Friday 28 October 2011

SFF Saturday - Oct 29

It's SFF Saturday again.

Today, I thought I'd share a sneak-preview snippet from the final book in the Lancaster trilogy, The Eternal Knot, due out by my publisher's Champagne Books in January 2012.

This snippet, taken from the very first few lines of Chapter 1, John contemplates his impending doom, should he fail to find a suitable birthday present for his wife, Josie.

John Lancaster wondered, for the umpteenth time, what to get his wife for her birthday.

He’d known her for two years. In those two years, the only thing she’d ever asked for was the tattoo that adorned both their fingers instead of traditional wedding rings. This did not mean that she didn’t want a present, not in the least. In the two years he’d known her, he’d learned the subtle art of surviving marriage--and a woman’s mind--like his life depended on it.

The first time he’d met her, it had been her birthday. She was a prisoner, accused of being a terrorist. Granted, she’d been
his prisoner and he’d been doing the accusing, but that was beside the point.

If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.  And don't forget to follow the rules.


Thursday 27 October 2011

An Idle Wondering...

So, last night, I ended up watching Cowboys and Aliens.  Great movie, by the way, and with some funny moments by Harrison Ford.  But, I'm straying away from my idle wondering.

Hygiene... Yep, I said it right.

I've always idly wondered about personal hygiene, in the real world, in those way-back-when days.  If movies and books are authentically portraying those time-periods (and what is written in history), then it's pretty safe to say that personal hygiene in those days were either few and far between, or non-existent.  Judging from the sweat stains, general dirt and filth, and uhhh, those hideously decaying teeth, then humanity in those days must've stunk to high heaven and caused corrosion to your lungs.  But then, people were made of hardy stuff back then, and their survival from that stench is confirmation of that.

Of course, from history tales, we know that perfume was invented, and later the combination of soap with water became a popular choice to smell better and keep all body parts refreshed and not just for your honeymoon.  But still, when you think that way back when, something like travelling used to take you eons to get from point A to B, with limited stops and bathroom breaks -- and the invention of wet wipes and Purell liquid sanitizers was still light years away -- we can only surmise that, in general, people stank.

This brings me to my next idle thought.  The future.  Now, I love writing SF and stuff that happens way into the beyond.  A lot of stuff I see in fiction are combined with great adventures, where people travel all over the universe in spaceships and wormholes and whatnots.  Of course, people are a lot cleaner looking in the future, with amazing backdrops of super-sophisticated buildings and vessels and wow-gadgets and stuff.  But, aside from shower tubes and drying tubes, no one ever touches on their personal hygiene issues.  Okay, that sounds kinda gross, and probably no one really wants to know and it would make a really gross (and fairly dull) moment to go into detail about.  But don't you just wonder, when the super-cool hero grabs the equally super-cool heroine and gives her that first kiss after battling and killing aliens and spaceships for the better part of a week, and no toothbrush in sight...  Er, well, me personally, I'd tell him to hold that thought...

I know, right, I just sucked the "romance" right out of the moment.  But brushing one's teeth.  How would you do that in the future?  Would we still have need of toothbrushes or waterbrushes?  I'd really like to know.  And toilet paper.  And deoderant...a stick, spray, or do we take a pill to eliminate b.o.?

And like in Demolition Man with Stallone, where he wakes up in the future and discovers that bathroom hygiene has changed, my curious mind would really like to know what the hell those seashells are for.

In one of my books, I was really tempted to add little bits of personal hygiene aspects into it.  Like the same toothbrush and toothpaste scenario.  My character would use a small gel capsule, bite down, and poof!  Froth and refreshing mint-flavour cleaning foam would fill your mouth and get into the nitty-gritty areas and get rid of all plaque and bad breath germs.  (I sound like a commercial)  But I never included that into the story, because who really wants to know about someone's personal hygiene routine?  And I'm sure Aquafresh already has a toothpaste that does just that. much for being creative and original.  Well, the gel tablet was original.

Oh well, I guess it's just my curious mind wandering into areas that are usually gleaned over.  Since I like to write convincing characters, it's only fair to create a complete picture, personal hygiene-issues and all.


Friday 21 October 2011

SFF Saturday - Oct 22

It's SFF Saturday again.

Here is another snippet from the recently released sequel in the Lancaster trilogy called The Master Key, published by Champagne Books.

Today, we see Josie (from her POV again) prepping for a "mission."  She's speaking with her good friend Trudi and their thoughts on their spouses, and, well, men in general.

“I’d like to rip John’s face off right now. How dare he speak to me like that—like I’m some silly little kid that doesn’t know any better.” I muttered under my breath. I could feel John’s glower burn the back of my neck, making it itch. “I need to know if this girl is my niece, you know what I mean?”
“Of course. Connection—bonding. The need to be a unit. You see, men don’t get it. It’s because they don’t have a uterus.”
Trudi’s comment brought me out of the prickly red haze I’d been in. I let out a howl of a laugh, which caused Simon to raise his head up and frown suspiciously. A quick glance at John told me he was burning a hole in the floor with his eyes, his lips were non-existent; the furrow between his brows deep enough to look like a ravine.

If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.  And don't forget to follow the rules.


Friday 14 October 2011

SFF Saturday - Oct 15

Time for another SFF Saturday.

From the recently released sequel in the Lancaster trilogy called The Master Key, published by Champagne Books.

Last week, we saw Josie flee the scene in a hypersonic rush.  Today, she and her party are still making tracks to get to safety.

I had no chance to speak with Margeaux other than to give her short instructions, nor did I get a chance to look at her in any close detail. As we boarded the shuttle, already primed and ready for take-off, I was sent directly into a safety ejection pod—strapped in, secured, and sealed off from the rest of the passengers.
This pod, upon sudden altitude change, impact or manual override, was designed to immediately eject outwards, engage its own independent engine and transport me directly back to the Citadel. It was fully equipped with its own air supply, communications consoles and navigation equipment. Not that I was required to use these unless emergency manual operations were required. Ironically, to date, I’d never been given any flying lessons.

If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.  And don't forget to follow the rules.


Wednesday 12 October 2011

Between WIPs

The Grosjean Chronicles or To Catch A Marlin...

Decisions, decisions.

Now that Bengaria's War is "complete" and in the hands of betas, I find myself flitting from one WIP to the next.  To be honest, I've got two on-going stories, both set in the same world as the Lancaster world (to make things easier) and both competing for my attention.

Last week, after resurrecting The Grosjean Chronicles, and then this week, To Catch A Marlin, I realized that both were becoming too similar.  Ack!  We can't have that happening!!  Then it got me wondering if that was the reason I couldn't get past a certain point and ended up writing Bengaria's War -- which is set in a completely different world, and so, fresh.

Yesterday, I spent most of my supposedly-allotted-for-day-job-time reviewing what I'd written so far in To Catch A Marlin.  Of course, I couldn't help but fiddle with a few paragraphs and tweak a few chapters, mostly to disguise the fact that it was once again set in the Lancaster world.  I think I managed it, but kept enough similarities to make you wonder.  The fact that both Grosjean and Marlin end up at the same place (okay, a space station) right now is irrelevant.  There will be plenty of time later to fix things up and give each a little distance.

But, I'm still in a quandary...I want to continue writing, both of them, at the same time.  Which one, I'm not sure.  I've also reviewed all my notes on both stories (making adjustments along the way...of course), and still haven't come any closer to a decision.

I'm thinking I should let both have another little rest.  I've also been asked to beta the sequel to a really cool SFR story, the first in the series to be released shortly (this month, I think).  So my mind is tugged in that direction as well.

I wonder, maybe to solve the problem I'll just have to flip a coin and let it rest at that.

Oh well, cheers!

Monday 10 October 2011

Live Chat Tonight (Oct 10) at Night Owl Reviews

Just a quick mention that I'll be over at Night Owl Reviews for a live chat with three other authors (Ashley J. Barnard, Mary Corrales, and Roxanne Rhoades).  So stop by tonight, 8pm EST and join the fun. 

Friday 7 October 2011

SFF Saturday - Oct 8

Hello everyone!  I missed out last weekend but I'm back again.

For today's posting, here's another short snippet from my recently released sequel in the Lancaster trilogy called The Master Key, published by Champagne Books.

Following is a short snippet where my girl Josie and the trusty Simon need to flee the scene from a particularly nasty dude.  Enjoy!

After our communications were knocked out, Simon drove like a bat out of hell and beat his own estimate by arriving at the landing strip in four minutes flat! I barely managed a few clipped words through tightly clenched teeth during the ordeal, my face felt stretched from the G-force. He’d pushed the vehicle until the speeds clipped just under the hypersonic mark. Any faster, and we’d have zoomed straight off the country and into the next continent. As it was, Simon had to go half-airborne so he wouldn’t crash into trees or wreck the asphalt from the heat coming off the engine.

If you're interested in participating in next week's SFF Saturday, stop by their sign-up blog which is open every Wednesdays.  And don't forget to follow the rules.