Monday, December 5, 2016

!!WIN!! Just in Time for Christmas

It's that time of year when "giving" goes on steroids and everyone does crazy shopping and eats ridiculous amounts of food. This year I'm totally on board with the crazy and signed up for this massive giveaway with loads of other talented sci fi rom authors.

So, would you like the chance to win over 60 science fiction romance titles? How about a Kindle Fire as well?

Sounds good? Yeah it does!

Just go here:  https://www.booksweeps.com/enter-win-60-science-fiction-romances/ and enter before the 12th of December to be in the running!

Friday, November 25, 2016

All Over The Shop

Is that title another bit of Aussie slang that I think everyone should understand? Let me go ask Professor Google... Oh, yep. Totally is. What I mean for my non-Aussie mates is that I'm all over the place at the moment! At least that's how it feels anyway.
To give you a bit of an idea of what's happening in the background while you guys are waiting for Diffraction to come out in January:

1. Yes, Diffraction is finally ready to be released on the world, ARCs should be going out soon. I've seen the cover and it is AWESOME! Cannot wait to share it all over the place.

2. Atrophy and Quantum are going to be re-launched with new covers to match Diffraction. I'll also be revamping my website so everything is sparkly and new going into 2017

3. I've been working on edits for Cover Fire, the 3rd Valiant Knox book, which will be out in June 2017... it's early days yet, so I still have several more rounds of edits to do before it's finished.

4. I started writing War Games, the 4th Valiant Knox book which will be out in November 2017, but then I got distracted by a shiny new idea.

5. What I've actually been writing is an Atrophy series spin-off, featuring !Space Pirates! who work out of the Barbary Belt (where Rian took the Imojenna and Zander took the Swift Brion at the end of Quantum, as it's pretty much the only safe place left in the universe for them now). It looks like this spin-off series of shorter books (200 pages approx) will be getting published, I'm just working out with my agent how/when that is going to happen.

6. In early 2017, I'm also looking at self-publishing some of my romantic suspense. Also working out the how/when of that with my agent, so keep a look out, I'll have more news on that as it comes to hand.

7. I'm also currently working on a super-secret project with a group of other awesome sci fi romance authors to release a multi-author sci fi series in late 2017, but its not confirmed yet and details are still confidential. But when it's all ready for public consumption, I'll post it here first.

8. I keep telling everyone in December I'm going to take a "holiday" from writing coz quite honestly I have worked my ass off this year, and next year is looking to be even more intensive, so I probably should take a break. We'll see how that pans out though.

So, that's about where I'm at. I've got all these balls in the air and seem like I'm juggling like a pro, but don't be surprised if one hits me in the face any time now and sends everything falling to the floor! 
But if it all works out, 2017 will be a very busy year of releases, one after another.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Just Finished Watching... The Last Ship Seasons 1 to 3


This show had been on my radar since it started three years ago -- most notably because it was starring Doctor McSteamy from Grey's Anatomy and Jayne from Firefly. But see, there are two things I cannot watch: apocalyptic movies/TV shows where people are dying en mass (because I can't help but think there's no way I would survive the apocalypse. I'd be like stunt extra number 3 who survives the initial attack only to be inadvertently beheaded by a random helicopter blade when the hero blows up a helicopter and I just happen to be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time) and zombies. I draw the line at zombies. I tried watching Walking Dead. Really, I did, but when the zombies ate the horse in the first episode, I was done.

Anyhoo, I finally decided to ignore my worry over seeing people dying from a gruesome virus to watch The Last Ship, and woo-baby am I glad I did. And I'm also glad I waited this long so I was able to smash through all three seasons in a good (not-so) old fashioned binge-fest. Only problem now is, I'm like "June 2017 for season 4 is foooreeeeeever away!!! Can't even!!! *insert angry face emoji*"

Set predominately on the US Navy ship Nathan James (I think it was some kind of destroyer. Missile guided destroyer, does that sound right?!), you might assume it would limit the type and number of storylines the writers had to play with, but you would be wrong!

If I had to sum up the characters or show in a single term, it would be hardcore. No two ways about it, neither the characters or the story lines ever pull their punches, and there were times when my mouth literally dropped open, or I yelled "omg are you SERIOUS?" at my screen while I was watching.
From the same guy that produced the Transformers movies, Michael Bay, the action sequences, shit blowing up, gun fights, fist fights, and destruction on a mass scale was pretty much a given.

What really makes this show, is the fact that all this admittedly very cool action is balanced perfectly with some very, very well developed characters, played by actors who have great chemistry (and I don't mean romance chemistry, I mean all the actors clicked really well in different ways).

Despite the restraint and very military-reserved nature of Tom Chandler (played by Eric Dane aka McSteamy) and Mike Slattery (played by Adam Baldwin aka Jayne) they've earned a spot in my top favorite bromances of all time list. These are two guys who really are brothers in everything but blood and this is subtly proven over and over throughout the seasons, even though there's barely a man-hug to be seen.

Not to mention that Tom Chandler is a perfect example of hero material. He's put in this extreme situation where the whole world was dying, while him and his crew are sitting out in the Antarctic for months on end. Then, when the truth is revealed, though he has no clue if his wife or kids are alive, he has to step up to put duty and the fate of the world first, trusting in a woman, Doctor Rachel Scott, who betrayed him by lying about the true nature of their mission in the first place, believing that she can come up with a cure to save whoever is left when they eventually get home. Meanwhile, they've got other more hostile parties to fend off who will do anything to get their hands on the cure. Tom isn't perfect, he's flawed, he makes mistakes, he loses men, but he keeps going forward, keeps making the hard decisions.

Now, even though there's not much in the way of romance in this show (which doesn't detract from the overall makeup of the show at all), a lot of people were shipping Tom and the doctor, Rachel, very early on, even though Tom was still married.
I was never on board with it, because Tom was a very honorable man, and there was no way I could see him betraying his wife. However, I could see that gradually Tom and Rachel developed a respect for one another, which definitely had evovled into something more by the end of season 2. Unfortunately, they just weren't meant to be.

However, I do have to say, the one kiss they shared -- one that wasn't even a real kiss -- that was the moment when I was like "oh yeah, I am so on this ship!" I knew as soon as Rachel got her hands on him that something else was going on, and it turned out I was right -- Tom was being held captive and Rachel had to get him a VERY small note (on waterproof paper I assume???) with the details on how the crew planned on freeing him. But oh mamma, it was some kiss. Of course, I have to imagine that passing someone something by kissing would entail being very, shall we say, committed to the kiss. Never tried it myself, but I'm thinking a fair bit of tongue action... yep, just took this examination too far.

Into season three and Tom has a new love interest. I really like Sasha for Sasha. She's independent, smart, sassy, tough and can definitely hold her own. Everything you want in a heroine. But I feel like she's not quite right for Tom. I feel like their history is really the only reason they're interested in each other. They didn't work out once before for good reason, right? So I just think it's a little forced, or more love-interest-for-convenience-sake rather than something really solid that I could see going anywhere.

You know who I think Sacha should get together with? Mike. I have no idea why, they've barely said two words to each other for the entire season. But I just feel like THAT would be something interesting to see. Mike, I think, was separated from his wife (I could be wrong) plus while Tom (and most of the crew) eventually found out what happened to their families, Mike never did. He had initial contact to find his son had died, but his wife (ex-wife?) and daughter/s (can't remember if he had one or two) had gone to a safe zone. When he eventually got to that safe zone, it was deserted.

I'm actually hoping that in season 4, the writers remember they left this thread hanging and do something about it, even if it's to find that the rest of his family died as well (listen to me, I'm so sympathetic "I'll just kill this entire family because its convenient to the plot") In the meantime, if the writers of the Last Ship happen to read this GET MIKE AND SACHA TOGETHER. Man, it would be sooooo much more interesting.

The other personal element to the characters I loved was the relationship between Danny and Kara, two of Tom's crew on the Nathan James. From episode one, it was established that these two had a secret affair going on (which is a HUGE no-no. The old fraternization rule) but when it came out, Tom was very cool about it.

Yes, they had to be punished under Navy regs, but the way Tom went about it, there was no doubt he was giving his approval and accepting the relationship, even though he officially wasn't supposed to. Going through the seasons, it was almost like Tom became a kind of father-figure to the pair. He definitely had a soft spot for both of them, and looked out for their best interest when he could, as long as it didn't get in the way of duty or put the rest of the crew in danger.

And one last thing, this show has a plethora of interesting secondary characters. They're not just there to support the main heroes, but could stand all on their own. And they come with cool names like Tex and Wolf. But don't get too attached to anyone, because like most shows these days, the writers can and will kill off your favorite characters, leaving you reaching for the tissues.

So now that I've ripped my way through the 3 seasons of The Last Ship, I might go back and watch it again, because I'm sure there were things I missed the first time around, plus it's always interesting to re-watch something once you know where it's all headed, you see things a little differently. Or maybe that's just me.

I can't wait to see where the writers take season 4, since they pretty much destroyed Tom, and ended season 3 with him basically broken and quitting the Navy, the service, the country he'd dedicated his entire adult life to. Something will draw him back into the fight, and I'm dying to know exactly how they achieve that.
June 2017 can't come fast enough! 


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Exclusive Rian and Ella Scene - You Won't Find This in Any Atrophy Book!

This extra special scene was made available to my fans who've subscribed to my newsletter initially about a month ago, and as well as being able to find it under the Extra Content tab at the top of this page, it'll also be going up on my website in the new year when I re-launch it with a fresh new look. Stay tuned, because there will be more extra content coming in the future!

This scene answers some questions about Rian and Ella's past and special connection, but it also creates more questions... Set just after the events at the end of Quantum...

Onboard the Imojenna
Rian rolled out from the sheet that was half-suffocating him, cracking one eye open to see his cabin. Everything was the wrong way up. Whoever had left him on his bed had put him face down with his boots on his pillow and the sheet he’d kicked off last night scrunched up under his cheek.
 He got his hands underneath himself and pushed up, getting vertical and expecting the usual post-Violaine head spin. But apparently his equilibrium had its shite together today, because everything around him remained motionless and whirl-free. Which would have been weird, until he remembered that liquor hadn’t put him down this time.
Frecking Ella had.
Furious heat stormed him with the recollection of what she’d done—used her Arynian abilities and put the whammy on him. A glance at the clock in the bulkhead revealed it had only been an hour since he’d come in here with the intention of drowning himself in the hard liquor. Yet the darkness boiling in his veins he’d been so desperate to smother had settled to its usual low rumble in the back of his mind. No doubt thanks to whatever sorceress powers Ella had used on him.
The notion didn’t bring a sense of relief. No way in hell. It was the complete opposite, sending a thrashing wave of apprehension through him. If her touch—one euphoric, heated blast of those mystifying abilities—could so effectively repress the demons within him, even when they were at their worst…? Jezus damn. He could become far more addicted to her than he ever had been to Violaine.
Like the first night she’d been onboard all those months ago, and he’d comprehended the extent of her power, an unfamiliar shot of dread and anxiety swamped him, starting in the middle of his chest like he was having a frecking heart attack and radiating out through his limbs in spikes of sharp coldness. He clamped a hand against the middle of his chest, forcing himself to breathe through lungs that had become solid chunks of ice. Because this was all in head, damn it. No one had any power over him, not the Reidar and not the frecking priestess.
He stumbled to his feet, knocking the pillow off his bed. He staggered out to his office and over to the drinks compartment, already standing open with no bottle of Violaine in sight. Where the freck was it? If Zahli had confiscated it, thinking she was helping him—
A surge of anger burned away some of the ice as he started toward the hatchway, boots crunching over broken glass.
He glanced down at the scattered shards. Oh, right. He’d drunk what was left of the Violaine and then tossed the empty bottle, shattering it against the bulkhead near where the priestess had been standing when she’d refused to leave him alone. Well, she’d sure as hell had the last laugh, hadn’t she?
He kicked a few of the larger pieces out of the way and stomped out into the passageway, not hearing any voices. Since the Imojenna was still docked on the Swift Brion, no doubt his crew were making the most of being on the larger ship with more room to move.
The short trip down to the cargo hold proved that the ship was definitely empty, which he was taking as a win since he didn’t have to face his sister’s disapproval over his treatment of Ella or anyone else’s damned silent opinion over his drinking habits. He dug a new bottle of Violaine out from one of the secret compartments.
As he made it back to the bottom of the stairs, a light tread of footsteps echoed from the ramp, and he glanced over his shoulder to see Zahli coming into the ship. He almost turned his back on her to continue up-ship to his cabin, where he planned on locking himself in and not putting down the bottle of Violaine until he could forget all about what Ella had done to him. Or at least not have the weird tingles all over his body every time he recalled it.
But no doubt his sister would simply follow him, especially if she had something on her mind she thought needed to be said. So instead of making like he hadn’t seen her, he shifted to lean against the rail, twisting the lid off his Violaine as he waited.
Zahli topped the ramp, definitely looking like she was on a mission, but paused abruptly as she saw him standing there.
“Oh, you’re up.” She took several slow steps closer, as though now she was face to face with him, she wasn’t sure what to say.
“Yeah, I’m up. Did the princess expect me to be out longer after scrambling my brain?” He took a long swallow of the liquor, keeping a close eye on her expression for hints about what was going on in that head of hers.
“Actually, Ella didn’t say anything about it. She disappeared into her quarters. I was just going to check on her.”
Ah. So he hadn’t been the intended victim of her concern. Mostly he was relieved, but a small part of him was frecking annoyed that apparently the priestess rated more worry than he did. From his own sister, yet.
He half stepped to the side, waving an arm toward the steps. “Don’t let me get in your way. I’m sure she’ll appreciate your solicitations.”
Her features tightened a little, as if she wasn’t impressed with him, but working to keep herself locked down. She started to walk past him, but then paused. This time when she looked up at him, he could well read the apprehension in her eyes, the same color their mom’s had been, making his heart pinch in his chest.
“You would tell me, Rian, if it was getting worse?” Her gaze roamed him, as though searching for the answer on his face. “You’d tell me if we were all in danger, wouldn’t you?”
He tightened his hold on the Violaine, resisting the urge to suck down a large, smoldering mouthful because it would likely be too telling.
Damn it, why did she have to ask him that? She should have been smarter. They all should have been smarter. He’d never trusted himself a single day since escaping the Reidar. Maybe he’d been on a leash since his parents had died, when he’d forced himself to maintain tighter control, but there was always that little niggle of knowledge in the bottom of his mind that he could be one decent blackout away from killing every single one of them.
“I can tell you with all certainty that you’re in exactly the same amount of danger today as you were yesterday.”
Despite this not being much in the way of an answer, Zahli actually looked somewhat relieved.
She reached out as if she was going to take his hand, but then changed her mind and crossed her arms instead. “I know it helps, but try not to drink too much Violaine. I worry about what it’s doing to your liver.”
He could have almost laughed at that, but simply sent her the ghost of a grin. “Pretty sure I’ll be dead long before my liver craps it.”
She shook her head with an exasperated glare. “So optimistic.”
Without waiting for him to reply, she continued up the stairs. Rian stood there for a moment longer, taking another drink. If Ella was on the ship, why hadn’t he sensed her presence…? But even as he had the thought, that invariable, low-vibrating awareness of her hummed back to life, as though it’d been there all along, but he’d been too distracted to notice.
And freck him if he couldn’t decide whether he was annoyed or relieved that the invisible tether binding them together was still in good working order.
With a longer swig of Violaine, he headed back up into his cabin and did a few cursory checks for messages and any media reels that might be connected to Reidar activity. Nothing of any particular interest grabbed his attention.
The bottle was over three quarters empty, and this time when he stood, the expected head-spin hit him. But instead of feeling woozy, relief spread through him, and he allowed a small release of the furious tension of control he held onto savagely, knowing the hard liquor would douse any sentiment of violence, and with a bit more Violaine, his body would be too sloshed to follow through, anyway.
He unsteadily grabbed up the liquor and made his way over to his bed, not bothering to pick up the pillow as he plonked down on the edge. When he tipped his head back for a drink, his whole body went with the action and he flopped back onto the mattress.
He was sinking fast and happy to go under. But maddeningly, the last lucid thought he had was of the damned priestess and the way her touch sparked through him like an elemental chain reaction bursting new stars to life.
Like always, he didn’t sink into a deep, oblivious slumber or liquor-induced-coma. He was forever conscious on some level, like the Reidar had destroyed his mind’s ability to completely shut down. Either that, or because he was too aware of what could happen if he entirely blacked out, he simply couldn’t let himself go.   
The dreams started as they always did—more a sense of voided existence, empty of life. Totally hollow. No heart, no soul, no will. Only the darkness.
Snatches of images began flashing, and he knew this dream was going to be more of a recollection. He couldn’t stand remembering—even disjointedly—the things he’d done, the faces of the people he’d killed during those lost years. The number was countless, but every single one of them was in there somewhere, their last moments an incoherent jumble of brutality and bloodshed.
However, something about this was different. The pictures were clearer, more vivid.
He was walking through a spaceport. He had a target, an important target. But not one he had to kill, one he had to take. A girl. The Reidar wanted her. He didn’t care why, he just wanted to get this done so they’d give him his next assignment, the next fix, the next bloody repast to feed the darkness.
Every mission was about precision. Every move premeditated and deliberate. Passing effortlessly through checkpoints and security stations, he’d calculated exactly where he needed to intercept and snatch her without the deed appearing on cameras or gaining the attention of spaceport officers.
He reached the intersecting passageways and shifted to lean against the bulkhead, a few people passing here and there. A shuttle would be docking right about now and in a few minutes, there would be an influx of passengers heading into the main terminal.  
Counting down the seconds, he recalculated the timeframe as the first few groups of people began flooding down the corridor, bringing a low murmuring wave of chatter with them.
Finally, he spotted her coming toward him down the corridor, walking between two male minders. Even though he knew this was already a dream and a memory, everything became surreal. The girl walking down the passage was Ella.
She couldn’t have been more than fourteen or fifteen. She looked so much younger, but he had no doubt it was her. Those eyes—he could never mistake her eyes.
He straightened, counting their steps toward him as she approached. When the trio drew even, he inserted himself into the shifting crowd, coming up behind her and reaching out to grab her arm. As his fingers closed around her wrist, she glanced back at him, their eyes clashing.
Hers widened and for a moment, nothing existed, like the whole universe had stopped. Like time had frozen and his breath was no more. He was suspended as surely as he’d been immersed in pure, clear crystal.
Sensation returned in a roar. And this time, everything vacuumed into a tiny atom of awareness, riveting on where his skin was in contact with hers. Then every thought in his mind exploded with blinding light and ripping noise. He let Ella go as she collapsed, her eyes rolling into the back of her head when she went down.
But he—he was coming apart from the inside out. He clamped his hands over his ears, but the shrieking that tore through his skull was inside his head.
Rian stumbled away into the crowd, his movements no longer precise or controlled. The darkness thrashed, lost its grip on him, was cut free in the depths of his mind. And he remembered in a crushing tidal wave.
Aliens. Those aliens…the Reidar. They’d taken him from his military post. They’d killed his friends. The things they’d done to him—
His gut clenched, and he veered into another corridor, this one leading to the men’s. He slammed into a cubicle in the mercifully empty bathroom. But the churning had settled, and he’d succumbed to a cold sweat, deep shivers wracking his body like a junkie coming down.
He surged up from the near-dream, coming fast awake and too-sober, considering the amount of Violaine he’d drunk, but the memories didn’t leave him, they only became sharper.
That had always been the first lucid moment he could recall—waking up in some men’s room on a random station, sick to his soul from the mind control and reprogramming the Reidar had subjected him to for years on end. He’d never been able to remember why he’d suddenly kicked the Reidar hold and come back to himself.
It had been Ella.
He’d touched her and the darkness had released him.
After that, he’d gone on the run, knowing the Reidar would come for him. That they’d try to reacquire him, and failing that, would send out other brainwashed assassins to kill him. And they had. Any number of the bastards had tried to take him, and he’d put down every single one of them.
Surging to his feet, Rian almost tripped over the pillow on the floor in his haste, rushing across the room and out into the passageway. The dim wayfinding lights were on, which meant it was night ship-time with everyone likely asleep.
But none of it mattered right now.
He needed to know. Had to find out if the memory was real or some sick game his damaged mind was playing with him.
At her door, he didn’t knock, simply used his captain’s codes to gain entrance. She wasn’t asleep, but sitting in the middle of her bed, making notes on a commpad.
She didn’t glance up as he stopped at the foot of her bed. No doubt she’d known this was his destination the minute he’d gotten upright in his cabin.
“Did you know?” His voice came out rough, but strong—an undeniable demand.
She set the commpad aside and clasped her hands in her lap then looked up at him.
“Did I know what?” Her voice, serene as always, was like an effervescent in his veins, making his blood fizz.
He set a knee on her bed and leaned down toward her, planting a fist on the mattress and bringing them face to face. For a second his mind scrambled, and he saw the girl from his memory, her as she would have been seven or eight years ago, young, barely a woman, the potential of her beauty like a new blooming bud.
“Did you know you were the one who brought me back the day you saw me on Arleta?”
Very rarely did her collected countenance ever alter, but now a definite note of confusion entered her gaze.
“What are you talking about?”
“This.” He clamped a hand on the side of her neck, his thumb along the line of her delicate jaw. The usual warm tingles hummed to life, but this time he was the one in control. He let the memory flood his mind, and the vibration between them intensified. Her eyes widened as the images flowed, connecting them almost like they were forging one consciousness. And then the pictures, the memory was changing. He started seeing things from Ella’s perspective. Walking with her father and older brother through the spaceport the first and only time she’d ever left Aryn until the day she was kidnapped.
In the midst of a crowd, not long after they’d left the shuttle, someone had reached out and touched her. The sensation of his hand closing around her wrist had been like nothing she’d ever felt before. A heated and delirious intoxication had sufficed her. She’d turned, not sure what she’d been expecting, but then she’d met his eyes and everything had turned cold.
Because those eyes—they were dead. As though he had no soul.
And when their gazes had met, so had their minds, and she’d seen nothing but a vast, terrifying darkness. On instinct alone, she’d filled herself with light, drawing it inward to protect her very essence—more luminosity and power than she’d ever called on before.
It’d been too much, and some of it had blasted into him where he still held her wrist, until her mind had shut down.
Ella wrenched out of his hold, breaking the connection, and Rian half-collapsed forward, both hands braced against the mattress as he struggled to regain his breath like he’d just run up fifty flights of stairs.
Her breathing equally unsteady, Ella stumbled to her feet, backing away from him until she reached the bulkhead and leaned heavily against it.
“Did you know?” he repeated, voice now ragged and disjointed over the words.
She shook her head, wrapping her arms around herself. “I didn’t know. I had no memory of that. I didn’t remember anything after leaving the shuttle. I didn’t wake up until we were back on Aryn. I asked my father what had happened, and he simply told me that I wasn’t able to cope with being out in the galaxy and forbade me from even leaving Aryn again.”
“Until the Reidar decided they wanted you enough to risk snatching you off your home world, since apparently I failed seven years earlier.”
This connection, though he didn’t understand it, though it had been immediate and apparent the first time he’d touched her all those years ago and forceful enough to break the Reidar hold on him, it was real.
It was real, and he feared where it would lead them.
He got himself upright, limbs jellied like half-formed repli-rations, only just supporting his weight. “Don’t tell anyone about this. Not a word. In fact, this is the last and only time we’re going to talk about it.”
She stepped toward him, expression becoming a little calmer. “Rian, this could be important. We need to understand why—”
“No!” He shifted back from her, holding out both hands to ward her off before she got any ideas about touching him. Christ, he couldn’t take that right now. Clearly her touch would be his ultimate undoing. Never mind the Reidar, the real danger to him was residing on his own damned ship. “It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change who and what I am, what I’m capable off. In fact, it gives me one more reason to warn you to stay the hell away from me.”
He spun, stalking out of her cabin before she could say anything else. His mind reeled, both from his newly surfaced memories and Ella’s memories he’d experienced as though they were two parts of a whole—something he couldn’t comprehend and refused to acknowledge.
He couldn’t accept the knowledge that if it hadn’t been for her, if the Reidar hadn’t sent him to abduct her, he might still have been under their hold to this day.
Shite, he needed the rest of that almost-empty Violaine. And he needed to find some way to forget again. Because this revelation, despite what he’d just said to the priestess, it changed everything—everything he knew of himself, everything he’d assumed of her.
No, he couldn’t deal with this right now. But he could deal with the why. Why the Reidar had wanted her, even back then. What exactly was so goddamn special about the woman? What did they plan on doing with her?
Somehow, someway, he had to avoid her and at the same time, work out just what exactly he’d taken on to his ship the day he’d decided to keep her for his own gain.
The idea now was almost laughable, that he’d thought to wrench some advantage from the Reidar by taking the captive they so clearly wanted.
 
 
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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Still Time to Grab Atrophy for 99c

Only a few more days left of iBooks out of this world sale on first-in-a-series sci fi romance titles. So check out the many talented authors who have their books available for the limited-time low prices.
For people who are hardcore Kindle users and their mind goes blank at the mention of any other e-book retailer, Atrophy is also 99c on Amazon.
It's a good time to check out the Atrophy series before Diffraction comes out in January!


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Cover Reveal... Susan Grant's 2176 Freedom series re-released!

I am VERY excited (like, you can't imagine how excited... bouncing in my chair excited) at being able to share with you the brand spanking new covers for New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Susan Grant's 2176 Freedom series before they come out on the 15th of November.

Before we get into the juicy details, I just have to say that Susan has long been one of my sci fi romance idols. I read all of her books many years ago, and her 2176 books were always my favorites. So it makes it even more special that I now have the privilege of seeing these books re-worked and re-released on the world. Seriously, if you love sci fi romance and missed these wonderful books when they first came out, or if you've been thinking about trying sci fi romance but don't know where to start, then these are the books for you!

Without any more gushing, I give you...
*trumpets*

The Legend of Banzai Maguire (Part 1) and The Scarlett Empress (Part 2)

A word from Susan:

The 2176 Freedom Series is a 2-part sci-fi action romance series/serial. Originally, the “2176" series consisted of five books written by four different authors following a series bible in a world that I created. The publisher subsequently went out of business and the rights to books 1 and 5 reverted to me. Recently, I took on the huge task of modernizing and rewriting both to stand completely separate from the old series. It was a labor of love that I hope will provide hours of edge-of-the-seat reading pleasure. It also opens up exciting opportunities for more stories in the 2176 Freedom world: Rim Riders, Clones, Warlords, Raft City Pirates, Revolutionaries, and more!

Rim Riders? Clones? Warlords? Pirates? Revolutionaries? Omg I need all of those RIGHT NOW!

Ahem. Anyhoo, here's all the info you need to go buy these books when they come out:

The Legend of Banzai Maguire


The year: 2016. While flying a peacekeeping mission over North Korea, Air Force pilot Bree "Banzai" Maguire is shot down. Instead of the North Korean troops she expected, she finds herself captured by a mad scientist and put in bio-stasis. When she wakes, everything has changed. It's 2176, the world is in crisis, and she is a hotly contested prize. Once, Banzai's job was to protect democracy; now a mysterious voice claims she must bring it back.

The year: 2176. U.C.E. Commander Ty Armstrong is a decorated SEAL, combat veteran, and part-time treasure hunter. Seeking one elusive prize has become a personal obsession for him: Banzai Maguire, who was never found after her mysterious disappearance 160 years earlier. His quest to find her remains takes him into enemy territory where he discovers that not only is she very much alive, he might have already fallen in love with her. But before he can bring her to safety, they are captured by the charming, yet ruthless, Emperor of Asia. Ty vows to escape with Banzai at his side. But his captor has other plans for him—and for Banzai Maguire.

Pre-Order Links:






Amazon: available November 15th

The Scarlett Empress


Shot down over North Korea, Air Force fighter pilot Cam “Scarlet" Tucker is imprisoned and put in bio-stasis. She is awakened 160 years later to learn that her wingmate and best friend also survived. Now the “legendary” Banzai Maguire, Bree is being held for treason in the country that was once the United States.

Cam has problems of her own—big problems. She’s in the masterful hands of Prince Kyber, the dictator whom her friend thwarted. He won’t get fooled again. With the mysterious Shadow Voice urging revolution, and her friend in chains, Cam wants the sexy emperor on her side—and maybe a whole lot more. But her role in the thrilling mission to save her country has to come first. Banzai wouldn’t surrender, and Cam won’t either. It’s time to give a royal butt kicking, and Cam knows just where to start.

Pre-Order Links:






Amazon: available November 15th



Saturday, October 29, 2016

Just Finished Watching... Gran Hotel (Grand Hotel) on Netflix


Twice actually. That's right, I loved it so much, I immediately went back and watched it all for a second time. Be warned, this post will be essay-length and probably gushing.

Seriously, its been a loooong time since I've loved a TV show this much. Not for the first time, I am thanking all the fates and Gods that Netflix came into my life and provides such varied and popular content... in terms of TV shows. I've heard some people complain about the movie catalogue, especially the limited Australian version we get down here. But I'm not a movie buff, so it doesn't bother me.
For those of you who know absolutely nothing about this show (like me until a few weeks ago) here's the basics:

This is a Spanish TV series (so be prepared to read subtitles if you don't understand Spanish... I have to say, I've got a few basics of the language down now after spending so many hours listening to it being spoken and reading the translation, and I soon worked out that the subtitles didn't always represent exactly what was being said on screen). Some people have called this the "Spanish Downton Abbey," but is it so, SO much more than that. It's more like Downton Abbey meets Game of Thrones -- less rich people with (historical) #firstworldproblems and more murder and mayhem. The actors on this show were amazing, and had great overall chemistry that doesn't come along very often... but when it does, then something wonderful happens.

The show starts off in 1905, when a young man, Julio, goes to the Gran Hotel in Cantaloa looking for his sister -- who was a maid there -- because he hasn't heard from her in a while and is worried. The hotel is owned by the Alarcon family.
The patriarch has recently passed away, and the scheming matriarch, Theresa, who knows almost everyone's secrets and will do anything to keep the hotel in the family is now in charge.

There's the son, Javier, who basically just spends the family money on being drunk and whoring. Then there's the oldest sister, Sophia, who married a Marquise, but seemingly gets overlooked all the time. And finally there's Alicia, the youngest of them, who is gorgeous both in looks and personality. Soon after arriving back from an extended trip, her mother convinces Alicia that she has to marry Diego, the hotel manager, because after her father died and left many debts, Diego was responsible for saving the hotel and family from ruin. Diego is an a-hole disguised as a gentleman.
And all that is introduced in the first ep.

Julio sees Alicia for the first time getting on the train to Cantaloa, and is immediately struck by her, though of course she doesn't notice him. Once they both arrive (separately) at the hotel, Alicia joins her family, while Julio goes around to the back entrance looking for answers about his sister. But there is no doubt Julio is more than a little interested in Alicia.

Julio soon figures out something weird is going on, as people claim his sister left, but no one has any information about when exactly or where she went. He meets Andres and their bromance begins right away. Julio pretends to be the new waiter (managing to get rid of the actual new waiter who turned up not long after him) and convinces Andres to help him find answers about his sister.

That night, there's a ball or some kind of party. Julio dresses up as a Man of Means to question a guest who apparently accused his sister of stealing, leading to her supposed dismissal. But its soon revealed this lady doesn't know what Julio is talking about -- the story was false -- and leaves more questions about his sister's fate.

Que Alicia entering the conversation. She's just become engaged to Diego, but there's no doubt she's charmed by Julio, probably despite herself. Later, when she goes out to the balcony, Julio follows her, offers her a cigarette even though she doesn't smoke, and dares her to try it.

And thus the most epic TV romance of all time begins. I never thought any couple would bump John and Aeryn from Farscape off the top of my fav couples of all times list, but Julio and Alicia managed to do it. In fact, they completely blew John and Aeryn out of the running.
Seriously, if this were an English speaking show, I swear it would have legions of obsessed fans shipping Julicia (totally called it) with gifs, graphics, youtube fan vids and fan fiction galore. But alas, few people outside of Spain know what they're missing out on.

But back to the story. It doesn't take Alicia long to figure out that Julio was not who he said (a gentleman) in the days following, and she eventually finds that he is in fact the new waiter. By now, Julio is convinced that his sister has probably been killed, and is determined to stay, pretending to be a waiter until he finds out who did it. When Alicia confronts him, he tells her everything, and she ends up agreeing to help him discover the truth, as long as he leaves when he's got his answers. Of course, things are not that straight forward, and finding answers proves to be more difficult and dangerous than either of them expects.

As they slowly discover clues, all the time spent working together brings them closer, and despite Alicia's engagement to Diego, she and Julio have chemistry and connect in a way neither of them can deny, despite the difference in class (which was obviously a big deal back then). Seriously, these two are so cute together, so many times I was like "omg the feels! I can't even take it!"
I won't spoil the answer to what happened with Julio's sister, but toward the end of season 1, once he has all the answers, he decides to leave, and tells Alicia to come with him.

She does, but just before they're about to leave, Julio gets news that the answers he had weren't the full truth, and he decides he has to stay, to get to the bottom of things once and for all. Alicia is devastated -- she'd made the choice to leave and start a new life with Julio, and didn't want to go back to the hotel, even temporarily.

But Julio won't be dissuaded, and he leaves her standing alone outside the train station. Upon returning to the hotel, Alicia feels she doesn't have a choice but to honor her engagement to Diego, even though both her sister, Sophia, and Julio tell her she doesn't have to, shouldn't go through with it. She pretty much tells Julio he had his chance and ruined it. At this point, I think a small part of Alicia simply married Diego because Julio had hurt her badly, and she wanted to hurt him in return. But also because Diego was very good a manipulating people, and had convinced both Alicia and her mother that marrying him was the only thing Alicia could do.

Into season 2, and Julio hasn't left the hotel, but decided to stay after Andres had a bad accident on Alicia's wedding day. Julio actually thinks someone tried to hurt Andres on purpose, so aside from helping to look after him, he's determined to find out who is behind it, because no one messes with his brotp and gets away with it.
Alicia and Diego return from their honeymoon, and Alicia is obviously surprised to find Julio still there, when she'd expected him to leave after she got married. Julio's feelings for her haven't changed, and he doesn't even bother trying to hide it.
Alicia tries to resist, pretends like she's over him and moved on, but the only person she's fooling is herself. When Julio tells her about his suspicions over Andres, she agrees to help him (only for Andres, not for him) and once again they are partners in crime.

Meanwhile, Diego is beginning to show his true colors, and as Alicia realizes the man she married might be a complete a-hole, if not outright monster, she and Julio grow closer again. It's not long before they give into their feelings, and Julio becomes her everything -- whenever she is upset or needs anything, he is always there. As their search for answers about Andres becomes more complicated, they discover clues that her own father may have been murdered, and then it becomes a matter of Julio helping Alicia discover the truth for a change.

In the meantime, Diego gets a clue that Alicia might be having an affair, and becomes increasingly possessive, jealous and an all around jerk.  
Toward the end of season 2, Alicia finally cracks under Diego's scrutiny and tells him she loves someone else, but won't say who. This spurs Diego into showing her the type of man he really is. Later, when Julio finds out what happened, it's enough to break him, and he goes after Diego.

In the end, circumstances luckily prevent Julio from following through on his revenge, but it becomes apparent that someone is out to destroy the Gran Hotel.
Into season 3, Julio and Alicia are more in love than ever, but she can't escape Diego, as back then, a wife was literally considered a man's property, but that doesn't stop them from trying. Alicia's friend, Maite, who is also a lawyer, comes along to help her get out of the marriage, but Diego swears he'll never let her go and is determined to find out who her lover is so he can kill him.
While all this is going on, someone is sabotaging the Gran Hotel, and all sorts of things are going on. It soon becomes apparent that this person wants revenge on Diego.
The entire season is spent with Julio and Alicia trying to find a way to be free, while discovering the truth of Diego's past. I won't tell you what happens in the end, but suffice to say, everyone gets exactly what they deserve. But most importantly of all, Julio and Alicia get their happy ending.
Phew!
Even just recounting it all makes me want to watch it a 3rd time. And I haven't even managed to get in all the other non-Julicia related stuff that went on -- Javier and his schemes which he sometimes got Julio mixed up in that were always hilarious. The depths of the Julio-Andres (Juldres?) bromance, which also has an easy spot in my list of all time favorite bromances.
Julio regularly going all Fight Club at the local inn to solve his problems. Detective Ayala and his dunce of a sidekick who had the unenviable job of investigating the goings on at the Gran Hotel while people tried desperately to keep their secrets. The other affairs (even one with a priest! Nothing was sacred). The baby stealing (yep, you heard that right). The serial killer. Illegitimate siblings. The many, many murders. The scheming and back-stabbing. The slapping. Oh my god, the slapping. I know hitting people isn't the answer to anyone's problems, but every time someone got
slapped (usually Javier) I was guilty and loving it (except for the couple of times Alicia slapped Julio, that just hurt!).

I think part of the reason I loved this show so much (apart from the forbidden romance that was handled so well... I'm a huge sucker for forbidden romance) was the fact that I could never guess what was going to happen next. The twists were just brilliant. Usually in a TV show or movie, it's hard to surprise me, because my story-telling author brain will correctly guess the plot, usually before whatever I'm watching is even half over. But every time I thought I knew what was going to happen on this show, something would come out of left field, leaving me surprised and loving every second of it.
If you've got Netflix and you haven't discovered this show yet, then you're missing out on some seriously good television.

There is only one bad thing I can say about this TV show, and that is I couldn't find it available on DVD with English subtitles in my region (Damn you Australia, you have thwarted me again!). I would buy this is a second if it I could get it, but while it's available in the US with English subtitles, and I could buy it, the region limits mean it wouldn't work on my DVD player... Unless I brought a US DVD player at well... seriously, I love this show so much, I would almost consider doing that!

In the meantime, I am impatiently waiting, as I discovered many of the people behind this show are making a new show for Netflix called Cable Girls, apparently based on the phone operators in the early 1900's, and the actor that plays Julio has a role in it (hopefully a main one, he's a brilliant actor!). I'm assuming Netflix will release it world wide like they usually do, so will be hanging off my subscription into 2017 until its released... and then I'll probably binge watch it in a matter of days if it's anything like Gran Hotel.
Do yourselves a favor, people, and get into Gran Hotel right now!






Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sci Fi Romance at a Steal!

Looking for some sci fi romance to read? Then look no further! From today (25th October) to the 8th of November, iBooks have a selection of sci fi romance on sale. Some of the biggest names in sci fi romance at the best prices!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/collection/science-fiction-romance/id27823?fcId=1163390978&ls=1&mt=11&app=itunes
(Please note, the link on the above image will only work on an iPad or iPhone device, as it launches iBooks)

Atrophy will be 99c, so if you haven't grabbed yourself a copy yet, now is a good time! I know the TBR list on my iPad is about to increase by quite a few titles!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Just Finished Reading... The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling.

Actually, I finished this one a few weeks ago, and while I put this review up on Goodreads, I hadn't got around to posting it on my blog yet. But here it is! And two posts in two weeks, maybe things will get back on track around here!

This book was an easy read for me - I read it in a day and it was the kind of story I didn't need to think about too much, which was exactly what I was in the mood for. 
The romance between Seren and Dom was one of those insta things, and while it kind of seemed like they both got way too invested in each other way too quick, in the context of the story, it was believable for me. 
This story did remind me a little of the Across The Universe series, but stood on its own merits with significant differences. I probably would have enjoyed it more and given it 5 stars if there'd been more story devoted to what was really happening on board the ship (the secrets that the adults were clearly keeping, etc) and maybe a little less time with Seren getting completely lost in her feelings for Dom (which at the 75%-ish mark slid toward Bella from Twilight type obsessing and almost lost me) but I'm glad I read to the ending, even though I guessed pretty early on where it was all heading. I just hope that there is a sequel and many of the unanswered questions end up getting resolved.
Oh, and I just have to say, I really love this book cover!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Still Here!!

Honestly, I was going to title this post "Still Here Bitches!" because I was channeling Pretty Little Liars or something. That was closely followed by my second choice of "Still Here Suckers!" but as you can see I went with the boring old "STILL HERE" which is pretty much the theme of this post.

So, what I have I been doing, you may ask? 
Well, a lot is the answer! Not that I have much to show for it at this point in time. However, I can tell you that I've got lots of books in the pipeline (with the next being Diffraction in Jan 2017), I'm talking A LOT people. Like, got myself all plotted up the wazoo until 2020. 

I had intended to get back into blogging, but I'm feeling like its soooo 2004 or something. That being said, I'm not ready to give up, its just that with all the various media platforms I'm on (I spend way too much time on Tumblr, but there's so many pretties!) plus Instagram, facebook, twitter -- like many people these days, I'm all over the place -- and then the whole writing and editing thing I'm meant to be doing, well, blogging just didn't rate that high.


However, I do have some interesting ideas in the works to engage with my wonderful Atrophy fans who are so excited about Rian and whatever latest crazy he's putting everyone in, plus that whole shipping issue he has with Ella (I'm talking like unresolved sexual tension ship, not actual shipping like he's going to pack her in a box and send her somewhere) plus I'm going to be revamping my website in the new year with some exciting new features and goodies for my fans. Though I'd like to promise there will be regular blog posts happening over here, and I am considering content (but these days I'm a little more visual and waste time playing around with graphics like the one below), it might be a little while before things really get moving again.
But I am around, and you can always find me hanging out at all the usual social media haunts. In the meantime, I have background stuff to get back to.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Launch Into Exclusive Content

Happy book birthday to Quantum!
Yes, today is the day that Quantum will be set free into it's natural habitat, where it will hopefully live long and prosper... yes, I just mashed a Star Trek reference with a nature documentary.
Anyhoo, I'm very excited, because Quantum is a little more special than my other releases, because Quantum has something that they didn't.
Ah, now you're intrigued!
You see, there's this very special scene between Rian and Ella, with a rather large and startling revelation. But, silly me, I forgot to put it in the book. The only way to get this scene? Check the back of Quantum for instructions.
Need a copy right this minute? No problem, just follow these links:

Entangled Publishing

Amazon

Book Depository

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Snippet from Quantum -- Coming out Monday 8th Aug

With under a week until Quantum comes out, here's a little sneak peak of what you can expect from the second book in the Atrophy series:


Take her back down.” Sweat crept along Zander's hairline, and he took a second to wipe at the gathering drips.
“Navs aren’t responding.” Apart from her words coming fast, Petros’s tone sounded mostly calm. Good, because he needed her to keep her head if they were going to get off this shuttle alive. The whole vessel was shaking hard enough now that anything not bolted down skittered across the grate floor. The groan of stressed metal was audible under the shrill chime of the emergency sirens.

He abandoned the shielding as a lost cause. The only play they had left was to disconnect the autopilot, which was taking them higher into the ether. Another few moments before they left the stratosphere altogether. Without the shielding, the craft would burn and implode almost in the same instant.

His breath came too short, chest too tight as the same error message kept blinking at him, telling him autopilot could not be disengaged. Frecking christ, the higher they got, the harder it would be coming down. And he had no doubt they were going down. Whether or not they got destroyed in the planet’s atmosphere before they crashed was still up for contention.

Swiveling the chair away from the all-but-useless control panel, he ducked down and pulled a section off the bottom of the console.

“What are you doing?” Petros demanded as he wrenched out a whole bunch of wiring.

“Manually disengaging autopilot. Until that’s off-line, we’ve got no hope of doing anything.” He skipped through several wires until he found the one he needed and yanked it clean out of the micro-crystal panel.

A new warning siren joined the dozen others already wailing, and the ship dropped sharply to the right, on the verge of going into an uncontrolled spiral. Zander’s stomach flipped up into his chest, and he grabbed hold of the chair’s armrest.

Petros pulled the physical flight control from out of its recess and jerked them to the left to counteract the ship’s listing. The angle of their hard decent lessened, but they were still going down on a bad, barely-in-control trajectory. Her face twisted into a grimace as she fought for control of the vessel, yet the shuttle hardly responded. They were beyond hope. There was only one way this crisis was going to end.

He tightened his harness and glanced over his shoulder to where his three crew were holding onto their seats in much the same way he had been. “We’re going down and it’s not going to be a soft landing. Brace for impact.”

Find it....