Grav. Attraction Launch Party – A Bit About the GEM Drive

July 21, 2014

The GEM drive (gravito-electromagnetic drive) was, as I’ve said, a joint project. While I realize it’s not feasible using current electromagnetic theory, the assumption we started with was that science does not stand still:

In the year 2072,after five-years of seclusion and mathematical research, Dr. Umberto Mondal publishes his theory of gravito-electromagnetic unification. This theory shows that these three fundamental forces are all directly connected, analogous, and interdependent. A tech revolution swiftly follows over the next hundred years.

The monstrous forces involved did not become useful for interstellar travel until the discovery of lumanium, of course, a radical isotope of lead, devoid of any neutrons, and therefore, under Mondal’s theorems, incapable of transferring gravitational forces.

There were a lot of stops and starts along the way, along with the destruction of Earth’s Moon (oops) but eventually, GEM drives became the norm for space travel.

And now – so that you may all fall out of your chairs laughing (please do not take a sip of coffee before viewing the photo) – my exceptionally poorly drawn rendition of the Hermes preparing for GEM drive flight.

Please keep in mind that this was my quick and dirty sketch when Ian and I were discussing drive and shield placement. But, yes, I really am that terrible an artist, thank you.

Gav. Attraction Launch Party – How about the SF and Fantasy Readers?

July 21, 2014

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There are a lot of stereotypes in regard to fantasy vs SF readers, e.g. most SF readers are young, geeky males under 25 who spend most of their time gaming. And discussing gaming. And arguing about gaming. While Fantasy readers are supposed to be more female slanted and all do cosplay and larping and sit around discussing if it was appropriate to expand Arwen’s role in the LotR movies.

I suppose if you go to conventions, you’ll see some truth to this. But I do find, in general, a large percentage of fantasy fans enjoy SF as well and vice versa. Sure, there are some fantasy folks who like their stories fluffier, who don’t want to deal with tech or feel intimidated by the laws of physics and so on. Sure, there are SF fans who turn their noses up at fantasy as the less intellectual cousin of SF.

Most readers of genre fiction, though, are more broad minded than the stereotypes give credit. Most avid readers will devour a wide range of menu options. Yes, I do recall being the only girl at most D&D games (as well as the only person on any sort of athletic team, lol) That’s a long time ago, though. The genres have grown and so has the readership.

Did peeps follow me over to the dark side? Sure. :) I’ve even had several who said “gosh, I don’t usually read SF, but I liked this.”

Sort of in the “try it, you’ll like it” category. It’s my brilliant master plan to make SF readers out of them all (insert evil laugh) and to lure the SF readers over to play with magic.

Grav. Attraction Launch Party – Writing SF and Fantasy – is it different?

July 21, 2014

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I do write both SF and Fantasy – and sometimes I’m asked whether there’s a big difference in my SF and Fantasy fans.

It is a different process and probably the biggest reason why my SF and Fantasy novels have a very different “feel” to them. While some of both have been serious, darker pieces (see No Enemy But Time on the Fantasy side and Prisoner 374215 on the SF side, both free reads, if you’re curious) and some of both have been comedic pieces (see Hearts and Flowers for Fantasy and the Brimstone series for SF) they still feel as if they’re tapping into different bits of brain matter.
In fantasy, one begins with the premise of “I would like the world to work in this way.” The premise can be quite simple (certain humans have powers others don’t) or it can be as complex as the author desires, incorporating parallel worlds, magical laws of force and reaction, hierarchies of magic and so on. In fantasy, one begins with a blank, rough block of marble and chips away until the world is built.

Science fiction must, or should, begin with the known laws of the universe and the current state of the world as its premise. The science fiction writer must presume, of course, that science does not stand still and it’s the author’s job to extrapolate on existing knowledge, attempting to predict future discoveries built upon the old or to anticipate the next step in current events and processes.

Whereas Fantasy is the blank slate, Science Fiction is the existing sculpture garden. You add to and rearrange the garden to achieve your vision.

Harder? Perhaps in some ways. Mostly different. Both rely on a strict attention to detail and the laws set forth in the work. The cardinal rule of Fantasy is that you may NOT break your own rules. (OK – I see it happen all the time, but the reader feels cheated and WILL call you on it. Deus ex machina does not a good ending make.)

The hardest part in SF, for many folks (though it is one of my greatest joys) is the research. If you’re delving into unfamiliar territory, best get your facts straight before you start extrapolation. Factual research is a must – but it’s equally important to understand the genre. What’s been done before? What things will you evoke in hard-core readers? Are you going for Deja Thoris or Pyanfar Chanur in your strong women? Are your first contacts Star Trek-esque or Ender’s Game?

In a way, I think Fantasy and SF exercise different halves of the brain- while the analytical and the creative are engaged in the process with both, there’s a definite leaning toward one or the other for me depending on genre.

Grav. Attraction Launch Party – Process, Outtakes and Typos

July 21, 2014

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I’m sort of a hybrid writer. You’ll hear writers on occasion talk about whether they’re “plotters” or “pantsers”. I’m both. I’ll have the skeletal structure of a story in mind, but the details unfold as I go.

Before I go any farther, I have to give credit to my son (my one and only who is now 23 – no, no, I’m OK *reaches for tissues*) GA would never have even been a germ of a story without him. The GEM drive, much of it’s history and the theory behind it, were ideas he was toying with for a new RPG. In obsessing over the details of tech that relied on yet-undiscovered scientific theory, he came to me to bounce ideas, brainstorm and talk over the resolution of practical issues (like how a ship could travel through an ever-expanding gravity well without being crushed.)

During these odd, lively discussions, the seeds of a story took root. I asked, “Can I use the GEM drive?” He said (with a small sigh) “Is it a romance?” To which I replied stoutly, “It’s SF with a romance in it.” Permission given, off I raced.

Not everything was in place right from the start, often the case in my work. My notes include such things as “Corzin: Mercenary nomads.” Obviously I changed my mind on that.

They needed to be genetically unique (or why would the ESTO scientists experiment on him and not one of their own?) They needed to be culturally removed from Earth-based societies. They needed…an alien culture to have taken them in.

Oh, joy! Now we have an alien race to create! (My notes have Drak’tar with four feet and two arms originally, but I didn’t like the look when I sketched them out mentally, so that changed…) They were avian…no reptilian…no…Saurian. A matriarchal, matrilineal society where the premium is placed on intelligence rather than aggression.

And the Corzin…the Corzin…why would they agree to the life they lead? Why are they this way? Somewhere in chapter 2, I had to stop and scramble for backstory, create a planet, a history, a language, and a culture. Turk now had a father, brother, cousins…

In the end, what all this illustrates is that while I write in linear fashion – beginning to end, without writing scenes out of order – the thought processes and the actual creation are an odd stop and start jigsaw for me. I’m constantly plagued by “Wait! I have a better idea!”

(Incidentally, Nidar was originally Nadir, until two pages into his first scene, I recalled that this is an actual word and not one with great connotations. This is what happens when you start speaking alien languages in your head…)

Best typo of the story? (Since we’re talking about outtakes) “The Corzin dreadnoughts arrowed in a deadly phalanx toward the heart of the ESTO fleet, their trajectory on a direct line to intercept the monstrous fagship.” *face palm*

Grav. Attraction Launch Party – Contest Anyone?

July 21, 2014

Contest time!

Short and sweet – for your choice of any one of my backlist stories:

Some folks have said that Gravitational Attraction involves “fated mates” which is a mislabeling. More accurately, the romantic match has to do with two people recognizing how compatible they are, right down to the molecular level.

Tell me about a time you just clicked with someone and how you knew you were meant to be together (spouse, lover, friend – doesn’t have to be your forever mate.)

I’ll draw a random winner tomorrow and let you know – so please leave an email address to contact you!

Don’t know what to pick if you win – come nose around my website and see what appeals to you: Angel Martinez

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Grav. Attraction Launch Party – Where’s Angel?

July 21, 2014

Well, most days, Angel’s puttering somewhere around her house. Maybe in her study with her books and her cats.

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Maybe out in the garden:

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If it’s not too hot and you stop by, she might even bake you something:

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But mostly, you’ll find Angel on the web. There’s an actual website:

Angel Martinez

There’s a Facebook group:

Angel Martinez – SFF With Gay Heroes

There are other profiles all over the place, but start there. You’ll find the rest. ;)

 

Grav. Attraction Launch Party – How Much To Tell?

July 21, 2014

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Exposition in Science Fiction. Yes, it’s an odd topic and it rhymes, but try not to get scared off yet. It’s one of the things that causes SF writers the most angst and anguish. SF, by definition, discusses things that could be, that might be, possibilities, and probabilities. Stuff that hasn’t happened yet or hasn’t been invented/discovered/fully theorized yet.

 

Master storytellers like Ray Bradbury were criticized for not enough exposition, not enough science, leaving too much unsaid and to the imagination (heaven forefend!) SF geeks like their science. Kinda follows, eh? But if you go to the other end of the spectrum, we have brilliant scientific minds like Arthur C. Clark. Astounding, prophetic thinker, someone who understood the universe better than perhaps the universe itself does. As a storyteller? Often dry as dust. The reader needed constant rehydration just to get through some of the chapters, long, never ending passages of nothing but exposition.

 

So we walk a fine line writing SF. Don’t think about the science enough, and you have fluff, worse than space opera. It becomes stripped and empty of everything that makes it SF and you might as well make it into a contemporary romance because the spaceships are just backdrop. Think about the science too much? Lose the average reader. Fast.

 

So when I wrote Gravitational Attraction, it was with mixed feelings that I cut out the detailed explanations of how the GEM (gravito-electromagnetic) interstellar drive worked, as well as bits about how lumanium was discovered and certain detailed aspects of life on T’tson. Important to me in understanding the created universe? Yes. Important to the story? *scuffs foot on the carpet* Probably not.

 

If you’re not a writer, creating universes in your head is often called schizophrenia. So long as you keep up the appearance that you know the inner universe is pretend, no one tries to have you committed. But, ye gods, the more you build, the more real it becomes. Brave new universe, that has such aliens in’t. Which, when you get down to it, is really the point of any fiction. If writers don’t believe, what charlatans we become trying to convince the reader they should.

http://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com/

 

Grav. Attraction Launch Party – The S in SFR

July 21, 2014

SFR (Science Fiction Romance) – Does the R really trump the SF?

There’s a growing trend out there among romance authors – everyone wants to jump on the Science Fiction Romance bandwagon, er, starship.

This should make me deliriously happy. It should. I’ve been a science fiction fan since I could read (this, my dears, is a long time) and have spent decades enduring the derisive and sometimes nasty comments from other readers and writers about geek fiction and “that kind” of fiction and so on.

So the rise in interest should make me dance with joy, right? In many way, yes, of course. It means more publishers are taking an interest, it means more people are reading SF. (Woohoo!)

However… (show of hands – who knew that was coming?)

I recently saw a review of an SFR that I won’t name in which the reviewer (also not named) said he/she liked how it was all about the characters and the science fiction didn’t intrude on the story.

Um…

Here’s the thing – in SF, the science is half the point. If you ignore it, push it to the side, have a romance where there is no science, where you just happened to stick in a couple spaceships and alien races, what’s the point? SF without science is just…F. It could take place anywhere. It could be fantasy or paranormal or regular contemp instead. Might as well have your setting down the street at Joe’s Diner instead of Alpha Centauri. Why bother?

You need the science. Doesn’t have to be physics. There are all sorts of possibilities. Biology, immunology, anthropology, xeno-studies, sociology, psychology – I’m not picky, but it’s not SF without some speculation regarding what could be.

There are tons of romance readers out there who would disagree with me, I know. *shrugs* I’m a geek and a bit odd, but I like running across innovation and thoughtful world building when I read. SF stories with romances in them, rather than the other way ’round. When writing SFR, I tried my level best not to throw the science out with the bathwater, so to speak. The reader will find new tech along with the romance, new worlds along with the sex. Promise.

Space Opera is fun. Don’t get me wrong. I like a good, rollicking SO from time to time, too. But don’t go halfway if you want to call it SF. Build, think, speculate, then write, don’t just hang a regular romance off the fins of a shiny starship.

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Gravitational Attraction

“Get involved in this, in any way, it’s going to bite you so hard on the ass you’ll never be able to sit down again.”

Captain Drummond’s words of advice quickly become prophetic. One bitter, failed fighter pilot with a bad neuro-implant, one shattered, lost mercenary who’s not sure if he’s just caused a bloody catastrophe, one quirky, talented crew, one power-mad admiral, and a mysterious planet in the quarantined zone – all blenderized together for your reading pleasure.

Join Isaac, Turk and the intrepid crew of the Hermes on their first journey. You might be surprised at how far it will take you.

 

Grav. Attraction Launch Party – Brain Issues & Excerpt

July 21, 2014

So…brains…

I think a lot about neurological issues. Some of the obsession is personal since my own immune system is trying to eat my brain, but most of it has to do with the astonishing biological mechanism itself.

Some amazing brain facts, you say? Sure, always happy to oblige.

  •  Your skin weighs twice as much as your brain. Yep. Truth. The average brain weighs about three pounds
  • There are no pain receptors in the brain itself. There certainly are in your head, but not your brain.
  • Humans continue to make new neurons and new connections throughout their entire lives in response to mental activity. Exercise your brain!
  • Language learning alters the structure of the brain. Children who learn two languages before the age of five develop much denser gray matter as adults. (Dense in a good way.)
  • Brain waves are more active while you dream than while you’re awake.
  • Research shows that humans carry genes that help protect the brain from diseases contracted through eating human flesh, so it’s more than possible that we used to eat each other.

 

Why all this brain talk? Has Angel finally slipped a gear? No, no, as usual, I have an ulterior motive. My new release, Gravitational Attraction, has as one of its main themes the amazing capacity of the human brain to adapt and to change. Both of the main characters have, each in his own way, a brain that’s his own worst enemy and one of those brains has developed potentially deadly talents.

Brains. Putting the weird in weird science.

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Excerpt:

 

A terrible jolt yanked him from the dark. Shchfteru. Agonized screams. Rage coursing through every nerve. The white… blinding white… imploding suns… the terrible silence…

 

He had no wish to open his eyes again. There had been a face, a beautiful face, but he must have dreamt it in his madness. The silence remained. If he opened his eyes, he would see the cell again, the blood drenched walls, the gray horror of his floating tomb. No. Better to keep his eyes closed and see again those dark eyes set against flawless golden skin.

 

Wait. Sound. The soft sound of even breaths drawn. Not alone. Sweet spirits, I’m not alone.

 

His eyes flew open to find a miracle staring at him from across the room, the same lovely face from his vision. It must have been true. His body felt warmer and no longer as if he might go mad from thirst. Rescue… perhaps. But he needed to be cautious.

 

“Hey.” The beautiful, golden-skinned man spoke, his smile reaching his raindrop-shaped eyes. “You recognize me?”

 

He could only stare, hesitant to believe the evidence of his senses. They had lied to him before in recent days.

 

“You have a name?” The voice rivaled the face in beauty, soft and warm, caressing his exhausted mind. “All right, we’ll start with mine. I’m Isaac Ozawa. And I guess I could just call you the Marduk Rescuee, or maybe Ishmael—”

 

“Ishmael?” The word caught in his dry throat, barely a rasp.

 

“Yeah, you know, the sole survivor? And I alone survived to tell the tale? Oh, never mind. But it would be nicer to have a name.”

 

He swallowed against the rawness, trying for more of a voice. “Turk.”

 

“That’s your name? Turk?”

 

He nodded and watched in fascination as Isaac shook his head, dark hair fanning his cheeks.

 

“Of course it is. No soft sibilants or lingual sounds for you. Oh, no. Nothing but hard, strong sounds. You probably have a last name that would hurt to say.”

 

Turk drew a slow breath, trying to keep up with events. His head ached. “Always… talk so much?”

 

“Only when I’m nervous or pissed off.”

 

“Which?”

 

“Which is it now? Oh, nervous, definitely.” Isaac shifted, head cocked to one side. “Not that strange men usually make me this nervous.”

 

“But… I do.” He forced his attention away from the captivating face. Isaac was in uniform, burgundy with gold piping. He couldn’t match the colors with any unit he knew. Whose hands had he fallen into? “Water?”

 

“Oh, shit.” The beautiful smile fell. “Of course you want water. Damn. Hang on.”

 

Turk eased his head back to the bed, waiting. Something pinned his hands and feet. In his weakened condition, he had little hope of breaking a magnetic or even a physical barrier. Isaac came back into view, water bottle in hand. A sharp, electric jolt ran down Turk’s spine when an elegant, golden hand slipped behind his head to help him drink. He had no business thinking about those hands.

 

“Better?”

 

“Thank you.” Why did he have to be so kind? It would make what he had to do so much harder. He closed his eyes on a sigh, gauging the remaining strength in his wasted body. “Back hurts. Need to…”

 

“Stupid restraints,” Isaac muttered. “They should’ve at least left you one hand free so you could shift a little.”

 

He chewed on a sensuously full lower lip, considering, as Turk watched in helpless fascination. Isaac’s jaw clenched as he seemed to come to a decision. He reached over and pressed the pad to unlock Turk’s left wrist.

 

The moment he regained movement, Turk lunged. He seized Isaac by the throat, applying enough pressure to constrict his airway.

 

“What unit? What battle group? Whom do you serve?”

 

Isaac’s fingers scrabbled at his hand, his eyes wide and desperate. “Don’t… please…”

 

“Who are you?”

 

“Not… military,” Isaac choked out, his coloring edging up from pink to crimson.

 

“Liar,” Turk growled. “Implant. Fighter pilot. Behind your ear.”

 

“Ex-Altairian… fleet…” Isaac gasped, struggling to pull away. He was strong but not large enough to break Turk’s grip. “Bad… implant. Discharged… this is… commercial ship… courier…”

 

His eyes rolled back and his body went limp as if someone had stolen his bones. Turk let him slide to the floor, his heart racing. With his free hand, he unlocked the rest of his restraints and rolled to peer over the edge of his bed. Isaac lay crumpled on the decking, the shadows of his thick, black lashes caressing his cheeks.

 

No insignia, no rank designation, a courier ship… what have I done?

 

 

About the Author:

 

Angel Martinez, millionaire heiress and international woman of mystery…what? Why are you laughing so hard? *sulks* Fine. Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a short, middle-aged mom who happens to write between evil day job duties and mom duties. She lives in northern Delaware with her hubs, son, and two cats and someday wishes to build a utopian city on the moon. (It’s a dream, all right?)

Website: http://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Angel.Martinez.author

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1010469.Angel_Martinez

 

 

 

Gravitational Attraction’s Universe – it’s a strange galaxy out there

July 21, 2014

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ESTO - the Eridani Sector Treaty Organization was born from a desperate rebellion against a despotic plutocracy. A far-flung confederation of planets, ESTO’s original intent was to build a republic where humans could be free, autonomous individuals. Original intents are often difficult to maintain. Suspicions and ambitions lead to border wars and bureaucratic neglect.

In the post-war galaxy, paranoia and xenophobia color every action. A few brave individuals reach out, though – to other races, other worlds, to those unlike themselves.

These stories follow the heroes who struggle to change minds and win hearts, to redefine how humans will fit in a universe where we are no longer alone.

There are currently three novels and two short stories in the ESTO Universe – Gravitational Attraction was the first of these to take shape in my brain and make it onto paper.

Taken in chronological order, (according to the timeline in that universe) the stories are:

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Prisoner 374215

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While the cell is sparse and cold, at least this one has a bed. The figure resting there is too thin; too still, the prominent bones the result of long starvation, the stillness the product of too much anguish and abuse. He watches, though. An anxious, intelligent mind still occupies this frail and failing body, one that watches and wonders about the new guard occupying his cell each night.

 

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Vassily The Beautiful

Vassily Belikov, composer and pampered son of privilege, suffered neurological damage in the accident that killed his father. Resentful of his invalid status, he lives as a recluse, dependent on his mother, until the day she brings home a new husband with two sons of his own.

His mother’s kidnapping leaves him at the mercy of his amoral stepfather. Fighting addiction, fear, and physical shortcomings, he’s forced to seek out the criminal mastermind Baba Yaga for a replacement part. While she agrees to a deal if he beats his addiction, paranoia infuses her household. Drawn to her fierce youngest son, certain his actions are carefully measured, Vassily must find the courage to face his fears and his desires if he expects to survive.

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A Matter Of Faces
(From the Cabin For Two Series)

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All Romance

A data privateer crash lands on a barely habitable moon where he’s rescued by a research scientist who refuses to show his face. Though suspicious and paranoid by necessity, Rhodi finds himself drawn to the soft-spoken man behind the mask.

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Gravitational Attraction

A mysterious distress call draws the crew of the Hermes to what appears to be an empty, drifting ship. Empty, except for the gore-spattered corridors and one survivor locked in a holding cell. Drawn to the traumatized man, the crew’s comm officer, Isaac Ozawa, makes Turk his responsibility, offering him kindness and warmth after the horror he experienced.

Turk longs for Isaac, a desperate, hopeless ache he’ll always carry with him.

But Turk’s brain harbors dangerous secrets, a military experiment gone wrong. When an amoral, power-hungry admiral kidnaps Isaac to convince Turk to become the weapon he’s hungered for, it will take Turk’s strength, the Hermes crew’s ingenuity, the enigmatic Drak’tar’s help, and Isaac’s own stubborn will to save them.

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Sub Zero

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Major Aren Dalsgaard’s newest assignment is to investigate a series of murders on the frigid planet, Drass, where relations between the Treaty settlers and the natives have taken a nasty turn. A linguist and trained xenologist, Aren should be the ideal Special Investigations officer for the assignment. So what’s the problem? Drass is where he died, more than a hundred and twenty years ago.

Sent by his family to the chigyel city, Nyachung finds himself confronted with a murder charge, racial prejudice, and a cryo-revived investigator who claims to be a hero from his grandmother’s generation. Major Dalsgaard could be crazy or he could be lying, but the sincerity in his spring-green eyes disturbs Nyachung more than anything else he encounters in the foreigners’ city.

Now, confronted with mysterious black boxes and a beautiful yet evasive young man as a prime suspect, Aren hopes he can solve the murders before his fierce sexual attraction to Nyachung gets the better of him…

 

All the ESTO stories can be read individually – but, yes, I did write Gravitational Attraction first. It’s the original, the blue print. Start there if you haven’t started these books yet. :)