Saturday, May 26, 2018

Final Days to Support ALS Research!


Two of my cobloggers -- Pippa Jay and Greta van der Rol -- and I want to remind you that time is running out on helping to support ALS Research via our Blue Book Cover Brigade. Our fundraiser ends the last day of May.

Long story short, there are several ways you can help, and we'd be grateful for whatever way you decide you can chip in.



Here are six different ways you can help us raise money to fight ALS right now:

- Buy Inherit the Stars on Amazon. For every e-book purchased, I'll donate a minimum of 25% to the ALS Association, so you get a great book to read at $3.99 and at least $1.00 of that will be donated. If you prefer your books in hard copy, I'll donate a minimum of $5 for every print book sold.

- What's that? You've already read it? No problem! You can also buy any of my peers' books. See the Blue Book Cover Brigade Page for all participating books and links. Same deal. They'll donate a minimum of 25% of their sales.

- Make a direct donation by credit card on my ALS Associate Blue Book Cover Brigade personal page which you can find right here: Laurie A. Green. Look for the red button in the upper right that says "Donate Now." No amount is too small.

- Prefer to make a donation by check? You can do that, too. Go to My Page and scroll down to find the link in blue letters that says: Prefer to make a donation by check? Click here for a printable donation form!

- Or, make a direct donation to any of my peers' pages. You can find their names listed HERE. Click their name for the link to their personal campaign page.

- Don't feel you can make a donation? We understand. You can still help us by sharing this blog or the Blue Book Cover Brigade Fundraiser Page or the Blue Book Cover Brigade Landing Page on social media or in messages to your friends.

And if you've already donated, you have my sincere thanks! This campaign is very special to me for many reason, but I explained two important ones in this video.


Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 25, 2018

MEET CHARLIE, HEROINE OF NOT FADE AWAY


Heroines come in all shapes, sizes and degrees of kickassery. Some just leap off the page into your face, like the come-in- stunners-blasting, pint-sized-but-all-the-way-badass Rayna Carver of Fools Rush In, the third novel in my Interstellar Rescue series.

Others, like Charlie McIntyre, the heroine of Not Fade Away, Interstellar Rescue Book 4, exert a more subtle charm. In the end, they display a quieter form of courage. Charlie is a home care nurse in a small mountain town when she is hired to care for an elderly, wheelchair-bound man suffering from dementia. Her client, Del, is a stranger in town, with only his son to care for him, and from the beginning, his case raises questions.

Del isn’t like most of her patients. Oh, he has many of the symptoms she’s familiar with, but he has freakish otherworldly hallucinations that seem almost like memories of another time and place—one that couldn’t possibly exist. And, then there’s his son, Rafe. Charlie feels an irresistible pull toward the younger man, despite his obvious lack of social skills and an almost pathological tendency to overprotect his father.

Yes, her new clients are an odd pair. But, somehow, Charlie can’t help getting attached to both Del and Rafe. She opens herself to all her clients and their families, just like she opened her home to Happy, the shelter puppy who became her therapy dog and best friend. Still, her kindness led to serious trouble once, and an ongoing running battle with the ex in question. When it comes to intimate relationships, Charlie has erected a few walls of her own to protect a vulnerable heart.

The island of peace Charlie has created around her mysterious clients can’t last forever, though, and neither can the secrets Rafe has been guarding. Charlie’s gentle soul will be tested to its limits when the truth Rafe has been hiding is finally revealed. When her world is suddenly remade in the light of what he tells her, Charlie will have find the courage to face a new future—with him.

Earth shielded his secrets--
Until her love unlocked his heart.

Rescue agent Rafe Gordon is human, though Earth has never been his home. But when his legendary father Del becomes the target of alien assassins, Rafe must hide the dementia-debilitated hero in the small mountain town where the old man was born—Masey, North Carolina, USA, Earth.

Home care nurse Charlie McIntyre and her therapy dog, Happy, have never had such challenging clients before. Del’s otherworldly “episodes” are not explained by his diagnosis, making Charlie question everything about her mysterious charge and his dangerously attractive son. Rafe has the answers she needs, but Charlie will have to break through his wall of secrets to get them.

As the heat rises between Charlie and Rafe, the deadly alien hunters circle closer. The light they seek to extinguish flickers in the gloom of Del’s fading mind—the memory of a planet-killer that threatens to enslave the galaxy.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Whoops - I forgot

Me at 3
Sorry, folks. I'm a bit late in posting. You see, I'm messing about with my website from Wordpress.org back to Wordpress.com and then back to WP.org on a different host, and it was all messy and everything. And... let's face it, I forgot.

News this week - Solo: A Star Wars Movie is on in the theatres. No, I won't be going. I'll wait until I either go overseas or it appears in the shops.  Actually, I've done the same with Black Panther ;). But it does look like it will be a fun, action-packed adventure. A lot of people seem to be enjoying it.

I've started reading Ready Player One after all the good vibes from the movie (which I haven't seen). The world-building is interesting. I've alreay encountered a couple of 'hmm' moments. But it's a great dystopian setting. It's also (IMO) a great example of a very successful book which does not start right into the action. It's all about the setting, grounding the reader in that world. YES! (Punches air with fist). And, of course, I'm old enough to catch quite a few of the '80's references. That was the decade I became a compuer programmer.

What with one thing and another I haven't done much fiction writing - although I have been delving into family history. These days, everybody's got a phone that takes pictues and videos. Family history is everywhere. Even on Facebook it's so easy to see what you did ten years ago. But that's not true for my generation. I've been going through creased black and white - or sepia - photo of my mother and father and my siblings. They're few and far. No videos, of course. And unless somebody does something with them, adds names to faces, gives context, they'll just be a bunch of old photos in a chocolate box. All but one of my siblings are dead, and I have a writing skill. So I'm creating a document to give some idea of what life was like for my immediate family, relying mainly on my memories - which have faded over time. It's been interesting looking back. The process becomes all-consuming. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about this incident or that, reliving good times and bad. Good times are a burst of white light and sunshine, the details lost in a happy haze. The bad times are harsh sketches in black and white, details lost in shade and sorrow.

And I shall end with some photos - just because.







Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Last Chance To Go Blue! #Authors4ALSA #ThinkBlue4ALSA


Goodness me, we're more than halfway through May already! That means you don't have long left to help support the ALS Association by picking up on of the beautiful blue cover books from Authors Supporting ALSA!

Looking for Blue skies and smooth sailing to cure ALS

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. 
See all the books here: http://www.leakirk.com/supporting-als.html

Already got Keir? Don't panic. I've decided to add any sales from any of my other blue cover books as well (but not The Bones of the Sea as that's a free book so there are no royalties to donate). 



Already got those too? You can always go to the Blue Cover Page on the ALSA site and make a donation direct here: http://webgw.alsa.org/site/TR/Endurance/GoldenWest?team_id=367681&pg=team&fr_id=12950
ALSA Twitter: https://twitter.com/napaALSride
ALSA Facebook Group:  https://www.facebook.com/RidetoDefeatALS/?hc_location=group


And thank you so much for your support!

Writing Update
Nothing to report...

Chick Update
They'll be two weeks old tomorrow and I've still no idea on gender. A couple of d'uccle experts have said two different things: one said 2 boys, 3 girls, the other said the opposite...

It's preening time!

Snuggles in the sun with mum









First dust bath!
Testing their wings
Anyone of a sensitive nature might want to give this following video a miss as it involves something being eaten. One of the chicks desperately tries to keep hold of a worm provided by mama while at the same time trying to figure out how to eat such a huge beastie. Chickens will be chickens!



Monday, May 21, 2018

Finding a Foxhole and Soldiering On #amwriting

Last week was one of the most turbulent weeks the writing industry -- and in particular the Romance genre -- has ever seen. So much going on, and most of it upsetting or depressing.

Let me just recap the highlights. Or should that be the lowlights? :/

1. Trademark Dispute

I won't go into this in detail because that's been done. And done. And done. If you somehow managed to miss the uproar (lucky you), you can read my previous commentary over the last two weeks:

Like a Cancer Grows #Trademarking #WhenAuthorsAttack

Mind Your Ps and Qs (and other letters)

Although being challenged, it has inspired many other authors and even publishers to jump on the trademarking bandwagon. If this trend continues, or in the extreme off chance some of these trademarks are upheld, it could truly bury the industry in a swarm of trademark claims and lawsuits that would deeply--and possibly irreparably--impact authors, their brands, books and careers.

Let's hope, as some of the legal types have asserted, that this rooster doesn't have a leg to stand on and trademarking rampage will get sane again very, very soon.

2. Kindle World is Closing


Again, this doesn't affect me--I was asked to write for Kindle World, but couldn't find a way to tie it to my series--but it does affect many of my peers. Kindle World was apparently a failed experiment. Only books currently in process will be published, and no one is quite sure if the backlist will remain available or be un-published as part of the Kindle World shutdown. This impacts a lot of authors and that concerns me, even though it has no direct impact to me, personally.

3. RT (Romantic Times) is Closing its Doors

At the annual Booklovers Convention, one of the largest gatherings of authors and writers, it was announced that RT--Romantic Times--is closing its doors. This will be the last RT Booklovers Convention. Reviews will be archived for a year and then deleted. Although a Booklovers Convention (minus the RT) is in the works for next year, it will be a multi-genre affair going forward, which will really change the landscape of the event. It's another sign that the Romance genre is changing very rapidly, though for better or worse, we can't be sure. (See #5 below.)
 
4. Kindle Unlimited Turmoil

I'm not in KU, but the things some of my fellow authors are reporting are downright scary. Actions taken against them with no warning or evidence provided, and canned responses when they try to seek resolution. Page read statuses being cut in half overnight with no explanation given. If true, this is affecting income and in worst case scenarios, accounts are being closed with no recourse by the author, for perceived violations they weren't involved with and for which the Zon provides no proof or remedy. Yet the clickfarms and scammers continue to run amok. There's speculation this may be the fault of bad algorithms or monitoring practices, but whatever the reason, if it's happening, it needs to be addressed. And it needs to stop.

5. Traditional Publishers Cutting Romance Acquisitions

There's a lot of conjecture on this trend. Some are seeing it the doom of the Romance genre, the demise of RWA, and a future slump in the most read genre on the planet. Others are seeing it as a chance for independent authors to step up to the plate and take charge of a market that was once dominated and dictated by the Big Five Publishers (is it still the Big Five or are those numbers falling now too?) They see it as a chance for authors to tell the kinds of stories they've always wanted to tell--stories told from their hearts and not tailored to the current market trends. What do I think? I think time will tell, but it is going to bring about a lot of change and a lot of uncertainty  about where we'll all be when the dust settles.  

6. RWA is Considering Eliminating the Golden Heart Awards

This hurts. As a three-time finalist, the GH Awards involved some of the best experiences of my writing life, and many of the highlights of my last decade. And RWA wants to do away with it because they've deemed it "unprofitable" and of declining interest or importance to unpublished authors. Well, yes, that tends to happen when you cut categories, split it off from the RITA Awards as a red-headed stepchild and demote it to "luncheon" status. No more grand celebration where the next generation of aspiring authors seek out that perfect dress, enjoy special perks, the honor of wearing that "Golden Heart Finalist" badge ribbon and enjoying the status for the entire conference, rubbing elbows with some of the legends in bookdom, and preparing with giddy anticipation for that moment in the spotlight should your name be the one that's called. And that's after seeing yourself and your title up on those enormous jumbotrons. Don't do it, RWA! There are some intangible pluses that just can't be duplicated in our industry. Don't let it fade away...bring it back in all it's glory.  

7. GDPR (General Data Protection Requirements)

These requirements go into effect on May 25th and while it applies mainly to the EU, it also affects every author who interacts with individuals in the EU. Like, um, everyone. End result? Many are in panic mode. I've spent scores of hours trying to bring newsletters, blogs, websites and other interactive "data collecting" machines into compliance. I've already invested time and effort in researching what I need to do and then implementing advice that is often contradictory and not well explained. Summary: It's been a freaking nightmare and the night isn't over yet. 


Holy cow! Troubled times indeed. What's a writer to do?

Well, for this author, the answer is to find a foxhole, hunker down, and write! (Hey. Just like I did back in the good old days.)

Some say don't consider hard times a setback, consider them an opportunity. I see the truth in that. This presents a chance for me to get off the hamster wheel and back away from spending so much time doing things that aren't beneficial to my career, such as valuable time wasted on social media, reading emails, and participating in promotions that can't boost books that aren't yet for sale.
 
It also means I need to cut down my blogging time going forward, too. For the next few weeks (or possibly even months), I'm going to be posting excerpts or blogs centered on what I'm working on and spend a lot less time on commentary, observations, opinions ,and trends.   

I'll just be over here, working on my next books while passing through this current megastorm.

 


Be back with an excerpt next Monday.

Have a great week.





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

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.