Jacqueline Lichtenberg – An Enduring Author

JLGood morning, Blog Buds.  This week’s Enduring Author was the person who flipped the lightbulb on for me, back when I had no idea how to sort the piles of images crammed in my imagination into stories other human beings could understand and enjoy.  Besides her massive backlist and huge amount of writing resources, Jacqueline Lichtenberg also pointed me to Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder.  This is a book on screenwriting, but it transformed my writing by teaching me how to structure a story.  I don’t come by that naturally.  I still have to work very hard and deliberately.

Search Jacqueline’s name at Goodreads and you get 53 hits, no kidding.   https://www.goodreads.com/search?page=1&q=jacqueline+lichtenberg&tab=books

Check out Blake Snyder’s website and you’ll find that I’m not the only author who’s found help there.  http://www.savethecat.com/

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Pop over to Jacqueline’s website and the Sime-Gen website and find a huge amount of writing resources or directions to writing resources.  It boggles the mind.

http://www.simegen.com/jl/

http://jacquelinelichtenberg.com/

Jacqueline goes way back.  In fact, she goes all the way back to original Star Trek fandom.

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And she contributed to Trekkies 2.  I love those babies.  Aren’t they cute?

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Guess that makes Jacqueline Lichtenberg the most enduring of my Enduring Authors.  So, I asked her what she’s been up to lately and she offered a guest post on the headaches of writing a concordance.  Wow!  Gold mine.  Here it is-

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How Do You Know If You Are A Writer? by Jacqueline Lichteberg

Before you even start writing fiction, maybe at age 5 or 6, those who will write for publication are generally thinking differently from others.

Writer-types are jacks-of-all-trades and masters of none other than storytelling.  Non-fiction writers who are successful at it (even writing physics textbooks) are storytellers.  Even journalists who take enormous care not to allow their opinions to show, just recounting the facts of what happened, are telling a story.

A “story” has a lot of moving parts, but it does have parts and they come in a sequence.

We live in a linear-time universe – it is one of the few things we have in common.

So, things happen one after the other, though sometimes the motive or reasons (or excuses) for something that was done in January actually exist only in March.  We, as humans, “time-bind” or learn from our mistakes and act to cause things to happen later.

That trait gave rise to agriculture (plant now; reap later), animal husbandry, and building sturdy shelter for the winter that isn’t here yet.

So when a writer arranges facts into a sequence for someone else to read in sequence, the writer is “telling a story” by selecting specific things to mention before other things.

Writing is linear.  But the truth is, we live in a multi-dimensional world of past, present, future, imagined future, desired future, etc.  We make it up as we go along.

But we also absorb much lateral information about every moment. Meet someone, and notice their eye-color before finding out their name.  Use one form of address, discover that’s wrong, try another form.  We modulate our voices to suit a situation, “he said, gravely” or “he shouted.”

Or he has a bass voice that projects to the back of the auditorium without a microphone.

She refuses to wear yellow.  He always dresses in black. Even as a kid, he wouldn’t be caught dead in a skirt.

A good writer discovers or invents these details on the fly while pushing the narrative line forward, chasing the plot and dragging the story behind.

The problem is, writers forget what we’ve established when it is a detail grabbed off the mental shelf to support the mood of a scene or flesh out a character.

20 novels later, we can’t remember if this character ever met that character and if so what form of address did this character use to that character (and was that a protocol error?)

That is actually a real life example.  On her blog, C. J. Cherryh is doing what I do — and what my mentors did — asking the FANS if this character “ever” met that character.

Thing is, the writer would remember clearly if there was a large, pivotal, plot-critical scene between those characters, but not necessarily remember a bit of throw-away dialogue or unspoken thought about some prior meeting.

If the two went to school together, were on rival sports teams, or perhaps read articles about each other but never spoke on the phone, the writer might use such a tidbit to flesh out the dynamics of a crucial scene, but 15 years later, having never mentioned it again in print, would honestly not know if that half-sentence tidbit remained through all the rewrites and edits.

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Those who have only read the cold printed pages would remember such a detail because that detail made it through editorial to carry a certain implication.

The author, however, knows the initial story idea, the imagined story after outlining, and all the different versions as the outline morphs.  The author knows what she wrote, but not what got cut or moved or morphed from “met in rival sports teams” to “never met face to face.”

So what is the writer of a long running, successful series like C.J. Cherryh’s FOREIGNER series to do?  Ask the fans!  And she’s by far and away not the first.  As a fan, I was asked by writers for details like that, and as a writer, I ask my fans.

Rewriting, re-arranging the story we originally come up with, is one of the signature mind-functions of writers, even baby writers just learning to babble and scribble.

We modify, rewrite, carve and polish our reality constantly.

So what happens when a writer has produced a series that has been contributed to by other writers (as my Sime~Gen Series has)?  The originator may have done a semi-final edit on everything that went into print — but not the final-final as required by the editor.

14 books down the line, how could you possibly remember every detail of every character, and who knows whom, and who calls who what, and what year on the invented calender this or that one was born?

And then what happens when a film or game company comes along and offers a contract to make NEW entertainment items set in your series, involving the descendents of the characters you wrote about — characters who made history and whose lives are an open book in the historical timeline?

In TV Series writing, the reference book for all these details is called a “bible” (which word merely means library).

In novel writing, the reference that presents all these unremembered but crucial details is called a Concordance.

Usually, people first encounter that word, Concordance, when studying Shakespeare or other ancient playwrights.

In the 1970’s, we saw the advent of the Star Trek Concordance which went several editions and was finally published professionally and updated and morphed into a very slick compendium.

Years ago, a series of fans waded in and tried to create a Sime~Gen Concordance — one write an entire book, another created a shoebox full of index cards, and others tried other methods.

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Today, with Sime~Gen under contract to become a videogame all about the space war humanity gets sucked into when venturing into interstellar space, where the extant novels are all laid out in History books, in song and legend, and vastly distorted in memory as politics shifts, we have yet another attempt by fans to create a Sime~Gen Concordance.

This monster incorporates previous attempts and adds the new material (the problem being we keep writing novels), and exists for reference on a wiki.

http://simegen.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

Currently, two of the three professional novelists writing the series are collaborating with two fans to transform the wiki into a printable book.

As the original creator, I have supplied the project with my original notes on characters — but I’m not a great note-taker and there could be contradictions between notes I made and what appeared in print.  So we are going by what made it into print.

I wrote the first two novels in the Sime~Gen Series, House of Zeor, and Unto Zeor, Forever (on typewriter), and then Jean Lorrah (a fan who happened to be an English Professor and a professional writer) joined me, and wrote First Channel.  Yes, of course I edited, rewrote, and we brainstormed and created scenes together, but she wrote the novel.

I wrote more by myself, she wrote some by herself, and we collaborated on others — sometimes my name comes first because I first-drafted, and sometimes her name comes first because she first drafted, but in the end we both wrote all the words.

That does not mean we exactly remember every detail.

This year, a third professional writer, Mary Lou Mendum, has joined the ranks of professional creators of Sime~Gen by turning a series of tales she did for the Sime~Gen fanzines into professional novels.

Fan fiction is for fans – people who read and paid attention to the novels that have been published  The fanfic writer can just assume readers know everything.

We have more words of fanfic posted online (all as well written as any professional novel, just leaving out much background the reader is expected to know).

http://www.simegen.com/sgfandom/

For professional fiction, explanations are necessary, but exposition is forbidden.  Also a novel has to carry the history forward, and show how the story inside the characters inflicted their ideas and shortcomings upon the historical record.

Mary Lou Mendum has a Ph.D. in plant biology, and has contributed the species of the plant much-mentioned in all the novels, Trin, from which a tea is made.  And the trilogy (already sold to the publisher) delineates how the battery technology (that eventually powers space flight) was first developed.  It is organic using organic compounds instead of copper wire and other metals and minerals.

The first of her trilogy came out in February 2017 in almost all formats:

The cover art was done by a fan of Mary Lou’s fan fiction about these same characters.  Mary Lou’s name is first in the list of authors because she first-drafted it, then I edited it, then Jean Lorrah did a polish draft rearranging the sequence of information.

These novels have not been broken down into facts for inclusion in the Sime~Gen Concordance yet.  There will have to be more volumes.

So how do you know if you’re a writer?

If you invent things that grab other people by the imagination and make them invent things — you are a writer.

As is often said of Leaders — a Leader is not someone who gathers Followers, but rather is someone who fosters more Leaders.

Likewise a writer whose work will endure is a writer who touches off explosive creativity in other writers who go on to write more.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg
http://jacquelinelichtenberg.com

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Thanks, Jacqueline!  SimeGen a videogame, very cool.  One thing I learned at Enduring Romance is that the best authors always keep learning and growing and going and doing.  😉

Laurie A. Green – An Enduring Author

Farewell_Andromeda-Final-200x300Okay, now it’s Laurie’s turn.  Sorry about the mix-up last week.

http://www.laurieagreen.com/category/books/

Laurie’s been a busy girl the last few years.  Here’s what she sent me-

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Hi! Thanks for the opportunity to catch up from days of yore on CritiqueCircle. Let me start by backtracking about six years.   https://www.critiquecircle.com/default.asp

In 2011 and 2012, I was a three-time finalist in the RWA Golden Heart© Awards for three different unpublished science fiction romance novels. Since then, my first novel, (originally titled P2PC) was published as Inherit the Stars in 2015.

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Inherit the Stars won the 2016 Carolyn Readers Choice Award and was named by LibraryJournal.com as one of the Best Books of 2015 in E-Originals.

But my novel wasn’t actually my first published work. That was a novelette, Farewell Andromeda, a romance between a female deep space charter pilot and a famous astronomer (…or is he)? It’s currently available at no cost via InstaFreebie as a special bonus for my newsletter subscribers, so I’ll extend that invitation to your readers, too. Here’s the link:  https://www.instafreebie.com/free/k6LUH

Last year, I was invited to take part in a themed science fiction romance collection called Pets in Space. You got it, the central theme of each story in the collection had something to do with a pet. My story, StarDog, took place in the same universe as my previous books. In fact, it’s set just six months before the beginning of Inherit the Stars and that allowed me to explore the Inherited Stars Universe at a time when tensions were just starting to come to a head between the Ithian Alliance and the rest of the known galaxy.

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I was thrilled when LibraryJournal.com also chose Pets in Space as one of the Best Books of 2016 in E-Originals Fiction. In addition, it won two SFR Galaxy Awards. Sadly, Pets in Space went off sale at the end of April and it’s no longer available. But…

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This year, I’ll be releasing Courting Disaster: StarDog2 which will be part of the second Pets in Space collection titled Embrace the Romance. This new story will be a sequel to both StarDog and Inherit the Stars, and involves another high stakes adventure and conflicted romance in the aftermath of the history-altering event known as Operation Reset. It features two of the minor characters from the novel who were always destined to end up in an adventure of their own. Here’s a teaser:

Captain Navene Jagger, commander of a mysterious, derelict starship, must pretend to be married to Ketsia Tayah, the woman he is escorting through a dangerous section of space. As he deals with threats that might get them both killed, he’s unaware of the power of the StarDog at her side.

Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 will be out this October.

In the midst of all this, I also retired from my day job after twenty-one years as a military budget director, so being an author is my career now and I have a lot more time to devote to it. I plan to release many more titles in the years to come.

Thanks for allowing me to check in with news about all my authorly doings!

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You’re welcome, Laurie.  Thanks for catching me up!

Heather Massey – An Enduring Author

***This post was originally about Laurie A. Green, another Enduring Author, but I realized I mixed her information with Heather’s.  Sorry!  It’s fixed now.***

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I encountered Heather in cyberspace a long time ago, can’t even remember when.  I think it was at Critique Circle.   If you’re an aspiring author,

https://www.critiquecircle.com/default.asp

is a great place to start.  I still have online friends I made there and I think all of them are published in some way now.

So, I contacted Heather to see how things are going for her these days.  Here’s what she said:   “I’ve been kind of quiet online lately because of Real Life Stuff, but I’m still blogging occasionally and I had a book out recently from Red Sage (The Inventor’s Wife). And I’m working on a big ass steampunk romance. So that’s my life right now in a nutshell lol!”

http://www.heathermassey.com/

I’ve thought about subbing to Red Sage, but I suspect they may be too erotic for the kind of stories I write.  Mine don’t get any more graphic than Harlequin’s Special Edition line.  Red Sage has been around for a long time, so way to go, Heather!

http://www.eredsage.com/

Lisa Shearin, An Enduring Author

lisa-headshotGood morning!  I reviewed Lisa’s debut novel, Magic Lost Trouble Found, many moons ago.  We even threw her a Cyber-Launch Book Party, which was something we blogging book nerds did before you could pay a professional to do it for you.  Shows you how long we’ve been around, huh?

 

 

Lisa’s still going strong and book number NINE in that series, Ruins and Revenge, is out May 2nd.  That’s Tuesday, so you’d better pop over and pre-order it now.   http://www.lisashearin.com/

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I emailed Lisa to catch me up on her glorious career and this is what she wrote back:

Lisa said, “It’s so great to hear from you! : )

Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond, but I have a new book coming out a week from today, and I’m a wee bit swamped.
It’s Ruins & Revenge, the *ninth* (can you believe it?) book in the Raine Benares series. The tenth, if you count the Wild Card novella. Who would’ve thought there were so many Raine stories in me — with still more to come? I’m starting the next (fifth) SPI Files book (the sixth if you count the Lucky Charms novella). It’ll be called The Myth Manifestation and I hope to have it out this fall. After that, I’m going to start a third series. It’ll be a paranormal thriller, and I’m really looking forward to digging into that one. After that, I’ll go back to Raine & Company, with a book from Raine’s POV (my most recent two “Raine” books –Treasure & Treason and Ruins & Revenge have been from Tam’s POV. And coming soon in the Raine Benares series will be a book from Phaelan’s POV. That promises to be a lot of fun to write.
Last March, I was able to finally quit my day job at the advertising agency to write full time. I’m now writing three books a year. It’s a ton of work, but let’s face it, I’m living the dream. : ) “
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I’ve reread Lisa’s first book several times and have given away copies of it, because I knew the people wouldn’t want to return them anyway.  Here’s my original review:
MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND by Lisa Shearin
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*For a more thorough review, please check out my Blog Buddy Tia’s blog http://fantasydebut.blogspot.com/ My review we’ll probably be more commentary. You all probably realize I’m an amateur who doesn’t follow a standard procedure anyway.*

Before I launch into my complaints about the Fantasy genre, I would you to know this is a good book that I liked.
For greater discussion of the ins and outs of the Fantasy genre, check out my other Blog Buddies’ blog http://toasted-scimitar.blogspot.com/

I don’t read much Fantasy for two reasons. One, most of them are Tolkien knock-offs. Two, most of them center so much on the magic that the humanity of the characters is lost. As a reader (and a writer), the Intimate Adventure is the most important factor to me in every story. Other readers have other priorities, but that’s mine. Pop over to http://www.simegen.com/jl/intimateadventure.html In a nutshell, the Intimate Adventure is the emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and psychological experience of the protagonist, how she matures, how she comes to the point in which she’s prepared to deal with the conflict and overcome.

If I had sped-red MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND, I would have missed the Intimate Adventure and probably would have tossed the book by the end of the first chapter. It’s not portrayed as strongly as I prefer. However, Lisa’s voice is so fresh and real and the heroine, Raine, is so multi-dimensional, empathetic, and appealing that I was absorbed right into the story anyway. By the end of the third chapter, I was seeing the Intimate Adventure and I was a happy reader as a result.

MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND is unusual in that it’s told in First Person Point of View and the voice telling it sounds contemporary. If not for the amulet and goblins, I’d think Raine was a rogue agent on the backstreets of Chicago dealing with the Mob. That may put off some die-hard Fantasy readers, but I think if they stick it out they’ll be hooked. I think Lisa Shearin is very lucky to have had industry professionals supportive of her original way of telling this story because I think she’ll hook new readers who wouldn’t normally read Fantasy, as a result.

There is a lot of magic shooting back and forth, but it doesn’t overwhelm the characters. Raine is beautifully flawed and holds her own against the magic element.

There’s not a Hobbit to be found anywhere in this book. In fact, if LORD OF THE RINGS had the goblins from MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND, I think Lady Arwen would have thought twice about sticking with Aragorn. The goblins in this Fantasy novel are sexy, but still very scary. Arwen was smart. She would have seen through that. And so does Raine, of course. I love gorgeous villains. They make life so much more complicated for the Heroine!

On the outset of this story, you’ll wonder if there is any virtue at all in the heroes. They live in a city which positively reeks of greed. But, then, you’ll notice that Raine gets in trouble because she cares about Quentin and deeper into trouble because cares about other people too. This is virtue at its most basic, but if you told Raine that she’d probably laugh you off.

The story goes that she’s trying to help these friends out and ends up with the amulet which won’t let her take it off. All the baddies in the city find out and start hunting her down. Like I said, for a more thorough review of the details, pop over to Tia’s blog.

Linnea Sinclair recommended this book to me just when I finally got Zombie doo-doo cleaned out of my ears from reviewing her forthcoming novel, DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES. (sigh) Now I have goblin goo freeze-dried in my hair. Thanks a lot, Linnea!
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Learn more about Lisa Shearin, MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND, and Lisa’s other stuff at http://www.lisashearin.com/

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Ah, the memories. 🙂  Here’s a link to the original post on Enduring Romance-   http://enduringromance.blogspot.com/2007/06/magic-lost-trouble-found-by-lisa.html

Michelle Willingham, An Enduring Author

101959508I’ve read and reviewed several of Michelle’s books.  I can’t find a complete review of my favorite, Taming Her Irish Warrior, so I’ll be posting a different one.  http://www.michellewillingham.com/book/taming-her-irish-warrior/

The thing that got me most about this particularly story was how it was marketed.  The title, the cover art, the blurb, everything about the marketing is typical Harlequin Historical Romance.  But, it is not a typical Harlequin Historical Romance novel, in my opinion.  Sorry.  It’s just not.  This baby would stand against any of the glossy hardback regular Historical Fiction in its accuracy, vividness, and believability.  The Hero is blond and she doesn’t actually tame him.  That title just not make sense.  Both the hero and heroine are living, breathing creatures, not stock models.  The image also doesn’t make sense after reading the story.  Yes, of course, they make love, but the image doesn’t reflect how they go about it, the challenges they each face because of previous trauma.  Now, I realize the marketing is geared to the brand and because that’s what the readerships is used to.  I get that.  But, in this case, I believe this novel could have brought in a lot of *new* readers with a few minor polishes.

Anyway…

Michelle has an extensive backlist and she’s still going strong.  She’s done some Indie Pub too, which featured some great Time Travel.  I love me some Time Travel, you know.

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I messaged Michelle on Twitter and this is what she said:

“My new releases for this year include “A Dance with the Devil” which just released last month, and Forbidden Night with the Warrior, which comes out July 1st. I’m looking forward to this new medieval series that was inspired by “Indecent Proposal.”

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As for valuable insights regarding writing craft:

My advice is to write every day, when at all possible. It helps to keep your head in the story. I will often put down the skeleton of a story, and if I get stuck, I’ll go back and flesh out a scene. It usually will help me to find any problems in the story and pull it back on course, if it’s gone off the tracks. But most of all, write for yourself. Entertain yourself with something you enjoy reading, and the writing will take care of itself. :)”

Thanks, Michelle!

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I was pregnant with my last child when I read and wrote the following review.  That child is now big enough to steal my shoes and walk out the door in them.

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HER WARRIOR SLAVE by Michelle Willingham

*It’s not your imagination. I really am reading more Romance genre novels these days. All those mushy pregnancy hormones, you know, and I gotta have a Happily Ever After. I weep over dog food commericals, okay? So, if you’re an author or an author associate with a Romance novel which needs reviewing, I’m your girl, the Blogging Book Reviewer Now On Semi-Bedrest! Any mushy Romance novel will do, the mushier the better. Not interested in Heroines who don’t absolutely adore babies and small fluffy animals. eBooks are happily accepted.*
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Okay, on with the review.
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HER WARRIOR SLAVE is a good one for you if graphic descriptions of naked body parts trip your personal ‘ick’ factor, but you never met a chocolate you didn’t like. The romantic tension is good and then they’re all over each other like a bad rash.
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Iseult is a passionate lass who previously didn’t have a lot of sound judgment in a place and during a time when such treats were not well tolerated. She got knocked up and then her lover left her for the monastary, of all things. As you might expect, that didn’t exactly make her feel good about herself. So, she had a baby out of wedlock and her family figured her marriage prospects were pretty much shot. Since women didn’t have many career prospects back then, her life was a bust. But, it got worse. Someone kidnapped her baby. So, while Iseult is distraught and desperately searching for her baby, a chief’s son falls madly in love with her and presents her with an option too good to be true. Marriage to wealth and privilage. Her family’s thrilled for her, of course, and his mother not so much, but she agrees to it even though she doesn’t love him because, well, what else is she gonna do? Meanwhile, she keeps searching for her baby.
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Then, one day her husband-to-be buys a beaten up slave whose sense of dignity isn’t exactly typical of his supposed class. When it’s discovered Kieran’s a talented wood carver, the husband-to-be orders him to carve a likeness of Iseult. He obeys. Stupid husband-to-be. You know, some guys really need to learn not to take their women for granted.
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Eventually, Kieran learns of Iseult’s desperate search for her son and their romance builds as they come to know each other as human beings and man and woman, rather than mistress and slave. Soon, he becomes driven to find her baby, which, of course, would make any mommy swoon. I call it Excellent Dad Potential and if you want to be a mommy don’t marry a guy who doesn’t got it. Needless to say, they can’t live without each other after that.
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If you want to see the original, click here-   http://enduringromance.blogspot.com/2009/04/her-warrior-slave-by-michelle.html

 

Susan Grant, An Enduring Author

cover-contactI went searching for one of my old reviews of a favorite book by Susan Grant.  The oldest one I could find was Contact.  I know there’s an older one, but I think it got lost when I changed blogs.  In any case, I posted the review of Contact in July of 2007!

That’s ten years!

My last child hadn’t even been born yet and now she’s big enough to steal my shoes and walk out the door in them.

So, I emailed my favorited authors from my book review blog and Susan was the first to respond.  The best thing I learned from communicating with those authors through that blog is that the best ones constantly work at getting even better.  Check out Susan’s massive backlist-   http://www.susangrant.com/books/     And she created it while also flying as a commercial airline pilot and raising two kids.  Awesome.

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I found several of the authors have gone Indie and Susan is one of them.  Hey, they already know the ropes and have a bunch of readers who love their books!  I’m looking forward to reading their stories totally their way.

Pop over to Susan’s site to learn more about this Enduring Author.  Did you know she graduated the Air Force Academy and trained pilots to fly fighter jets?

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Did you know her Indie Pub, The Champion of Baresh, is a Finalist for the Romance Writer of America’s Rita Award?  Well, go see, but first I asked Susan a couple of questions of my own and here they are with her answers.

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Me:   Do you have any New Releases out now or coming out this year?

Susan:   I will have one novel and one novella in the Star Series world. I hope to have more, but those are on the schedule. No release date for the novel but I’m writing it now, and the novella is part of a special project I’ll announce in my May newsletter. An October 2017 release. I’m feeling I want to stretch my wings, writing-wise, so I may write a surprise story next. We’ll see.

Me:   What have you been up to lately?  Any valuable new insight into the writing craft or authorly business you can share?<<
Susan:   I am working the day job while trying to write as fast and as well as I can. Loving the indie author life where I can call the shots. I recently did both a podcast and a video interview with Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula, and i have the link on my writing blog. It will catch you up with where I’m at…as of January.
So glad you got in touch. OK, back to writing!
–Susan
And now I will share with you my 2007 review of Contact by Susan Grant, which won the Rita Award in 2003.  I’m using the new cover.  You can see the old one by clicking on the link below the review and going to the original post on Enduring Romance.
Besides great storytelling, Susan was the first Romance Genre author I’d encountered who wrote strong heroines *who were also mommies!*  I have always resented the implication that mommies can’t kick butt, because I’m a mommy and I know the maternal instinct is one of the most powerful forces in the galaxy.  It was such a delight to find Susan’s stories.
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BONUS:    From Susan:  I don’t know if you realize, but when I rewrote/revised my books upon getting my rights back, for Contact I put in a reunion scene between Boo and Jordan. It was always a missing piece of the puzzle. ❤
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Now, enter my Time Traveling machine and read on.
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CONTACT by Susan Grant, a book review from July 2007
HOW TO LOSE AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL IN 10 DAYS is new on the bookshelves today, Blog Buddies. Since Lady Bronco reviewed the ARC on June 9th, I’m reviewing an older release, CONTACT, to celebrate this momentous occasion.

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For me, the beauty of CONTACT is that it showcases all of Susan Grant’s strengths as a writer and it plays to what I like in a story too. It starts out behind the eyes of Jordan, a First Officer on a red-eyed flight from Honolulu to San Francisco. I know a little about this because I’m married to an airline pilot myself. Of course, my husband never tells me the scary stuff. He only tells me the funny stuff like having to chase bald eagles off the runway with the jet. Don’t worry – no eagles were hurt. We love our eagles. That’s why they’re as plentiful as pigeons here in Alaska. Oh, sorry, I’m digressing.

Susan expertly weaves Jordan’s thoughts of her daughter in and out of what she’s actually doing in the cockpit. This is very real. I used to be a nanny. I was trained to know this. Let me tell ya, there’s nothing sweeter than a high-powered attorney going all gushy over the phone with her baby! “Oh, my baby! Oh, baby!” Jordan is blessed with an excellent caregiver for her daughter – her own mother – and that enables her to stay focused on the job. This leads to another real-feeling aspect. The daughter senses things about her mother. Babies and young children are so in tune with their mothers that they do pick up on things. Experts say it’s a leftover biological function from the womb when Baby heard Mother’s every heartbeat, but I’ve seen it go beyond that. Human beings are spiritual beings, regardless of religious affiliation. Leave that dimension out of a story and you’re only meeting part of your reader’s needs.

So, the story kicks off with the Intimate Adventure of Jordan, airline pilot and single mom. What happens next would have really freaked me out a year ago, but I think I’m finally toughening up a bit. (Shh! Don’t tell my husband I said that or he’ll laugh his head off!) The plane gets hijacked, in a manner of speaking, and of course that’s what Jordan and everybody else on board thinks. The captain has a heart attack and croaks. Now, this part I love too – Jordan has to take over. I looove heroes or heroines who are a bit unsure of themselves, going along minding their own business, and BOOM! They get shot out of a cannon and have to deal or die.

The airplane actually gets picked up by a spaceship and taken right in whole. The command crew thinks they’re rescuing the humans. The humans think they’ve been abducted by Darth Vader. Jordan extends an inflatable escape slide from the aircraft and knocks the hero right on his butt. Oh, I loved that part! Shoom! Wham! I throw my head back and laugh haughtily into the rafters.

Of course, Jordan and company can’t stay on the aircraft long. Things are getting pretty stinky. Kao (the hero) tries diplomacy, but when that takes longer than expected his trigger-happy subordinate sedates all the humans. Jordan wakes up first and she’s not at all happy. A couple men die and all the pregnant moms miscarry because of the sedation. And she gets the news about Earth being destroyed.

No survivors. That includes her daughter.

Not exactly the best way for a guy to impress a girl he likes. But, Kao knows the pain of loss and he knows what it means to sacrifice self for a loved one. He’s real and worthy.

You’ll have to read the book if you want to know more. 😉 Before you do, you must swear the Enduring Romance oath first because this is an older release. Raise your right hand and repeat after me- “I (insert name here) do solemnly swear to always buy my favorite authors’ books new.” Congratulations! You’re now a member of the tribe.

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Here’s the link to the original book review on Enduring Romance-   http://enduringromance.blogspot.com/2007/07/contact-by-susan-grant.html

Enduring Authors

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If you scroll down, you’ll see have changed the posting schedule.  This Friday will be my first Interview & Review feature for my favorite authors from my old book review blog, Enduring Romance.   http://enduringromance.blogspot.com/

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Susan Grant will be my first Enduring Author.   http://www.susangrant.com/

April 13th, good morning add:

Michelle Willingham just responded and will be our Enduring Author next week!

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Thanks, Michelle!  http://www.michellewillingham.com/