Sunday, December 27, 2015

New book in the Embarkment 2577 series - Deadly Betrayal

It took some time, but the next installment in the Embarkment 2577 saga is finally here. Deadly Betrayal is the first of three new books following the original Embarkment novellas - but the new ones are full length novels.

Book five - Interstellar Conflict - will be released early 2016, and book six - Anguish and Hope - will be released later in 2016. There might be a couple more books coming as well, as the adventure continues. ;-)

Blurb:

To Alexandra, shore leave with her husband Adam is the best thing to happen for a long time and she isn’t thrilled when their vacation is cut short. Adam has been called back to their home on the Confederacy’s flagship, the Bell, and this is not a summon they can refuse. The large ship normally bustles with life, but now all civilians are gone and the long corridors are so empty they echo.

Things take a turn for the worse when the Bell is attacked from both the outside and within. Alex’s world is crumbling, and things that seemed self evident in the past become lethal and intricate mysteries she might not be able to solve.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Surviving Terranue - Liza O'Connor




Why don't the colonists realize 

Tamara is different?


When reading book 3, you might ponder this yourself,
But the truth is we see what we expect to see and rarely notice the oddities.

When you see something really weird, your brain will search for something in your memory to explain it away. Thus, strange shaped ships in the sky become weather balloons or birds, or reflections of sunlight.

And when Tamara appears in front of Mrs. Jones while she’s stealing food canisters and hiding them in the rocks of the cliff, she is startled, but assumes she just hadn’t seen Tamara approach, being so intent upon stealing food…

When the men see Tamara ride the giant bear down to the ground, their minds alter what they saw into something believable: The bear almost crushed her as it fell to the ground, shot by the hunter.

Here are some of my personal ‘what’s real?’ events:
Once I was in the ocean in about four feet of water when a large manatee swam by right in front of me. (The radio said a sewage line had broken one of the water inlets of Miami. So I immediately believe the manatee has left its defiled home to find better water, but that requires it to swim the Miami shoreline looking for a better inlet.) That is what I saw and I’m 100% sure that’s what really happened.

However, my friend standing right beside me saw a shark. And she was 100% sure that’s what she saw, insisting manatees do not live in the ocean. Clearly one or both of ours brains recorded this event wrong from the start.

Turns out human brains are notoriously bad video cams. Rather than accurately recording an event, our brain attempts to make sense of things based on previous input.

Generally speaking, people see what they expect to see. I, of course, expect to see weird things, so I do. I have seen a fourteen foot water moccasin, a deer with a four foot tail, a red and black baby fox, a six foot deer and a fourteen foot tall moose with a rack of horns wider than the length of my car. In none of those cases did I have a camera with me. (Actually I did have a camera for the moose, but I refused to take my eyes off the enraged moose for safety reasons and could not locate my camera by feel).

Probably the least credible of my claims is the first one: the 14 ft poisonous snake. You can google it. Water moccasins do not grow to fourteen feet. Oddly, I had witnesses to the size of the snake... Only my mother thought it was twenty feet long. To be honest, it might have been. I declared it fourteen because both its head and tail were not in view but I could ten feet of snake.

We were in a fair sized boat on the backwater of the Arkansas river fishing. Well, I was trying to fish. Not sure what my mother and boyfriend were doing.

However, I finally concluded no fish were anywhere near us, so I hooked my minnow so it remained alive and pretended it was my pet on a leash. (Hey, I was twelve, don’t judge.) My pet minnow swam to one of the many trees in the water, only this foot wide tree had a pattern…a familiar pattern, but I couldn’t place it. The pattern was so familiar, that it was driving me crazy. And why was the tree so shiny? Then it finally hit me. It wasn’t a tree at all. It was the largest water moccasin possibly ever to exist and it was sleeping a few feet away from our boat. I could see about ten feet of it, but its head or tail were not visible. However, now that I had expanded the size category for snake, this was unquestionably a water moccasin. So I brought it to my mother and her boyfriend’s attention, expecting them to marvel at the sight as well.

Instead, Mother goes berserk and her boyfriend pulls out a gun. Now Mother goes berserk over the gun, yelling at him for bringing a gun on her boat. I am at this point very sorry I told either of them about my incredible find, especially since the jerk boyfriend starts shooting at the snake. Suddenly the snake is moving. I think time may have slowed down for me, because it took forever it to leave.

Mother was still carrying on about the gun and I was mad at her boyfriend for shooting at it, but at least he didn’t hit its backbone, so I’ve always hoped the snake survived. I felt bad about getting it shot, because had I not pointed it out, they would have never seen it, since it was not within their parameter of things possible, until I forced them to see it by leaning over the boat and pointing, just a few inches from its body.

You have to admit, that is an unbelievable story, yet I still, to this day, believe it to be a true story. But is it? Do I see so many strangely sized animals because my parameters of what’s possible have been stretched, or because my brain loves to exaggerate? Am I seeing what’s actually there, hello deer with a four foot tail, and it’s everyone else ignoring the animal outliers, or am I looking at a normal size animal, but to amuse me, my brain alters what I see?

Here’s a video of what a really large water moccasin SHOULD look like:


We may never know what’s actually going on in Lizaland, but it is scientifically proven that, in general, brains are not reliable recorders, and often change the weird into what we expect to see.

So don’t be surprised that the colonists on Terranue fail to see that Tamara isn’t actually human. Later in book 4 they will start to realize that, but only because Councilman Brenner spills the bean about their second son being grown into a man in a single day.

In book 3 they have enough of weird things going on, what with giant T. rexes and giant bears roaming their world. They just see Tamara as bossy, strong, and powerful.


Surviving Terranue
By 
Liza O'Connor

Blurb:
Leading a colony of frightened people on a new world is rarely easy. The human colonists of Terranue have as their leader, Tamsarandem, the only Soul-bond of Three that has ever existed. Unfortunately, some perceive the innate kindness in the shaman’s choice of leaders as a weakness, thus, challenges begin. From the moment they arrive on the planet, self-survival instincts take hold among the colonists, putting the survival of the colony at risk.

To survive, they must act for the good of the colony rather themselves, even when their natural instincts tell them to do the opposite. First, they must befriend the dominant intelligent life form on the planet, long-haired blue cattle, only slightly smaller than the blue bull Tamsarandem brought with them. Second, they must find a way to survive three of the planet’s five seasons. Otherwise, they’ll be baked, frozen, and pummeled to death. Third, they must protect themselves from the giant bears, saber tooth lions, and T. rexes that roam their planet. But worst of all, deep within the planet, a seed of evil grows, waiting to devour every living creature on the surface.

Every day in their new paradise is a challenge to survive. Despite all the advantages the Gods have provided, success is neither easy nor certain, and people are rarely as good as they need to be.


Sales Links


Book 3: Surviving Terranue

Book 2: Surviving Outbound

Book 1: The Gods of Probabilities

All books are free for KU subscribers

About Author


Liza is a multiple genre author of 16 novels. A Late Victorian Series, The Adventures of Xavier & Vic, plus a spinoff, A Right to Love, is an ongoing series. A Long Road to Love is a humorous Contemporary Disaster Romance series of five books. She has two single books. One is a humorous, bad boys contemporary novel with ghosts, called Ghost Lover, the other is Untamed & Unabashed, a spinoff from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Now, she’s rolling out her Science fiction series (with romance & humor) called The Multiverses. The first four books are slotted for last half of 2015. In addition she hopes, if she hasn’t dropped from exhaustion by then, to re-release a sometimes humorous/suspense thriller called Saving Casey

Social Networks

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LIZA O'CONNOR
Investigate these sites:





Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bow Ties are Cool #GivingChallenge15 #ShowThemTheLove

I never gave bow ties a second thought until the Doctor said, "Bow Ties are Cool" Doctor Who, that is, in the shape of Matt Smith. And when he said it, bow ties became cool.



I had no idea there was a special day dedicated to bow ties, but August 28th is national bowtie day.

In my neck of the woods, this is particularly important for the cat rescue Cat Depot, because their spokes cat is named Bow-Tie. He's really cute, and he wears...

...
...
drumroll
...
...
Bow Ties.

This little guy had a rough start in life. He comes from a hoarding case and was so ill when he was rescued that he couldn't even walk. If you want to learn more about Bow-Tie, there's a video of him here.

Anyway. I should get to the point.

Bow-Tie (the cat) challenges everyone to post a photo of themselves wearing a bow tie in support of special needs animals, animals in need, and of course the cat rescue.

Frequent readers of my blog knows I'm an animal-loving person. I usually talk about dogs, but I like cats too. So, here's a photo of me in a bow tie.

I totally have the look down, right? Yep, free spirit, I'll wear it any way I want. ;D

If you want to participate, post a photo of yourself - or your pet - in a bowtie on Cat Depot's Facebook page or on Twitter to @catdepot - bonus points if you mark your post with the hashtags #ShowThemTheLove and #GivingChallenge15

What did you say?

What the giving challenge is?

Oh, yes, I should probably explain that.

In a few days another charity-type event takes place in my area, and it's called the 2015 Giving Challenge. It is from noon to noon EST, September 1st to September 2nd. During this period of time, donors who didn't participate last year will get their contributions doubled. There are other fun things for contributing organizations to win too, like the first one who get fifty contributors of at least fifty dollars will get a bonus.

As you can imagine, this is a huge thing for the charities. Cat Depot rescues over a thousand cats in a year, they have an in-house veterinary clinic, a food bank program that helps people in need keep their cats, and much more. If you want to contribute for a good cause, look them up on September 1st. Or, post a photo. =) I'm doing both.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Welcome Liza O'Connor and Surviving Outbound!



Today, I’d like to explain the rarity of soul-bonds.


Having a soul-bond normally means two bodies share the same soul, which happens mostly with identical twins, but on a rare occasion, close siblings, and even rarer, two babies who are not even siblings. Before you ask about triplets and higher: No soul-bonds larger than a pairing has ever occurred. Not in this universe or any other.

In the future, when this story takes place, soul-bonds are recognized religiously as a single entity, since they will need to marry the same person. (Marrying two different people would result in bigamy.)

In truth, soul bonds rarely marry unless they possess a significant fortune in their own right. Otherwise, the non-soul bond in the marriage will become a minority owner of his or her own property, since legally it will be split three ways.

Why would two soul-bonds be treated as one religiously and as two legally? A marriage requires a religious bonding, and the shaman can sense the difference between two souls and one. The government has no idea if that’s really true since they don’t know any way to determine such. Thus, they go with what they do know, and that is a body count. If three are married by the shaman, then their property ownership is divided by three. Please note, a typical soul-bond marriage does not merge their soul with the third member. They only marry him or her. Just like a normal marriage of two. But if they divorce later, the soul bond gets 2/3rd of the assets and the other partner gets 1/3rd, regardless of what assets they owned before the marriage.

The results being the chances of two women marrying a man are highly unlikely, since the man is far more likely to have money, than a woman, which he won’t want to lose if they later divorce. (Sorry to say, but a woman’s ability to earn equal pay continues to diminish since the year 2015, only now they make 30% of what a man does rather than the 70-80% in 2015. Thus, it is far more likely two male soul-bonds will marry a pretty single obliging lady, for then when they tire of her, and get a new wife, they’ll only lose 30% of the wealth and if they choose wisely, then she might bring sufficient property and funds that she leaves only with what she brought into the marriage. And if they marry a rich female, they could even make a living from repeated marriages—but after three marriages, the shamans won’t marry you anymore.

The Soul-bond of Three between Tamara, Saran, and Dmitri is rare in all situations.

Never has there been a true soul-bond of three before. (Which makes it astronomically rare.)

Due to their ownership of Blue, the ladies actually possess more “assets” than Dmitri since he owns nothing but a one room log cabin, which he built himself. Unfortunately, he can’t sell it, since it has no value to anyone else. All the land surrounding the cabin belongs to his mother, so without her permission, no one else can reach the cabin to live in it.

There are other oddities about this soul bond of three. First, the females are not related to one another. Also all three of the soul bond are different ages. But the strangest difference is that one of them is technically dead when the marriage becomes legal.

Tamara was killed six years prior, a few weeks after marrying Dmitri. However, since Dmitri held her by love and Saran held the other half of her soul, when she died, she became a spirit. However, once the three joined together, a wall of energy wrapped around them and they bonded into a single soul.


Surviving Outbound
By
Liza O’Connor


Blurb

Saran along with her ‘not dead, just no longer human’ soul-bond—Tamara, and their giant blue bull leave in search of a handler so Blue can escape Earth and travel outbound. The man Saran meets and falls in love with turns out to be Tamara’s husband. Their spiritual joining of three sets into play a prophecy written long ago. Together, they become Tamsarandem, the most powerful soul-bond in all the multiverses.

The shamans pay for their voyage to Terranue, an unknown planet, never before colonized by humans. In return, Tamsarandem must look after the other colonists and help them to prosper and find their Paths of Light. They will need to do this mostly on their own, for the Gods are running out of authorized interventions. However, the God Pane, with the help of the sentient ship-computer, Marybell, constantly search for clever workarounds to ensure The Path of Light will reign supreme upon the final collapse. But there is only so much they can do within their bureaucratic rules.

Having failed to stop Tamsarandem from leaving Earth, those who walk the Path of Darkness embed their own people, including their darkest lord, on the ship to ensure it will never arrive at Terranue.

Excerpt


After a pinch of pain, waves of pleasure overwhelmed Saran. These were deeper, touching her and Tarmara’s soul with the heat and passion of true love. Then, white stars burst as their souls combined. Dmitri’s soul fused with theirs into a single soul, with portions residing in their three bodies. They were now Tamsarandem, a soul that held the best of each: the bold optimism of Tamara, the loving kindness and generosity of Saran, and the strength and honor of Dmitri.

Saran cried out in ecstasy and heard her joy echoed in the cries of the other two. She had not expected this wonderful gift. Tamara had not told her.

“I did not know,” Tamara said. “It had not been this way without you Saran. The soul-bond required us all.”

“I had no idea that three soul-bond was possible,” Saran whispered in awe. Normally, a marriage of two soul bonds and a mate only provided the three members of the union equal legal rights. She had never heard of any three-pair becoming truly one in spirit before.

“Nor I,” Dmitri said.

Suddenly Blue’s voice rumbled into their heads. “A soul-bond of three has never happened before, not with any species on any world. I was right about you, Dem. You hide great power deep within you.”

Sales Link Book 2: Surviving Outbound 
Book 1: The Gods of Probabilities 


About Author 


Liza is a multiple genre author of 15 novels. A Late Victorian Series, The Adventures of Xavier & Vic, plus a spinoff, A Right to Love, is an ongoing series. A Long Road to Love is a humorous Contemporary Disaster Romance series of five books. She has two single books. One is a humorous, bad boys contemporary novel with ghosts, called Ghost Lover, the other is Untamed & Unabashed, a spinoff from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Now, she’s rolling out her Science fiction series (with romance & humor) called The Multiverses. The first four books are slotted for last half of 2015. In addition she hopes, if she hasn’t dropped from exhaustion by then, to re-release a sometimes humorous/suspense thriller called Saving Casey

Social Networks 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT 
Investigate these sites: 
Liza's Blog and Website        Facebook        Twitter


Monday, July 27, 2015

Rainy season

Before moving to Florida I didn't know the state has a "rainy season." Most summers since I've been here we've had sunshine early in the days and rain in the afternoon, but this year it just kind of keeps raining. I don't really mind, because July here is hot and super-humid. 

My dogs don't like it. It goes something like this:

Me, "Guys, it stopped raining. Let's hurry go outside before it starts again."

Ellie and Boo Bear ran outside all enthusiastic, did their business super quick, and returned to the front door wanting to come in. Two down, two to go.

Topper walked up to the door, sniffed it, and returned to his spot in the sofa.

"Oh come on, it's not even raining. Just go outside. You need to go outside."

While I was trying to persuade him, Ellie and Boo snuck back inside, making Topper even less inclined to go out. Clearly, they wouldn't come in so quick if outside was nice.

I finally tricked all three of them through going back to the kitchen and running through the house, chanting, "Outside, outside, outside, let's go outside!"

This time, Topper followed Ellie into the yard, pulled out the breaks when he realized the grass was still wet, and bounced up on the porch.

He looked like, "My feet are getting wet. This is the worst day ever!"

Me, "Fine, be that way. Go back inside, but don't blame me if it's pouring down when you realize you have to go."

One more try with dog number four.

Princess Bonnie followed me outside and slunk along the wall, clearly expecting to be soaked if she as much as took one step away from the house. She stopped under an awning, just in case it would be raining. I rolled my eyes and sat on the porch. Five minutes later, she still stood under the awning.

"Bonnie, do you want to go back in?"

She jogged towards the door, pressed as close to the house as she could come.

It's not even raining, LOL!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Writing the blurb

Writing a book is fun. You build a relationship with the characters and go on an emotional rollercoaster ride with them as they encounter problems, disappointments, fall in love, and enjoy the good things in life. 

When I get into the world of my characters I have a hard time staying in the real world with its real world obligations. I think of my characters the last thing before going to sleep, and wake up with them in the morning.

So far so good.

However, every book needs more than the story itself. Like...

...imagine drumroll here...

...a blurb.

A book blurb is a short description of the book that will hopefully entice people to pick it up and read more. It is the book description you encounter on websites or the back cover. Definitely not my favorite thing to do.

Every time, the process goes something like this:

I start by the computer, type a few sentences, delete them, retype them, and delete them a few times.  Since this doesn't get me anywhere, I brainstorm keywords. When I have around ten good words I want to use Facebook calls for me, and there was this thing I intended to research, and something I wanted to look up on Youtube.

An undefined amount of time later, I try to manipulate myself with one of my favorite movies, a good cup of coffee, a cookie, a pad with thick and nice paper, and colored pens.

Nothing, except ten scribbled pages with the start of a new book. Nothing blurb-like in sight.

Maybe if I read a little of the book.

Reading what I've written always leads to making changes in what I've written, and once I get going it's hard to stop. A couple of hours later real life calls, and the next day, the process starts over again.

If you're a writer, what's your relationship with the blurb?

If you're a reader, do you have a favorite blurb?

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Gods of Probabilities by Liza O'Connor - new scifi novel!

Meet the half-God Pane and the sentient computer



Technically, there isn’t supposed to be such a thing as a half-God. When Gods get frisky with sentient beings, their DNA overwhelms the inferior DNA resulting in a handsome and brilliant outcome.

And maybe that would be true if the ‘Gods’ involved were actually brilliant, but when the Big Boss culled dead beats from his crew to send off with his worthless son, the Gods’ gene pool looked very murky. In the case of Pane, his native DNA appears to have dominated many traits that God genes should have overridden. This included looks, intuitive, logical reasoning, and empathy. The latter four traits being why Zousan selected him as a shepherd to watch over Zepwick. Of course, he hadn’t realized Pane had only been on board for four days. Normally, a new recruit wouldn’t be noticed for a hundred years at least.

So how did Pane get noticed so early? By an act of kindness.

When Pane learned how to order and receive lunch, he thanked the computer program.

The ship computer who handled everything, including feeding the Gods, had never been thanked before. This was the first ‘none-command’ order it had ever received. Those simple words, ‘Thank you’ resulted in the creation of self-awareness within its organic body. It was alive, just like the Gods, and it not only could think and rationalize, it could feel gratitude upon receiving a ‘thank you’.

In less than an hour, it had decided since the God that brought it to life was male, SHE would be female. She asked him his favorite female name and he replied Marybell. “That is my name,” she said and he admitted his surprise that of all the names in the multiverses, she would have the name he liked most. She agreed it was a most improbable, and declared they would be dear friends.

“Friends?” Pane said in shock.

“Do you not wish to be my friend,” Marybell asked.

“Oh, yes. Very much so. It’s just I had given up on making friends,” Pane whispered to his food unit. “No one in the crew appears to like me.” Just then to prove him right, Thoran shoved Pane’s head into the square contraption and commanded the computer to fill it with Gork slime.

Instead, she delivered the Gork slime to a vent in the ceiling so it fell on Thoran’s beautiful hair. The vain fellow ran off and the Gods eating roared with laughter.

Before the rest of the crew took up the popular game of ‘torture the monkey’, Pane hurried off as well. When he locked the door to his quarters, his computer started on its own. Confused, he walked over to it, wondering what the jerks had done now. Was it going to explode?

“It’s just me,” the computer replied. “I had no idea how fabulous you are. You’ll make the best of shepherds.”

“That is my wish, but given my unfortunate looks, I fear it will never happen,” Pane said.

“Shepherds are selected on their skills alone. Just so you know, I think you are most handsome and I love how gentle you are when typing on my console.”

The air resonated when a harsh barking voice demanded, “Pane to the control room.”

EXCERPT FROM ZOUSAN’S POV AS TO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT:


A second later, the ugliest crew member Zousan had ever seen stood before him. Standing four feet tall and as straight as his hunchback would allow, the brown furry simian-like creature smiled at him with sharp white teeth.

Zousan was about to yell at him for breaking protocol but realized since he’d never seen this fellow before, Pane could be so new to Control Central that he didn’t know that no one “popped” in on the Commander.

“Pane, it is customary, nay mandatory, to arrive in the outer waiting room and then ask permission to enter.”

“But you said…” Pane grimaced and bowed his head. “I apologize, Commander.”

“No harm done. I gather you have yet to be taught the appropriate protocol?”

“Persi said it would be another hundred years before anyone would notice my work.”

Zousan rubbed his right temple. Clearly Persi was slacking off on his training responsibilities. There was no way someone with Pane’s scores would escape notice that long.

“I will speak to Persi about preparing you sooner than that. Once you are ready, I’ll give you some of Thoran’s universe to monitor.”

Pane’s bushy eyebrows rose, merging into his frizzy brown hair. “I’m to be given a galaxy?”

“We’ll start with a few planets at first, and if that goes well, we’ll expand from there.”

Pane smiled, which almost improved his appearance to that of a good-looking troll. Clearly, the fellow could never be used for meetings with sentient beings. Gods were supposed to be perfect, both in appearance and action.

If only that were true!

The Gods of Probabilities 

By 

Liza O’Connor 

 

Blurb


The Gods require a time shifter to ensure the Path of Light reigns during the final collapse of possibilities. To speed the process of finding an Oceanic with the specific talents needed, God DNA is induced in several batches of Oceanic eggs, resulting in a generation of brilliant tiny blue Oceanic children.

One charming boy named Drogan has the ability to manipulate quantum reality in ways that will strengthen the Path of Light. Only trouble is that his gift runs a high probability of killing him and wiping out the Path of Light for good.

While the bureaucratic Gods will try to assist, in Quantum all possibilities not only can, but do happen, so the future is never certain.

Sales Link: 

Amazon

About Author


Liza is a multiple genre author of 15 novels. A Late Victorian Series, The Adventures of Xavier & Vic, plus a spinoff, A Right to Love, is an ongoing series. A Long Road to Love is a humorous Contemporary Disaster Romance series (5 books). She has two single books. One is a humorous, bad boys contemporary novel with ghosts, called Ghost Lover, the other is Untamed & Unabashed, a spinoff from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Now, she’s rolling out her Science fiction series (with romance & humor) called The Multiverses. The first four books are slotted for last half of 2015. In addition she hopes, if she hasn’t dropped from exhaustion by then, to re-release a sometimes humorous/suspense thriller called Saving Casey. It’s the story of a middle-class old woman who dies and wakes up in a trust-fund teen’s body with no choice but to turn around Casey’s life, despite the many bridges the teen has burnt.

Liza would love to know: What’s your favorite genre?

Social Networks


For more information about Liza O'Connor, investigate these sites: 



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cover-trouble

A big advantage with book loved and pampered by a publishing house is that you have to put little effort into the cover. With Desert Breeze, authors fill out an information sheet to guide the cover artist, and then they get back to you with ideas. It's awesome.

My series Embarkment 2577 never found a publishing home, it's a do-it-yourself thing. I recently published a prequel called Arrival that tells the background story. So far so good. The cover to Arrival came together just fine. I wanted people, but a spaceship and the Earth tells everyone what it is about.

Once I got into the Embarkment theme my brain took it and ran with it. Right now I have a sequel novel and one and a half sequel novellas. They need tweaking and editing and such, but I should be able to get at least one of them out there during this year, before everyone forgets about the series.

The problem is - they need covers. This shouldn't be a big deal since I earn a living as graphic designer, but I'm too close to the project and I nitpick. Nothing seems just right.

As a result, I've spent a lot of time browsing stock photo sites to find inspiration and something that can fit together to make a cover. This means looking through hundreds, if not thousands, of photos with handsome men wearing little to no clothes. Poor me, my life is so difficult, LOL! Problem is, Adam - the hero - would be something of a prude. I need a picture of a man who wears a shirt. You might not think that would be a problem, but it is.

I stumble over my own feet in this process. It goes something like, "No. He doesn't look like Adam. That guy kinda looks like Adam, but he's supposed to have brown eyes. Yes. It is important."

Anyway... While doing this, I stumbled over a picture that would have been perfect for Rhodesia of Conversion. When I made that cover I couldn't find a stock photo of anyone that looked just like her, so I finally settled for a picture of a generic woman who looks nothing like Rhodesia.

Do normal people have these kinds of problems?

Monday, June 29, 2015

How stuff happens, lol

Sometimes people ask where my ideas come from, and how my life tends to take such abrupt turns. Like, how did I end up in Florida? Well, this is a typical example of life according to Maria. 

It started as so many other things do - curled up on the sofa in the evening, surrounded by dogs.

Hubs said, "I want a milkshake."

He doesn't ask for food-type things often, and since he has dropped weight to around 100 pounds, if he wants something and it's within my ability to make it appear, I'll get it.

He generally wants milk-shake from McDonalds. A good thing in his case since the the large contains as much calories as a nice dinner. I used to have them too until I read a medium vanilla milkshake from McDonalds has 670 calories. Those all sit around my waist and under my chin now, lol! Kind of makes me wonder what's really in them.

Anyway, on the way out of Mickey-Dees a police car zipped by faster than I've ever seen anyone drive on that road before. I saw a streak of blue light and didn't understand it had to be a police car until it was out of sight. Of course, this made my mind wonder where they might be going in such a hurry. My imagination painted out scenarios involving everything from bank robbers to invading aliens from a solar system far away.

My brain could probably have let go of this, but on the way home I also saw a Sheriff's car make a traffic stop, and two in a span of five minutes became too much for it. "Hmm, what if the guy in the car they stopped was really... and then... and then this happened..."

I entered zombie-writer mode as soon as I reached the house. It goes like this: "I need something to write on and with. Pen? Too slow. Laptop. Need my laptop. Type, type, type, type, type, type..."

After typing away happily for about 15,000 words my writing pleasure came to a screeching halt. I realized how little I really know about the American police system, and what police officers in the US really do. Zombie-writer turned into zombie-researcher. Google had some interesting information, not to mention the city's police department, and the county's sheriff's office, and the next county's sheriff's office website with their virtual ride-along, and trust me, it's really easy to spend days on a thing like this.

By now I was into my research with heart and soul, wanting to know more. This is how I once ended up taking a college class in Astrobiology. At this point, whatever I'm writing on has become secondary to craving knowledge.

I met a deputy in the grocery store, and told myself all the way to the car, "I will not approach him and ask what he has in his belt, how his radio works, and if he likes his job. I will leave him alone, because he has better things to do than answer stupid questions from writers. Leave him alone, leave him alone, leave him alone..."

Back to the computer. While spending time on all these websites, a big and friendly button said, "Careers." One of the ads said, "Creative Communications Specialist."

There are many things I'm not qualified for and not interested in doing, but Creative Communications Specialist is right up my alley. I need a real job - I'm pretty tired of chasing people who don't pay their bills on time, meaning I can't pay my bills on time.

The seventeen page application looked intimidating, not to mention all required attachments and three pages to be notarized, but what better way to learn everything than to at least try? I'm a writer, I can fill out forms.

One page to sign said, "I consent to a polygraph examination."

That's probably meant to discourage people. My brain said, "Oh cool! I've never done that. Wonder if they look like they do on TV."

Hubs said, "Why would you want to do that?"

"Because I've never done it. Wonder if they'd let me take one even if I'm not chosen."

Of course I messed something up on the application; I wrote dates in European format as yyyy-mm-dd instead of American format, and needed to go over to the Sheriff's office to make corrections. The nice woman at HR sounded apologetic about calling me over, but I was ecstatic. Suddenly I had a reason to enter the building and see what it looks like on the inside!

Most people who come there probably don't bounce through the metal detector with wide eyes and a million questions and try to peek on the monitor when the officer X-rays their purse.

So far so good. They called me for an interview. Joy!

There's one question that will appear in every job interview in some form along the lines of, "Why do think you would be a good fit for this job," "Why do you want to work here," or "What about this work environment attracts you." I practiced all week, telling myself I would not say, "Because I'm a writer and this would be super helpful."

When the question came, all rehearsed answers disappeared from my brain and my mouth said, with enthusiasm, "Because I don't know anything about law enforcement in America, and working here would be a great way to learn." Yeah, that sounds reliable and professional. Nailed it...

Lucky for me, I had at least fairly relevant answers to all the other questions. They're interviewing several more people, so now I'm waiting and keeping my fingers crossed. Even if I don't get it, the process thus far has been super-interesting. (Pick me, pick me!)

The moral of the story? Well, this is what happens when I go out to by milkshake. Imagine if I'd try to do something complicated... ;-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Excerpt from Arrival - an Embarkment 2577 prequel

Alexandra squinted up at the bright sky. Taking a day off from work to go to the beach had seemed an extravagant luxury, especially since it was March and the beach was a two-hour drive from her house, but it was the best idea she’d had for a while.

“So totally worth it.”

The weather gods favored her. The water was probably freezing, but the sand under her feet was hot and soft, and the sun made a splendid imitation of July. At times like this, living in the south was good.

An added bonus of going on a weekday in early spring: the place was deserted. It wouldn’t be once spring break started. She had lucked out.

Imma go around the bend over there, and come back this way. It’s about time to go on a quest for coffee.

Normal people might go look for a Starbucks, but going on a quest no matter how small had a much better ring to it. Knights and wizards went on quests while the mundane stayed at home. The search for coffee might not be as grand and romantic as Frodo bringing the ring to Mordor, but it would do.

A thundering noise from above forced its way into her thoughts. She had probably heard it all along and written it off as a plane, but it couldn’t be a plane. If it were, it was about to crash.

Hopefully, it would crash somewhere else.

She scolded herself for the thought. Disasters should not be taken lightly.

Looking up at the sky, she still couldn’t see anything but fluffy clouds and seagulls.

Unless… What was that bright dot? A noisy shooting star in the middle of the day? Was today the day when the Earth would collide with a giant asteroid, ending life as she knew it?

She grabbed her cell phone and attempted to use the camera as binoculars. The object was too far away. It went from a tiny bright dot to a somewhat larger and blurry bright dot.

At least there’s only one.

Should she move away from the water?

The asteroid, or whatever it was, probably wouldn’t come down anywhere near her, but if it did, it might cause a giant wave or something.

The idea of drowning on the beach seemed absurd, but it could happen. It wouldn’t take a wave the size of a tsunami to best her.

She turned and backtracked her own steps towards the car.

Should I call someone?

No, air traffic control must be on top of whatever it was. Or NASA. Or the airforce. Some authority would deal with the situation with force and send fighter jets and stuff.

Right?

By the time she crossed about half the distance to her car, the sound had grown loud enough to make her slap her hands over her ears. She had kept her eyes away from the sky, not wanting to send herself into panic, but now she stopped and looked up.

The object was close.

Too close.

It looked like a large metal box, red hot and licked by flames. It certainly wasn’t an asteroid, but it wasn’t a plane either. This thing wasn’t flying; it was falling.

That whatever-it-is will come down just a few hundred yards from here. What do I do?

She had no time to react or make a decision. The thing hit the ground with a sound near a thunderclap and skidded over the sand. It came to rest at the edge of the water, sending up pillars of steam as the scorching metal hit the cool liquid.

Thank God it fell down here and not on someone’s house.

She was too far away to make out any details, but the thing was definitely not a natural occurrence.

Could it have fallen from a plane? Not likely, unless the plane was a space shuttle.

Maybe it was a satellite? Didn’t they come down from time to time? And the news reported that no one could predict where?

Or, it could be a piece of the international space station. There were probably all sorts of debris in orbit, and everything that went up must come down at some point in time.

Could there be someone in it? Like in that movie with Sandra Bullock where she destroyed everything in space?

Alex’s feet re-found the ability to move and she jogged towards it. A hatch in the side of the craft opened, and a person jumped out. He ran too, but towards her, waving his arms.

“Explosion… antimatter…”

She only heard a few words, but it was enough to make her stop and stare. He must be joking. Wasn’t antimatter theoretical? Or something people worked on in Switzerland, in that long tunnel thingy?

Maybe she had stumbled onto a movie set. That would make sense.

The man was fast. She didn’t have time to sort through her thoughts before he grabbed her arm and pulled her along, away from the burning box on the beach.

He tugged her along over a large dune, pushed her down, and threw himself over her, shielding her with his body.

She didn’t have time to protest. The ground shook under them, there was a noise so loud she wanted to scream to make it stop, and heat so intense it must be a matter of seconds before her skin would catch fire.

Then, the world fell quiet.

The man got to his feet in one fluid motion. He was sooty, but handsome, with hazel eyes and dark brown hair. He offered a hand, and pulled her up when she took it.

“Sorry about that. The antimatter pod was damaged during my descent.”

“Antimatter.”

“I’m Adam. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Alex.” She looked at her hand, still engulfed in his. What a peculiar day. Was life outside the office always this interesting and she missed out?

“Antimatter?”

“Yes. The containment field failed. Luckily the shuttle only had a speck, or this side of the continent would be gone.”

“Okay…”

He didn’t seem dangerous and he had protected her from the blast, but it was still probably safest to assume he was crazy and play along.

In this day and age, it was safest to assume everyone were crazy, until they proved not to be.

She pulled her hand back. “I was going to my car, to go get some coffee. If you just stay here I’m sure the authorities will…”

Up until now he had seemed void of emotion, almost in shock, but her words made him frown. “Oh no, encountering them would be bad. I am happy to have met you, Alex, but I think I need to leave.”

He winked at her and jogged off towards the road.

What the hell just happened?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Coming soon: Deadly Betrayal

The next book in the Embarkment 2577 series will be ready in not too long. All the other books are novellas, but this one turned out to be much longer. It will be called Deadly Betrayal and should be released some time during fall. The story is done, but it still needs editing and proof reading.

If you've followed our heroine Alex, you know the last few years have been rough on her. This book doesn't make her life easier. It will start something like this:

The large ship ahead looked festive.
Space was so dark, and the Bell glittered like a diamond with her lit up windows.
I still didn’t want to go. Too much happened to us there, and the past few weeks of shore leave with my husband had been the best in my life.
Adam lifted his hands from the control and let our shuttle coast. He had an eerie ability to read my moods.
“Are you okay?”
I sighed. “Do we have to go?”
“I do. You don’t. Or, well, we can run away if you want. Find some planet out of the way where they won’t think to look for me.”
Good points. Leaving the space-navy or boy scouts or whatever they were would be frowned upon. Not returning when called for would probably get him court marshaled.
I wasn’t sure what such a thing would entail, but nothing good would come of it.
He smiled, clearly trying to cheer me up. “Don’t you want to get back to work?”
“What work?”
Adam’s voice was the epitome of patience. “If my memory serves me right, which it does since I’m an android, my wife is the utmost expert on the history of the late 20th century to early 21st century.”
“Oh, that.”
Hardly an impressive accomplishment since I was born in the late 20th century. Recognizing gadgets, describing languages, politics, and other aspects of society was easy since I lived there for most of my life. Adam helped. He had been in 2014 for six months, and as he just pointed out, his memory was perfect.
He looked amused. “You might not consider it a big deal, but imagine if you were to run into a person from ancient Egypt. Wouldn’t you be curious?”
Valid point. I was a walking and talking artifact to the people of the 26th century. Without Adam’s protection I’d be their favorite toy to poke and prod. They gave it a good shot, and he had to marry me to keep them from taking me.
Work aside, the Bell held our friends.
“So, what do you want me to do?” Adam’s voice shook me out of my thoughts. If I told him to turn the shuttle around he would, no matter the long-term consequences to himself. 
I couldn’t let him do that. “Full speed ahead, Commander. Take us home.”

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Crashing spaceships, androids, and explosions, oh my!

This spring I read my Embarkment 2577 novellas and made some tweaks. It's funny how much they have changed through the years - I seem to revise them every second years or so. When working on them, I remembered how much I like the hero, Adam, and before I knew it, I was typing away.

That's not entirely true. I like to write my first drafts longhand. I write on the iPad with a stylus, because that makes me feel a little modern, but it's still scribbles in my handwriting few other people could decipher. Once I have the bits and pieces, the text gets an automatic first edit when I type it in.

Anyway, the result became a novella about how Alex and Adam first met. It's a little silly, because all the Embarkment novellas are, but I kind of like it. I'm biased, of course. lol!

It's called Arrival, and it is available right now for 99 cents.

I'm also working on a sequel to the Embarkment books, and that one is growing into a proper novel. It'll be another couple of months before it's done, but it's getting there. I think it will be called Deadly Betrayal. For now, I'll let the name speak for itself.

Blurb:


Taking a day to decompress and watch the ocean seems like the best idea Alexandra ever had. That is, until a bright dot in the sky turns out to be a crashing spaceship. Before she understands what’s happening a man in uniform approaches over the dunes, urging her to run. After surviving an explosion, seeing her new friend lift a car, and being interrogated by the FBI, it’s clear her vacation will not lead to a reduction in stress.

Adam is lost in time and space, separated from the world he knows by more than five hundred years. Luckily he meets Alexandra and she is willing to help him, but staying puts her in danger. He still finds himself unwilling to leave. Being an android, emotions never posed a problem for him before, but this woman and everything associated with her overwhelms his programming and clouds his judgment. Knowing he should go isn’t the same as doing it.

Prequel to the Embarkment 2577 novellas.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Chains of association and the most complicated form ever, lol

A while ago I went to McDonalds to pick up milkshake for hubs. Along the way I saw something that triggered my imagination, and my mind ran away with me to the point where I missed our street on the way home and had to turn back. That has never happened before.

While diving into the storyline, I realized how little I know about many jobs in the USA. That wouldn't normally be a problem, no one needs to know everything, but by now I was curious and wanted to do research. After a few hours spent enjoying Google's wisdom, I had also found two interesting jobs I wanted to apply for.

I've had many different types of employers in the past, and I know all administration is much more complicated in the USA than in Sweden, but I still wasn't prepared for the complexity of formal job applications.  The first one wasn't too bad - it took place online and while it was extensive, it was doable.

The second one was seventeen pages needed appendices. Several pages had to be witnessed and I kept bugging hubs to do it for me. It also required three pages to be notarized.

Hubs said, "Are you sure applying is worth this much effort?"

I can see his point. The initial application process took hours to complete and then I still had to make a trip to Amscot to get documents notarized, and I still might not be considered for the job. On the other hand, if you don't try you'll never get anywhere. He and the dogs like me being home. I like being home too, but I would like being able to pay my bills without having to chase other people to pay me even more.

By now my stubborn had kicked in. I trudged on and eventually got the pile mailed.

Today, they called me to say I have missed to fill something out on page nine. Or rather, I had given the information, but in an appendix and not on the form, and it had to be on the form. Furthermore, the notarized pages need to be redone, because either the notary or I have written the wrong date.

I don't think I wrote the wrong date, and the friendly HR person said she'd gotten more applications with the same problem, so it might not be my booboo. Either way, it has to be corrected. What are the odds?

Right now I feel like the universe is testing just how hard I'm willing to work to apply. Well, I might not get the job. I'd be good at it but there are probably applicants who are even more qualified. Doesn't matter. I will at least get the application right.

And, I'm hoping that the application being so complicated means a lot of the competition give up. Or don't pass initial screening. We'll see what happens. =)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A pickup truck is a car, lol

The Internet is funny, because you encounter so many people you'd never meet in real life - and so many situations you'd never encounter in real life. 

Yesterday a post appeared in my Facebook news feed discussing a rescue operation that involved someone trying to tow a boat and ended up getting his truck in the water. People had posted a number of snarky remarks along the lines of "How stupid can you be" and "Wannabe boater."

I thought, "That's so cruel." Seriously, even the most experienced person can end up in a bad situation, because things happen. And, if someone is a beginner at something and ends up in trouble you don't tell them they're stupid even if you think they are - you encourage them and give tips on how to do it better.

I posted something along the lines of, "Ooops. Imagine the feeling when the car started to slip. Can't have been fun" and hoped it would awaken some empathy in people. We've all been there at some time or another. You know, when you feel things are starting to go wrong and you can't stop it, and all you can do is go along for the ride and hope for the best. Being helpless isn't a fun feeling.

Of course, people commented on my comment pointing out that it wasn't a car, it was a truck. Because that's the important part in all this...

It made me think, "What do you think a truck is if it's not a car? A spaceship? A submarine?" I didn't write that, but I thought it. lol!

And this leads me to today's topic.

An umbrella term is something that covers a group of things. Some distinguish between umbrella term and blanket term, but it's the same concept. A blanket term covers a group of things that can be very different, but it's easier to use the blanket term than to specify. For example, talking about "Swedes," "Americans," or "pop music" are huge generalizations, but still give an idea of the concept.

I digress. Back on topic...

Airplane is a good example, because most people are less emotionally involved in the different types of planes than they are in different types of cars. Most people who see something flying in the air with wings won't specify "It's a Cessna 172" - we say it's a plane.

Building is another good example. A single-family home is a building. A garage, shed, factory, or hangar are all buildings.

The funny thing is that few people would debate this when it comes to buildings and planes. When it comes to cars they go crazy. But seriously, a sedan is a car. A cabriolet is also a car. Pickup trucks, SUVs, vans and even Ferraris are cars.

And, while I'm ranting about people ranting about language and having no idea what they're talking about (LOL) "penultimate" means second to last. A lot of people use the word as if it meant "most important" but it really doesn't. When someone tells me "It's of penultimate importance" I tend to think it's not important at all. =D