Naming romance novel characters: S is for irony

Girls just wanna have fun. Or this author does anyway. There is humor in most of my romances, but I’m writing the Alien Mate series specifically to be funny. The trope –Earth women becoming the ‘mail order’ brides of aliens–is amusing to begin with. So why not just make it more so?

The character names reflect the humor. In the first book, Alien Mate, the heroine is named Starr. I picked her name because the story is a science fiction romance, and what’s more scifi than a star? When Starr gets pregnant, the hero wants to name their baby “Starlet” for little star.

In Alien Attraction, book 2, the heroine is named Sunny Weathers. She’s a reality-TV show star who gets sent to a planet stuck in the middle of an ice age. See the irony? Of course, with that name, she has mishaps with inclement weather on Dakon.

Sunny’s sister is Stormy Weathers. A secondary character in Alien Attraction, she’s the heroine of book 3, Alien Intention, which I’m writing now. Also ironic, Sunny has a tempestuous personality while Stormy is the calm, easy-going one.

Three books into the series,  I have Starr, Sunny, and Stormy. Conventional advice says authors should avoid giving characters names beginning with the same letter to avoid confusing readers. But these names are so perfect for the story, and now that I have three S names, I’m kind of on a roll. I’m trusting my readers will fall in love with the characters and be able to keep them separate.

I don’t know what the heroine of book 4 will be named, but she’s going to have an S name, too.

* * * *

Alien Mate is available now. Alien Attraction can be preordered for the May 15 release, and Alien Intention will be released this summer.

 

 

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The winner of the $20 gift card in the Alien Attraction Celebrity Name drawing is….

Selected by random drawing, the winner of the Alien Attraction Celebrity Name Game contest is Brandi! She had met Al Pacino and Sofia Loren.

Thank you everyone who played along and shared the names of celebrities you’ve met in real life. I loved reading the stories about the encounters occurred. There was quite an amazing list of famous people: actors, musicians, athletes, big name authors, politicians, even presidents of the United States!

If you’d like to read who people had met, click here.

My next prize drawing will be the regular monthly Freebie Friday Drawing, April 27. I’ll be giving away another $20 Amazon gift card.

Entering that contest is very simple: just answer a super easy question. Freebie Friday is held on the fourth Friday of every month, and I always announce it in my  reader newsletter, which you can subscribe to here–and get a free cyborg romance, Married to the Cyborg.

Remember: Alien Attraction can be preordered from online booksellers now. It will be released on May 15.

How insane is it to marry an alien as a publicity stunt?

I’m Sunny Weathers. You probably recognize me from my reality show, Sunny Weathers’ Excellent Adventures. I’ve had to perform a lot of crazy stunts in my career, but this one takes the cake! The producers are sending me to another planet to become an alien’s mail-order bride. I’m not allowed to tell anybody it’s a put-on, and as soon my contract is up, I’ll be leaving planet Dakon. Unfortunately, I hadn’t counted on my attraction to Mr. Tall, “Darq,” and Handsome…

I’m Darq. The moment I laid eyes on the female with pretty mud-colored hair and a sunny smile, I knew she was mine. Competition for females is fierce, and I was determined to claim a mate from the latest shipment from Earth, so I broke the rules. If anyone finds out, my own brother will banish me to the icy wilderness, and I’ll lose my mate. I will do anything to keep her…

 

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Have you met somebody famous? Tell me who & enter to win a $20 Amazon card!

What famous person have you met?

Drop a name & enter to win a $20 gift card!

In Alien Attraction, heroine Sunny Weathers is a reality show star. She’s Kardashian-famous. Her producers send her to another planet to become alien’s mail order bride. She’s supposed to keep a low profile and convince people marrying an alien is for real, and not a gimmick for the show, but she gets recognized right away…

“Great meteor fireballs. Sunny Weathers!” a woman squealed.

The winged cambot zipped out of sight as a brunette bounded into the lounge. “It is you, right? Sunny Weathers from Sunny Weathers’ Excellent Adventures? I love your show. I never miss an episode. It’s you, right? Tell me it’s you.”

“It’s me,” I said.

“Really?”

“Really,” I said. “It’s nice to meet you…”

“Gretchen. Gretchen Frankel.” She widened her eyes. “Are you filming now? Is this an episode for the show?” She swept her gaze around the lounge.

I scanned it, too. I had no idea where the cambot had flown off to, but I didn’t doubt it was recording everything. I smiled at Gretchen. “No, marrying an alien is for real.”

She frowned. “But all the shows are real, right? I mean, it’s a reality show.”

The naiveté of the viewing public never ceased to surprise me. The only “real” aspect was that instead of employing professional actors, they filmed “ordinary” people who worked without a written script. That didn’t mean the show wasn’t staged. We were coached. Producers overdramatized small disagreements to make them appear much more serious. Scenes were reshot if there wasn’t enough conflict or angst, comments in confessionals were often taken out of context, and don’t get me started on the frankenbiting.

“I meant I’m on hiatus. I love being on the show, but it doesn’t leave me a lot of time for a love life. I figured this is my best chance for a relationship. I’m doing this for me.” Apogee didn’t want any hint my intentions were disingenuous, so I’d been instructed to say I was between seasons.

“How will it work in the long term? If you’re on Dakon, and your job is back on Earth…” Gretchen was a little sharper than her earlier comment had led me to assume.

Let the producers mull that over. Hey, I didn’t say it—she did.

Alien Attraction blurb

How insane is it to marry an alien as a publicity stunt?

I’m Sunny Weathers. You probably recognize me from my reality show, Sunny Weathers’ Excellent Adventures. I’ve had to perform a lot of crazy stunts in my career, but this one takes the cake! The producers are sending me to another planet to become an alien’s mail-order bride. I’m not allowed to tell anybody it’s a put-on, and as soon my contract is up, I’ll be leaving planet Dakon. Unfortunately, I hadn’t counted on my attraction to Mr. Tall, “Darq,” and Handsome…

I’m Darq. The moment I laid eyes on the female with pretty mud-colored hair and a sunny smile, I knew she was mine. Competition for females is fierce, and I was determined to claim a mate from the latest shipment from Earth, so I broke the rules. If anyone finds out, my own brother will banish me to the icy wilderness, and I’ll lose my mate. I will do anything to keep her…

Release date: May 15. Reserve your copy now. Preorder from your favorite bookseller here.

♥ ♥ ♥

Enter the Alien Attraction Celebrity Name Game!

For a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card, tell me the name of a celebrity or famous person you’ve met. If you haven’t met anybody, you can still enter by telling me who you’d like to meet.

The “famous” person can be an entertainer, a politician, a notable business person, anyone with a recognizable name. For contest purposes, “meet” is defined as someone you have seen in person and actually spoken to. Be sure to leave your email address, either in the sign-in box, or  with your comment. You won’t be added to any list. I just need a way to contact you if you win!

The contest is open until Wednesday, April 18, 6 p.m CST.  The winner will be announced on Thursday, April 19.

BTW, I’ve met Julianne and Derek Hough of Dancing with the Stars.

 

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JC Hay shapes fog into a private writing space #AuthorsInSpace #SFR

By JC Hay

When I moved early this year, one of the things I most looked forward to was an actual office. No more hiding away in the corner and pretending to ignore the spouse watching television. No more being concerned that my keyboard was too loud, or generally being self conscious about working in plain view. And while it took some time to get the room set up to my liking, now that I have it, I love it. It has given me a perfect escape where I can craft gritty cyberpunk romances and sweeping space opera romances in equal measure, typically with a drink close at hand. A space that reflects my own oddity back at me and feels like home.

In perfect view of my monitor, so I can’t miss it, is a print of one of my favorite Carl Sagan quotes. One of my heroes, his quote reminds me that there is nothing more important than love; it gives meaning and reason to the whole universe. Just above it is a gift from my beloved spouse – a caligraphic print of Arwen’s speech to Aragorn (Ae ú-esteliach nad : estelio han ; Estelio ammen “If you trust nothing else, trust this. Trust in us.”)

My reference shelves are in easy reach, and guarded by Tiny Edgar Allen Poe and his ally, Tiny Knithulhu. Knithulhu was a gift from one of my dearest friends, a writer and knitter and oft-times co-conspirator. The fish on the shelf below was a wedding gift from a family friend – it came with the cryptic inscription “We think it’s a planter.” In the years since, we’ve never figured out what role it’s supposed to play, so it’s currently the home for a dapper little mouse I knit last holiday season.

 

And that’s the grand tour – unfortunately, I’m under a tight deadline, so I’m going to have to shoo you out now. The absinthe is louching, and my lovely clicky keyboard wants me to come make noisy music again. Thanks for coming by!

JC Hay Bio

SFR Galaxy Award Winner JC Hay writes romantic science fiction and cyberpunk where the relationships matter as much as the tech. After all, the coolest gadgets in the world are useless without someone to share them.

In addition to Romance Writers of America, he is also a proud member of the SFR Brigade (for Science Fiction Romance), the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Romance chapter, and RWA’s Published Author Network.

Newsletter Sign-Up (get a free copy of Hearts and Minds!)Website| Amazon author page

| Follow JC on BookBub | Like JC’s Facebook author page

Dubai Double Cross

Elise is looking for an exit. Too many years as a top-talent thief in the digital shadows have whittled away her patience and her humanity. She’s not looking for complications, but with one more job, she’ll finally have enough money to leave the life for good.

Na’im does what he must to survive. Whether it’s selling his body to the corporate glitterati, or going on the run when things get bad – but even a survivor can be caught off guard, and his boss’s murder has left him with no one to trust but a thief with her own agenda.

Together, they’re on the run trying to figure out who framed them both and stay one step ahead of the murderer who’s close behind. Trust is a rare commodity for accidental lovers, but in a dark future where everything can be upgraded and emotions can be programmed, sometimes all that can keep you human is your heart.

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“No one expects you to hook up with an alien for life. After a year—”

“Oh, so I get to come back?” I said drily.

Chantelle missed the sarcasm. “Of course. No one expects you to hook up with an alien for life. After a year—”

“A year?”

“The time will go fast.”

“For you,” I snapped.

“After a year, you’ll come home, and I’ll renegotiate your contract with Apogee Productions. The ratings will have gone supernova, you’ll be a big star, and I’ll get you a more lucrative contract.” My agent’s eyes lit up with dollar signs.

My career might pan out the way Chantelle envisioned, but I wasn’t interested. The last time I’d gotten a free lunch, I was in the second grade, and some kid gave me the bologna sandwich he didn’t want. I would pay for any salary increase by having to perform more outlandish stunts, and I shuddered to contemplate what could be worse than hooking up with an extraterrestrial. When my contract expired, this trained monkey planned to run away from the circus. I’d had enough “excellent adventures” to last me a lifetime. I was outta here. Sayonara. Adios amigos.

Coming May 15! Reserve your copy of Alien Attraction now. Preorder at these booksellers: Amazon, BN, Kobo, iBooks, GooglePlay. 

Alien Attraction is a standalone read in the Alien Mate series. Check out the first book, Alien Mate.

 

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Author Cailin Briste uses her office for writing and jewelry making #AuthorsInSpace #SFR

By Cailin Briste

I am messy. There’s just no getting around it. I actually cleaned up for the photos that accompany this article. My desk reflects my creative process. It’s actually a two-person desk created by my husband from Ikea parts so that we could sit side by side. That changed when he decided to buy a projector TV to use as his computer screen. He lounges on the bed with his laptop, watching men shooting guns and retrofitting their RVs.

Never leave a space empty near me. I will ooze into it until it is completely covered with my stuff. In this case my jewelry making supplies, which take up more than half of my total desk. (I should note this is my working area. I have bins full of neatly stored beads and findings.) The author portion of my desk is confined to some shelf space for my Chicago Manual of Style and other useful books plus my gigantic touch screen computer. I have Fuchs Dystrophy, so that 27-inch screen comes in handy in the morning, my preferred writing time, when my eyes are too foggy to see clearly. Even then I keep my Word view at 125%.

When my eyes clear and I’ve written my word count for the day, I play with ideas for what to make with the beads to the right of my computer. Currently there are four strands laying out, some gorgeous citrine rondelles, keshi pearls, hessonite garnet, and egg shell chalcedony. The pearls will be earrings. Then it’s time for author business, working on promos, creating covers or ads for my books, Facebooking, and whatever else is on my to do list.

If you eliminated the jewelry mess, I could get by with a much smaller desk. That’s what the future holds. We’re taking early retirement and buying a fifth wheel to live in full time, touring the country, visiting friends, and keeping up with our far-flung family. I figure there are two good incentives not to make a mess of our RV. Every part of the vehicle will be used for something, so I won’t be able to repurpose it for my own clutter. And I won’t be able to leave things lying around, because when we drive off everything will go sliding onto the floor. That’s my theory. We’ll see how it turns out.

Cailin Briste Bio:

Cailin Briste writes science fiction suspense romance. Her first series is set in the Tallavan sector of the Federation where the men of Tallav are the marshals that provide protection and justice to the planets in this far off the beaten path are of space. While fighting crime, they also must come to terms with matriarchal system of their home planet, Tallav. Tricky because each is heavily involved in the BDSM lifestyle. Book one is her Dom, book two is her male submissive, and book three due out in July 2018 is her sadist.

Her second series, A Thief in Love Suspense Romance series, began with a cat burglar who puts together a team to steal priceless art and antiquities from other thieves. Sebastian is a Robin Hood character whose Maid Marion is his equal on the rooftops of their futuristic city. The second in the series is the love story of two others on his team, Cade and Bassinae. Once again the team are breaking into someone’s home to take back something that rightfully belongs to someone else, but this time they are also trying to stop a murder.

More books in each series are coming as is a new series about a pair of dragon shifters hatched from the same egg and the man they love, bounty hunter Brody Simmons.

Website | Blog | Street Team| Twitter| Facebook| Google+| Pinterest|

Goodreads | BookBub| Amazon author page| Newsletter

How to Steal the Pharaoh’s Jewels blurb

Cade’s fantasy is to seduce his best friend if he isn’t murdered first.

His comfortable routine as a member of Sebastian St. Croix’s cat burglar team is shattered the day he’s pinned in a crushed car. In a moment of clarity, before everything goes dark, he realizes he’s in love with his best friend, a woman who has sworn off intimate relationships for life.

It’s taken Bassinae years to overcome a past filled with physical abuse and embrace the truth that she is a powerful, capable woman in her own right. Tamping down a case of nerves, she’s ready to take on a larger role as a thief in Sebastian’s next caper. If only Cade would stop acting like a lovelorn idiot. She needs her best friend’s support to help steal the Pharaoh’s jewels.

Set in the distant future, this sci-fi suspense romance has action and adventure as well as a sizzling romance.

Release date: April 23

Universal Buy and Pre-order Link: https://books2read.com/pharaohs-jewels

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Reality show star reportedly to marry an extraterrestrial…

Sunny Weathers, star of the hit reality show, “Sunny Weathers’ Excellent Adventures” announced today she will travel to planet Dakon to become an alien’s mate.

“It is absolutely not a publicity stunt,” Weathers said. “I’m doing this to find true love. Who wouldn’t want to ‘marry’ a tall, dark alien with horns?”

Weathers will be among the second group of women to travel across the galaxy to planet Dakon through the Terra-Dakon Goodwill Exchange Program, in which Earth receives Illuvian ore for females. After it was discovered last year that Earth’s government was exiling female felons to Dakon, the “Rocks for Brides” program was temporarily halted.

Since the program was reinstated last month, women have been clamoring to sign up, and there is now a waiting list.

“This is the chance of a lifetime,” said Weathers who was twice nominated for a ‘Nettie Award for her stunts in the reality show. “I’m a little nervous that Dakon is suffering from an ice age after it was hit by an asteroid, but I plan on taking lots of warm clothes with me. Besides,” she said, with a wink, “I’ll have a hot alien to keep me warm.”

Weathers’ experience on Dakon will air on her show, “Sunny Weathers’ Excellent Adventures.” Broadcast dates are TBD. Also, USA Today Bestselling Author Cara Bristol will chronicle the adventure in her latest book, Alien Attraction to be released May 15. Readers can reserve their copy now. Preorder is available on all vendor sites.

* * *

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

B & N | iTunes | GooglePlay | Kobo

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Preorder Abaddon Rising by P.L. Parker, Star Brides series

By P.L. Parker

 Abaddon Rising, the third novel in my Star Brides Series, is now available for pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. Release date is April 20, 2018. The Chalice and Breeder Slave are now available at reduced prices.  If you like sci-fi romances, this series might be the one for you and it’s a good time to get your copies.

Blurb

One of a million statistics in the intergalactic war, Jocelyn St. Germaine is captured, sold as a slave and then forced to fight in the Deg’Nara gladiator games.  She’s slated to lose when Kanaan, the most feared warrior of all, claims her as his own. With his help, Joss’s chances of survival increase, but is it enough?

Kanaan filled his lungs and roared, head thrown back as he issued the challenge. “She belongs to me! I claim her!”

From behind him, he caught the female’s startled gasp.

Excerpt

Kanaan perched on a high ledge watching the drama below. The female crouched against the slave gate glaring at the horde of leering male slaves as they crept forward. She wouldn’t last the night. None of the females did in here. She’d be torn limb from limb but not before she was forced to endure the bestial attentions of the dominant members of the pens. Too bad really! He admired the female. She was feisty, skilled, a born killer, but a female all the same.

He found it odd that her handler put her in here. She’d proven herself with every match, winning each round and advancing up the ladder. Usually an asset was treated with a little more respect, especially a female no less who’d won every bout. The crowds seemed to side with her during combat and he knew for a fact she’d made Master Luidoc’s pockets a little heavier. Didn’t make any sense that she’d be thrown in here!

He scrubbed a hand across his jaw considering. The female interested him for more than just her fighting skills. She was different, her species unknown to him. In many ways she reminded him of the Arkogian females. The body type was similar and they were known for jutting mammary glands but her delicate build and graceful movements decried that lineage. Arkogians were block-shaped and coarse, even more so than Deg’Nara females. Perhaps she’s a hybrid! Lot of us around these days, he admitted ruefully.

She’d drawn his attention from the first time he’d seen her fight in the pits. Slender and elegant, she looked more dancer than warrior. She was controlled, seeming bored even but that façade swiftly melted away when her opponent entered the ring. The only time he witnessed her control slip was when the female, Anashe he remembered, fell.

A few more paces and the mob would be on her and then it would be over. He drew a deep breath and exhaled. He stood up, gauging the distance to the ground and then dropped landing in front of the female.

He was within inches of the frontrunners of the mob, so close he could taste their reek. He spat, clearing his mouth of the vile aroma.

“Back off,” he growled, snapping his teeth. “Or it’ll be the last step you’ll ever take!”

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Can we know the unknowable? A skeptic ponders #psychic possibilities

For lack of anything better on TV, I caught a few episodes of “Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry”  (psychic to stars). If you can believe what’s purported on the show, Tyler goes in “cold,” not knowing who he will be seeing, and gives a reading. In one episode I watched, he supposedly had never heard of the celebrity (many are reality show stars).

The viewer doesn’t know what’s been edited, what the celebrity may told him, or what prompting producers may have given, or if Tyler himself does any advance research on the individual, but the details he comes up with are interesting. It’s like a magic show. You know it’s not real, but you’re fascinated.

Watching the show got me thinking about ESP.

I’m a skeptic. I put ESP in the same category as astrology. Fun to play with, but don’t put any stock in it (or buy any stock based on it. Lol).

One factor contributing to my skepticism is the lack of names that psychics offer. It’s always, “I’m getting an H,” not “Your uncle Harry wants you to know…” Or “I’m sensing a mother figure,” rather than “Your mom, Mildred, is here.” There’s no commitment on the psychic’s part until the person confirms the information. If your dead relative can give the medium  one letter, why can’t he/she spell out the rest of his/her name? Especially if it’s something like Bob.

I’m familiar with make-believe. I’m a science fiction romance writer. My job is to make stuff up! If I do my job well, I can make readers fall in love with a figment of my imagination. I know how to spin a believable lie.

But I’m also slightly skeptical of my skepticism.

I don’t believe in psychics, but a part of me still wonders if ESP might be possible. It’s like aliens. We have not yet discovered alien life. As we know it now, they don’t exist. But what if? What if in a galaxy far far away, they do? Frankly, we don’t know.

What if some people can know the unknowable?

I’ve had a few interesting encounters with psychics over the years.

Many years ago I was approached by a psychic who wanted me to ghostwrite a book. To convince me of her credibility, she gave me a reading. She said some general feel-good things—“your husband loves you a lot”— some interesting things –“You live in big white house. “ Yeah, we did. Lucky guess?—and one thing that turned out to be (in)credible.

I hadn’t asked her anything about my health, it wasn’t even on my radar screen, but she said, “You have stomach troubles.”  No, no I don’t, I replied.

About a year later I underwent major stomach surgery for a blockage.

Many, many years ago while working as a newspaper lifestyle staff writer, I was writing an article about the secrets people tell their hairdressers. In interviewing one particular hairdresser, she mentioned in passing that she was psychic and knew things about people.

Of course, I had to ask, what do you know about me? She replied I would meet a man (my Mr. Right) but I would need to develop more confidence first. Well, duh. That’s a pretty safe prediction to make for a twenty-something woman who isn’t wearing a wedding ring. However, she also said meeting him would have something to do with the number 6.

Fast forward a couple of years, and I met my husband. I’d forgotten what the psychic hairdresser had said until sometime later it hit me that we had started dating after I asked him to my 10th high school reunion, which had been on….August 6.

Another more general encounter raised the what if question again. A friend and I had gone on vacation to Sedona, Arizona. For fun, we decided to take in a psychic reading. My questions were very specific: will we sell our house, will we sell our boat, will my writing career be successful (I was just starting to write romance). Catherine’s questions were more about her future in general, and I don’t even remember exactly what they were. What I do remember is the dynamic of the reading. With me, the psychic was cordial and professional. But with Catherine, I sensed the psychic felt an emotional connection. She seemed genuinely to care about Catherine. I could tell the two of them connected on a more personal level.

Two years after the reading, Catherine died suddenly of cancer at only 54 years old.

Of course, what is most likely is that Catherine and the psychic just had chemistry. Their personalities clicked. But in the back of my mind, I’ve sometimes wondered…what if the psychic had sensed Catherine’s impending death?

I myself have had a few oddly intuitive moments. Once I was driving on a Los Angeles freeway and spotted a car in my rear view mirror. It was coming up behind me, and I could only see the front. Immediately, I got a mental picture of snowfall. The thought, “they’re skiers” popped into my head.

The car passed me, and on the back were ski racks, which hadn’t been visible from the front.

I also got a feeling of desolation or sadness from the vehicle like something bad had happened, but of course, there’s no way of knowing if that part was true or not.

Is it possible to know the unknowable? What if there is sort of energy linking us that some people can tap into?

What do you think? Do you believe in psychics? Has your intuition ever kicked in an uncanny way? Ever had a reading that was dead on?

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Author Brooke Hodge finds productivity in finishing her own writing space

By Brooke Hodge

I have been writing for the better part of my life. I started in my cousin’s bedroom because he was the first person I knew to get a computer and that’s where it was. I’ve since upgraded to my own bedroom, where I would write from my antique upholstered chair on an IKEA laptop desk, to my very own office. The Hubs and I love to scour Craigslist for deals and steals and I honestly can’t think of one piece of furniture in this room that was bought new.

We drove all the way up to Washington D.C. from our home in Durham, N.C. for that gorgeous armoire and the mahogany desk (and for those Hunger Games fans, I may or may not have screamed “THAT IS MAHOGANY” when we got back in the truck). It’s taken me years to get a proper office that isn’t packed full of junk that I was too lazy to unpack from one of our nearly-yearly moves (ha), but now that I have one, I’ll never go back.

For me, setting aside a dedicated space just for my writing has been the biggest reason that I was able to finish my first book. I’ve tried many times in the past, but I was never able to quite finish. I’ve been working on this one for a year now (I’m also a full time student and full time mom, so it takes me a while anyway), but I saw the greatest productivity after fixing my office. It’s somewhere that I can hide from the drama of my three daughters, close the door, and dedicate myself to my fantasy worlds. It’s also a place that shows just how serious I am about this. It’s not just a hobby anymore, this is a serious endeavor. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to find a house that had room for my writing as well as a family that knew how important it was to me to have that personal space. It’s really made a world of difference. I just need to find some inspirational artwork for the walls and it will be perfect.

My favorite parts of my office are my giant map and my fuzzy rug. The map was “acquired” from my school, along with four others. A professor in the Geography Department was renovating their office and had set all five by the elevator doors. After some digging, I found out they were free for the taking and somehow managed to get them all the way across campus and into my husband’s Explorer (which was a feat in and of itself considering there were also children in it at the time). The rug is actually just two yards of fabric I’d bought from Joann for a bean bag project that I never finished (sensing a trend in me yet? I’m an Aires – sue me) and then stuffed in my closet. I highly recommend this! It’s so much cheaper than a rug and if it gets messed up, I don’t feel as bad getting rid of it. When I’m stressed or running low on inspiration, I just roll around on it for a minute with my cat, Chester (pictured). I would add the chair and ottoman to the list of “My Favorite Things”, but it’s proper name is “The Place Where Productivity Goes to Die” because as soon as you settle into its microfiber plushness, you aren’t getting anything done but a nap! Of course, naps have their place and I’m happy to take them any opportunity I get.

Thanks for taking a look at my office. Hopefully it’ll give you some inspiration to find space in your own home. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be inspiring. The adorable kitty (or dog) is just an added bonus.

About Brooke Hodge

 Brooke is a full time student, full time mom to three precocious little girls, wife, and wrangler of a senior terrier and two [mostly sane] cats. By day she studies rocks and volcanoes on Earth, by night she enjoys more hobbies than any one person should ever be involved with. Her mind, like her mouth, never stops. She draws on her many experiences as a firefighter, a rescue diver, forensic scientist, and (almost) geologist to create witty and dynamic female protagonists who are strong in mind and body and know they don’t have to act like a man or an emotionless fruit fly to be that way, unless they want to. She loves studying planetary science, quantum physics, and what makes people fall in love…and then writing about all of that.

 How to find Brooke

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The Darkness Within Us, Book One

Normal is not a word Anais would use to describe her life. Destined to take over her father’s company and dealing with strange new abilities that no one can know about, her world is spiraling out of her control.

 Kaiyn is the enigmatic commander of an army of warriors bred for battle in an ancient war. Kaiyn needs Anais, but the secrets he’s keeping could destroy them both. As he prepares her for a war she never knew about, they both develop feelings neither of them expected. But…

In the coldness of space, love is a liability.

The war between two ancient species is about to spill over into colonized space and both need her to secure their victory. One wants her heart and the other wants her soul. Whichever is claimed, the other will break. When the lies and manipulations become too much for her to handle, will she rise above the pressure or become something even more terrifying than the creatures they’re fighting?

Watch for The Darkness Within Us this summer!

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