How on Earth Did You Think of That? by Pauline Baird Jones – Guest Post with Excerpt

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A new book in Pauline Baird Jones’ Project Enterprise series will soon be released.  I have to say, of all the books that are being released this summer, this is the one I have most anticipated.  If you too are looking forward to Maestra Rising, read on.  Pauline is visiting today and offers some insight into one of her characters.

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Guest Post
by Pauline Baird Jones

One of the questions I get from readers is how on earth did you think of that? Lol

I also get some looks that (I think) “you don’t look like you wrote that.”

One friend read a book of mine, and told me, “I thought you were nice!”

I told her, “I’m nice because of what I write.” [Slightly wicked grin here.]

My hubs claims I kill him in every book. That is a huge exaggeration. I’m pretty sure I haven’t killed him for at least ten books. Lol

I do find the inside/outside thing interesting on a personal and authorial level. Someone once told me that writers answer—or try to answer—the questions of their lives in their fiction. I didn’t believe this at first. There is nothing obviously like me in any of my stories. My characters are brave and do hard things. I am not brave and do hard things because I don’t have another option and I’m usually crying inside.

But, I have noticed, that in a lot of books, my heroines deal with an issue that I do struggle with: what they appear to be on the outside as opposed to who and how they feel on the inside (as noted above). It’s like an ongoing identity crisis for me and my characters. lol

I think this bubbles up in my fiction (and in my life) because I came of age during a time where women’s roles were going through momentous change (a long time ago!). I grew up in a world with one set of expectations, and came of age with a whole new set of expectations.

And because I am shy, I knew that the person people saw was not who I thought (felt) I was. I find I still struggle with it as I enter these “golden” years. (What??? Who came up with that description for getting old??) It feels like the disconnect between the outward me and the inward me is getting wider—though my comfort level with myself is getting better (or I’m just more resigned. Lol)

So, yeah, identity still comes up in my books. There’s a scene in Maestra Rising where Nivi is dealing with her identity and what it means:

“I don’t know what to do.” Her tone was flat.

He took another step closer. Now just the Urclock separated them. He lifted a hand, resting it on stone that was both warm and cool. No lines of light ran across its surface, as it did when Nivi touched it, but he felt the spark of energy in it, where his hand rested.

Her lips trembled and she shook her head. “I always know what to do, but I don’t.”

Her gaze met his again. “It matters so much and I—”

He stepped around the Urclock and carefully took her hands in his. This time she didn’t flinch. Her back was straight, but she swayed on her feet.

“You are weary,” he said. Moose eased her carefully close. She leaned into him.

“I don’t know what to do,” she repeated, her voice muffled against his chest.

He stroked her hair. “You don’t have to know everything.”

“But I do—I did.” Her body shuddered in a sigh. “I was always afraid this moment would come. That the others—that everyone would know.”

“What would they know?”

“That I didn’t know everything.”

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Despite my issues, and Nivi’s, I had a wonderful time writing this book and I hope that readers will enjoy it, too. Thank you so much for having me visit your blog today, Riley! I always love stopping by and you’ve helped me find so many fun books!

Perilously yours,
Pauline

About from Maestra Rising

She’s a gifted scientist. He’s a robot with a human mind. Can they save a lost ship and find love among the stars?

Nivi awakes from cryosleep plagued by guilt. The scientific genius had hoped her people would avoid war if she went into cold sleep, but she learns her sacrifice was in vain. And now a vicious enemy approaches a stranded Earth spaceship.

Desperate to reactivate the technology she needs for the rescue, Nivi enlists the help of an attractive robot with a human consciousness and wisdom beyond his years…

Moose survived slavery but never forgot the feeling of worthlessness it forced upon him. After living in the body of a robot for years, he sees an opportunity to help the brilliant Nivi if he becomes human once again. In a new body with new dangers, he worries that the genius scientist will never see him as more than the robot he once was.

Outnumbered by a relentless foe, Nivi and Moose attempt to put their desires on hold to ensure humanity’s survival.

With time running out, can they defeat the enemy and enjoy a future filled with love?

Maestra Rising is the eighth novel in the epic Project Enterprise sci-fi romance series. If you like gripping adventures, captivating characters, and emotional out-of-this-world encounters, then you’ll love Pauline Baird Jones’ thrilling saga.

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About the Author

USA Today Bestselling author Pauline Baird Jones never liked reality, so she writes books. She likes to wander among the genres, rampaging like Godzilla, because she does love peril mixed in her romance. Loves chocolate, bacon, flamingoes, and mid-century modern anything.

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Pariah (Donovan, #3) by W. Michael Gear – Review

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About Pariah by W. Michael Gear

The third book in the thrilling Donovan series, a sci-fi action adventure set on a treacherous alien planet where corporate threats and dangerous creatures imperil the lives of the colonists.

Corporate assassin Tamarland Benteen’s last hope is the survey ship Vixen. With a load of scientists aboard under the supervision of Dr. Dortmund Weisbacher, Vixen is tasked with the first comprehensive survey of the newly discovered planet called Donovan. Given that back in Solar System, Boardmember Radcek would have Benteen’s brain dissected, he’s particularly motivated to make his escape.

The transition that should have taken Vixen years is instantaneous. Worse, a space ship is already orbiting Donovan, and, impossibly, human settlements have been established on the planet. For Dortmund Weisbacher, this is a violation of the most basic conservation tenets. Donovan is an ecological disaster.

Down on Donovan, Talina Perez takes refuge in the ruins of Mundo Base with the wild child, Kylee Simonov. But the quetzals are playing their own deadly game: one that forces Talina and Kylee to flee farther into the wilderness. Too bad they’re stuck with Dortmund Weisbacher in the process.

Back in Port Authority, Dan Wirth discovers that he’s not the meanest or deadliest man on the planet. Tamarland Benteen is making his play for control of PA. And in the final struggle, if Benteen can’t have it, he’ll destroy it all.

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Review of Pariah

Pariah is about the intense struggle between humans and all their adversaries – the hazards of space travel, alien flora and fauna, and of course, other humans. The colonization of the planet Donovan (named for the first man that was eaten by a quetzal upon landing) serves as the foundation to the gripping illustration of these human struggles. Spoiler — humanity doesn’t always win.

Throughout the series, there has been a deplorable lack of characters to empathize with. The exceptions for me are Talina and Kylee. Talina has remained the stalwart anti-heroine, but in Pariah, the quetzal TriNA in her system has her having waking dreams that are a danger to those around her. So Talina sets out for Mundo base, and hooks up with Kylee, the only other character that I empathize with. These two make an interesting team, even if they don’t quite mesh. It’s a short-term partnership. But right now, they don’t have any other options. Talina and Kylee share the quetzal connection which also makes them the most interesting characters as they grow into their hybrid status.

Shig and Yvette are not bad characters, but there is not much depth to those characters. Their background and motivation lack details. Shig is an interesting spiritual man and the story could do with a little more Shig. While these two do have critical roles in Pariah, they remain mostly in the background. In the meantime, corporate leader Kalico has grown into the leader we always hoped she could be. Still on the other side of the fence from the original settlers, but finding wisdom in working things out. She may be the one to watch in future installments.

With Pariah, two more fairly despicable characters are added to the mix. Tamarland Benteen, aka, the Scorpion. Killer, plotter, ruthless, truly evil. And Dortmund Weisbacher, the highly-educated biological conservationist with a gigantic ego and absolutely no common sense. These two make the bad guy from books 1 and 2, Dan Wirth, look like a nice guy.

Character-driven, the author has given us an amazing crowd of individuals to focus on in Pariah. But I really needed more of the book to focus on characters I liked. By the time I was done reading Pariah, I was pleased I did not have to put up the reprehensible anymore.

From the first book, this series always reminded me of the SyFy TV show Defiance. Both display a lack of city planning in the scrabbled together buildings, seemingly innocuous leader(s), security with an attitude, cash/trade business, and multiple people playing games for power in a true frontier atmosphere.

Despite the lack of characters to connect with, I still give Pariah a 5-star rating. I realize a lot of people love to hate the bad guys.  And I appreciate the fact that Donovan’s plan for success is constantly being threatened makes the story difficult to put down. Captivating, haunting, breathtaking and imaginative, Pariah is a frontier tale for the SciFi genre.

Through Netgalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Breaking the Dance (A World of Spies Mystery, #2) by Clare O’Donohue – Review

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About Breaking the Dance by Clare O’Donohue

Husband and wife college professors Hollis and Finn Larsson think their days as accidental spies are behind them. But just weeks into a new school year, a mysterious envelope arrives containing two passports. The photos are of Hollis and Finn but the names are Janet and Tim McCabe. Within hours, the couple is forced onto a private plane headed to Argentina with an Interpol mission to find Irish art thief Declan Murphy and a haphazard plan to get home with their lives―and marriage―intact. As clues take them from the mountainous north through the tango halls of Buenos Aires to the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego, they rush to find Declan and escape from the clutches of those who would do them harm.

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Review of Breaking the Dance

Hollis and Finn are quite entertaining as they step into their second round of playing international spies. How they got into this position, I can’t tell you because I have not read Beyond the Pale, book 1 in this series. But, after reading Breaking the Dance, I plan to. Already have it downloaded to my kindle.

I do know that Declan Murphy had something to do with it. Art forger and con man, enigmatic and charming, the reader does not really get to know Declan all that well. There must always be an air of mystery surrounding him. This is sure to make him a favorite character.

I also really like Blue agent Peter Moodley. He is all don’t ask questions, just do what I tell you one moment and the next he is there to save Hollis and Finn from certain harm. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to mess with him, but you do want him on your side. He and Declan have a hate-hate relationship that will evolve into something else in Breaking the Dance. It is quite enjoyable to watch.

But of course, the stars of the book are Hollis and Finn. As a couple, they are adorable and their banter is charming. As spies, they manage quite well, surprisingly. Hollis actually had CIA spy training, but ultimately went for the academic career. So her spy skills are there, just a bit rusty. Hollis is pure academic. For both of them, their intelligence is what allows them to become these accidental spies. They can think on their feet, improvise when needed and fake it when they don’t know what the heck they should know.

In Breaking the Dance, they are presented with a series of cryptic clues. While I thought the clues were a bit contrived to move Hollis and Finn from one scenic South American locale to another, I still enjoyed them. Taking place mostly in Buenos Aires Argentina, the narrative is full of admiration for the city’s architecture, people, food and for the culture in general. I’ve never been there, but I kind of want to visit now.

This contemporary spy story is full of intrigue, humor and romance. Breaking the Dance does stand alone, if you want to start the series here. I plan to catch up with book 1 and continue the series because I can’t resist the mysterious international criminal and the smart academic couple.

Through Netgalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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