Friday, June 27, 2014

Guest - Sarah Daltry

Good morning! Today we have author Sarah Daltry visiting us. So grab a cup of vanilla hazelnut tea, a pecan praline cookie and a comfy seat in one of our fabulous chairs. And don't forget to follow the instructions on how to win her giveaway.


It likely seems strange to talk about realism on a fantasy blog, but I find that it’s at the heart of what I write. I don’t write traditional romance or fantasy, because everything I work on starts with the nature of humanity. Who are we? How are we with other people? I suppose what I have always felt was missing in a lot of romance was that crossover to real relationships and it’s the focus of my writing. On the other hand, I love escaping into fantasy worlds, so that probably sounds funny.

If you think about it, though, you can have both. I’m a hardcore Harry Potter fan. Sure, these are not romance, but the relationships that run through the series are the core of the books. The entire series is about love – familial love, friendship, sacrificial love. I think what I like so much about these books is that they both suspend reality and expose it. Yes, Harry and his friends are fighting Death Eaters and attending wizard school and talking to centaurs, but strip away the fantasy. How is it different than teens fighting corruption or bullies, attending high school, and making friends with people a little different than themselves? The series deals with violence, hate, love, sacrifice, and perceptions. Hermione’s parents are dentists – and she’s hated for not being from a magic family. How many teen girls are hated for something out of their control, something that is based on prejudice and stereotypes, that is centered in a belief system too outdated for our world?

When I approach romance, whether in a contemporary setting or a fantasy one, I look at it with the same lens. Love isn’t easy. I’ve been married 13 years and my husband and I have been together nearly 20. At no point in our marriage or relationship did I think, “wow, this is just like the movies.” But he’s my best friend. When I’m stressed out or depressed or sick, when I won’t talk to anyone, he is the person who comes upstairs where I’m lying in bed with a DVD of some movie I love and a glass of juice. He doesn’t have to say anything – he just knows what comforts me. In painting these images of romantic heroes, these men who are impossible to find, we lose the ability to love the people who truly warrant it. I want to write about those people.

Yes, I appreciate escapism in books, but I also think that it’s time to embrace the average. Spiderman may be a superhero, but he’s nothing without Peter Parker. Those stories engage me more, because they show me the amazing abilities people possess within them. Ignoring the spider bite, Peter Parker is driven by the good inside of him. We can all be superheroes; we can all be the stars of our own stories. We do this by recognizing what makes us incredible, not by yearning to be something else.

About Sarah: 
Sarah Daltry is an author who writes in many genres and for a variety of age levels. Her first novel, Bitter Fruits, is an urban fantasy romance published by Escape Publishing (an imprint of Harlequin). She is also the author of the New Adult contemporary series, Flowering; the gamer geek comedy, Backward Compatible; the recently released YA fantasy, Primordial Dust; and two novellas inspired by classic literature – The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (inspired by the poem of the same name) and The Quiver of a Kiss (Helen of Troy’s POV during the events of The Iliad).

 Sarah has been writing her entire life, but she started publishing in early 2013. A former English teacher and YA librarian, she is passionate about books of all kinds!

Primordial Dust
A princess, trained to behave. An assassin, betrothed to her. A thief, whose eyes she dreams of at night. A kingdom at war, torn apart by the suppression of magic and truth, as well as family secrets that threaten to destroy decades of peace.

Questions of loyalty, of morality, and of free will culminate in a fantasy novel about forging one’s own path and choosing one’s own destiny.

Buy Links:
Amazon to come

Giveaway: Leave a comment with your email addy so you can be contacted if you're the winner.

Ebook of Bitter Fruits (18+, Explicit scenes)

or Primordial Dust (PG)

Contact Links:

-- Lynda Again
    Hope you enjoyed meeting Sarah today and getting a glimpse into her writer's mind.

     Have a Blessed weekend!

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Monday, June 02, 2014

Guest - Diane Burton

Good morning! We've got one of our favorite authors visiting today. Among other things, Diane writes science fiction romance -- one of my favorite genres! So help yourself to one of our orange-pecan muffins and a lovely cup of tea. Enjoy!

Going to Mars

I have always been proud of the efforts of NASA in space exploration. But for years I felt they are too slow in exploring beyond our moon. I know, I know, small steps. But, sheesh. I remember how fast NASA moved after Sputnik scared the heck out of all of us back in the 50s. We entered a Space Race with Russia to get an American in space. Once we did that, in less than a decade we put a man on the moon. And then where did we go?

Because there haven’t been significant advances in space exploration (something to get excited about) since 1969, I’m intrigued by Mars One, the Dutch organization that plans to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. A lot of other people are, too. When they opened for applicants, over 78,000 signed up within two weeks. I wasn’t one of them. Why? It’s a one-way trip. Even though there are no upper age requirements, I couldn’t leave my family. Too many exciting times to spend with them.

But what if I had no family and was in good health? Would I apply? In a flash. According to the timeline, or roadmap, on the Mars One website, there will be much preparation and training for those who qualify. That should weed out a lot of applicants. One such training would be for a team to live together in a remote outpost. (I assume something similar to a bio-dome.) If you can’t live with your team in the desert (or the arctic) for several months, how could you get along forever on Mars?

Last December, the members of The Roses of Prose blog posted an anthology of Holiday stories, An Unexpected Holiday. When this was first suggested, I panicked. I don’t write short stories. I think the shortest book I’ve ever written is over 80k words. Usually, my books run over 100k. So how could I write a 7,000 word story? Well, I may be an old dog, but I can learn new tricks. LOL My story was the only sci-fi romance, Christmas in Space. It was so much fun that I decided to expand it into a novella for this Christmas. I used a lot of the information about Mars One as I wrote about space explorers in the late 22nd Century on their one-way trip to establish a colony on an Earth-like planet. Watch for it this December.

In author interviews, I’m often asked how I do research for my novels. I always answer that I wish I could do it first-hand on a starship and/or on an alien planet. Until I do, I rely on the internet and search for what is happening now with space exploration. On a side note, I have to admit I visited the Very Large Array near Socorro, NM and the UFO Museum in Roswell. The first was informative, the latter was fun. Sure wish I’d had my picture taken with the aliens. LOL

In my research online, I always get ideas for more stories. Or ideas to use in my WIP. If we have the resources to put a man on the moon, we can do anything. So I’ll continue to write science fiction romances, adventures that are out of this world.

My newest sci-fi romance The Chameleon makes the assumption that humankind has explored and established settlements far beyond their home planets, that FTL (faster than light, aka warp drive, hyperdrive) travel is not only possible but commonplace. Wouldn’t it be great to live in that world?

The Chameleon

Legally Blond meets Mata Hari

Socialite Jileena Winslott has perfected the image of the spoiled, rich, bubble-headed daughter of an industrial magnate. In reality, she’s a smart, savvy aide to her father in social situations where she is his eyes and ears. She yearns to be her true self and run the family business. When her father sends her on a covert mission to the Outer Rim, she has the chance to prove herself. Big problem. He insists she take along a fake fiancĂ©—the man she’s secretly loved for years.

Security Officer Laning Servary has better things to do than babysit a spoiled rich girl on a tour of the Frontier. If he refuses, he can kiss his career good-by. Then Jileena’s father sweetens the pot. If Laning keeps her safe, his family will receive the land they share-crop. He can’t refuse.

In the close quarters of her ship, Laning and Jileena discover they aren’t who they seem. Pirates, weather, and her recklessness threaten to derail the mission. As Laning and Jileena revise their impressions of each other, they’ll have to make hard choices about their goals. Can their budding love survive?

Excerpt from The Chameleon

Jileena had her hand on the knob when her father said, “You should inform Nellis that you have a family emergency and will be unable to finish your internship in accounting.”

For five secs, she stood rooted to the floor. Her heart tripped madly and her lungs struggled for air. Surprise Number Three. He knew.

As she turned to face him, she fluttered her hand and affected smiling confusion. “Why, Daddy, whatever are you talking about?”

His deep rumble of laughter rolled around the room. “Very good. That wide-eyed look almost convinced me.” Then his expression changed. “Did you imagine I would not know what goes on in my own company? A strange intern manages to work in almost every department, and you think I don’t know about it?”
She clasped the door handle with both hands behind her back. How did he know? Where did I slip up? Who told him?

“Now, Daddy—”

“Don’t you ‘now, Daddy’ me. I told you I know everything you do. Those so-called vacations you’ve taken? Did you think I wouldn’t find out you were working in our satellite plants?”

She clenched her teeth. She had no secrets left. He knew everything. Crazik. Well, almost everything.
“If you wanted to work in the company, all you had to do was ask. You didn’t have to disguise yourself. I saw you earlier. Wherever did you get those horrible clothes?”

She returned to the visitor’s chair. All bluff and bravado gone. “If I’d asked to work in the business, you might have said no.”

“I might have agreed.”

“I couldn’t take that chance. Besides, I can just imagine the newswave headlines. Baby Winslott plays working girl. Supervisors would pat me on the head and give me meaningless busy work. I wanted to learn the business from the ground floor.”

“You have done that.” His look of admiration warmed her heart. “When I saw you heading for a sanitary with a bucket and mop, I wanted to stop you.”

“I’m glad you didn’t. It’s surprising what one learns as a janitor.” She grinned. “Who blabbed?”

“Actually, no one. As convincing as you are at parties as a vacuous twit, you were even better in the role of temporary worker. You managed to deceive every supervisor you worked for. When they sang praises about the industrious intern, they gave no indication they knew Leeva Warren was you.”

Jileena allowed herself a moment of satisfaction before standing. “Good.”

“Baby? I’m depending on you to get those mining rights. This is your chance to show me what you’re made of. Do not fail.”

The Chameleon buy links:

About Diane
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and two grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website:
Thanks, Lynda, for inviting me to visit.

Connect with Diane Burton online
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author

-- Lynda Again
    Diane always gives us a terrific article full of things to think about. And her book, The Chameleon, sounds pretty good too. If you enjoyed her visit, feel free to let her know.

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