naïve and innocent.

When Mari asks David to teach her about more than just piloting the Bard, nights on their ship heat up and their feelings for each other mature into a relationship neither expects. But a suspicious new client shows up with wicked plans for Mari, and the soldier inside David comes alive, ready to fight for the young woman who stole his heart.

SNIPPET #1
SNIPPET #2
SNIPPET #3
SNIPPET #4
SNIPPET #5
SNIPPET #6
SNIPPET #7
SNIPPET #8

--

"That was a bad move," Sean said. "You're playing a risky game with a guy like David."

"What do you mean?" Mari asked, pretending she wasn't just thinking the same thing.

"You know exactly what I mean. Helping me to bed? This kind of behavior will backfire, especially using me to try and make him jealous. He can't stand me."

"I thought you couldn't stand him," Mari said.

"We have a mutual antipathy for one another."

"You're quite eloquent when you're drunk."

--

Find more snippets from other wonderful authors at Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Book: Greenshift (A Tale from the Ambasadora-verse)

Books

Greenshift is here!

This is a new novel set in the Ambasadora-verse. It's the first of many stand alone stories which don't necessarily follow the main arc of the epic Ambasadora series. Greenshift takes place one month before Ambasadora begins.

DESCRIPTION: David Anlow, a fleet captain forced into early retirement and jaded by an ex-lover, now spends his lonely days shuttling around a group of scientists for hire.

Boston Maribu, Mari to her friends, is one of his passengers, a young botanist who is as beautiful as she is naïve and innocent.

When Mari asks David to teach her about more than just piloting the Bard, nights on their ship heat up and their feelings for each other mature into a relationship neither expects. But a suspicious new client shows up with wicked plans for Mari, and the soldier inside David comes alive, ready to fight for the young woman who stole his heart.

And here are the stops along my Virtual Book Tour (VBT). Some of them will have great giveaways!

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13
"The Making of a Cover: Greenshift Reveal"
Heidi Ruby Miller's Geek Girl Underground on Inveterate Media Junkies (IMJ)


WINNERS:
VictimPrime - AMBASADORA and GREENSHIFT
Locusmortis - AMBASADORA
ed2962 - GREENSHIFT
ktnish88 - GREENSHIFT


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14
"Eye F*cking and Other Non-Verbal Communication"
Love, Lasers & Light Swords Backward Momentum's 1st Annual Valentine's Bash


WINNERS:
Barbara Elsborg - AMBASADORA and GREENSHIFT
Kaye Manro - AMBASADORA
Barbara Mountjoy - GREENSHIFT


WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15
Interview
Novel d'Tales


WINNERS:
Rob Zimmermann - AMBASADORA and GREENSHIFT
Emma Meade - GREENSHIFT
S. M. Boyce - GREENSHIFT


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16
Interview
Shawn Hopkins' Blog on Goodreads


WINNERS:
aobibliophile - AMBASADORA and GREENSHIFT
Paul - GREENSHIFT


SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18
Excerpt
Writers Get Together


WINNERS:
Brittany C. - AMBASADORA and GREENSHIFT
Eonwriter - GREENSHIFT


SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18
"Writing Futuristic Romance"
Author Gary Starta's Writers' Blog


WINNER:
Laurel Kriegler - AMBASADORA and GREENSHIFT


SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19
Interview
D. A. Bale


WINNERS:
Julie Anderson - AMBASADORA and GREENSHIFT
Gary - GREENSHIFT
Gordon Kessler - AMBASADORA


MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20
Giveaway
The Writers' Lens


WINNER:
Pauline Baird Jones - AMBASADORA and GREENSHIFT


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21
"WRITE FIRST"
Lee Allen Howard


WINNERS:
revrosevan - AMBASADORA and GREENSHIFT
Matt Betts - GREENSHIFT
Daniel McTaggart - GREENSHIFT


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21
Recipe for Drunken Chai (Ambasadora mix)
Writers and Recipes


WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22
Balancing Relationships and Adventure with Sex in my SciFi
The Writers' Lens


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28
Author Interview
Reflections on Pages


WINNERS:
TBA

Saturday, February 11, 2012

SFFS: Snippet from Greenshift #8

SFFS Snippet

A TALE FROM THE AMBASADORA-VERSE: GREENSHIFT

Greenshift is a novel set in the Ambasadora-verse one month before Ambasadora begins.

DESCRIPTION: David Anlow, a fleet captain forced into early retirement and jaded by an ex-lover, now spends his lonely days shuttling around a group of scientists for hire.

Boston Maribu, Mari to her friends, is one of his passengers, a young botanist who is as beautiful as she is naïve and innocent.

When Mari asks David to teach her about more than just piloting the Bard, nights on their ship heat up and their feelings for each other mature into a relationship neither expects. But a suspicious new client shows up with wicked plans for Mari, and the soldier inside David comes alive, ready to fight for the young woman who stole his heart.

SNIPPET #1
SNIPPET #2
SNIPPET #3
SNIPPET #4
SNIPPET #5
SNIPPET #6
SNIPPET #7

--
She couldn't see anything but the sea and sky reflected in the dark glass, but she could hear muffled music and voices from somewhere inside.

The cacophony of screamed lyrics and erratic beats blasted out at them as soon as Liu ripped open the door.

All Wren could make out at first was a triangle of light piercing into the darkness from the doorway. Then movement caught her attention near the ceiling. A small, thin parallelogram bobbed around as if in a lazy current and shined a strobing beam of blue-green light down onto the bed like a search beacon. Its focus was a rounded lump, secured by leather straps and huddled on one corner of the disheveled sheets.

Liu shouted over the deafening music. "Emotions drive the song, and it'll pick up bits of conversation."

As if to emphasize his point, an eerie strain of "Pick it up, p-p-pick it up," grated along with the fast tempo, repeating until it was nothing more than a manic scream.

Wren's entire body shook from the surreal scene and the sensory overload.

The primal shrieking only excited Liu.

--

Find more snippets from other wonderful authors at Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

PATHS TO PUBLICATION: Shirley Brosius

PATHS TO PUBLICATION


I had already written a devotional book for women when I approached publishers at writers conferences about a second book. Someone suggested that since two friends and I already had a speaking ministry called Friends of the Heart, we should write a book together. So we wrote Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides.

Our background:
In 1998 Janine Boyer and Kim Messinger had asked me to mentor them as Christian leaders. We began meeting weekly at 5:30 a.m. to discuss Christian books and five years later decided we would like to form a ministry team. We have now spoken in five states, and we lead about 15 events each year.

Who we are:
Kim is a first grade teacher and a volunteer youth leader at her church. She has one son in college and another in high school. She enjoys taking care of her Newfoundland, Mercy Grace, cooking gourmet meals, and singing, especially with her husband Matthew.

Janine works in a family business along with her husband Dave and serves as a youth and prayer ministry leader. With a son and a daughter in college, she keeps busy watching college sports, reading, and running.

I am a former teacher and director of Christian education who has written hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles. My husband and I have two married sons, a daughter waiting in heaven and five grandchildren.

Why the book:
As Janine, Kim, and I led women’s retreats, we found many women feeling guilt (both real and imagined) and some women paralyzed by guilt because of past experiences. To offer encouragement after retreats end, we wrote a book that focuses on a godly way to deal with guilt.

Each page of the daily devotional book offers readers a "Guilt Trip to Avoid," a scripture verse, a personal experience story, and a way to "Take the Joy Ride." The book includes 183 readings, enough to last six months.

-Shirley Brosius
February 2012


--

An Amazon review of Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides by Jennifer Monahan:
Guilt trips...we've all got them and we've all been along for the ride. What I love about this book is the personal stories, the confessions of taking a wrong turn into guilt, but then finding the way out and back into joy. It's encouraging and uplifting. The stories are short, to the point and highly relatable. Shirley, Janine, and Kim make a great team of co-authors bringing a wide range of situations we can connect to.

--

Find Shirley online at these links:

WEBSITE - www.shirleybrosius.com

WEBSITE - www.friendsoftheheart.us


www.shirleybrosius.blogspot.com

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Tony Rauch

HEIDI'S PICK SIX


Tony Rauch


1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
The boy in “cool spaceship, man” (from an upcoming collection: as I floated in the jar, Eraserhead Press, spring 2012)

His parents shop at thrift stores, so he wears only drab old clothes and thus has an ‘old man’ vibe about him, even though he’s just a kid.


2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
4. What else can you do besides write?

5. Who are you reading right now?
Re-reading the biography: Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshal. He was an interesting figure – very independent, didn’t take sides in matters, and thus had few friends, but was also thus trusted as he didn’t take sides in matters.

Re-reading: Return to the city of white donkeys, by James Tate. Imaginative prose-poem stories, kind of similar to Richard Brautigan’s Revenge of the lawn in tone.

I’ve been watching a lot of DVDs from friends and the library. Mad Men and Breaking Bad, which I think are really interesting in that they have hours and hour and hours to explore these people. Thus these shows are more like novels than movies or other tv shows, so they become a new paradigm. The Wire is on DVD at my local library. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to check out Deadwood, the Sopranos, etc.

Those are definitely different forms of story telling, evolving and unfolding slowly over time, so a different way of looking at things.


6. Pop culture or academia?
I like mid century modern stuff, so pop culture from the 50s and 60s, and some 70s.

The recent past is too recent. I wonder if in 20 years I’ll be nostalgic for the 90s and 00s? Probably not as the last 20 years nothing new has seemed to immerge.

I like the academia of art, music, UFOs, literature, sports, how things formed. So I study that.


7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
Often just walking around. A scene or story will pop into my head. One time I was walking my dog and saw a two foot piece of old wet rope in the grass. It looked all washed out, like a spine from an animal. It got me to thinking it was a creature slowly being broadcast here via radio waves from another planet. So I went home and wrote up that story.

Sometimes I’ll overhear something on the bus or at work and it will get me to thinking. It will just be a snipet of a conversation. Usually an ending will pop into my head and I’ll have to work backwards.

Usually the stories come to me in quiet times – at the supermarket, on the bus, walking my dog. As if they’re rattling around in my head or in the air, and they collect and coalesce in the quiet moments. So actually turning off my brain really helps, and listening to the corners of my mind.


9. Food you could eat everyday.
Really good grilled hot dogs. Fish. Chocolate cake. Ham sandwiches. Sammy’s Pizza from St. Cloud, MN (I’ve driven up there specifically just to get their pizza). Crispy Cream glazed doughnuts. Johnny Rocket’s hamburgers and chocolate malts.


10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
I bike and walk my dog (jog for about a block or 2). It’s good to get out, get fresh air, grove my body, meet new people, see new things. I feel cooped up a lot of the time.

I don’t have time for much else, though I should canoe as there are lakes by my house.

I follow NBA basketball and a little Major League baseball. I watch some NFL football.


11. What kind of music speaks to you?
All kinds. Punk. New wave. Heavy metal and hard rock before 1985. College alternative from the 70s, 80s, 90s. Lounge music from the 50s and 60s. Jazz from the 50s. Classic country and gospel from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Blues from the 50s.

A little bit of everything, depending on my mood. Luckily there are radio programs that play some of this, so it's available to hear stuff I haven’t heard before to keep things fresh.


12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
Usually I get the ending first. Something will just pop into my head, a last line or scene. Then I’ll work backwards from that. Sometimes the entire thing will hit me – beginning, middle, ending. Mostly I write short stories, so there’s not too much to remember.

Sometimes I’ll get a great premise, and it won’t go anywhere. I’ll get an interesting beginning or middle, but then no ending will come to me. I save them and sometimes a few years later an ending will hit me.

Sometimes I’ll get a really good idea that I won’t be able to get to snap.

I only outline really long work, just to be sure I’m not redundant with my info, and to streamline the story as much as possible. As a writer it’s easy to get overly wordy.


13. Celebrity crush.
Only 2 or 3, which is interesting in itself (I mean, why only 2? Shouldn’t I like a lot of things? Why limit yourself?).

Almost too embarrassing to admit to. They are usually more obscure actresses. Why do some people make you go: “whoa, who is that?” and others do not? Doesn’t matter though as I’d never ever meet them anyway.

One time I had a dream that Jennifer Aniston was my girlfriend. I mean we were in a committed, monogamous relationship. We hung out and went shopping and to parties and everything. It was a super long dream. And she was really into me. The funny thing is – in real life I never saw her that way, so why would I suddenly dream she was my girlfriend? (I've never seen her movies and don't watch her show) Why not someone I’m super attracted to? Like Monica Keena, who I think is really talented and interesting, not that I’d ever even get to meet anyone like that, much less in a social setting (I’m sure they have gobs of guys crawling all over themselves just to get to meet them).

Kirsten Dunst is interesting as she looks a little cold, distant, and indifferent in photos. Why do you ask? Think I’ve got a shot with her? Maybe you could mention me to her, pass along my number.

Oh, and Shevonne Sullivan from TMZ is breathtaking. I think it’s her dimples. And she seems really fun and down to earth, though I’m sure she’s already spoken for.

Judy Greer. she's awesome (though probably spoken for)


14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
I’ve got a “things I like” section on my wordpress website if you want details, but mostly short story writers as they get to the point quickly. Anyone interesting, imaginative, and concise. Anyone that makes you think. Mostly I like strange or absurd adventures that are well crafted and have a meaning to them -

Older writers:

Donald Barthelme, Richard Brautigan, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Charles Bukowski, Dr. Seuss (cool illustrations).

Contemporary writers:

Barry Yourgrau, Mark Leyner, Etgar Keret, Stacey Richter, James Tate (Return to the city of white donkeys), Paul Di Filippo. D. Harlan Wilson, Andersen Prunty.

Science fiction from the 40s, 50s, and 60s:

Rod Serling, L. Sprague De Camp, Ray Bradbury, Phillip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Charles Beaumont.

I also like evocative music. For some reason I gain a lot of inspiration from music, and art, though I don't know why or what they have to do with story craft.


15. Do you still watch cartoons?
No, because I don’t have cable. If I had cable I’d probably not get anything else done, though I’m missing out on some interesting shows. Luckily some are coming to DVD at my library.

I like the old Warner Brother’s cartoons. And Droopy.



Tony Rauch has three books of short stories published – "I’m right here" (spout press), "Laredo" (Eraserhead Press), "Eyeballs growing all over me . . . again" (Eraserhead Press). He has additional titles forthcoming in the next few months.


His work deals with fragility, uncertainty, impermanence, the mysteries hidden in everyday life, a sense of discovery, escape, concealment, ennui, regret, loneliness, technology run amok, eerie vibes, irresponsible behavior, confusion, absurd situations, surrealism, modern fairy tales, etc.

Find Tony online here:

WEBSITE - http://trauch.wordpress.com



Blurb from "Eyeballs growing all over me . . . again"
A 140 page short story collection of imaginative, whimsical, dreamy, absurd, surreal fantasy, sci fi, and fairy tale adventures. These fables will make great story starters for young adults and reluctant readers. Some of the pieces are absurdist or surreal adventures that hearken back to imaginative absurdism, sci-fi, and fantasy of the 1950s.

With themes of longing, discovery, secrets, escape, eeriness, surprises, and strange happenings in everyday life, readers will delight in these brief but wondrous adventures -

- a man comes home to discover a Bigfoot-like creature watching his TV.

- a giant robot pays a visit to a couple.

- the new kid at school has some unusual toys to share.

- an inventor creates an attractive robot in order to meet women.

- a girl becomes so ill she has her head replaced with a goat head.

- someone wakes to discover little eyes growing all over his body.

- small, hairy creatures come looking to retrieve an object they had misplaced.

- a boy finds an unusual pair of sunglasses in a field.

These short stories will give a reluctant reader a sense of accomplishment after reading.


Blurb from as i floated in the jar (coming March 2012)
A collection of imaginative, surreal, dream-like, whimsical, and absurd fairy tale, fantasy, and sci-fi adventures of longing, discovery, surprises, secrets, escape, wonder, awe, eeriness, change, unusual gadgets, and strange happenings in everyday life.

These fables will make great story starters for young adults and reluctant readers.

- people travel into the past to get away from a regression plague that slowly turns people back into primates.

- a stranger extracts a baby from a man waiting for the bus.

- strange creatures abduct a man and try to sell him to a different set of strange creatures.

- a man gets a verbally abusive amorphous blob as a roommate.

- a lonely girl finds a small spaceship in the woods.

- a farmer invents gadgets to fight off infiltrators leaking in from another dimension.

- a jar falls from a passing wagon, spilling a strange liquid that turns a small mud puddle into something else.

With underlying themes of fragility, uncertainty, impermanence, the mysteries hidden in everyday life, discovery, escape, concealment, ennui, sadness, loneliness, technology run amok, strange machines, eerie vibes, change, irresponsible behavior, confusion, and absurd situations, Tony Rauch is a worthy successor to the artistry and imagination of the likes of Barry Yourgrau and Ray Bradbury. Story samples can be found on his website

Saturday, February 04, 2012

SFFS: Snippet from GREENSHIFT #7

SFFS Snippet

A TALE FROM THE AMBASADORA-VERSE: GREENSHIFT

Greenshift is a novel set in the Ambasadora-verse one month before Ambasadora begins.

DESCRIPTION: David Anlow, a fleet captain forced into early retirement and jaded by an ex-lover, now spends his lonely days shuttling around a group of scientists for hire.

Boston Maribu, Mari to her friends, is one of his passengers, a young botanist who is as beautiful as she is naïve and innocent.

When Mari asks David to teach her about more than just piloting the Bard, nights on their ship heat up and their feelings for each other mature into a relationship neither expects. But a suspicious new client shows up with wicked plans for Mari, and the soldier inside David comes alive, ready to fight for the young woman who stole his heart.

SNIPPET #1

SNIPPET #2

SNIPPET #3

SNIPPET #4

SNIPPET #5

SNIPPET #6
--

He was in his early twenties, she guessed, not much older than she was. And very good-looking, reminding her of the guys she and her friends drooled over on the Media feeds from clubs at the Hub and the few exclusive franchises on Deleine.

When he saw them, he spread his arms and asked, "What the hell is this?"

The pink shirt he wore billowed open where he hadn't bothered to button it in the front, revealing a thin, but toned chest and abdomen. She couldn’t see any tan lines where the bronze skin disappeared beneath the waistband of his beige linen pants.

He flipped his dark shades up from his boyish button nose to look Wren up and down with light brown eyes. They were how her eyes used to look before the vaccine turned them golden-orange.

"Where's the blonde?" he asked. "And what's up with the busted lip? You know I won't pay full price for damaged goods."

--

Find more snippets from other wonderful authors at Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday.

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Frances Pauli

HEIDI'S PICK SIX


Frances Pauli


1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
I’d be hard pressed to pick one, in particular relating to The Changeling Race trilogy. The cast is way too dear to my heart as a whole. However, one character that I could easily put at the top of a long list of "favorites" is Old Mary. Honestly, I never intended for her to be much of a character. She had other ideas, and said so loudly enough to get my attention. She offered compelling evidence, a depth of character I’d missed at first glance, and I had no choice but to incorporate more of her into the series.

She begins as my protagonist’s landlady, the owner of an Irish pub that she’s come to detest for its representation of her past obsession with fairies and Fey lore. The little pixies have disappointed her. They’ve failed to live up to her fantasies, and now Mary is forced to work in the shadow of her own squashed dreams.

Now with that kind of a story, what could I do but help her out? The perfect answer presented itself when one of the delightfully independent fairies suffers a trauma. Those two, I thought, they need one another, and it turns out, they did.


2. Tell me about your travels.

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Coffee, and in large quantities. I enjoy herbal teas, but there is nothing like black coffee to keep me moving. I swore off milk after weaning. It seemed the natural thing to do. Seriously, why do we drink it? I can’t figure it out, but I’ve never much liked the stuff anyway.


4. What else can you do besides write?
My best friend is also a writer, and she was visiting the other day when one of us suggested that we try to do something non-writing related. Let’s try not writing, and not talking about writing, we said. We stared at one another for about five minutes before we decided to write.
Seriously though, I do try to have normal human interests. I parent. I homeschool my son, and I enjoy my children more than anything else. Other interests do earn some attention from time to time. I belly dance, paint, make wine and enjoy hobby mining and rock hounding.


5. Who are you reading right now?
6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?

11. What kind of music speaks to you?
I’m very eclectic. I like modern music, eighties music, and most rock and pop. I also adore classical, opera and new age music or “space music.” For writing I prefer opera or classical.


12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
Both. I used to really detest outlining. I claimed to be a devout "pantser" and acted accordingly. In truth, I did a great deal of planning and outlining in my head. A friend recently convinced me to try it on paper, and the results convinced me to adopt at least a measure of planning. I still cannot write chained to a plan, and I’m a big believer in following an impulse, but I generally know where the story is going and the major plot points. How I get there in between, however, is where I enjoy that element of surprise.


13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?

15. Do you still watch cartoons?
Yes, on two levels. I enjoy anime a great deal, anything from Studio Ghibli in particular, and I have a long list of animated movies and series that I love. On a less direct and yet more prevalent level, however, I have two small children. So Dora and Backyardigans and the rest of the Nick Jr. lineup are a major, daily part of my life. I can sing any theme song. Don’t tempt me. It’s a hazard of parenting. I hear them in my sleep.



Frances Pauli writes speculative fiction with romantic touches. Her books are published through Mundania Press LLC, Awe-Struck, and Devine Destinies, and her short stories are featured in various anthologies. More information on her worlds and writing can be found on her website and blog, and she offers free online stories, web serials, podcasts there as well.

Find Frances online at these links:

WEBSITE - http://francespauli.com



- http://francespauli.blogspot.com



- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Frances-Pauli/112884745408149



- http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3426477.Frances_Pauli



- https://twitter.com/MothinDarkness


GIVEAWAY!!
Thank you so much for hosting a stop on the tour. I am offering a free pdf of any book from my backlist to one commenter today, and for each stop on the tour that you comment on, you will earn one entry into the final drawing for print copies of all three books. Follow along at http://francespauli.blogspot.com/2012/01/fairies-in-february-schedule.html and enter to win!


BLURB FOR A Moth in Darkness
The boundaries between the worlds have fallen. Forced to integrate the creatures of fantasy into real life, humanity struggles against its disillusionment, prejudice and an inevitable feeling of inadequacy.

Once an agent for the embassy that mediates between the worlds, Elizabeth Larson has abandoned her past and slipped into a world of nostalgic addiction to fairy revels, dancing, and the dark lure of her own memories. But when Lockland Sheen, her former partner and lover, goes missing, she is pulled reluctantly back into service. She must venture once more across the borders, into the land that haunts her, facing a string of gruesome murders, the imposing Sidhe rulers and her own addiction in the process.

While the Embassy’s agents attempt to soothe tensions between the races, Liz and her new partner search the fairy realm for Lockland. Fighting the constant temptation of the revels, they piece together the trail of an unknown enemy. But the longer they follow it, the more it appears that the man they came to rescue is more villain than victim. And the more they rely on Elizabeth’s ties to the fairies, the closer she inches toward the madness that lurks behind her fantasies.

Buy A Moth in the Darkness at http://www.mundania.com/book.php?title=A%20Moth%20in%20Darkness


BLURB for The Fly in Paradise
Something’s rotten in the Fey lands. While Marcus Bramble tracks the lunatic who started it all, Elizabeth and the crew at the Embassy sort through the evidence he left behind. With Lockland back, and the revels behind her, Liz’s world is slowly returning to normal. But on both sides of the borders, shadow creatures spring out of nowhere, and the dark legends surrounding the fey take on a whole new meaning.

Now time is against them. On the mortal side of things, protesters rally to close the borders, politicians descend on the Embassy, and something that shouldn’t exist stalks Elizabeth through the city.

In his world, Marcus faces a madman with answers he doesn’t want to hear. The Fey rulers turn a blind eye on forests teeming with imaginary monsters, and the Sidhe tower stands silent amidst the chaos. Will the race to uncover its secrets solve the mystery of the elves’ past or unleash even more horrors on them all?

Buy The Fly in Paradise at http://www.mundania.com/book.php?title=The+Fly+in+Paradise


BLURB for Spiders From Memory
The Seelie court is gone, and the Tower has fallen into darker hands. Now nightmare creatures terrorize the Fey races, and the whole Fey world turns to frost and shadow.

Liz Larson holds the last remnant of the Seelie Sidhe's power. The elves look to her for guidance, but all she has to offer them is the disturbing story of their origin, the final truth that will turn many of them against her. With her dwindling number of allies, Liz needs to reopen the borders, to find the missing Marcus Bramble, and to avoid the sudden, terrifying attention of the new Fey ruler, the Unseelie Speaker and new master of the Sidhe Tower.

While her friends in Mundanity race to pry open the gates, and Marcus searches for the answer to a puzzle that could save or damn them all, the Unseelie Speaker marches north, bringing his army and his wrath to focus on Elizabeth. What can one, fairy-touched human do in the face of the Unseelie court's full fury? How can she fight when the enemy's anger is only partly blind, when she can see all too clearly the traces of justice behind it?

Buy Spiders from memory at http://www.mundania.com/book.php?title=Spiders+From+Memory

Friday, February 03, 2012

Cover: Fortune's Hero by Jenna Bennett

Covers

A new Science Fiction Romance series from Jenna Bennett!

Last year, space smuggler Quinn Conlan was on top of the world. He had everything a man could want: a fast ship, a great crew, a gorgeous girlfriend, lots of money, and adventure and excitement around every corner.

That all changed when he agreed to ferry a shipload of weapons to the beleaguered planet Marica, currently under siege by Rhenian forces. Now he’s stuck in a prison camp on the moon Marica-3, subjected to weekly sessions with the camp’s “medical team,” and praying for a quick death before he breaks under the torture and spills everything he knows about the Marican resistance.

When the opportunity presents itself, Quinn takes a Rhenian med tech hostage and heads into the inhospitable interior of the small moon. There, he has to keep himself and Doctor Elsa Brandeis safe from the deadly flora and fauna, as well as hidden from the prison guards searching for them, all while formulating a plan for getting his crew out of prison, his ship out of impound, and everyone out of orbit.

But when Elsa professes her love, can Quinn take the beautiful doctor at her word, or will trusting her—and his heart—condemn him and his crew to an eternity on Marica-3?

FORTUNE'S HERO will be released by Entangled Publishing in August 2012.

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Jessica Subject

HEIDI'S PICK SIX


Jessica Subject


1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
In my most recent release, Never Gonna Let You Go, I would have to say Melina. When I set down to write this story, she showed up as a complete surprise. But I had fun writing her tale. Overall though, Katrina from my Mark of the Stars series is my favorite. She was the very first character who spoke to me back in 2008, and she was named by my daughter.


2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
4. What else can you do besides write?

5. Who are you reading right now?
Alien Proliferation by Gini Koch. I actually have a bunch of science fiction romance and young adult books on my immediate TBR list.


6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
I find inspiration in everyday things, conversations I overhear, news stories and articles, and more. Though my very first as well as my most recent story ideas came to me as a dream. When an idea pops into my head, I write it down then file it away to work on later.


9. Food you could eat everyday.
Pasta. Oh my gosh, I can’t get enough. I prefer whole wheat or vegetable noodles though.


10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
Before I sit down to write any story, I’ll play with the idea in my mind for a couple days, jotting down point form notes as I go along. While I’m writing the story, I may also get an idea for a future scene which I’ll write down, so the idea doesn’t flitter away before I get to that point. Otherwise, the characters take me along for the ride, telling me their story. And if I make a mistake, they let me know.


13. Celebrity crush.
I could list a few, but Nathan Fillion would be at the top of the list.


14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?


Jessica Subject started writing to encourage her daughter to read. Now she writes to keep herself grounded. Although she reads many genres, she enjoys writing Science Fiction Romance the most and believes everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after. She lives Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids and loves to hear from anyone who has enjoyed her stories. Her debut novella, Celestial Seduction is available from Decadent Publishing.

Find Jessica online at these links:

WEBSITE - http://www.markofthestars.com



- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-E-Subject-author/205759796126370



- http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4959083.Jessica_E_Subject



- https://plus.google.com/100079570422204018357/posts



- http://twitter.com/jsubject


GIVEAWAY!!
As part of the Never Gonna Let You Go blog tour, Jessica is giving away a $20 gift certificate to either Amazon.com or AllRomanceEbooks.com. Simply leave a comment with your email address for your chance to WIN! Be sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://www.markofthestars.com/wp/?page_id=8999


BLURB for Never Gonna Let You Go
Caught in a tangle of lies, Calla Jacobs must sort through the truth to discover where she truly belongs. A biologist for Planet Core, she finds herself ensnared in a web of deceit. Sent to Airondelle, she must work with a team to prepare the newly discovered planet for colonists from Earth. But the mission does not go as she expected. Her former lover, Erik Edwards, shuns her, sending Calla into the arms of Melina Holloway, their commander, for the attention she craves and more. A confrontation among the trio leaves her with a broken heart, and fleeing from the two people she trusted most.

Attempting to break free from the lies that bind her, she discovers Planet Core has deceived everyone. And when she returns to Earth, Calla learns just how far Planet Core’s control reaches.

BOOK TRAILER - http://youtu.be/I8hN8O4bVo4

Available from Decadent Publishing and other ebook retailers - http://www.markofthestars.com/wp/?page_id=7889



Thursday, February 02, 2012

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Kerry Downing

HEIDI'S PICK SIX


Kerry Downing


1. Which of your characters is your favorite?

2. Tell me about your travels.
As a child, my family took a two week vacation every summer. My dad would rent a camper and off we’d go to the west coast. I’ve been to every state west of the Mississippi, but very few east of there. I didn’t really appreciate the trips as a child … probably just like my kids didn’t appreciate the trips I’ve taken them on over the years. All I wanted to do at the time was to be home with my friends. It was summer break and here we were traipsing all over the country! Sorry if I was too much of a pain, Mom and Dad.

As an adult, the most frequent place I’ve visited is California. Specifically, the area north of San Francisco. I love it there, and if I can figure out how to afford to live there someday I will.

As a child and young adult, I wasn’t very adventurous. I was happy to just stay around the town where I grew up … the occasional trip to a nearby lake and short trips like that, but nothing too interesting.

Now as an older (not old … just older) adult, I’ve finally found my sense of adventure. Who would have thought it would take 50 years to show up! But, it’s here and I hope to expand my travels. Let me answer this question 5 years from now and hopefully I’ll have a lot more to tell you.


3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
For me, it’s definitely milk … as long as it has chocolate in it.

I’ve tried coffee several times. In fact, my kids bought me a coffee maker a few years ago and I thought I’d give it a try again. But, coffee and I just never hit it off. I can be nervous and jittery all on my own.


4. What else can you do besides write?

5. Who are you reading right now?
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of Michael Connelly, which is completely out of character for me. I’ve never really been interested in courtroom drama type stories but I just can’t put these down. I’ve lost track of how many I’ve already read … I just hope there’s more in the pipeline.

I’m a very loyal reader. Once I find an author I like I usually read everything they’ve written.

About the only exception to this is Stephen King for 2 reasons: 1) He’s written so much 2) Some of it is way too scary/creepy for me. I like to sleep at night and some of his work definitely keeps me up looking for things under the bed.


6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.

10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
Up until a few years ago my wife and I were too busy raising kids to really have much of a life outside of that. Now that the youngest is off to college and we are blessedly empty-nesters, we’ve found that we like to be outside and hike.

We recently bought a book that lists 60 hikes within 60 miles of where we live. Our goal is to make it through the book. We’ve also set a more short-term goal of hiking the trail at Tomales Point at the Point Reyes National Seashore in California. It’s a 9.5 mile hike and we’re currently in training. Our plan is to try it in January 2012, so we’ll know pretty soon whether the training paid off.


11. What kind of music speaks to you?
Any type of music performed well can reach me. There really is nothing more deeply moving than watching a live performance by a musician who really knows what they’re doing.

My first experience with this was in high school. I played violin in the orchestra and we gave a concert which featured our best musicians in solo pieces. One of my classmates (unfortunately I can’t remember his name) played Grieg’s Piano Concerto. About halfway through the piece, he was so into it that he literally threw the sheet music off the piano with a sweep of his hand and played the rest by memory. It still gives me goose bumps to this day.

The genre of music isn’t really that important. I can enjoy just about anything from classical to country to Broadway hits. In fact, I still think it’s very unfair that a musical about Beauty and a Beast should make a grown man cry.


12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
The answer depends on the type of story I’m writing.

For a short story, I’ve usually got it pretty well scripted in my head before I begin.

For a novel, I usually just start with a general idea and let it go from there. I thought I had my first novel, The Collective, all figured out from the start but it took a turn about halfway through that I hadn’t planned on and went it’s own way from there.

When I sat down to write Time Slice, I didn’t have any preconceived notions about how the story was going to go. I just had a seed of an idea, put the characters in place, and let them figure out where to go. It was much more fun this way … like figuring out a mystery as more and more pieces reveal themselves.


13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?


Kerry Downing set out to become a meteorologist, but was hooked by the world of computers instead, becoming a systems analyst and programmer. Astronomy and science fiction are his passions. He’s been gazing at the stars at all hours of the night since the age of 10, when he received his first telescope. As for science fiction, Arthur C. Clarke and his brand of “it really seems as if it could happen” has always been his favorite. In the 90s, Kerry found the third love of his life: his wife, Lucy. They live in St. Louis, Missouri, with their five children. Time Slice is Kerry’s second science-fiction novel. His self-published, debut work is The Collective.

Find Kerry online at these links:

WEBSITE - http://www.kerrydowning.com



- http://kgdwrites.blogspot.com


- http://timesliceblogtour.blogspot.com



- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186



- https://www.twitter.com/KGDWrites



SUMMARY for Time Slice
Ordinary People. Extraordinary Adventures. Science Fiction with Heart.

Newly retired workaholic Roy Washburn is not ready for a life of leisure. On a trip to the mall with his wife, he finds a small metal cylinder with odd markings. One nudge of the cylinder's triangle-shaped pointer and Roy finds himself embarking on an exciting new adventure in the Time Stream.

There he meets The Traveler, a tall, gangly being who shows Roy how to use the cylinder to visit other civilizations that co-exist on "his" Earth, each occupying a different, thin Time Slice. The Traveler solicits Roy's help in recovering an object invented by his murdered father and beyond his own reach. Roy is his last hope.

At first it seems that the Traveler's wish might be easily granted. But after Roy's wife Emily becomes ill and his daughter's long-held resentments rise to the surface, he can no longer "travel" at a moment's notice. He also discovers the very real physical and mental risks involved in roaming the Time Stream.

Despite the dangers, Roy is determined to help the Traveler. But he can't do it alone. Fortunately he has a loving wife and a core group of loyal friends. But first he must convince them--and his daughter--that he isn't crazy ...


Paperback
Price: $17.95
ISBN: 9781603818520
Pages: 256
Release: June 10, 2011



- http://www.amazon.com/dp/1603818529?tag=tributebooks-20


- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/time-slice-kerry-downing/1102590047?ean=9781603818520&itm=1&usri=time%252bslice

eBook
Price: $4.95

KINDLE

- http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0052MNKT4?tag=tributebooks-20

NOOK

- http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Time-Slice/Kerry-Downing/e/2940011342554



- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/61838?ref=tributebooks