Let Your Geek Flag Fly: Old School SF (A Guest Post by Veronica Scott) #SFR #ScienceFiction

Today I invited award-winning SF and Paranormal Romance author Veronica Scott to take over the blog for the “Let Your Geek Flag Fly” feature where people blog about something “geeky” that’s been a formative influence on their life.

In addition to being an author, Veronica writes the “SciFi Encounters” column for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog.*

Take it away, Veronica…

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Thanks for inviting me to visit your blog and talk about my Geek Girl beginnings! One of my favorite genres to write in is science fiction romance (because I believe there needs to be romance in everything), so I thought I’d talk about the three things that gave me a very early love for SF and set me on my path as an author.

The first movie I ever remember seeing in its entirety would be the classic SF film Forbidden Planet. My dad was an engineer on the Saturn man-to-the-moon rocket program and naturally he loved science fiction. One Saturday, when the movie came on late night TV, he sat down to watch it. I kept him company and by the end credits I was totally hooked. At the age of about seven, I now knew you could have different planets, you could travel in space (and look hot doing it–well, 1950’s hot), there were robots, invisible monsters could menace you, there were ancient civilizations out there…but if you were smart and brave and never gave up, you could survive and blast off in your cool flying saucer to live Happily Ever After. As a kid with a very lively imagination, I was now totally and forever hooked on science fiction. Every-day, routine story telling had lost a lot of its appeal for me.

blog 2After this, I soon found out the local TV station played the old black and white Flash Gordon serials Monday through Friday as part of a teeth-gritting children’s show. In fact, I even wrote a letter to the TV station suggesting they get rid of the awful show host and just run the serial every day. My first act as a reviewer! I was enthralled with the peril, romance and adventures that Flash and Dale got to experience. I loved the blasters, the flyers, the rocket-ships, the clothes (which tells you a lot about my taste as a child). I keep a still photo from Flash Gordon in a frame beside my writing desk to remind me of my early love. Being a little kid, I didn’t recognize the sheer cheesiness of the cheap productions. I was too caught up in the nail-biting action.

So, by now I was well and truly launched into Science Fiction make believe. I had my dolls and my horses and all my other toys enacting complicated SF-type adventures. But it wasn’t quite enough.

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The real breakthrough for me as an author was when my dad handed me a novel by Andre Norton, which he thought I’d enjoy – Catseye. Enjoy was an understatement. Here were some of my favorite elements of the genre, with alien planets, ancient civilizations, and a new-to-me concept of telepathy. Plus, cats LOL. I devoured his library of Andre Norton novels and moved on to all the other classics on the shelves.

And now I was inspired by Ms. Norton to put pen to paper and write my own otherworldly stories. My latest book is Mission to Mahjundar, set on one of those far-off planets, in a future galaxy-spanning civilization, where a man and a woman face life-and-death situations and gradually fall in love over the course of their adventures. Yes, there are blasters! No cats, though, still working on getting felines into the mix…

MissionToM2-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700

You can find Veronica Scott on the web at:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

 

 

*Full disclosure: Veronica Scott is my mom. :)

Book Meme

I was tagged by a friend on FB to pick list at least 10 works of literature (fiction/non-fiction) that have influenced me and stuck with me over the years. I tagged people on FB already but, if you feel so inclined to do this, please consider yourself tagged. :)

1. Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
My favorite book of all time. LOVE Cazaril.

2. Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley.
This is the book that helped inspire The Beauty’s Beast–the book that’s currently making me all my royalties–so it definitely stuck with me! lol

3. All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
One of my fav books in one of my fav series. Oh, I cried!

4. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
My favorite contemp romance and probably the one I have reread the most over the years when I need a pick me up.

5. Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl
This is definitely another Influenced My Writing Pick. Dahl writes strong, sexually empowered heroines and she showed me I could write the kind of stuff I want to read.

6. Love Irresistibly by Julie James
More writerly inspiration. She’s crafted a really great straight contemp series without adding suspense elements. She’s doing exactly what I want to do. Also, she writes really fun banter.

7. The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
Really original fantasy world that owes nothing to medieval Europe for once! A great series and AMAZING world-building.

8. Free Man of Color by Barbara Hambly
A really original historical mystery series set in New Orleans with a POC as protagonist. Love this series and I love the main character, Ben.

9. One Corpse Too Many by Ellis Peters
Yet another historical mystery series that I love! The books are sweet and simple, and the mysteries are usually easy to figure out. But the world-building in this is so warm, so wholesome and welcoming that they make wonderful comfort reads.

10. (last one!!!) Um…The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
Heyer has some problematic elements in her writing but she’s got such wonderful wit and characters. She’s one of my favorite authors and has been since I was a kid and my mom handed me an old paperback from the 60s. This is one of my favorites of Heyer’s and I reread it fairly often (and just skip right over the whole awful Goldwater scenes.)

And that’s me! What are the books that have stuck with you?

Weekend Writing Warriors: Making Up, Making Out #NewAdultRomance #WeWriWa

better wewriwa

Today for Weekend Writing Warriors I’m posting an excerpt from my upcoming New Adult contemporary romance Love’s Last Call about a geeky bouncer and the hot waitress he’s sure is out of his league. This week I have a fun bit of banter between the two leads right after they finish a fight.

(Disclaimer: scene–including punctuation–has been slightly tweaked to fit in 8 sentences)

“Truce?”

“Yes, please,” she murmured.

He trailed his lips down her jaw then lower to the sweet spot on her neck that made her breath hitch when he kissed there. Her fingers dug into his shoulders as he licked then nibbled lightly at the tender skin of her neck.

“We should get you into bed, too,” she said, her voice thready and uneven, “Way past your bedtime, isn’t it?”

“Will you tuck me in?”

“I’ll even help you put on your pajamas.”

“And I’ll make sure you don’t have any.”

Hope you enjoyed! :)

LOVE’S LAST CALL is currently available for a special $1.99 pre-order at Amazon, more retailers and formats coming in October:

You can learn more about the book and read the first chapter here. You can also add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads.

Love'sLastCall

The Story:

Lucy York is an aspiring mechanical engineer working as a shot girl serving watered-down drinks to drunken frat boys at Jezebel’s Bar & Lounge. The job isn’t so bad—it pays her bills, and she’s managed to make a surrogate family for herself at the bar. But now she’s ready to spread her wings and fly north to attend a university and, maybe, distance herself a little from the all-consuming social scene at Jezebel’s.

Then her boss hires a new bouncer, Norm, a literature dork who seems like everything a bouncer shouldn’t be: tall, gangly, sweet (and, you know, named Norman). But as she gets to know him, ol’ Norm turns out to be everything Lucy never knew she wanted and the best friend she’s ever had. He’s not a bad bouncer either.

One obstacle to their happily ever after: the owner has a strict no-dating rule for employees. If anyone at Jezebel’s finds out she’s dating a bouncer, Lucy will lose her job, her surrogate family, and the money she needs to go to college.

But, if she loses Norm, is she losing her best chance at happiness?

Hope you enjoyed the snippet above, and don’t forget to check out all the other 8 sentence excerpts this week.

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I promise the only time I will message you will be when I have new books out.

Check-in Post: 9/6/14 Hi! *waves*

Sorry I’ve been absent from the blog but I’ve been busy with book stuff. Love’s Last Call, my light-hearted New Adult romance is available for pre-order at a special $1.99 price. The hero is a geeky bouncer and the heroine is a waittress/aspiring mechanical engineer. The book will be out October this year.

Writing: I know this will make some people sad, but The Beauty’s Beast sequel is on hold for now while I work out some plotting stuff. Right now I’m working on two novellas, one in the Stage Kiss series and a M/M standalone. I’d love to have one of them published by the end of the year. I’m still hoping to publish one more large project this year, but that’s probably overly ambitious based on my schedule.

Good Books:

I recently read a couple really good books I want to rec to you guys…

The Glamourist Histories by Mary Robinette Kowal. I read these books all out of order (fifth book, then second book, then first, then third, then fourth) but I was still able to follow along and enjoy. I really love them. The main couple Jane and Vincent are adorable, and Kowal does a magnificent job channeling Jane Austen’s voice and world. She also had a great wry sense of humor, which is one of my weaknesses.

Lock In by John Scalzi. I’m a total Scalzi fangirl. This wasn’t my favorite but it’s still a very solid, enjoyable book. I can honestly see this being his breakout book to larger fame and fortune. People are calling him the next Michael Crichton, and I can see why. (In the way of he writes action SF combined with a very commercial, highly appealing readability.) One of the strengths in Lock In is the world-building and the examination of disability culture in a SF future. Really powerful book. (I strongly recommend reading the free prequel novella on Tor.com. “Unlocked“. It’s a good primer for the world and a really interested read in its own right.)

Movies:

Went to see Ghostbusters with the BF this week on the big screen, and it’s funny but all the Ghostbuster-y things I remembered actually happened in the sequel. I think I watched the sequel more as a kid because it was less scary to me.

I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy (saw it twice), but I didn’t enjoy the casual frat boy sexism. It didn’t need to be there and some of it was actually a character violation (Drax the I-don’t-do-metaphors calling Gamora a “whore”) which just made this otherwise well-constructed movie seem a little sloppy.

Nephew is trying to make me take him to see TMNT but I think I will send BF as my proxy. As a kid, I liked the old TMNT movies in the early 90s, and I loved the cartoon show (Donatello was my fav), but Michael Bay movies and I generally don’t get along. Also I find the turtle re-designs fall into the Uncanny Valley for me. They freak me out.

The next thing I’m excited to see is The Boxtrolls at the end of this month. BF wants to be Boxtrolls for Halloween. We are still negotiating…

Here’s The Boxtrolls trailer if you’re curious.

Happy Labor Day! Have a SALE!

My first book THE BEAUTY’S BEAST is on *SALE* this week for 99 cents.

The Beauty's Beast Web File

A cursed werewolf knight fights to reclaim his humanity and the brave lady he loves. Amazon bestseller for Historical Fantasy and Fantasy Romance.

*Amazon * Paperback * B&N * iTunes * KOBO * ARe *

I’m off now to get some sun and swimming in. U.S. peeps, what are you doing with your Labor Day? :)

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: Brotherly Love

better wewriwa

Today for Weekend Writing Warriors I’m posting an excerpt from my contemporary romance A Midsummer Night’s Fling about a pair of ex-lovers who are forced to work together when they’re cast as Titania and Oberon in a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This week is a bit of a change and features a fight between the hero, Max, and his brother, Peter, who is less than thrilled that Max and Nicola might get back together.

(Disclaimer: scene–including punctuation–has been slightly tweaked to fit in 8 sentences)

“You’re not going to get together with Nicola again,” Peter declared, “You’re not.”

What is with everybody? “I’m not,” Max said, getting annoyed.

“She drove you crazy–you screwed up your film career because of her.”

Max clenched his jaw, reining in all the retorts he could make to that fucking spectacular piece of spin from his brother. Peter wasn’t totally out of line but, “You didn’t exactly help my film career either, asshole.”

Peter sighed, “See? It’s already starting, seeing Nicola has you dredging up all that old shit.”

Hope you enjoyed! :)

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S FLING is currently available in these locations with more retailers and formats coming soon:

Amazon * Paperback * Barnes & Noble * iTunes * ARe * KOBO

You can learn more about the book and read the first chapter here. You can also add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads.

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The Story:

She can’t forget him…
After dating her childhood sweetheart Max on and off for years, aspiring actress Nicola Charles is finally ready to move on. It’s time for her to focus on her stage career and stay away from Max–before he can break her heart again.

He’s never stopped loving her…
Max regrets hurting Nicola, but he wants another chance. So when his play loses its leading lady, giving Nicola the part seems like the perfect opportunity to win back his old flame.

But the course of true love—and a theater production—never do run smooth.
As Max fights to reignite Nicola’s love, the onstage antics can’t rival the bedlam backstage: a neurotic cast, a prickly crew, and an evil diva of a director who’s got designs on Max. As Nicola and Max battle to keep the drama onstage, Max can’t help wondering if their romance will end with the last performance. Or have the two of them finally captured what they’ve dreamed of all their lives? True Love.

Hope you enjoyed the snippet above, and don’t forget to check out all the other 8 sentence excerpts this week.

*

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I promise the only time I will message you will be when I have new books out.

Let Your Geek Flag Fly: Jurassic Park

(This is a new feature I thought I’d start where I blog about something “geeky” that’s been a formative influence on my life. I’m also planning to bring guests in to write about their geeky favorites too. Won’t that be fun? See last week’s post about Ghostbusters from my friend Sam.)

blog 1When I was a kid (about nine or so) Jurassic Park was released in movie theaters, and all the boys at my elementary school went nuts. And I, the lone girl, became one of the most rabid dinosaur freaks of them all.

I actually read Jurassic Park the book first before I saw the movie. Unfortunately, my mom thought the film was too violent/intense for me to see when it was first released. (Yet she took me to see the R-rated Speed at around the same time. SMH, Mom.)

A few months later, though, the movie had a special one-day re-release, and my mom finally, finally took me to see the movie that had utterly claimed my heart and imagination. I was deeply steeped in dinosaurs at that point, obsessed with them. And, when I sat in that theater and watched the brachiosaurs walk out of the trees for the first time, I actually cried. (I cried again in the theater last year when the film was re-released and I took my nephew to see it. Some things never change.)

blog 5So beautiful…

From the book to the movie to the toys I had everything Jurassic Park related. I even had Jurassic Park pogs. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was one of my earliest feminist battles. From the time in Toys R Us where a little boy indignantly informed me that I could not buy the Jurassic Park land cruiser because that was a “boy toy”, to having to prove my Dinosaur Credentials over and over again with the boys at my school–boys kept trying to take dinosaurs away from me, to deny that I as a girl had any right to enjoy them. And to that bit of creeping patriarchy my nine year old self firmly said, “Hell no.” (Good job, 9yo Self!)

For the next three years or so I was certain I would become a paleontologist when I grew up. That ambition eroded eventually, but my love of dinosaurs, as fostered by Jurassic Park, remained. And it would resurface on occasion, like when I fight with my 11yo nephew about whether brontosaurus existed. (Brontosaurus is not a real dinosaur species! Do not spread this ignorance!!!)

blog 3But it was fairly recently when I got the idea for my first screenplay that I dove back headfirst into one of my first geeky obsessions. While doing research for the story, I reconnected with some old favorite dinosaurs like Carnotaurus and discovered some new ones like Hesperonychus and Therizonosaurus.

And, most precious of all, I also re-discovered the pure joy and wonder I felt for these creatures as a girl, especially when I went to the LA Natural History museum and saw some of my old favorites for the first time “in the flesh.” (In the without flesh maybe? O_o)

IMG_5458(That’s me and a velociraptor skeleton. They’re rather smaller than they were in the movie you’ll notice. ;P)

Thanks to Jurassic Park, I’ve been obsessed with dinosaurs for over twenty years now. I can truly say I don’t know quite who I’d be if I’d never become a dinosaur geek.

Please vote?

Hey, kids, please go vote in the Sex Scene Championship 2014 if you feel the inclination. I’m up today against Jade Lee/Kathy Lyons. May the Best Nookie win!

Click here to see the sex scenes and vote. NSFW obviously.

Weekend Writing Warriors: Ow?

better wewriwa

Today for Weekend Writing Warriors I’m posting an excerpt from my contemporary romance A Midsummer Night’s Fling about a pair of ex-lovers who are forced to work together when they’re cast as Titania and Oberon in a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

(Disclaimer: scene–including punctuation–has been slightly tweaked to fit in 8 sentences)

As he kissed her, Max groaned into her mouth and pushed his body close to hers, backing her against the doorframe–backing her up hard enough that her head knocked into the doorframe.

He broke away–“Shit, I’m sorry.”

“Ow?” Nicola said, rubbing her sore spot as she shot him a laughing glance, “Boy, this really is like old times.”

“Ah, intermissions,” he grinned, “The one time I could kiss you as much as I wanted.”

“Until you inevitably knocked me into a wall.”

He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, murmuring, “I never meant to bang you into that wall backstage.”

“Old habits ha. Is this a kiss or a concussion?”

“Both?” he said and leaned toward her…

Hope you enjoyed! :)

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S FLING is currently available in these locations with more retailers and formats coming soon:

Amazon * Paperback * Barnes & Noble * iTunes * ARe * KOBO

You can learn more about the book and read the first chapter here. You can also add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads.

207a

The Story:

She can’t forget him…
After dating her childhood sweetheart Max on and off for years, aspiring actress Nicola Charles is finally ready to move on. It’s time for her to focus on her stage career and stay away from Max–before he can break her heart again.

He’s never stopped loving her…
Max regrets hurting Nicola, but he wants another chance. So when his play loses its leading lady, giving Nicola the part seems like the perfect opportunity to win back his old flame.

But the course of true love—and a theater production—never do run smooth.
As Max fights to reignite Nicola’s love, the onstage antics can’t rival the bedlam backstage: a neurotic cast, a prickly crew, and an evil diva of a director who’s got designs on Max. As Nicola and Max battle to keep the drama onstage, Max can’t help wondering if their romance will end with the last performance. Or have the two of them finally captured what they’ve dreamed of all their lives? True Love.

Hope you enjoyed the snippet above, and don’t forget to check out all the other 8 sentence excerpts this week.

*

I have a mailing list for my New Releases and deals. Want to be the first to hear about my new books when they come out? Sign up here.

I promise the only time I will message you will be when I have new books out.

Let Your Geek Flag Fly: Ghostbusters w/ GUUURLS (A Guest Post by Sam Midwood)

This is a new feature I thought I’d start where I blog about something “geeky” that’s been a formative influence on my life. I’m also planning to bring guests in to write about their geeky favorites too. Won’t that be fun? :D

Today I invited my friend Sam to take over the blog to kick off the new “Let Your Geek Flag Fly” feature. I’ve known Sam for a couple years now after we took a writing class together. He’s a cool guy, smart, talented, and he once let me lecture him about the Bechdel Test and Pacific Rim for 45 minutes while we were trapped in a car together. So he can’t be all bad. ;P

Take it away, Sam…blog 1

“OK, SO… HE’S A GIRL.” In case you’ve been living under a gravestone this past week, there’s a rumor floating around that the next Ghostbusters film will feature… an ALL FEMALE CAST. That’s right, boys and ghouls; Chicks with proton sticks! “It’s Miller time!”

*high fives the internet*

My first reaction to the news, being the slime-hard fan that I am, was, “Noooooo!” But, my second reaction, after I’d calmed down and had myself a Twinkie, was, “Wait. Why the hell not?!” This might be just what the franchise needs – “total protonic reversal.”

Bill Murray has little to no interest in returning to the franchise, Harold Ramis has sadly passed away, Rick Moranis hasn’t acted since 1997, and Ivan Reitman has left the project for good. So… where do we go from here?

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Some folks are calling this idea of an all-female cast a marketing gimmick, which, this being Hollywood, may very well be true. But, Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids and potential director of the next Ghostbusters film, takes issue with the word “gimmick”. Feig tweets, “Interesting how making a movie with men in the lead roles is normal but making a movie with women in the lead roles is a ‘gimmick.’ #its2014”

blog 3C’mon, Paul. Isn’t that oversimplifying things? Isn’t that like saying, “Interesting how making a Sex and the City movie with women is normal but making a Sex and the City movie with men is a gimmick.’” I mean, wouldn’t that be a gimmick? At the very least, couldn’t you see how people might perceive it as such? Let’s say it’s not a gimmick. Let’s say the idea actually comes from some pure deeply artistic intention. Isn’t a Sex and the City movie with an all-male cast going to turn heads? Wouldn’t you want it to turn heads? What are we talking about here, Paul?

blog 4Wait, let’s take it further. Let’s cast my great-aunt Mary as Batman. Or, better yet, let’s cast Zach Galifianakis as Wonder Woman. “Interesting how casting Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman is normal but casting Zack Galifianakis as Wonder Woman is a “gimmick.’ #its2014people”

The issue here isn’t gender or social equality. The issue here is tone. The issue here is precedence. The precedent here is that the Ghostbusters have always been Billy Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson — four dudes who bust their humps day-in and day-out trudging through the streets of NY, with slime in their shoes and nuclear accelerators on their backs, hoping to catch a ghost or two just so they can earn enough money to have a beer at the end of the day, maybe a little lo-mein, and a shit-ton of cigarettes.

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Now, imagine that same scene, but, with women.

I’m exaggerating here to make a point, and the point is this: if the rumor is true, then this is a huge change. Dramatically, tonally, it’s a huge change. Fans are going to be thrown for a bit of a loop. And this should be acknowledged and not swept under some snarky politically correct rug. It’s condescending and it does a disservice to what could potentially be a wonderful film. A simple, “Yeah, we know it’s different, but we think it could be great” would suffice.

More and more, I am all for this idea of an all-girl team. Hell, I even think Feig is a great choice for director. Can we have Sigourney Weaver on the team? Maybe she’s their boss. How about Kristen Wig? She’d be a stellar Ghostbuster. Yeah, OK. Let’s do this thing. Seriously…

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If you liked what Sam had to say, he’s running a Kickstarter right now to fund his own ghost-busting comicbook, THE PROJECTIONIST. (I’m a backer.) I’ve read early drafts of the story and it’s really damn good. Trust me, the boy can write. You can check out the Kickstarter HERE.

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