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It has been hectic here at Dweebenhiem! A lot happening on the publishing front.

First of all, new book!

opibattlesthespacepirates

Isn’t the cover wonderful?

Are you in the mood for a light-hearted romp through space? Forget POTUS! Take a spell from despair! Join Opi and her gravity problems. Opi Battles the Space Pirates is an adult SF romance, which features an older heroine and no explicit sex scenes.

Here’s the blurb

Ms Opeia Gayens, head of AllEarth Corp, has a problem—her company is rotten with Space Pirates. She wants to get rid of them once and for all. An unexpected invitation to dinner challenges her plans to be the bait that will draw the nasty pirates out. It’s been forever since she’s been on a date—just been Opi. Somehow, Owain McDevitt, mild-mannered, potato farmer from the planet Islay 2 is drawn into the intrigue. Yet, no one is who they seem, least of all Owain McDevitt.

Betrayal after betrayal threatens Opi’s existence and she must discover who the traitor really is before she can find her true path to happiness.

Opi Battles the Space Pirates is out on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited for 3 months. Then it goes wide to other retailers.

You can get your copy here US$2.99 Aus $3.99

Link is here

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It’s summer here in good ol’ Australia. In Canberra, like elsewhere in the country it’s hot. It’s bloody hot. Canberra is usually dry so the heat can be bearable.  However, when it gets humid it’s a right stinker. There are other places worse off so I won’t claim the most miserable place to be.

Yesterday I worked from home with the aircon on downstairs in my house. It was completely bearable. Every time I went upstairs it was like stepping into a furnace. My god it was hot up there.

Come bedtime I went up to the bedroom and turned on the aircon above the bed. The aircon above the bed was dead. I tried the fuse box, changing the batteries in the remote control, turning it off and on at the wall. It was dead. Matthew came home and he confirmed it was dead. We don’t use the aircon much, maybe once or twice a year. It worked last time I turned it on about a week or two ago.

Why I didn’t just go back down stairs I don’t know. I put our ceiling fan on but even on high, blowing a hurricane, it made no difference. I had ice water and naked skin. Still no joy there  in the sleep stakes.

Today, I’m headachey and queasy and not too happy about it either. I came into campus as the study centre has excellent aircon, but I’m not feeling up to scratch at all. I’m not sure why I’m here. Can I actually read and process academic journal articles, read French philosophy? Just the thought makes me want to puke.

It’s not all doom and gloom. I did finish Opi Battles the Space Pirates last week and laid it out for proofreading. It’s a bit of fluff. It’s fun and I hope funny. The world needs some comic relief just now.

Also, the last call for romance writers boosted the responses somewhat. I’m still looking for respondents for both surveys.

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November is usually a good writing time for me. The taxes are done. I’m gearing up for Christmas so I usually have that impetus to get things done before December hits. I can take that 30 days to focus and write.

Many years I wrote during November and I didn’t register for NaNoWriMo. I got into the spirit of the thing. Until recent years where I’m much more likely to register. I don’t always make the goal. A couple years I baulked, usually do to workload in the day job. I have partial drafts of books. One is a contemporary romance– at least so far. I’m tempted to put in a ghost or a vampire, but basically it’s a truckie story. The other partial I have is the sequel to The Sorcerer’s Spell, called The Changling Curse. I haven’t got back to it to finish it. There are a number of reasons for that. That I already have too many draft novels that need to be crafted, revised and polished is the main one.

So this year, I signed up for the NaNoWriMo thing. I hadn’t done any planning for the novel. November just sneaks up on me. Anyway I had this idea in my head for a year or two that I wanted to write another Love and Pirates story, this time about Opeia Gayens, the mother and head of AllEarth Corp.

I started drafting. I got 5000 words down but then I had to stop. I had to work on another novel, getting it ready for beta readers. I thought I’d just come back to the NaNoWriMo project. I ended up nearly losing two weeks but I did go back.

It’s quite hard to write a story without enough ideas. Sometimes they just come to me. So I started drafting and I was thinking this is a bit lame, I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I had that break from it (nearly two weeks) and reviewed the 5000 words I’d written to get me back into the story and went to bed. But obviously my subconscious was worried about the story because I had this amazing, comical scene unfold in the early hours of the next morning. I got up really revved, thinking this is it. And the resolution of this scene would skate me near to the end of the story. I was back on board. I had to write a lot to catch up, because I was way behind. But I didn’t let that worry me. I was on a roll.

This is the part that I love. Being so revved so in the story. I call it the zen zone where the creativity is sparking in the brain and the story cascades like it’s being downloaded. I walk around in a daze, send notes to myself as little ideas come to me. The ideas are flowing and writing 5000 words over the course of the day seems natural and easy. This is the buzz I live for. This is the orgasmic flow that is, lets face it, better than sex.

Often after experiencing the zen zone, I think I’ll never get it back. These days I know I can. Usually I get into the zen zone on  a writer’s retreat. This time I managed it at home, between uni, grandkids and other stuff. I caught up. I wrote 50,000 words! A complete story. I’ve even tinkered with some of those words. It’s a short novel, but longer than Rayessa and the Space Pirates and Rae and Essa’s Space Adventures.

Now the first cut is done, the harder work begins. Crafting the story I wrote. Opi Battles the Space Pirates is a SF romance. The most difficult part of a romance for me is writing the characters to sufficient depth. I’m queen of plot in comparison. My books tend to be plot heavy. The challenge now is to find out who Opi is and craft her better than she is now. I’d like to do that now rather than later…just in case it goes in the too hard basket.

NaNoWriMo for me then is not so much about how much I write, although I do find having a goal makes me sit at the computer longer than I really want to. I am an obsessive, goal oriented over achieving ADHD woman so that probably makes sense that I respond to a word count goal. But more than that it’s about writing, getting into the zone, giving myself permission to write and ignoring the housework and the DVD watching etc. Over 30 days you can achieve a lot. NaNoWriMo just reminds me of that.

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I don’t think I’ve ever put up a sample of Rae and Essa’s Space Adventures before, but I came across it on Amazon and thought why not. I like Essa: she’s a little bit bad ass compared to Rae. This story an SF romance and Escape Publishing have labelled it New Adult. It doesn’t matter about labels as the story is meant to be fun but also has a serious side. If you liked Rayessa and the Space Pirates then I’ll think you’ll like this. And didn’t Escape do an amazing cover.

Rae and Essa Space Adventures

Chapter 1

Extra-curricular Activities

My sister, Rae, bowed low to Kazusensei, the school’s karate instructor. “Do better,” he said. “Try harder. Stop wasting my time, Rae,” he growled out.

Rae stood there, face impassive, only the flicker of an eyelid giving any indication that he was getting to her.

My fingernails bit into my palms. I wanted storm over there and slap him across the face for talking to her like that. She was a Gayens. But it wasn’t my fight. I had to stay out of it. Rae and I had boundaries. I might have been the one to erect them but they weren’t so easy to take down. Rae nodded and Kazusensei stepped back, his hands on hips. “Again, hajime.”

Rae performed her kata with the sensei looking on. If only he’d lose the sneer and the attitude, I’d be calmer. Most of the time he showed no emotion to the private school girls he tutored, but my sister brought out the best in him. I couldn’t figure out whether it was her spirit that annoyed him or that there was another me ready to give him grief. Rae took what he gave out without complaint. Something I never did.

I shook my head as I watched on. I may not have an abundance of sisterly love, but I give credit where it is due. Rae rocked at karate and that annoyed the sensei. Perhaps money and talent weren’t combinations he was happy with.

Ending with a bow, Rae stood waiting. “No, pathetic.” The sensei’s hand chopped through the air. “Again.”

I ground my teeth as I watched. He would never have dared to speak to me like that. I would have had his arse kicked from here to the city limits and used all Mother’s connections to make sure he never worked again. But he was speaking to Rae and that was not my business. We did have an agreement, after all.

From scratch, Rae re-started her kata, her concentration almost tangible and she kicked, punched and blocked according to the well-rehearsed form. Her movements looked precise and snappy. My gaze flicked to Kaz. Yes, I got away with calling him that. Rae was good. He had no right being hard on her, getting on her case. He gave a slight nod and Rae went to the sidelines to pull on her gloves.

Rae let the world heap crap on her and asked for more. I checked my handheld for messages. A thumping sound drew my attention and there was Rae kicking the living daylights out of the kicking shield Kaz held. He gritted his teeth as he braced himself and I smiled. She was going for it. Thump, thump, whump. Go, Rae. Kick a little higher. Wipe that smug expression of his face.

My breath caught as I waited for that wrong move, only to let it out again when Rae moved on to punches. She’d missed her chance. I would not have missed that opportunity. I pictured, Kaz with a fat lip and blood in his teeth and nodded. Yeah! We had a history, he and I. He’d never put his hand there again.

At the end of her lesson, Rae staggered to the bench, wiping sweat from the back of her neck and tossing the towel onto her carry all. Kaz walked out of the gym, slamming the door behind him.

Rae stripped her gi pants off and adjusted the gravity straps on her legs. She had serious bone weakness from years in space and no therapy. Muscle and calcium loss. It was lucky that she’d had some therapy as a child and had lasted her a number of years in captivity. Mother said it could have been worse. Rae connected the electrode to the metal strip that was attached to her tibia. It forced the bone to strengthen. I shuddered. It was so ugly. How could she bear it?

On Earth with its full strength gravity load, Rae needed assistance to walk. She hated it. That’s why she took this class, to beat it. She’d come a long way too. Her academic grades were average but improving. I was loath to tutor her. Mother had her swatting within a week of being back in the bosom of her family, arranged an array of special tutors. Alwin Anton helped her too. Boy genius was pretty easy on the eye, even if he was a smart arse.

Coming up beside her, I asked. “Why do you let him treat you like that? It’s demeaning to the Gayens’ name.” Rae glanced at me and sniffed.

“It’s not personal. I want him to push me. I’m so behind on everything else. At least I can beat this physical disability.”

My nail polish glimmered and I examined it for chips, spreading my hands to catch a shaft of light. “So you received treatment. You’ll beat it eventually.”

Rae drew on a wrap, slipped on some flip flops and picked up her carryall and stalked away.

“And I still need to work on my fitness. My body is the only thing I can control.” We’d had this discussion before. I liked needling her, liked seeing her crack.

“Mother is happy with your grades.”

Rae grunted as she pushed through to the cleaning block. I followed, sensing victory.

Mini cubicles contained nozzles attached to the walls that flash cleaned skin. A minute later Rae was punching her legs into a ‘onsey’. They were so past tense, but she loved them and called them ship suits. I shook my head.

“My grades are mediocre. Nowhere near as good as yours. I can do better.”

With a flip of my hand, I quipped. “Maybe.”

Technically, we should have near the same grades, as we were genetically identical. It went back to nature versus nurture argument. I thought the case was closed. I’d been nurtured. She’d been neglected.

A light glinted in her eye. “What do you want anyway?”

“Ohh grouchy. Missing the boyfriend are we?”

Rae rolled up her eyes and let out a grunt of disgust as she snatched up her carry all and pushed past. After stumbling back, I kicked out my hip so I had somewhere to place my hand for my pose.

“We were going out, remember? I was going to show you how to kick the trust account dependency.”

Rae paused before the door, her head tilting to the side. “Now I remember. I didn’t think you’d come all this way just for fun. I’ll meet you out front in ten. I’ve got to stow my gear.”

“And check if Alwin Anton has sent you a transmission.” I smiled smugly.

Rae shook her head. “Whatever.”

“I’ll be waiting.”

#

“Why are we breaking into this building?” Rae hissed in my ear. She’d been jittery since she’d pieced together that her lesson did not involve law abiding activity.

“Shut up, there are sound sensors.” I slid the conductor strip into the circuit, allowing monitoring to think it was receiving feed. The steady blue pulse let me know it worked. My hand held synced with the security system and I calibrated my patented break in app. My eyebrow lifted. The building had counter measures so I unleashed a designer micro virus, which flooded the system with echoes and ghosts so it didn’t know where to focus. Sufficiently diverted, my app completed its sequence, overrode the security system and the door slid open.

Rae gasped behind me. “We’ll get busted.”

“No we won’t. I’m good.”

Rae tugged my hair and I turned to glare at her. “What?”

“Essa, you’re a criminal.” Her face was flat against mine. I inhaled her breath and shoved her back gently.

“I’m not a criminal. I’m a consultant.” Lifting my hand held, I concentrated on the information scrolling along the screen, keeping Rae in my line of sight.

Rae’s hand squeezed into fists. “If you get me into trouble I’m so going to thump you.”

I rolled my eyes. “I can’t guarantee you won’t get into trouble. Grow up.”

Rae stood up. “Sorry, I’m out a here. See you back at the dorm.”

I sighed. What a waste of time educating her. Concentrating on my job I grinned as the door slid open.

#

Rae was waiting for me when I got back.

“How do you know how to thwart security?” Rae launched at me as soon as I came in.

I put my stuff away. “I’m smart,” I said, feeling smug.

Rae plonked down on her bed and pressed the release on her boots. She looked up from rubbing her feet. “I think I understand that bit. I was thinking of why.”

“I get paid.”

“You never!” Rae’s dark eyes goggled.

“Not for a syndicate or any criminal element. By a security firm. They design and install security systems, and they pay me to crack them so they can refine their product.”

Rae sat there half-dressed. “And what’s that, like pocket money?”

“No. Not pocket money. Big money. I don’t need Mother’s handouts, but I take them and spend them so she doesn’t get suspicious. You could do the same.”

“The same what?”

“Earn your own money.”

Rae’s sleep wrap engaged and she snuggled into her bed. “I don’t need much money. I have stacks in my account.”

“You do?”

“Yes, Opi has been putting money in my account since I went missing. The same amount she said she spent on you or gave you as an allowance.”

I whistled, impressed.

I went to the san to wash off the dust and get ready for bed.

Rae snored softly while I filed my report on the security system, including recommendations to improve it. I checked my bank account, the bank account that mother didn’t know about, and grinned as the zeros grew. I like my life.

A message came in from Mother. I pursed my lips when I looked at it. The message was the same as her last and that was plain odd. I put in a call and waited as the relays engaged, mother was off planet. After ten minutes, I received a no response message. Something about it bugged me. I sent a message to Alwin Anton, who was with her. He didn’t respond either, but then he often ignored my calls—something about not upsetting his girlfriend. I wrinkled my nose as I took in my sister sprawled on the bed and then shook my head in wonder.

I reread the message from my mother and tried to put it down to a glitch in her system that sent the message twice. I’d have to check with Rae in the morning to see if she had heard anything or had any new messages. Because I worried, I slept badly, dreaming all sorts of scary things, like kidnapping and ransom demands. That was always a spectre for the family. Being rich and powerful made you a target. Except for Rae, we’d been lucky so far. And Rae’s disappearance had been an inside job.

Rae was dressed when I woke, groggy from lack of sleep. After a yawn and blinking away sleep I noticed her. “You look nice. Date?” Rae had make up on. Mine most likely. Her hair was shiny and straight, reaching past her shoulders and she’d chosen a cream ‘onesy’ with a leather tunic, which ended just under her butt and accentuated her waist. I shook my head. I might have to rethink my views on the ‘onesy’ as Rae looked grown up and attractive. We were seventeen now, nearly adults. I reminded myself that we were identical so if Rae looked that good then so would I.

“Yes, Al is due back today and we’re meeting up at the Centra Hotel.” She posed sideways in the mirror, checking if her hair was straight. To check her lip gloss, she leaned in close with a pout.

“Gris is meeting me downstairs to fly me over.”

I don’t know what she saw in Gris. Big men made me uncomfortable. But they shared some unshakable bond and he volunteered to be her security. “Is mother back too?”

Rae opened her pouch and dropped in her hand held, credit card, ID, more lip gloss and sealed it. It flattened for easy insertion into her ‘onesy’s hidden pocket, high on her chest. “I’m not sure. Opi was meant to be, but I haven’t spoken to Al for three of four days as he is in transit and that plays havoc with comms. He mentioned Opi had another meeting planned. Something unscheduled.”

I leaned back on my bed and stared at the ceiling. I could see the translucent images I’d stuck up there, in spite of the school rules. You could only see them from this position. “I see. You know she’s rooting out the pirates in the company? Dad left a network of corruption behind him. Mother is determined to get rid of them.”

Rae shuddered visibly. Traumatised by his attempt to murder her, she hadn’t quite come to terms with it. Frankly, I’d always distrusted him. Our connection was never real. There was always something insincere about him. It was weird to feel that way, because he’s my father too. In the end, I was right. Rotten to the core! He’d said that about me on numerous occasions so I took great satisfaction knowing it was proved about him.

Rae smoothed the fabric of her ‘onesy’, pressing the auto clean when she saw a piece of lint.

She made eye contact. “Al said as much. I don’t understand what he does, but he can follow their transaction trail in cyber space or something like that.”

Rae slid on her boots and activated the seal and colour change. Her boots now matched her ‘onesy’ and clung to her calves like second skin. Slick. I was impressed that Rae had finally developed a sense of style, even without my advice and despite my teasing.

There was no point into entering into the Alwin Anton adoration society so I didn’t respond to Rae’s blatant invitation to talk about her boyfriend and kept to the topic. “Did he tell you their coordinates in that last communication?”

Rae activated the bed refresh sequence and picked up her Edupad and slid it into her study nook. Her bed was sanitised and made up with Rae’s favourite bed cover, the one with some old actress on it—Del Divlan or something. Did Rae actually realise that the actress was as old as their parents and not in mode? I let the thought go. Rae didn’t want to hear it. The actress was like her sookie blanket or something and Rae wasn’t letting go anytime soon.

“Not directly, but they were on the message receipt. Do you want me to look it up now?” She withdrew the Edupad, eyebrow quirked.

“No, no. Have fun.

Buy links

As well as ebook, all my Escape Publishing titles are available in large print format for libraries

Rae and Essa’s Space Adventures is available from Escape Publishing, who have links to most eretailers  here

Amazon.com here

Amazon.com.au Here

Kobo here

iBooks here

Mills and Boon also have it  listed. Here

Also, I have a separate blog for Rayessa and the Space Pirates with some fun stuff on there here

Advice from Rayessa today is: don’t eat too many beans and then get into an airlock with a friend!

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