Saturday, August 30, 2014

Liza O'Connor interviews Captured by the Hawk by Aurora Springer

Today, I'm interviewing a Space pirate book called Captured by the Hawk, sent to me by it's author Aurora Springer.

Space Rep: That sounds good. What's it about?

Liza: It's a romp through space with fast paced action, mystery, humor and romance.

Space Rep: Wow! It's got everything!

Liza: It sure seems to. So transport the book over and let's find out more.

Space Rep: Got it!

Liza: Welcome, Captured by the Hawk. Mind if I call you Cap for short.

Space: She's a terrible speller, I advise you to accept her suggestion.

Cap: OK. I'm easy going.

Liza: Great attitude. Can you tell me about your book?

Cap: That's why I'm here. Interstellar spy and expert code thief, Grey Kat, is captured by the enigmatic Black Hawk, renegade captain of the Rogue Star, who terrorizes the Emperor’s spaceships.

Liza: Oh, he sounds interesting. Tell me more.

Cap: He wears black, exposing only his fierce green eyes. 

Liza: Why?

Cap: Because he doesn't want anyone to see his face and he refuses to tell anyone why.

Liza: In that case, tell me more about Kat. Is she locked in the hull of his ship, chained to a wall and fed gruel?

Cap: Hardly. Kat is housed in the luxurious cabin of his wife, who died under mysterious circumstances. 

Liza: It doesn't sound like he means her harm.

Cap. Actually, Captain Hawk persuades Kat to assist in his next piracy attempt.

Liza: And how does that turn out?

Cap: Not too good.  

Liza: Could you be a bit more forthcoming.

Cap: I don't want to give too much. Let me say their initial attempt at piracy plunges them into a series of comic misadventures as they frantically dodge pursuit, crashing through several ships and different planets.

Liza: Sounds like one crazy occurrence after another.  

Cap: It is. I hope you will follow their adventures from Hassam port via the dock on a small planetoid to the remote planet of Ulverkop. 

Liza: And if I do this, what should I expect to learn?

Cap: How will they evade the Emperor’s troops? 

Space Rep: Stop, Cap!

Cap: Will Kat discover the secrets of the mysterious Black Hawk before she suffers the fate of his unfortunate ex-wife?

Space Rep: Cap stop! Liza hates questions she doesn't know the answer to.

Cap: Can she ever resume her true identity as the wealthy Mistress Trina Sligo and wed the Emperor’s son? 

Space Rep: Cap this is suicide!

Cap: And with the concussion she manages to acquire, will a foggy headed Kat succumb to the pirates charms?

Space Rep: *peeks out from beneath a table* Why aren't you threatening to toss Cap out into space for all those questions? You HATE questions.

Liza: I'm feeling very happy today. No desire to toss anything.

Space Rep. No...that's not it. There's only one reason you wouldn't find the questions upsetting...You already know the answers, which means you read the book without me.

Liza: Yep. And would you like to know what I thought of it?

Space Rep: Sure.

Liza: I thought it non-stop action from page one onward. My only complaint--and this is due no doubt to my preference of novels to novellas-- is that it stopped too soon. I wanted them to continue the fun. Instead, they wrapped it up faster than I could "Oh no you don't!"

Space Rep: So you gonna write a review for Amazon.

Liza: Yep.

Space Rep: What's it going to be?

Liza: Well, I was going to ding it for ending too soon and give it 4.5 stars, which I intended to round up, but then realized it's hard to find a half star, so I'm just going to call it a short 5.

Space Rep: Well, that's all fine and dandy for you, but I've yet to read it!

Liza: Cap, may Space Rep read beneath your covers.

Cap: Of course!

Finally, she had her interrogation. Two armed men escorted her through the ship’s narrow passages and into a large cabin. A tall man stood by a table displaying galactic charts. Strikingly, he was clothed entirely in black. He wore black leather boots, black gloves and a black turban covered his head. Even his face was wrapped in folds of black cloth, exposing only his piercing green eyes. She stared at him curiously. Sexy outfit, she mused, and judging by his broad shoulders, he would strip well. But, why did he have that black mask over his face?  Was it a cultural obligation, or was he hiding some hideous facial deformity?
He scrutinized her small figure with equal intensity. He saw a slim woman with alert tawny eyes, short brown hair and skin. She was dressed in coveralls of a faded, nondescript brown, almost matching the color of her skin.
He spoke in a cool, dispassionate tone, “My men say you are the cunning thief who stole the secret codes from the Emperor’s Revenge. Where are the codes?”
She stared back in silence, tilting her chin in defiance. Who was he to question her?
“I am the Black Hawk. You are on my ship, the Rogue Star, and utterly in my power. I recommend you tell me what you know.” His deep cold voice sent a shiver down her spine.
The Black Hawk, she thought. He was a renegade captain of uncertain allegiance who terrorized interstellar space. His ship raided isolated ports and boarded lone ships, especially those registered in the Emperor’s sector. She could never admit to her identity as the wealthy Mistress Sligo to such a rapacious pirate. Only her secret persona as the insidious thief, the Grey Kat, from the sleazy side of the docks was viable in this situation.
“Ain’t got nothing!” Kat whined like a wretched dock rat, as she resumed her role as the desperate thief, using the dialect of the seedier docks.  
His fierce eyes probed her. She flinched involuntarily and lowered her eyes, while stalling for time or inspiration.
“Are you afraid of me?” he asked.
Kat raised her head, gazing boldly into his green eyes, and sneered, intending to confound him, “What me? Why’d I fear a slick spacer like ye?”
“What did you steal from the Emperor’s Revenge?” he said in accusation.
“Wha’ ship? Didn’t take nothing from no ship!” she spat out, pursing her lips as if in perplexed anger.
“My men saw you creep out of the Revenge’s cargo bay.” 
Oh, no, Kat thought, I must be growing careless. I didn’t spot his men.
“Ain’t bin in no ship! Ye put me back on dock,” she pleaded, chin tipped impudently. “Ain’t done nothing wrong!”
“My ship has lifted from the spaceport. You cannot return to Hassam.” He stared at her for a minute, noting the unconscious challenge in her eyes and her defiant stance. “You intrigue me. You are not afraid, and your replies are too prompt and recalcitrant for the usual dockside thief.”  
Kat remained silent, keeping her gaze locked on his green eyes, while pondering her best approach in dealing with this coldly confident pirate.
“Are you ready to talk?” he insisted in a harsh voice, evidently unused to opposition. “What is your name, thief?”
It was time to switch her guise and confuse him with the story of her life. She spoke, enunciating carefully, “I am called Grey Kat, and I am no common thief.”
He said in a derisive tone, “Proceed with your story.”
She spoke smoothly with the hint of the unkempt underclass giving way to the educated voice of a skilled narrator, “With your permission, Sir, I shall begin my story. I was born into a wealthy family on the planet Terra in the center of the Solarian sector. My fortunate childhood did not last for many years. My family’s wealth was lost to the predations of a financial genius affiliated with the Emperor. We were forced to beg for a livelihood. My talents led me in divergent directions. I roamed the streets at night in the service of criminals, and was instructed in the skills necessary for the Solarian Intelligence Service in the daytime.” She paused, noting a gleam of interest in his shadowed eyes.
“I wish to know what you have done, not your life history,” he demanded in an attempt to forestall her digressions.
“You cannot keep me imprisoned here,” she countered in her sweetest tone, despite her fear that he had kidnapped her for profit.
His eyes scanned down her slight figure, lingering over her slender anatomy. Kat stiffened defensively. What was he thinking? But, he lowered his gaze to the table, as if he pondered some unwelcome choice.
After a moment’s silence, he raised his penetrating green eyes to her face, saying slowly, “We can provide suitable accommodations for you on the Rogue Star. I realize you are more than a scrubby dock thief.”
“Thank you, Captain Hawk,” she murmured politely, unsure what to expect as suitable accommodation.
He called the guard and spoke quietly to him. She could not hear their words, although the guard looked surprised, shaking his head and whispering as if he were raising an objection to his Captain’s command. 
Black Hawk glanced back at her, “Take her away, feed her and bring her back at the same time tomorrow.”
Space Rep: Oh this does sound good. Are you going to share your copy or buy me my own.
Liza: If you can find a link, I'll buy you your own.
Space Rep:  Got it! According to Amazon, it's expected out on Sept 1, 2014, but it has Pre-order available.

Liza: Cap, we'll be keeping you 3 days, so sit back and relax.
Cap: No problem. I could use a spot of stillness for a change.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jobs offered based on genetic traits-The Future is Here

The US Air force paid for a study to determine which gene type is best able to multitask. They did this by looking at the human variants of processing COMT aka Catechol-O-Methyltransferase. 

First, let me say, whoever named that gene should be shot.
Scientist BONES shot

 I would find MethCatCrossing far easier to remember. But I'll cope with COMT. However I will never spell that name out again. NEVER!

COMT makes an enzyme that breaks down neurochemicals like dopamine. However, not everyone processes the neurochemicals the same. Scientists categorize the variations into three categories.

LARRY, MOE & JOE. (Joe was before Curly, but it doesn't really matter, because they didn't name them that anyway.)

They called them:
Met/Met, Met/Val, Val/Val
And the reason the scientist sound like they taken to stuttering is either because some general has indeed ordered them shot for their poor naming skills OR because it refers to the amino acid pairings of methionine and valine in the enzyme.


Otherwise known as:
Worrier, Wisher, Warrior
Actually, I made one of those up: Wisher.

They call the gene the Worrier-Warrior gene, but since they use three categories, I felt the middle split amino acids needed a name too. So I named it Wisher, as in:  I wish someone would give me a name, too.

Now why should anyone care about any of this?

Because it turns out those with the MET/MET, the Worrier gene, can multi-task far better than the Wishers or Warriors. However, they also suffer high levels of stress and get PSTD more often.

Thus, Orson Scott Card was very smart in Ender's Game to make his Met/Mets think their multitasking war was just a game they played. 

In real life, when given a squad of 6 drones to handle at once, the Met/Mets (aka worriers) far surpassed the other two.

In a fit of political correctness, the Air force assures us that they would only consider using their new found knowledge so they can establish better teaching methods to help those who are not innately skilled for the job.

Yeah, I'm not buying it. If certain jobs require multitasking skills and certain people are born with the genetic skill, why would anyone try to make a great focuser into a multi-tasker, or put a great multi-tasker on a job that requires great focus and concentration? That would be a waste of time and money. 

You should always put the best man or woman on the job. Employers attempt to ferret this out now with the interview process, but resumes and interviewees often lie.

If you really want the best match, perhaps a bit more information from the blood test would be a better designator.  

To prevent outrage from the public you can still do the interview process. Then you'll choose the winning candidate by the blood results that no one knows about.

While it's a bit disturbing that we might soon obtain & lose our jobs by genetic testing, at least we won't have to send out resumes to half the world and declare our greatest weakness is that we work too hard.

Instead, our innate qualifications can be loaded into a giant database and employers can bid for us and then we can be trained for the job that best suits us. 

I know it's a bit scary, because as we get older, our innate abilities decline. But hopefully with the world working so much better, what with the correct people in each job, we can be retired earlier and get to enjoy life, become authors, painters, songwriters, expressing life in fabulous ways so that the youth will long to join us, once their mandatory enslavement to a corporation or government entity is up.

But more likely we'll become soylent green.

 For the real SA article which has no mention of  76.4% of this article CLICK HERE.

Check out the real article. You will be amazed that I spelled all those ridiculously long words correctly.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Strange but true Bizarre discovery

Okay, you are going to think I'm making this up, so I'll give you a link to the Scientific American so you will believe me when I say California is growing up.

It turns out water was keeping it down and now with the drought worse than ever some mountains are 0.6 inches taller.

Shocking, right? When the ground loses its water, it rises.

Yeah, that's a decimal point before the 6. Stop grumbling that I'm wasting your time on a half inch. Just think about the tardigrade. This has to be a terrifying for them.

An adult tardigrade is 0.06 inches long.

Note the extra zero between the dot and the 6.
That means California, when measured by the tardigrades (who measure the world by their body length--don't roll your eyes, we measure by some dead guy's obsolete foot) this means California has increased 100 tardi's. That's huge. How would you like to wander out from your tardi leaf and discover your fancy watch has increased it's sea level measure by 100 tardies.

They have to be terrified by the change. And you should be concerned too.  The West is seriously drying up. They've calculated 240 gigatons of water have evaporated from the ground. And when you removed that much weight from the crust it actually bulges upward by half inch.

(No, the tardis are not sharing their research with me. That came from the researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the Univ. of CA-San Diego. I'm sure the tardi's report is far more alarming--size really does matter.) 

How did we even notice a half inch change in a mountain? Turns out someone noticed the current GPS readings are higher than those of 2003. 

GPS has got to be one of the best inventions ever! I wonder if the tardi's have GPS.

For the actual, serious article: check out Scientific American

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Nebula Nights, 11 Authors, 11 stories, 99 cents.


Today, I've a whole bunch of my friends and fellow authors over talking about this mindblowing fabulous deal. 99 cents for not one, not two, not even five or ten books, but eleven books. That makes them 9 cents a book.

Space Rep: Wow! Can I interview the authors?
Liza: All eleven authors? Absolutely not.

Space Rep: May I interview one?

Liza: You may ask one author one question.

Space Rep: Melisse Aires, come on down!

Melisse: Hey Space Rep. What's up?

Space Rep: Why did you choose to bundle? 

Melisse: Why Bundle? Good question, Space Rep.
I had not seriously thought about being in a bundle because the whole idea sounded massively complicated and time consuming! But one day I was hanging around the Sooper Sekrit Brigade Saloon and chatter turned to bundles in general. We realized there was interest and quite a few authors with first in series books ready to go!

Even better, we had a member who was very knowledgeable about the process. It sounded like a good way to meet new readers, so I decided to do it. I 'm glad I did. My co-authors are a fun and pleasant group to work with. Picking the cover and title was fun, and it came together so quickly. It has been exciting watching Nebula Nights move up the charts. A positive experience all around.

Liza: That does sound fabulous. I can't wait until I start publishing my Sci-Fi series so maybe I can do one of these.

Title: Nebula Nights: Love Among The Stars

Author(s): Melisse Aires, SJ Pajonas, PK Hrezo, C.E. Kilgore, Cathryn Cade, Catrina Taylor, Veronica Scott, Lyn Brittan, Pauline Baird Jones, K.G. Stutts, and Greta van der Rol


11 Sci-Fi Romances that’ll sweep you away! 

If you like your science fiction blazing with adventure and your space opera spiced with romance, this boxed set is for you. From first contact to battles for survival and love on war-torn planets, this collection from bestselling & award winning authors, including Cathryn Cade, Veronica Scott, PK Hrezo and more, will leave you sighing with satisfaction.

Her Cyborg Awakes by Melisse Aires 

Her gentle cyborg servant helped her escape violence--but now he's changed into a warrior! Is he safe?

Removed (The Nogiku Series, #1) 

by SJ Pajonas 

In this Japan-inspired tale, one woman’s family destiny is key to the survival of the last city on Earth.

Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. by PK Hrezo 

Welcome to Butterman Travel, Inc., where time is always in your hands.

Noelle In His Heart by C.E. Kilgore 

Noelle wishes for someone who understands she has love to give but commitments to honor. Stranded on Earth, Steve longs for someone who will understand that his alien heart can love just as deeply.

Stark Pleasure; the Space Magnate's Mistress

by Cathryn Cade 

Kiri te Nawa survives the perils of the galaxy on her wits ... although when it comes to space magnate Logan Stark, she’d rather use her body.
But can she trust him with her secrets?

Birth of an Empire: The Beginning 

by Catrina Taylor 

Three former genetic experiments chose peace over war in a sector that's known only war for a century. As each one squares against their governments they will question the experiences that guide them.

Escape From Zulaire 

by Veronica Scott 

When the planet erupts into war, Sectors Special Forces Captain Tom Deverane must decide whether to save Andi Markriss, the intergalactic businesswoman he loves, or sacrifice her to save Zulaire.

Solia's Moon by Lyn Brittan 

SFR Galaxy Award Winner! When Dr. Solia uncovers her company's foray into creating humanoid life, she enlists the help of her handsome ex, Sheriff Sable, in bringing a little justice to the universe.

The Key by Pauline Baird Jones 

Her orders are simple: do the impossible and do it yesterday. But this time the impossible might actually be impossible. The only way it could get worse? If her heart starts beating for the wrong guy.

The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy 

by Greta van der Rol 

The Galaxy teeters on the brink of war. Can ex-admiral Saahren persuade the woman who hates him to help him prevent the coming conflagration? And perhaps even love him?

Mirror Image by KG Stutts 
Maddie's entire world is turned upside down when she finds out that she is a clone. Now she must work with her counterpart to protect Earth.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Beginning of the End

Sonny White you might want to hurry up on saving mankind.

That's because a lot of weird things are going on in the arctic. [Spell check first changed artic to attic, and there are always weird things going on up there, but let's focus on the icy ends of earth shall we.] Not to worry, the Pentagon has plans to 'handle' the fallout of Global Warming. (Riots, starvations, droughts, ebola...)

Perhaps you already know there are mysterious giant holes appearing in Siberia. I think they are checking satellite pics to determine how long they have been there. Something created a tidy round hole, with debris on the outside of the opening rim. This precludes it from being a weird circular sink hole.

The reining speculation is that methane gas is blowing open the holes. I'm not happy with that conclusion. First, because the holes are well rounded and unless there is a well rounded crack in the ice, I don't see how the pressure of gas is going to make such a tidy opening. I would expected a jagged opening wherever the ice is it's weakest.

Secondly, I don't want methane in our air. I strongly believe methane is what wiped out most life the last time the earth danced this song. When Earth gets too warm, it get's restless, releasing methane through it's cracks and natural tunnels. All this shifting & pressure causes volcanoes to get cranky, making them spew out toxic dust and gases, enveloping our atmosphere in a deadly gaseous blanket that collects more heat. In the ocean, fissures occur and the bottom warms causing methane lying dormant in the prior cold ocean floor to rise quickly.

And thus endth most life very quickly. 
Then the atmosphere becomes so thick that the sun can no longer warm the planet and it falls into a long deep freeze.

And a million years later, the earth will create new life and start the whole process over again.

I'm not keen about my soul having to hang around a million years with no means to write a novel, but maybe that gives us time to think...really think about what we want from life. And be nice about getting there.

Or maybe, our souls can travel the universe and we'll find a habitable planet and slowly work our way up an evolving food chain.
Future Liza may be a sea slug, but she's a pretty sea slug.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

No one stays on top forever

No one stays on top forever, and that goes for every species, even the man-made ones, like robots and cellphones.

Perhaps Curiosity thought herself without competition. I mean the robot's done her job without complaint, attitude or pay. And she's far superior from the other two robots on Mars.

Yet, her days as #1 are numbered. NASA is building 'a better' robot to do more important work. It turns out robots have no better job security than we humans do. You work your butt off, never complaining that with each year, your paycheck stretches thinner and thinner. Then one day, you come to work and they've laid off your whole division, and they learned a trick from Lucent: In order to avoid paying you your fair compensation, they list you by business location, and oddly they've a great deal of 'business locations' in the same building. 

According to the law created to help small businesses, they don't have to pay the legal compensation if there are fewer than X number of people in their business location. So  you take what they generously give you (less than half than what they owed you), sign a letter you will not sue for further recompense and start your life all over again.

Do I sound bitter?  I'm not. I far more enjoy being an author and making people laugh. But still it shows the soulessness of a corporation. They are so NOT people.

So poor Curiosity is going to be demoted. They won't fire him. He'll have a job until he dies. But that's because he cost NASA millions and like the robots before him, they expect him to work til he falls apart.

I can't find a current status of all our robots on Mars, so I'll wade through Wikipedia until I have the answers.

Here's what I discovered: In 2003, we sent two robots to Mars. Opportunity and Spirit.

This is some of the fine mapping that Spirit did in 2004: 

Spirit got caught in a rut in 2010, like so many workers do, and was demoted to detecting wobbles of the planet's rotation (to determine if the planet has water inside). This was so demoralizing that Spirit 'mission ended' [i.e. quit] on May 25th, 2011. They continue to try and talk to it, but it's too depressed to respond.

That put a fire under Opportunity. He has made it through his 6th winter and 5th solar conjunction.

To reward him for his fine mapping skills, they demoted him and brought in Curiosity.

Curiosity, the size of freakin car, landed August 2012.  Being very vain at her top dog status, the first thing she does is takes a selfie of herself.
No artist rendition for her profile pic. thank you very much!
I'm not an expert in selfies, but shouldn't we see an arm or something holding the camera?  

Poor Spirit had nothing to say over Curiosity's arrival. Opportunity sucked it up and said "Glad you've come to Mars. I am yours to command."

Curiosity eyes him over. "Excellent. Take my picture. My fans want to see me. Then I have to assess the geological features of the planet and determine if there is now or ever was life and water on this dirty little sand box."

Opportunity forced a nod of his headlike thing. "Sounds fantastic. If I can help you in anyway some mapping, dust you wheels, just let me know. I am yours to command."

"What about that one?" Curiosity eyed Spirit.

"It's too depressed to work...unless.  Do you think the two of us together could pull her out her rut?"

"Sorry, not my job," Curiosity replied and sent off her selfie. She then spent her first year proving that Mars did once have conditions that would allow microbial life on it.

Now a new 'better' version of Curiosity, which since they haven't given it a name, I will: Calamity 
is being built for a 2020 landing.

However, some scientist are not happy with some of the 'replacements' being made to the Curiosity base. One is claimed to be an unknown technology, and the scientist feels if Curiosity is not broke, we shouldn't go replacing it's parts in the new model. 

Still, it can do things Curiosity couldn't do or took a long time to do. For something new, it will bring along a reverse fuel cell which turns Carbon Dioxide into Oxygen and Carbon monoxide.  The Oxygen can then be used as a fuel for returning ships. (Yes, I double checked. Oxygen is a viable fuel for space.) Or it can be stored for human to breath when they arrive.

However, this planned conversion leaves us with a planet full of Carbon monoxide. That doesn't sound particular good for humans.
Maybe we can smush the Carbon monoxides together and make more Carbon dioxide which we can then convert into more oxygen.  I just checked. Converting carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide is what a catalytic converter on the car does. So we just need to add one to Calamity.

Here's a fake selfie for Calamity:
I don't see anywhere to attach the converter...

One of the new additions on its payload is SHERLOC which stands for:  Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC) ultraviolet (UV) laser spectrometer.

Sadly, the one who set the goals and objectives of the mission was not the same person who decided what payload it would carry, and he doesn't know a lot about Raman, so he doesn't think it should come along. 

Seriously, dude. You don't know anything about the technology, but you are saying we shouldn't use it? Why don't you fix your ignorance first? It could be the best thing since we discovered how to get oxygen from carbon dioxide!  If you are too tired to learn about new inventions, then step aside and let a smarter human do you job. Just like Curiosity is expected to do when Calamity arrives, and I'm changing her name, since your complaint about her payload is by your own admission based in ignorance.  

It's new name for the robot is Creator-Mini-Me.

Or not...I fear it's new name will give it a God Complex, and since it will someday meet it's replacement, it may get depressed like Spirit.

Well, clearly I need help. What do you wish to name the robot? I have acquired Sonny White's email. (seriously) and I'll send the recommendation through him.  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pippa Jay shares Tethered

Today, I've asked Pippa Jay to tell us about that which her characters fear. Take it away Pippa!

Tyree is a Su assassin, a genetically enhanced clone, one of many in the secluded city of Refuge. Perfect. Strong. Irresistible and unrelenting. Incapable of failure. No Su would ever cry in pain no matter how badly they're hurt. And Tyree would deny being in pain regardless.

But she does have a flaw. While a Su would never admit to suffering from any kind of phobia or fear, Tyree does have one. She doesn't much like space travel. Not a great fear to have when your job requires you to traverse most of the habitable planets in the galaxy, and often more than one per trip. Despite all her supposed advantages over mere human beings, the prospect of throwing herself through space by the use of gateways and fusion engines frightens her in a way no human or weapon can. There's just something about the whole process that sets her nerves on edge and has her envisaging the most terrible fate – destruction, lost in the nothingness of warp space. 

Perhaps it's the whole sense of not being in control, of handing her life over to machinery and humans that she can't handle. Whichever, it puts an already cranky on Tyree on edge, and later on even puts the man she's supposed to be protecting at risk...

Liza: Most interesting, let's find out more...

She can kill with a kiss. But can assassin Tyree also heal one man’s grief, and bring peace to a galaxy threatened by war?

For Tyree of the Su, being an assassin isn’t simply something she was trained for. It’s the sole reason for her existence. A genetically enhanced clone—one of many in Refuge—she’s about to learn her secluded lifestyle, and that of all her kind, is under threat by a race capable of neutralizing their special talents to leave them defenseless.

For Zander D’joren, being a diplomat has not only cost him his appearance, but also the love of his life. Scarred, grieving, he must nonetheless continue in his role as co-delegate to the fearsome Tier-vane or risk a conflict that could only end one way.

Now both of them need to keep each other alive and maintain a perilous deception long enough to renegotiate the treaty with the Tier-vane, or throw their people into a war that could wipe out Terrans and Inc-Su alike. But there’s more at stake than humanity, whether true or modified. Can the love growing between them save them both? Or merely hasten their destruction?

(author's note – Communion is a form of empathic sharing often used by the Su for comfort)

"I...don't want to hurt you, Zander."

"Do you think that's likely?"

"Possibly. I've never tried it. Not without it going further and with my own kind." Tyree rubbed palms, suddenly damp, on her legs. "And I meant more the emotional pain. The memories it might bring back."

He considered her for a long moment, and she thought he might retract the offer. She'd already made it clear that Communion meant something different to her, but she could probably restrain herself to his level.

He released himself from his safety harness and moved into the seat beside her. With a graceful wave of his fingers, he slowly extended his hand to her. She stared into his palm as if it was a zone too dangerous for even her to enter. "Are you sure about this?"

"Yes. I won't have you suffering on my account."

And what about on your own account?

Tyree hesitated. Neither of them had chosen to be in this situation. Why did he deliberately go out of his way to make it easy for her when it had to cost him so much?

The temptation was too much, and as the craft shivered beneath her she gripped his hand with a sudden urgency. "Tell me if it gets too overwhelming. I've never tried this with anyone but an Inc-Su."


Together they both sank back into their seats with eyes closed, hands linked. Tyree touched the shield control and tentatively opened herself to Zander.

A dull ache brushed her first, dark red. Fragments of pain in silver shards that left her gasping but were gone in an instant. Then a dark golden glow, the color of the robes he chose to wear, enveloped her. It was warm and sweet as capprey, but layered with bitterness. Like bathing in muted sunshine, or being wrapped in soft furs and held. Her breath caught as it cocooned her. The strength and focus of his aura startled her. In most humans it was a wild and ragged thing, flaring madly, easy to draw and consume. In Zander, the depth and complexity of it left her speechless. Made her ache for more. Even Inc-Su rarely had such a strong and sure aura. It spoke of his confidence and endurance. His determination. His passion.

She sank into it willingly. Liquid gold flowed into her, and she floated on it, euphoria singing in her veins.

Sudden pain slammed into her chest. The image of a woman. Her own image...and yet not hers. The way she moved, the way she spoke, was alien to Tyree, to her own perceptions of herself. This was Mirsee. Zander's memories of her, his sense of her. A twin to Tyree, her death a dagger in his heart, burning deeper than his scars. His agony at the loss of Mirsee seared into her.

She tried to twist free, to sink back into the golden glow that lay at his core. Finding a glimpse, she dove into it, and pulled the threads of it back around herself. His thoughts poured into her soul. Grief, need, passion. Desire.

Pressure built within her, a terrible aching need that possessed her. She wanted him. Needed him now!

The straps dug deep and hard into her skin as she jerked forward, and the pain of it yanked her from Communion. Zander still held her hand but gripped so tightly that her fingers had gone numb from the pressure. She looked at him. Muscles twitched in his jaw, his lips pressed hard together. His eyes were closed and his brow furrowed as if in pain, his body held rigid.

"Zander." She reached over her free hand to shake him. "Zander!"

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After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), three self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply, The Bones of the Sea, and Reboot), and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

You can stalk her at her website, or at her blog, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.
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Spacefreighters Lounge -

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