The Force Is Strong With Me

In 1999, on the eve of the release of THE PHANTOM MENACE, I consented to an interview with my hometown newspaper, the Tampa Tribune. A few weeks ago, I was tracked down by a stringer for my former paper about doing a follow-up to the previous article. It was a where are they now kind of thing. So again, on the eve of the release of THE FORCE AWAKENS, my hometown paper wanted to know about my relationship with the STAR WARS universe, and whether or not our love had stood the test of time. You can find the full article on TBO.Com. I really recommend you not miss the sixteen year-old pic of me surrounded by my STAR WARS stuff.

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Max Fragg V.P.I.

Tucked between the shadows and the night, standing in a darkened corner of the room, Maxx Fragg watched the young couple huddled on the couch. They had no idea what he had in store for them. He almost felt sorry. Almost. He watched as Travis stroked Debbie’s hand and whispered something in her ear. Maxx locked eyes with her as he moved across the apartment. He saw the desperation mixed with fear in her eyes and he grinned. He liked it that way. Pulling a pair of gloves from his belt, Maxx cinched them tight around his wrists. The rush of adrenaline rose up from his chest. This was far from his first job but he still got a thrill each time. He clicked off the lamp and the room went black.

Debbie gasped. “Can’t we leave a few lights on?”

“I prefer to work in the dark. It helps me concentrate,” Maxx said. It really didn’t matter but he felt it intensified the experience.

“I think I’d rather see what’s coming.” Travis pulled a cushion on his lap, clutching the fabric.

“Why? You expecting a pillow fight?” Maxx dropped the equipment bag slung over his shoulder.

Debbie jumped. “What are you going to do with that?”

“What I’m being paid to do. My job.” Maxx nodded across the room to his partner, who shook his head in disapproval. Bending next to the couch, Maxx slowly unzipped the bag. He was close enough to see the goose bumps on Debbie’s arm rise with each click.

“I don’t care what it takes. Just get that thing out of my house,” Travis said.

“Don’t worry. You’ll be ghost free in no time.” Maxx knew his clients needed to believe he could make it better, take away their fears. If only it was that simple. Everyone wanted to name the night, put a label on their personal horrors. He wished someone could shut the door to the monsters in his own closet.

pasted image 0 (1)Maxx Fragg, V.P.I.
S.A. Check
Genre: Young Adult / Sci-fi / Paranormal
Release Date:09/03/15
Publisher Ink Smith Publishing

Cover Designer: Macy Stom

When Maxx lost his brother in a car accident, his world fell apart.  It didn’t help he was driving the car when it happened.  Finding an escape inside the virtual world of Other Syde, Maxx runs the Maxx Fragg Virtual Paranormal Investigative Agency with his best friend, Tane. But in a world where dreams become reality, can nightmares be far behind?
When a real ghost attacks Maxx inside the program, he’s saved by the last person he ever expected to see again, his brother. Risking everything for a chance to say he’s sorry, Maxx, Tane, and Maxx’s almost-girlfriend Emi, need to figure out why real ghosts are haunting a virtual world while on the run from a murderous cyber-geist, high-tech security guards, a corrupt corporation with their own plans for the technology, the recluse genius who created the program, and Maxx’s own demons.
About the Author

 

From Jay To Jedi – Making The Tunic

The more I get to know my fellow SF writers, the more I realize we have in common. Like me, a goodly number of them also enjoy needle craft, be it sewing, knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, quilting or fancy work. It’s hard to sew and write at the same time, and when I’m deep in the throes of book construction, my needlework suffers. I was delighted to follow my friend Pippa Jay’s progress in making her own Jedi tunic as she shared photos and agonized over the process. If I couldn’t spare the energy to sew my own projects, I could vicariously enjoy hers.

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In honor of National Sewing Month, I asked Pippa if she’d share her project here. She graciously agreed.

***

From Jay to Jedi – Making the tunic

After seeing Star Wars: A New Hope on TV at the age of eight (and developing a huge crush on Luke Skywalker too), I wanted to be a Jedi. I mean really, really wanted to be one. I would stare at things in my bedroom trying to persuade them to move, and be bitterly disappointed when they didn’t. And the whole ‘Do or do not, there is no try’ from The Empire Strikes Back convinced me it was never going to happen.

Thirty something years on, and I’m trying to be a Jedi again. Oh, not the making-things-move-with-my-mind stuff, but with the outfit. I’m off to Worldcon next year (LonCon 3, yahooo!). I *could* go as one of my characters, but since Quin would pretty much wear what I would (or should that be I would wear anything that she would?!), and no one is going to know who that is anyway, I thought no. This time I’m going to be a Jedi like my…no, wait, I’m just going to be the Jedi I wanted to be. Since I’m not going as a specific character but just aiming for the general look, I’m not going for 100% accuracy on the details so please don’t Force choke me for it!

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So, I started with a bought pattern (Simplicity 5840) and a bundle of cheap fabric from my local charity shop (a pale sandy colour and a more mid brown/tan). The pattern came from ebay, and there are still some available on there if you want to get yourself one.

Now, I’m no expert at sewing or at following patterns – I’m self taught and don’t know what a lot of the technical terms mean. I can usually figure things out though. The pattern for the tunic (image bottom right of the pattern) comes in unisex and multiple sizes – Extra Small to Extra Large. So I dutifully measured my chest/bust size and came out in the gap between Medium to Large.

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Knowing how these patterns tend to be on the generous size (BTW, because this is a multiple size pattern, there’s no hem allowance included unless stated, and I didn’t find that out until AFTER I cut it. Luckily for me, the sizing is VERY generous and missing the hem allowance didn’t do any harm overall) I went for Medium. The pattern suggested lightweight linens or silky type fabrics, so I went for the lighter of the two I had – it looks and feels like chamois leather on the outside, but is kind of satiny on the inner side, and light with a slight bit of stretch to it. No idea what the fabric actually is. Then the wonderful job of pinning on the pattern and cutting it out.

Then stitching the sides and shoulders of the main body, and attaching the sleeves.

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I then found that the pattern has a definite bias toward a male figure ie considerably more broad-shouldered than me. The pattern has tips for shortening and adjusting it, so I took up the shoulders and added a more tailored curve to the sides of the tunic so that it fitted better – otherwise it was hanging too far off my shoulders and the ends of the sleeves were swamping my hands. On reflection I might have been better aiming for the Small. That’s what I get for being 5ft 3. 😛

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Next was sewing up all the seams, including leaving small slits up the sides and generally tidying up the ends. After that comes the edging for the collar and cross-over opening of the tunic. This required four long strips of material wrapped around heavyweight interfacing (I didn’t know what that was until hubs went into a craft shop and asked – it’s stiff fabric that does things like make collars stand up straight or gives a more solid structure to your fabric). The brown fabric had to be stitched around this and then attached to the edges of the tunic to give the band that goes around the neck and along the cross-over flaps.

Finally, the pattern has a belt with it. Again, this requires stitching fabric around a broad piece of interfacing and adding ties.

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I think the belt is a bit too wide for me (the short factor again) so I may make a thinner one than the pattern suggested. I’m also looking at a replica Anakin belt, simply because I want something to hang my lightsaber from, and I’m not quite sure how to attach one to this fabric version. However, I’d wear this version under the leather belt anyway, since a lot of the costumes from the film do so. But this is the complete tunic for now.

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As I’ll be wearing this in August, I’m currently thinking that with the length of this on me I can probably wear tights or leggings with the knee high boots I have simply to keep cool, but I’ll be working on the Jedi robe to go over the top next. Oh, you thought I’d model this for you? Nah. When I have the whole outfit ready to go, THEN I’ll subject you to the full body shot. 😛

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In the meantime, in the spirit of National Sewing Month, I have a little contest for you. It’s been suggested that I should have a Jedi name to go with my outfit. So, I’m including a poll for you to vote on with some Jedi names (using a random name generator) and a few suggested names from Twitter, but you can also add your own suggestions. And I’m going to do a giveaway. I’ll send one Jedi patch (see picture) to the person who either makes the suggestion I like the best, or tells me which name they voted on in the comments with a clever reason why I should use it. Have fun!


Vote for my Jedi name!

Bio:

A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 20 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the SFR Brigade, a community of science fiction romance authors and publishing professionals committed to writing and promoting the very best in the genre.

Website – http://www.pippajay.co.uk

Blogs – http://www.pippajay.blogspot.co.uk

http://www.spacefreighters.blogspot.com

http://www.romancingthegenres.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/pippajaygreen

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5054558.Pippa_Jay

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Pippa-Jay-Adventures-in-Scifi/114058821953752

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/101080630877126516448/posts

SFR Brigade – http://www.sfrcontests.blogspot.co.uk/

Tales From The SFR Brigade

Last fall, I took part in a discussion about how to raise the visibility of The Science Fiction Romance Brigade. The answer seemed obvious to me – a short story anthology, offered for free, featuring the best that the group had to offer.  I tossed out the suggestion to the group. The members thought it was a fine idea. I was busily working on HERO’S END and I knew that whoever they found to head up this antho would have their work cut out for them.  Little did I realize that I was going to be tapped to be the Editor-In-Chief of said project.

Fortunately, Author Paula Diane Dooley came on board to work with authors as the Development Editor, and author Laurie A. Green served as our Editor-At-Large, securing our cover art and keeping the members and authors informed of everything every step of the way.

We worked out our guidelines, and put out the submission call to our members. We had so many wonderful stories to choose from that it was hard settling on these few that finally made up the anthology.

We couldn’t have done this without our wonderful volunteer copy editors, Laurel C. Kriegler (Chief Copy Editor,) Patty Hammond, Cary Caffrey, and Danielle Cassels (my cousin – yeah, I’m guilty of nepotism.)

In the end, this labor of love turned out to be an absolute blast!

Now, it’s available in limited release on Smashwords. You can pick it up for FREE!!

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TFTSFRB_Revise_Title-2Experience love and adventure among the stars in ‘Tales from the SFR Brigade,’ a free digital anthology of eight Science Fiction Romance stories.

• A space captain discovers the cyborg she loves just might be her greatest enemy.
• A mind-wiped prostitute risks all when she recruits a dangerous stranger to help her escape a terrible fate.
• A prisoner-of-war confronts the comrade who loved her, then left her for dead.
• A space-obsessed physics teacher is kidnapped by a far-too-charming alien.
• An apocalypse survivor battles the biomech-enhanced hunter who seeks to capture her.
• A young artist must choose between her comfortable life on Earth or a war-torn space colony with her beloved.
• A daring thief is on the run from the alien law man who is determined to bring her to justice.
• A widowed rebel leader tries to save the last remnants of humanity, one stranger at a time.

From Earth to the furthest reaches of the galaxy, explore the worlds of Science Fiction Romance with stories from Linnea Sinclair, Marcella Burnard, Erica Hayes, Liana Brooks, Pippa Jay, Berinn Rae, Amy Laurens, and Kyndra Hatch.

Download ‘Tales from the SFR Brigade’ for free today.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/329144

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18112540-tales-from-the-sfr-brigade

http://www.sfrbrigadetales.blogspot.com/

Alone In The Crowd ~ Patrick Stutzman

My apologies to Patrick Stutzman. I was supposed to post this a few days ago.

ALONE IN THE CROWD by PATRICK STUTZMAN

Available on 15 June 2013 on Amazon

Cover Art by Tomomi Ink

Alone No More?

Earth has finally sent a colony to the moon where Anna has been stranded, bringing with it hope of rescue. Although some are not quick to trust her, others welcome her with open arms, and she finds an unlikely friendship in a young colonist named Jason.

As Anna teaches the settlers to survive, the looming threat of the aliens’ return casts a dark, foreboding shadow over the colony. Can she earn the colonists’ trust and prepare them in time for first contact?

LINKS
Visit the author’s website at The Worlds of Patrick Stutzman

See what other works are available from the author at Amazon’s Patrick Stutzman page

Visit the cover artist’s website at Tomomi Ink

NEW RELEASE: “To Catch A Marlin” By TK Toppin

Don’t you just love the cover?

I don’t make it a practice to hawk new releases without a review, but I can’t wait to finish writing the review before I tell you the exciting news about TK Toppin’s latest release TO CATCH A MARLIN that hit the stands today.

I was fortunate enough to beta read this book for the author, and even in its rough drafts it captured my imagination in a way that…well, let’s just say I have been counting the minutes until I could order this completed, polished novel for my very own! I really believe this is the author’s best work yet!

It’s a lighthearted adventure with parts that will make you laugh out loud and other parts will keep you turning the pages well into the wee hours of the night. I just bought my copy for my Kindle. I’ll be purchasing the paperback as well. This is one book I want for my permanent library. Keep an eye on this page for the review, hopefully next week. I can guarantee 5 Stars.

Congratulations to TK Toppin on her newest release and best of luck.

***

In the tail end of the 24th Century, Special Inspector Michael Pedroni pursues a beautiful and elusive vigilante, Jax Marlin, in a wild cat and mouse chase that will take him from Earth to the Bacchus Dome and beyond.

Jax Marlin is not your average criminal; she seeks out evil-doers and law-breakers, doling out justice in whatever way she sees fit. But lately, she finds she’s been gift-wrapping criminals specially for her favorite copper.

Four of the world’s leading criminals are determined to form an alliance. Jax is determined to stop them. Hot on her heels, Inspector Pedroni finds himself questioning the difference, if any, between her justice and his. More than that, he wonders why, when he’d had her in his grasp, he was unable to slap on the restraints and bring her in.

Both want the same thing–to stop criminals. But the growing attraction each has toward the other becomes a dangerous hindrance.

***

Pick up your copy of TO CATCH A MARLIN here

Much thanks to Stephen Ormsby for such a great interview! The same week as Ben Bova! I’m in good company!

Stephen C. Ormsby

I met JC through Facebook and quickly we found we had similar senses of humour.  It became quickly apparent to both of us that we both rather dry.  That really means that only she laughwed at my stuff and I laughed at her stuff!

So, on to JC herself.  She writes science fiction with a hint of romance in it.  So far, they have been very succesful.  Currently, she is working on three other books (at once).  I have borrowed this from her blog.

he traces her lifelong infatuation with SF/Adventure to growing up in West Central Florida during NASA’s most exciting years, often watching space launches from her back yard.

JC got her start as a stringer for the Tampa Tribune in 1991.  Since that time, she has been a member of the RWA, TARA, TWA and PINAWOR, and is currently a member of Pennwriters and the Science Fiction…

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