Tag Archives: sci/fi

The aliens are coming!

I’ve mentioned Staci Troilo before in my blogs.  She has a great webpage and offers generous writing advice and links on it once a week.  She’s also a great writer.  And, under the pen name D. L. Cross, she recently came out with a new book, which I’ve read, and am SO happy to share with you.  I really enjoyed it!  And yes, it’s about aliens invading Earth, but has so much more–legends and history and ancient artifacts all woven into a mesmerizing, exciting story.

Staci Troilo's blog tour--cover-TheGate-2-bluegreen

 

Staci Troilo's blog tour--TheGate-teaser-5-macabre

Excerpt:

Landon had already been perspiring from the exertion of digging, but now flop sweat dripped down his face and stung his eyes. He’d never faced a weapon in his life before today. Now he’d been confronted by guns twice in the same night.

It wasn’t an experience he cared to repeat. Presuming he got through this instance safely. Something told him guns for hire operated under the “dead men tell no tales” maxim.

Despite his fear, though, his fingers went rigid. He doubted he could release the disc if he wanted to. And he most certainly didn’t want to. The artifact glinted in the moonlight. And the red laser dots aimed at his chest added a warm ambient glow to the gold he clutched tight to his abdomen.

Beautiful, in a macabre kind of way.

“I won’t ask again.” The man’s voice was muffled as he spoke through his mask, the sound lending to the sinister and lethal vibe of his group.

“Professor,” Billy said, “give him the disc.”

Landon shook his head, his fingers still locked.

“Professor?” The mercenary cocked his head to the side and stepped closer to study Landon’s face. He was now within arm’s length. Not that Landon would even consider striking such a man. “Thorne? Landon Thorne?”

Well, that couldn’t be good. “You know me?”

A few of the commandos laughed. The man in charge clapped him on the back. “Damn, son. You just made my job a hell of a lot easier. You’re comin’ with us.”

Dev stepped forward. “You can have the disc, but he stays with us.”

The merc turned his head. “You’re in no position to make demands.”

It happened too fast for Landon to react. In hindsight, he might convince himself he saw it coming, but he couldn’t even be sure he could lie to himself so convincingly. One second, five armed men were holding up his group, then the next second, his four companions had guns drawn. It was a Mexican standoff, pressure mounting, and he had a feeling the event that would break the tension would be something in him breaking — most likely his skin, followed by bones and vital organs as a bullet or ten sliced through him.

He finally unfroze and raised his hands in the air. “Easy now. Everyone, just take a breath. I’m sure we can come to some kind of arrangement that satisfies all parties.”

“I’ve got an arrangement for you.” Nadia adjusted her grip and made a show of training her weapon on the merc in charge. “We keep the professor and the disc, and you guys leave without us blowing holes through you.”

Instead of getting angry, the guy laughed. “Funny, darlin’. I was gonna say the same thing to you.” He didn’t even bother turning his gun from Landon to her. One of his men already had her covered.

 

Blurb:

He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

Universal Purchase Link | More Information | Invasion Universe Newsletter

 

Bio:

D.L. Cross has loved science fiction ever since she was a young girl and fell for Major Don West on television’s Lost in Space. To this day, she still quotes the show, though her favorite lines were spoken by the robot and the antagonist. Parallel universes or alternate realities, aliens or dinosaurs, superpowers or super viruses, time travel or AI… no sci-fi theme is off limits and all of them fascinate her. D.L. Cross also writes other genre fiction under the name Staci Troilo, and you can find more information about all her identities and all her work at her website: https://stacitroilo.com.

Thanks for inviting me here today. I’m excited to share an excerpt from The Gate, Book 1 of the Astral Conspiracy series in the Invasion Universe.

Staci Troilo Color Photo RT smaller

 

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Genre Fine Tuning

Someone recently asked me, “What are the variations of genres?”  We were talking fiction.  Still, I had to stop to think.  I could list the basics:  romance, mystery, fantasy, horror, and sci/fi.  Book stores separate those out for you.  I had to think harder to come up with children’s, erotica, historical fiction, literary fiction, young adult, women’s fiction, and westerns.  But these terms are so broad, there are lots of smaller, specialty niches within each.  I don’t pretend to know what all of these niches are.  I usually wander up and down shelves to find them, but book covers give you a clue.    Cozy novels have cozy covers.  Noir tends to go dark.  But there are finer intricacies to look for.  You’d have to study particular markets to get those right.  But it’s worth making the effort to know what the subgenres are in your favorite.

Certain expectations go along with each genre.  Readers expect particular ingredients to be in each mix.  If you write a romance, you have to deliver a boy meets girl, things get bumpy, boy almost loses girl, and then boy wins girl type of plot.  Harlequin does a great job at this, and it’s no easy thing.    I went to a workshop with Shirley Jump, and she creates character wheels for her heroes and heroines so that their needs and wants bump against each other in the storyline, increasing tension, before attraction finally pulls them together.  But Harlequins are only one type of romance.  There are plenty more.

If you promise a paranormal romance, you’d be wise to have something paranormal in your story, along with one heck of a romance plot.  I read Katie MacAlister’s Zen and the Art of Vampires, and she mixed a regular, mortal heroine (a little on the overweight side) with a hot, sexy vampire, and tossed in a dash of humor.   Readers get exactly what they’re looking for–a taste of the unordinary in our ordinary world, mixed with a steamy love/hate relationship that veers toward disaster before romance conquers all.

A friend of mine is working on a historical, Christian romance, so I read A Hope Undaunted, by Julie Lessman–one of her favorite authors–to see what the ingredients are for that type of novel.  Set at the end of the 1920’s, the book captures the flavor and feel of the era.  The heroine wants to be liberated and to have an important career, but then the Depression wipes out her hopes for an expensive education, and she meets a lawyer who cares little for money, but is determined to rescue as many street orphans as he can.  Faith plays a big part in each of the character’s lives.   The time period influences culture and attitudes.  Both elements are necessary for this type of novel.

I could  go on, but suffice it to say that there are many different types of romance–contemporary, Western, Gothic, Regency, historical, the old “bodice rippers,” etc.   The thing is, there are plenty of subgenres for every genre, and for readers to find what they like in a book, that’s a good thing.

I love Georgette Heyer.   I love Touch Not the Cat, by Mary Stewart.   But their moods and tones aren’t the same.  When I want to read a Regency, I want dukes and ladies, not Gothic atmosphere.  That’s where knowing what type of novel you like and where to find it helps.  That’s the purpose of genres and subgenres.  I might grump about them sometimes and long for more crossover books, but the truth is, genres serve a purpose.  And when I pick up a book and think it’s one thing…but it’s not…I’m not happy.  Along with good writing, I want books to deliver the elements I’m in the mood for.