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Saturday Snippet: Devil’s Bargain

Happy Fourth Anniversary to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of ten to fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

Hi! I’m back! It’s nice to be back for Saturday Snippets after all the busy writing on BARRON’S LAST STAND. I’m also working on a collection of short stories about Bo’s solo adventures after HERO’S END titled BARRON: A New Hero Rises. Today I give you a second look at one of those short adventures: DEVIL’S BARGAIN.

In the previous post, Bo And The Pirates, we met Gray, a thoroughly vile crime boss with whom Bo develops a complex relationship which carries through to BARRON’S LAST STAND. Gray has a cargo and personnel that he wants Bo to transport for him. The problem is, He just offered her a laughable amount to do the job.

***

 

“You’re a liability, Barron,” he struggled to keep his voice to a hoarse whisper. “You top the Commonwealth’s most wanted list. I know you’re sucked dry of funds which is why you won’t meet groundside. I come to you with a good offer and you’re quibbling over price?”

Unperturbed, Bo lifted the glass to her lips and finished off her drink. The Gallis Rye burned its way down her throat and touched off a cozy bonfire in her chest. Setting the glass on the table with a solid clunk, she dropped her feet from the table. Her lips twisted in a small smile.

“You’re right,” she said. “I’ve got a price on my head that would make it worth my while to turn myself in.”

She leaned forward, bracing her forearm on the table. Her other hand dipped to cover the butt of the antique blaster strapped to her right thigh.

“There are plenty of other pilots and ships out there who can fly this job for you,” she went on. “If you’re coming to me, either you’re setting me up to collect on the reward, or you have a job that requires Barron Clan skills and I’m not just a Barron, I am THE Barron. Either way, I’m worth a hell of a lot more than sixty thousand.”

***

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble or you can follow the links to the right over there.

The first short story of the upcoming collection, THE OSTRA CHILD, was offered as a free download for Mother’s Day. Follow the highlighted title which links to the post that will tell you all about it and how to download.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

Where Can I Download Sovran’s Pawn For Free?

I had an eye-opening experience last night. I found a discussion thread in which someone was trying to find out how to download my books for free. On one hand, I’m delighted that people want to read them. On the other, I feel as though I’ve just had my purse stolen.

I was conversing with an acquaintance the other day and she was bragging about how she’d illegally downloaded “thousands” of MP3 files. She couldn’t understand why I was aghast. Her rationale was that she couldn’t afford to download so many if she hadn’t found pirated sites. I couldn’t believe she couldn’t understand that she’d stolen from someone else.

You see, every book of mine that someone illegally downloads is a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread that is taken out of my kitchen. When my children stand at the checkout line and ask for a candy bar, it’s the difference between yes and no.

It doesn’t seem like much to the person who stole the book. THEY got a free book. It’s the world to my kids.

Put another way, how would you feel if you worked twelve or more hours a day for six months to a year for no pay and at the end when your check was due to come in, someone decided to help themselves to your wages. That is what piracy is, whether it’s MP3 files, book downloads, or the latest movies. The creative people who make the music, books, and films that others enjoy are entitled to just compensation for their labors.

I am not wealthy. I get no huge advance. My royalties would have to increase mightily to be considered modest. I can’t afford to absorb the losses incurred by book piracy and free downloads.

Please, if you feel you have to steal my book to read it, I’d rather not have you for a fan. I can’t afford you.

The Ostra Child

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It’s taken some creative doing, but to thank you for your patience, I am offering THE OSTRA CHILD as a free download in epub and Kindle formats. All you have to do is follow the link for your format (highlighted in blue) and it will take you directly to your download link. From there, you can transfer your copy of the short story to your reader.

***

It’s one thing to be The Commonwealth’s Most Wanted. It’s something else entirely to be The Commonwealth’s Most Wanted *and* a new mother. When Bo Barron is faced with motherhood as a wanted woman with a price on her head, there is really only one choice she can make to insure the safety of her child, and only one man she can turn to for help.

***

The Ostra Child is the first of a series of short stories chronicling Bo Barron’s life after HERO’S END which will appear in the upcoming short story collection – Barron: A New Hero Rises.

Enhanced Interrogation

BLS Mockup4cHard at work on BARRON’S LAST STAND again and the scenes are better than ever! Here’s a little snippet to tease you!

When you order your husband out of your life at blaster point, it may cause some awkwardness the next time you two run into each other.

***

“Cuff yourself to the rail,” she said sharply.

Blade made no move to obey. “Why?”

“I want answers and I don’t want you running away again.”

He laughed. “We’re on a ship in hyperspace, Bo,” he said. “Where am I going to go?”

“Nowhere if you put those on.”

He glanced at the binders in his hand, unaffected by her attempt to regain control. “Are you sure you want me to put these on?”

“I’m sure.” Something in his tone set off her warning bells. “Why?”

He chuckled and gamely fastened one end to the rail behind his head and the other to his wrist. “Because these things are older than you are.”

“So are you,” she snapped. “No tricks, Devon. I’m not in a playing mood so no games.”

“No games,” he assured her. “Now if you want my cooperation, you’ll put that blaster over there before you accidentally shoot something.” He nodded towards the bunk across from him. “Honestly, Barron,” he tsked. “I’ve never seen your hand shake so badly while holding a weapon. If I didn’t know you better, I’d swear you were nervous about something.”

Saturday Snippet: Taking Out The Trash

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Just in time for Christmas, snippets of ten to fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading…and yes, it is snowing on my page.

This little snippet comes from BARRON’S LAST STAND. Bo and Blade are back in action and taking on a hit team.

***

BLS Mockup4cBo snatched the com-set from around his ear and spun, kicking Kres hard in the chest. He stumbled backwards, his arms windmilling wildly as he struggled to regain his balance. Unfortunately for him, he ran out of roof first. The back of his legs hit the low wall, giving gravity the win in this contest. With a screech, he flipped backwards over the railing and plunged headlong towards the sidewalk below.

Resisting the urge to race to the edge and make sure he was dead, Bo contented herself with the sickening thunk of flesh against pavement as confirmation that the trash was effectively taken out.

Wasting no time, she dove for the rifle on its tripod and settled into position. Closing one eye, she peered through the scope. Her stomach twisted. Crosshairs settled over a slim little boy with dark hair and a happy grin. Bo tapped her com implant.

“Barron to Devon.”

“Yeah, Bo?”

“The roof is secure.”

“Understood.”

***

10833692_10152898735596489_1030819852_nThat’s the last snippet for me this year. Merry Christmas to you, and wishing you a Happy New Year, too. Thank you for making 2014 a great year. Look for my new short story collection of Bo’s adventures BARRON: A NEW HERO RISES coming soon.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

In case you missed them, here are some other SFFS snippets from BARRON’S LAST STAND

No Such Thing As A Free Ride
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part II
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part III
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part IV
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part V
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part VI
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part VII
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part VIII
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part IX
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part X

Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part One
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Two
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Three
Portrait of a Crime Lord — Part Four
Stowaway
Stowaway Part Two
Stowaway Part Three

The Blurb Is Here For Barron’s Last Stand!

BLS Mockup4cCONVICTED of terrorism and treason

HUNTED by the very Sovran she is sworn to serve

BETRAYED by the man she trusted to rule in her absence

FORSAKEN by the man she loved

FRAMED for an assassination attempt on the only man with the power to restore her to her rightful place, time is running out for BO BARRON. A power mad Sovran’s bid to take over the United Galactic Commonwealth pushes the seven allied sectors to the brink of civil war. Only the brave young Barron and the enigmatic Blade Devon stand in their way.

Can Bo look past all the lies and secrets that poisoned her love for Blade and trust him to be the hero he was meant to be? Or is his timely return nothing more than another attempt to secure the balance of power in this interstellar game of politics?

One way or another, Bo is coming out of exile and taking back her rightful place as Commanding General of The Black Wing — even if it means she’s making BARRON’S LAST STAND.

 

The Results Are In!! Barron’s Last Stand Has A Cover!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the cover poll to determine which of the two images was to be the cover of BARRON’S LAST STAND. An overwhelming 88% of you preferred this cover…
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BLS MockupB2Not to worry…fans of the cover with Bo’s solo image on it will be pleased to learn that cover will appear on a collection of short stories covering Bo’s adventures during the five years of her life following HERO’S END and leading up to BARRON’S LAST STAND.

The book will include the much anticipated “The Ostra Child,” as well as “Shakedown,” and “The Marked One.”

The short story collection is scheduled for a December 2014 release, while BARRON’S LAST STAND is due out sometime in early 2015.

 

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Saturday Snippet: Bo and the Pirates

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of ten to fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

Hi! I’m back! It’s nice to be back for Saturday Snippets after all the busy writing on BARRON’S LAST STAND. I’m also working on a few short stories of Bo’s solo adventures that take place between HERO’S END and BARRON’S LAST STAND. Today I give you a first look at a brand new adventure. It’s so new, I don’t have a title for it. But here, for your enjoyment are the first fifteen sentences from this new story. Please keep in mind, it is still a work in progress and hasn’t been edited yet.

***

 

BLS MockupB2“It’s an easy enough proposition, Barron. Just pick up cargo and my representatives and deliver them on schedule. What could be so objectionable about that?”

Bo Barron slowly swirled the amber liquid in her glass as she studied the crime boss across from her.

Objections? She had several.

From the moment he’d settled his rotund form into the chair across from her, she hadn’t liked anything about him. The nasal tenor of his voice held more whine than power.  His gaze slithered over her and he licked his pudgy lips. His brown eyes glittered with lust and he tried a smile that she supposed was intended to be harmless, but came out as a full-blown leer. Though he couldn’t be much older than her own twenty-four standard years, the unruly crop of curly hair on his head had already mounted a retreat. Perspiration glistened through open patches on his scalp. Excited color lit his cheeks and his nostrils flared.

Swallowing her revulsion, Bo’s lips curled in an inviting smile.

“Keep talking, I’ll let you know when I hear something I don’t like.”

***

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble or you can follow the links to the right over there.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

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What Is Your Type?

I love Buzzfeed. They come up with some of the most inane, time-sucking polls and quizzes in existence. I’ve taken many of them. I know where I should live, which 80’s song best describes me, what my romantic style is like, which 80’s action movie hero I am (Indiana Jones), and I even know which Star Wars character I am, (Han Solo.) I know what kind of warrior I am, (Pirate – big surprise there,) and what my personal style is. The one quiz I never needed to take was the one to tell me what kind of man is my “type.”

It started out as a joke with my friend and editor Laurel Kriegler because the question pops up with amazing regularity, “Who is Blade Devon?” I have  addressed the issue here in my blog and in interviews. I’ve fielded questions and taken suggestions on social media. Nobody seems to buy that Blade was originally inspired by Errol Flynn. He must be based on someone else, someone walking around today.

Poppycock.

But I had to look closely at the question. Who is he? Well, I have to say that physically, Blade is my “type.”

I read an article about Francois Brunelle, a photographer who located what he calls “couples” or people who look alike; doppelgangers, if you will. They are strangers with uncanny resemblance to each other and Brunelle photographs them together. Curious about the coincidence, I read a little further on the subject and found a reference to there only being roughly 500 facial “templates” or types. (My apologies, but at the time, I didn’t realize how important that little tidbit would be so I didn’t bother bookmarking the article.) The idea that there are only 500 or so facial types triggered a memory of the “Golden Ratio.”

Malemask_printable - CopyThe Golden Ratio, or Phi, is a mathematical formula for calculating the symmetry of the human face that we link to beauty. Dr. Stephen Marquardt has made quite the study of it and is considered to be the expert on Phi. The idea is that the features of most attractive faces have a higher percentage of alignment with Marquardt’s beauty mask. This made sense to me because when I studied art and drawing many years ago, I studied proportion and the Golden Ratio.

Now where am I going with this?

Well, if there are only 500 or so different facial types, and a certain percentage of those are symmetrical enough to fall into line with the Golden Ratio, then perhaps there is a formula for finding the face of Blade among the faces I consider my “type.” I took several photos of  attractive men and I studied them for similarities to Blade. I divided them into two categories of men generally considered attractive and men who strongly appeal to me personally. I limited my search to men with the basic bone structure I attributed to Blade:  high cheekbones, long, lean jawline, barest hint of a cleft in his chin, devilish smile… Okay the lopsided, devilish smile isn’t exactly bone structure, but it helps to narrow the choices, especially when it comes to choosing between twins, and I also limited my pictures to those taken of men when they were between the ages of 25 and 35, or thereabouts.

I found an interesting collection of men who do fall into that category. Here are a few whose handsome faces have made an impression on me, one way or another –

 

100blade - CopyAnd it was while going through these pictures, looking for some clue about Blade that I found something I wasn’t expecting, and I found it in the person of a young Sean Bean. Yep. That’s a tattoo and it says “100% Blade.” Interestingly enough, he got that tattoo when his favorite football team won a championship. It has nothing to do with me and is a happy coincidence. You believe me, right? The grin on his face tells a different story, but ignore it…if you can.

Many years ago my husband, who is a history teacher, got hooked on a television show starring a young Sean Bean called “Sharpe’s Rifles.”  I must admit, I also enjoyed the show…and once commented that if my characters ever needed to be cast in a movie, “that guy” would make a great Blade.

I suppose it was with that in the back of my head that I went searching through stock photos, looking for a model who could stand in for Blade. I had my criteria. I knew my “type.” I was looking for a “Sean Bean  type.” I was looking for “that guy.”

game-of-thrones-season-4

Quite by accident, I stumbled across a very talented photographer named Andrey Kiselev who had recreated an image reminiscent of the iconic Game of Thrones poster (the one featuring a pensive and weary Sean Bean.) I dismissed the picture because armored guy with a sword wasn’t exactly the look I was going for. But something about the picture drew me back for another look.

 

Conqueror
© Photographer: Andrey Kiselev | Agency: Dreamstime.com

The model definitely had a Sean Bean look to him, rugged, handsome, a little dangerous with a glint in his eye. I just knew he’d have a lopsided grin. So I took a closer look at the photographer’s work and, sure enough, in other photos of him, he had that crooked smile I can’t resist.

 Brutal style
© Photographer: Andrey Kiselev | Agency: Dreamstime.com

But I didn’t want a smiling Blade on the cover of my book. I wanted a man with a concerned look, a man who looked ready for action. I was looking for a man who was like a tightly wound spring, all potential energy just waiting for his moment to act. That’s when I found “that guy.”

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I have no idea what his name is. I’ve seen him on only one other cover, in the guise of the ancient warrior with a sword and a battle weary look. But he has the bone structure, the lopsided smile, and as I’ve seen in other pictures, a wealth of charm and charisma, and a certain warmth. For my purposes, this guy is the public face of Blade…and definitely my type.

Yes, I have a type. Like I said, I limited my search to pictures of men between the ages of 25 and 35 (though the model I chose appears to be a bit older,) I stumbled across an old picture of Sean Bean that I wasn’t expecting.

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Sean Bean and his daughter

When I saw it, it drove home to me just how ingrained “my type” is. I had to do a double take because at first, I mistook him for someone else. Someone who is most definitely more my type than anyone else.

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My husband Dale and our daughter

I showed these pictures to my husband and after being taken aback, Dale threw back his head and busted out laughing.

Yes, he agrees. I have a type.