When I first sent "Stealing Sky" to my critique partners, I got a very interesting response that set me back a bit. One of my critters exclaimed that there was no way a soldier would have a romantic relationship with his commander's daughter. "Don't buy it," and "No way," were some of the track changes marking the manuscript. I sat back and pondered this a while because this was a science fiction story and plausibility is very important when trying to suspend your readers' disbelief. Thank goodness, it didn't take long for the reason, why I should stick with my love conflict, to come to me.
While my critter definitely had a point that it might be unconventional in real life for a subordinate to date an officer's daughter, in fiction it creates a great conflict and a challenge--acquiring the forbidden fruit. I mean, if we can't cross classes in fiction, then we have no mercenary Han Solo and Princess Leia, no Cinderella and Prince Charming, no governess marrying the wealthy widow (throw out half your 1980 Harlequins), and no Cassie and Skai, as in my book. I couldn't bear it if that were true!
What helps the conflict in "Stealing Sky" is that our hero is an ex-military man, a one-time member of the elite Red Flag squadron for Cassie's father, the Duke. He has since retired to be as far away from military life as he can, seeking peace on anagricultural farm that his father oversees. Unfortunately (or fortunately) as luck would have it, one of the Duke's spoiled daughters has been sent to the planet as well; as punishment, she is grounded to her grandparents' ranch house. Though they knew each other as kids, she is the last person he wants to deal with, but when he has to--the attraction is undeniable. Because Cassie and Skai are so different, they must find common ground, which makes both of them grow and change for the better.
What are your thoughts? Do you think a love between classes works in fiction? What about a difference inmilitary class? I'd love to hear your opinions and experiences. One lucky commenter will receive a "Stealing Sky" earrings, inspired by the ruby earrings that Cassie has to barter while aboard the pirate ship Heaven's Hand. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your opinions and knowledge! --Kara xxooxx
Trapped in a secret war of imperial wills and insatiable revenge, Cassie and Skai can't decide exactly where to place their fealty, faith, or guns.
The pawns and the players:
CASSIE BRINTMAN: Duke’s spoiled daughter to some, scandalous socialite to others, Cassie is set on proving all opinions about her wrong. She just has to escape punishment on her Gran’s swamp planet first. But plots and plans which take advantage of the sweetest of farm folk are destined to go awry, and Cassie finds there are worse prison wardens in space.
SKAI WESTFORD: Returning home from his last tour of duty in the Duke’s Red Flag Squadron, Skai settles back to life with his father and brother on NuTierra Ba. The last thing he wants is feminine drama, but it seems his boss’s granddaughter has no concern for his wants or his family’s well being. When he takes a stand against Cassie's manipulative flirtations with his brother, Skai finds himself far from home and S.O.L.
Captain Alexxus: More than money drives this captain and her crew aboard Heaven’s Hand. None but those closest to her know the secret to her quest–a secret linked to the black eye-patch she rubs--her only tell to the horrors she has seen. She has a secret agenda that could destroy all of them.
Vixen: Captain Alexxus’s first mate, she will follow her beloved captain to the Eternal Tree of Eden or to the depths of hell.
Edmund Greene: The Duke’s Arrow. An assassin with a special interest in chasing down Heaven’s Hand, he’s intent on revenge and revisiting old addictions.
They maneuvered around the red light’s edge. A hulky black shadow stood in the middle of the glowing red. In disbelief, Cassie lifted her eyes to the ominous shadow’s source and nearly lost her footing.
“Mech!” she shouted, pointing. No denying, it was a beauty. On the intramural field, she might have whistled appreciatively, but at that moment, the sight of that perfect machine of sleek metal and recent design made her want to scream in pure terror.
“Go!” Skai pushed her forward. “Run!”
But the top of the water tower shuddered as the Mech landed upon the surface. Cassie fell to her knees from the force. She pushed forward, scrambling on hands and knees, while the sound of hydraulic legs whined above the ricocheting din.
She regained her footing and glanced back over her shoulder to Skai. He was approaching the Mech that stood over twice his size, his hand reaching to a gun holster, which he no longer wore—a military habit. He cursed. For a brief moment, she saw the surprised anger in his eyes, before he glanced back at the machine.
The Mech turned its attention from her to him. Taking two jolting steps forward, it covered Skai in shadow. A long metallic arm swung up, the arm’s mechanism twirling circularly, purring and clicking, while metal tiles smoothly pulled backward. The arm’s inner working pushed forward with a hiss, revealing a gun barrel.
“Oh! For Mau’s sake,” she moaned, terrified, as the arm shot once. Skai jerked backward. Cassie covered her mouth to keep from screaming. A second shot hit him in the stomach, and he doubled over.
Skai fell to his knees, then upon his stomach, and lay still. The Mech stomped toward him and lifted his limp body.
Was he dead? She stood, frozen, staring at his dangling arms and legs. Her stomach twisted painfully. Gran’s heavy meal surged up her throat.
Choking, she staggered away and moved toward the ladder. She was but ten paces to it, when she felt the Mech’s feet stomping, charging toward her. It paused. She calculated the distance. She wouldn’t make it.
Cassie braced for its aim. A thin whistle grew louder and louder, until she felt a sharp prick of pain at her shoulder. The tower pitched, as she fell onto her stomach, losing her breath and her supper. Then all went black.
-- Lynda Again,
Wow, great excerpt! Great post too! Don't forget to leave a comment for Kara (with your email addy so she can contact you if you win).
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