Category Archives: Science fiction

I have published a new book

I usually talk about my writing pastime (I hesitate to call it a career) on Spacefreighter’s Lounge, a blog I co-author with four other writers. But writing is part of who I am, so bear with me while I tell you about my just-released latest book.

It’s space opera (of course). Three women from different backgrounds share adventures in space. These books are a spin-off from my Morgan Selwood novels, set in the same Universe. You’ll find all of those books listed here. The women in this society are restricted in several respects. There’s a rigid, paternalistic class structure, which means they often can’t choose their own partners, and they often don’t have much choice when it comes to jobs, either. The three ladies who make up Morgan’s Misfits  don’t fit the social mores.

While the books are action/adventure (with a little bit of romance), they’re also about the women interacting within their society, and with each other. I’m sure you’ll notice some parallels in 21st Century Earth.

The first book, Kuralon Rescue, tells the story of how the ladies save a couple of men sentenced to work to death on a prison planet called Kuralon. It’s how the ladies get together and how they acquired their name.

Kuralon Rescue

Abstract background with magic light. Vector illustration

Follow your dreams. You never know where they might take you.

Jirra’s on the run, Siena’s rescuing her lover, Toreni wants Master Chef status and Chet wants her reputation back. Four women, four goals, and one very small ship. Add a fleet request to free a rebel, the promise of little to no help and a caste-defined society simmering with discontent on the edge of explosion.

Now, on their own, they’re staging an escape from a backwater prison planet and navigating the murky terrain of dreams forbidden by the rigid caste system underpinning their culture. Success demands more than team work. They’ll have to jettison their own prejudices and forge relationships free of the rules and caste lines.
There’s more than just lives at stake. There’s dreams and a possible tomorrow more fragile than gossamer.

Buy the book at  iBooks Amazon Kobo  B&N

In the new book, Rescuing Romila, the ladies become involved in more dangerous adventures.

Rescuing Romila

The Misfits are off on another planet-hopping adventure.

When Jirra and Toreni rescue Romila from a raid on her antiques business the Misfits start off on a mission to uncover a drug-smuggling operation. A new, very potent drug is on the market, hidden in statues of ice warriors carved on a remote world.

But all’s not well within the team. Toreni and Chet have fallen out, Toreni has received an offer that might be too good to refuse, and Jirra has doubts about her future.  When the drug-smuggling operation morphs into something even more dangerous, the Misfits must resolve their differences. If they don’t act together, and quickly, many lives will be at risk. Including their own.

Action and adventure, with a little bit of romance.

Buy the book at  iBooks Amazon Kobo  B&N

There you have it.

I realise that space opera is not everybody’s thing, but you might mention the books to your kids, or neighbours or whatever.

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May the Fourth

Picture of Star Destroyer with words may the 4th be with youMay the 4th. Star Wars day. Back in 1977 a Galaxy Far Far Away crawled up the screen of a theatre near you. Since then, a whole new generation has been introduced to the worlds of the Force and an industry is in full swing, churning out books, toys, games, costumes – you name it. Yes, the science is suspect (at best), the worlds are alternative Earths, the aliens awfully humanoid. But through it all, I loved it and I still do.

Back then, I was teaching. My ten-year-old class loved the new movie. I didn’t go and see it until the long summer break, some nine months later. I’m not a great movie fan and science fiction for me was Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Bradbury. I’d LOVED 2001: A Space Odyssey, so this kid’s SF fantasy romp was beneath my level of sophistication. Still, needs must. I went along to the movies and was surprised to find I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lucas hadn’t needed to call it A New Hope back then. I particularly, especially loved that opening scene where the ISD (Imperial Star Destroyer to those not in the loop) chases Leia’s consular ship. Yes, I ducked. That was truly awesome.

But when The Empire Strikes Back was released, my mood changed from “what fun” to a gibbering, orgasmic mess. I saw that movie four times in ten days. Why? Luke Skywatcher? Nah. Luke never did it for me. Han? Yeah, okay, not bad. Darth Vader???? Oh, yesssss. Tall, dark and powerful. In ANH he was portrayed as a shouting bully-boy with smudges on his face mask, albeit with a quirky sense of humour. In TESB he has grown. He’s the man in charge. His face mask gleams. His sense of humour is still there. And he’s got… EXECUTOR. Be still my pounding heart. The ultimate spaceship. Oh, man. That scene where Vader is at the picture window on the bridge, surveying the Imperial Fleet, every massive ISD dwarfed by the mighty flagship. Excuse me while I dribble. And with the Imperial March playing in the background – da da da dada da dada daaaahhhh…

I bought the figures, the models, the books (don’t bother) and eventually, the movies – in VHS (I still have them). I reckon I’ve seen TESB a hundred times or more.

I couldn’t wait for Revenge Return of the Jedi. But it didn’t really do it for me. Oh, the speeder bikes were cool and Executor was back. But some of it was so… dumb. Like Leia in a metal bikini. WTF was Jabba the Hutt intending to do with her? I mean… you hear the stories about sheep and camels. But really? Surely Jabba would be expected to take a fancy to one of his own kind? Later on, the Emperor’s idea of persuading Luke to join him would’ve had him kicked out of the snake oil salesmen’s guild. Very clumsy. And building another Death Star with the same intrinsic fault? Dumb dumb dumb. And then they crashed Executor. My heart was shattered.

Still, I was desperately disappointed when the series ended. Fortunately, spin-off books began to appear, some worthwhile, some garbage. Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire trilogy was a stand-out (here’s my take on why) and Brian Daley’s The Han Solo Adventures was also well worth an afternoon or two. Alan Dean Foster’s Splinter of the Mind’s Eye was a bit of fun, set between ANH and TESB.

Like many others, I was ecstatic when Lucas announced the three films filling in Darth Vader’s early years. And like everybody else, I hated the prequels.

Still and all, I was even more excited when Star Wars was resurrected. And although quite a few people liked The Force Awakens, I didn’t. To me it was A New Hope with a few tweaks and absolutely no imagination. But Disney made up for it with Rogue One. Now I’m hangin’ out for The Last Jedi. Tragic, really.

I can’t finish without mentioning that this year we’ll be without Princess Leia and without R2D2 – or at least the actors who played those parts. So a last salute to Carrie Fisher and Ronnie Baker. At least the Star Wars legacy will remain for many years to come.

Welcome to the blog tour #giftcard #prize

The Stuff of Legend is going on tour. Join in for a chance to win an Amazon gift card

When history professor Olivia Jhutta receives a distress call from her parents, she sets out into space with their business partner, her grandmother and injured Confederacy Admiral Jak Prentiss to find them. But she’s not the only one interested in the Jhutta’s whereabouts. The Helicronians believe Olivia’s parents have found an ancient weapon which they can use to wage war on the Confederacy.

Jak goes on the trip to fill in time while he’s on enforced leave, helping Olivia follow cryptic clues in what he considers an interplanetary wild goose chase in search of a fairy story. But as the journey progresses and legend begins to merge with unsettling fact, Olivia and Jak must resolve their differences and work together if they are to survive. The two are poles apart… but it’s said opposites attract. If they can manage to stay alive.

Amazon readers say:

Another thoroughly enjoyable book from a gifted author. I would like to see more from this universe with its Admirals.

Greta is back with another race through space with an enigmatic admiral and the independent woman who will grab his attention and his heart. At first we can hiss at the hero as he stumbles through his usual seduction routine only to find Professor Olivia not nearly as impressed as he’d hoped. It will take a dash through space in a search for Olivia’s missing parents, delving into the distant past, dealing with a megalomaniac, and facing their own insecurities for them to find each other.
Great world building with the possibility of more stories in this part of Greta’s universe. I can’t wait.

Buy the book: Amazon  Inktera iBooks  Kobo

 

The Stuff of Legend – opposites attract

The Stuff of Legend‘s plot revolves around an open cluster and the legends and tales that have been told about that formation. As an analogy, consider the Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters. Just about every society on Earth seems to have had a legend around it – many very similar tales about maidens escaping from a suitor, whether they are Greek, Roman, or Australian aboriginal.

My two protagonists have very different views on ancient tales. History professor Olivia Jhutta thinks there’s often a core of truth; Admiral Jackson Prentiss is only interested in facts. This snippet illustrates their differences. Olivia and Jak are walking through the woods.

“How much do you know about the Ghria?” Olivia asked.

Jak shrugged. “Space demons that lie in wait for the unwary. They swallow ships whole. And that’s about it. Oh, and I’ve seen the pictures.”

Fanciful illustrations of non-existent creatures with huge mouths and slavering jaws. “That’s very likely fabrication.”

He chuckled. “You think?”

“We don’t know for certain, do we? What we do know is the Gh’ria legend dates back thousands of years. Although it pops up across Confederacy space, it has its roots here, in the Helicronian planets.”

Jak brushed an errant leaf off his shoulder. “I didn’t know that.”

“It’s because in its original form, the Gh’ria are linked to the Maidens. That thing about space demons is later, much later. The earliest stories are about maidens protecting a dragon’s hoard. ‘Cloaked in stardust, draped in shadow the maidens guard the dragon’s hoard’. From a poem written by Elivior San Brindel two thousand years ago.”

Smiling, Jak shook his head. “That’s better than space demons, is it?”

“It’s interesting. The story goes that if you get past the dancers protecting the place, you still have to avoid being swallowed up by a dragon.”

He laughed. “Oh please. A dragon? We have swirling gowns making up the dancers’ clothes, and now we have a dragon as well? That’s a first. Can you show me?”

Show him? Olivia riffled through the images she kept on her implant, including a few for the Maidens which she’d collected recently. “Can I transfer an image to your implant?”

“Please do.”

She waited for the invitation to access his private inbox, then transferred the one with the three women superimposed over the stars. “This shows the dancers.”

“Sure. Where’s the dragon?”

His tone bristled with scorn. But then, she should have realized he’d react like that. Bracing herself, she said, “The dragon is invisible. It’s beyond the ability of humans to see it.”

Jak shook his head slowly. “Professor, I deal with facts, not made-up stories. These legends are just idiotic notions made up by ignorant people trying to understand something beyond their knowledge. I can see it now. Some kid asks the teacher what that thing up there is, so teacher tries to explain, using things he understands. But there are no star women up there. Just an open cluster with a nebula behind it. If you look at the Maidens from Rigmont or Sallazar, the stars don’t look the same. As for an invisible dragon… give me strength.”

********************************************************************

The Stuff of Legend

When history professor Olivia Jhutta receives a distress call from her parents, she sets out into space with their business partner, her grandmother and injured Confederacy Admiral Jak Prentiss to find them. But she’s not the only one interested in the Jhutta’s whereabouts. The Helicronians believe Olivia’s parents have found an ancient weapon which they can use to wage war on the Confederacy.

Jak goes on the trip to fill in time while he’s on enforced leave, helping Olivia follow cryptic clues in what he considers an interplanetary wild goose chase in search of a fairy story. But as the journey progresses and legend begins to merge with unsettling fact, Olivia and Jak must resolve their differences and work together if they are to survive. The two are poles apart… but it’s said opposites attract. If they can manage to stay alive.

You’ll find The Stuff of Legend here.  Amazon  Inktera iBooks  Kobo

SFR Brigade holiday showcase

sfrbholidayshowcaseUPDATE: The prize has been won and claimed. Thanks to everyone who entered.

Hi there folks. Welcome to my world. Yes, there’s a giveaway.

Christmas is coming. I’m mentioning that in case you hadn’t noticed. 🙂 Here in Australia it is, of course, high summer. No snow, no egg nog in front of a roaring fire. Unless it’s a beach barbecue, and then it’s cold beer or fizzy wine, not egg nog. But even so we share the time with friends and family, whatever our religious or cultural belief might be.

In our hot climate many of us have weaned ourselves off the traditional turkey, ham, roast veg, plum pudding etc food orgy we inherited from our English forebears.  Although there is a new tradition of Christmas in July where those who like that sort of food can indulge themselves in mid-Winter. My husband and I will be having a peaceful day, eating a selection of delicious seafood. To finish, I might even whip up this rather tasty dessert – but in smaller proportions, and without the toffee.

For your reading pleasure I’ve selected a piece of the current work in progress, The Stuff of Legend. It should be published in late February – early March.

Here’s the blurb

When history professor Olivia Jhutta receives a distress call from her parents, in trouble somewhere in space, she returns to her home planet to find out what happened to them. Together with her grandmother and injured Confederacy Admiral Jak Prentiss, she sets out to find them. But she’s not the only one interested in the Jhutta’s whereabouts. The Helicronians believe Olivia’s parents have found an ancient weapon which they can use to wage war on the Confederacy, and their agents secretly follow Olivia’s every move. If they lay their hands on the weapon it will mean certain death for Olivia – and interplanetary war.

And here’s an excerpt

The shower was a blessing. Olivia washed the grime and dust out of her hair, and turned through the dry cycle. She still felt guilty about Jak. He’d been hurt because of her, and his wounds were painful. She’d seen him bounce up and down the stairs like a mountain goat. Now, he had to take the elevator, and he limped. She’d been such a fool, letting him dictate her mood like that.

She stepped out of the shower stall. Even when she’d tried to apologize she’d fluffed her lines. She’d been surprised to see him wearing the black fleet uniform with the stars on the shoulder boards. Maybe that was it. He’d said once before that the uniform made ordinary people nervous. She could see why. The dress uniform, all sparkling white with gold insignia and a high collar, was probably designed to intimidate, but even in everyday black Jak oozed authority.

What to wear to dinner? Grandma had hung some dresses in the closet for her and after spending the last couple of days in dust and grime, Olivia felt like looking pretty. The red one with the cleavage should suit. If nothing else, it would give His Admiralness something to look at. She twirled in front of the mirror. Grandma had bought the dress on New Haven and it had nanotech so it would fit whoever wore it. You couldn’t buy anything like that on Belledura. Olivia had modified the style slightly to show a little more skin. She looked good and more important, she felt good.

She opened the door to her bedroom and nearly walked into Jak. He stopped and stared at her, his lips curving into a hungry smile. “Delightful. Absolutely delightful.”

Her face heated. He didn’t look so bad himself. He’d changed out of the uniform and into black evening dress with a white shirt and bow tie, old fashioned but elegant. He’d left his walking stick behind.

“No stick?”

“I’m trying to wean myself off it.” He gestured. “Shall we go?”

Giveaway

To be in the draw for one ebook copy of any of my books, please tell me what you’ll be doing for Christmas.  I’ll contact the winner, using the email address you are asked to enter when you leave a comment (unless otherwise advised) on 20th December.

Have a very wonderful solstice celebration, whichever version works for you. And please, don’t forget to visit all the other blogs for more chances to win stuff.

Participants:

1. Lea Kirk 16. Kyndra Hatch
2. Greta van der Rol 17. Melisse Aires
3. Pippa Jay 18. Shari Elder
4. Carol Van Natta 19. Ed Hoornaert
5. Liza O’Connor 20. C.E. Kilgore
6. Jolie Mason 21. Diane Burton
7. Aurora Springer 22. Athena Grayson
8. S. A. Hoag 23. Misa Buckley
9. Veronica Scott 24. Kaye Manro
10. Jess Anastasi 25. E.M Reders
11. AR DeClerck 26. Pauline Baird Jones
12. Carmen Webster Buxton 27. Dena Garson
13. Christina Westcott 28. Imogene Nix
14. Michelle Howard 29. Tess Rider
15. Siren Allen 30. Michelle Diener

Blog Tour – Scavenger’s Mission

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Alisha’s skills are so far beyond a normal cadet’s, that the Colonel is concerned many could die trying to learn them. Especially when they are required to collapse their chute. That will send them into a state of terror since they have been taught a collapsed chute is the equivalent of death.
Upon thinking back to the reasons she wasn’t afraid, even the very first time she collapsed her shoot, Alisha suggests they buy a wind tunnel. Logan, has never heard of such a thing.
She explained when she lived in Flatland, which has no wind whatsoever, she would daily go to the wind tunnel, don a baggy suit, hand over two hundred dollars and spend an hour soaring about in the tunnel. Thus, she never equated having winds rushing up from below to ‘dying any moment now’.
For your entertainment I located a youtube that shows exactly what should happen in a wind tunnel…if you aren’t afraid, click here.

It does look like fun!

Savenger's mission 400X640

Meet Alisha: A young woman who refuses to live the life her parents want.

In a single month, Alisha Kane has gone from a wealthy debutante to street girl to scavenger.  While testing her new flying skills in the Cully Canyon, Alisha incurs a near-death crash landing. She’s “rescued” by a colonel of the SkyRyders and her life changes forever.

Meet Logan: A SkyRyder colonel in charge of a sleepy fort with little to do other than arrest the occasional scavenger.

For the first time in his life, Logan’s attracted to a young woman, only she’s probably a scavenger and he’ll have to arrest her.  But first he offers her a shower and food while he checks on his crew. His Videographer has captured her extraordinary flight through the Cully and her flying is astounding!

He forgoes arresting her and puts his career at risk by asking MAC to assess her skills and integrity as a potential SkyRyder. If he can get Alisha into the SkyRyders, it will be his greatest contribution to the Corps.

Meet MAC: the Artifical Intelligence that runs the SkyRyders Corps.

Upon seeing her arrival, MAC upgrades Alisha’s test. Her flying skills are not just excellent; they exceed what was previously thought possible. MAC classifies her as its top asset and soon she proves her value.

But…the SkyRyders remain a male dominated Corps where Alisha’s sense of right and wrong often clashes with her superiors. How long can a rebellious young woman survive in a regimented Corps?

Excerpt

Alisha pouted and frowned over the list, finally drawing a line after the third item. “Is there a wind tunnel in Fort Capital?”

“A what?”

“A wind tunnel. You know, it’s an arcade ride. You put on this huge suit and pay a hundred dollars to fly about a vertical wind tunnel for a half-hour.”

“I doubt it. Not many kids have a hundred dollars to spend on something you can find by walking outside the mall.”

“It’s different from a horizontal wind. This simulates what you feel when you collapse your catcher mid-air.”

“Terrified?” Logan asked.

“See? That’s what I’m concerned about. To a normal Ryder, collapsing your catcher is the equivalent of death. Yet most of these maneuvers require the flyer to collapse their catcher. And I can tell them how to do it, and we can practice on the ground, but if they freeze in terror during the unfamiliar sensation of air rushing up from the ground, I can’t open their catcher for them.” She met his gaze. “I can’t save them from dying.”

Logan sighed. He refused to accept that, of all the incredible skills she possessed, only three were going to be transferable to other Ryders. “Any idea how much a wind tunnel costs?” He walked over to his computer and started typing a query to MAC.

“Actually, I do know. I was a frequent patron of the one in Flatland. The guy who ran it said I could have bought my own tunnel for the amount I spent at the mall. I knew my parents wouldn’t actually let me have one, but I asked him for the price so I could dream. He said a new tunnel goes for about a million, but you can buy the old ones, without the new security features, for two hundred and fifty thousand. Actually, I prefer the older ones. They have higher speeds.”

Logan almost stopped typing when she told him the cost. He knew the Corps’ budget was painfully tight this year. He’d never get approval, not even for the used version. But given its importance, he typed in the maneuvers Alisha had listed as teachable if she could remove the fear of falling from the equation. He sent it off to MAC. It was all he could do.

LINK

The SkyRyder’s Series, Book 1

Scavenger’s Mission

AMAZON

About the Author

Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.

OTHER BOOKS BY LIZA O’CONNOR

SCIENCE FICTION

The Multiverse Series

Sci-Fi Soap Opera with humor, romance, and science

The Gods of Probabilities

Surviving Outbound

Surviving Terranue

Surviving Sojourn

 

Artificial Intelligence Series

Sci-Fi/Romance

Public Secrets

Birth of Adam

 

The SkyRyders Series

Sci-Fi Romance

Scavenger’s Mission

Scavenger Falters-coming 2017

Scavenger Vanishes-coming 2017

 

A sneak peek at Ella and the Admiral – coming soon

235Here’s a few paragraphs from the current WIP, Ella and the Admiral.

Ella returned to the restaurant’s  reception desk in time to meet the last large group, five men and three women. While his companions chatted, one man approached her. He wore a high-collared jacket, the current fashion for male formal attire, not a uniform, but Ella would have bet a month’s pay this man was military. The way he stood, the air of authority, she supposed.

“Ibbotson,” he said. “Table for eight.”

“Of course, sir. Welcome to the Imperial.” She glanced over her shoulder to where the two attendants waited. “If you’ll come this way.” She hovered while he gathered his party, then led the way to the table. As usual, there was some discussion about where everyone would sit.

“The top end, Admiral,” Ibbotson said, gesturing at a chair.

The man he addressed laughed and shook his head. “It’s your birthday. You can do the honors for a change.”

Ella’s heart thudded. She knew that voice. She knew that man. Maybe not as well as she would have liked. Goran Chandler. She fought the heat coursing up her body. It was all in the past, ancient history. He didn’t even recognize her as the attendant helped him to his seat. Two of the women sat on either side of him, another opposite him. Ibbotson took the end seat, as directed, while the other men claimed the remaining chairs.

Mechanically, Ella introduced their two attendants, the new girl, Sara, and Timon, an older man with years of experience. One last smile. “Enjoy your evening. If there’s anything you need, please don’t hesitate to ask your attendants, or me.”

She walked away, her mind racing. Goran Chandler. Ten years ago he’d been a senior commander, and captain of the frigate Antelope. She had been Lieutenant Bulich then, and he’d kicked her off his ship.