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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vacationing or Bang Zoom, Fly Me to the Moon

‘Tis the season for fun in the sun, swinging lazily on a hammock, or sipping piña coladas under an umbrella (that is, if you’re the alcohol-loving, anti-tan type.  No judgment here, trust me. I feel ya).

I’m coming off a long weekend “away” myself.  In the spirit of not killing ourselves or each other, my hubby and I decided to do two long weekends of “vacation” as opposed to an entire week spent in one place.

Previously, the one place has been a cabin in Maine.  Walk to the beach, walk to the saltwater taffy shop, walk to the zoo, walk into town and see some overpriced artsy-fartsy stuff while trying to keep three kids from breaking things—you know, the usual.

It was magical, but it also got old by the third day.  For one thing, my husband is not fun to be with in a car.  He makes road rage look, well, like a walk on the beach. So, picking two separate places to vacation is probably not the best plan for someone trying to ride in a car less with the Hulk.  Buuuuttttt, being in a small cabin for a week with three spirited (and sometimes, let’s face it, assholish) kids, plus a husband with absolutely no tolerance for children, is by no means a vacation. It’s an exercise in goal-keeping. I’m constantly trying to stifle the loud annoying things kids do, rather than simply ignoring them like a normal parent. It sucks badly. I’m on edge the entire time, trying to keep my husband from being on edge, which he just normally is anyway. 

It’s a recipe for the Maine Lobster-pot Massacre.

So, my plan was to cut it short. Last year, one pair of kid’s glasses was lost to King Triton, and one gold crown (my husband’s) was lost to King Saltwater Taffy. It was enough for us to pack it in halfway through the hell…erm torture…ah, I mean vacation, and go home early. We’ve actually departed our little cabin in paradise two to three days early every time in the four years we’ve gone. This year, we got smart and booked a long weekend, so at least we aren’t paying for  time we aren’t there.

And now, we are done doing our weekend in Boston (halfway to the prize—the new school year, of course). It wasn’t bad. No whale watch for choppy seas, but we saw our old buddies, stomped around our old stomping ground, and hopefully I’ve been fully indoctrinated with the flava of Beantown so I can finish writing my current book (set in…you guessed it, Boston!).

In other news, I also got my cover mock-up for my rock star M/M romance, “Forever is Now,” and my content edits, so things are rock ‘n rolling in the right direction for my September 9th release.  Woo hoo!

Anyway, if you plan to vacay and want something to keep you from paying attention to your partner's driving, or just need a lusty read for your hammock time in the back yard, Star Catcher awaits your eyeballs. Try a short staycation on Artanos with a hella-hot alien hunk this summer. We all need to get away once in a blue moon. ;)

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Naming Meme Game

I've always had an interest in names. The etymology of words and names really fascinates me, which probably seems weird, but there it is.

I get tickled when I see a "what's your (insert movie title) here" meme on Facebook. Recently, with the excitement of waiting to find out the royal baby's name, there have been all sorts of royal baby namer apps and guesses. I even saw a tweet that begged William and Kate to name the baby Princess Leia if it was a girl. Bullet dodged, your highness.

But I was pretty amused the other day when I saw this one:

Okay, let's go.
1) MER
2) AL
Meral. All right.

1) SI
2) SPR

And... we've got Meral Sispr. Yeah, I feel like I could really rock the rebel forces by playing a character named Meral Sispr. On the other hand, it sounds a bit like a fancy type of spring water.

Of course, it beats hitting random keys on the keyboard and coming up with a character name. Or this...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Rewriting Myths: Theseus and Antiope

One of the challenges of being a writer is devising an original story.  One way to do it is to accept that most stories aren't original, pick an existing one and update it in a way that's fresh, creative and just plain fun. Myths provide a cornucopia of ideas for science fiction, fantasy and paranormal romance.

I have two WIPS. One' I've shared during the Sci Fi Brigade Blog hop. Race to Redemption is all mine. My second, which is much closer to submission, Thirteen Nights, is an updated and revised version of the myth of Antiope and Theseus. Its a short sad one. Theseus, King of Athens aids his companion Hercules in his labor to steal Hyppolyta's girdle. During the quest, he  kidnaps the Amazon Warrior Antiope, who falls in love with him, betrays the Amazons  and decides to stay with him and bear his child.  She is the only Amazon believed to have taken a husband. When the Amazons come to rescue her, she is accidently killed. The Metope below represents the two lovers.

Theseus and Antiope

In my second WIP, Thirteen Nights, which I hope to submit in a couple of weeks (Race to Redemption later this year), I introduce Tai and Annie.  They get their happy ending, and transform the Amazons in the process. Have a look at the draft blurb and tell me what you think. My fab crit partner, Tonya Cannariato, another blogger here at Starbound Lovers, helped crit it. She has several stories ou so check her out when you get the chance.

Thirteen Nights Blurb in Progress

Annie’s always been different. An empathic Amazon, she hides her emotional anomaly beneath her legendary fighting skills. To avoid passing on her genetic disorder, she’s always avoided the Thirteen Nights Ritual—the annual breeding rite among the warrior races of the Greek Pantheon. Only months away from 30, she is now duty-bound to participate. When she meets Tai, a half-human warrior who revs her up beyond legal limits and nurtures the gentleness she’s had to keep secret, Thirteen Nights of pleasure don’t seem nearly enough.

As a half human, Tai has survived by being faster, more lethal, and a whole lot smarter than his brethren. While the male warriors accept him for his achievements, the Amazons have never given him a second look. Until he meets Annie, whose smile is warm and real and whose body shudders with desire—for him. Determined to have her, he hacks into the Thirteen Nights database and rearranges the pairings to make Annie his breeding partner. Together, their strength and tenderness combust into pure love.

But Tai’s actions are forbidden under Amazon law, subject to a death. To stay together and alive, they are going to have to take on the Greek Pantheon and win.

Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine in romance fiction. Meet Jocelyn, a single mom who gets a second chance at love in her newest book Next Move available from Ellora’s Cave and Amazon
Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Every year at Christmas time my family vows that "next" year we're going to celebrate Christmas in January or July, so we can avoid the crowded shopping malls and all the hype. After more years than I care to count it hasn't happened.

But this year I'm doing some celebrating in July. I'm celebrating my husband's long awaited retirement, our move to Florida, and my mother's 89th birthday. So as a gift to my readers, for the month of July, I'm offering all six of my short stories as FREE downloads from Smashwords.
To download your FREE copies use Coupon Code: SW100
Offer expires: 7-31-13

Have a Merry Christmas in July!

Elysa Hendricks

Monday, July 15, 2013

Shrouded in Illusion Releases Today ~ Reduced Price for Only One Week and Contest Going on Now!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]Shrouded in Illusion has been officially released today! Yaaay!!

To celebrate the release, Illusion is on sale for 99 cents along with the other two books in the series, Shrouded in Darkness and Shrouded in Mystery. Here's your chance to get all three under $3.00. I always thought three was a lucky number!

  Amazon │ Barnes & Noble │ KOBO

 1st place in the CTRW Connections Contest

 Someone wants Skye Hunter’s son and they’re willing to kill her or anyone else to get to him. One the run for her life, she is forced to turn to the only person who can help her—a complete stranger with a shared past—David Bishop, a renowned illusionist. David’s life is also an illusion, built of smoke and little else. He meets Skye, a woman filled with passion and conviction, and the pain he sees in her eyes is a mirror to his own soul. But when he realizes she has the same strange, telekinetic phenomenon inside her body that he does, he is forced to question his life, his childhood and the father who raised him. Can these two lost souls uncover the mystery behind their powers and save Skye’s son and themselves in the process?

Below is a snippet of Shrouded in Illusion.
The fear and unease she’d tried to bury resurfaced. Her heartbeat quickened and sweat thickened across her skin, causing her t-shirt to cling tighter against her body. She’d been here before. Skye didn’t have to search her memory. She’d lived, breathed inside these four walls as an orphan.
After passing several doorways, Skye stepped into a room to the right. A floorboard creaked beneath her weight. Broken blinds hindered the sunlight from struggling through a large bay window. A couple of desks, decades old sat like large bull frogs, bulky, brown and weathered. Laughter and tears echoed through the past and into the room, faint but unmistakable memories from Skye’s past.
Other children had lived here and died.
She paused, frowned.
A sound, possibly a footstep, resounded from the hall. She backed up against the wall beside the door. Forcing air in and out of her nose, slowly, quietly, she waited and listened.
Cautiously, she re-entered the hall and found it empty, dark and ominous. Moving as quietly as possible, she eased back down the hall from where she’d started. By one doorway, ‘Office’ was stenciled in faded gray across the open door. Sadly even if there were filing cabinets inside, she didn’t think she’d find anything useful inside them. Still...
She slipped inside, past what looked like a waiting room and into an office with three tiers of metal files in the same faded beige as the walls outside. She eased two drawers open and found both empty.
Exactly where would years of records be?
Helplessness gnawed into her stomach. There must be a storage unit somewhere. They couldn’t have all been destroyed, could they?
As the drawer scraped shut, the noise almost masked the rustle of clothing. That and the sigh of someone’s breath alerted her too late. She gasped. A hand roughly clamped over her mouth, locking the breath in her lungs. Before she had a chance to latch onto the drawer handle, the person jerked her backward. Her fingers clutched at air.
Focusing past the panic, she forced her mind on the drawer and stared hard at the cabinet. The drawer flew from the cabinet, rushing past and grazing her shoulder but missing her attacker. Damn it. She couldn’t get to the person behind her without hitting herself.
Trying to bite at the hand across her mouth, she struggled against the steel-like arm around her stomach. A man. His scent of soap and aftershave filled her senses. Skye stiffened in shock.
David whipped her around and pushed her up against the nearest wall, his hand firmly latched over her mouth. The buckle of his belt dug into her stomach. She shivered as the heat of his body scorched through her clothing and into her skin as fear and a sick sense of excitement rushed through her limbs.
“Shhh,” he whispered by her ear, his breath feathering her hair back from her temple. “We’re not alone.”
Friday, July 12, 2013

New Release: Syn-En Registration

For the first week only, Registration will be 99 cents. So pick up a copy and if you like it tell your friends the first book, The Syn-En Solution, is free for the month of July. I'll post the links as they go live.
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Driven from Earth, Admiral Beijing York led an armada of Synthetically-Enhanced human soldiers and its civilian crew to settle an alien world. Their new society is beginning to flourish when Bei is informed that no human, Syn-En or otherwise, can be free until the species registers on a distant planet. Determined to protect humanity, Bei and his wife lead an advanced scouting team to secure their liberty.
And an ancient enemy is waiting to intercept them. The Founding Five won't give up their favorite slaves or medical guinea pigs without a fight.
Now Bei must decide if freedom is worth the price when he may have to sacrifice everyone he loves to win.
Smashwords (use coupon PL43Z for $3 off)
Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I’ve been watching a television show from 2011.  It’s called Terra Nova.  For some reason my husband and I didn’t watch this when it was on.  It’s an interesting premise.  The world is dying in 2149.  They find a rip in time that allows them to go back 85 million years to the time of the dinosaur and build a new life. 

The premise of the show I find intriguing but in this case the execution is not so good.  Too much time spent on teenage angst.  It would have been a great show if they’d concentrated on the adults and left the teenagers to small supporting roles.  Now maybe I’m just an old fuddy, duddy, but I’m tired of all the teenage anxiety in movies.  Yes, I’m one of those who hated Twilight and though Bella should just be killed by Edward and he should move on and find out he’s a real vampire not a sparkly wuss…er…less than manly man.   So sue me.

How do you feel about all the teenage angst in the movies today?  Do even the teenagers like it?  It would seem to me that they are going through so much of their own, the last thing they’d want to see is more of it.  Maybe that was why this series was canceled after only 13 episodes.  

But I'm probably wrong about the teenagers.  They seem to thrive on troubles.  Look at the success of Twilight and the Hunger Games.  Teenage troubles all the way. 

As to the actual premise of the show, going back 85 million years to save your family and start a new life, would you, knowing that there are already those there who have built something and it’s not a total wilderness, but also knowing that there are not the same amenities as there are here.  No television, no cell phones, no processed food, you get the idea.  Would you do it?

I would, especially if I had a family to save.  Unfortunately, I doubt I would have been one of those recruited.  How much need would they have of a writer?

Monday, July 8, 2013

NOAH'S ARK, now in paperback - by Vijaya Schartz

Great news! The prequel to the CHRONICLES OF KASSOUK – NOAH’S ARK, is now also available in paperback. This completes the award-winning romantic science fiction series in print. So, if you prefer to read on paper, or if, like me, you keep a copy of your all time favorites on a physical shelf, or if you were waiting for the entire series to be out in paperback to finally read it, you can get it today at:  

The eBooks have been available in all formats everywhere for a while.


 “…a suspenseful prequel to her futuristic series, Chronicles of Kassouk, with Noah's Ark. Filled with action, adventure, greed, betrayal, and love…” 5 stars – Sally Pink Reviews


When Trixie's star freighter, Noah's Ark, 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 aboard her ship. 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 to seed a new planet with life, is running from something, and harbors dangerous secrets... including Trixie, who vowed to never let a man control her life again. As for Kostas, he would get lynched on the spot if anyone suspected who he really 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 have to fight for survival, for freedom, and for the right to love...

Enjoy the read.

Vijaya Schartz

Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sci-fi Romance vs. Romantic Sci-fi vs. Sci-fi

What’s the difference?  Some of us might not be able to distinguish between these terms from name alone. Think of the big ol' box of Crayolas. Do you want the red orange or the orange red or just plain red or orange? It can be confusing since the first descriptive is not the predominant color. Red orange is an orange with a hint of red, just as sci-fi romance is predominantly romance with a dose of sci-fi. 

Some people will dislike that definition, I’m sure, and I’m not short-changing the sci-fi, for the record--I love the sci-fi. Wanna watch it dripping off the e-pages of my reads. But each book is different—some may only have a sprinkling of sci-fi and be heavy in the romance (or even graphic sex) department. Some may build an involved world, thick with tech and alien species, but still, the romance is the main story, no matter how detailed the backdrop.

Now, in strict sci-fi, the new world and the adventures that take place are the main story. Might there be romance? Sure, there may be a couple in love. There may even be a sex scene, but it’s like when Steven King or George Martin has one shoved in—the love isn’t ever the point of the tale. It’s an aside. A fact of nature that can’t be excluded, but the relationship between a couple is never the major plot point.

So, think about what color crayon you use.  Or what color you like to buy. While the war between the red oranges and the orange reds wages on in the form of the recent SFWA implosion, and the lines between boys and girls clash (like here), let’s ask ourselves if all of the colors can’t stay in the same box together. Your color isn’t better than mine, and just because an author is male or female, doesn't mean they write one or the other.

To those strict color Nazis I say this: My plot points may be different from yours, but that doesn't mean I'm unworthy to stand under the sci-fi umbrella (unless I look good in short-shorts, which I do, but that is beside the point). 

Hell, I may even grab your orange red once in a while, peel off its wrapper, scribble around with it, and dare you to identify it after it's crammed in with all the other colors.

I’ll try to give it back in one piece, but I make no promises. J

Kimber Vale writes sci-fi with love and sex, and has no problem with that. She also writes plain old horror and speculative fiction under another name, despite her lack of a penis.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Starbound Lovers' Second Cousin - RPG Romance

Before there was Catching Fire (Book Two in The Hunger Games Trilogy) there were Role Playing Games like Dungeons and Dragons.

So while intergalactic romance shoots across the sky overhead, down on earth...and even below...romance of another genre plays out. Anyone coming to age in the 80s was either involved in RPGs or knew someone who was. My Burger King boss was an avid player and even once brought his sword to work to show how it could handle a Whopper. True story.

And in the same humorous style, is a film called Unicorn City

Voss entices local gamers to create a Utopian society in an attempt to impress a potential employer, but paradise is disrupted when his nemesis lays claim to the city and Voss's true love

Any sci-fi romance fan will enjoy its RPG kin in this sweet, funny story and an 'epic tale for anyone who wants to become what they pretend to be.'

And there's a unicorn, so it's possible someone might actually get off the ground.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Busy Beaver

Happy 1st of July, everyone. Man, it's hard to believe we're this far into the year already. Where does time go? I think I might have fallen behind because I've stayed very busy over the last couple of months. I did Camp NaNoWriMo in April with a paranormal/historical romance (don't forget that today is the first day of brand new month of the challenge, you can still sign up if you need to meet a deadline), then I was waiting (admittedly impatiently) for content edits on my historical romance coming from Lyrical Press next February.

I've managed two rounds of editing on it in June and hopefully we're going to line edits next. Plus, I signed another contract with them for a second historical romance novel that I was working on at the end of April and through May. Then it was back to adding a few thousand more words to my next release, The Heckmasters: Wystan. On top of that, I'm still struggling with a concept cover for it. I just cannot get the hero on the cover right. It may be time to explore new options.

I meant to do a lot more editing this year than writing, but somehow the writing tricked me. I'll admit, I've always found writing more exciting than editing. Creating worlds, researching various monsters, and torturing heroes is way more fun than cleaning up after them.

And it seems like the more I see and do, the more I want to write. I've been absorbed in Star Trek fanfiction over the last couple of months too. I feel like I'm dying to write a space opera of my own, but I'm only one book into my new series and it would be crazy to plan another project in there when I've got so much editing to do.

This year my big goal was to stay busy. It's paying off with contracts and another book to release under my imprint. Now, if only I could get caught up on my marketing, everything would be running smoothly. Well, you can't have it all. Or... can you?

Who We Are

This tells about us.