Monday, 28 May 2012

Why I love writing in my genre

My novella, Unsecure Connection, is a cyberpunk romance, but to me that falls under the broader umbrella of sci fi. The funny thing about me and sci fi is I love more science fiction TV shows, movies, and video games than I do books. And yet when I sit down to write, I gravitate toward stuff that takes place on spaceships and grungy space stations (or grungy future cities). I like to think I’m writing the books I want to read—but haven’t found yet.

I blame this partially on the sausagefest that appears in a lot of science fiction books. I tend to get bored when a book doesn’t have female characters. Or worse than bored, I get mad and start to rant about how stupid it is. Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series was my first exposure to science fiction… I think. I can’t remember. Before that, I was more into fantasy. But like Kaylee says in Firefly, I can’t help it—I like ships. I like the idea that there are other worlds out there, and people cris-crossing space between them. And I love that I’ve recently discovered more romantic science fiction, as well as a greater variety of SF written by female authors.

Another reason I like writing science fiction is I seem to gravitate toward “outlaw” characters. I guess this is Han Solo’s fault for being so awesome. But I think it’s a lot easier to suspend your disbelief about a character being likeable while living a life of crime when they’re living in an unfamiliar world or fighting an evil empire. In Unsecure Connection, my female character Riley makes her living doing some pretty illegal stuff, but she lives in a future where corporations basically control everything. If you write a smuggler, hacker, or thief in the here and now, I think there’s more of a tendency for the reader to think he or she is kind of a dick.

I’m going to finish this up by sharing my Top 5 Sci Fi Universes (in no particular order):

1)      Star Wars

2)      Battlestar Galactica

3)      Mass Effect (video game series)

4)      Firefly

5)      Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax series

6)      And for a bonus, because I figured I should throw in some cyberpunk, my favourite cyberpunk is by Richard K Morgan, starting with the book Altered Carbon

Riley is one of the best hackers around. She’s always kept her online identity separate from her real life… mostly because she doesn’t have much of a real life. But someone is stalking her through the network. Someone who knows about the big job she just pulled off and won’t stop till he finds out who she is.

Two years ago, CJ was a hacker at the top of his game, until he got caught. Now the prisoner of a ruthless corporation, he is forced to hunt down his former friends and colleagues. He finds himself irresistibly drawn to the woman he knows only by her alias, Samantha, as he traces her from virtual nightclubs to the dark streets of the Manhattan sprawl.

But when Riley and CJ’s relationship crosses over into real life, things get dangerous.
But he couldn’t see her again. That would be a mistake.
Mistake. He snorted. He’d already made his mistake when he went after her in real life. Should’ve turned her in, like the others. Shouldn’t have taken it into his own hands. Then he wouldn’t have had to look her in the eye. You could do all sorts of things to people you never saw, he’d learned. It was just simpler that way.
CJ realized he’d been subconsciously rubbing the skin of his right forearm. He glanced down at it and swore.

Confiscated. That was how they said it, casually, like they were the principal taking a dirty magazine you’d stashed in your locker, instead of a bunch of men in white smocks ripping things out of your flesh in a waking nightmare. But they’d left him a gift.
He fingered his arm, tracing the tiny bump of the microchip that floated right under the skin. It was a tracker. So they knew where he was.
They always knew where he was.
He’d tested it. Of course, that was the first thing he’d done, when they “released” him. (It was like confiscated—another word they liked to use with the meaning twisted.) They’d left no guards outside the apartment they set him up in, put no locks on the doors. So CJ took off. As he skimmed the shadowed alleys through the dilapidated buildings, he wanted to laugh. It was this easy? And yet something seemed unbelievable about it, so he stayed wary. He kept his senses alert and glanced over his shoulder as often as he could without being too obvious about it. He doubted his old apartment was still vacant after all this time. No doubt, he thought bitterly, SpectreTek had confiscated all his equipment, too. It was just as well—scavengers would certainly have gotten it.
They caught up with him a few blocks later, pulling up in an unmarked hovercar.
The next day, testing a theory, he tried again. This time he went in the opposite direction. And he timed himself. About twenty minutes later, he heard the whine of engines behind him.
After six days of this, they finally sent one of their exasperated suits to meet with him. The implant, they explained, tracked his movements. He was allowed to go wherever he wanted, within a one kilometer radius of his apartment. “And don’t even think about having it removed,” the man said, a self-righteous gleam in his eye. “It has a defense mechanism. If any instruments touch it directly, or if it is exposed to the air in any way, it will emit certain toxins. You’ll be dead within minutes, or if not dead, very ill. So you see, when we said we owned your life, it wasn’t a figure of speech, Mr. Benson.”

Okay, so seeing her again was out of the question. Just being in the same room with her would be putting her into danger. He’d told her he was letting her go, and he’d done it. That should be enough to assuage any guilt he felt about tracking down his former colleagues. You saved one, a barely audible voice in his head nagged him. One. And you handed over thirty-six. You’re a real hero.
Alanna Blackett writes science fiction and fantasy with a side dish of romance. Growing up, it annoyed her that she always had to be Princess Leia when they played Star Wars, because there weren’t any other female characters. She would much rather have been Han Solo or Indiana Jones. She immediately set out to fix that through her writing. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and two cats, and has a weakness for video games, NBA basketball, and books about chicks who blow stuff up.
Twitter: @AlannaBlackett
Comment on the blog to be in with a chance of winning a copy of Unsecure Connection

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Jessica Subject Blog Tour


Jessica Subject started writing to encourage her daughter to read. Now she writes to keep herself grounded. Although she reads many genres, she enjoys writing Science Fiction Romance the most and believes everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after. She lives Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids and loves to hear from anyone who has enjoyed her stories.

Hi there Jessica E. Subject. It’s great to see you here.
Thank you for having me! J
 Can you briefly tell us about the relationship between the central characters in your latest release?
When Xia and Aris first meet, they know they shouldn’t have feelings for each other. Aris comes from Tyto of the Petrogeous Galaxy where relationships are strained at best with Earth. Although Xia lives on Elatia, she cannot hide her Terran ancestry. They grow close as they spend time together, but worry whether their relationship can survive away from Elatia.
What qualities do you most admire about the heroine in your book?
Xia thinks everything through, not only how decisions will affect herself, but others as well. Sometimes this is detrimental to her own state of mind, but she truly cares for those in her life.
Which of your characters from this release, would you most like to invite to dinner, and why? What food would you cook for them? And what setting would you choose for the meal?
I’d have to say Kalara and Jacobus. In their profession, it is unusual for them to have the relationship they do. We could pick up some food from the street vendors of Havmiola, the capital city of Elatia, and have a picnic in one of the parks.
 What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?
Well, I went to university for Business Administration, but…I really don’t know. I was still trying to figure that out when I started writing.

 If you were to do your career as an author again, what would you do differently, and why?
There are some small decisions I might have changed along the way, but nothing major. All of the people I’ve met along the way have helped me with my journey, teaching me, and guiding me on the right path.
Favourite word? But
Favourite food? Pasta
Favourite animal? Tiger
Favourite TV show? Castle
Snow or sun? The sun, except when it’s really hot. Then I wish for winter.
Slippers or socks? Both. The only time I go barefoot is when it’s really hot. Otherwise, I wear both.
Flats or heels? Flats
Walk or drive? Depends on the situation. If it’s simply for leisure, I’d rather walk. I hated country drives when I was a kid.

Thank you, Jessica.
Thanks again!

An Unexpected Return Blurb

Looking to experience all the universe has to offer, Prince Aristides escapes from the kingdom of Tyto and travels through space to the Emerald Planet, Elatia. He yearns to partake in the activities the planet is famous for, and fulfill all his sexual desires, but loses his heart and soul to an Adamos apprentice. Unfortunately, she is Terran, and her people are sworn enemies of those from Tyto. If he can convince Xia to give up her dreams of becoming an Adamos, and travel back to Tyto with him, will his parents accept her, or condemn them both?

Abandoned as a toddler on Elatia, and raised by Kalara, an Adamos specializing in erotic massage, Xia decides to follow in her footsteps. But she remains conflicted as to whether she wants to service clients for the rest of her life, or settle down and raise a family. When she meets Aris, he turns the tables on her, and brings her as much pleasure as she gives him.

Will they have their chance to be together, or will their families tear them away from any chance of young love?

For more information, please visit:

*Please note, this excerpt has been edited to make it suitable for all audiences.

Taking a deep breath, [Xia] left the house then headed back into the city.

Where am I going to go? The hotel? Perhaps there would be a place for her to lie down. It wasn’t as if she had any friends who would put her up for a few days. No, they all had other people depending on them and no room for her. She only had Kalara and Jacobus to rely on. It was no wonder she secretly wanted more.

Walking into the silky rear-end of an oroke, she came to an abrupt halt. The creature had been walking at a steady pace and then stopped. She’d failed to notice in time. Wiping fluff off her face, she turned around and walked into another hard body. “I’m so sorry.”

Hands clamped down on her arms. “Are you all right?”

She stared up into deep brown eyes. Chewing her bottom lip, she nodded. If this man hadn’t been holding on to her, she would have fallen to the ground. The word swoon held no meaning for her until now.

Am I only like this because of the eletin I inhaled back home? Or was there something more she found heart-racing about the blue-skinned, well-muscled hunk of an Otarian who held her up?

No, she couldn’t feel anything for him. Their races had been sworn enemies for years. Everyone across the galaxy knew that. Yet here she was, standing face to face, gazing intently at him, with no will to move.

He smiled at her, drawing her attention from his eyes to his lips. How would they taste? She’d never kissed anyone before.

“What’s your name?”

Name? Gods, what was her name? “Zee…Xia.” Had she told him, or only thought the word?

He released her arms to brush his fingers along her jaw line. How she remained standing, she had no idea.

“Xia. A beautiful name belonging to a beautiful woman.”

Her cheeks warmed. “Thank you.”

She sighed as he trailed a hand down her arm. Her entire body tingled from his gentle touch.

“You’re welcome. Now tell me, why were you in such a rush that you walked into the rear end of that slow-moving beast? We’re supposed to be on vacation, enjoying all this planet has to offer.”

Laughing at his description of the oroke, she leaned against his arm. Never before had she enjoyed a man’s attention like this. “I’m not visiting. I live here. Have my whole life.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Really? So, what was it like growing up on the pleasure planet?”

“I…I don’t know. Normal?” She couldn’t think clearly around him. Her tongue felt numb in her mouth.

His smile traveled all the way up to his eyes. He leaned closer and rested his hand on her hip. “Then perhaps you could be my personal tour guide,” he whispered in her ear.

“I can’t. I have other plans.”

He drew back and frowned, but she could still see the glimmer in his eyes.

“I’m jealous of whoever you’re going to be spending your time with.”

She giggled at him. “I’m just going to sleep. It’s been a long day, and I’m afraid I wouldn’t be good company.”

Losing the fake expression, he smiled again. “Tomorrow then? I’d really like to see you again.”