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Glad you stopped by. I hope you'll stop by again for Monday Morning Musings, Meet the Author Thursday, Who's For Dinner Fridays, and Saturday Sampler.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why Aurora Springer Wrote Comet Tales


Why I Wrote Comet Tales.

Comet Tales is a compilation of four short stories and a novella written over two and a half years. The common theme is light-hearted romance in a science fiction setting. Several of these stories have been published separately.
The short stories were written to celebrate different holidays. Most are too short to be viable as separate publications.

Gifts of Jangalore was published in December, 2014, to celebrate the winter festival of lights as a nonsectarian celebration in the far future, or possibly an alternate universe. It is set on the jungle planet of Jangalore. This story belongs in the Grand Masters’ Galaxy and helps draw readers to the series.

Empath Rosa Spruce and Psi Master Varan seek an ancient site within an alien jungle.


Stranded on Illumina was written for Valentine’s Day, 2017, and offered to my newsletter subscribers.

Jacie’s plan to meet her boyfriend on the Planet Illumina is scuttled when he skips their date.


Lonely Hearts on Mars was published in 2015 for Valentine’s Day. In future, I may write a series set in our solar system.

Love blossoms from disaster in this science fiction short story set in the near future.


Super Christmas is obvious. I offered this microstory in the Secret Supers series to my newsletter subscribers in December, 2016. This series is set in contemporary Earth with an alien twist, including genetic engineering and super animals.  

A glimpse into the lives of the Secret Supers.


Captured by the Hawk, the novella starring an Irish spy and a space pirate was written and published in 2014. This adventure pairs two stubborn protagonists in a fun and fast-paced space operetta. The setting is the whole galaxy. Readers enjoy this story and some have asked for a sequel.

Spaceships crash across the galaxy in the comic misadventures of spy Grey Kat and pirate Black Hawk.



Comet Tales - Four short stories and a novella. Trudge over the rocks of Mars, trek through a hazardous alien jungle, or pop across the galaxy in a pirate ship in five fun tales of adventure and romance.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X3WWYF2



Excerpt from Captured by the Hawk

Kat grinned. She had unlocked the first door, and they were inside the scouter. With luck, the ship would be empty at night while it was under repair. They tiptoed to the far end of the hold, and climbed the narrow metal stairs to the upper level. The door to the personnel area had a standard lock. Hawk pushed Kat aside and bent over the lock, his body concealing his actions. She heard a metallic crunch and the door creaked open. She guessed his steel fingers had snapped the bolt.

Hawk glanced back at Kat. A quick jerk of his head signaled his intention to proceed, and she followed his dark figure further inside the ship. He seemed familiar with the interior layout of the scouter, since he led the way without hesitation along the corridors. Finally, they ascended narrow steps, and opened the door to the bridge of the ship. 
A handful of lights shone on the control panels, and several were red. Kat glided over to the central com and lowered herself into the seat. Treading quietly behind, the Hawk rested his hands on the back of the seat and peered over her shoulders.

“Shall I open the panel?” he whispered.

“No. I’ll try breaking into the com first.” Kat activated the screen and hit keys. The screen lit up, but nothing else happened. She input the first sequence of the secret code, and waited a few seconds for a response, leaning back and propping her neck on her hands. If the com did not activate, she would try another tactic to break in.

Kat bent forward to begin a new sequence. Abruptly, a loud hiss came from below the panel. She felt a gush of air. No, it wasn’t air. It smelled wrong.

Instantly, she sprung out of the seat, yelling, “Gas!” and dashed for the door.

She heard the crunch of metal on metal, as if the Hawk was trying to seal off the spouting gas. Then, he was at her back and shouted, “Get out. It’s a trap.”

More hisses of gas escaped from beneath other panels.

They leaped down the stairs and raced back toward the cargo hold. Faint buzzing sounds suggested the gas was seeping into the corridors. Kat felt weird, groggy. Her legs wobbled. She stumbled, trembling uncontrollably.

“I can’t go on!” she mumbled, tottering on legs too shaky to support her body.

Black Hawk hauled her upright, preventing her from collapsing to the ground. Seizing her arms, he half carried, half dragged her towards the cargo exit. The dim lights around the door to the cargo hold were only a few feet ahead. But, her head was spinning and Kat was too dizzy to see straight.

Abruptly, the Hawk groaned and slumped to the ground, dragging Kat down with him. The light caught in his eyes as he lay beside her. “Sorry!” he gasped.
She tumbled into a speckled greyness, which darkened to black nothingness.

Aurora Springer’s Published Stories are listed HERE

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 adventures and romances set in weird worlds and 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:



Monday, March 20, 2017

What Do Teens and the Elderly Have in Common?

While writing The Case of the Meddling Mama (which is with my editor, btw), I touched on the topic of teens and drugs. A recent public service announcement on TV hit me harder than "This is your brain on drugs" with the fried egg from the 1980s.


Credit: The Partnership at Drugfree.org

I used the information in this video for a teacher in my story to explain to Alex one of the ways teens get hooked on drugs. Todd, a teen who trusts her, is worried that his buddy might be taking drugs. Here's the excerpt:

“I have a question, Steve. It’s about drugs at the high school.”
For a moment, he looked startled, then his countenance turned dark. “You’d think in a small town like this we could keep out drugs and the dealers.” He cocked his head. “Have you heard something?”
Not wanting to betray Todd’s confidence, I hedged. “Just what was in the paper about the girl dying of an overdose.”
“Yeah, that was bad. The parents are in denial, of course. Considering what I know of Julie, I think it was accidental. She might have flirted with the drug then discovered the hard way she couldn’t tolerate it.” He shrugged. “When will kids realize they aren’t danger-proof?”
Laraine leaned over and patted his arm. “Weren’t we like that back then? Nothing could hurt us. We were invincible.”
“Is this some new kind of drug?” I asked. “Or is it same-old, same-old? Like marijuana.”

“We’re seeing an increase in opioid addiction,” Steve said. “A parent, or grandparent, is prescribed an opioid for pain, and the kid sneaks a couple just to try it out. Likes the feeling and wants more. So they seek out other kids whose parents still have the meds, but aren’t taking them anymore. When that's not enough, they find a dealer.”

 The reason the video hit me hard is that I take prescription drugs for chronic back pain, and I have grandchildren who visit often. Granted they're still young, but it's a warning to me and anyone who has prescription pain killers to be careful.

My physical therapist gave me more disturbing news. The age group with the largest growing number of heroin addicts are the elderly. Doctors prescribe opioids for chronic pain. They also restrict the number of pills prescribed. The body becomes used to the amount of opioids and needs more to ease the pain. When the doctor won’t prescribe more, they turn to street drugs, and heroin is cheaper than oxycontin or morphine sulfate.

So, it isn't just teens who get hooked on drugs. But one thing we can all do is be careful where we keep our medicines.




Saturday, March 18, 2017

#WeWriWa #8Sunday: Secret Marriage? The Case of the Meddling Mama


Welcome to Weekend Writing Warrior and 8 Sentence Sunday, the weekly hops for everyone who loves to read and write! Writers share an 8 to10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other writers. You can find them here.

My snippet is from my upcoming release, THE CASE OF THE MEDDLING MAMA, an Alex O'Hara Novel, third in my PI mystery series. Along with some creative punctuation, it hasn't been edited yet, so suggestions are welcome.

This snippet comes immediately after last week's. The ending of which said Maria Palzetti didn't know she was Alex's mother-in-law. Here's the explanation.

It’s like this—last fall, her son Nick returned to Far Haven. Dumb me, I thought he came to either A) take my business away from me, or B) see me. Wrong on both fronts. Seems he wasn’t a pencil pusher for the State Department, like I’d always thought. Nope, he was a spy for some agency that didn’t exist—well, it did, but you know what I mean. And he’d come home on a mission, which of course he hadn’t shared with me.
Once it was over, he declared he loved me. Me, the girl he’d grown up with, who’d had the biggest teenage crush on him, who’d given up on him ever seeing her as a woman, not like a kid sister. Not only that, we were so crazy in love—or was it lust?—that we “got married in a fever” as the song goes.
My dad and Nick’s folks had been on an Australian cruise of a lifetime, so they still didn’t know about the wedding. See, Nick disappeared on our wedding night.



Once again, Alex O’Hara is up to her ears in mysteries. After surviving an attempted murder, all she wants is R&R time with Nick Palzetti. But his mother leaving his father (“that horse’s patoot”) and moving in with Alex puts a crimp in their plans. Then Nick leaves on assignment and the teen she rescued from an abusive father believes his buddy is doing drugs. Meanwhile, Alex has two easy cases to take her mind off her shaky relationship with Nick—a philandering husband and a background check on a client’s boyfriend. Piece of cake.





Thursday, March 16, 2017

Alexandra Christle Blog Tour



At a party one night, I overheard a friend use the term “between nowhere and lost,” and with a writer’s brain, thought, Wow. What a cool title for a book. Of course, a title is a long way from a story, but every author will tell you each story we write sprouts from a different seed.

The seed planted, I needed a little fertilizer, so I started researching careers for my hero. Whether just dumb luck or some twist of fate, I stumbled across a Supreme Court brief on Darlington Manufacturing Company in South Carolina. In 1956, by a very slim margin, the plant employees voted to bring in the TWUA (Textile Workers Union of America). In retaliation, the mill’s owner shut down the plant.

At least three leaves sprang from the seed that day, and I was on my way. I usually write without an outline, and frequently without a plot, but as I became immersed in my tale, I realized I wanted some historical accuracy to give the book some grit. So I hopped in my car and drove to South Carolina. At the Darlington County Historical Commission, I hit paydirt. With a banker’s box full of newspaper articles dating back to the 1890s, I found more information about the case than I ever dreamed possible.  The legal battle between the Union and Deering-Milliken (owner of the plant) spanned 24 years—the longest running labor case in history. I have since returned to Darlington at least five times, and while Between Nowhere and Lost is fiction, I pulled many of the facts from the case to give the story some authenticity. The true story of Darlington broke my heart, and I have tried to bring some of that feeling to my story:


1960s housewife Helen Hodges has reconciled herself to a quiet, childless life in a small South Carolina mill town, but when she has a happenstance encounter with David Drummond, the mill owner’s son, her repressed longings for a child are reawakened and discontent floods over her. David is immediately taken with Helen, but tries, without success, to focus on his problems at the mill and the union takeover looming over his plant.

As the union fight becomes heated, racial tensions emerge and the town is polarized; violence breaks out and the situation intensifies, putting David in danger. Helen’s husband, the union representative, becomes David’s unlikely guardian, and although on opposite sides of the issue, the two men become friends. And as Helen is torn between her duty to her husband and her desire to be with David, as well as reconciling herself with her Catholic faith, events escalate until she learns some life-changing news and rushes to tell David before he leaves town, and her life…forever.

The Historical Commission will be erecting a historical marker for the mill (which has since been demolished) sometime this fall. The director has kindly invited me to that event, and I’m excited to attend. This town and its story has become a part of me.
More information about Darlington is on my website: alexandrachristle.com

Between Nowhere & Lost
By Alexandra Christle
Genre: Romantic Drama
Release Date: January 5, 2017
Length: 283 Pages

EXCERPT



ABOUT ALEXANDRA CHRISTLE



Born in New York City, Alexandra was transplanted to a small town in South Carolina at the age of 11, after the death of her father. Embracing the south took some adjustments for a Yankee child, but now a resident of Norfolk, Virginia, she loves and claims the south as her home.

With a degree from the University of Missouri Journalism School, her career has spanned newspaper advertising, teaching high school English, and working as a graphic designer for a commercial print shop. But writing fiction is her passion -- she started her first "novel" at age 7 and made it through two chapters before abandoning it for Barbie and Ken. And when most young girls dreamed of being Miss America, Alexandra's dream was to appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, talking about her latest novel.

THE GIVEAWAY

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Novel Book Tours

Monday, March 13, 2017

Going to the Moon Again

Today is my turn at Paranormal Romantics blog. I write about SpaceX's proposed flight to the moon in 2018. Exciting, especially for me as a science fiction writer. Come on over and see.

Fly Me To The Moon on Paranormal Romantics.

And return next weekend for another snippet from The Case of the Meddling Mama.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

#WeWriWa #8Sunday - Meddling Mama: Meet Maria


Welcome to Weekend Writing Warrior and 8 Sentence Sunday, the weekly hops for everyone who loves to read and write! Writers share an 8 to10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other writers. You can find them here.

My snippet is from my upcoming release, THE CASE OF THE MEDDLING MAMA, an Alex O'Hara Novel, third in my PI mystery series. Along with some creative punctuation, it hasn't been edited yet, so suggestions are welcome.

This snippet is from the first chapter and continues after Alex returns from the dress shop.

“Alexandra, is that you?” Maria Palzetti, Nick’s mom and self-appointed office manager, called out as I came in through the back door of the agency.
“Yes, it’s me.”
“It is I,” Maria corrected as she bustled down the hall. Short and a little on the plump side, she always looked stylish. Today, she wore a floral infinity scarf over a soft lavender short-sleeve sweater and a gray skirt. Her salt-and-pepper hair framed her face on which she wore light make-up. “Always remember to use proper English.”
“Yes, Mother,” I said, hoping my grin would take the sting out of my smart-aleck response. After Mom died, Maria had become the closest thing to a mother, even though she never tried to take Mom’s place. Actually, she was my mother-in-law—she just didn’t know it.
And I wasn’t saying.


Last week, I played with the blurb. Not exactly what I want but better than before.

Once again, Alex O’Hara is up to her ears in mysteries. After surviving an attempted murder, all she wants is R&R time with Nick Palzetti. But his mother leaving his father (“that horse’s patoot”) and moving in with Alex puts a crimp in their plans. Then Nick leaves on assignment and the teen she rescued from an abusive father believes his buddy is doing drugs. Meanwhile, Alex has two easy cases to take her mind off her shaky relationship with Nick—a philandering husband and a background check on a client’s boyfriend. Piece of cake.






Thursday, March 9, 2017

Meet Author Victoria Craven

I am so excited to present to you my friend and (almost) next door neighbor, Victoria Craven. For many years, she was a member of my RWA chapter (Mid-Michigan RWA). She has a new release that she'll tell us about, to.


Welcome, Vicki. I'm so glad you're here. Please tell us about yourself.

I live in Wyoming, MI with my husband. We have three children and six grandchildren. I worked in the Chicago area for a book distribution company and when the company was bought I was part of the downsizing. There was nothing keeping us down there so my husband and I decided to move to the Grand Rapids area to be closer to our daughters and grandchildren. Since my layoff I have changed my career to full-time writing which is my first love.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I always had a wild imagination, but it wasn’t until I got a new computer I started putting those ideas down on the blank screen. Once I started I couldn’t stop and have been writing ever since.

What does your family think of your writing?

They were surprised when my first book came out. They thought it was just a hobby. Now they are very supportive and encourage me to keep on writing.

What is the best part of writing for you?

I love character development. Creating strong characters is the challenge I love the most.

Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?

It depends on what is talking to me first. Sometimes it’s the plot, sometimes the characters. Then I start my research and drawing up an outline.

If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?

I would have you start with Immortal Love, the first book in my series. It’s an introduction to a family of three siblings, each possessing their own unique powers.

Tell us about your latest release.

My latest release, Destiny’s Promise, came out March 7th is a paranormal historical romance. It is a book about the last sibling in the Wolfingham family, Randolf. He is the most powerful of the siblings. His power protects the woman he loves from an evil sorceress bent on their destruction.



Last question, Vicki. Where can readers find you?

Readers can find my Love Conquers All series on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Tell-Tale Publishing

You can also connect with me on facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/victoria.craven.3
My website, Victoria Craven, http://www.victoriacraven.com/,  

I also write a monthly blog on the Paranormal Romantics  website,  http://paranormalromantics.blogspot.com/2016/09/my-own-personal-ghost.html

Vicki, it's been a pleasure learning more about you. Come back again.

Here's a little more about Vicki. Her professional bio:

Victoria Craven was born to tell stories. Throughout her childhood she was a daydreamer. Growing up she told the most outrageous tales to her friends that got her in trouble now and then. She escaped the mundane to live in her fantasies: She was a mermaid, a princess, a spy, and an explorer trekking across the tundra in Antarctica. Even as an adult she saved just a little part of herself to drift into her dream world.

Then one day she said to herself “I’m going to write a book,” and that’s what she did. She had no idea what it took to be a writer, thinking all you had to do was add some words and ideas to a page and ‘poof,’ a book, and every word was golden. What a rude awakening when her writer friends took her into the light and showed her just how much she had to learn. That process is still going on today!
Victoria has published the first two books in a historical paranormal series with the third one coming out in 2017.  

Currently, she resides in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area with her wonderful husband who spoils her rotten. And from time to time is her critique buddy.  She is the mother of three beautiful daughters, and grandmother to four wonderful grandchildren.

When she isn’t writing, she doting on her grandchildren, or curled up on the couch with her husband, or having a sleepover with her best friends. And she still saves just a little bit of her life for those daydreams.