Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Not Paranoid, Really

I promise, I'm not paranoid, really. Okay, maybe a little. But doesn't everyone glance back in the rear view mirror and think you're being tailed by the car that's followed you for 3 blocks? Doesn't everyone take the very next turn and feel foolish when the suspect car continues on?

No? You sure?


Alright. Alright. I'm a little suspicious. I can't help it. What do you expect from a grunge girl at the infancy of the mass World Wide Web who grew up reading Philip K. Dick and George Orwell?

Cameras on every corner and intersection. Companies that tailor their advertisements to your credit or debit purchase history. Government agencies that can know exactly where you are just by your phone. You can't even return something without swiping your driver's license so the proverbial THEY can track your life.

And don't get me started on the whole social network movement. Or the data clouds that hold your life of documents, photos, and whatnot for you.

This trend of submissive, first step-to-oppressive society hit home when I watched a home improvement commercial the other day. They were all excited to share their new "service" to customers, where they can pull up what holiday decorations you purchased the previous year so you "don't have to remember" those small details.

And my coworkers were all excited about how great this would be, and I just sat there in quiet horror. All my SF fears came bubbling up in my imagination. What is a common path to dystopia in fiction, people? Perceived utopia and convenience to the people, that's what.

Maybe it's because all the crazy end of world talk or just that, yes, yes, I'm a conspiracy at every corner kind of gal, but the trend of bar coding society really sets my hair on end. But, what really throws me for a loop is how easily it's happening.

Literally with excitement that another private fold is being pulled open and smoothed out for people to monitor and note. It's a slippery slope, but one I'm not sure society knows how deep and steep the ride can be.

No, I'm not saying an evil warlord is keyed to take over, but as an American I'm always nervous when something brushes against or even remotely close to my rights. Rights that my ancestors worked so hard and sacrificed so much to earn.

I'll admit, I'm caught up in the flood myself. My entire life is on internets, intranets, forums, databases, blogs and every other kind of network and/or electronic system out there. The question is, at what point does not being part or enough of the system single you out and to what end?

The times we live in are starting to feel like the prologue to one of Philip or George's books, to me anyways.

So, how far do you think society will go with this integration of life and technology? How far are you willing to go before it's too much and too intruding into your life?

Nerdy minds (me) want to know.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Climbing out from the Trenches

Maybe not so much a trench as the avalanche aftermath. Except, my pile was not snow. Instead, it was editing, revisions, and writing. This compounded with my day work (otherwise known as my "paying gig"), Thanksgiving, birthdays, and mommy duties have left my poor blog stranded for most of the month.

*pets blog and hugs her to reassure she is loved*

Okay, I'm back but since I'm just now getting back in the game I'm going to take it easy. So, let's talk quantum entanglement...

Heehee, just kidding.

No, today I just wanted to stop by, say hi, and maybe talk about a book I'm reading. Cloud Atlas. No, I'm not doing a review. No, I'm not going to go into the science behind the reincarnation and all that jazz.

No, no, no. I just wanted to get "on the line" with my geeky buddies and applaud the author for his use of setting and place in regards to the characters. In each vignette that carries the story along, the author has committed to the time period, in all its good and bad elements. Scene pacing, language and writing styles, and social/cultural timing all hit the particular eras perfectly.

Very beautifully done.

I can't wait to get to the future settings and see how he imagines that world to be.

Any-who. I'll be posting my SF geeky stuff starting later this week.

Ciao all!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Passionate Cooks Guest Post: Vallory Vance

Vallory Vance joins us today to talk about her passionate recipe and her newest release.

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When I serve the Second Chance Tortillas recipe from the Passionate Cooks cookbook for brunch with friends, I mix up a batch of Bloody Marys to go along with them. The spicy tomato drink is a great accompaniment especially on a cold day. Enjoy!

• 4 cups tomato juice
• 1/4 cup lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
• 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
• 2 teaspoons curry powder
• 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 2 cups vodka
• Garnish Ideas – celery stalk, spicy pickled string bean, lemon wedge

• Combine first 7 ingredients in a large pitcher. Chill overnight.
• Add vodka to pitcher; stir well. Fill glasses. Garnish as you like.

This new author is a color inside the lines Human Resources professional living in the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex by day. After her family consisting of a husband of almost twenty years, three kids and two dogs have filled her evenings with laughter, she sits down to her laptop to write tales of the first moments of falling in love when nothing else seems to matter.

A a fortieth birthday present to herself, she decided to share her stories. Vallory Vance is the pen name she uses to write contemporary romances that range from sweet to spicy. You can find her most days on the Vallory V ~ A Romance Author Blog.

Music for Her Soul Summary
Lena Spencer is a practical woman whose world is carefully ordered by schedules and timelines and she doesn’t like surprises. So when she receives a call from a beautiful model detailing an affair with her boyfriend, her world is thrown into chaos. With the help of her boisterous sister and niece, Lena manages to pick up the pieces and resume her role as a single working mom with the added bonus of a few slinky dresses to show off the figure she’d always hidden. Feeling sexy and confident, she is almost prepared for Ethan’s return from a European tour. Almost.

Musician, Ethan Holden, realized too late that he’d miscalculated the level of Lena’s fury. A ten month tour through Europe and a crazed fan had proven too much for the both of them. Returning to his hometown, he is determined to win her back despite her resistance. But can he give up the music he loves if that’s the only thing she wants?

Available from Amazon.com as a Kindle Edition
Available from Barnes and Noble as a Nook Book
Available from All Romance in Multiple Formats

Online Connections:
• Blog: Vallory V – A Romance Author Blog
• Twitter: @ValloryVance
• Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vallory-Vance

Friday, October 19, 2012

Passionate Cooks Guest Post: Sharon Kleve

I'm so excited to have fellow Passionate Cooks author Sharon Kleve on my blog today to talk about her recipe and her latest release.

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Besides writing, cooking is my passion and I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. A few years ago we remodeled it and now I have a large kitchen that inspires me to do even more.

A couple weeks before our sixteenth year wedding anniversary this year instead of going out I created a romantic dinner for two. That’s how I came up with Lip Smacking Pork Roulade and I make it once a month now.

We drank a couple glasses of chardonnay and looked longing into each other eyes. My husband says that’s cheaper than an upgrade on a diamond ring. Ha ha!

Klutzy Love Blurb:
Corny is a hot chick with a great job that she loves. All that changed in the blink of an eye when her boss had an accident involving an oversized rubber band. She’s still a hot chick, but her boss is dead.

Steve Spears is a seasoned narcotics cop who ends up wanting to strangle Corny on a regular basis. After finding out Corny’s dream of opening a pet detective business, he decides he doesn’t want a girlfriend who routinely puts herself in danger. That’s his job!

Corny misses Steve, but she’s getting on with her life. She decides to get a month’s worth of dating out of the way in a single night, by combining her three favorite things—men, food, and alcohol.

Steve’s big gun and cop’s intuition saves Corny’s life, but not from another trip to the emergency room. He makes Corny promise never to get hurt again—she agreed, but has her fingers crossed behind her back.

Klutzy Love Excerpt:
I raised my salty-rimmed margarita, "Let's make a toast to Mr. Langfield; he was kind, kooky, and had poor taste in women."

"Here, here. God bless the silly romantic fool," Kitty cheered and twirled her hair around her finger.

"I second that," Brenda clinked her glass to ours and munched on chips and salsa.

After a sip from my drink my sexy-guy radar started to beep. I did a quick scan of the restaurant and spotted my target. I discreetly waved my hand above my head and said, "Target acquired... target acquired." We laughed until we about peed our pants and then I leaned forward and quietly asked, "Do you think he heard me?" then giggled more. "I've seen my share of gorgeous men, but that guy is smok’n hot."

"Oh boy, is he ever," Kitty and Brenda said in unison and fanned their faces dramatically.

"He's been looking my way. I'm giving him my, 'you can buy me a drink' look."

All of a sudden Kitty rolled her eyes toward the bar and whispered, "Holy moly, he's coming this way."

Sure enough he made his way through the crowd on the dance floor towards our table. Before I hyperventilated from excitement, Kitty kicked me in the shin. "Thanks, I needed that." Kitty could be pretty levelheaded in stressful situations.

Sharon Kleve Bio:
Sharon Kleve was born and raised in Washington and currently lives on the Olympic Peninsula with her husband.

She loves romance. She loves reading romance, living romance, and especially loves writing about romance. She gets no greater feeling than watching her characters come alive in each other's arms. Most of all, she loves giving her characters the happily ever after they deserve—with a few bumps and bruises along the way.

One of her favorite things to do is picking up a new book and sinking into the story, immersing herself in the emotions between the characters. She hopes to inspire her readers the same way her favorite authors have inspired her.

When not writing, she can usually be found either curled up in her recliner with her cat and a good book, or in the kitchen baking sourdough bread or bagels.

Author of "The Corny Myers Series"
Book One, Flamingo Blues, Published December 2011
Book Two, Be Mine, Published February 2012
Book Three, Klutzy Love, Published August 2012

Contact me at:

Links to Purchase:

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Awkward Homework Assignment

Stop by Seeing is Believing for my monthly Fun Friday post. Today I discuss what is to date the most awkward homework assignment I assisted on with one of my children.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's Complete! It's Complete!

The Telomere Trilogy is complete now! End of Eternity releases today. Yes, today! Look how pretty they are together.


Captain Noah Bonney and her crew were some of my favorite characters to write. She's the woman I want to grow up to be: strong, patient, smart, kickass.

Okay, okay...let me give you the spiel on End of Eternity.


Luna thought her journey away from her people's world was over. Now, she's forced to join the lost daughter in her journey with Captain Noah Bonney's crew to learn why these women coexist with men. Something unbelievable to the all woman race. Adding to the confusing change in Dokkaebi directive and teachings, is the presence of the gold-eyed man that stirred something in her heart. A forbidden attraction that goes against all her teachings and her people's ways.

Damani Wassack isn't happy with the situation either. Telomere Watchers lead secluded and separate lives. Yet now, he and the other watchers must come to the surface, show all their secrets and work with outsiders. If that weren't enough, he can't get that sneer from the man-hating warrior woman out of his mind. Or her fierce dedication, strong spirit, and sense of duty and honor. The package is appealing, and completely impossible.


Luna was sunk, she knew later as they lay in the cot. He'd passed out against her as soon as she finished with the healing. Exhausted herself, she'd called for low lights and let herself drop against the wall, cradling him so his head lay on her lower stomach. The braided Mohawk was a mess. She hesitated long enough to feel nervous before reaching out and working the binding off.

"Oh, it's like silk," she murmured on a purr, running her fingers through the mane of dark auburn hair to unravel the braiding. It draped forward in thick locks, partially concealing his face.

The low lights from the vessel reflected off the silver tattoo etched, right up by the shoulder blade. In an absent way, she traced it with her finger and sighed.

She knew the mechanics of being with a man. It'd been taught in preparation for her Procreation Journey. What she hadn't expected was that need, as the Essence called it. So new and uncommon. Similar, yet different from the affection she had for her Dokkaebi, and more than what the elders describe of attraction. She slid her fingers from his tattoo to his face, brushed the hair off it to trace his brow and nose, ending at the red tattoos on his hairline.

The wonder of man, the Essence echoed inside her. What wonders they bring to women. This is different from the first of those who landed. Very interesting.

Luna frowned and wondered if it was the Essence intrigued by this man, or her. Could she separate those feelings? Were they manipulating her?

I am intrigued by all and yet none in particular, Child. Unlike you.

Was this what Namid felt for the Scott McCree? Frustrated, she tried to figure out how to approach the situation. Obviously, she could do little to resist him much longer. But she would not give her life and soul to him. Not even for a child in her belly. Not even cast out in this world would she change. Yet if she loved him, she feared she might end up spilling all and more at his feet. At his mercy. At his will.

He stirred in his sleep, reached out and snuggled into her, resting his head in between her pelvic bones. His warm hand kneaded her thigh before settling again into deep sleep.

Everything changes, daughter.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Amazon, B&N

Well, now back to writing The Naga People, my current sci-fi WIP. Ciao all!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Passionate Cooks Now Available for Free Download

I've included my "Heavenly Pillows" sopapilla recipe in All Romance's free cookbook.

I know, I know... no one expected ME to be a contributor in a cookbook. (Yet another sign 2012 might be the date of the end of the world.) But until it happens, enjoy all the groovy recipes. Download it here: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-passionatecooks-944744-174.html

It's free, so why wouldn't you?

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Daunting Abyss of Marketing and Promotion

I'll be the first to admit, I am horrible at getting my name and books out there. Right now, I'm staring at a promotional to-do list that is fifty-million items long...

Okay, THAT may be an exaggeration, but this is my blog so I can be as melodramatic as I want.

I don't usually compare myself to other writers, because that path leads to depression, insecurity and most likely insanity. But in the area of marketing, promotion, and all around public relations, I can't help but notice that my fellow writers seem so much better at it.

And their sales show it.

They work their asses off balancing the time of writing and creativity with the work of letting people know their book(s) is/are out there. I'm so impressed and fascinated by the seemingly natural flow.

I am not comfortable boasting about my book in the respect as "see here for purchase". Oh, I can chat up all the science and world building in it and the basis for its development and inclusion in the story, but that's just geeking out, isn't it?

Yeah, I thought so. *sigh*

I can do what I hope are interesting articles about science, technology, research, and/or development, but most of the time I get so excited about the topic that I forget to tie it to one of my stories and add a book summary and purchase links.

So, back to the thing that prompted this post. I'm staring at the daunting abyss of promotion items I need to do. There's interview questionnaires, topic items for blog posts (with their link to a published or soon-to-be published story), blog tour requests to send out to my blogging buddies, and excerpt posts to send off to Yahoo Groups and Facebook.

Usually I try and end a post like this with a "here's what I'm going to do about it" paragraph, but truthfully folks, I'm too overwhelmed and, yes, frightened to come up with some solutions.

Yours truly, quivering in the corner,

A. R.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Space Travel - gazing the shore beyond the horizon

Whether it's interplanetary, interstellar, or intergalactic, space travel has some hefty challenges to overcome. The one I want to cover today is distance.

Flippers on? Okay, let's dive in.

The speed of light is equal to 186,000 miles per second. (Here I thought my husband was speedy Gonzales at 80 mph!) Using Termination Shock as the "edge", our Solar System is reported to be about 22 light-hours across, which is about 1/400th a light year.

Doesn't seem like that big, does it? I admit, using light years does kind of soften the true size of things. Dampens the perspective, so to speak. So, let's put it in miles. First visualize a mile in your head. Now let's do this arithmetic style:

          186,000 x 60 = 11,160,000 million miles per minute
          11,160,000 x 60 = 669,600,000 million miles per hour
          669,600,000 x 22 = 14,731,200,000 billion miles wide

I'm impressed (both at my math skills if I'm correct and in the true size of the Solar System). That's almost 15 billion miles across! Earth is 24,906 around miles at its equator. You'd have to go around the Earth's equator 591,472 times to equal the Solar System's distance

All right, at this point, let's be honest. The Milky Way galaxy is about 90,000 light years across. Talk about speck of dust! We are a microbe! For the sake of sanity, let's exclude intergalactic travel in this post for now, shall we?

Good, now considering the first commercial flight using an airplane was only in 1913 or 1914 (couldn't clarify in my research) how can we possibly imagine even getting to the closest habitable planet? Mars ranges from 34 million to 250 million miles away from Earth. I mean, even becoming interplanetary residents is daunting.

But let's put on our positivity hats... no, not the aluminum ones, the positivity ones... Yeah, those there to the left. We've made great strides since those first commercial flights and now airflight is a natural transportation method all over the world.

NASA has taken several rovers to Mars and it's only about 6 months. Yeah, I know that's just robots, but baby steps folks, baby steps. Stay with me here.

Virgin Galactic is well on its way with the commercial space flights. And a Russian company is slated to open the first orbital hotel in 2016 .

The private sector is where our advancement into space will come from. We'll slowly move beyond our earthly society and will pace our technological advancements in modes of space travel to meet the changing needs.

Come on, do we really need faster than light (FTL) travel technology when we're just settling into space colonies, moons and planets?

Truthfully, what's a 6 to 12 month trip for someone moving to colonize off Earth? Pioneers ventured that long to start a new life in a time when they knew they'd never go "back home" again. It'll be those with the same mindset gearing up for multi-planet civilization.

Sure, they could speed up the trip a little, but it's not bad as it stands now if they build gravity treatment into the vessel, such a body centrifuges.

Now, when we get ready to go interstellar baby, that's when we need to bump up our travel game. We'd have to first decide how we're getting there. Most likely, it'll be a mix of things. Those first few will want/need to travel in generational ships that are slower than light. They could also travel in suspended animation with a mix of frozen embryos to colonize a new world in another star system.

That's a long wait and I don't think I could do that.

My interstellar style would be through Faster Than Light (FTL) technology either using warp drive technology or something more realistic such as quantaportation. Of course, a quantaportation grid would need to be laid out first before it would work. That could be done through unmanned technology with robots setting up receiver stations throughout.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Life After Death: What's it all about?

The discussion of if there's life after death is usually prompted and/or ended by talks of near death experiences, so we'll start there.

I want to begin with the actual medical definition of near death experience (NDE):
  1. Person is physically compromised to the extent that they are clinically dead (no pulse, no respiratory movement and no corneal reflex)
  2. At the time of clinical death, they have a generally lucid, highly organized experience
On the surface, it sounds crazy. I mean, the dead can't see, hear, or experience anything. How do the clinically dead make new memories? Because, guess what, they do. There are numerous cases where people put into a clinically dead state for surgical purposes, wakes up knowing intimate and accurate details of the procedure. All the way to conversations between the clinical staff they overheard.

You know science, though. There has to be a non-metaphysical explanation to this. So, let's take a moment to go over one of the dominant scientific theories for NDE. Scientists theorize NDE is actually the sleep disorder rapid eye movement (REM) intrusion. During this REM intrusion, the mind wakes up before the body, triggering hallucinations and the sensation of being detached from the body. (The REM state is where we enter the dreaming part of our sleepy time...in case you didn't know.)

But, if our brain is officially considered dead, how can this be? Well, the area of REM intrusion is located in the brain stem, so can operate independent from the executive organ residing within your skull. Sounds plausible, right? So, based on this, no spirituality or post physical body reason involved.

Whoa, but what about when we factor in the out of body experience (OBE), where people have watched and could describe actions the surgical team did during the surgery? You guessed it, science has a theory for this to: temporal parietal junction (TPJ) misfires.

When the TBJ misfires and becomes crossed it gives the sensation of being outside your physical body. Test subjects have proven this. That's all good and nice, but guess what? The TBJ area is controlled by the higher brain, which in the NDE is clinically dead. Where are those kind of test subjects?

If it sounds like I'm mocking science, please believe me I'm earnestly not. As a science fanatic, I love all the discoveries science makes on a daily basis. My restraint comes when science finds the reason for how something happens and closes the book without exploring why something happens. The REM intrusion and TBJ misfires during NDE explain the how, but doesn't explain the why.

The why can literally be explained in thousands of ways. You have each religion and spiritual movement explaining the why in their own way. Then each human takes their own twist based on their religious or spiritual belief merged with their life experiences.

For me, the movie Flatliner's was an interesting take on the subject. The angle of each med student needing to come to terms with their own life trauma was intriguing. Imagine, you croak and find yourself in an experience/memory maze, having to tie up all the loose ends of your life to get to the beyond point.

I do wonder if REM is truly the door to our spirituality, and not only just our subconscious mind. When you think about it, it is our subconscious that processes our conscious thoughts and actions to turn them into beliefs and our core moral and ethical structures.

Personally, I was both relieved and disappointed that I missed out on the NDE and OBE experience during my craniotomy in early 2011. Relieved because, hello, knocking on death's door. The tad of disappointment surprised me until I drilled into it (of course).

I'm not just a sci-fi geek, I'm a science geek and a bit of a spirituality geek. Having a near death experience would've been the ultimate of ultimates in merging both science and spirituality in a single adventure. Now that I think about it, maybe it was a good thing I didn't. With my curiosity, I would've gone towards the damn light and then where would we be, huh? Definitely not blogging about life after death today, that's for sure.

The argument will continue, there's no doubt about that, but beyond the experiences of a few, no one will ever know until our hearts actually stop, our brain nerves cease sparking and the docs can't bring us back.

I don't know about you all, but I'm not in a hurry to find out. So, what are your thoughts on the whole life after death thing?

"Is There Such a Thing as Life After Death?" by Laura Fitzpatrick http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1955636,00.html
"Has science explained life after death?" by Josh Clark http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/afterlife/science-life-after-death.htm

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Talking SF subgenres on The Writer Limits

Hey all! I'm over at The Writer Limits talking SF subgenres. Stop by if you have a chance! http://thewriterlimitsauthors.blogspot.com/

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pucker Up

I've been all science-y for a bit, so I thought I'd call up the "R" side of SFR and delve into something a bit more mooshy.


I love kissing. The whole ritual of it is alluring and tantalizing. But why do we kiss? On the surface, it seems a weird thing to do. I mean, we press the food entry part of our bodies together and suck face. (More or less...oh, you get the drift.)

Somehow, it's instinctual though, isn't it? But is it instinctual to do because of biological or cultural factors? Or a little bit of both?

Kissing has been documented as far back as 1500 B.C. in Sanskrit texts that are the foundation of the Hindu religion. Granted, they didn't use the word "kiss" but, come on, the references to "licking" and "drinking moisture of the lips"? We don't need a literal map to decipher those terms, do we?

Even the Babylonian tablets and the Old Testament talk about greeting and supplication kissing as a way to show affection and endearment to another.

Yep, kissing is recorded all over the ancient world.

Early "scientists" claimed that people found kissing pleasurable because an electrical current generated when two people pressed their lips together. That was a bit crazy, we now know, but it is true that the body releases hormones when people lock lips, inducing a euphoric feeling.

Quick note: Did you know that many animals also kiss? Pretty trippy huh? Chimpanzees, birds, insects, turtles, mules, cats and even elephants.

Scientifically speaking, kissing allows potential mates to test their pheromones for biological compatibility and quality of kissing is an indicator of mating commitment.

Did you know, though, that kissing is healthy for you? It's true! It boosts your immunity and kicks your body into gear to work harder at staying healthy. The extra saliva that kissing produces washes bacteria off your teeth (eew, by the way). Kissing even works the muscles of your face, which keeps you looking younger by keeping the wrinkles and sagging away. Also, kissing can burn up to 2 calories a minute, which is double your metabolic rate.

But, I think the biggest health benefit is the stress management effect. Kissing -- when with someone we care about -- releases the negative energy and helps reset our mental state and enhance our well-being.

Okay, so I ended up going science-y with something mooshy, but isn't that the nature of us SFR writers? We mix our fiction with a little bit of science and a little bit of romance.

Article resources:

(Images courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Procrastination Marathon...Join Me

Because I'm in a marathon episode of procrastination - which I'm totally winning y'all - I thought I'd bring you what I'm finding in my Internet route. (NOTE: Because the recent copy right chaos for images, I'm not including any, but the links have great photos.)

*rubs hands*

Quantum Teleportation Race in full gear
We are well on our way folks! They are slowly breaking records. Today it's a single proton, tomorrow large masses of information, long time future who knows...people.

"Beam me up, Scottie." (Which was actually never said if I remember right. Correct me if I'm wrong blogger buddies.)

Now, I know the irony of titling it "Quantum TELEportation". I really hope they can come up with something more appropriate. I did in my new series: Quantaportation. Researchers, feel fee to take the term if you wish. It's all yours if you want it.

Organic memory material
Until the quantaportation technology is zipping info around the world, we can at least look forward to storing information on computers with less electricity usage thanks to this discovery of an organic crystalline compound that is ferroelectric. (This keeps flipping me a little bit back to Stargate Atlantis and the crystal technology on there.)

Goodbye RAM maybe, which uses buckos of energy to keep running due to its volatility.

Superhero Sutures
And because I can't search through science discoveries without checking out the latest and greatest in health and medicine (the industry to which I work in) I'm super excited about this new suture that is coated with sensors to detect infection. Not only does it detect it, but when it does, it heats up to aid in healing and fighting off the infection. Pretty cool, huh?

Okay, that's all I got right now. Anything new you guys have been reading about?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

World Building Coolness: I created my own folklore!

Oh my goodness! Has it already been a week since I last posted? Where did the time fly? Where did the days sneak off to?

Hmm...I know where they went, as most of you writers know. Off into the lala land of the imagination. I have been so absorbed with my new manuscript that everything else has faded away into Nowhereville.

I was really excited because last week I created my own folklore for the story! Cool huh? I know! So, since I really can't think of anything super smart or witty to write about today, I thought I'd share the "myth" I created.


(Just remember, this is off the cuff...not even through to the first editing phase.)

*     *     *     *     *     *

"First, you have to understand our existance belief. The Naga people believe in an invisible land, known as Zerzura, which is between the living and the dead. Or, as our ancestors call them, the Known Here and the Hidden Beyond. There, in Zerzura, two spirits stand guard. Siwa and Andelik."

Dane didn't known whether it was Enola's quiet, storytelling voice or the exhaustion of the last day, but a chill danced down his spine.

"When a new soul enters, the two battle for it, using the recent dead's energy for power. If the person lived a good life, and therefore had good energy, Andelik wins. But, if the person lived a bad life, it would have more evil energy and Siwa wins.

"The great Sun gifted shape shifters with the ability to transform and appreciate all creatures by living in their skin. But all gifts come with a catch."

Sadness weighed down on Dane and tears stung at his eyes. He made sure to stay facing away from them, at the water tank. Painful memories ached in his heart. All gifts come with a catch, so true. If he turned, would there be the same sadness in Becka? He didn't dare, but knew Becka enough to know she at least remembered that heartbreak they shared, when they still loved each other.

"Shape shifters, in the midst of transformation, exist on this plane here and Zerzura," Enola continued without realizing the undercurrents she agitated. "This provides a loophole for Siwa, but only if that shape shifter has not lived a good enough life. During transformation, Siwa grabs them. Picking them up in an evil wind of ice as he whistles a dark tune, he drags them straight to the underworld, the devil's domain."

Enola tapped her handheld on the desk lightly, breaking the mood she'd set in the room. "And that, Agent, is the myth of the Siwa."

*      *      *      *      *      *

Well, I hoped you liked it. It probably will be tweaked a little bit during revisions and edits, but I really like the core of it.

Soooo, snooping moment: What has been your favorite world building moment?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Emoting Emotion

How do you get a character to show dimension when that character's culture and characteristic build is the lack of emotion?

No, no, I'm not going Vulcan on you all.

In my newest manuscript (started just a couple weeks ago) my main female character comes from a world where the people don't have the expressive facial, verbal tone modulation and body cues that normal humans do. So, the emotions are all on the inside but they don't come through and express themselves to the other characters.

I can't believe I did this to myself, people. I really can't.

Okay, truthfully I didn't get to choose her. She came popping up from my Muse (aka Subconscious). This is her story and there's no way around it. But I'm finding it a challenge to get her right. I mean, a character doesn't "tell" their feelings to others, it is shown usually through their body language and facial cues.

That route has been stripped from me. Thankfully this isn't a romance, but it's a woman's fictional story so I want her to exhibit some of those trials and tribulations that woman face and have faced throughout time.

When I'm in her POV it kind of works, because she's responding to the situation, but when I'm in the other main character's POV it's nearly impossible.

I think I'm going to pull from the corporate world a bit. What do I mean by this? Well, it is common for females in the corporate world to hide and suppress their emotional responses, or otherwise be seen as a fluff woman. This leads to them not being taken seriously and they lose credibility.

It's not exactly like it, but it's a start. I guess.

I might also research those cases of traumatic injury where people cannot express their emotions, but often it's because the emotion button is switched off, so I'm not sure how helpful it'll be.

Wish me luck folks!

What writing struggles are you all facing right now? Anything I can help with?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Short Story Memory Lane: The Patient

I was cruising through memory lane (otherwise known as procrastinating) and came across some of those old shorts and flashes that kick started my publication journey. One caught my attention. It's a couple years old and was published in a college literary magazine.

This one was an odd ball. First, it's literary. Second its not speculative or science fiction. Third, and most intruiging to me, it stemmed off an experience my mentor had when she was still an OR nurse.

So, because it seemed to call to me, I thought I'd share it with you all today. It's very short, so a quick read.

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The Patient

Victoria adjusted her position in the seat, but never let go. Not like she could even if she wanted too. The patient held her hand like a vice. The clock ticked, filling what would be silence.

Two hours she'd been sitting there.

She’d planned to take her husband out for a surprise dinner, then relax at home with a glass of red wine and a book. “It’s okay. I don’t mind really,” Victoria said and meant it.

The hospital sitter for their unit had called in sick, so her supervisor had asked Victoria to stay with the patient after the surgery ended. Ten-hour shifts were hard, but worth it for three days off a week. Besides, Victoria was grateful she’d been around for this case.

“Where is his family?” she’d asked, glancing at the young man on the bed.

“Out of town. They are on their way in,” Gina, her supervisor had replied.

Victoria looked at the patient now and wondered what color his eyes were. With her free hand, she lightly moved the hair off his face. The wound on his forehead had darkened to a deep purple. Peeking from under the gown, the skin bulged through the suture gaps.

You look so pale, Sweetie. “Poor thing.”

The surgery had started with a rush several hours before, breaking what had been a slow night.

“One coming by airlift. ETA fifteen minutes. Prepare room five.” Gina had sounded like a roman commander readying for battle.

It was very much like combat. The enemy was Death. Some battles they won, and some they lost, but the war itself never ended.

“You battled hard, young man.” Victoria eyed at the clock. Two and a half hours. “It’s been a long wait, but they should be arriving soon. Don’t worry.” She double-checked the snugness of the hospital blanket.

She wondered again about the color of his eyes under those closed lids. That’s the thing about being a surgery nurse. You never get to see the color of their eyes. With blond hair, she knew they’d most likely be blue or green. She supposed they could be brown but she had a feeling they weren’t .

“My son’s a little older than you. Just starting college.”

She wondered if the young man had started college yet. She’d been lucky her son picked a school in the area. Daniel came home every weekend and break. The patient’s family lived three states over.

“They must be out of their heads with worry.” She rubbed her thumbs along his. “I’d be worried if you were my son.”

She wondered if he went home for school breaks and how often he called home. I bet you call at least once a week. His warm hand tightened around hers and she squeezed back.

“I know. It’ll be okay.”

She looked up at the clock. Almost three hours. Muffled conversation on the other side of the door broke the silence. Moments later, Gina entered with the surgery director. The director smiled down at the hands locked together and then at Victoria.

“Thank you so much for keeping him company. The family has arrived and would like to visit with him now.”

“Oh, that’s wonderful.” Victoria stood and started to let go, but the patient wouldn’t loosen his grip. Sadly, she looked down at him and squeezed one more time. It’s time. She smiled at the director. “It’s been a while. Rigor mortis as set in.”

With tender care, she grabbed the young man’s forearm, ice cold from being dead so many hours, his hand only kept warmed from her touch. She stretched the hand that held his, felt the crack of his stiffened fingers against her skin, then slipped free and petted his blond hair once more before leaving.

The hallway filled with the noise of busy workers in green scrubs. Everything went on as if a soul hadn’t been lost. Victoria knew; she’d never forget him. That peaceful young man who’d died so tragically. Years of hardened nursing kept her from crying, but she grieved.

Turning left towards the lockers, she spotted a blond couple pass by. Through the redness of grief, both had eyes of dark green.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The bad boy hero's we love to hate.... What makes them lovable in the end?

Please welcome writer buddy, Tami Dee, who's here to talk about someone we gals all fall for at least once...the bad boy.


I have always had a fascination with bad boy hero's and their transformation into the men heroines fall for.

It takes a skilled writer to create a hero who is flawed enough where we the readers start off wanting to shake some sense into him, then, as the pages turn we see our hero grow into a man our heroine can be proud to love.

On the other side of the coin, there are some writers who have not quite mastered that aspect of the bad boy hero turning good. The writer will make a vital mistake by creating a bad boy hero who is frankly unredeemable in the reader's eye. When this happens, and a heroine goes from hating the bad boy to loving him, despite the fact that the bad boy did not grow at all, or was so bad at the start that no matter what he did later, it would not make up for his initial badness, that is disturbing to me as a reader.

What do you think? How important is it to you to 'see' the growth in a bad boy hero? In general, (Please, no specific books or authors, I'm not going there with these questions) what lines do you, the readers; draw in your mind as to what might be unredeemable behavior?

Have you read any GOOD examples of bad boy hero's growing and earning the heroines respect and love by the end of the story? (This you can say author names or book titles--kudos are always nice to hear)

One commenter will be selected to win a free download of my latest release, Chameleons Shadow.

Lady Elisabetta Mitchell, a pampered daughter of a murdered English Marquis, is forced to flee the only home she's ever known. She now lives in poverty on the unfeeling streets of Southwark, London 1623. Caught between two worlds, she will do whatever it takes to survive.

Lord William Hunter, a nobleman with a secret. When an unknown woman rushes into his startled embrace, battered and afraid, he vows to protect this fair-haired beauty. Yet he cannot protect the girl who runs from him and his probing questions. He has to find her again first. And find her he will, no matter how long he must search.

London, England
February 1625

Lord Harrison Mitchell raked the bodies of his sister-in-law and niece with a dispassionate flick of his hard violet eyes.

A thin cackle escaped his lips, bouncing off the tall walls before returning to him with an unmistakable edge of madness. Blood pooled on the pale marble floor beneath his nieces head, mindful of where he stepped, he made his way back into the study.

His heart beat at a steady pace, his hands, elegant and long fingered, fisted and un-fisted at his sides, and his thoughts were already drifting to his mistress, who he would be seeking out as soon as this night's unpleasantness was behind him.

Harrison knelt beside the body of his only brother, Alexander, his younger brother. His lips pulled into a resigned line as he viewed the gaping dagger wound in his chest. The look of stunned disbelief still marred Alexander's face, as incurious in death as it had been the moment Harrison had stepped from behind the thick velvet curtains he had lain in-wait behind, and plunged the blade into him.

The scent of fresh blood jerked an unexpected gag reflex out of Harrison, and his stomach churned. Holding his breath he stared at the smudges of crimson stark against the chalk white pads of his fingertips in mild surprise, then distain, wiping them clean on the rug as he stood.

Satisfied he had left behind no evidence of his presence, barring the three dead bodies, he crossed to the window he had entered from, dropping to the ground with a grunt when his feet hit the hard packed earth.

Let the watch make what they would of the scene when they arrived.

Things had not gone exactly as he had planned, he admitted to himself with an inner shrug. Yet he had accomplished what he had set out to do. All that stood between himself and the Mitchell fortune now was his nephew, Nicolas.

His breath puffed out white in the chilled night air as he scanned the dark line of pines at the back of his brother's property, then he snorted. No terrified five year old boy could survive an English winter night while lost in a forest. The beasties would devour him before dawn, or he would freeze to death.

A light layer of frost crunched under his hurried steps as Harrison made his way back to his waiting carriage. He could not believe the brat had stumbled into Alexander's study, just as Harrison had plunged the dagger into his father's heart.

He rubbed his gloved hand over his ears. They still rang with the lad's horrified screams. A costly state of shock had momentarily paralyzed Harrison before he had lunged for Nicolas, but by then the boy had already ran out of the study, skidded through the entry way and out the tall double doors into the night, his night rail a trail of white as Harrison had panted at the wide open doors and watched as he had disappeared into the forest.

It hadn't surprised Harrison when, moments later, his sister-in-law, Lady Rachele and his niece, Elisabetta, alerted by Nicolas's screams, had ran down the sweeping staircase, stumbling to a stunned halt when they had caught sight of him standing at the foot of the stairs waiting for them, bloody dagger in hand.

He shook his head and pushed the rest of the night's unpleasantness out of his mind. His driver pulled open the carriage door and lowered the step, then backed away so he could climb inside. "That did not take long, My lord."

Harrison smiled at him, a thin twist of lips, "The manor was dark and quiet, I didn't bother knocking."

Harrison settled himself upon his padded seat and pulled the rug over his lap, his lips pulled into a satisfied smile.

Before long he, Lord Harrison Mitchell, would have everything he'd ever wanted.


Buy links:
AmazonDesert Breeze Publishing

Tami's web site: http://www.tamidee.com/

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Immortality and the seduction telomere

Hi all, I'm over hanging with PI today to continue my discussion of immortality and building a SF concept around it.

Stop by if you have a chance!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Near Future Inspiration by P. I. Barrington

My writer friend P.I. Barrington is stopping by today to talk about inspiration and....wait for it my geek buddies...near future inspiration!

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Inspiration can create many things from mechanical items of fancy to urgently needed life saving technology and pretty much everything in between. Where to get some of that inspiration? If you're a dedicated science fiction writer, a heck of a lot of it comes from absorbing all that techie stuff in books and movies about the future, near or far.

There are other places and sources of inspiration for your particular however. Two of the technologies I created and am very proud of are the spray on latex gloves and Sedadone my foam crowd control sedative in the Future Imperfect trilogy. Where did those ideas spring from?

From reality and fantasy; I'm sure you've seen the new foam disinfectant dispensers in hospitals and doctors' offices that are attached to the walls. Medical staff presses a puff or two on their hands as they pass keeping themselves and hopefully everyone else as germ free as possible.

I first noticed them when my mother had to be admitted to the emergency room and the staff there used them almost without thinking. I was amazed that no one had ever thought of it before, and wished I'd been that creative in helping people. But it did start me thinking about more wonderful technologies to come. When I started Crucifying Angel, I took it a step further thinking how and what I wanted to see improved especially in medicine.

I'd always disliked those latex gloves that doctors and nurses snapped on their hands. I just always felt they were still too easy to contaminate so I thought about the foam disinfectant and combined the two in a sense. What I came up with was the spray on latex gloves that touched nothing prior to spraying them on hands as foam where they harden to the texture of latex. They could then be peeled off without too much contact with contaminants and were easily portable in spray bottles. Not only that but they played a major part in all three novels of the trilogy!

I'm even more proud of my invention of Sedadone, the crowd controlling foam sedative. If you know anything about Los Angeles, you know we're prone to riots and demonstrations and protest marches. Being an ex-journalist, I watch the news voraciously; something we never overcome, lol! Over the years, watching the many times violent interaction between police and protestors, even when they used non-lethal crowd control methods like rubber bullets and tasers it was still fairly painful and violent.

I used to watch and think "there's gotta be a better way" and not only a better way but a more effective way to control large crowds rather than focus in on a few rowdy people. When I got to Final Deceit (Book Three) an idea popped into my head connected with the foam concept!

What if, instead of using weaponry, the police could just spray a non-lethal, non-harmful foam sedative over the crowd that would be absorbed through the skin and produce a sedative effect on an entire crowd of people at once?

Oh sure, the politics of that would probably never allow it to come to fruition in reality, but in a crumbling 2032 Las Vegas, the police would probably welcome anything that could produce immediate results in riots, especially non-violent, temporary incapacitation type results. It would probably reduce civil suits in courtrooms all over the state of California too!

Well, maybe not reduce…maybe create more class action lawsuits. But for the purposes of science fiction writing, I thought it worked pretty well. Both of those ideas came from reality and fantasy: what we have and what we wish we have.

Look around you there's always something you can improve upon even if might not be an eventuality then again nobody thought we'd really have a space shuttle or space station outside of some sci-fi author's imagination. Yet there they are, functioning on a daily basis getting and giving us improvements and knowledge to deal with our own inspirations and make the fantasies into reality.

A little inspiration can go a long long way.

More about P. I. Barrington:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Writer Limits Crossover Guest: Jennifer Hartz

Hi all! Today I have a guest. One of my contributor buddies from The Writer Limits (TWL), Jennifer Hartz, for a crossover event TWL is putting on. All the TWL contributors will be flipping and swapping guest posts with each other.

Jennifer is a fabulous writer and I'm super excited to have her on today. She's going to talk about her world building technique for The Future Svaior Series. Go for it, Sister!

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Why in the World Do I Put Biblical Mirroring in My Books?

When I set out to write The Future Savior Series I knew I wanted to incorporate a lot of Biblical mirroring… but why? Here's the best answer I can give you. It comes from someone who recently reviewed Future Savior Book 2: Resurrection:

"I absolutely loved all the scenes that had Biblical parallels. Those scenes especially, really made me want to grab my Bible so that I could read about the real events!!!"

I have a hard time talking to people. Especially people I don't know very well, but as a Christian I know I'm called to talk to people about Christ. How can I do this when the talking thing certainly isn't my cup of tea? The answer - writing!

But now the new question is what kind of writing. I'm not a big fan on non-fiction books… Blah, boring! So I knew a straight, informative non-fiction kind of book was never gonna happen. And regular, normal, contemporary fiction bore me. Why would I want to read about something I could do myself? No, I want to go to a galaxy far, far away or visit a land never before seen! So the answer became quite clear - speculative fiction!

Meshing these two things together - Biblical Mirroring and Speculative Fiction - resulted in The Future Savior Series. I've created a speculative world that Non-Christians and Christians will be interested in checking out and along the way I've sprinkled in some Bible stories. The result will have them reaching for a Bible to compare and contrast. I just got them to open up God's Word!

That was my desire when I put Biblical mirroring in The Future Savior Series, so I was thrilled to see it actually happen like in the review snippet above.

In my follow up posts to The Writer Limits Cross-Over Extravaganza, I'll break down each novel in The Future Savior Series and pinpoint the Bible references. Stay tuned because there could very well be a much anticipated excerpt from the upcoming release of Future Savior 4: Desecration!

Here's where you can find me on the web:

Twitter: @JenniferLHartz

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Now, while she's here today, I'll be over there at her blog so make sure you stop by http://jenniferhartz.com/blog/. I'm talking about immortality people. IMMORTALITY! (You know you're interested.)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Friendship Peak

During my daily dose of research, I stumbled across a Yahoo slideshow highlighting NASA Mars pictures and then BHAM! Gusev Crater popped up. As many of you know, Gusev Crater is where Rinny Matterville from Duty and Devotion trained.

If you look into the distant right you'll see the mountain she and her friends drove to, the one they nicknamed "Friendship Peak"

Here's the link to the slideshow in case you're interested http://news.yahoo.com/photos/the-surface-of-mars-slideshow/future-planetary-rovers-may-own-decisions-photo-123208443.html#crsl=%252Fphotos%252Fthe-surface-of-mars-slideshow%252Fmars-photo-1322584905.html

Excerpt "Friendship Peak":
They reached the crater edge in less than two hours and stopped the vehicle. Climbing into the back, they helped each other into surface suits and started exiting procedures. When they stepped out, Rinny gazed up into the atmosphere and then took in the mountain range. The contrast of the tea-stained sky and the burnt orange range, all in a vivid watercolor tone enraptured Rinny's passion. For a fleeting moment, she wished she were a painter and not a musician. No notes could bring out the emotions the scene caused in her soul. Danny stepped up beside her and Journey.

Rinny turned to them. "You ready, explorers?"

Her voice sounded metallic in the voice transmitters. She couldn't see their faces clearly through the reflective face covers. They double-checked the foot weights and oxygen pressure then headed out. The ground was thick with dust. They had to lift their feet clear or start a dust cloud. They chatted as they worked their way up the crater. A thin layer of dust coated their white suits by the time they reached the top. After clearing off each other's helmets, they took in the Gusev Valley floor all the way out to the Columbia Hills colony.

"It's beautiful," Danny whispered.

"Wow, this is an amazing view." Journey did a full turn and then took hold of Rinny's hand through the bulk of the suit's gloves. "It's like we're the first ones to be here."

Using her free hand, Rinny took Danny's. Standing there, all three holding hands, she felt the connection of friendship. "We've conquered this spot. We'll call it Friendship Peak."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Feeling Accomplished

You know those days where everything just seems to click? Well, that's my today.

Finished the final revision round this morning on my latest SF book. The first in a SF case-mystery series. To let that stew a bit before editing rounds kicks off, I decided to tackle the outlining and story bible of the second book in the series.

That led to a wonderful day of brainstorming plots and subplots, technology frameworks, science facts and doing image searches for world and character development.

Writer's heaven folks, writer's heaven...


It's now reaching evening and I have the starting outline of my story, some visuals of my characters, and an awesome start to my world. Not to mention a really, really groovy antagonist. One so evil and sadistic I'm going to enjoy writing him.

*does hammer dance*

Now I just hope I can lay it down on paper as close to the vision in my head as possible.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Where'd all the pets go?

Cosmic Kitties? Astro Dogs? Where are you?

Stop by The Writer Limits, where I talk about pets in space-based SF (or lack thereof).

Monday, June 25, 2012

What's in a lie or two or ten?

I'm visiting Cindy Woolf today on her blog and talking about lies. Stop by if you have a chance.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Drumroll please (midsummer style)

No dancing naked...oh, all right, go ahead if you want to.

Thank you all for stopping by yesterday. The Midsummer Blog Hop was a really fun event and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year. (Wink, wink fellow Brigaders.)

I stopped by all the participating blogs and even though I didn't get a chance to comment on all of them they were great. You Brigaders really know how to bring the interesting and the fun.

I was pleasantly surprised by all the references to Midsummer Night. And there were several that took on the summer theme like me. Of course, there were tons of science in the Hop House which satisfied my geeky thirst.

Okay, okay. Now for the winner of the free ebook "Duty and Devotion":

Pam AKA VanillaOrchids!!

Come on down!...er, well, you know what I mean. I've sent you an email.

Again, thank you all you uber groovy bloggy friends!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Midsummer Blog Hop: Midsummer Mischevious

Welcome to my blog for the SFR Brigade's Midsummer Blog Hop! WHOOT!!

Okay. Down to business. Midsummer. June. Heat.

For me, midsummer always brings back a case of nostalgia. (For my blogging buddies, shoosh. The newcomers don't have to know a fly could send me into a nostalgic mood.)

Quick Pause: See what I did there? I tricked you all! Mwhuahahaha! You were all so sure I'd go all scifi-ish on the topic. But, really, the science of solstice is pretty standard stuff. Plus, the blog hop is for the SFR Brigade. These aren't just wimpy SF geeks who love to swoon. These are a bunch of hardass geeks. There is nothing I can't blog about that they aren't going to blog about in more and better detail. So...there!

Where was I? Oh, yeah...summer nostalgia.

I can't help remembering the summer right after freshman year high school, when I spent the summer at a family friend's and had my first crush that was reciprocated. (The geeky girl got the cute lifeguard that summer...imagine that!) We each knew there wouldn't be declarations of love. Both of us perfectly aware and happy to experience the romance for exactly what it was, a summer romance.

What a summer!

The daily trips to the pool to hang with new friends, which drifted into meals at the local fast food joint and then evenings at either the bowling alley or the youth group's billiard table. (We weren't old enough to frequent the bars or the pool halls where they served alcohol...yet.)

Oh, okay...we all know I can't NOT go SF-y. Even as I'm reminiscing, the SF in me is turning the thought wheel, like a damn hamster.

It's a sickness.

What will be the equivalent of a "summer memory" for galactic teens growing up? In a future, where who only knows what will be happening in the world(s) and where, how will they build those moments?

In my first SFR novel, Duty and Devotion, the sisters get caught up in a war right as they're experiencing this period in their lives. Poor younger sister, Rinny Matterville, has barely even started. Partly because the sheltered life she's led, but war has no shelter. Below is an excerpt of her, and a couple new friends on a Mars excursion. This was before her world, and reality, were torn apart. One of the better times, shall we say.

Guiding the Mars cruiser out of the exit bay, Rinny marveled again at its beauty. She didn't think she'd ever adjust to real land and open space. It took a few moments to break out of the shadow of the Colombia Hills dome. In the distance, the impressive Gusev Crater edge stood, contrasting with the Mars horizon as a backdrop. Two kilometers out she sped up and enjoyed the control of piloting the land cruiser.

In the rear seat, Danny leaned forward to observe the sky from out the roof viewer. "It's so beautiful here."

Journey leaned over to join him. "Eden Station is a great place, but even their views of space pale in comparison to this."

"Really? I'd love to visit Eden," Rinny smiled at her. "Windmore City seems like living in a fish bowl compared to life here. Can you believe it? Here we are cruising along in free space towards a real mountain region. I feel like we're on an adventure."

Journey laughed and took a bag from behind her seat. "I had a feeling you'd say that, so I got us these."

She took out three big hats, which looked like upside down bowls with deep rims. Rinny wondered when she'd had time to buy three hats. They weren't even sure Danny would be coming. Man, she was quick to plan and more confident in me than I am to myself.

"What are those?" Rinny and Danny asked in unison, glancing at the odd hats with suspicion.

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I guess the season doesn't really matter. It's the experiences, and teenagers will find "the moments to remember" in any conditions. When it comes down to it, it's the interactions, the people, and the places you encounter during that phase in your life that sticks with you.

Okay, now the prizes. Ahhh, I see I've recaptured your attention, didn't I? Admit it, you were about to flip to the next blog on the blog-o-hop. Weren't you?

I forgive you.

My prize is an ebook copy of Duty and Devotion. Now, remember, most blog hop participants are giving away individual prizes, AND there's an overall blog hop grand prize and runner up prize.

What are these grand and runner up prizes, you ask? Wait for it....wait for it...wait for it...Hey! Watch where you're throwing the bricks people! (And they say SF geeks have no aim. Pfft!)

Fine, fine. It's a Kindle for the grand prize. Runner up gets a cool prize to, 20 SFR titles and a gift card. Not too shabby, eh? Winners will be chosen using random.org.

Well, what are you waiting for? Go! Visit those other blogs and leave comments!