Saturday Snippet: Hero’s End – The Beginning Part 2

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

And we’re picking up where we left off last week with the opening lines of HERO’S END. Last week, Larianne Varo was running late for an appointment on Chiron Station.

***

Damn the Artelian freighter that had to bump the docking ring just as her transport was coming in! No one had been able to disembark from either vessel until the airlock seals and hull integrity could be certified safe. Damn bureaucracy! Nothing to be done about that now. She’d just have to deal with the censure when she got to the pleasure suite.

You could rent a pleasure suite on a space station by the hour and rest assured no one would eavesdrop, either electronically or otherwise. Sure, there were some that specialized in such, but Scarlett’s on Chiron Station wasn’t one of them. If it were, it would lose its license. The owners of Scarlett’s prided themselves on their discretion. That was one reason it was so popular with the swells.

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by. Please take the time to visit the other wonderful authors taking part in Science Fiction/Fantasy Saturday!

Saturday Snippet: Hero’s End – The Beginning

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

Just because…here are the opening lines of HERO’S END.

***

Larianne Varo strode briskly down the wide promenade on the spacer’s level. Ignoring the admiring looks and lewd propositions thrown her way, she slipped through the crowd, careful not to touch anyone as she passed. Taller than most females, her height gave her an advantage in a crowd. A quick head turn and her chin-length black hair brushed her jaw. Still no sign of anyone following her. Her pace slowed as the battered flashing sign advertising Scarlett’s Pleasure Suites came into view just over the heads of the crowd. She glanced down at the chrono on her wrist.

Early is on time. On time is late. She was very late.

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by. Please take the time to visit the other wonderful authors taking part in Science Fiction/Fantasy Saturday!

 

Feminism, Initials, JK Rowling, and Me

533642_552932778076373_588861722_nA writer friend posted this picture on Facebook this morning and invited my comment. You really don’t do that unless you mean it. I don’t like to get political and I don’t really like the term “feminism.” I’ve always joked that women who seek to be equal to men are underachievers.

The fact of the matter is that I strongly believe that each gender has its strengths and both male and female should support and encourage each other. The traditionally “male” role complements the traditionally “female” role and one is neither superior nor inferior to the other. I also believe that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to and my gender has less to do with it than my determination and skill.

I believe that the term “feminism” is insulting to me. It implies that women cannot gain true equality to men without the help of enlightened men making adjustments and setting the bar lower so we poor, weak creatures can reach it. That’s not equality. It’s condescension.

Growing up in a home with three brothers and eight male cousins, there was very little doll-playing going on. When playing with my brothers, I crawled on my belly taking the beaches of Normandy with my stick rifle across my forearms along with everyone else. The taunt of “You can’t because you’re a girl” always resulted in “Watch me!” followed by my doing just what their friends said I couldn’t.

Of course my accomplishments were declared a fluke and I was shoved aside and told to go play with dolls while they went off to do “important” boy things.

My mother once told me that boys didn’t like when girls beat them, so I needed to let the boys win.

Screw that!

No power in the verseWhy should I hide who I am or pretend to be less than I am to make someone else feel better about themselves? By the same token, why should I expect someone else to lower the bar so I can reach it. If I want it badly enough, ‘no power in the ‘verse can stop me’ regardless of how high it sits.

I’ve been called a “femi-nazi” an “Amazon” and several obscenities that my brothers would have decked them for using. I knew going in what I was in-for by working in a male-dominated industry. Some men are intimidated by women and feel the need to denigrate them just to make themselves feel better.

Buffy_CheerleaderI’ve got news for you, some women are intimidated by strong women who don’t fit into the typical cheerleader mold and feel the need to denigrate them just to make themselves feel better, too.

I don’t feel that’s an issue that falls under feminism. That’s an issue that falls under some-people-who-have-a-sense-of-power-over-others-fear-those-who-will-not-fall-in-line-with-their-world-view. That’s not being a feminist. That’s being a free-thinking, intelligent human being. If there is an obstacle in the way of my goals, I will overcome it on my own, thanks. I don’t need a group of condescending men and women in power legislating it away for me.

Whether we like it or not, prejudice against women writers is alive and well. I see it with SF more so than with Fantasy, mostly because I’m most active in that genre. The stereotype of the SF fan being primarily male, between the ages of 13 and 30, socially awkward, living in his parents’ basement is still strong, but oh-so-outdated.

Recent scandals of sexual bias and harassment have rocked the SFWA. Women in the genre are marginalized and often vilified. Unless one is writing SF Erotica or SFR, having a feminine name on the cover does reduce sales.

When it first came out in my town that I’m a novelist, the local editor/owner for the free newspaper asked if I wrote about “trips to the grocery store.”

upwords-board-730x485Rather than start beating my chest and crying over the unfairness of it, I considered the source. He’s a condescending blowhard with few friends in town who is still angry over the fact that I beat him like a red-headed step child the one and only time he challenged me to a game of “Upwords.” I tried to warn him that I play cutthroat Scrabble and tend to make my opponents cry, but he just had to challenge me.

In case you’re wondering, I looked at him in disgust, told him to stop being an ass and said I was writing a SF series filled with political intrigue following a military officer wanted for treason while she tries to find her kidnapped father, clear her name, and prevent an assassination plot that will plunge the galaxy into civil war. I doubted she had much time for grocery shopping.

Women and girls are less likely to care about the gender of the author. Men and boys have preconceived ideas of what women write. It may not be right, but the fact remains that it *IS*.

We can stubbornly stick our given names on the covers of our books and whine about pathetic sales and wonder why men don’t buy them. We can also suffer the ridicule of males threatened by intelligent women while we’re tilting windmills over it.

ChewieMen in power are like wookiees, they don’t like to lose and tend to get upset and pull people’s arms out of their sockets. Let’s face it, it’s not about prejudice as much as it is about a group of people in power over an industry who are loathe to relinquish said power.

For now, that is the nature of the industry. Ideas do not change overnight. In the decades that I’ve been writing, I’ve seen many, many changes within society and within the industry. When I first began, the strong, kick butt heroine was anathema and completely unheard of. She was the kiss of death for a manuscript.

Xena Thanks to Xena, Buffy, and Charmed, or rather Sam Raimi, Joss Whedon, and Aaron Spelling, the female action hero is no longer a thing of the past, although I doubt without the male of the species putting his weight behind the notion, women writing and producing these characters would ever have gotten past the elevator pitch. Right or wrong, it’s the nature of the industry.charmed_season_1_promo-2

Feminist? Perhaps. Capitalistic? Certainly. I’d be willing to bet that these men who produced these cutting edge women saw the potential fan-base for strong female characters in the rising numbers of young men of the 90’s having grown up in single parent households and tended to view their mother as provider and protector.

I’m jaded enough to attribute their choices to dollar signs rather than any sense of social justice or feminist responsibility.

The gatekeepers of the industry can’t argue with sales. While the traditional SF/F publishers are less inclined to give shelf space to women writing in the genre, it *is* a business and sales are the bottom line. When the sales of female authors match or outstrip the male of the species, you’ll see change. To first get those sales at this point in time, one must play the game.

For the time being, women using initials or a male pseudonym in order to be taken seriously in a male-dominated genre is simply the way things are done. In time, with networking, the rise of self and indie publishers more inclined to take a chance on women writers, that will change.

Our daughters and granddaughters will thank our initialed nom de plumes for paving the way for them to use their own names on their own SF/F covers.

Saturday Snippet: Fantabulous Night For A Moondance

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

It’s great to be back after several weeks away. At long last HERO’S END is finally finished and waiting on the deft hands of my editor Laurel Kriegler to beat it into submission. Since I’ve been on vacation and still basking in the post holiday glow as well as the novel completion high, I thought I’d change things up a little this week with a trip to Kah Lahtrec, that exotic paradise Blade likes to call home. This time, Bo is the one in need of a safe place to recuperate from injury, so Blade takes her to his sanctuary. His friends are so pleased to meet her that they throw a little party for them.

Best-top-desktop-romantic-wallpapers-hd-wallpaper-romantic-pictures-2

***

The warm, night breeze gently swept across the wide terrace overlooking the gardens. Lights flickered in the trees and hovered in the air over the crowd like so many starbugs. Lush, beautiful flowers, their colors surprisingly vivid in the dim light, spilled over onto the cream-colored stones of the terrace, filling the air with exquisite fragrance. Tables, draped in richly colored and elegantly textured fabrics ringed the area, around the dance floor. The treasures of the Lahtrecki people dominated the décor and delighted the guests, the prominent, the wise, and the influential of Kah Lahtrec. Live musicians played lighthearted, airy tunes as optimistic and energetic as the people who listened and danced.

Despite her initial misgivings, Bo was thoroughly enjoying herself.  With a sigh of contentment, she snuggled deeper into Blade’s chest as they swayed together in time with the music.

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by. Please take the time to visit the other wonderful authors taking part in Science Fiction/Fantasy Saturday!

Saturday Snippet: S.O.L.

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

Last week we met Inner Circle agent Ian Kendall who was called in to investigate the hovercycle accident that put Blade on a med ship orbiting a backwater planet. Kendall has given orders that Bo (in her guise as Marissa, Blade’s Joy Babe Companion) cannot visit Blade. When Bo sought him out to confront him on it, he was waiting for her and has led her into an exam room where he sealed the door shut.

***

She lifted her eyebrow expectantly. When he didn’t reply, she took a few tentative steps around the table, but halted when he didn’t move.

Bo glanced towards the sealed door. Her chances of getting through it before he caught her were nil. On her person, she had two compact throwing knives, one stinger and a pair of stiletto heels she could use as a weapon in a pinch. He outweighed her by a factor of two, was likely armed to the teeth and probably ate sparring partners for breakfast. The direct approach wouldn’t get her anywhere. That only left her wits.

She was screwed.

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by. Please take the time to visit the other wonderful authors taking part in Science Fiction/Fantasy Saturday!

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!!

***

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/

Saturday Snippet: Accused

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

Last week we met Inner Circle agent Ian Kendall who was called in to investigate the hovercycle accident that put Blade on a med ship orbiting a backwater planet. Kendall has given orders that Bo (in her guise as Marissa, Blade’s Joy Babe Companion) cannot visit Blade. When Bo sought him out to confront him on it, he was waiting for her and has led her into an exam room where he sealed the door shut.

***

The air crackled between them with unspoken tension. There was more to it. He was only waiting for her to respond, to make a mistake, before he went for the kill. The two of them stared at each other patiently waiting. It was like trying to navigate a plasma storm with a damaged sensor array. One miscalculation and she’d fry.

Bo trailed her fingertips along the edge of the exam table. “You think I had something to do with it.”

He nodded. “The thought occurred to me.”

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by. Please take the time to visit the other wonderful authors taking part in Science Fiction/Fantasy Saturday!

Saturday Snippet: Sabotage

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

Last week we met Inner Circle agent Ian Kendall who was called in to investigate the hovercycle accident that put Blade on a med ship orbiting a backwater planet. Kendall has given orders that Bo (in her guise as Marissa, Blade’s Joy Babe Companion) cannot visit Blade. When Bo sought him out to confront him on it, he was waiting for her and has led her into an exam room where he sealed the door shut.

***

Shrugging off Kendall’s attempted mind game, she circled the small room, placing the exam table between them. It wouldn’t exactly stop him from lunging for her, but it would certainly slow him down a little.

Incremental victories – she’d take them where she could get them.

“What’s this about, Agent Kendall?”

“I’ve had a team going over the crash site,” he said, slowly stalking her. “Devon’s hovercycle was sabotaged.”

Bo misstepped, her ankle wobbled on her high heeled shoe.

He opened with a direct hit. She had to give him points for that.

“Sabotaged?”

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by. Please take the time to visit the other wonderful authors taking part in Science Fiction/Fantasy Saturday!

Saturday Snippet: Cornered

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

Last week we met Inner Circle agent Ian Kendall who was called in to investigate the hovercycle accident that put Blade on a med ship orbiting a backwater planet. Kendall has given orders that Bo (in her guise as Marissa, Blade’s Joy Babe Companion) cannot visit Blade. When Bo sought him out to confront him on it, he was waiting for her and has led her into an exam room where he sealed the door shut.

***

His lips curved into a smile that didn’t reach his dark eyes. He studied her with an unblinking, soulless stare. It sent a chill down her spine. She’d seen the same predatory look on Blade’s face plenty, but it had never been aimed at her.

Her brow furrowed. She felt like a glumrat, just waiting for the felidaen to strike. She didn’t care for it. Her uncle Royce’s words echoed in her ear.

“Whenever you find yourself cornered, keep your head, show no fear, and don’t get defensive. A cool head will let you find your way out of any situation.”

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by. Please take the time to visit the other wonderful authors taking part in Science Fiction/Fantasy Saturday!

Saturday Snippet: I’ve Been Expecting You

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

Yeah, I was getting bored with the game with the drink.  I found another scene I wanted to share. This one goes back to the inciting incident in HERO’S END. An Inner Circle Agent named Kendall is investigating  Blade’s near-fatal hovercycle accident. Aboard the medical ship, Kendall has issued orders preventing Bo (in her alias as his Joy Babe) from seeing him. An angry Bo goes looking for the high-handed agent to give him a piece of her mind and to get to the bottom of the situation. She suspects there is more to this than simple prejudice against women in the comfort trade.

***

He lay in wait for her outside of recovery. He bared his teeth by way of a greeting.

“I’ve been expecting you,” he said, uncoiling from his chair. “Come with me.”

Her every sense on sudden alert, Bo glanced towards Blade’s door. No help from that quarter – not this time. She followed the agent into an empty treatment room. The door hissed shut behind them. He pulled a scrambler from his pocket and pointed it at the door.

“That should take care of any interruptions,” he said.

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by. Please take the time to visit the other wonderful authors taking part in Science Fiction/Fantasy Saturday!