Friday, September 29, 2017

Cassandra Chandler shares Duel Citizenship.

Two years ago, I sat down with the idea of writing a story about a nerdgirl with a secret crush on her best friend—who turns out to be an alien. I knew I wanted Gray Card to be short, I knew I wanted it to be funny, and I knew I wanted it to be steamy (really steamy). I didn’t know that it would turn out to be my most popular title, or that it would be the start of a whole new series!
In each story, we get to meet a strong heroine and the man who’s awesome enough to be her match. The action shows them growing closer, working together to overcome the obstacles I throw in their path. And along the way, they bring out the best in each other.
It’s important to me to write heroines who can take care of themselves. My favorite heroine moment in the entire series to date is when Khel is fighting the Tau Ceti cyborg sent to kill Paige, and she leaps onto her attacker’s back to help Khel fight him off—totally naked, since she was in the shower—and then she blinds him with her shampoo. These heroines are not content to sit around waiting to be rescued. I love seeing what they come up with to get themselves (and their partners) out of the situations I put them in.
The “fish out of water” elements among the aliens are also a blast to write. The aliens realize that there are gaps in their cultural training, and try to fake being normal even in ridiculous circumstances. I still think of Sorca’s brunch with Eric—where she doesn’t know the difference between toast and a fork—whenever I eat bacon and eggs. And I’m really grateful that we don’t have to subsist on nutrient bricks *shudder*.
My favorite of these cultural confusion moments is when Kira comes out of Brendan’s bathroom holding a roll of paper towels in one hand and toilet paper in the other. Coming from a culture that has radically different bathrooms (she’s been living on space stations for pretty much her entire life), can you imagine what she must have been thinking when she saw those together, only knowing what toilet paper was?
Aside from the main characters, the world itself is fascinating to explore as a writer. I’m having a great time coming up with my own take on flying saucers and aliens, working in classic Scifi elements and my own strange imaginings. The Tau Ceti look human, but are vampire space frogs (seriously). And the four-armed Lyrians—better known on Earth as Bigfoot—have the most bizarre physiology of any creature I’ve come up with.
These novellas are so much fun to write—almost addictive. From what I’ve heard, reading them is the same way. Plus, they’re short enough to read in a single sitting! I love giving my readers a super-fun reading experience and a sense of accomplishment at the same time.
If there’s one over-arching theme I’m trying to convey with the series, it’s that being human is pretty darn great and that it’s okay to enjoy being corporeal. We have coffee, we have video games, we have delicious food, and we have people we can share our lives with. I want to write about people who are coming to accept and love themselves for who they are, even if they didn’t turn out quite the way they think they were supposed to.
The Department of Homeworld Security novellas have one main purpose for me: to give my readers a whimsical, fun break from reality. I want them to feel lighter when they reach the end of each story and return to their lives.
To that end, here’s an excerpt from
Duel Citizenship
Please enjoy!
Ari’s eyes widened when he looked at her. It made her feel like the most beautiful woman on the planet.
Uh, hi.” He grasped his wrist, covering his watch as he dropped his arms in front of him. It seemed to be a habitual gesture.
Hi.” She smiled, pushing away the nervous thoughts at the edges of her mind. It had been a long time since… Actually, she’d never done something quite like this. “I have us set up around the corner.”
Most of her customers would take their food outside and eat on the picnic tables around the treehouse. Some sat at the counter and chatted. There was also a small round table in the treehouse that could seat four.
And then there was the nook.
Ari followed her to the small table that was nestled into the little alcove in the treehouse. It only sat two. Customers could call ahead if they had a special dinner planned and she would decorate it for the occasion. She’d never decked it out for herself.
White lights illuminated the space and a gauze curtain hung from the ceiling to give a better sense of privacy, even though it was only the two of them with the restaurant closed. The curtains were pulled apart so that she could easily come and go, since she was the server, chef, and diner that evening.
Most of the food was already on the table. She added the last dish and gestured for Ari to sit across from her. He didn’t try to pull out her chair, which was a relief. She always felt awkward when guys did that on dates.
Ari sat and looked around at the lights, then to the food resting on mismatched, colorful plates. His knee jutted out from his chair and he barely seemed to fit in the nook space. She could reach across the table and touch him without even stretching. Then again, that was sort of the idea of the spot.
Are you feeling better?” he said.
Yeah. I’m just a little banged up and stiff. It’s still kind of a miracle. I keep thinking maybe I wasn’t as high as I thought or something.”
You were at the top of the tree.” His brow was furrowed and his expression grim. “I watched you fall, but was too far away to do anything.”
That’s probably for the best. If I’d landed on you, I would have squished you.” She was trying to lighten the mood, but he kept staring at her with that dark expression.
I would have caught you.”
Then I would have fallen into a trope.”
She shook her head and laughed. “Forget it.”
Why weren’t you using a safety harness?”
I’ve never needed one before. I know how to operate in a tree. The only reason I fell is because of Violet.”
She’s one of my lizard friends. Frenemy, more like. I’m pretty sure she’s trying to kill me.”
Ari sat straighter in his chair and glanced around the room, as if looking for threats. Maybe he was a soldier. His gestures and movements reminded her of people she’d known who had served in the military. But still, she was talking about a lizard.
Ari, I was joking.” Sarah laughed. “Violet is a lizard. Lizards don’t try to kill people. Unless they’re a Komodo dragon or something, and planning on eating us. And I seriously doubt Violet wants to eat me. I hope not, anyway.”
What do these lizards look like?”
She shrugged. “Have you ever seen an iguana?”
How about a green basilisk? They’re the funny-looking lizards who can run across small stretches of water.”
The crease between his eyebrows deepened.
Okay, that makes it harder to describe. They’re bright green and have different colored stripes down their sides, sort of like a tiger.” She paused and smirked at him. “Unless you’ve never seen one of those, either.”
He paused for a few beats before he smiled. It was just as dazzling, but seemed forced.
There was no way he had never seen a tiger. Iguanas and basilisks, she could understand, especially if he was from up North. But a tiger? Who had never seen a tiger?
Shaking away the uneasy feeling that gave her, she went on. “Anyway, their heads are rounder than most lizards, with more of a…forehead, I guess. And they have these little crests on the backs of their skulls, and a short fin that runs down their backs. I think they kind of have a fringe around their faces as well.”
Hold on a second.” He started tapping on his watch. It had a black band and a large, flat face. Definitely high-tech and high-end. After a few moments, he cocked his head to the side, his smile vanishing. “How tall are they?”
Tall? Don’t you mean ‘long’?”
He smiled again, but somehow it seemed like a diversionary tactic.
Yes, of course.”
Of course.


Vegans Welcome.

Living in a treehouse restaurant in Florida, Sarah expects to encounter plenty of wildlife. But the huge lizards who suddenly show up in her tree aren’t the health conscious clientele she was hoping to attract when she expanded her menu to be vegan-friendly. She also didn’t expect one of the lizards to be determined to kill her.

Disguised as a tourist, the Sadirian soldier Ari is investigating strange readings coming from a huge oak tree in Florida—a tree with an Earthling living in it. The Department of Homeworld Security has sent him to find out if something extraterrestrial is going on, and with the Coalition looking to bring Earth into the fold before humanity is ready, he doesn’t have much time to sort things out.

Ari has been warned about the temptations of Earth, but nothing could prepare him for the full sensory overload he experiences with Sarah. From the first encounter with the most sensual meal he’s ever shared, Ari’s mission becomes more complicated. And when she's pulled into an alien duel, he finds that if he can’t help Sarah navigate the mystery of her new reptilian companions, Earth will be in more trouble than he thought.

Approximately 24,500 words.

Author Bio:
Cassandra Chandler has been obsessed with stories for as long as she can remember. A prolific writer, she has several Paranormal and Scifi Romance series that feature aliens, psychics, werewolves, and vampires—sometimes all in the same book. When she's not writing super-sexy love stories, you can find her knitting, chatting with readers, or making weird puppets.

If you want to talk to her, head over to Twitter (@CassChandler), Facebook (CassChandlerAuthor), send her email at AuthorAtCassandra-ChandlerDotCom, or, of course, leave a review. Remember to sign up for her newsletter ( to receive exclusive content!

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