Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A trip to Mars, anyone?

One of my Facebook friends posted about signing up for a one way trip to Mars, and I thought, "Oh, you joker, that's funny." I still had to follow the link, of course.

According to Yahoo Travel, the trip is real, but won't take place until 2023, and over 20,000 people have already applied. I checked the date and it wasn't written on April Fool's Day. That, of course, doesn't mean it's true. I googled, and was surprised to find piles of articles about it.

The website spaceindustrynews.com seems to take it seriously, and talks about the company's creative way to get funding through selling advertising space.

"It will be the most elaborate reality TV show of all time. The whole thing will be like The Real World in space with no way to get home. There will be no return shuttle, there's no hope of escape if anything goes wrong. These people will live the rest of their lives on Mars as pioneers and will die heroes and explorers."

The article on Yahoo Travel says, "Although the trip and training sound daunting, the requirements for candidates are wide open: if you show resilience, adaptability, and curiosity, you might qualify. Scientific and astronaut's skills, however, are not required."

The general idea is that four settlers will be launched in 2023, and four more every second year after that. In order to apply, one must be at least 28 years old, over 157 cm tall, and have 20/20 vision.

If you want to read more about this, check out the Mars One website, their Facebook page, and the Yahoo Travel article. There is also an interesting article here, discussing the problems these colonists would face.

Real or hoax? You tell me. Would you want to go?


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Coming soon: Unchanged by Christy Elkins!

I don't know the release date just yet, but the next book by Christy Elkins is on the horizon. It is an event to look forward to! =D The cover is amazing!

Could you look beyond the limited view of your own eyes, long enough to find truth or even love? Does compassion really reside in your heart, or circumstance?

In the year 3033, David Rockman makes a radical discovery that shakes the nation. His findings reveal a reality, which offers absolution, to a world in peril but will our unwilling nature lead to catastrophic consequences?

Change is inevitable but there are always those who resist.

If you just can't wait, check out Christy's other books Parallel and Lilac Hill!

Friday, April 26, 2013

The SFR Brigade presents: Courage and Retribution

It is time for a new issue of the SFR Brigade presents. Today, I'm presenting a snippet from my free read Courage and Retribution. Click here to check out excerpts from more science fiction romance authors!

Courage and Retribution is a short free read accompanying my novel Kidnapped. It's a prequel telling the story of some of the side characters and how they got together.


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William lived in a world of uneasy dreams. His people were screaming, dying, being burned alive, and he needed to pull free from whatever held him so he could rescue them, but invisible forces kept him back. The dreams faded into merciful darkness.

When he finally returned to reality, he had problems focusing his eyes. The ceiling looked a lot like a beautiful woman, and she rotated above him. He squeezed his eyes shut again, but had time to see a mass of blonde hair and a cute nose.

The fragments of memories and dreams came together. He was a prisoner of the Alliance, and his people, everyone he knew were dead. It was his fault. He didn't understand how, he had been so careful, but he still led the enemy right home. He wanted to return to the darkness, hopefully forever, but the woman wouldn't let him. She held a cool hand against his forehead.

"I think he has a concussion."

A cynical male voice answered, "It happens."

William opened his eyes again and struggled to sit up, even though the room revolved around him. Everything bathed in a light so bright it shot bolts of pain through his skull, but when he squinted and shaded his eyes with his hand, he could make out four bare metal walls and a metal ceiling. The cell didn't even have a visible door. "Where am I? Who are you?"

The man stepped closer and crouched next to him. "You're a guest here at Casa del Travis. If we're lucky, he'll forget about us, or kill us before we reach Central."

The woman said, "You should probably lie down. You're still bleeding. I'm Isabela, and he's Aaren. I think there are more people in other cells. I can hear them through the walls."

Aaren chuckled. "Of course there are more prisoners here. This is a prisoner ship, and it's what they do. So, what'd you do that's so bad they let you live?"


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Blurb: 

On the outskirts of the ever present Alliance's watchful eye, William Reynolds has served as mayor and preacher for the better part of a decade. Life is good, and he sees no reason to change anything. When a family fleeing the Alliance's oppression comes his way, he still doesn't hesitate to hide them.

Reaching out to the people in need proves to be more dangerous than he could ever have anticipated, and once events are set in motion, there is no going back.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Super-easy dog treat

I should blog about something, but my mind is pretty blank at the moment. I'm preparing for my last finals, and my brain cells are so exhausted not even caffeine wakes them up anymore, hahaha!

Thus, I will share this fantastic dog treat recipe from the Plexidor blog.

Has anyone met a dog who doesn't like peanut butter? It's not just good to eat; it's a great source of vitamins E, K, and B12, it has important minerals, and is a great source of fiber. 

Some peanut butters contain a lot of sugar or corn syrup, but there are sugar free versions. It doesn't really matter if we don't like it; odds are the dogs will.

Here is a dog treat recipe so easy and quick it can't fail.

1 cup peanut butter
1 16 Oz container plain yogurt
2 ice cube trays

Microwave the peanut butter for about 1.5 minutes. Mix it with the yogurt until completely blended. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays, and place them in the freezer.

Once frozen, they're done. Conveniently sized frozen treats. Even the storage is already cared for; they're in the freezer!

I changed the recipe a little when I made it. I took one small cup of plain greek yogurt and mixed in crunchy peanut butter until I thought it tasted good. Then, I proceeded with eating about half the batter. Princess Bonnie glared; I think she knew I ate something meant for her.

The rest went in the freezer, in an ice cube tray, and the dogs loved it.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Come back here, you pesky little comma!

When I first came to the US and signed up for an English class I was pretty confused. The punctuation rules here are completely different from back home. Which makes sense, since Swedish and English are completely different languages, hahaha.

Luckily, my teacher took her job more seriously than I did, and drummed some basic rules into the heads of her students. I'm not saying I always do it right - I tend to sprinkle in many more commas than most people would find appropriate - but I have the advantage of knowing that there are rules.


The first rule is easy. 


If you see an -ing word, look out for a comma.

Some sentences with -ing words are too short for a comma, of course. Like... "I should be writing."

In a longer sentence with an -ing word, there should be a comma.

Examples:
"When signing up for the class, Maria thought she'd have to re-work her schedule."
"I ran towards the fire, waving my arms in the air."

The comma isn't always right by the -ing word, but it's there.


The second rule will probably stick in my head well after I grow old and forget my own name. 


These words come with a comma:
And, Or, Nor, For, But, So, Yet.

The word "and" is tricky, because it doesn't always have a comma, but it often does. The other ones should always have a comma.

The rules about "and" are:

  • When it's used to separate an element in a series (three or more things) it should have a comma. This is sometimes called the "Oxford Comma."
  • When "and" is used as a conjunction, I.E. to connect two independent clauses, it should come with a comma.



The third rule is about subordinating conjunctions.  


The what and the what? A subordinating conjunction is a word that connects a main clause to a subordinate clause. Oh, don't look so scared, it's not as complicated as it sounds. These are words like:

 Because, Before, After, Although, Unless, Until, When, As, Since, While, Which

There are more of them, but once you get the feeling for it, you don't really have to think about it any more.

Example: "Maria wrote the blog about commas, because she was so tired of people skipping them."
The word "because" ties the two parts of the sentence together. Note that the comma goes before the word because, not after it.


One more rule. =) 


Use a comma with parenthetical elements.

What does that mean? Easy. "Maria's cell phone, which she mostly uses to check her e-mail, fell to the floor."


Besides these basic rules, commas are used to avoid confusion. 


Examples:
Outside the lawn was cluttered with fallen leaves.
Outside, the lawn was cluttered with fallen leaves.

Another good example that has been going around the Internet is:
"Let's eat Grandma."
"Let's eat, Grandma."


Piece of cake! =D

Friday, April 19, 2013

SFR Brigade presents...

It is time for a new issue of the SFR Brigade presents. So, what is this again? I'll post a snippet from one of my scifi romances below, and you can click here to check out excerpts from more science fiction romance authors!

Today, I'm sharing a snippet from my upcoming novel Operation Earth, to be released August 11 by Desert Breeze Publishing.
______________________________

Ryan leaned back on a kitchen chair. He weighed it on the back legs, so far Rachael thought he'd topple over, and watched her under his lashes.

Did he think it made him seem mysterious?

In her eyes, he looked like a stubborn eight year old.

"I'm going to be honest with you. We're joining the resistance, and we think you should come with us. Your family is far away, and there's no one else to take care of you, right?"

The words, "I'twenty-eight years old," balanced on her lips, but she managed to withdraw them. Asserting her independence would only serve to convince him. 

Melissa filled in, "I was absolutely terrified at first, but once we made it to the first meeting, everyone was so nice. Well-organized too."

Ryan took over"We should all stand together. Help each other out. Show these mothers you don't fuck with America."

Melissa scolded, "Ryan dearest, watch your language. And you mean Earth."

The way they bounced the words between them made Rachael feel like a spectator at a tennis match. Melissa broke the illusion through bending over the table and putting a hand on hers.

"What my husband means to say, dear, is that people on this planet need to unite. We're taking it back."

Rachael wanted to pull her hand away, but forced herself to sit absolutely still. They were probably right, and she should be both willing and able to fight. She just didn't want to. What if all the newcomers were like the guy in the store. She couldn't shoot him.

"I have to think about this..."

Melissa squeezed her hand.

"Just don't think too long, dear. We're taking the bus at five." 
______________________________

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The best part of my day :-)

I always found mornings pretty bleh, but lately that has changed. My days usually start with my youngest dog jumping up in bed, poking me with a paw. It's like a when a human tries to shake another human awake, but he does it with his cute little foot. I pet him a little and tell him to go back to sleep. Then, my Princess Bonnie comes up and rolls over so I can rub her tummy.

These few minutes in the morning are so wonderful. I'm still too sleepy to worry about everything I have to do, or any other problems that might lurk, and for a little while, there's just peace and doggy lovin'. If I could choose one perfect moment in time where I'd like to stay forever, that would probably be it.

Princess Bonnie napping on my pillow




Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Only a couple of weeks left...

No, I'm not talking about a book release - it's bit more than two weeks left until the release of Flashback  (June 21). I look forward to it, though. This countdown goes to something that might be less interesting to people in general, but it's a big deal to me. In two weeks, I'm done with my Bachelor's degree in Business Management.

I was a bit worried when I started; going back to school at my age is kind of a big deal. Not to mention going back to school in a different country with a different language and completely different habits. I've done okay. Thus far I have one B - in statistics and it really annoys me - and the others are all As. Getting an A tastes like Accomplishment.

Looking back, I can't believe I made it this far. Having a daytime job, full time school, writing, and home and family is like standing on a big ball in a circus juggling sharp knives. Now, I'm counting down the last few projects, and I feel happier and more relaxed than I have for a long time.

I have all these ideas of what I'm going to do with all the free time I'll get when I no longer have to spend early mornings, evenings, and weekends doing homework. It's just imaginary, of course. Once I get there the other areas of life will expand and suck it up, but it's nice to daydream. :-)

Deep inside of me there's a tiny crazy person. She's completely insane. She's already jumping up and down, waving her arms, shouting, "You know what? Enroll again and get that English degree you always wanted." Maybe... Maybe after taking a break. I could pick away at it one class at a time instead of barging through life at full speed. We'll see.

For now, I look forward to the first weekend when the semester is over. I'm going to sit in the yard and read a book. =D


Sunday, April 14, 2013

New excerpt from Saving Casey by Liza O'Connor!

I've been talking about the book Saving Casey by Liza O'Connor these last few days. Here's one more excerpt for your reading pleasure!


Any chance you’d be willing to go to a different doctor to get another treatment on your face?”
“I really like Dr. Grey.”
“I know, but we can’t take the chance. You’d visit a doctor in Montana after office hours.”
“Does he have the equivalent experience and skills as Dr. Grey? Because I already have nightmares where I’m blind and irreparably scarred.”
“He won’t touch your eyes. He’ll just work on the cheeks.”
“And if I’m scarred, causing little children to scream at the sight of me, will you still love me?” She expected him to flounder with his response because it required him to actually admit he loved her, something he’d refused to do. To her shock, he replied at once.
“Absolutely.”
“No hesitation?”
“Nope.”
“So explain why you’ll love me without hesitation if I’m hideously scarred, but won’t even kiss me when I’m just ghoulishly tattooed?”
“Simple. Dan wouldn’t mind if I’m the only man in the world who still thinks you’re beautiful. But as long as millions of better alternatives exist, Dan would never forgive me for stealing your future.”
She hated it when he nailed the truth. If she were really seventeen, she would agree a hundred percent. Sighing heavily, she muttered, “I’ll see the doctor.”
“He’s not going to leave you scarred, Cass.”
“I hope not, but if he does, I’m holding you to your word.”
“You have it.”
She smiled at the turn of this conversation. “So you think I’m beautiful?”
“Inside and out,” he replied. “We need to change the conversation now.”
“Why? I like this conversation.”


Curious yet? I'll add the blurb again, just in case you've missed it ;-)

Having been diagnosed with cancer, Cass Goldman decides to opt out of any futile medical care and end her life. While she has some thoughts on afterlife, she never expects to reincarnate into the body of a seventeen-year-old girl named Casey Davidson.

When she awakens in a hospital, Cass discovers two disturbing facts: One, she is now inside the body of a troubled teenager, and two, the former owner of this body committed suicide, but only Cass knows that. Everyone else believes Casey has survived, but suffered a complete memory loss. Cass has two choices: to take on Casey’s life and turn it around, or to confess the truth about her reincarnation and end up in a mental asylum. Given this second chance at life, Cass decides to take on the future life of Casey—the frightening ghoul-faced teen with short, black, spiky hair.

Every person around Cass has an ulterior motive and discovering the truth of Old Casey’s life is more complicated than the “new math” she is forced to learn in school. In addition, Cass has to contend with raging teenage hormones and the prior crimes of Old Casey, which she might not remember, but everyone else certainly does. However, her biggest frustration concerns her feelings for her father’s rugged security specialist who sees her only as a teenager and doesn’t want to explore the mutual attraction between them.

As determined as Cass is to turn this life around, Old Casey’s enemies are just as determined to end her life. She has no idea whom she can trust, but she knows she’ll never survive going it alone.


What's that? You're wondering where you can see more of Liza and where you can find the book? Right here:  Saving Casey by Liza O'Connor