Erotic Sci-fi Winter in Paradise by T. C. Archer

This may be the spooky month, but outside, the ground is covered with snow. We’re expecting between six and ten inches here in New England. Snow in October is rough, but we know it won’t last. Unlike the snow that is falling on Onyx, a planet in a distant galaxy where the Kirsovals, perfect humans who are a result of genetic engineering, have turned the subtropical planet into a ball of ice. If Major Kelly Andres and her lover Major Byron Grayson aren’t successful in diverting the Kirsoval’s attention while Onyx’s military attacks the Kirsoval armada, Onyx will be destroyed. So how does a people who have never seen snow battle an enemy during a perpetual blizzard?

Plush furs, big mittens, and fuzzy boots weren’t what Kelly signed up for when she’d joined the Provisional Army. Wind cut dry and cold though her furs and hood. Staggering against the force of the blast, she saw no tracks—as expected. Thankfully, footprints weren’t needed. She would follow Grayson’s nav-track as far as it lasted. She bent into the wind and trudged forward.
It had taken only thirty minutes to realize he had moved faster than her, likely because she fought the additional wind resistance of her furs. She hoped that was the reason he had worn only his skin-tight enviro-suit. That would mean he hadn’t intended to die out here as she’d first thought, but would activate the disruptor, then return to base before his suit depleted and she awoke.
But he’d miscalculated. At his rate of travel to where his signal dropped off the grid, it was clear he wouldn’t make the round trip. He had obviously come to the same conclusion. Rather that sticking to the valleys, his path had become straighter, over rises and between ice-cliffs. She had turned on her goggles’ heat vision earlier, hoping to meet him on his way back home, but everything—ground, air, and sky—was a uniform cold. If he suffered from hypothermia, he could already have lost his way and be miles off course.
Between gusts, she called his name. She scanned for heat and walked and scanned and shouted. On a planet of five million, only she and Grayson occupied this two-hundred mile square of frozen wasteland in Onyx’s western hemisphere.
Hopelessness settled deeper with every unanswered shout. Several times, she had seen a warm object materialize only to rush forward and find it had been an illusion. Another figure took form up ahead. Kelly trudged forward, expecting to find her imagination had conjured another illusion. The apparition grew. She put the targeting graticule on the form and the temperature readout jumped. The heat was real. She pulled her weapon.
Blurb–
On a planet turned to ice, a warm heart is worth dying for. 
When Major Kelly Andres awakens to find Major Byron Grayson gone from the cave that has been their military base the last five months, she realizes he has disobeyed her orders. He’s gone to activate the quantum disruptor that he hopes will draw enemy fire, enabling the Provisional Army to attack the enemy armada. It’s a suicide mission. And Grayson knows it.


Kelly has no intention of letting Grayson die alone in the frozen wasteland that planet Onyx has become since the war began. She’s determined to find him and bring him back to base, because when they die, she wants him in her bed.

Now Available 

We’re giving away a copy of Winter in Paradise. Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. We choose the winner via a random number generator and will contact the winner via email so be sure to leave your email addy in the comments.
 
WWW.TCARCHER.COM 

Perils of Pauline – Discovering Your Inner Geek

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy…okay, it was Wyoming…but it was a very long time ago. In this somewhat distant past, before the Women’s Movement and bra burning, girls weren’t always encouraged to do well at math and science in my small town. When I go through my mementoes of the past, it is something of a shock to realize I did well in both math and science until I entered high school. Then those grades fell off rather sharply.
I’m not sure if I really sucked at them, or if society decreed that I couldnt do it because I was a girl. I expect its a little of both. I loved to read, so English and history came easier for me. My tastes in fiction have always been diverse, but always leaned toward romance. My taste in movies and TV has always included action and adventure, so science fiction crept in, even when I thought I didn’t do science.
Whether it was nature or nurture that shaped me into a non-geek for many years, I do know I had no plans to wander into science fiction writing. So, when I penned a science fiction romance called The Key, I didn’t consider it science fiction. I honestly thought it was an action adventure romance. (Okay, so maybe my lack of science creds wasn’t totally nurture.)
Then a reviewer wrote this about The Key: “Love Linnea Sinclair? Get a kick out of Susan Grant? Then you’ll want to glom up on releases by Pauline Baird Jones. The Key isn’t so much a sci-fi release as it is a dang good read, and this reviewer is anxious to read more of Baird Jones. Fun and fantastic at the same time, The Key is an intergalactic space adventure that will thrill readers to the very tips of their toes. Heartstrings Reviews
And then it won a Dream Realm award for science fiction. Was the universe out of alignment? Had the non-geek really written a science fiction novel?
After I got done doing a couple of double takes (and quit waiting for someone to out me as a fake geek), I went looking for other science fiction romances and discovered something amazing. I was geek enough to enjoy them. (We are talking about mostly made up science here.)
Since wandering among the science fiction shelves I have discovered that I can enjoy hard science fiction (Alexis Glynn Latner’s Hurricane Moon, which also has a romance, btw) and even military science fiction (Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series, which also has some romance in it and awesome action). What I’ve also discovered is some rocking fun action and high adventure liberally mixed with lots of wonderful romance. If you’re interested in exploring this diverse and smoking cool genre check out this list of 100 suggested SFR and romantic SF titles at The Galaxy Express blog. You might be surprised to find that you have a hidden, inner geek, too, one willing and able to enjoy a little made-up science in their fiction.
Pauline Baird Jones is the award-winning author of eleven novels of science fiction romance, steampunk, action-adventure, suspense, romantic suspense and comedy-mystery. Her latest release is a steampunk/science fiction romance called Steamrolled. You can find out more than you ever wanted to know about her at www.perilouspauline.com

Peril of Pauline – It was a Dark and Steamy Night…

…not fit for man nor beast—but perfect for an automaton. Okay, I guess it might rust, or maybe catch some lightning, but a machine doesn’t have the sense to stay in out of the rain unless the lightning makes it sentient…hmmmm….
And thus a steampunk idea begins to spin inside the brain…
It might sound a bit whacky, but despite a bit of crazy a steampunk novel is much like any other novel. It has a setting (Victorian period anywhere in the world—or out of it), characters (often crazy inventors/mad scientists and always some intrepid gals and guys), and a story (which may or may not include brass goggles, airships, clockwork inventions, and automatons on the rampage) that might have elements of romance, or mystery, some action adventure, a thread of horror, or a mix of some or all of those elements.
Unlike some genres, steampunk is wide open, free flowing, and ready and willing to be almost everything to everyone. It can start in the present and send characters time traveling to the past. It can take place in alternate realities/histories or on other planets. What defines it as steampunk is the presence of steam-based, but anachronistic technology, such as The Difference Engine, cool clockwork stuff or those pesky automatons. At present it also has a Victorian feel, but authors are already pushing its boundaries further into the past, curious to see how advanced technology might have impacted the Old West in the US, Egyptians and Chinese, or possibly deepest, darkest Africa.
Since there is no central, governing authority, steampunk is free to fan out in multiple—and fun—directions. Are you intrigued yet? Cautiously interested? How about a little test to see if you might like yourself some steampunk fun?
1.            Do you have a sense of humor? Feel drawn to the whimsical and the weird?
2.            Prefer horror? Cybernetics? Zombies? Creatures of the night?
3.            Read historical or romance in general?  Romantic suspense? Urban fantasy? Dystopia? Hooked on fantastical creatures? Things that go bump in the night (and sometimes the day)?
4.            What about alternate realities? Science fiction? Fantasy? Action adventure?
5.            Like heroic pirates? Sexy inventors? Airship captains? Detectives? Rebels? Spies?
6.            Corsets? Brass goggles? Whacky inventions? Derringers and parasols as weapons and accessories?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you passed “go” and can head straight for some steampunk fun. Here’s Heather Masey’s basic reading list to get you started:
Traditional steampunk

The Affinity Bridge (George Mann) and its sequel, The Osiris Ritual (a great place to start if you’ve never read steampunk before)
Whitechapel Gods (S.M. Peters)
Mainspring (Jay Lake)
The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Mark Hodder)
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Alan Moore)
The Narrows (Alexander Irvine)
Mortal Engines (Philip Reeve)
You can also read the immensely popular Girl Genius online for free.
Steampunk romance


The Iron Duke (Meljean Brook)

The Miraculous Lady Law (Robert Appleton)
Steamed (Katie MacAlister)


Like Clockwork (Bonnie Dee)

Tangled In Time and Steamrolled, and Steam Time (Pauline Baird Jones)

Clockworks and Corsets (Regina Riley)
Hot and Steamy: Tales of Steampunk Romance (DAW Books anthology)
Full Steam Ahead and Mechanical Rose (Nathalie Gray)
Clockwork Heart (Dru Pagliassotti)

And if you want to try a bit before you dive into a whole novel, check out the Dreamspell Steampunk Anthology. Four short stories by four authors and a great price (2.99). Digital only. 

So, dear readers, have you tried any steampunk? Read or watched anything on this list? Curious or ready to love the new genre? 
Pauline Baird Jones is the award-winning author of eleven novels of science fiction romance, steampunk, action-adventure, suspense, romantic suspense and comedy-mystery. Her latest release is a steampunk/science fiction romance called Steamrolled. You can find out more than you ever wanted to know about her at www.perilouspauline.com

Perils of Pauline – Why Time Travel is a Bad Idea :-)

Breaking news: Chinese Government Bans Time Travel….


… in movies and television shows because, “…many stories are totally made-up …” 

I am glad I don’t reside in China, because I love me my time travel and always have, though the Chinese do have a point. There is huge fictional evidence that time travel is a really bad idea. Look what goes wrong when fictional people time travel?


The Time Machine = Morlocks. Nuff said there. (And if you want to see Sheldon from Big Bang Theory freak out over Morlocks, click here!) 


Time Rider = becomes his own great-grandfather, which is probably better than sleeping with your great-nephew (Kate & Leopold which I personally enjoyed but had to not think about it too much!).


The Terminator – evil cyborg sent back in time to stop you from being born.

Time after Time –inadvertently help Jack the Ripper to escape through time.

Peggy Sue Got Married – get to travel back in time and change nothing. In fact, make the same mistakes you made before so ends up feeling guilty twice.

Timeline – Yeah, let’s go back in time and get our head whacked off by a SWORD. And die before we were ever born. Good plan.


New Star Trek = whole history rewritten. Okay, maybe that wasn’t so bad, because now there is ton of new stories and movies incoming. And wow, Spock. 



Back to the Future = okay, this one ended well for Marty and his family, but Biff has to be a bit bitter.



The Final Countdown = I’m still bitter they didn’t engage. It’s a movie! Why can’t we change history in a movie? (Which might bring us full circle to why China banned it?)



I actually do agree with the Chinese government on one point. Some of it might be true. (How can we claim any geek creds if we don’t believe???) So how come we don’t know if time travel is possible? Because if someone in the future masters it, wouldn’t they pop up in the past? Like now?

I found a book on Amazon that not only explains how to make a machine from commonly obtainable items, but shares actual time travel experiences. No big shock to find this useful book is temporarily out of stock, but if you read the reviews, you get a glimpse into the fun stuff available for those lucky enough to own a copy. According to S.S. Casteel, Amazon Reviewer and fortunate possessor of a rare copy of the book:

The MIB seemed to know where Gibb’s friend was from, the year 1994, and fired a beam of some form of unknown energy at the hapless time traveler, who awakened in his bedroom with a red mark on his leg, similar to the marks left behind after an alien abduction experience.”

For the more serious time travel scholar, Stephen Hawking has weighted in on the subject

And we have a Professor predicting time travel in this century. 

For a fun list of the best and worst time travel movies

So you agree? Disagree? How do you really feel about time travel? Believer or skeptic? Favorite movies or books? Favorite trip into the past or future?

Pauline Baird Jones has not only read many time travel books and viewed numerous time travel movies and shows; she’s written several books that incorporate time travel (though it almost made her head explode—hmm, plot by MIB and the gray aliens to halt time travel fiction?). Pauline is the author of eleven books of a variety of genres, including steampunk/science fiction romance. You can find out more about her and her books at: www.perilouspauline.com


Perils of Pauline – Adventures in Reading and Writing :-)

Last fall, as freezing temperatures swept away our lovely weather, my daughter posted on her Facebook wall that she hadn’t met anyone that day who was familiar with the phrase “Ice Station Zebra.” It’s almost our stock, cold weather phrase and has been for years, so I was surprised, but then I wasn’t.

Ice Station Zebra is a kick-ass novel written by Alastair Maclean (there’s a movie, too, but the book is better). I defy anyone to read it without needing a blanket, even in August. So, for our family, the title has come to represent all things freezing.

The reason many of her friends missed the book is because Maclean published his action adventure novels (and some non-fiction) from 1955 to 1989. He is rather well known in our family because he remains to this day one of my favorite authors, and I have encouraged my kids to at least try to read him at some point in their growing up years.

His books have had, IMHO, a profound impact on my books. The guy knew how to kick the suspense into high gear and keep it there. (If you are curious, you can learn more about him here.) While there are many current-to-this-century authors that I love to read, my daughter’s wall post got me thinking about other authors who have heavily influenced my writing. So that’s what I’d like to write about today—and perhaps in the process you’ll discover some new/old favorite author/s to check out.

A lot of historical authors will cite Georgette Heyer as an influence in their writing. Her books also profoundly influenced me, though not into writing historical fiction. What I learned from this master storyteller was about great characterization (and gentle humor). Her characters leap off the page and stay with you long after you close one of her books.

I discovered Mary Stewart while watching the Disney movie, The Moonspinners. (Huge Haley Mills fan, even now.) When I realized the movie had been adapted from a novel, I headed to the library and fell in love again. Stewart also taught me about ramping up the suspense (though in a less forceful way than Maclean–lol), but from her I also learned about the subtle art of understatement—in both suspense (gore) and romance (sometimes the characters don’t even kiss at the end, but I always sighed with satisfaction)—and about character voice. She wrote mostly in first person, so her characters had to grab you and keep you in the story. It would have been easy for all her characters to sound the same, but they didn’t.

I’ve spent the last few years collecting books (not an easy feat by any means!) by another author who I also must credit for helping me become a better writer. I discovered Elizabeth Cadell when I was reading my way around the library. She wrote a wide variety of books, from light romance to light mystery, to the semi-autobiographical. From her I learned about humor, creating a sense of time and place, and about the importance of secondary characters in building a fictional world. Two of my favorite secondary characters are from her Brimstone in the Garden. Cousin Clarry is a classic feat of character creation and the two minions of the Devil? Well, you need to track this down and read it. That’s all I can say.

If you know anything about me at all, you’ll notice that my early inspirations weren’t science fiction, and yet here I am, in this new century writing science fiction romance—and throwing some steampunk in just for fun.

I will confess to being a bit startled about that, too. But when I go in an examine my own body of work (doesn’t that sound important? LOL), I find that even with my first novel, The Spy Who Kissed Me, I was already trending toward action adventure. In 2006, when Out of Time released, I had admitted to myself that my primary genre was action-adventure, and that’s what I wanted to continue to write. So, when I made the move into outer space with The Key, I didn’t notice that it was science fiction. It took a reviewer to point out the obvious—which made me panic. How could I write science fiction when I did lousy in my science classes? Unless I was writing fiction back then, too? That would explain a lot.

“They” (who are they anyway?) tell us that there is a tipping point where a person becomes a reader or they don’t. I don’t remember that tipping point. It feels like I’ve always been a reader, but the books I’ve shared with you today, kept me reading and propelled me into writing.

Do you have a defining moment, a defining book that sealed you forever as a book lover? As a reader? As a writer? Do tell! Because obviously I love talking books. 😀

To learn more about my books (and steampunk!) visit my website at www.perilouspauline.com
Pauline Baird Jones is the award-winning author of nine novels of science fiction romance, action-adventure, suspense, romantic suspense and comedy-mystery. Her latest release is Steamrolled. She’s written two non-fiction books, Adapting Your Novel for Film and Made-up Mayhem, and she co-wrote  Managing Your Book Writing Business with Jamie Engle. Her seventh novel, Out of Time, an action-adventure romance set in World War II, is an EPPIE 2007 winner. Her eighth novel, The Key won an Independent Book Award Bronze Medal (IPPY) for 2008 and is a 2007 Dream Realm Awards Winner. She also has short stories in several anthologies. Originally from Wyoming, she and her family moved from New Orleans to Texas before Katrina.

Romancing Other Dimensions – Nina Pierce

I’m not a fickle woman. Really. I choose a color scheme for a room, go with it and I’m settled in for a good ten or fifteen years. It’s not until the rug is thread bare and the curtains faded from sun that I finally break down and choose comething new. Heck, I still have a skirt I wore in high school (because it’s a wrap around … ‘nuf said).

So it was kind of a surprise for me when I started writing that I bounced all over the genre spectrum. I mean, not completely. My books can all be classified as erotic romance. And many of them have some kind of suspense element. But the truth is, they bounce from contemporary to paranormal to futuristic. I guess my writing is eclectic as my reading tastes.

You’re as likely to find an historical starring Dukes and mansions on my nightstand as a paranormal book featuring vampires or werewolves. Some times I just want to read a good murder mystery. But nothing gets my neurons firing like a good science fiction story.

You see, I grew up on the original Star Trek. I could name an episode after watching only a 10 or 20 second clip. Seriously. Total Trekkie here. So I guess it was no surprise when I woke up one morning with the need to write a love story set in deep space. Yep, it’s complete with alien villains and some very hawt heroes.

So … how do you like your romance? Set in the west? Modern day? Complete with demons and vampires? Or taking place out in deep space? Curious authors want to know!

A TOUCH OF LILLY is available from Ellora’s Cave and was nominated as one of Siren Books “Best Science Fiction Books of 2010”. Instead of the blurb, I’ll share the book trailer with you …

And please enjoy this Excerpt:
Lilly D’Angelo could have been walking into any of the seedier establishments lining Forty-fifth and Wester on Chicago’s south side. Except for the clientele, the tavern’s owner had managed to replicate nearly every detail right down to the blue haze and the soft crooning of a jazz band on the corner stage. The acrid stench and gruff hum of a Friday night crowd tripped Lilly down memory lane—a place she had no desire to travel at the moment.

Lilly pushed the sour thoughts of home out of her mind and focused her energy on the patrons at the bar. Morphing her features into her sexiest vixen pout, she moved gracefully toward the long bar on the other side of the room. Her voluptuous breasts, spilling temptingly from her silk blouse, led the way. The eyes watching her ass sashay around the battered tables were clustered on various life forms—none of them human.

Yeah, definitely not Chicago. Shit, this wasn’t even Earth for chrissake.

“Regent’s ale, straight up, hold the brenic.” She spoke English, hoping the two-headed Xerick behind the bar had a cochlear translator in one of those eight holes that passed for ears. Satisfied when one head nodded, she settled on a stool, making sure her fur jacket and blouse parted enough to offer a seductive view of her cleavage. Lilly shifted just enough to let the black leather skirt ride up her thigh and expose a little more silky real estate. Surreptitiously checking her image in the mirrored glass behind the liquor bottles, she was pleased she looked every bit the part. She wasn’t trying to attract anyone in particular, perhaps something on the less offensive side that could offer her a bit of entertainment to help fritter away the next couple of hours.

Lilly wasn’t a xenophobic bigot by any stretch of the imagination. But six months in deep space, working these kinds of joints, wasn’t really long enough to become accustomed to the scenery. The Nebulae Galaxy’s spaceports overflowed with aliens of all sizes and genders. Only that wasn’t really a fair term here in deep space.

Alien inferred the life forms didn’t belong. On the contrary, it was humans who were invading their territory. The treaties of 2253, signed well over forty years ago, had guaranteed the safe travel of humans in deep space. After the snafu of ’34, which saw the first major space disaster since light travel had been discovered, humans had insisted on protection for their species. They’d formed some bullshit board of security, guaranteeing humans could run roughshod over the universe like everywhere else. Though most people referred to them as the QAL, Lilly nicknamed them the alphabet mafia. At one point she’d actually considered working for them until they’d discovered who she was—or more specifically what she was. It didn’t matter. They could all go fuck themselves if they didn’t appreciate her gifts. Lilly had found a way to use her talents and still bring down the bad guys.

Of course in deep space, bad was a relative term.

There was the kind of bad that got a person lost on the ice caps of Dallas Eight without a backup plan. Or the bad that forced someone to stow away in the engine room of a Drikspa alien tanker bound for unknown destinations, praying not to get caught. Or the bad that got a human female imprisoned as a sex slave on the mining colonies of Krystallos Three, hidden from even the long arm of the QAL. Lilly shivered at that one. Even her talents wouldn’t free her from that kind of torture.

She was just happy to be here on Garalon Five where bad meant nothing more than crossing paths with every brand of space pirate, ex-con or fugitive looking for a new start. As one of the more recent colonizations in the Nebulae Galaxy, the G-5 government turned their collective back on past offenses on other planets and allowed anyone to start a legitimate business. It’s what had brought her here.