Category Archives: Morgan’s Choice

I love spaceships #sfrb

Hi andAFFL-Button150 welcome to my worlds. It’s the first of April and we all know that’s April Fool’s Day, so the SFR Station has set up a blog hop entitled April Fools for Love. There’s a heap of great prizes, including here on my blog, so keep on reading.

If you’ve read my bio just about everywhere, you’d know I’m a fool for spaceships. One of my all-time favourites is Darth Vader’s flagshExecutor_and_escortsip, Executor. It took over from the smaller, but still very sexy, Imperial Star Destroyers. There they are, at right. I’ll never forget that wonderful scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader is looking out of the viewscreen on the Executor‘s bridge – and it eclipses an ISD! Whoa, that’s one big ship! I fell in love there and then. I saw the movie three times in the first week and I’ve watched it a hundred times at least. I’ve even been known to skip all the Skywalker stuff to get to THAT SCENE. My heart still goes pit-a-pat.

Closer to home, Morgan’s Choice has a new cover. The old cover had a spaceship on it, too. But I found this new spaceship and fell in love. I’m a tart, I know.MC Poster2

Kuralon-Rescue-ebook-webSo it shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody that for my Morgan’s Misfits stories I have added a very, very sexy spaceship. It was designed by Morgan, so it’s pretty special. And here it is, starring on the new cover for Kuralon Rescue. It’ll be on every cover of the Morgan’s Misfits books. If I get around to another one. Yes, you’re right, it’s a ship from DAZ, rendered by my wonderful cover designer, Rebecca Poole of Dreams2Media. But in MY books, the ship’s name is Vulsaur. It’s Admiral Ravindra’s personal yacht which was first introduced to readers in Morgan’s Return. Vulsaur comes to the rescue in Kuralon Rescue, and now it has become the Misfit’s own ship.

Ink_GvdRI expect you’d like to know how it got the name Vulsaur? Indeed, what is a Vulsaur? That’s a Vulsaur, that tattoo on young Ravindra’s shoulder. You’ll get all the answers in that short story. (Notice I’m not always obsessed with spaceships.) 🙂

Thanks for stopping by. Please share your favourite space ship stories. One lucky commenter will receive a copy of Ink, Supertech and the Iron Admiral: Conspiracy – don’t forget to tell me in your comment if you’d like the books as pdf, epub or mobi. Contest closes at the end of April, so you’ll have plenty of time.

We’ve set up an event on Facebook and we’d love you to join in at April Fools for Love. Things will be happening all through April. Prize winners will be announced on 1st May.

Do go and read some of the other marvellous posts in the SFR Station’s April Fools for Love blog hop.

PrizeListCroppedWe’ve got three wonderful prize packs for people who participate in our Rafflecopter giveaway. 

  • Grand Prize: $75 gift card + 18 ebooks

 

 

  • Second: $25 gift card + 12 ebooks

 

 

  • Third: $25 gift card + 8 ebooks

 

          CLICK HERE to enter

Let’s take a short cut

More from Kuralon Rescue. Siena and Jirra have made it to Crossmar, where they’re going to have the ship repaired and pick up some much-needed supplies.

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“This is wrong, isn’t it?” Siena said.

Jirra nodded. “These look like warehouses. Some are import places, where the ships bring their goods for distribution. The ones still in business, anyway. Some of them look a bit suspect, too.”

Siena held her gaze. “You think? Why?”

“That place over my left shoulder.” Jirra jerked her head to indicate. “It handles herbs, seeds and natural medicine.”

“Yes?” The words ‘so what’ hung in the air.

“Somebody there is keeping a very close watch on us. No, don’t stare. The window on the first floor that isn’t shuttered. The blind was pulled back a fraction. I don’t think they’re looking for honest customers. Give me your sanvad. Let me see where we’re supposed to be going.”

Siena handed the device over, pointing at a corridor on the map. “We’re here.”

“We should be here.” Two corridors over, and quite a long walk. There were no travelators in this area.

“Is this a short cut?” Siena asked, running her finger along a laneway marked on the map between buildings.

“Yes… but-“

“Let’s do that.” She pulled a wry face. “To tell you the truth, these boots are killing me. They’re new.”

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And they’re off! (Or are they?) SFR Brigade presents…

picture of cover idea for the new book

Subject to change without notice

Here’s another snippet from ‘Kooralong Rescue’ (the current work in progress).  Jirra has agreed to take Siena off to Kooralong. They’ve reached the space station, Jirra has checked the ship, and now it’s time to leave. Just as Kali’s Gift is about to head out…

 

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” the controller said. “We’ve just received an impounding notice from the planet. You can’t leave until the issue is settled in court.”

“Oh, mala,” Jirra murmured as she closed down the comms link. “This will be the bounty hunter, trying to delay me.”

“He’ll be delaying me, too.” Siena’s nostrils flared. “Can’t we just leave anyway?”

Jirra’s heart rate slowed. “Yes. The umbilicals and bridge are already retracted. Just the tethers to go. But we’ll get into trouble. That’s illegal.”

“They have no right to delay me. Let’s go.” Siena glowered, her eyes glittering.

Jirra shoved her hand down on the control to start departure. The harnesses rose from the seat backs and settled over their shoulders as Siena added, “I’ll contact mother later to get her to talk to those idiots. Lien indeed.”

The bow thrusters fired. Jirra kept her eyes on the screen as Kali’s Gift slipped backwards, gathering speed. Figures appeared, two security guards running toward the bridge, followed more slowly by another figure. Jirra’s heart hammered. Was that Jutt? Impossible to tell at this distance. A loud bang jangled her nerves.

Siena jolted within her harness, staring at Jirra with wide eyes. “What was that?”

“The tethers.” Jirra pointed at the screen where two cables writhed in the empty docking bay.

 

So they’re off! I wonder what happens next? Be sure to check for more snippets at the SFR Brigade.

Another take on writing what you know

Picture of RavindraIn the last few days I’ve been writing a short story to do with one of the major characters in my Morgan Selwood series. Admiral Ashkar Ravindra is commander of the Manesai fleet which ‘rescues’ Supertech Morgan Selwood and her shipmate, accountant Tony Jones, from a slow death on their freighter Curlew, which had a failed shift drive. Having a failed shift drive means the ship can’t go to hyperspace and is stuck with traveling through real spacetime, which means you’re going to run out of air, food and water long before you’re likely to get anywhere. That story is told in Morgan’s Choice.

Anyhow, back to Ravindra. He comes from a very regimented society, where everyone belongs to one of four classes, which are unable to breed together. The original intention of the people who genetically engineered the Manesai may well have been “a place for everyone and everyone in their place”. But as I’m sure you can appreciate, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Ravindra is a member of the military class, the Mirka. Naturally, each class had developed its own sub-classes (because people are like that) and Ravindra’s family is part of the Darya group – from which most Manesai admirals are recruited. His father was an admiral, his grand-father was an admiral, young Ravindra is going to be an admiral, he will marry the daughter of an admiral. His path is mapped out for him.

And yet, Admiral Ravindra has a tattoo. Not some small, discrete bit of ink that people wouldn’t notice. He has a bloody great vulsaur tattooed all over his right shoulder, down his back and over his bicep. That photo at top left doesn’t really do it justice, but you get the idea. So why does that matter? Ah, you see, Mirka – and most especially Darya Mirka – don’t have tattoos. Troopers have tatts, admirals don’t. So what in the wild world would have resulted in eighteen-year-old Ravindra, with school finished and the acceptance to the Fleet Academy in his pocket, having a tattoo?

You’ll have to read the story to find out.

However, I’m not giving much away to tell you it concerns a vulsaur, which looks a bit like our mythical dragon. In one scene in the story, I need to have the vulsaur take off from quite a low start. Large flying creatures (on our planet, anyway) either leap off high places and glide or they need a long takeoff. But I didn’t want to do that. So rather than emulate an albatross or a swan, the vulsaur acts like an osprey.

I took this series of pictures down the beach a couple of years ago. The osprey has gone for a bathe in the shallows. Now he’s finished and he wants to take off. Basically, with his wings raised vertically, he jumps, then brings those wings down hard. And he’s off.

Osprey lifts its wingsIMG_0684IMG_0685IMG_0686IMG_0687IMG_0688

And this is just one more example of ‘write what you know’.

Ashkar Ravindra – in the flesh (so to speak)

picture of Jiddu KrishnamurtiI’m not one to use pictures of real people as ‘character cues’, if you see what I mean. I know many writers do, but I’m happy to have a picture in my mind. It’s often quite detailed, too. After the book is done and dusted, it’s quite fun to have a ‘casting couch’ session – trying to work out who you’d have when the movie offers roll in. I did a casting couch for Morgan’s Choice. We decided on John Abraham for Ravindra, but to be honest, I wasn’t entirely convinced.

I came upon this picture here quite by accident, on Facebook. The gentleman is Jiddu Krishnamurti, an Indian philosopher who died in 1986. He was into peace, love and the unity of all mankind.

Admiral Ashkar Ravindra might not have agreed with the sentiment, but THIS is what pops up in my mind when I mention Ravindra’s name. Handsome, aloof, aristocratic. Yum. Dribble.picture of Ravindra's abs

An added note: A few people have asked about the abs, since they’re an important component of the package. I was thinking something like this.

If you’re a writer, nothing is ever wasted

If you’re a writer, nothing you’ve ever done, nothing you’ve ever learnt, or experienced will ever go to waste. I was thinking this profound thought the other day, when considering my latest work-in-progress. It’s a paranormal romance, set in India, Hong Kong and Melbourne and it touches on Indian and Australian history, as well as tiger poaching.

Wow. That’s quite a canvas, isn’t it? But you know the old saying – ‘write what you know’. To which I would add ‘and research the bits you don’t’. So what did I know? Well, I’ve lived in Melbourne, I’ve visited Hong Kong and I studied Indian history for three years as part of my BA(Hons) in history. I wanted to weave in a little of the history of the Afghan cameleers in Australia, so I used the internet for what I wanted to know. To learn more about tigers I watched documentaries by the master, David Attenborough, and went to the net to learn what I needed about tiger poaching.

The Indian part of the story had several layers. This wasn’t a history lesson, it was a novel about an Australian doctor confronted by a very different culture. I had to have enough of an idea of how that would work. My interest in India helped, because I had some basic understanding of how caste works and its impact on workers. But movies like ‘Ghandi’ and ‘A Passage to India’ added some color, as did traveler accounts I encountered on the net. I also had to learn enough about how a broken hip affects the patient and how it’s treated to make that thread convincing. One man who had experienced a broken hip had actually chronicled his recovery. Very useful.

This particular book (working title ‘Shadow of the Tiger’) is contemporary. Most of my other work is science fiction romance. Write what you know? How does that work?

Let’s take ‘Morgan’s Choice’. You’ll find a society which quite possibly derives from the Indian caste system. I wonder where I got that from? The main character, Morgan, is human but she has a supercomputer in her brain. This isn’t new; the concept is in other books. I’d suggest the difference with Morgan is I emphasise her humanity more than her data skills. Be that as it may, I worked for many years in the computer industry, first as a programmer and later as an analyst and team leader. So I felt I had a good chance of making Morgan’s activities in the cyber world convincing.

In my other two books, the ‘Iron Admiral’ series, I introduced an alien species called the ptorix. They’re not just a nightmare I dreamed up one night. I’ve had an abiding interest in nature and animals, as well as astronomy and cosmology, for many, many years and my alien species was well thought out, with characteristics you would expect in a technologically advanced society.

That history background has been useful many times over. Who said a BA isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on? The plot in ‘The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy’ is loosely based on a real, historical incident when Hitler’s secret police, dressed as Poles, staged an attack on a German radio station near the Polish border to give the Fuhrer an excuse to start what became World War 2.

See what I mean? Nothing is ever wasted.

Oh – one more thing; Sally Carter, MC of ‘Shadow of the Tiger’, is a very keen amateur photographer. Gosh, what a coincidence. 🙂

Let’s talk about admirals

I have a penchant for men in uniform, the more brass the better – provided, of course, the body in the uniform matches my expectations. I know admirals are usually older guys – in our society, anyway – and I haven’t changed that. But in my science fiction romances, guys in their forties will still have the bodies of twenty-year-olds. Like Bollywood heart-throb Akshay Kumar, who fits very nicely with my mental concept of Admiral Chaka Saahren, the Iron Admiral.

And this is the gentleman on the cover of ‘Morgan’s Choice’, Admiral Ashkar Ravindra.Picture of Ravindra

They’re both hunks, but they’re very, very different men. Saahren is a farmer’s son who was beaten up and left to die during an uprising on his home planet. He was lucky; a visiting doctor patched up the broken bones and his shattered face, then gave him a home until he joined the Star Fleet Academy, where he rose through the ranks on sheer ability. He never had much time for women and even though his fame has spread, he still avoids emotional entanglements. He has his reasons.

Ravindra, on the other hand, was born to his position. He’s a member of the ruling military class, in fact a subset of that group from which the admirals are often chosen – provided they have the ability. His father was an admiral, as was his grandfather. His parents arranged his marriage to a suitable woman but even while his wife was alive, when he was away from home he could take his pick of willing partners. The thing about Ravindra is that he doesn’t quite fit the traditional admiral mould. He bends rules when it suits him, sees things from a different perspective. That’s why he has been assigned to a command on the outskirts of Manesa society.

They both meet women. But whereas for Saahren it’s love at first sight and a long learning experience as he fumbles his way through falling in love, for Ravindra the relationship grows in very different directions.

Here’s an early encounter between Saahren and Allysha Marten.

“Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you.” He glanced over his shoulder at his fallen opponent. “Let me see you to your quarters.”
The alarm faded from her face as she sized him up. “I’m Allysha Marten.”
“I know. I’m Brad Stone.” He’d very nearly said Chaka Saahren. He’d better keep that fact to himself until he could find out what her objection was.
She smiled and his heart fluttered. “Thank you, Brad Stone.”
“Where do you live?”
“The mine. In the old ptorix mine manager’s quarters.”
He walked beside her, not too close, not too fast, through the tunnel of jungle that led to the mine. “You’re comfortable with the ptorix?”
“Yes. Very. Where I come from—Carnessa—we live together peaceably. Well… mostly. I grew up with Tors.”
Tors. That must be her word for ptorix.
“And that’s how you understand their computer systems?”
“I suppose. I can speak their language and that always helps.”
He almost stopped. “Their language? But that’s very difficult.”
She laughed, a low, musical chuckle. “Not too bad if you learn as a child.”
The mine’s metal doors gleamed in the lights around the entrance. Saahren pressed the lock and the personnel door slid open. He stood aside to let her go first, along the wide central tunnel that led to the control room.
She turned off into a side tunnel. A few more steps and she stopped in front of a stairway. “I live up there. Thanks again.”
Those wonderful eyes held him for just a moment and then she was gone. He stared after her. He should have asked her to dinner or a drink or … or… Idiot. Fool. Standing there like a tongue-tied teenager. She smiles at me and I melt. She speaks and I just listen to the lilt in her words.
He sighed. I’m in love.

Here’s an early encounter between Morgan Selwood and Ravindra.

The officer reached down, grasped her shoulder in one hand and pulled her upright so fast her feet left the ground. He let go and she swayed, regaining her balance. The light winked on the gold sunburst on his shoulder.
Well, well. Her heart beat steadied. Maybe she wasn’t for the firing squad just yet.
“Welcome back, Morgan Selwood.”
She stared at him, straight into slit black pupils in an amber field. She was supposed to look down, wasn’t she? Well, fuck him. She wasn’t beaten yet.
“You have not yet learnt manners, I see.”
“Where I come from, meeting a man’s gaze shows honest intent.”
“You are not where you come from.”
He struck her face. Her head whipped around. She staggered sideways and stumbled to her knees, her cheek stinging. She hadn’t even seen him raise his hand. He hauled her effortlessly, one handed, to her feet again. He must be enormously strong. His fingers must have left dents on her shoulder.
“So. Let us start again.” That even, baritone voice. He might as well have been at a cocktail party.
No, she wasn’t where she came from. Wishing she could rub her cheek, she bowed her head. “Admiral.”
The word stuck in her craw. She fixed her gaze on his rank insignia. Daryabod—Full Admiral. Second only to Daryaseban—Grand Admiral in the manesan fleet hierarchy. A very, very powerful man. Another bastard admiral.

So, folks… how do you like your admirals? Or generals, or whatever? I’d love to know.