Friday, May 18, 2018

THE SETTING FOR NOT FADE AWAY, PART 2

Not all of my new contemporary SFR novel Not Fade Away, Interstellar Rescue Series Book 4, is set on Earth. A large part of the book tells the story of secondary character Del Gordon, father of the hero Rafe Gordon, who was witness to the secret development of a terrifying weapon of mass destruction by the alien Grays. This took place at a labor camp called T7where he was held prisoner, Conditions at the camp, located on a desert planet were, well, not easy. Check out the snippet below for a hint of what things were like. 




His friend found a seat beside him in the lee of one building and pushed the blond hair out of one eye.  “Gonna be hot.”  

Del glanced up at the white sun peeking over the horizon. “Freakng hot. Young sun. And have you noticed the air?”

“I noticed there’s not a helluva lot of it. I’m wheezing like an old geezer.”

Del laughed at that. Shef wasn’t too tall, but he was built like—what did they used to say back home?—a brick shithouse. Though he’d forgotten what that really meant.

“There’s some small earth-moving equipment.” Shef nodded toward one end of the compound. “Ten bucks says we’re here to dig.”

The bets were a joke between them, something to help them remember, though they hadn’t seen anything resembling cash money since they’d been Taken. “I wouldn’t bet it even if I had it.” Del shifted his gaze to a row of squat shipping cases stacked beside a building to his right. “Those containers hold blasting gel.” 

“You can read Minertsan now?”

“See the marking on the lower left side? Looks like an inverted chevron with a check through it? We saw that before in the Depara mine.”

Shef cursed. “I was too busy trying to keep my ass in one piece. If I saw it at all I figured it meant, ‘Watch your ass.’”

They would have shared the laugh, but the guards were circling now. They put on their blank faces and made like zombies. Then they got up and got in line with the others.

The guards marched them out through the only gate in the 18-foot-tall fence surrounding the camp and over a dusty trail through rocky scrub. They hadn’t been walking long—just long enough to build up a good sweat in the already-sweltering day—when they topped a low rise and looked down into a bowl full of jagged rocks and scraggly brush.  

Del lifted his gaze up to the relentless white sun and dropped it back into the cruel landscape of their workplace. He was careful not to look at his friend. He knew if he saw Shef’s face he would not be able to hide his own despair.


Cheers, Donna

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Will the new Star Wars story make the grade?

Solo: A Star Wars Story is due out in about a week's time. You know me, Star Wars tragic. Sort of. I'm not always starry-eyed about what Disney has produced. (The Force Awakens, anybody?) Yes, I'll certainly watch it, but not at the movies. I'm not that excited. And yes, I have some reservations.

I really liked Rogue One and I think part of that was because it added to the original Star Wars story, and pretty well all of the characters were new. I didn't have to make allowances for different people playing characters we already loved. That's going to be the main challenge for Solo. Harrison Ford did such a great job with the role. Think 'Han' and you see Harrison. The new young actor Alden Ehrenreich has big shoes to fill. We also have had enough hints in the other Star Wars movies to sketch in questions. How did Han meet Chewie? How did he acquire the Millenium Falcon from Lando Calrissian? How come he wears military-style pants?

Naturally, at this stage reviewers have already seen the film. I read one (here's the link) by a person who wasn't impressed. He said the story adds to the canon, but doesn't expand it. And I had to wonder what he expected? Especially for this first movie. I've read the Han Solo trilogy written by Brian Daley, in which Han and Chewie have some brand new adventures which have nothing to do with the original movies. No Leia, no Darth etc. They were fun. But this new movie is all about filling in Han's backstory. Another movie could expand into the Star Wars galaxy talking about the Kessel Run or some such. The reviewer made reference to the end of The Last Jedi, where there are hints at something further, but I do not see how that can be done in a movie about Han Solo, talking about events that took place before A New Hope.

So I think when I see the film, I'll be getting what I expect. Ron Howard is an accomplished director.  He did a great job with Apollo 13 and that great movie, Cocoon. I read an article in the Weekend Australian where he talked about taking over the direction of Solo halfway through. He seems to be well pleased with Ehrenreich's Han. I hope I will be, too. Either way, it'll be fast-paced fun.

And in case you haven't seen it, here's the trailer.



Just a reminder - Pippa, Laurie and I will be donating a portion of our earnings from books sold as part of the push to promote research to find a cure for ALS. Here's the link again. We'd love it if you buy a book.

  
http://www.leakirk.com/supporting-als.html


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Chick Pics & Writing News (At Last) #Authors4ALSA

I'm so sorry, but it's just going to be another quick update. After a week 'away' enjoying my wedding anniversary, everything else has fallen behind...and an exciting thing has happened.

Chick Update
Yes! Last Wednesday-a whole day ahead of schedule-the first of the six eggs under mama Firefly pipped and hatched in the space of a few hours. That little baby couldn't wait to get out.
A second followed that same evening, and by the time I checked them again next morning, Firefly had three little fluffballs under her wings.Two more hatched in the afternoon. Sadly the sixth egg was a dud - I'm afraid the attempted theft by one of my other chooks that left it lying out in the cold for an unknown time the week before may have been the cause. Who knows?! Five out of six is still pretty good going, and even more so for posted hatching eggs. 







And at five days old, they've already grown out their wings.


Look at those wing feathers!



Now, if you haven't died from cuteness overload...

Writing Update
Reunion has gone back to my editor, so I'm waiting for it to return.

And finally, don't forget...


The skies are Blue,

Our books are too.
​We're fighting ALS
with some help from YOU! ​

Twelve enthusiastic sci-fi romance and paranormal romance authors. Fifteen fantastic blue covered books. One month to help support an outstanding organization.

From May 1-31, 2018 these authors will donate a minimum of 25% of their sales of these books to the ALS Association, an organization dedicated to providing ALS patients and their families with a multitude of different types of assistance, and continuing research to find a cure for this deadly disease.


The Immortal Greek by Monica LaPorta
The Chameleon by Diane Burton
Seeking Vector by Cynthia Sax
Prophecy by Lea Kirk
Operation Phoenix by Susan Hayes
Not His Dragon by Annie Nicholas
Morgan’s Choice by Greta van der Rol
Mind: The Emergence by Jenn Nixon
Mind: The Message by Jenn Nixon
Mind: The Fracture by Jenn Nixon
Keir by Pippa Jay
Inherit the Stars by Laurie A. Green
Forged in Fire by A.R. De Clerck
Dreaming in Moonlight by Tricia Linden
A Time to Begin by Tricia Linden


Monday, May 14, 2018

Mind Your Ps and Qs! (and other letters)

Before I dive into this week's blog, I just want to put this out there.

Power to the SF/R community! The petition to #SaveTheExpanse (SyFy Channel has, unbelievably, axed season four--whatever are they thinking?) is gaining momentum and gathering thousands of signatures daily.


This is SciFi television at its finest and having this spectacular series disappear would be a travesty. If you're a fan or just want to fight for the cause of great Science Fiction (with Romance), please check out the petition on Change.org and see other ways you can help. (Link below)

Graphic from petition site


If you'd like to read my (most recent) blog why this is such a great series, here it is: The Expanse Returns


Mind That Word!
(It's a pun. Horseracing fans will get it.)

Many of us are still reeling and shaking our heads over the mental gut-punch of the whole "cockygate" debacle--and one romance author's actions in trademarking a single word that could, potentially, trigger a landslide that would quite literally bury the industry.

If you're not privy to the upheaval in the writerly Force, let me divert you to this video which recaps the situation and what's potentially being done about in an interview, mentioning the author, Kevin Kneupper, who is stepping up and going to bat for the entire writing community in filing a protest letter (who, BTW, happens to be a retired IP attorney).

Dale L. Roberts on #cockygate

Incidently, one of (our hero) Kevin Kneuppers books is Argonauts--it's science fiction (loosely based on mythology) with romance. Did I buy a copy? You betcha! As well as one of his more recent books. Really. It was the least I could do.

But now that the outrage has simmered down a few thousand degrees, a few are starting to have a little fun with all the idiocy. Comments read (and thieved...you know, because they weren't trademarked) on FB:

"Everything you write CAN and WILL be held against you in someone else's lawsuit."

"Highway to the Lawyer Zone."

"So I have decided...I'm going to get a copyright on my first name as it is on my birth certificate and I own the name. So...starting 2019 we will be canceling the month of April and there will only be 11 months in the calendar year."

And that provides me a wonderful segue from mindlessly-driven ambition to...

Mind-Driven Technology

There's been a lot of angst--and downright fear--about the leaps and bounds forward that artificial intelligence--or AI--is taking, and what it means for humanity. It seems at the very least, the human population will lose jobs and livelihoods because AI can do so many things so much faster and in many cases, better.

But what about the removing the human element from the equation? Will AI eventually network to turn against human civilization because it sees us as the enemy (ala the Terminator franchise, et al)? Or will it take a more benign path and simply deem us inferior and emotionally unstable, and decide the entire population should be--and needs to be--controlled and shepherded like unruly sheep?

Make no mistake about it, AI has the potential to be dangerous. If not carefully managed, it might have the ability to take control of all of our resources--our banking industry, our utility grid, our information sources, and our food and water supply, just to name a few key components. Control these and you control people and governments.

As we've learned from historic scenarios, this can be pretty terrifying when people do this to people on a limited scale...can you imagine AI doing this to people on a global scale?

So, yes, there are a lot of big scary question marks surrounding the potential of AI.

In the Inherited Stars Series--set 1500 years in the future--someone finally got smart. He studied history and, in particular, an incident with an AEI (artificial emotional intelligence) that very well could have ended mankind except for one lucky wild card.

This AEI was able to develop a conscience as a result of having "emotion" added to the AI abilities. But the emotional quotient also resulted in him (and yes, he was a "him"--the AEI was originally a very human-like entity) experiencing what might be described as an emotional breakdown due to guilt and remorse over his own actions. What could have been absolute catastrophe turned out very much to the benefit of humankind. But even so, the powers-that-be realized how close they'd come to the brink.

And as a result, all advanced autonomous AI, including human-like androids and inter-connective "smart" entities--were banned forevermore. But...

This aforementioned history-studying individual started exploring other avenues, specifically mind-driven technology which did not eliminate the human from the formula. He revolutionized a system that utilized the full potential of the human brain, interfacing it with technology via a neuro-connective drive that allowed certain people to do some very amazing things--and to do many of those amazing things simultaneously--once sufficiently trained to multi-task to the nth degree.

That's mind-driven technology. His neuro-connective drive, or con-drive, was essential to pilot FTL ships through a higher dimension. And if you've read Inherit the Stars or StarDog (now being expanded for a 2018 re-release) then you've already been introduced to the concept.

The name of this "studier of history" was Zaviar Mennelsohn--genius, scholar, scientist, ship designer... and father of Captain Drea Mennelsohn.

Inherit the stars, indeed.

Have a great week!

Friday, May 11, 2018

THE SETTING FOR NOT FADE AWAY, PART 1

Hi, faithful readers. I'm coming to you even more virtually than usual this week, as I enjoy a long-awaited vacation cruising the Danube in Hungary, Austria and Germany! Since it's not easy to post from aboard my cruise ship, I've left this snapshot of the gorgeous North Carolina setting of my upcoming release, Not Fade Away, Interstellar Rescue Series Book 4, and a little snippet to put it in context. Enjoy!




Rafe gazed at the alien landscape. So many trees!  Mountains rolling like waves on the Sea of IzRa, with no cities to break their progress. The little town, an island in that vast ocean of green, its all-human inhabitants huddled together in modest homes and joined with the rest of the world by the thinnest of threads.

Rafe had grown up on Terrene, in a dense urban warren of sentient life—human and nonhuman, former slaves and traders and Rescue agents and all sorts of others.  As he’d gone out in the galaxy he’d seen any number of worlds, but few as lush—or as isolated—as this one. Earth still slumbered in her ignorance of the rest of the galaxy, despite the ongoing tragedy of the alien Grays and their abductions.  

Slaves taken in the night. Rescue trying desperately to get them back. A battle raging across the stars—and this little hamlet that would be his home completely unaware of it.


Cheers, Donna

About Spacefreighters Lounge

Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.