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Spotlight’s on Bonnie Vaughan’s contribution to THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS! #paranormal #anthology @spacebornishere #SciFic

To conclude our THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS spotlights, we have the talented and lovely, Bonnie Vaughan! Today she’s sharing a peek into her upcoming Science Fiction novel, SPACEBORN (coming in 2014 from Black Opal Books). Don’t forget to pick up your copy for the holidays!

3D Paranormal AnthologyAvailable now:  AMAZON  or BLACK OPAL BOOKS

Jami, thanks for hosting me on your blog and for spreading the word about THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS. It looks like the perfect extra gift. I’m signing copies and putting them under the tree for my children and grandchildren, but shh, don’t tell them before December 25.

“An Unexpected Blessing” has an ending that might tingle your spine. I can’t wait to read the other stories in the book. My husband, Lee Vaughan, says they’re very good.

Spaceborn C02-2

The following excerpt is from SPACEBORN, my science fiction novel about a pregnant astrogeologist who discovers something strange on Mars, published by Black Opal Books this year.

Michelle drove Morgan, Randy, and Vlad to the site. The others emerged from the portable habitat in their spacesuits just as the new team joined them.

Jamese walked up to Morgan and blocked her progress. “Why did you come? We can do our jobs without you looking over our shoulders.”

Morgan stopped and waited, without speaking. Anything she said would give Jamese something to criticize. It would be best to let the others handle her.

“Please move aside,” Cass said.

“We didn’t say we needed her here,” Jamese said, not moving. “She doesn’t have to take credit for everything.”

Randy stepped between the women. “We should turn on the broadcast now, Jamese. Would you mind narrating again?”

“She shouldn’t even be outside,” Jamese said before she moved out of the way and started recording.

Morgan set her suit camera and radio for broadcast as she started walking uphill. She held back what she wanted to say to Jamese so that it wouldn’t reach Earth.

“The rest of the Pax crew came out to see the remains that the exploration team found this morning,” Jamese said for the distant audience. “This discovery might prove to be the most significant of all at the excavation site.”

“Over here,” Aiden said, motioning for them to hurry.

Morgan had never seen his eyes open so wide beneath his untamed forelock, which his comm-cap could not contain. She rushed to his side, put her helmet faceplate against his, and said, “Congratulations on your amazing find.”

He jumped up and down like a child who couldn’t wait to show his mother a new drawing. His boots kicked up sprays of dust each time he bounced off the red soil.

“Come see it.”

Morgan walked over to a shallow pit and looked down. Long, tubular objects lay at the bottom like scattered pipes. Could they be bones?

She knelt and leaned over for a closer look. Near the edge of the pit she saw a tiny spot of green. “Michelle, would you please bring me the tweezers?”

“Here.” Michelle handed her the foot-long instrument.

Morgan grasped the green object with her tongs and lifted it up in the pale light of the Martian afternoon. The end of the tongs held a ring.”

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Bonnie Vaughan became fascinated with space travel when the first lunar lander took off from the moon, a feat she had thought was impossible. As the author of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, her most exciting interview was with Colonel Al Worden, pilot of the Apollo 15 command module, who told her how fragile the Earth looked from a distance. A journalism degree from San Jose State University landed her a job as an award-winning technical writer, including an Award of Distinguished Technical Communication from the Society for Technical Communication in 2013. She has authored many software books for Silicon Valley companies and writes her own science fiction stories on weekends, at home in San Jose, California.

Visit her website at www.bonniegvaughan.com.

Things You Didn’t Know About the Awesome Faith Hunter @hunterfaith #faithhunter #JaneYellowrock

Just when you thought you had a handle on what you know about your favorite writers, you discover there is so much more to know! Faith Hunter, author of the Jane Yellowrock Urban Fantasy novels and Rogue Mage Fantasy series, was sweet enough (and brave enough) to share a little of herself with us!  Dare you to take a peek!

If you were to hold a dinner party for six, who would you invite and share at least one question you would have for each? Your guests don’t have to be alive and if you really want to make it fun, you can use favorite fictional characters. 

Well, if they were dead, they probably wouldn’t come to the party. And, if they did, they probably wouldn’t help the ambience with their rotten stink. Or their rattle-y bones if they’d been gone a long while. And if they were zombies, they’d try to eat our brains, not the food I’d so carefully prepared. So I guess I’ll pass on this one. Oh. Wait. They can be alive???

           Wow, you’d cook for them? Brave, brave Faith.  I don’t think they’d still be breathing if I had to cook. Although that     would make some interesting dinner conversation…hmmm…

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten.  Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

I wanted to be a nurse so I could help people. Then I found out nurses sometimes have to wash people’s butts, and I decided to become a lab tech. I only later discovered that lab techs have to do tests on poop. My bad.

         *snort* Yeah, that might take some getting used to…

If your character(s) came with a warning label, what would it say?

Warning! Warning Will Robinson! Warning!   (laughing) You have to like old scifi to appreciate this one.

         Hey! Who you calling old? I love that line…actually used it on my Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor the other day *grin*

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior).  Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

I adore two actors: George Clooney and Mark Harmon. A-D-O-R-E! If got to meet either actor, I’d probably blubber like I was having a stroke. And then cry. And then pass out. All of which could be worse.

           Only if they didn’t catch you. Think of the possibilities if they did, though…

Growing up, what was your favorite book, comic, game or movie and did you create a character/player that might resemble you?

Wonder Woman. She was tall and skinny and athletic and had big boobs and wore a big cape. I was successfully psychic in the boobs part. And I do love scarves which might be considered a type of cape. As for the rest, I guessed totally wrong.

Share one uniquely strange experience you’ve had that remains crystal clear to this day.

I remember a 4 day trek up to Nantahala. It was cold and raining and wet and miserable, and the RV was full of river-stinky wet gear, and wet, cold, stinky river paddlers (some of whom didn’t feel like showering because it was only Wednesday). And I was stressed and exhausted. Deadlines looming. Needing to get home. And because I had promised to join everyone, we geared up in our cold wet river gear and went down the river.

We were the only people on the water.

Mist fell down the sides of the gorge like a waterfall of clouds. Birds sang like they were calling for the last warm days of summer to return, and to remember them. The water called back with a muted roar of joy and power. The river carried us along like the veins of mother earth. I got out front at one point, and a bird flew along beside my boat, just us, alone on the water. Wings outspread in a slow glide, he watched me with one quirky eye, sharing some great bit of bird wisdom about flight with his water-bound cousin. Rain fell and dimpled the surface of the river in the places where it was smooth. Raindrops mixed with my tears until I couldn’t tell the difference between the tears of the earth and my own.

And I was restored.

That river trip was a thing of great worth, a priceless, un-match-able experience. I returned home relaxed and calm. And I met my deadline. I carry that river trip in my memory like a precious thing. And when I’m stressed, and having panic attacks, and feeling like a failure, I remember that trip. And that bird, gliding beside me, sharing the experience of the cold and the wet.

             Wow, Faith, that actually made me tear up! It sounds so incredibly beautiful.  It’s those type of moments that restore your creativity and sense of wonder.  Something every person needs! Thank you for sharing.

What’s the one genre you won’t ever try and why?

Erotica. My sex scenes suck. Wait. That came out aaaaaall wrong.

     *snorting coffee through nostrils* Seriously, you are a dangerous woman when hot beverages are involved!  I know I feel like the closet perv when doing my scenes.  Hunched over the keyboard, office door closed, continuously checking to make sure the Knight, the Hellhound or the Prankster Duo aren’t lurking behind me.

Now it’s time for our favorite bullet questions!

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Yes.

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Snow White and the 7 Dwarves, of course. Wait. Was that not politically correct here?

No worries, what is said in the Swamp, stays in the Swamp!

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read? 

I only have two waiting: 1. Kim Harrison’s Ever After. 2. Patricia Briggs’ Frost Burned.

Greatest one liner of all time?

Go ahead … Make my day.

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Yes. Each as appropriate.

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

Hmmm. That would be either the boar skull (complete with tusks) or the free rang anole lizard named Longfellow. He is sleeping in an orchid as I write this, but he spent today running up and down the shelves that hold the orchids.

Favorite supernatural creature?    

Angels. Not the pretty lady kind, but the warrior kind — mean brutes with the swords of justice and armor. I mean, really. Kickass gorgeous males with wings and swords? How cool is that?

Intrigued are you? Good, because here’s a look at Faith’s latest release, BLOOD TRADE:

Blood Trade Cover

The Master of Natchez, Mississippi has a nasty problem on his hands. Rogue vampires—those who follow the Naturaleza and believe that humans should be nothing more than prey to be hunted—are terrorizing his city. Luckily, he knows the perfect skinwalker to call in to take back the streets.

But what he doesn’t tell Jane is that there’s something different about these vamps. Something that makes them harder to kill—even for a pro like Jane. Now, her simple job has turned into a fight to stay alive…and to protect the desperately ill child left in her care.

Available now at AMAZON  and  BARNES AND NOBLE!

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Faith Hunter has written the Jane Yellowrock series and the Rogue Mage series, as well as the RPG Rogue Mage. Several of her novels have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists, and she has four new books under contract. Under the pen name Gwen Hunter, she has written action adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. Under all her pen names, she has over 25 books in print in 27 countries.

Faith writes full-time and works full-time in a hospital (for the benefits). She’s a workaholic and playaholic who makes jewelry, collects orchids and bones, travels in her RV with her hubby and two dogs, and white-water kayaks.  Once upon a time, she also tried to keep house and cook, but since she started writing two books a year, she may have forgotten how to turn on the appliances.

Want more? You can find her:

Website   Facebook   Twitter: @hunterfaith

Asimov vs. Dick – What Does It Mean To Be Human?

In the field of SF movies, Blade Runner stands out as one of the top five in many people’s lists. Not many films would consistently place ahead of it. However, the book it’s based on – Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep – is, while highly regarded within the field, still largely eclipsed by the film that was made of it. I was surprised, when revisiting the novel recently, just how much had been left out of the book, and how little made it in. Almost every idea in the film was somewhere in the book. However, the book has so much more in it that couldn’t fit in the film. I can’t think of another SF novel more full of ideas. I won’t deal with all of these ideas in this particular essay – the constant entropic theme, the Jesus-figure of Mercer, the collapse of reality. Instead, I’ll look at PKD’s androids – not dissimilar to those in the film, but with an added depth.
The plot of the book centres around artificial beings created to be servants to man. There is one writer who stands out for robot stories – and that’s, of course, Isaac Asimov. He’s described his approach on numerous occasions. It was in many ways a reaction to the Frankenstein myth. So many robots had gone mad and turned against their makers. Reasonably, Asimov supposes that artificial beings would be designed in such a way that they would be safe, and thus invented his Three Laws of Robotics – fundamental design principles which would prevent a robot from being dangerous. This concept of how a robot should behave has been enormously influential on all subsequent authors. Anyone who wishes to write about robots has to decide, in effect, whether to have them behave according to Asimov’s design, or according to some other principle. He is honoured as much by disagreement as imitation.
The kind of stories that Asimov writes are, therefore, full of reasonable, sensible people dealing with mostly quite minor problems with their robots. Nobody concerns himself particularly with what it’s like to be a robot. That’s not an issue that concerns Asimov. Though his robots have personalities and behavior, he never feels the need to see the world through their eyes. He’s interested in people, and how they interact with their equipment.
Philip K. Dick has obviously taken quite a lot from Asimov – but his approach is very different. His artificial beings aren’t robots, for a start – they are androids, indistinguishable from human beings except using very specific tests. As with Asimov’s robots, the androids are forbidden to live on Earth, being confined to off-world colonies – in this case, Mars. Unlike Asimov, PKD gives no coherent reason for this. His post-Nuclear depopulated world could probably use some androids to clear up the kipple, but they aren’t allowed and that’s that.
The design of the androids is similarly inexplicable. They are made to be identical with humans. Why? Nobody says. It would be easy, one presumes, to give each android a tattoo on its forehead of a large “A” and problems of identification would be removed. But that is not what PKD wants. He needs there to be problems of identification, because the critical difference between humans and androids lies in the androids’ lack of empathy. A psychological test is used to demonstrate the lack of empathy, using unfalsifiable changes in dilation of facial blood vessels – the blush response.
I can imagine Asimov sighing over this (though I’ve no idea what he thought of PKD’s work). “Why would they do things like that?” he would ask. “It makes no sense!” In a way, it doesn’t. PKD really couldn’t be bothered with coming up with a credible explanation as to why anyone would build androids like this. Asimov’s robots are carefully designed to put humans first. PKD’s androids have a deliberately introduced flaw which is precisely what they need in order to murder their owners and flee to Earth. Want an explanation? Make one up yourself. PKD is on to the next idea. This is more a fable than a realistic depiction of a future Earth.
The Earth in DADOES is quite different to the over-populated, bustling, slightly clichéd world of Blade Runner. PKD has set the story in his familiar post-nuclear world. The world is massively underpopulated, with most of the population killed by clouds of radioactive dust, or fled to Mars. The cities are full of empty apartment blocks, available to whoever wants to move in. Additionally, and of vital importance, nearly all the animals have died, from insects to the larger mammals.
In this world, humans have an enormous sense of loss, and a desperate need to be close to animals – real if possible, and if not, artificial, like the electric sheep of the title. The cleverest thing in this clever book is to make this attachment to animals an essential component of being human. Rick Deckard, whose pursuit of rogue androids drives the plot, administers the test which is considered to be an infallible marker of humanity – something that all humans will pass, and all androids fail. It’s clear – though PKD never points it out – that the situations described in the test, dealing with a shocked response to ill-treatment of animals, would not elicit the required response for a contemporary human. We would all fail the test, and be considered mere artificial creatures.
We don’t get the easy let-off of having the humans of the future being better than us, either. The most harrowing scene in the novel occurs when a captured female android pleads with Deckard to buy her a book of prints of Edvard Munch paintings. Another hunter kills her out of irritation. When Deckard is horrified – as we are – he casually tells Deckard that it’s only a matter of sexual attraction. We see that in their way, these humans are as uncaring as us. Or as the androids themselves, who demonstrate in many little acts of cruelty their lack of feeling.
In the end, PKD doesn’t give any answers. The questions he asks, however, remain as pertinent today as when he wrote the novel, fifty-five years ago. Questions that Asimov, despite his genius, would never think to ask.

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