Monday, May 31, 2021

Lyndi Alexander and her New Release

Lyndi Alexander always dreamed of faraway worlds and interesting alien contacts. She lives as a post-modern hippie in Asheville, North Carolina, a single mother of her last child of seven, a daughter on the autism spectrum, finding that every day feels a lot like first contact with a new species.

Character Interview

Beverley: What’s your name? 

Valeni: Valeni Pascual

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Valeni: In an affluent neighborhood on the planet Terza, with my parents who doted on my little brother Luca. My father taught at the University, and had tenure, so we grew up with servants and all the extras. Makes it hard sometimes to be on my own, since we don’t speak any more and I will never take a coin from them again.

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Valeni: Compared to your Terran calendar? About eighty years in your future.

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Valeni: Why? Who knows? *laughs* That woman probably needs better hobbies. It is interesting, though, living with a genderfluid alien. Nicholas is my lover and Nikki is like the sister I never had, so maybe that’s what people will find intriguing. 

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Valeni: Me? I’m  just trying to survive. Being a captain of a small ship, I’m just trying to find enough jobs to keep flying. I never intended to fall in love, but… I guess it happened anyway.

Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

Valeni: Well, there’s the above-mentioned alien. Then my brother got himself in deep with some secret organization and needs bailed out. And THEN, we got pulled into a systemwide revolt against the Agency, since they’re taxing all the captains out of existence. That’s all before the sexy cowboy from Terra shows up and Nikki falls for him just as hard as I do. I think I need a cold ale just thinking about it all.

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Valeni: You mean the cold ale won’t work? Dang.

I guess I’ll start at the top of the list and work down. I mean, as long as everyone is upfront and honest about everything, life should be easy enough, right?  I sure hope everyone has told the truth. Otherwise we can be in one heck of a mess.

Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Valeni: I may be cynical and sassy, but my heart’s in the right place. I just need to find the right person to help heal it.

Blurb for Sixshooter:

Valeni Pascual wants to be free to make a living hauling cargo with her spaceship and to understand the shapeshifting alien who presents sometimes as the steamy male Nik and other times as the blonde bombshell Nikki.

As a rebel insurgence builds against the oppressive government known as the Agency, Valeni and Nik/Nikki encounter a sexy Terran cowboy named Garrett Rawls. Since being pulled into this region of space by another mysterious wormhole, Garrett has looked for a way to return to Earth. After meeting Valeni and Nikki, he might have found something worth staying for.

 However, dark forces may have a much bigger picture in mind for all of them. Valeni, Nik/Nikki, and Garrett are pulled into a life and death fight that lays bare all of their secrets and their desires. Will they lose everything as the battle against the Agency rages around them or can love pull them through?

SIXSHOOTER [©2021] A Horizon Crossover series novel by Lyndi Alexander | Cover Art by Kat Hardy | Science Fiction Romance (R) 280 pages / 100,000 words |

Buy Links for Sixshooter

Available in ebook and print from the DFP Books label of Dragonfly Publishing

Print editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more. Find ebooks at retailers, lending libraries, and subscription services, including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Blio, Kobo Books, Open Library, Overdrive, Scribd, Smashwords, and more.

Excerpt from Sixshooter:

The entire experience unnerved Nik. They wouldn’t complain to Valeni, because she had made that choice based on need, to save them both from the Agency’s threats.

         But something in the cloaked man’s voice had triggered a long-held fear from Nik’s past. That arrogant sense of entitlement to command… the veiled threat… the way he took over the small space. He ordered everyone around and no one balked at the words. Nik had the impression that he could have as easily ordered his minions to harm either Valeni or Nik and they would have done so, just as silently and efficiently.

         But his tone was the key that threatened to unblock their memories, to undo the temporary protections that had saved them since they’d run from their home world. They had survived a genocide—

         the screams of their brothers and sisters

         the barking commands of the Overseers as they shot down those who resisted

         the pain of loss

         red, red, red, the auras snuffed out one by one

         the scramble through black woods to the spaceport

         the darkness

         They shuddered at the flashes of terror that threatened to fill their mind until they froze, overwhelmed.

         And he saw through our human disguise. No one had ever done that before. Does he know who we are? Will he report us to the Overseers?

         “No!” Nik jumped up, galvanized by a rush of adrenaline.

         Valeni gasped, startled. “What is it?”

         Breathing heavily, Nik gradually forced calm, forced the memories back into safety.    “A drink,” they said.

         Valeni cocked an eyebrow and glanced over at Nik. “A drink?”

         “Yes. Please.”

         She frowned. “I don’t think we have anything left aboard except that horrible homemade stuff Jowalt’s friend pawned off on us last time we were in Roandock.” She studied Nik’s face. “This run really got to you, didn’t it?”

         “I would not like to talk about it. Just… an alcoholic beverage. Something to help forget.”

         They felt their hands shaking and grabbed the end of the arms on their chair, hoping it would steady them.

         Val reached over and patted Nik’s arm. “No problem. I know just the place.”

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Saturday, May 29, 2021

Alice Renaud and her New Space Cowboy Novel

Alice Renaud lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she's a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and time-travelling witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in the Sea of Love fantasy romance series, inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second and third books, “Music for a Merman,” and “Mermaids Marry in Green,”
are out now. Both the Sea of Love series and Mermaids Marry in Green won their categories in the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award 2020. Alice has also contributed short stories for the BVS anthologies “Mystic Desire,” “Desire Me Again,” and “Cowboy Desire,” all available now. Alice loves reading and writing stories and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!

Character Interview: Josh Reynolds from Space Cowboy Blues, a story by Alice Renaud in Cowboy Desire

Beverley: What’s your name?

Josh: Josh Reynolds

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Josh: On a ranch in Montana. My Gramps used to say I could ride before I could walk.

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Josh: 24th century, when humans have spread across the galaxy.

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Josh: I always knew I wanted to be a cowboy when I grew up. I worked as a ranch hand on Earth until my early twenties, when I applied to become a space cowboy. Now I go from planet to planet. I examine the local animals that might be used like cattle or horses, take pictures and samples for the science boffins back on Earth, pocket my fee, then I’m off. To the next job… the next planet… the next herd of oddly-shaped creatures. Why would someone come up with a story about me? Well, my story, Space Cowboy Blues, in the BVS anthology Cowboy Desire, is based on a lockdown dream the author had.
Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Josh: Initially my stint on the blue planet Albastra is just another job for me. Then I meet the beautiful alien woman Melynas, and my objectives change. I want to help her and her people domesticate the hunoowins, the native blue unicorns, so the local boys and men can get jobs and no longer have to leave the planet to get work on other planets or on the spaceships.
Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

Josh: I fall for Melynas, but everything on Albastra is lethal to humans, including her. One touch from her would kill me.

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Josh: No, but the planet itself comes up with a solution. You’ll have to read the story to find out!
Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Josh: I’m angry at the way the settlers from Earth treat Melynas and the other local ladies. I was brought up to treat everyone with respect, especially women. I’m even polite to robots – heck, some of these machines are smarter than me!

Blurb for Cowboy Desire

Cowboy Desire is an eclectic assortment of short stories. Including contemporary, historical, fantasy, and even outer space romance, Cowboy Desire offers fourteen stunning short stories. These fourteen authors provide a range of sweet to sexy stories all with a cowboy theme. They feature strong men and women battling the weather and dangerous terrain, here on earth and in outer space.

The collection is as diverse as the authors who wrote them. Here’s a chance to discover new talented authors and the characters they create. Within these pages, there are blends of tender, often moving, thought-provoking and downright sexy stories.

Blurb for Space Cowboy Blues

Josh is a space cowboy. His job? Taming alien species. But on the blue planet Albastra, the beautiful Melynas is more than a match for him. He'd love to get close to her... but everything on Albastra is lethal. Including her...

Excerpt from Space Cowboy Blues

Josh bowed to the woman and wished he was wearing a hat to tip it off. “Good day to you, ma’am.”

Surprise widened her dark eyes. “You are very polite, sir. You do not need to be so respectful, I am only a native female, here to serve you.”

What the hell? Anger kindled in Josh. Which jackass had told her that? “You deserve as much respect as me. More so, because it’s your planet we’re standing on.”

A slow smile spread over her pretty face. “Not all earthmen feel that way.”

“Well they damn well should.” Shame tinged Josh’s irritation. Humans had spread over the galaxy for the past three hundred years, conquering and colonizing world after world. When they encountered alien species, they didn’t treat them as equals. Settlers from Earth saw native people as inferiors.

He had to show this woman that he wasn’t like them. He cleared his throat. “I’m sorry if my fellow earthmen haven’t always treated you right, ma’am.”

She shrugged, as if it didn’t matter. “I’m delighted to meet you and welcome you to Albastra, Mr. Reynolds.”

“Josh, please. Call me Josh.” Albastra. So that was the real name of Planet 2215. A nice name, but not half as nice as her.

Her smile widened, revealing perfect teeth. They were pearly white, like a human woman’s. “Then you have to call me Melynas. Come, I will take you to the herd.”

Curiosity blazed in him. The settlers hadn’t sent him any pictures of the animals. He only knew that they occupied the same ecological niche as cattle and horses on Earth. “Are the creatures wild or semi-domesticated?”

A hint of mischief sparked in her dark eyes. “Very wild. The settlers haven’t dared go near them yet.” She paused. “That’s why they asked you to come, right? They say you’re one of the best animal herders on Earth.”

Josh could feel his chest expanding with pride. One of the best, eh? “We call ourselves cowboys.”

She nodded. “All right, cowboy. Let’s go.”

Side by side they walked through the tall indigo grass, heading for a hillock in the middle distance. It gave him the perfect opportunity to study her more closely. Her hands were sky-blue, like her face, but the strand of silky hair that had escaped from her scarf was as green as the ocean on Earth. A fragment of a poem surfaced in his memory. “Far and few, far and few, are the lands where the Jumblies live. Their heads are green and their hands are blue, and they went to sea in a sieve.” Edward Lear, his grandpa’s favorite poet. Gramps would have loved to see this planet and this woman. She was as beautiful as a fairy.

They’d reached the hillock. She bounded up the path with a lithe, otherworldly grace, and he lumbered after her, encumbered by his protective gear. He wished he could cast off his suit and take her hand. He wished he could run with her through the blue prairie, with the sun on his face and the wind in his hair.

But he would die if he so much as removed his mask. Everything on this planet was deadly for him.

Including her.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Memorial Day

Last week I blogged about Victoria Day, the Canadian long weekend.  This week it's the American long weekend, so once again I checked with Wikipedia, my favorite resource to find out about Memorial Day.

Memorial Day was previously called Decoration Day. This name is seldom used now. It is a federal holiday in The United States for honoring and mourning the military personnel who have died in the performance of their military duties while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The holiday is observed on the last Monday of May. Previously the holiday was observed on May 30 from 1868 to 1970.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day to honor and mourn those who died while serving in the U.S. Military. Many volunteers place an American flag on graves of military personnel in national cemeteries. Memorial Day is also considered the unofficial start of summer in the United States.

The Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) advocated returning to the original date.

Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed a lot to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.

In 2000, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act, asking people to stop and remember at 3:00 pm.

On Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.

The National Memorial Day Concert takes place on the west lawn of the United States Capital. The concert is broadcast on PBS and NPR. Music is performed, and respect is paid to the people who gave their lives for their country.

Across the United States, the central event is attending one of the thousands of parades held on Memorial Day in large and small cities. Most of these feature marching bands and an overall military theme with the Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard, and Veteran service members participating along with military vehicles from various wars.

Scholars, following the lead of sociologist Robert Bellah, often make the argument that the United States has a secular “civil religion” – one with no association with any religious denomination or viewpoint – that has incorporated Memorial Day as a sacred event. With the Civil War, a new theme of death, sacrifice, and rebirth enters the civil religion. Memorial Day gave ritual expression to these themes, integrating the local community into a sense of nationalism. The American civil religion, in contrast to that of France, was never anticlerical or militantly secular; in contrast to Britain, it was not tied to a specific denomination, such as the Church of England. The Americans borrowed from different religious traditions so that the average American saw no conflict between the two, and deep levels of personal motivation were aligned with attaining national goals.

In 1915, following the Second Battle of Ypres, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a physician with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, wrote the poem, "In Flanders Fields". Its opening lines refer to the fields of poppies that grew among the soldiers' graves in Flanders.

In 1918, inspired by the poem, YWCA worker Moina Michael attended a YWCA Overseas War Secretaries' conference wearing a silk poppy pinned to her coat and distributed over two dozen more to others present. In 1920, the National American Legion adopted it as its official symbol of remembrance.

Happy Memorial Day!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

I’m not familiar with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month so I checked my favorite research source, Wikipedia. (Love Wikipedia). I thought I would share what I found in both the US and Canada.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a period for the duration of the month of  May from May 1 to May 31. This is a period for recognizing the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.

The first Asians documented in the Americas arrived in 1587, when Filipinos landed in California, from 1898 to 1946. The next group of Asians documented in what would be the United States were Indians in Jamestown, documented as early as 1635. In 1778, the first Chinese to reach what would be the United States, arrived in Hawaii. In 1788, the first Native Hawaiian arrived on the continental United States, in Oregon. in 1900, Hawaii was annexed by the United States. The next group of Asians documented in what would be the United States were Japanese, who arrived in Hawaii in 1806.  In 1884, the first Koreans arrived in the United States. In 1898, Guam was ceded to the United States beginning in the 1900s, Chamorros began to migrate to California and Hawaii. In 1904, what is now American Samoa was ceded to the United States, beginning in the 1920s. Samoans began to migrate to Hawaii and the continental United States, with the first Samoans documented in Hawaii in 1920. In 1912, the first Vietnamese was documented in the United States.

A former congressional staffer in the 1970s, Jeanie Jew, first approached Representative Frank Horton with the idea of designating a month to recognize Asian Pacific Americans following the bicentennial celebrations. In June 1977 Representatives introduced a United States House of Representatives resolution to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate a month later.

The proposed resolutions sought that May be designated for two reasons. For on May 7, 1843, the first Japanese immigrant arrived in the United States. More than two decades later, on May 10, 1869, the golden spike was driven into the First Transcontinental Railroad, which was completed using Chinese labor.

President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution for the celebration on October 5, 1978.

Canadian Asian Heritage Month is also held in May, a time to acknowledge and celebrate the rich history of Asian-Canadians and their contributions to our country. To commemorate the occasion, CBC is sharing profiles of amazing Asian-Canadians every week to highlight those who are making meaningful contributions in the community.

Photo from Wikipedia

Friday, May 21, 2021

Does Writing Change an Author?

Thanks, Rhobin for another interesting topic this month. Does writing change the author? Do you think your writing has changed you in any significant way?

I don’t think you can generalize an answer to these questions. I’m sure every writer and author will have a different answer. It will be interesting to see how the other authors in this group reply to the question.

For myself, I think writing does change the author. First, we can finally validate those voices in our heads that writers hear. Writers also become more observant. We watch people in restaurants, on streets, in parks, wherever we go. We eavesdrop on conversations and watch the participant's facial expressions, gestures, and body image. We try to imagine the people’s backgrounds and history. What are their goals? Why are they rushing down a street?

Our curiosity intensifies as we develop our characters. I find myself talking to an owner of a restaurant about how he opened the restaurant and stories about some of his experiences and writing the information on a napkin. I scribble notes as I watch a man describing something with his hands. I close my eyes as I think about how to describe a smell that envelopes me.  

Also, as a writer, I join writing organizations and talk to other people who understand writing, and those voices we live with.

So yes, I think writing changed me. It’s made me more observant honed my descriptive skills and made me more aware of people I know and their goals and objectives. And housework dropped way down on my to-do list. 

I’m looking forward to what other authors have to say about this topic.

Skye Taylor

Anne Stenhouse

Marci Baun

Diane Bator

Connie Vines

Dr. Bob Rich

Fiona McGier

Judith Copek

Helena Fairfax

Rhobin L Courtright

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Victoria Day

In Canada, Monday, May 24th, is Victoria Day. Time to check my favourite resource, Wikipedia. Victoria Day is a federal Canadian public holiday, celebrated on the last Monday preceding May 25th. Originally in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday, falling on her actual birthday, May 24th. . It is now celebrated as the official birthday of Canada’s sovereign. It has been observed since 1845 in Canada.

On May 24th, in 1854, the 25th birthday of Queen Victoria, some 5,000 residents of Canada West gathered in front of Government House to “give cheers to their queen”. An example of a typical 19th-century celebration of the Queen’s birthday took place on May 24th, 1866, in Omemee, Canada West. The town mounted a day-long fĂȘte to mark the occasion, including a gun salute at midnight, pre-dawn serenades, picnics, athletic competitions, a display of illuminations, and a torch-light procession.

Following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, May 24th was made by law to be known as Victoria Day, a date to remember the late queen who was deemed the “Mother of Confederation”, and in 1904, the same date was made Empire Day throughout the British Commonwealth by imperial decree. In 1977, the Monday before May 25th became Victoria Day and the Queen’s Birthday.

The Victoria Day holiday for this year is on the queen’s actual birthday, and for the second year in a row, will be a quiet weekend due to the Covid pandemic. No parades, no gatherings, no large celebrations. Most of Canada is still in lock-down or stages of lock-down. Family camping trips, walks, and family barbeques will be the planned activities. Although in my area of Southern Alberta we are under a snow warning and have already had five to six centimetres of the white stuff so many camping trips and gatherings are being cancelled.

Happy Victoria Day to all my Fellow Canadians!