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Blog Archive

Friday, May 31, 2013

The World It Is A Changin' by Michele Callahan

If you've been keeping up with the latest in tech news, the world is going to change soon, and change in big ways.  Scientists today are flirting with immortality for humanity (perfect telomeres on D.N.A. are the answer), cures for cancer and a host of other diseases, and space colonization.  What once seemed impossible now feels inevitable.  Time travel can join this list.  The "what if" scenarios are endless, and fantastic fun.  

The heroines in my books have been summoned by an immortal race to travel through time and fix things, things that weren't supposed to happen.  Why?  Because the bad guys have time travel, too, and Earth is caught in the crossfire as these two immortal races fight their unending war.  So, if you knew something terrible was going to happen, and you were given the chance to change it, would you?  What would you be willing to do to stop Armageddon?  What would you sacrifice for your fellow man?  Or for love?

In the first story in this series, Alexa is given a secret power and sent through time to present day Texas to stop a deadly outbreak that kills nearly every man, woman, and child on the planet.  The man believed responsible?  One sexy, smart scientist who gives her much more to deal with than she bargained for.  The past isn't what she believed it would be, and neither is Luke.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

When World Building and Narrative Collide

One of the best things about sci fi and sci fi romance is the ability to lose yourself in exotic worlds, whole new cultures, different social and sexual mores.  The details must be precise and the logic that connects culture to action to outcome thought through from multiple angles.  This can be hard to do because while a writer is creating a new world, she or he is also writing a story.  In that story, things need to happen for your readers to learn your characters and for the narrative to advance while staying true to the logic and mores of the new world.

It’s so easy to mess up on the details.  What I’m going to do is to share some of the errors I made in world building detail, and hope you can help me think through some of the answers.

My current WIP takes place in a desert world. The sand is comprised of minerals and biogenetic materials that allow the inhabitants, who are nomadic, to build houses and take them down quickly.  Sort of like desert igloos but in this case they retain a modicum of cool. The land is also subject to frequent and often severe dust storms, so the houses are connected to each other by a series of corridors which also link up to the common areas—the governance circle, the prayer hall, the bathing chamber, and a supply room—all also made up of the sand. In my mind, this village complex looks like some of the Native American Adobe structures built in the southwest. 

In the first draft, I put doors on these houses.  And in one scene, one of doors leads some banter between the hero and heroine that I really like.Take a look.(FYI, Erik is ringing a bell).

Erik tried again when no one came to the door, then a third time.
“I can pick the lock.”
“Any other skills of yours I should know about that could land us in prison somewhere?”
She gave him a shrug. “Basic zoner survival skills—better to pick a lock then be left outside in a storm.”

In a later chapter, this scene is referenced.

Erik always had a pocketknife with him. He used it to pick the lock.
           “Well, well, it looks like I’m not the only with breaking and entering on my resume.”
           The smile he gave her melted every damn bone in her body. If it wasn’t so damn sweltering …

But when I was reviewing it, I realized doors and locks make no sense in a nomadic, sand-based complex. Who's going to break into their homes in the middle of the desert. They don't own anything. Yikes.  I just wanted to find a way for my hero and heroine to shared hidden talents (lock picking and disregard for convention) to nurture their bond.  I love those snippets. ~sigh~ 

But the world has to make sense, so the doors and locks have to go. The snippets will be rewritten. The life of an author. :)

Any ideas?  Can you think of a way for me to keep my door, locks and bell?  If not, how about sharing what mistakes have you made or read in books, that were so blatantly wrong, like my doors and locks  and how did you fix them?

Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine in romance fiction. You can meet the first heroine in Fires of Justice at Elloras Cave, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.
Monday, May 27, 2013

Back Again - with News about Wytchfire

It's been a busy month for me. That novelette I told you about last month...? I managed to finish the first draft this week.

Normally, that would be cause for celebration. In this case, I'm expecting major re-writes.

The premise fascinates me: A woman wakes with amnesia, very pregnant and is challenged to a series of tests to discover more of who she is. It felt like an adult take on Alice In Wonderland while I was writing it. When she finally wakes up, the whole story detours into pure scifi in a way I hadn't expected when I started, but had me very excited... until I had to figure out what the end point really was.

So I won't make any promises about when anybody else gets to read the whole story, but it will be coming soon. In the meantime, here's a snippet to whet your appetite:
How did she even know people could check dental records to confirm an individual's existence? Her brain felt like Swiss cheese. It was time to do a more exhaustive inventory of what was in her room to see whether there were any clues to who she might be.

An hour later, she had neat piles of maternity shirts, pants, sweaters, jackets, and underwear on one side of the bed, while the other held a few romance novels with heroines looking almost as busty as she was stacked next to a small selection of children's books.

She was as much of a mystery to herself as she'd ever been. Who was this woman who seemed to have Ann Klein-style taste in clothing, insipid reading material, and no other indication of identity?

She revisited the products from the bathroom counter. Clinique. Apparently she was one of those high-maintenance women who had to go out perfectly made up and styled?

It didn't feel right. So was her missing memory part of a radical personality change? Or was someone trying to make her conform to their ideal?

She shivered. She'd try to hold off on the paranoia until she had proof there was something more sinister at play, but it seemed odd that she'd been up and moving around for so long and nobody had come to check on her, if she really were institutionalized. Staring at the backs of her hands, she realized there were small scars across her knuckles; this was not the picture of a stylish woman to match the clothes and makeup in her space. In fact, she felt strong--despite the large bulge of her belly. And despite the lack of real challenge to her muscles in reviewing the belongings in the room.
If you want more updates, feel free to stalk me elsewhere online at my own blog, Twitter, or Facebook. See you again next month!
Monday, May 20, 2013

As If I Need Another Distraction From Writing, But... Fangirl Squee!

Courtesy of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Facebook page.
When Iron Man came out in 2008, I was intrigued. As a long-standing X-Men fan--I used to schedule my college work hours around the animated cartoon in the afternoons--I was excited about what Marvel would bring us this time. My husband didn't want to see it. It wasn't until I changed jobs and the class of trainees I was in begged our supervisor to let us watch it on a Friday night instead of training (we were terrible), that I got to see it. And I told my husband, "You've got to see this movie!" He agreed. It was awesome X infinity. 

We were both a little underwhelmed by Captain America, and like thousands of other men, he's slightly threatened by Thor's physique (no matter how many times I tell him I'm intimidated by blond men), but we agreed The Avengers was awesome X infinity X awesome, if that's possible. And I won't spoil Iron Man 3 for y'all, but I loved the entire thing. 

While watching TV the other night, a trailer for ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came on. And I was super-excited. Look, Agent Coulson is alive! The trailer, which you can see here, is witty, but best of all, the show is directed by Joss Whedon, who is my anti-hero-writing hero. Wait, did that make sense?

A TV show that deals with weird happenings on Earth? Sign me up. I mean, I assume that's what's going on here, because ABC has been pretty closed-mouthed about the whole thing. We only recently learned about the full cast. You can see that list here. I think it's safe to say the show takes place after the alien invasion that happened during The Avengers. I'm not crazy about the character Jemma Simmons' hipster look, but I'm definitely into character Grant Ward's dreamy brown eyes.

I realize summer is just around the corner and I'm way too excited about long days, flip flops and cook outs, but I'll be waiting for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with bated breath. I can't wait for more trailers and information about it!

When I'm not blogging here I'm at Have Novel, Will Edit, FacebookTwitter, and G+.
Sunday, May 19, 2013

First Superman Screen Actor and It's not....

George Reeves.

Kirk_AlynWhen I think of the first Superman actor, I think of George Reeves, but I was suprised to find out the first man of steel on the screen was Kirk Alyn. Mr. Alyn (October 8, 1910 - March 14, 1999) played in the Superman televisoin seris for 15 episodes in 1948. The episodes consisted of Superman getting a job as a reporter at the Daily Planet newspaper, and meeting Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane. The plot throughout focused on the man of steel's battle with Spider Lady, one of arch enemies.

He also played the sequel  in 1950, titled Atam Man Vs. Superman. Before the series, he started on Broadway and vaudeville as a chorus boy, while after the series, he couldn't sustain his film career.

His co-stars in the 1948 series included Tommy Bond as Jimmy Olsen, Noel Neil as Lois Lane and Pierre Watkin as Perry White. 
Man of Steel Superman has changed over the years as Batman has.  Rumor is that this latest screen attempt is far darker and grittier than any other and goes in line to the latest Batman series.

I'm looking forward to seeing it on the big screen!
Friday, May 17, 2013

There's a New Kid in Town, okay there's 4

Hello  lovers of SciFi Romance. In case you missed it, four amazing authors have joined our group blog. Many have already introduced themselves but in case you missed it, they are:

Kimber Vale

Kimber Vale has enjoyed putting pen to paper since she was old enough to hold a writing utensil in her odd-ball, left-handed way.  It never slowed her down.  From dire poetry inspired by stupid boys in high school, to "student's choice" research papers about Lord Byron's satire and Poe's vampire in "The Fall of the House of Usher," Kimber has always had a passion for the funny, the dark, and the romantic.  Combining all three is frequently her goal.

An RN by trade, Kimber has taken a number of years off to raise three little people. She plans to get back to the healing business soon, but is thrilled to finally be writing in earnest.   She publishes horror under the name on her driver's license, and erotic romance in her Mrs. Hyde form.  Kimber reads and writes erotica of every variety.  Her current passion is Male/Male erotic romance, which she pens under the name K. Vale.  Kimber will continue to write heterosexual stories in addition to gay erotic romance.

I’m on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine romance fiction has ever known and the hero who can take her.  A believer that big audacious goals spice up life, I rely on coffee, red wine and laughter to make those goals (and my characters) come alive. When not at the computer, I wrangle vegetables and extra helpings of homework into my fashion-loving progeny, kowtow to a fat cat and read, a lot.  Since its more fun to travel in packs, come along for the ride.
My writing falls among the fantasy, science fiction, paranormal and romance fiction genres, usually mashed together to see what new things happen. Erotic elements are woven through them. Because its fun, yes, and because I believe how we deal with sex is essential to being human and to be loved.
A voracious reader since she was a toddler, and an ordained spiritualist, Tonya Cannariato has now presided over the marriage of her love of reading and her love of writing. She’s lived a nomadic life, following first her parents in their Foreign Service career through Africa, Europe, and Asia, and then her own nose criss-crossing America as she’s gotten old enough to make those choices for herself. She’s currently based in Milwaukee with her three loves: her husband and two Siberian Huskies. She suspects her Huskies of mystical alchemy with their joyous liberation of her muse and other magical beings for her inspiration. She loves to sleep, to watch her interesting dreams, some of which are now finding new life in written form.
I read and I write fun, and sometimes frightening, sci-fi and paranormal romance with suspense, lots of action, and some pretty steamy love scenes. I'm a sucker for a happy ending. I blog about great books, romance, life in general, and really radical science. I might surprise you with a post about marketing for authors or writing, but don't hold your breath. True love, science, physics, and the big "What If?" are what fascinate me. Too bad I didn't have the math brain for M.I.T....I'd probably be in a parallel universe by now. *sigh* p.s. I'm also the founder of RomCon, the amazing fan convention for women who love romance.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Well, we've moved into our new home here in sunny Florida. The last few weeks have been fun, fast and exhausting. That's what we get for buying a house built in 1985. It needs a LOT of work to bring it into the 21st century. But we figure we'll be here for awhile, so we'd rather do the renovations ourselves and get it the way we want it, rather than buy something slightly more modern that still doesn't meet our needs.

As far as my writing life goes - it doesn't. By the time I finish unpacking and putting away the contents of the tenth box of the day, cleaning, and ripping out old cabinetry, I barely have the energy to shower, eat and fall into bed. I don't even have the strength to turn the pages on my Kindle to read. Hubby has worked harder in these last two weeks than he ever did at his job. :-) In addition, we don't yet have Internet/cable/phone hooked up and my computer is still packed away in some yet hidden box. I haven't mastered the ability to write on my Netbook at the local McDonalds.

My latest book DARK STAR DAWNING released the day the movers packed us up to move. I'm hoping my life soon returns to quasi-norm, because the characters in my head are getting antsy and starting to bug me.

Overcoming Writer’s Block

We’ve all had it.  Suffered from it like it was a disease.  Writer’s block.  The inability to put words on paper or on computer screen.  I’ve been facing it for several weeks now but I think I may have overcome it now.  How did I finally do it?  I’ll tell you.

First I continued to write, just not on my WIP (work in progress).  I wrote blogs and emails and notes and letters.  Whatever I could to keep writing.  And I edited my manuscript.  And edited.  And edited.  But I still couldn’t seem to form any new words to add to the book.

Part of my problem is that I’m a pantser.  I don’t plot out my books.  I simply write and let it happen.  I see the story much as you do.  It an organic process for me.  But, in this case, I could seem to find my way to letting it happen.  Didn’t have the faintest idea what or where it was going.  Even as a pantser I usually have a vague idea what should happen next.  But I didn’t.  I’d look at my blank computer screen and see only a blank in my head, too.

So what did I do?  For a couple of weeks nothing.  Then one of my critique partners suggested that I read my manuscript all the way through without editing.  That is a hard thing for a writer to do, at least for this writer.  The only way for me to do it was to send it to my Kindle.  I highly recommend this method because you CAN’T edit.  All you can do is read.  You discover what you loved about your story.  You suddenly see it all in context and you get ideas about what comes next and where it needs to go.  And you’re able to move forward.

The other thing that helps me is that, once per week, my critique partners and I get together for what we call “Just Write”.  We spend from 10 am to 3 pm writing.  Well, mostly writing.  The first half hour is spent catching up from last week and then we write.  We break for a half hour lunch where we discuss any problems we’re having or just visit with each other.  Then we spend the last 2 ½ hours writing again.

We aim for one thousand words.  It doesn’t sound like a lot to write in four hours but it is a lot.  Try it.  It’s hard.  But it works.  Just a thousand words.  Then it’s another thousand and so on and so on.

Try it.  It works.  Keep writing.  Anything.  Just keep writing.
Monday, May 13, 2013

NOAH'S ARK is a Golden Quill finalist - by Vijaya Schartz

I’m flying high. NOAH’S ARK is a finalist in the Golden Quill Contest in the Futuristic category. It’s available in all eBook formats everywhere, and will be in print in July, but it is discounted in kindle:

NOAH’S ARK – Chronicles of Kassouk – The beginning:

When Trixie's starfreighter drops out of jump space in an uncharted part of the universe, she believes the M class planet on her viewer represents hope and salvation for her motley crew and the ragtag settlers of Noah's Ark. Kostas, ex Space Marine, the expert survivalist recruited for this expedition, doesn't believe in coincidences, and knows that when something looks too good to be true, it usually is.
Everyone, on this voyage, is fleeing something, and harbors dangerous secrets... including Trixie, who vowed to never let a man control her life again. As for Kostas, the settlers would lynch him on the spot if anyone suspected who he is. But on this seemingly abandoned planet, others are watching, herding them for evil purposes... and when the truth emerges and secrets unravel, Trixie and Kostas will fight for survival, for freedom, and for the right to love...

Also available at all eBook retailers in all formats.

Most of the novels in this series are available in print as well, and all will be within the next two months.

Find these everywhere eBooks are sold. Here are the links to my author page on the major sites:



Vijaya Schartz

Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick

AZDREAMIN Readers Convention Phoenix May/June 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Great But Not-So-Sci-Fi Gatsby

I saw this movie today and really loved it, and will attempt to tie it to something sci-fi-ish so I can talk about it here :)

I'm a big fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald's work and have read The Great Gatsby three times. My very favorite works of his are the short stories, more specifically The Offshore Pirate.

What draws me to Fitzgerald's work is his ability to paint pictures with words. To wit.:

She was about nineteen, slender and supple, with a spoiled alluring mouth and quick gray eyes full of a radiant curiosity. Her feet, stockingless, and adorned rather than clad in blue-satin slippers which swung nonchalantly from her toes, were perched on the arm of a settee adjoining the one she occupied. And as she read she intermittently regaled herself by a faint application to her tongue of a half-lemon that she held in her hand. The other half, sucked dry, lay on the deck at her feet and rocked very gently to and fro at the almost imperceptible motion of the tide.

In the same way, Baz Luhrmann (director of the film I saw today), can paint pictures with color, sound, symbolism in a breathtaking way. Which is why I'm a big fan of his works like Strictly Ballroom and Romeo & Juliet. The Great Gatsby has been made in film before, but I think Baz is uniquely qualified to take the imagery of a talented writer and apply it to the canvas of the screen.

Entertainment aside, great writers/filmakers/storytellers of all kinds take characters and tell a tale that not only resonates with us personally, but the wider world at large. I think one of the reasons The Great Gatsby endures as a story is it speaks the the hopes and dreams and deceits we all experience...and what happens when we achieve it--or not. There have been other economic boom times beyond the 1920s, too. So the film I saw today seemed relevant in a societal way as well.

And that's what keeps readers reading--empathetic characters who interact in their given world to reflect what we feel and experience in our own lives. That can come through literary fiction, romance novels, stories around a campfire, and oh

It's sci-fi that uniquely imagines a world of what could be and how characters might react in it--giving a sense of time of place whether off world or on--while resonating in a timeless way. 

Told you I was going to connect it. :)

PS: Go see the movie!
Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Defining Space Opera

What is a space opera?  My line editor recently asked me that question on my final edits for my novel, Star Catcher.  My book had been tagged as such by my content editor, and my line editor said she hadn't ever read that subgenre.  What, exactly, constituted a space opera?  I found myself searching for a definition of the term before I just fired off my own.

As far as I knew, a space opera was a sweeping, epic, outer-space story.  Star Wars would be a prime example, right? Did my book qualify?  Now I really wanted to know, because the first half of Star Catcher takes place on Earth.  Not exactly an all-ends-of-the-galaxy romp.  The latter half takes place on a medical satellite orbiting the planet Artanos.  Again, not really space-chases and planet-hopping (three-eyed wolf-type monsters, crop circle corn maze human hunting, and stun guns--yes, but no intergalactic battles). So, does it qualify?

Wikipedia [groan] defines space opera as "a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure set mainly or entirely in outer space, usually involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced technologies and abilities.  The term has no relation to music and it is analogous to 'soap opera.' Perhaps the most significant trait of space opera is that settings, characters, battles, powers, and themes tend to be very large-scale."

So, let me see.  How does Star Catcher stack up to the Wikipedia definition for space opera?

"Romantic, melodramatic adventure?" Check. There is also a fair amount of Earth girl/alien snoo snoo, but Wikipedia doesn't list the nasty as a qualifier. [Shrug]

"Set mainly or entirely in outer space" is a bit of a sticking point.  Wikipedia, oh-all-knowing-resource that it is, did not provide an Earth-to-space ratio, so I'd say my 1/2 and 1/2 is up for debate.

Is there conflict between opponents? Yes.  Advance technologies and abilities?  Yes.

What else?  Star Catcher, while it has a few musical references, is not, in fact a musical book.  Not sure how one would even go about that.  Audio books?  So, no relation to the musical operas-- that's a check.

Interesting. The soap opera analogy suggests a fair amount of cheese in space opera. Hmmm.  My book may have a table-side sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano, but I didn't lay it on that thick. I'm watching my waist.  Actually, I was saving calories for wine and chocolate.

Anything else? Oh, yes. "Settings, characters, battles, powers, and themes tend to be very large-scale."  Check, check, check, check, and check.  If nothing else, the scale of my alien, Noth Zobor's, brackligg should allow me to check off all boxes.

Anyway, Star Catcher has been shipped off to the e-presses and is due for release on June 3rd, 2013 from Liquid Silver Books.  As far as I know, it is tagged as a space opera.  What do you all think?  Would you change Wikipedia's definition in any way?

-Kimber Vale
Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Another New Blogger: Sabrina Garie and Getting Bitten by The SciFi Bug

Hi I’m Sabrina

I’m new to Starbound Lovers and excited to be here. I’ll be blogging monthly along with these other fabulous ladies.

I’m a single mother of a tween girl who’s just entered that long,dark corridor to hell known as puberty. It’s loads of fun at my house.  When her moods are not swinging (and even when they are) she is is the source of  my profoundest joy. Exploration is built into my DNA  so I tend to be in perpetual motion, having lived in many places—Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston, Vienna, Austria, Florence, Italy, London, UK to name a few–and visited an awful lot more.  That wanderer gene explains my love for books, the paranormal and science fiction—“to go where no one has gone before.”  For years of my youth, I wanted to be an astronaut, just to see what’s out there.  Stuck on earth, I live out those fantasies by just making it up myself.

I’m An Author

I write paranormal, science fiction, romantica and contemporary romance. I have a paranormal novella, Fires of Justice, and a contemporary, Next Move, coming soon, both from Ellora’s Cave. My current WIP, which I envision as part of a series, is hard core science fiction romance. Strong, kick ass women who have as much pain to work through as the damaged hero they love are my passion as a writer and a reader.  Life is hard and I like to see people move beyond their own limits. I have found much of my own inspiration to go further and higher from book heroines and heroes.  Writing is my way of giving back to something that has been important to me.

How I Got the Scifi Bug

In ninth grade, my teacher, Ms. Culhane assigned Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke. That book blew me away.  Written in 1953, the basic story is one of aliens coming down to earth to steward humanity to a golden age of peace and prosperity.  Known as the Overlords, they refuse to show themselves for 50 years.  When they do, the look like devils.  The Overlords were sent by the Overmind to guard humanity as it reaches its finality evolution outside the human body to join the Overmind.

Why did this book make me the scifi whore I am today.  Here’s why: 
  1.  It challenged everyday mores.  For examples, marriages in the book were by 5 or 10 year contract, not permanent love alliances.  Whether you agree with it or not, the challenge of it, made me realize there is not one way for humans to be and no institutions destined to last forever. 
  2.  It showed how incidents in human history can morph into deep cultural norms and fears that profoundly shape our world. The Overlords had come once before but humanity had not been ready at the time for the final evolution.  So the image of the devil integrated into human consciousness as associated with evil and the end of the world. That is why the overlords did not show themselves until a generation grew up with them—because it takes at least that much time (two generations) to change a culture profoundly.
  3.  It portrayed evolution as having a psychic element—given how little we understand of the mind and we always play with psy abilities as one of our fantasies and horrors, this put it together in a nice accessible story as to why that might be.

Nice to meet you all. What book, movie, tv show, fill in the blank, turned you onto sci fi or sci fi romance?

When I am not blogging here, you can find me at:
Twitter:  @sabrinagarie
Paranormal/scifigroup blog:

Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine in romance fiction. You can meet the first heroine in Fires of Justice at Elloras Cave, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

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