Space Rep: I love Maria Hammarblad. Why didn't you invite her over?
Liza: Because last time she was so forthcoming with dopey things about her life that Breaking News up and quit on me. So I asked her to send over her book instead.
And here it is. *opens door and finds cup of green liquid.* Or Not.
Space Rep: Sorry, I was heating my tea. *flips switch* Ready for transport.
Book: That transport took forever. I hope my words reassembled correctly.
Liza: So do I. Maria hates typos.
Book: How would you know that? I have studied all communications between you and Maria and none of them discussed typos.
Liza: Because she is an author. And all authors universally hate typos.
Book: That makes sense. I understand you especially are challenged by typos and cannot correctly spell names longer than four letters.
Liza: Sad but true.
Book: Then you may call me Shadow.
Liza: Okay, I may have typing issues, but you my beautiful friend, have a counting problem.
Shadow: Nonetheless, it's what I wish to be called.
Liza: Since you are so beautiful, I'll give in. So tell me about yourself.
Shadow: My story takes place on an old and decrepit station called Borealis. There might be a place my heroine, Theresa, fears more, but she can't think of one.
Liza: Since I expect she'd remember if there was a scarier place, I'm concluding this is the scariest place in the universe.
Shadow: You could be right. The place houses all sorts of cruelty. It's also where her husband Dominic was imprisoned, drugged, and tortured.
Liza: Is he okay now?
Shadow: No. He returned a mere shadow of his old self, scarred by abuse and suffering from the Uudon withdrawal.
Liza: Is that the drug the used on him?
Shadow: Yes. Uudon is developed by the Trans Planetary Protectorate to keep people obedient. It is extremely addictive, can be distributed in food and water, and most people who have been subjected to it have a very short life expectancy
Liza: Well, that's in the past and they can get beyond it, now, right?
Shadow: I fear not. They must return. Dominic claims he has some form of business there, and in his current state of mind I don't think he cares too much what will happen. Between you and me, his mind isn't what it should be.
Liza: I imagine Borealis is the last place Theresa wants to go.
Shadow: It is, but the one place she can’t escape. Dominic said they're going to Borealis, so they're going to Borealis.
Liza: So tell me about her husband.
Shadow: He has turned into a womanizing monster, and will destroy anyone who gets in his way. I don't think even his mistress is safe.
Liza: Sounds rather like my ex. Can we kill him off and get a better hero?
Shadow: There is Geo--
Liza: Tell me about him.
Shadow: He's her faithful and all too handsome bodyguard.
Liza: Sounds promising. Anyone else?
Shadow: Sadly, he appears to be the only one on her side.
Liza: Geo it is then. Tell me more about him.
Shadow: He once helped rescue Dominic by creating an insurrection at the station. As a result, he now spends his life on the run from dangerous enemies.
Liza: Well, he sounds like an excellent hero. Not everyone can manage an insurrection.
Shadow: True, but this might be a situation not even he can handle.
Liza: What does Theresa think?
Shadow: She fears none of them will make it out alive.
Liza: Well, I hope she's wrong about her and Geo, however, I'm willing to sacrifice Dominic, book unread.
Space Rep: That's not fair. We have to read the book first. Like right now.
Liza: May we peek beneath your covers?
Shadow: Of course.
"I wish we weren't going to Borealis."
"Trust me, you're not the only one."
Captain Geo rarely answered when she spoke, even if he was right next to her.
Sometimes she forgot what his voice sounded like.
Why is he standing guard inside the room anyway? He's usually on the other side of the door. Oh well, maybe he needs company too.
Theresa turned to meet his eyes and lifted an eyebrow.
"Did something happen to you there?"
He stood right beside the door with his feet apart and his hands tucked behind his back, looking authoritative and unafraid.
"Something happens to everyone who sets foot there. You too. Am I correct?"
This time all willpower in the world couldn't suppress the shudder. How could she be so fearful of a place she'd never seen? Telling herself Borealis was built and inhabited by humans didn't help one bit. She still considered it one of the lower levels of Tartarus where souls were tortured until the end of times.
"You know. You helped get him out."
He nodded, but didn't have time to answer; his radio crackled to life. She couldn't quite make out the mumbling voice on the other side, but it didn't matter.
It wasn't for her.
It was never for her.
Geo's voice right next to her made her jump. His chiseled face was almost within kissing distance. How could he be so quiet and still move so quickly?
"I need your assistance."
The mere words made her feel fatigued.
"Oh no. What did he do?"
"He's setting fires on the cargo deck, ma'am. Fire will deplete our air supply."
Space Rep: Yes! Found it!
Liza: Well done, Space Rep.
Space Rep: I peeked at another excerpt. They didn't follow your advice.
Liza: No one ever does. Heroes and heroines would have a much easier time if they'd only listen to me.
Space Rep: Why would they think that? Your characters are in constant trouble.
Shadow: May I leave now? I don't seem needed for this conversation.
Liza: Sorry, no. First, I want you to give me down-low on Maria. And then settle in. We're keeping you for three days. We'll want to read more excerpts.
Shadow: How many more?
Liza: From start to finish, I imagine, but first give us the scoop on Maria.
Originally born in Sweden, Maria moved to Florida late 2008, where she now lives with her husband Mike and their rescue dogs. She is most known for writing science fiction romance, but also produces contemporary romance novels and screenplays. Maria's main interest besides writing is playing bass.
Liza: You failed to mention her destroying a car-wash at all!
Shadow: She didn't destroy it entirely. They had it fixed a few months later, and I think its best forgotten entirely.
Liza: Clearly Shadow is not Space Investigator, so to find out more about Maria, check here:
Maria's links for legal stalking