Monday, October 15, 2012

Let's Take A Ride

Galaxy w/in galaxy. Courtesy of Flicker Commons.
Azura Ice here reporting from the cockpit of my ship [No, I don’t know what kind of a ship. It’s a sleek model with heated seats]. Radar, my feline companion, rides on the back of my command chair, but he’s a bit miffed at me right now. I forgot to put the shields up, so when a meteorite whizzed by, he sort his fur singed. He looks ridiculous with a  char-coaled tail, but don’t tell him I said that. I’ll deny it.

Anyway, let's take a ride through space and chat.

[Glides in to Elatia's nearby space station and waits for D.L. Jackson and Jessica E. Subject to board.]

Once we’re on our way, I broach the subject of sci-fi.

Science-fiction is, after all, based on science. However, without imagination, there is no new science. Many tools and ideas written in sci-fi years ago have come to pass. Take Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon published in 1865. It was considered pure imagination, but 1969, a 104 years after the book was published, man actually landed on the moon. Consider today’s weaponry ranging from the splitting of the atom to sound and laser technology.

BOOM! Sizzle...poof! [Anyone know where I put the robotic broom? There’s moon dust in the cockpit and ashes in the mess hall.]

As sci-fi authors, the very hint of conspiracy opens dozens of doors we can step through with our plots. Then, if you add incredible technology, you have a recipe for new inventions, new medicine and even new weapons and doorways to alternate dimensions. What, in your opinions, is the next thing in science-fiction to burst into reality or do you believe our governments withhold new technology from us?

DL Jackson: Bionics. Actually the science has already started to emerge. What's really neat is that scientists and doctors have designed the prosthetic limbs to function based on the electrical impulses that travel down nerves. The phantom limb syndrome that you often hear amputees talk about is actually the disconnected nerves still getting signals from the brain. Scientists apply pads that sense these electrical impulses from the brain and a mini-computer inside the artificial limb takes that data and converts the signal to motion. So the wearer of the bionic limb thinks and the electrical impulse travels down the nerve all the way to where it is severed and then viola, it is carried the rest of the way by technology. What happens if they build a full body suit with built-in sensors. Would those with spinal injuries be able to walk again, using the same technology? I know the blind are able to see with it, the deaf can hear, and fingers open and close, wrists turn all by natural thought. 

Here's a fascinating article in National Geographic about this very subject.
I actually have a heroine with a spinal injury in one of my stories that uses such a suit. I think the next decade will have some amazing advances in medical science.

Wow, D.L.! Bionics certainly tantalizes the mind with possibilities, doesn’t it? I wonder if this particular science will one day lead the way to cyborgs as they’re known in science-fiction. However, placing a human mind in a synthetic body could also create chaos in religious worlds. Would it be ethical? What lengths would some people go to in order to live longer or even forever?

So, Jessica...what’s you’re viewpoint on conspiracy and sci-fi technology?

Jessica E Subject: I've believed for a long time that the government withholds information and new technologies from the people. Why? To prevent pandemonium and for our own safety. 

As for headlines in the scientific community that are of interest to me right now, well, the whole idea of dark energy and dark matter is truly fascinating. And right now, labs all over the world are trying to figure out what dark energy is and prove whether or not dark matter exists. Two years ago when visiting Science North with my family, I watched a film at the Between the Stars Object Theatre about what the universe is made of. Scientists have only been able to measure 5% of the universe, and as it continues to expand at an increasing rate, they are starting to question their theories based on the information they know, including as Einstein’s Theory of Gravity.

And the empty space in outer space is no longer considered empty, consisting of dark energy and dark matter. But what is this stuff? Scientists have many hypotheses, and I wait anxiously to find out more about all the unknowns of space.

Here is a cool link:   

Cassiopeia A courtesy of Flicker Commons
Dark matter is something that has always frightened me. I can only imagine what people are dabbling in it who should be behind bars. And even those with good intentions often go astray and use something for their own benefit. Science, even in science fiction, is a power of epic proportions. Although science opens doors in a writer’s mind, what about the cold, hard facts and know-how landing in the wrong hands? Scary stuff.

Thanks for taking a ride through the galaxy to chat with me, ladies.

Well, dear readers, weigh in with your thoughts on today’s topic!

Check out Elatia’s science-fiction romance titles. And if you'd like to write for Decadent's Elatia series, click on the world building and submissions tabs at the top of this page.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dreaming in Science-Fiction Romance

Cosmic Metropolis - Photo courtesy of
What propels writers to dream up sci-fi and futuristic books?

Over time, a few readers have asked me how I come up with sci-fi stories. I didn’t really understand the question—I mean, to me it was self-explanatory, right?—so during an online IM session, a reader explained that she couldn’t wrap her mind around sci-fi. She loved the genre, but it was difficult for her to imagine cool and unusual things that might happen, be created, or occur in the distant future.

“Ah,” I thought. “I get it now.” I suppose some might have a tough time imagining such things. And I guess reading sci-fi and futuristic fiction or watching those movies allows them to just kick back and let someone else take them to those worlds.

The techie stuff and world-building of these genres aside, writing this material boils down to the same thing: a solid plot and well-developed characters. Regardless of the genre, all stories require these two elements. There must be a problem to overcome, a series of events that lead the hero or heroine to solving the problem whether through h/her efforts or by the actions of others forcing the proverbial snowball to grow larger. The science fiction, however, is the candy coating—but it does need to be believable.

So what makes sci-fi/futuristic writers tick?

Well, there are many things that factor into this question, but in a nutshell I believe writers have a story to tell. Regardless of genre, we need to exorcise the people in our heads, lol. We must get those characters, the settings, conflict, romance, action, etc., out of our heads and onto paper or a computer screen. If we don’t, we self-combust.


And if you set those things aside, looking only at the science fiction aspect, I think there’s one answer to why we write it: we love to create, dream, and imagine. Putting it into manuscript form and seeing it published is an added bonus. However, the biggest benefit of all for a writer in this genre is asking, “What if?” and running with it like Satan is on our heels.

I asked a couple of Decadent’s sci-fi/futuristic authors what was important to them about writing one of their most recent titles in this genre. Author D.L. Jackson had this to say about her book, This Endris Night.

I was asked why I loved writing this story. Many who look at the cover of This Endris Night do not realize it is a science fiction romance story. The origins of this idea and the reason I enjoyed building this world, come from possible alien visitations to ancients on Earth, in this case, Alaska and the Native Yupik peoples. I love the thought of visitors from other worlds coming to Earth, living among the ancient civilizations, explaining some of the legends of the ancients.  This story is a mixture of Yupik culture and science fiction.
Ah, there it is. The what-if factor. Are there visitors from other worlds? Whether now or thousands of years ago, this is the biggest what-if question of all. To sci-fi authors this question is addictive, our so-called drug of choice.
D.L. goes on to say:
Shiya is a Yupik supermodel, running from a stalker, luring him to the land of her youth where she can face him on her own terms and put a stop to the deadly game of cat and mouse. Gunnar is from another world, a doppelganger, on Earth for one purpose, to recover the wreckage of a two hundred year old crash that has been exposed from a melting glacier. When he meets Shiya, he knows more than the crash debris will have to come home with him. Shiya is a hybrid, proof of his people’s existence and things are about to get infinitely more complicated when he learns she’s being hunted by one of his kind.
This one story opened up thousands of possibilities for future novels and novellas that will take place on almost every continent on the planet. I look forward to expanding this world, rewriting ancient legends and giving them a science fiction twist. For not all science fiction romance takes place in the stars.
Amen to that, D.L.! I couldn’t agree more!
But what about Decadent’s SFR Elatia series? It opens up a host of avenues to travel, roads or sky paths leading from one planet to another. This line of books introduces the reader to races of people one never imagined. In Elatia, a writer can dream to epic proportions and step into a new world never investigated before. One of Elatia’s authors, Jessica E. Subject, has this to say about what drove her to write An Unexpected Return.
My characters fight for what they want. They both have wonderful lives where they want for nothing, but both Aris and Xia want something different than what their parents expect of them. Aris is a prince on Tyto, but he doesnt want to rule. He wants to explore the universe, see what else is out there. Its something Im sure most young adults can relate to.

I agree with Jessica. Although the desire to see what’s out there beyond our limited part of the world is stronger in our youth, I believe we all have the need to see and know what’s out there. This is a topic that leads to hundreds of ideas a writer can elaborate on.

Jessica also says:

Xia was destined to become an Adamo, following in her mothers footsteps. But as she finishes her first level of training, she begins to doubt whether that career is truly her calling. She feels guilty for wanting something else, doesnt want to disappoint her mother. Yet, at the same time, she doubts shell be happy in that profession. Add in a different career path, and I can totally relate to Xia.

Guilt. Wow, that’s something we all relate to, isn’t it? Thus another solid foundation for a plot. Regardless if it’s sci-fi, horror, or even contemporary romance, guilt is known to motivate people in very entertaining ways—in life as well as fiction, lol.

Lastly, Jessica adds:

When I introduced these two characters to each other, they both became more focused on finding happiness rather than the approval of others. So, much of An Unexpected Return relates to finding ones own path in the world, regardless of what others want for you, about finding what makes you happy.
And for writers, spinning our tales is what makes us happy. It’s what makes us tick. The same goes for me. I have to write. To me, it’s the same as breathing.
When I was approached to write the launch book, Forever Across the Stars, for the Elatia line, I was overwhelmed with deadlines, and the impending holidays only compounded my stress level. However, I wanted so badly to take the details I was given and run with them. Not only was I driven to please Decadent’s lovely owners, I wanted to create something different. It had been quite a while since I’d written science fiction longer than 5K or 10K. I enjoyed this particular writing experience more than I have in a long, long time. 
Through a cruel custom of the planet Viktari, Feather, my heroine, discovers who she truly is and, having been denied emotion for so many years, she embarks on a personal journey complicated by two men who fall in love with her and a villain bent on taking over the planet Elatia. I think Feather is one of the most damaged characters I’ve ever written, one who transcends her plight and emerges from the fire like the Phoenix. In doing so, she’s able to accept the love of a special man and finally allow herself to give her love in return.
So, if you’ve never read a SFR book, I invite you to try these titles or any of the other numerous sci-fi and futuristic books available at Decadent Publishing. Who knows, you might become a new fan of the genre. ☺
***So, now that you've come to the end of this post, how would you like the opportunity to win a cool t-shirt OR a cool tote with D.L. Jackson's book covers? If so, enter by using the Rafflecopter form below. 

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