This past weekend I was honored to be invited to return to Cleveland ConCoction! I had such a great time in 2016 that I accepted eagerly. It’s one of my favorite conventions in terms of how authors are treated, by both the con and attendees. I had a great weekend of book sales, catching up with old friends, and meeting new people! Continue reading
Late last year I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a novella for a holiday anthology, “No One on Earth” (part of Starstruck Holidays). Today, I’m happy to revisit this sexy speculative fiction story through an interview with author Jennifer Loring.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Jon, a psychic since childhood, has never felt at home in the world, even less so after his lover died on Winter Solstice a year ago. Since his abilities failed him when he needed them most, he turns to alcohol and rejects his family’s assertion that he is a Star Child—an alien/human hybrid. When Jon’s sister suggests he should look into the legend of Handsome Fellow, Jon decides that if he cannot find happiness himself, he will bring it to others.
Erukkass’ people, a species of interdimensional aliens, have been observing Earth and interacting with humans for so many centuries that some Native American tribes believe their ancestors originated from the stars. After his lover passed away in what appears to be a medical accident, he accepts a scientific mission… but not for the reasons his government expects. He has located his beloved on another timeline, in another universe—ours—and he will not leave without him.
Jon returns home from work one evening to find a gift of his own—a strange young man waiting for him. Erukkass unveils one stunning revelation after another, including the truth behind his lover’s death and the nature of time itself. Can he and Jon forge a future together, or will two timelines that have always intersected, no matter when or where, finally be forced to diverge?
The mixture of themes for the Starstruck Holidays anthology is pretty unique. Did you already have your story written, or did you write it specifically for the anthology call?
I wrote it specifically for the anthology. That’s not something I do very often, but the call intrigued me enough to give it a shot. Plus, I really wanted to write something about indigenous culture. It’s largely untapped aside from some of the more horror-oriented legends like the skin-walkers and the wendigo. Continue reading
Whew, this month flew by (and not just because February is a short month). While things continue to be rough and stressful in the larger scheme of things, I’m pleased with what I accomplished in my own small corner of the world, and I’m looking forward to whatever is next.
I’d also like to take a quick moment to thank all of you. I have no way to tell how many of the subscribers to this blog are here because they are fans of my writing, here to follow my book reviews and my support of other authors, or both. Earlier this month I did a two-part holiday special, giving some details and background info on two of the romantic pairings in my books. I held my breath in case of negative feedback in the case of Kane and Archer — but absolutely none came! Thank you for being awesome, being accepting, and loving my guys as much as I do.
Okay, enough mushy stuff. Let’s get to work. Continue reading
Today I’m happy to feature an interview with debut novelist Lew McIntyre. Besides my usual desire to support indie writers, I was intrigued by the unique premise of this historical novel and had to know more.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The Eagle and the Dragon takes the reader on an epic journey of thousands of miles by sea and land across three continents. When Senator Aulus Aemilius Galba is tapped to lead the first Roman mission to China, he anticipates an easy path to fame and fortune. Gaius Lucullus sees a bright military future, but his reluctant centurion Antonius Aristides would rather be somewhere else. Translators Marcia Lucia and her brother Marcus were taken from their village in China to serve the Han court, abused and despised, hiding a horrible secret. A notorious Arab pirate, with a Roman price on his head and crucifixion in his future, shadows the entourage, seeking the wealthy prize of their treasure-laden ships. But Fate has other plans for these unlikely companions, sending them together on a journey that will take them thousands of miles by sea and land across the tapestry of the mysterious worlds at the close of the first century. From the storm-tossed Indian Ocean to the opulent Hanaean court, from the wild grassy steppes north of China to the forbidding peaks of the Pamir Mountains of Bactria, they fight for their lives, hoping to find the road that will lead them back to Rome.
What was your biggest inspiration for writing a work of historical fiction that hasn’t seen much representation?
My current work in progress actually began in 1995 while reading an historical book, The Ancient Mariners, by Lionel Casson, which described the Romans reaching the court of China around 166 AD. Apparently the emperors even knew each other’s names, indicating previous contact. This set my imagination ablaze when I learned from other sources that this definitely was not the first such expedition. I set out to write a short vignette on how two Roman soldiers, part of my fictional expedition in 100 AD, would find life in China so different in culture from their homeland. From that few pages was born The Eagle and the Dragon: A Novel of Rome and China. That same book, and others, gave me a grasp of the complex network of trading routes that spanned the Indian Ocean in that era, the sophisticated ships they built, and complex social, cultural and linguistic problems they would have to solve, and that kept the firing burning… basically at every step of the way, I had to ask myself, “Now what problems would I encounter doing that?” This was quickly followed by “Now how in the hell would I solve those problems with just first century tools at my disposal?” As I wrote this novel, it often seemed at times that I was taking dictation from my characters! It was a labor of love twenty years in the making. When I was finished, I read Rome and the Distant East: Trade Routes to the ancient lands of Arabia, India and China, by Raoul McLaughlin, which I read after I completed my work; he stated that the 166 AD mission was to seek the alliance of China with Rome against Parthia, modern day Iran and Iraq! This verified what I had hinted at was one far-fetched objective of my fictional mission, to determine if that could be a possibility, or if perhaps Rome should settle their differences with Parthia and ally with them against Han China! Continue reading
As promised, the husband and I shared a delicious meal of Indian food in front of the TV last night to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We watched another few episodes of The Grand Tour and then went to bed early.
Today actually marks 8 years since we officially started dating! Not because of the holiday, but because in 2009 I had agreed to pick him up from the airport after a 2-week class in California, and he had a Valentine’s Day bouquet delivered to my apartment that morning as a thank you.
But you’re not here for my sappy love story. You’re here for the much more interesting one between Victory and Mikelos, who were introduced in Steel Victory. Vampire and daywalker will return for their own adventure this summer in Steel Empires #3: Steel Blood, but for now, here’s some backstory and behind-the-scenes info to tide you over.
How and why did they meet?
After the drama (and trauma) of the Last War, Victory settled in Limani with her progeny Jarimis. She helped Jarimis’ daywalker open a bar, supporting Allesdandra’s dream. One day, in walks a human man she recognized from back in Europa, a former concert violinist.
For 200 years, Mikelos had lived as the daywalker to his musical partner, the vampire and cellist Connor. When Connor disappears without a trace, he leaves his old life behind, escaping into anonymity in Limani. Or so he thinks.
When Mikelos is mortally wounded defending Allesandra, Victory turns him back into a daywalker to save his life. Continue reading
I’ve been happily married for a few years, and while I could wax poetic about my amazing husband, when it comes to real life, we’re not the most romantic couple. He doesn’t work on Mondays, so our Valentine’s Day plan is to get some take-out Indian food and catch up on the DVR tonight. Honestly, we can’t be bothered to do anything tomorrow since he gets home late.
I am more than happy, however, to gush about the fictional couples in my life. Today, I’ll be discussing Kane Nalamas and Archer Sophin, who meet in Steel Empires #2, Steel Magic (now available in ebook or hardcopy). Tomorrow, in preparation for Steel Empires #2, Steel Blood (available July 2017), I’ll highlight Victory and Mikelos, whom you met in Steel Victory.
Some of the information below will be familiar from Steel Magic, though I’ll avoid overt spoilers. I hope you enjoy the rest as a mixture of delightful background information and a glimpse into their future within the series!
How and why did they meet?
With his warrior-mage partner, Kane was on a mercenary job to investigate the disappearance of mages in the world. Though the head of New Angouleme’s mage school assures them otherwise, Archer reaches out to reveal that not all is well. He has been functionally imprisoned, exchanging his physical safety for access to his magical power. Archer throws in his lot with Kane and Toria, following them to the other side of the world to save magic. Continue reading
I had a very good, low-key January that also included some major news and accomplishments. First of all, I’m excited to announce that Steel Empires #3: Steel Blood will be released July 2017 from Raw Dog Screaming Press, along with a full slate of other amazing books. Want to know what Victory has been up to during the events of Steel Magic, while Toria and Kane have been mucking things up in Europa? My tag line for the next one is “Romeo and Juliet with werewolves and weredragons…with bonus feminism.” Who in their right mind cast Victory as Nurse? Oh…that’d be me.
- The other good news: I finished the first draft of Steel Time! It clocked it an an astounding 105,951 words, which is waaaaaaay over my publisher’s word limit. Lots of work still to be done.
- Because it’s so long, I’m still working on the first round of revisions before I can send it to my beta readers. I’m about halfway done, and it’s already down to 99,927 words.
- On the plus side, I’ve been getting some reading done and I’m keeping up to date on my book reviews!
That’s actually a lie. The first draft of book 4 of the Steel Empires series, Steel Time, is done. There’s still a ton of work for me to do, including cutting at least 10,000 words of length, but I can’t fix what doesn’t exist. And now it definitely exists. Continue reading
One of the regular features at Speculative Chic is called Dear Sherry, hosted by award-winning author and certified life-coach Sherry Peters. In it, she answers reader letters with concerns about anything related to writing and publishing. She even answered a letter from me and gave some great advice! But I won’t tell you which one, because all of the letter writers are kept anonymous.
“Dear Sherry” is an opportunity to ask for advice on writer’s/creativity block, time management, the process of writing, and more. Sherry Peters is a Certified Life Coach who works with writers at all stages of their writing career looking to increase their productivity through pushing past the self-doubt holding them back. Her fiction has won the Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-book award, and been nominated for the Aurora Award, Canada’s top prize for speculative fiction.
If you could ask a writing coach anything, here is your chance! Send her an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Right now, Sherry is actively seeking letters to answer in the upcoming weeks. If you have something weighing heavily or even just tickling the back of your mind, please consider reaching out to her. She answers all questions honestly and fairly. I should know: my question was pretty ridiculous. 🙂
Happy 2017 to all! This year I’m looking forward to continuing work on the Steel Empires series, contributing to Speculative Chic, reading lots of amazing books, and attending fun conventions, and watching lots of great movies and television shows. This year’s motto is probably “Work hard, play hard.” Continue reading