A friend and fellow science fiction romance writer, Laurie A. Green released the cover of her debut novelette yesterday in an exclusive post on the Science Fiction Romance Brigade. There, she explains more about what exactly a novelette is, and her upcoming SFR series, but I wanted to give her a shout-out here for this spectacular cover.
Yes, indeed, that’s a beautiful space cover!
Here’s the short description of Farewell Andromeda:
Fresh off a painful jilting, the last thing deep space pilot Tiharra Bell needs is another romantic entanglement. Certainly not with the galaxy’s most famous astronomer—who also happens to be single, inconveniently handsome, and a resident of the remote Andromeda Station. But Tiharra soon discovers two terrible truths about Dr. Dante “Donner” Dane—1) he’s not the man he appears to be and 2) he doesn’t have long to live. Before her fourteen-day layover is complete, she’ll put her life and career on the line to protect his heartbreaking secret.
Farewell Andromeda is scheduled for a mid-January 2015 release. If you’d like to receive news on the release or Laurie’s upcoming Science Fiction Romance series, please visit her website at Author Laurie A. Green to read more and sign up for her newsletter.
Laurie A. Green is a three-time RWA® Golden Heart® finalist and Science Fiction Romance enthusiast who founded the SFR Brigade community of writers, which now totals over 500 members. Her extended family includes her husband, David, four dogs, three cats and several horses, all who reside on a ranch in beautiful New Mexico. When she’s not writing, networking, or searching out the perfect cup of Starbucks, she’s usually busy exercising her left brain as a military budget director.
I’ve been deep in edits for my first book, The Unraveling. And amid various concerns, one that pops out is my heroine, the city artist Annmar, doesn’t meet the rural-dwelling hero until chapter eight! Ach! Here is their meeting:
They ascended and the platform kept pace, its crates filled with squash and tomatoes. The chain clinking made conversation impossible. By the time they reached the top, the idling windlass hissed quietly. The gray-haired man held the platform steady while men and a few girls grabbed the crates and swung them into the space beyond. One of the young men sported a strange haircut. His dark brown hair was short over his ears but the back trailed down his tan shirt. He turned and met her gaze.
Annmar caught her breath. His brown eyes were like none she’d seen, wide and slanted, the rich chocolate color making a strong focus in his paler brown sugar skin. Face on, his shorn hair made his rounded ears prominent, nearly animal-like and cute.
Oh, to capture this strange, no, exotic look… Her finger slid along the side of the sketchbook and found the pencil splitting its pages.
He grinned, the smile open, friendly and playful all at once.
Before realizing she’d done it, Annmar smiled back. He was gorgeous. And her age. Much more suitable than Mr. Shearing would ever—oh, my! Her chest and neck heated.
Something hit her foot and clattered away with a familiar sound; she ducked toward the windlass to pick up her pencil. Straightening, her gaze caught the gold-edged, green lettering emblazoned across the machine’s water tank: Shearing Enterprises.
The flutter of excitement died. So there would be reminders, even here.
Mistress Gere gripped her elbow and guided her inside. “I’ll introduce the staff at dinner,” she said. “After you’ve seen your room and had a chance to freshen up.”
The workers ferried the crates past overstuffed chairs circling a woodburning stove and piled them on one side of an open room. Swings, ladders and ropes led upwards to more ladders set in mazes with crisscrossed beams in the second-story rafters. The height had Annmar swaying. Who would risk their necks up there?
Mistress Gere murmured, “A gathering place in poor weather.”
Behind her, someone called “All clear!” and a hiss erupted.
“Come into the production kitchens,” Mistress Gere shouted above the chain’s clinking, and led the way through swinging doors that swished closed, blocking the noise. An herbal-scented moisture hung in the empty kitchen, one far larger than any Annmar knew.
The door opened again and in walked the fascinating young man, wiping his palms down heavy brown trousers held by worn leather braces.
He was big. Much bigger than she’d realized from across the platform, the firm muscle of a broad, well-defined body. His rolled sleeves revealed fine, dark hair covered the lovely brown arms he loosely swung. He planted his feet before them.
“This is the artist from the city?” His deep voice nearly purred.
“Yes.” Mistress Gere crossed her arms, but couldn’t keep a smile from curling her lips. “I should have known you’d be in here as fast as you could manage, my boy. Annmar, may I introduce Daeryn Darkcoat, perhaps the most gregarious individual among our farm family. Daeryn, Annmar Masterson, who as you noted, is a city girl and not at all used to our casual country ways. You will keep to the borders of her territory until she gives you permission to enter.” The tall woman fixed him with an eye-to-eye look.
Annmar blinked at the bizarre introduction, so forthright. But Daeryn, which Mistress Gere pronounced day-rin, seemed to take it in stride. He nodded, a single dip of his chin. “Yes’m.”
He didn’t pause between that acknowledgement and extending his hand. His gaze searched hers curiously and he smiled, not the grin of before, but almost shyly.
Her stomach flipped. Sweet wasn’t how anyone would normally describe a young male who had so clearly crossed into manhood, but that was her exact thought. She wiped her clammy palm discretely in her skirt folds before shaking his.
“Pleased to meet you,” he said. “Are you finding the Basin to your liking?” His rough-skinned hand clasped hers in neither a strong nor a weak manner, but one that conveyed gentleness for its size.
His warmth felt nice and her head muddled a bit. “I, uh, I’m happy to have arrived, to be here. Yes. It’s all been…fine,” her mouth murmured.
Then too quickly, he released her. Somehow Mistress Gere took over the conversation, discussing an animal problem in the fields and listing several possibilities she wanted Daeryn to look into. His brows came together over narrowed eyes, changing his face into a calculating contemplation that had Annmar glad she wasn’t the source of the problem.
So, is he worth the wait?
I’m thrilled to be a part of the gorgeous cover reveal for my Maryland Romance Writers chapter mate Leslye Penelope’s debut fantasy Song of Blood & Stone!
Between love and duty lies destiny
Orphaned and alone, Jasminda is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where she is feared for both the shade of her skin and her magical abilities. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive – an injured spy who steals her heart.
Jack’s mission behind enemy lines nearly cost him his life but he is saved by the healing power of a mysterious young woman. Together they embark on a perilous journey straight into the heart of a centuries-old conflict.
Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.
The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.
Guest Post by Leslye: Respecting the Muse
People frequently ask authors where their ideas come from. The muse, that creative force responsible for inspiring artists, is often said to be fickle. Mine can sometimes be an outright jerk. Like a toddler who can’t decide which toy to play with, my muse throws fits and tantrums, and just might have ADD.
When she’s on her good behavior, she tends to show up in the most unexpected ways. I got the idea for one manuscript from my husband who challenged me to write a “black, female, Napoleon Dynamite.” The result bore no resemblance to that film or character, but it was a great starting point.
Another story features a character whose psychic ability manifests via smell. The idea for this one came from my own life. I sometimes smell things that don’t belong, but are recognizable. Like the scent of my late grandmother’s closets, or my late father’s cologne, or ––even stranger–– mothballs. The scents are fleeting, but I wonder if they could be messages of some kind. In that story, my character can tell that something bad is going to happen to the person she smells, but she doesn’t know what or when.
The idea for Song of Blood & Stone was born late one night as I was binge-watching movies on Netflix. I was in my Jamie Bell period, watching and re-watching anything I could with him in it. My stroke of inspiration came during the movie The Eagle when his character, Esca, first appears on screen. He’s a slave in ancient Rome, entering a fight against a much larger and well-armed gladiator. Esca doesn’t look scared even though he’s outmatched. He looks pissed. http://makeagif.com/i/GEscaw This is the exact expression that Jack wears the second time he and Jasminda meet in Song of Blood & Stone. About six seconds of film was enough to set my imagination on fire. The next day I started writing.
So, what inspires you? How does your muse behave? My muse definitely has a mind of her own. And even when she’s erratic, I’m always grateful for the sparks of inspiration no matter how they come.
About the Author:
Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She’s a romance junkie who self-medicates with happily-ever-afters and steaming mugs of green tea. She lives in Maryland with her husband, an eighty-pound lap dog, and an attack cat.
To celebrate the cover reveal, Leslye is offering a $40 gift card giveaway until Deceber 10th!
Jasminda led the way, the light from her lantern reflecting off the snow, now knee-deep but swallowed up by the surrounding darkness. Jack leaned heavily on the walking stick as each step became more difficult than the last. Pausing to catch his breath, a coughing fit struck him, leaving red splatters on the pristine white.
When he straightened, he found her staring at the blood on the ground. Almost immediately, the warm hum of Earthsong rippled through him.
“Save it,” he advised. “I’m all right.”
She scowled. “You are not all right. You are worse than when you arrived. Stop being such a fool.” The buzz of Earthsong continued for a few moments before she turned and stomped away.
For hours they battled the storm, their progress arduous. Strong gusts of wind blew against them, sometimes knocking them on their backs and forcing them to stop until the gale calmed some. Icy blasts whipped through Jack’s coat, freezing his fingers until he could no longer grip the walking stick and had to leave it behind.
“Let’s stop here for a moment,” Jasminda shouted, pointing to a notch in the rock wall just big enough for two people. Underneath the rocky overhang, the snow stood only ankle high, and the sidewalls protected them from the worst of the wind. They crouched down together, shaking from the cold. She took his hands in hers and rubbed, bringing some feeling back into them. In the flickering lantern light, worry etched a frown on her face.
Jack rallied, drawing whatever inner strength he could into his depleted limbs. A small hum of Earthsong tickled at his wounds, but he could sense her weakening. He cracked his knuckles and tried to fashion his frozen face into a grin.
“Now’s not the time to grow lazy.” He wasn’t sure she could understand him over the chattering of his teeth, but she nodded and they stood. At a groaning rumble overhead, they looked up. Something large shifted and slid. He moved forward to see what was happening, but she grabbed him by his coat and pulled him back. Her eyes were huge circles of fear as everything around them started to shake.
With a violent boom, an avalanche of snow slid down the mountain obliterating the path that they were on. The motion pushed them back against the wall as sheets of snow and ice crumbled away and slid off the mountain in front of them. Beneath their feet, the ground convulsed, knocking them off-balance. Jack fell forward into the rioting rush of snow.
Where he’d expected his hands to hit the ground, they hit nothing. He reached out frantically, grasping for purchase as his weightless body plummeted into the darkness blanketed by the cold wet pressure all around him.
I haven’t featured an excerpt in a month!
Keeping up with my NaNo-PAWN count on my third book while editing my first book, plus critiquing for others adds up, people! And real life is in there, too.
So here’s a little scene later in The Unraveling that I’ve just reworked after a crit partner noted I could show more emotion. In it, the Victorian Annmar realizes her proper city upbringing has left out so much that’s important in Blighted Basin.
“Alike?” Annmar wrinkled her nose. “But you know so much about country life—”
“And you know so much about life in the city. I would be a fish out of water there, and I want so badly to visit.”
Annmar eyed the redhead. Mary Clare had a point. “Well, society is complicated, but most city dwellers do master its rules. I could teach you.”
“Just like I can teach you about the Basin. It’ll grow easier, really. Why do you doubt we’re alike?”
She should just tell her. “You also know so much about boys. And I…don’t.”
Mary Clare smiled. “Boys are easy, too.”
Annmar shifted her gaze off, flicking glances around to the groups and couples, some flirting, some showing off in hopes of flirting. It’d be years before she could do that. She sighed. Or at least months.
Mary Clare nudged her. “Step one, you talk to them. You find the one interested in the things you are.”
She glanced around again. “I can do that.”
“Good for you. Practice on Henry. He’s so young, he’s safe.” She turned. “Henry?” The blond boy turned and, with a big smile, edged closer. “Can you show Annmar the table with the cookies?”
“You bet. Need to head that way myself.”
Mary Clare gave her a little push and she followed Henry up to the bunkhouse and food tables. She felt silly nodding along to his chatter. What should she say? Then, he offered her a sugar cookie. “These are good, but my favorites of Mrs. Betsy’s are the chocolate chip raisin oatmeal. Which are yours?”
Annmar blinked. She had to say something. “I—uh—I haven’t been here long enough to have those, but I like these fine.” That answer came easily enough. She took the cookie, and suddenly her tongue loosened. “They look like the moon, though not tonight.” She held hers skyward towards the crescent moon.
“I can fix that.” Henry grinned and took a bite of his, then held out the bitten cookie.
Thanks for reading!
Good news on my PAWN writing: A fellow @NaNoWordSprints writer assures me I can count my words written in November as NaNoWriMo achievments, even though I had my world and prior Blighted Basin books written. And on that note: NaNo, take me away!
I’ve been writing every day for 14 days on my PAWN – Playing Along With Nano story – the one that isn’t really Nano credible because it’s one I’d started before Nov 1 (story here). Yet, because of my travels over the last year (another story!) I needed the daily discipline NaNo encourages in writing. Today I crossed the 40K line and am snoopy dancing with excitement! Join me? :)
Have you posted a NaNo photo? Or are you floundering like I was? The instructions are blessedly clear that the photo must be 100 x 100 pixels and less than 30KB. But how to do that? I vaguely remembered my NA kid’s instructions and another writer friend and I stumbled through the steps with success.
Though my dear NA kid thinks I’m a Luddite and nuts for posting these instructions, I know they will help someone! Sorry, I only know how to do this via MAC Preview.
Open a copy (Don’t want to mess with the original!) of your photo in Preview. Open Tools on the Menu bar and choose Adjust Size.
In the window that opens, select ‘Custom’ in the top bar and in the below and to the right, ‘Pixels.’ Note my original photo is 163KB–no wonder it wouldn’t load!
Next type in your desired pixel size – 100 x 100.
Click ‘OK.’ The photo adjusts and–voila!–we have a 10KB photo! Rename this copy, with the size so you can find it at a glance.
It loads in a snap onto the NaNoWriMo website, giving your buddies a brighter view of you!
* But finding this location is tricky, one of my CPs Nooce reminded me in the comments. On the top bar, click where it says “Hello, Your Name!” That opens your account settings. Scroll down. Under ‘Picture’, click ‘Choose file’ and then upload the photo you have renamed. Be sure to hit ‘Save’ at the bottom afterwards.
I save my various social media photos in a file. Both the original, duplicates to work with and the reductions. It’s a time saver when you open up on the next site.