Wednesday, October 30, 2013

INTERVIEW: The Lost Geek Girl Interview with Jennifer Barnes

INTERVIEWS

One year ago I interviewed my good friend Jennifer Barnes for a column about geek girls. I'm happy finally to bring it to my readers and show her how much I appreciated the time she took out of her busy schedule to do the interview for me. Please welcome publishing tycoon and figist—yes, you heard right, figist—Jennifer Barnes!



A Love Affair with Books

I have always been a geek about books. As a child learning to read I struggled with dyslexia but once it clicked I read EVERYTHING. I spent a lot of time on classics and then works from outsider groups like women's and African-American lit. I also read a lot of horror novels. Of course I majored in English in college and worked in a library—I was in charge of the circulation desk on Saturdays and would read all day. Eventually I went into the graphic design field but when my husband began to get interested in a writing career I helped edit his work. Together we took over operations of an ezine called The Dream People. I was in charge of the graphics but also did some of the editing. After a few years doing that we ventured into print, launching our own publishing house called Raw Dog Screaming Press. Again I handled much of the graphic design involved, from book layout and covers to maintaining the press web site. There's something exhilarating about taking a manuscript through the entire process from acceptance, through editing, to a finished product. Publishing provides an entirely different perspective on books from my initial vantage as voracious reader. So now I can go on at length about everything from the psychology of cover design and the esoterics of type layout to the impact of ebooks and the publisher/author relationship in addition to character development and plot twists. I'm a real hoot at book club get-togethers!


But lately something magical has begun to happen that I can't quite explain. Next year RDSP will celebrate its 10-year anniversary and I believe the company has really hit its stride. We're launching a new imprint for Science Fiction, Dog Star Books, and we've taken on two new editors. Things are growing past all expectations so that it's not just about books and a publishing company anymore but RDSP is becoming part of the community. I believe it is now shaping and being shaped by the public: the authors, readers and reviewers. That has me more excited about books than ever before!

Better Haunted Homes and Gardens


I don't consider myself a writer but I do have a few publishing credits which include articles, poetry and one children's book. My picture book Better Haunted Homes and Gardens is one of the projects I'm most proud to have been involved with. It is unique from most other story books in that the story was created with the artwork in mind. I had stumbled across Kristen Margiotta's paintings online and thought her work was perfect for illustrating children's books. However, we didn't have any children's books to illustrate. So I decided I would write something myself and came up with the story based on ideas that I thought would best showcase Margiotta's work. The story involved an unusual girl, Ivy Spookerton, and her search for the perfect haunted home. This allowed for several image-laden locations and lots of spooky details. My goal was to create a book that would appeal to children but also entertain and amuse parents who might have to read the book many times. One of my favorite things about Kristen's artwork is that it mixes childlike innocence along with a depth and shadowy texture that provides many layers. Her paintings can be fun and a little bit frightening at the same time which works perfect for a wondrous and sophisticated storybook. The collaboration turned out even more successful than either of us expected and people are constantly asking when we'll do a follow-up.

The Figist


And just so you don't think my WHOLE life revolves around books I will tell you about my secret life as a figist. OK, that's not a real word, but I don't think there is a word for a 'person who enjoys figs.' The funny thing is that up until two years ago I had never eaten a fresh fig and didn't even know what they looked like! However, the summer after we bought our current house I realized that we had a massive fig tree on our property that produced many, many figs. At first I didn't really like the fruit but didn't want to waste it so I set about trying to find as many fig recipes as I could. After experimenting for a couple seasons I've discovered several delicious ways to prepare figs and also developed a taste for the fruit. It probably helped that I can better recognize when they are ripe now. I also think the unusually warm summer this year produced more delicious figs. If you've never had a fresh fig they are completely unlike the filling in Fig Newtons, and dried figs don't really give you the experience either. They are unlike any other fruit I have eaten with a subtly sweet taste that's never bitter but a texture that's hard to describe. Here is a run-down of my favorite ways to serve fresh figs:

-Honey-fried figs
This is the easiest and most delicious way to eat figs. It doesn't really require a recipe you just cut them in half and cook them face down in a pan with some butter and honey

-Bacon Wrapped figs
These are fancy and delicious. The combination of the salty bacon and the warm sweet fruit is unimaginably good. Many recipes call to stuff the fig with cheese which is also tasty

-Cut up in salad
Fresh figs make a great addition to all kinds of salads

-Fig Cake
This turns out kind of like a fruit cake or coffee cake. If you like fall spices-cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves-this is irresistible

-Fig Cookies
These are a cake-like cookie, sweet and hearty

Admit it—now you want some figs.

Monday, October 28, 2013

COVER: Corpus Chrome, Inc. by S. Craig Zahler

COVERS
Who should be given a second chance at life? 

Decades in the future Corpus Chrome, Inc. develops a robotic body, dubbed a “mannequin,” that can revive, sustain and interface with a cryonically-preserved human brain. Like all new technology, it is copyrighted.

Hidden behind lawyers and a chrome facade, the inscrutable organization resurrects a variety of notable minds, pulling the deceased back from oblivion into a world of animated sculpture, foam rubber cars, dissolving waste and strange terrorism. Nobody knows how Corpus Chrome, Inc. determines which individuals should be given a second life, yet myriad people are affected. Among them are Lisanne Breutschen, the composer who invented sequentialism with her twin sister, and Champ Sappline, a garbage man who is entangled in a war between the third, fourth and fifth floors of a New York City apartment building.

In the Spring of 2058, Corpus Chrome, Inc. announces that they will revive Derek W.R. Dulande—a serial rapist and murderer who was executed thirty years ago for his crimes. The public is horrified by the decision, and before long, the company’s right to control the lone revolving door between life and death will be violently challenged….


Cover Art by Bradley Sharp

Cyberpunk/Transhumanism novel  coming from Dog Star Books in January 2014
---
  
What They’re Saying About S. Craig Zahler

“Zahler’s a fabulous story teller whose style catapults his reader into the turn of the century West with a ferocious sense of authenticity.”
—Kurt Russell, star of Tombstone, Escape from New York, Dark Blue, and Death Proof

“If you’re looking for something similar to what you’ve read before, this ain’t it. If you want something comforting and predictable, this damn sure ain’t it.  But if you want something with storytelling guts and a weird point of view, an unforgettable voice, then you want what I want, and that is this.”
—Joe R. Lansdale author of Edge of Dark Water

EVENT: Friends of the Cheat Foodshed Benefit Dinner




watershed
Friends of the Cheat is a non-profit organization, committed to restoring and protecting water quality in the Cheat River watershed since 1994 through pollution-mitigation projects and education-based initiatives.
Featuring food grown in the Preston County watershed by farmers depending on its healthy land & water




=
foodshed
Madeleine's Restaurant, independently owned by the Mascari family, is located in Morgantown, WV, and committed to preparing locally-grown ingredients, a priority they continue during difficult economic times. 
Funds will support the CAPABLE program, a citizen-scientist initiative equipping volunteers with monitoring tools and technical support to collect water quality data throughout the lower Cheat River watershed.
Limited Capacity               $50 per ticket            Vegetarian option available
Tickets available now by mail or at www.cheat.org/watershed-foodshed-benefit-dinner/www.cheat.org/watershed-foodshed-benefit-dinner
To order tickets by mail, please include the following information:
Name__________________________________________________
Address_________________________________________________
# of Tickets _____________________ X $50 = __________________ Ticket amount enclosed
(please specify number of vegetarian meals)

If you would like to make an additional donation to the CAPABLE monitoring program:
$25 ____ $50 ____$75 _____$100 ______ Other (please specify)______

Make checks payable to Friends of the Cheat and mail to:
119 S. Price Street, Suite #206
Kingwood, WV 26537



Questions?
Lauren Greco, Friends of the Cheat (304)329-3621
Susan Sauter, CAPABLE volunteer (304)288-5366

Friday, October 25, 2013

The SFR Brigade Presents: Starrie 1.2 by Heidi Ruby Miller

STARRIE 1.2
Enjoy some Science Fiction Adventure from the Ambasadora-verse! I'm posting my novel Starrie in order starting from chapter one. This is post two.  Read the beginning here. BTW, I'm looking for a more original tattoo for Ben, so if anyone has any suggestions....

Check out other wonderful posts at http://sfrcontests.blogspot.com/p/sfr-brigade-presents.html?spref=fb.

STARRIE 
(FROM THE WORLD OF AMBASADORA)
by
Heidi Ruby Miller


All in all, they had been fortunate. Ben rubbed the spot of ink encircling his left wrist for some more luck. The black chain tattoo may not have been what kept him safe during his missions, but he wasn't going to take a chance and alter his routine.

Matt exited last, the team's eternal sweep. They joked that he always knew more about the landscape behind him than in front of him.

Ben switched on his co-com and quietly addressed the men and women tucked in and around the shuttle craft-sized boulders. He couldn't see any of them.

Remember, alive and original," he said.

"Alive and original.

"A and O. Copy that."

"Copy, LT."

Ben clicked the co-coms to silent mode. Stavros's sentinels would eventually pick up their com signatures, but Dreadfire Team wouldn't give them any help finding their position. Each of Ben's troopers fanned into formation—battle rifles at the ready with night vision scopes—as they prepared for the steep crags and sheer drop-offs surrounding the mountain fortress.
~~~

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Starrie is a direct sequel to Greenshift. It follows the story of Ben Anlow (David's younger brother) and his team as they embark on a revenge mission to bring down serial murderer and rapist, Liu Stavros, at his fortress in the inhospitable mountains of Tampa Three. But contractor Naela Starrie already has her own kind of vengeance planned for Stavros. Even as a battle-hardened soldier, Ben's not prepared for the darkness he sees in the female assassin, nor the way she challenges his prejudices about contractors when she makes a sacrifice to save to his life.

This novel runs concurrent with Ambasadora Book 1: Marked by Light, the first book of the main space opera series. And we follow a thread of Starrie into Book 2: Scarred by Light.

Look for Starrie from Dog Star Books in July 2014 and Ambasadora Book 2: Scarred by Light in late 2014.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

IF YOU LIKE... A LIST FOR READING SCIENCE FICTION ROMANCE


I've done many workshops and interviews about Science Fiction Romance (SFR), and I'm often asked what to read in the genre. As part of a multi-blog tour, I've compiled just a few helpful comparisons.

If you like Jacquelyn Frank's SEDUCE ME IN DREAMS (THREE WORLDSSERIES), read Heidi Ruby Miller's GREENSHIFT (AMBASADORA SERIES)
Similarities: military science fiction, spicy romance, virgin female, expansive world, alpha male, thriller elements


 If you like Sara Creasy's SONG OF SCARABEUS, read K. Ceres Wright's COG
Similarities: cyberpunk, corporate espionage, strong female characters, subtle romance, thriller style




If you like Jenna Bennett's FORTUNE'S HERO, read Patti O'Shea's RAVYN'S FLIGHT
Similarities: military science fiction, action sequences, alpha male, rescue mission, expansive world


If you like Joel Shepherd's KILLSWITCH, read Cary Caffrey's THE GIRLS FROM ALCYONE
Similarities: cybernetically-enhanced heroine, futuristic world, strong female protagonist, action sequences, love story, cyberpunk


 
If you like Weston Ochse's VELVET DOGMA, read T. K. Toppin's THELANCASTER RULE
Similarities: heroine-centric, sleeping beauty awakens in future, high tech society, action sequences


If you like P.G. Forte's THIS WINTER HEART, read Heather Massey's THEWATCHMAKER'S LADY
Similarities: automaton heroine, secret lover, forbidden romance, "what does it mean to be human" theme, American historical setting


If you like Catherine Asaro's DIAMOND STAR (SAGA OF THE SKOLIAN EMPIRE), read JC Cassels's SOVRAN'S PAWN (THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES)
Similarities: celebrity hero, subtle romance, expansive world, political intrigue, galactic empire




If you like Sharon Shinn's HEART OF GOLD, read Pippa Jay's KEIR
Similarities: taboo romance, inter-racial relationship, advanced society, anthropological world building




Monday, October 21, 2013

The SFR Brigade Presents: Starrie 1.1 by Heidi Ruby Miller

STARRIE 1.1
Enjoy some Science Fiction Adventure from the Ambasadora-verse! I'm posting my novel Starrie in order starting from chapter one. This is post one. 

Check out other wonderful posts at http://sfrcontests.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-sfr-brigade-presents-18th-24th.html.

STARRIE 
(FROM THE WORLD OF AMBASADORA)
by
Heidi Ruby Miller

Ben Anlow squeezed out of the craggy basalt passage of Monmouth Cave and into the shadow of Durstal Ki, Tampa Three's second tallest peak. The frigid air crystallized on his nose hairs, but he breathed in the freshness of the night, happy to have this open darkness instead of the oppressive rock that he and his twelve-member team had traveled under for the past three days.
 
As he moved for cover among the boulder field halfway up the giant mountain, Char's slender form slid easily out of the diagonal split of rock in his periphery. Her prime, Duncan, poked his head through next. He was having a more difficult time of it. Not only was the guy extra tall and broad, even for an Armadan, but his leg was worsening—well, what was left of it. Tackling a mountain lion genetically engineered to exterminate any trespassers had its consequences. Of course, if Duncan hadn't acted fast, both Ben and Matt would have lost more than a limb. 
~~~

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Starrie is a direct sequel to Greenshift. It follows the story of Ben Anlow (David's younger brother) and his team as they embark on a revenge mission to bring down serial murderer and rapist, Liu Stavros, at his fortress in the inhospitable mountains of Tampa Three. But contractor Naela Starrie already has her own kind of vengeance planned for Stavros. Even as a battle-hardened soldier, Ben's not prepared for the darkness he sees in the female assassin, nor the way she challenges his prejudices about contractors when she makes a sacrifice to save to his life.

This novel runs concurrent with Ambasadora Book 1: Marked by Light, the first book of the main space opera series. And we follow a thread of Starrie into Book 2: Scarred by Light.

Look for Starrie from Dog Star Books in July 2014 and Ambasadora Book 2: Scarred by Light in late 2014.