Thursday, 17 May 2012

Blog Tour: Alone on the Edge

Patrick joined the SFFS blog ring that I run, and I recently read his scifi romance novel, Alone on the Edge, the story of a young woman who finds herself involuntarily stranded on a mining station at the edges of civilisation. The book is an interesting exploration of coping with isolation, and also of how humans interact with computers. Patrick asked me if he could take up some space on my blog to share a bit about the book. So welcome, Patrick.

Thank you for visiting! My name is Patrick Stutzman, the author of ALONE ON THE EDGE. I am honored that you have taken the time to stop by and see what this old man’s meanderings are about. Please take the time to read the entry below and leave a comment. One lucky commenter will receive a free e-copy of my book!

The novel focuses on Anna Foster, a young woman given a job that takes her to the edge of human-explored space as a technician to keep an aging space station active, while the facility’s robotic fleet mines the gases from the nearby gas giant. A lot happens between Anna and the station’s computer, her only companion, within the book that will send you on an emotional journey with her as she copes with her involuntary life.

What inspired me to write this book is nothing more than the desire to write and keep those skills active after my previous writing job ended. I had written several short stories before with the intent of developing my writing style and decided to put them to the test by writing what turned out to be this book.

I have included an excerpt from ALONE ON THE EDGE for your perusal. In the following scene, Anna attempts to fix a faulty speaker while lying in a maintenance tunnel in the bowels of the station. The part she needs to fix is just out of reach, so she has to use other means to repair it.
Smug with her correct estimate, Anna set the scanner on the catwalk and fished the laser cutter from its pouch. She scooted to the edge of the grating and stretched her hand toward the speaker, only to find that the unit was just out of reach with her fingertips barely brushing against the wires. She turned over and repositioned herself, but her efforts proved fruitless. After pondering the situation for a few seconds, she decided that she was going to have to make this repair blindly.
Reconfiguring the hand scanner to present live video feed, Anna turned on the laser cutter and held the end by the tips of her fingers. She tested her grip, which seemed feeble at best, but figured that she could hold it long enough to trim the disconnected wire. Picking up the scanner with her other hand, she set to work. Reaching over the power cables, Anna positioned the scanner to watch as her other hand moved toward the damaged wire. With a flick of her wrist, the speaker’s wire was cleanly cut away from the unit. The hand motion inadvertently caused the cutter to slip out of her fingers. Her mind processed the next series of events in slow motion. Anna watched in disbelief as the tool bounced off the metal plate below and sliced through one of the power cables, sending a shower of sparks over the speaker.
Then, the lights went out.
Anna looked around her as the explosion of light quickly dimmed into nothingness, leaving her alone in the dark with only the glow of the scanner’s blank display as a light source. The expression on her face quickly shifted from surprise to frustration.
“God d**n it!” she spat out as her wristcomp signaled an incoming message.
Staring darkly at the device on her wrist, she opened the screen and read the computer’s incoming message, “We have a complete power failure on Gray Level. You really f****d things up this time, Anna.”
ALONE ON THE EDGE is available for purchase now for the Kindle and in paperback on Amazon, for the Nook through Barnes & Noble, and in those and other formats through Smashwords.

Patrick Stutzman, who lives in the United States of America, is best known for his work on the Star Wars Roleplaying Game, Saga Edition and has begun his career as a novelist with this book. He also has a short story available through Amazon and Smashwords titled ALONE WITH HER THOUGHTS, which is considered a lost chapter to ALONE ON THE EDGE. For more samples of his work, check out his website, The Worlds of Patrick Stutzman. He can be found through Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Goodreads.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Blog Tour: Keir

One of my earliest writer friends, Pippa Jay, has just released her first scifi romance novel, KEIR. I invited her to come over to my blog and spend some time telling us a bit about the story and how she created one of the main characters, Quin. I hope that some of you will take the opportunity to download and read this exciting novel.

The Origins of Quin

The background story to Keir began as a Doctor Who novel written over cough 20 years ago cough. At the time of writing, I was obsessed with the series and had my heart set on being the next companion, and wrote my story accordingly. So the heroine was short, red-haired, bad-tempered and…well…basically ME. (BTW the photo is me with Sylvester McCoy, the seventh incarnation of the Doctor)

Twenty years on and my helpless hero Keir is trapped in a dungeon, beaten and broken. I’d left him sitting there for five years after dreaming him up and writing a short story about his plight. So I felt he was due a rescue, and I already had my heroine in mind. After two decades of carrying various adventures about her in my head and with the odd scribble or three about them, Quin returned in full force to be the co-character in Keir. And while I might be showing my age a little, Quin had matured but never quite grown up from the teenage spitfire that had debuted in that old Doctor Who story. Her sense of injustice over the way Keir is treated by his own society leads her to take a gamble on helping him. Even when it later becomes apparent that he really is something to fear, she refuses to step back. Part of it is her own sheer stubbornness, but also her belief that there is good in everyone, something that gives Keir himself hope when it seems all else is lost.

Of course Quin isn’t exactly like me - I wouldn’t be that cruel. Her ‘lifestyle’ means she’s probably fitter than me. She’s kept her hair long while I chopped mine a decade ago. Despite living in a high-tech base and having the ability to travel anywhere in time and space, she freely admits to not knowing how most of it works. And she’s a darn sight braver than me too.

So, to meet Quin in her full glory by winning an ebook copy of Keir, please comment below with your email address and tell me whether any of your heroes/heroines are a version of you, and if so how close to home? Or if you’re a reader rather than a writer, do you ever wonder how many of the characters in your favourite books are completely fictional, or whether they might be someone the author knows?

You can also stop by the other blogs on the tour by checking them out on the list here, and there’s a special prize up for grabs on my own blog here to celebrate Keir’s release on the 7th May, available internationally. All prizes will be drawn after midnight BST (in the UK) on the 14th May. But if you simply can’t wait to find out if you’ve won a copy, all new releases from Lyrical Press Inc are 30% off for the first week after release.

Keir - a science-fiction romance available 7th May 2012 from Lyrical Press Inc:

Outcast. Cursed. Dying. Is Keir beyond redemption?

For Keirlan de Corizi--the legendary 'Blue Demon' of Adalucien--death seems the only escape from a world where his discolored skin marks him as an oddity and condemns him to life as a pariah. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise: Tarquin Secker, a young woman who can travel the stars with a wave of her hand.

But Quin has secrets of her own. She's spent eternity searching through space and time with a strange band of companions at her back. Defying her friends' counsel, Quin risks her apparent immortality to save Keir. She offers him sanctuary and a new life on her home world, Lyagnius.

When Keir mistakenly unleashes his dormant alien powers and earns instant exile from Quin's home world, will she risk everything to stand by him again?

Book Trailer:

Personal Bio:

A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. Between torturing her characters, she spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 18 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Twitter: @pippajaygreen
Facebook: Keir - Beyond Redemption (book page)
Pippa Jay (profile)