Dragon Trap – a guest post

unnamed-2 All Marisol Lewis had ever wanted was a family, but her ex-husband back on Earth made sure that would never happen while they were together.

Now? After waking up on an alien planet, she has a plan and she’s more determined than ever to see it through on her own. When the contract comes up that will give her exactly what she’s always dreamed of, she’s eager to sign on the dotted line and begin the journey to her new home planet of Dolovia.

But when things go horribly wrong, she ends up surrounded by mad doctors and Frankenstein space pirates. Luca and Baelion are dragon shifters with a troubled past, shunned by their own people, they now work for the Coalition Council taking rescue jobs that no one else can do.

They manage to find Marisol—but their rescue plans take a wrong turn and they all end up stranded on a dangerous quarantined planet.

Mari finds out the hard way that life often gets in the way of best-laid plans…and dragon shifters most definitely do get in the way of hers.

Good thing for her that dragons are naturally quite stubborn once they decide they want something—and they’ve decided she’s theirs.

Purchase Link:

www.bookstrand.com/book/dragon-trap

Author Bio:

Sarah Marsh was born in British Columbia where she still lives, she has only recently began her writing career finding it the perfect outlet for taking the edge off a nine to five office job. She’s been a science fiction and romance junkie for years and when her imagination started to take the characters she’d read about even further in their adventures she decided to try writing something of her own.

Sarah’s also a former pastry chef and spends a lot of time cooking and baking for friends and family as well as painting and knitting. Her biggest weaknesses are animals of any kind…she even loves the ones that wake you up at four in the morning because they can almost see the bottom of their food dish.

When it comes to life in general she’s a big believer that laughter is the best medicine and that there’s no such thing as too much love, which is why she’s such a sucker for a happy ending.

The Secret Supers – A guest post from Aurora Springer.

Gargoyle Hunt, Book 3 of the Secret Supers

Danger is the last thing on Estelle’s mind when she visits the University of Oxenford for a summer course. But, mysterious thefts and shadowy figures spur her into action. With Toby five thousand miles away, Estelle and her winged horse must hunt for the culprits alone. Soon they are embroiled in a mixed bag of aliens and ancient magic. Toby’s unexpected arrival throws her into turmoil and spurs events into a climax. Under pressure to succeed, Toby is trapped in a web of deceit. The two supers have less than a week to catch the crooks and salvage his reputation.

gargoyle-coverExcerpt

Outside the entrance of the mound, the hippies were debating the alignment of the Kennett Long Barrow relative to the major axis of Stonehenge. Estelle hid a smile and stepped back to gaze at the rock entrance. She climbed to the top of the barrow in search of a quieter spot, enticed by the promise of a cool breeze and extensive view. A handful of people lounged in the grass above the entrance. Further along the mound, two middle aged women sat next to four small dogs.

Estelle strolled toward the end of the mound. The two women made an incongruous couple. The thin one had a severe black dress and long black hair framing a pale face, while the other woman had short gray curls, round pink cheeks and wore a flowery frock. Two of the dogs, miniature greyhounds, scampered over and sniffed at Estelle’s knees. She bent down to pet them.

The plump woman said, “I see you like dogs.”

“I love animals,” Estelle said, smiling at the friendly woman.

The thin woman stared at Estelle, sharp black eyes contrasting with her pale complexion. Lidding her eyes, she whispered, “I see white feathers.” She opened her eyes and asked, “Do you have a pet bird?”

With a flutter of wings, the speckled white pigeon landed on the mound nearby. “I’m not a pet,” Rockette squawked indignantly.

Hush,” Estelle sent.

“Not a pet and not a bird,” the dark haired woman said, glancing at the pigeon.

Her pink cheeked friend smiled at Estelle. “Would you like to sit down and chat for a few minutes, dearie?”

The dogs have yappy thoughts. Better find out who they are,” Rockette advised.

If the mare could hear the dogs, Estelle guessed they must be Farleon animals. She sat on the grass and the dogs lay down and licked her bare legs. “Thanks. I’m visiting Oxenford for a summer course.”

“One of our American cousins?” the thin woman asked.

Nudging her companion with an elbow, the plump woman said, “I’m Misty Tibbit and my partner is Dot Farthingale.”

“Estelle Wright. I’m from Atalanta in the United States.” She petted the two dogs curled beside her. These women and their Farleon animals were her kindred.

The pigeon waddled closer.

“And who is the bird that isn’t?” Dot asked in her astute fashion.

“My companion is a mare called Rockette,” Estelle said, gesturing at the pigeon.

I can talk to the dogs,” Rockette announced. “They like to hunt Zarnoths.”

Misty gestured to the small greyhounds. “Meet Wolfie, Molly, Patch and Catch.”

Sighing with relief, Estelle said, “I could use some Farleon friends. There’s trouble in Oxenford. Mysterious thefts and living stone gargoyles. I guess they might be Zarnoth creations.”

The two older women exchanged glances, and Dot mumbled, “Ill dreams troubled me two nights ago.”

“Never mind the dreams,” Misty said. “The local newspaper was brim full of the university’s losses. Along with a mite of speculation about the criminals.” Fondling the ears of the dog sitting beside her, Misty nodded at Estelle. “We’ll see what we can find out.” She rummaged in her handbag, pulled out a pen and a scrap of paper and scribbled a note. Handing the paper to Estelle, she said, “Call us if you need help. We live in Hodgecombe Cottage, Little Wickham. It’s not ten miles from Oxenford.”

“Thanks!” Trusting her new Farleon friends, Estelle offered her phone number in exchange.

Secret Supers Series

Teen superhero, Starrella, and her flying horse combat alien crooks.

Super Starrella, Book 1

Starrella Falls, Book 2

Gargoyle Hunt, Book 3

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Complete List of Aurora Springer’s Books: http://auroraspringer.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html

 

 

Author Bio

Aurora Springer is a scientist morphing into a novelist. She has a PhD in molecular biophysics and discovers science facts in her day job. She has invented adventures in weird worlds for as long as she can remember. In 2014, Aurora achieved her life-long ambition to publish her stories. Her works are character-driven romances set in weird worlds described with a sprinkle of humor. Some of the stories were composed thirty years ago. She was born in the UK and lives in Atlanta with her husband, a dog and two cats to sit on the keyboard. Her hobbies, besides reading and writing, include outdoor activities like gardening, watching wildlife, hiking and canoeing.

Media links:

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Google+  Blog

 

Patty’s Promos strike again.

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Neither Amelia nor I are in this one, but it’s worth a look despite (or perhaps because) of that.

About my recent book #LifeBooksWriting

About My last book

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This ought to be an easy post. Every author loves to talk about the last one. My most recent book, at least most recent that’s been released, is Frankenkitty.  I’ve got a couple in the can, out at publishers and an agents on spec. Don’t know if that will work, but it’s worth a try.

Frankenkitty is a Young Adult science fiction work. Sort of Young Frankenstein meets Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Except a book rather than a movie and set in a more modern environment.

IgorWhat happens when teenagers are given the good doctor’s secret formula? Enquiring minds want to know. (Hint it’s humour and chaos.)

 

Frankenkitty This was a blast to write, and a complete change from my usual regency/historical fare.  Available at fine online retailers (Well Amazon).

My Book’s Movie Dream Cast #lifebookswriting

The Curious Profession of Dr Craven is a rollicking good read with some sizzling hot gypsy … wait, that’s “Edmund – a butler’s tale.” It’s a historical romance, albeit a rollicking good read too, just with no gypsies. The hero is a man who is trying to live down his guilt. He believes he accidentally killed his wife by infecting her with “childbirth fever” when she gave birth to their children. The heroine is a young woman whom he rescues when he is preparing to anatomize a female to further his studies of disease and the mechanics of the human body. Initially, she is almost a blank slate, having forgotten much of her previous life. With good reason, her father is more than a bit of a scoundrel – a real rotter, her hand has been auctioned off to the highest bidder to save the family mansion, and she’s simply bored, when she isn’t frustrated. When she finally recovers, she and Dr Craven are mutually attracted to each other. Scratch that, they’re desperately in love, a love her father intends to squelch. Unscrambling this mess takes the combined efforts of Dr Craven, his older brother the Earl of Craven, a dissolute French Duke and even the visit of a mysterious French Baron to the sacred floor of Almack’s.

Here’s my ideal cast.
Dr Craven -> a young Colin Firth (the older one would be great as his older brother, the Earl of Craven) otherwise David Tennant or Matt Smith
William 1st Earl of Craven current Colin Firth or Steven Fry.
Henrietta/Cecelia -> a young Honeysuckle Weeks
Mary (Dr Craven’s maid) -> Jane Lynch
William and Phillip Overly –grave robbers and scallywags-> Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
Lord Patterson -> Donald Sutherland
George Patterson (Cecelia’s brother)-> Martin Freeman
Ellen Patterson ->Kristen Wiig
Mr Sharpless -> Hugh Laurie
Mrs Oakham -> Sigourney Weaver

My 5 top books & why #LifeBooksWriting

Five books, Only five books? Only five books!

The most difficult part of this is picking out only five books.

  1. Roughing it – Mark Twain

This is Twain’s first real book. By the time it was published he’d written newspaper copy, become a well known spoken humorist, and published a number of short pieces of humour. He was a newspaper correspondent at the time. It describes his journey from an ex-confederate guerrilla (barely mentioned) to a successful speaker on the verge of a successful career. His gift for dialog and digression is just starting to strut its stuff. The pacing is a little slow for modern audiences, and there are a lot of horse jokes that don’t make much sense today, but it’s a great book. It’s also my favourite book to take backpacking because it withstands many re-readings under an led headlamp.

  1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

This is nearly the perfect novel. Anyone who has any pretense of writing regency romance had better be familiar with it. I could have put in a Georgette Heyer novel, but Austen’s characters are much deeper and her ear for dialog much stronger.

  1. The Forever War – Joe Hadleman

I met this book at college as an undergraduate. It’s innovative, anti-war and treats the effects of relativity in a more realistic manner than most. I also remember it because the good friend who showed it to me was run over while bicycling by a drunk shortly afterwards.

  1. The Blessing Way – Tony Hillerman

I could have picked any of his works. Their cultural sensitivity is fantastic, and they describe New Mexico to a ‘T.’ As an author, he was especially skilled at building a sense of menace and evil with tiny little hints as the story progresses.

  1. The C Programming Language – Kernighan and Ritchie

Sorry about this, but this book set me on the path from experimentalist to computer scientist. I bought myself a copy of the first printing of the first edition and dedicated my birthday to learning the language. The idea of using structs (an ancestor of objects) to extend the language suckered me into software engineering and almost literally made me what I am today.

We’re back, baby.

Like poor Cecelia, “The Curious Profession of Dr Craven” is back from the dead. It’s been edited, to catch some annoying and very minor errors, though not to remove either occurrence of “get over it” which according to Google n-gram viewer was used in the Regency in much the same way as it is today. (I take comments seriously. I rechecked because it is important to me to be correct, and I checked the usage in the books it summarized.) Literally, “literally” is another phrase that was used in the modern somewhat ironic sense – even in the 18th century. Pope waxed wroth about it, though to quote Marx, why does Roth need waxed?

“Nice” is one word that you have to watch. It can mean nice in the sense of pleasant or good, but it can also mean somewhat common or nasty. (e.g. “That’s a nice kettle of fish you’ve got us into” from Laurel and Hardy.)

On the other hand I did remove “washout” which is a relatively modern term. Personally, the most annoying little error was the shift from “Dr.” to “Dr” in the latest British usage. I also caught a few excess uses of the passive voice. Editing truly is never finished. As a self-pub’ed author I can make changes to fix these little uglies.

Here’s the start of chapter 2. Up until it gets about as hot as Amelia and I usually write. Chapter 1 can be found here.

Alive, Maybe.

The sun shining through the window woke Cecelia. She sat up in her bed with a start and examined the room. The bed curtains had been pulled back so she could see the tattered wallpaper and small fireplace across the room. The low cooing of a wood pigeon could be heard through the glass of the window. Her head swam for a moment. Then she searched the place. It wasn’t her bedroom. A maid was drowsing in a chair by the fire.

“Miss, where am I?”

“You’re in Dr Richard Craven’s house, Miss.” The maid rose, curtsied, and rang the bell. Then she continued, “Is there anything you need?”

“Who are you?”

“My name’s Mary, Miss. Would it be too much to ask yours?”

Panic gripped Cecelia. “I am,” she paused, “I don’t know!”

“There, there, Miss. The doctor will know what to do for you.”

“The doctor? How did I get here?”

“’Tis best he tells you, Miss.”

“Mary.”

“Yes, Miss?”

“Am I alive?”

“Yes, Miss you are. We’re in my master’s house at Streatham, England. It looks to be a lovely summer day.”

“It’s just, I remember, I remember dimly. It’s so strange.”

“Wait for Dr Craven, Miss. He’ll answer that.”

A few moments later, Dr Craven dashed into the room. He was a tall, well-formed man with dark hair. Despite his youth, a widower. Close behind him came two young children, his exuberant four-year-old twins. While he stood in the door, they rushed past him and jumped into the bed with her. Their governess, Miss Grimstock, a severe, somewhat older-looking woman was beginning the long slow decline into spinsterhood. She puffed from her exertion as she caught up with them.

“Thomas, Mariah, please come here. Let your father do his work.”

They replied in unison, “No.”

“Please let them stay. They’re so lovely. I’m sure I’m in Heaven with cherubs.”

“Further acquaintance with them will convince you otherwise. Children, please do as Miss Grimstock requests.”

“Daddy?”

He frowned at them and then added, “I must check on our guest. If she’s well enough, I’m sure you can return.”

The children dejectedly left the bed and returned to their governess.

Dr Craven strode to Cecelia, “How are we feeling?”

“Completely lost, sir. Where am I?”

“My house in Streatham. I am Dr Richard Craven. The question is, who are you?”

“I wish I knew. What happened to me?”

Dr Craven paused, considering whether telling the young woman the truth would do more harm than good. Finally, he made up his mind. “What do you remember?”

“Almost nothing. You. I distinctly remember you. I woke up on a table last night. It was after a long nightmare, and you were there.”

“Do you remember anything else?”

“No. It’s all gone.” She paused, “There’s a bit more. I was in this dark place where no one could hear me. I tried to kick or pound with my fists. Nothing happened. I could barely move.” She shook her head in disbelief and continued, “What happened to me?”

“I’m not sure. I was going to study you, but now I suppose I’ll try to cure you.”

“Study me? What do you mean by that?”

“I’m not just a country doctor, Miss. I study how the body is put together.”

“You’re an anatomist?”

He paused, “Yes.”

“You were going to anatomize me!”

He nodded. She backed away from him gathering herself into farthest corner of her bed.

“We, I…It wouldn’t have mattered were you dead. I’m working to prevent death, and sometimes that means anatomizing bodies.”

“Including me?”

“Had you been dead, yes. But you weren’t, and I’m glad of it. Though it does mean, I’m going to have to find another body.”

She glared at him, “You bought my body, didn’t you?”

“Yes. If I hadn’t, you would have died, for real. Instead, here you are, alive.”

Cecelia felt faint, then in her anger, recovered. “You’re an evil man.”

“No. I’m a natural philosopher, and a doctor. I do my best, my tiny mite, to cure people.”

Panic gripped Cecelia again, “What are you going to do with me?”

Trying to reassure her of his intentions, Dr Craven smiled. “I’m going to examine you. If you’ll let me. Then we’ll decide what to do with you.”

“Examine me?”

“You must have been gravely ill for your family to have buried you. I should like to see if you have recovered, before we,” He paused, “proceed.”

Mary was about to leave. Dr Craven requested that she remain. Then he walked over and shut the door. After that, he washed his hands in the basin, thoroughly with soap.

Cecelia looked at him, disgusted, “Why are you doing that? Washing your hands of your guilt, like Pontius Pilate?”

“No. It’s an experiment. To see if there isn’t something on our skin that can carry illness.”

“They looked clean to me.”

“And to me, Miss. The thing that carries illness, whatever it is, it is too small for us to see.”

“What next?”

“I shall need to listen to your heart and your lungs.”

“What?”

“That’s why I’ve asked Mary to stay. I’m afraid it means I need to put my ear on your chest.”

“My chest? You mean…”

“I mean without anything in the way. Mary will ensure that I obey all the norms of propriety.”