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Happy New Year!

I hope you had a safe and happy start to the New Year!

What will 2014 look like for me?

I am hoping to write and publish more books this year than I did in 2013. I have finished DbD and am hoping to send it to my editor in the next couple of weeks. I have the outline for fourth and final book in the Celestial Surrender series and am planning 2 more books in my steampunk world.

I am going to visit a friend in St. Croix…at least I hope I will. It all depends on the timely arrival of my passport;). I am very much looking forward to sunshine and being at the beach, especially now that Toronto has temperatures of -20C (-4F). Her house is directly on the water. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the passport arrives in time.

I am also planning to attend the Romantic Times convention in May in New Orleans. I have never been before, but it looks like a lot of fun. I’ve been to New Orleans before and I have a few days before the convention starts to do sightseeing. Bring on the beignets;).

In between all that I am looking forward to hanging out with my friends, seeing movies like this (sooo excited!),

spend time with my cat and read 125 books. I discovered today that Laurell K. Hamilton has a new Meredith Gentry book coming in June, A Shiver of Light. It’s been years since a book in that series and I cannot wait.

What about you? Have you got any plans for 2014?

Tina Christopher

Writer of Sexy Steampunk and Sensuous Sci-Fi available at Ellora’s Cave and Amazon.

A Little 1960’s Love


shutterstock_43873468I’m feeling very warm and fuzzy over this week’s MANhandler photos. Such lovely, lovely arms…and we all know how I feel about arms.

This is, by far, the post that has pushed me farthest from my comfort zone. I’m not a sci-fi reader, so when I had to come up with my favorite droid I’d like to have stop by for a day, I’m ashamed only one thing came to mind: the Jettsons. I know, it’s a little off the wall, but when I think of what I would most want, all I can think of is Rosie. (Sorry, Bumblebee and Optimus Prime — I suck.)

It always fascinated me to see the way we “would” live in the future. As a kid, I was pretty sure Hanna-Barbera was right on the money. Surely there would be boxes in the wall that spit out your favorite foods and we’d get around in funny cars that both hovered, rolled and flew. We’d all have giant dogs that could almost talk and hopping around space would be no more difficult than slapping a goldfish bowl on your head. But most of all, we’d have Rosie.
The Jetsons

Long before the sensual romance covers and my discovery of supremely spicy romance, the idea I could have a robot to do all my chores absolutely set my little heart aflutter. Just thinking about having someone come in and keep my house neat as a pin makes me lightheaded. I could lounge around like Jane and have a perfect figure and perfect hair and zero responsibility. Sure, she was a little saucy, but that was part of her charm. She might mouth off, but she still zoomed around the house getting everything done while Jane lazed the day away.

Imagine my horror when I got married and didn’t get a Rosie as a wedding gift. There were bitter tears, people. Bitter. Tears.

As fiercely sexy as Bumblebee is (shout out to my love of all things Transformers), Rosie is the one who makes me yearn for crazy technological advancements. Forget the flying cars. I want clean socks.

I. Love. Robots.

Lost in Space Jonathan Harris & Robot 1967
My love of robots and other mechanical people started young–very young–with the TV show Lost in Space.  Admitting that dates me, but I remember running around the block, waving my arms and screaming “Danger, Danger Will Robinson,” because “the Robot” (sort of like “the Doctor”, okay its a stretch) was, and remains, my favorite character from the show.  The Robot signified, at least to me, how to befriend someone very different, the increasing importance of mechanical devices in our life and the need to think deeply about that, and the assumption that mechanical devices are are friends–usually.
Gort
The next set of robots that clanked into my life exacerbated my fangirl leaning toward mechanical characters.  I discovered old movies and from those classics, Robby the Robot (Forbidden Planet) and Gort (The Day the Earth Stood Still) stood out. Like the Robot, both remained subject to humanoid direction, but both were mechanical beings in places where machines or humanoid mechanical creations were not all good.

The machine became the answer to the machine. 

This theme now permeates culture.  And what a key questions we struggle with now are: “Where are the lines, specifically how much do machines serves us and at what point do we go to far? At what point, does sentience come into play?

Forbiddenplanetposter
Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, Philip K. Dick’s Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep (aka Blade Runner) take on these themes and remain relevant reads and films trying to answer these questions, as do many others.  Answers are not easy and they are getting more complex.

On TV, enter Data on Star Trek TNG, a fully mechanical being, who seems to have a soul, pitted against the Borg, an integration of machine and biological matter, which does not while connected to the hive mind.  Now that we’ve hit the 21st century struggle, the question of what it means to be human when we rely increasingly on machines, which are getting smarter, faster, cheaper, is starting to loom large?

And what threats do they present? Terminator took that question head on as does Transformers. In both, we see machine vs machine as a core underlying message.

Bumblebee

Now, as we move firmly into the digital age, with an increasing reliance on bytes and metal, these questions are even more pressing. I still love robots, but will they love us?  What do you think?  (spooky music plays in the background).

Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine in romance fiction. Meet Jocelyn, a single mom who gets a second chance at love in her newest book Next Move available from Ellora’s Cave and Amazon.

Muppet-flailing, Fangirling and Restraining Orders

Alright, my fellow MANhandlers. I searched through many files to bring you this week’s delightful pic. Too delish.

This blog cycle, we’re talking about the author we’ve always wanted to be. This is a hard one for me because there are a so many authors I I seriously admire. Picking one would be like trying to pick my favorite MANhandler pic. Can’t I just love them all? Okay, okay. Let me think…

It’s no secret that I love Diana Gabaldon with a crazy passion that probably alarmed her a little the first time I met her. I’m 6’1″ and a naturally exuberant person. She’s probably 5’3″ and incredibly soft-spoken and even a bit reserved. It’s impossible to be as tall as I am and not feel like I’m looming over such petite people. And then, when the conference coordinators have her seated to meet her fans, I have to either bend over to shake her hand or kneel in front of her. Of course I knelt. What did security think would happen? Yeesh. Anyway, Diana’s literary voice is rich and varied, and I’ve coveted the almost melodic “sound” of her storytelling since I read the first page of Outlander. I’d love to create the passion in readers that she’s cultivated over the last twenty years. I’d also like to find myself still writing after that long. Above all, I’d like to look back over the stories that will create my legacy and know I touched readers, gave them respite from the world’s demands if only for a while and helped them fall in love with my characters the way I have.

Another un-secret is my passion for absolutely anything written by Larissa Ione. When we started chatting on social media and privately, there was some very private Muppet-flailing and a few total fangirl moments. When she first emailed me? I may or may not have screamed, depending on your definition of “scream.” She’s been amazing to me, and I want to do the same for other authors who are finding their way through the difficult world of publishing. But back to the point of this paragraph — I’ve found that, the more I write, the harder it is for me to read. I can’t turn off my internal editor. It seems like I’m always rearranging scenes, catching typos, counting the “to be” verbs — all the things we authors aren’t supposed to do if we want to find success. With Larissa’s books, I get sucked into the vibrant world, the relationships, the (hawt) sex, the storylines. I admire her ability to write such clean, crisp stories. Her creativity is off the charts. The way she crafts her worlds and scenes engage every one of the readers senses. That, that, is what I want to look back and know I’ve done.

Finally? I have to be very frank and admit that I want to be me. What I spend my days doing is a total dream come true. There’s no way to describe the feeling of getting that first contract, landing a superstar agent, having your editor call you (insert your definition of “spastic” here), or finding out your book received an awesome review from Romantic Times magazine. All of these things and more have come to mean more to me than I can explain. I love what I do. I’m passionate about it. It’s everything I ever dreamed it would be. It’s also infinitely more difficult, unbelievably frustrating, guaranteed tear-inducing at times and worth every damn minute.

There’s no one author I want to be, but the two listed above are people whose talent, compassion and magic I admire and aspire to. If I could mash their skill together and mix it in a potion, I’d drink it right down. At the very least, I’d end up with a restraining order. At best? I’d be everything I want to be. Instead of scaring these two lovely ladies, I think I’ll just bust my ass and do my best to follow in their footsteps. It might take longer, but it’s the only way I want to get there. Plus I don’t have bail money.  😀

Who are the authors that inspire you? If you could be any author in the world for a day and experience what it’s like to have their skill, who would it be?

Kick ass women, technology and the male anatomy. Don’t you just love scifi, fantasy and PNR?

red sonja book imageMy first novella is paranormal, I have another PNR drafted and my current WIP is science fiction.  Why do I love these genre’s so much?  The easy answer is imagination.  These types of stories let your mind (and body) explore infinite places, experience countless possibilities, meet species whose cultural norms  both tantalize and terrify. In sum, they force us to consider what it means to be human when conditions change, to continuously recognize that there is not just one way to be, to look, to behave, to think, to feel.  Lifting the rules we get stuck in every day to discover who we really is liberating on sum fundamental level of existence.

As a writer and a reader, there are a few other serious perks to hanging out in these genres.

Build new worlds

Creating new species, new planets, and figuring out cultures whole cloth is just plain good fun. It’s like a great big puzzle with no beginning or end. The writer’s job is to define those puzzle edges before the rest of the picture falls into place.  As a reader, I love to see how those new worlds unfold, how authors innovate with humanity, myth and science.

Play  What if

Both these genres allow us ask the what if questions and play with the answers:

  • What if we could shift into another form?
  • What if aliens came to earth?
  • What if we could move through time?

No Limits on the Male Anatomy

Ever notice that the male anatomy in shifters, vampires, aliens and other paranormal creatures don’t always play by the same rules. The can go all night. Nuff said.

Female Power

Scifi  and fantasy were some of the first genres to deal explicitly with female power as a good thing. For that, it will always own a piece of my literary heart.

Explore the boundaries of science and myth

Danica hit the nail on the head with her post so I’ll just send you on over.

When did the paranormal or scifi bug hit you?  Why do you like it so much?


Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine in romance fiction. You can meet the first heroine in Fires of Justice at Elloras Cave, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Breaking the Rules with Flair: The Women of #Serenity (#Firefly)

By Vico at sv.wikipedia [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

Hard times and hard knocks breed anti-heroes. Sometimes its an individual. And sometimes, when we’re really lucky, we get a whole crew of them.  For you browncoats out there, you know what’s coming–the crew of Serenity on the TV series Firefly. Misfits and rule breakers all with a streak of dark (yes even Kaylee, she picked up that gun awfully fast when Simon was the incentive). Thrown together into a makeshift dysfunctional family they steal, fight, kill, con and cheat, trying to survive as smugglers on the edges of civilization. And they are all wonderful, every scarred one of them.

The women offer a rich cornucopia of different types of anti-heroes, each one forces us to look at the strength and darkness of women through subtle (sometimes not so subtle) plays on traditional female stereotypes.  Joss Whedon, producer of Firefly, is a master of this while making each a complete, complex and nuanced individual.

Zoe Washburne is the warrior, the soldier, the rational thinker and the only married woman woman on the ship. In love with her husband yet has a deep and unwavering loyalty to the captain which provides both her dark and her moral edge (think about this and we can see how morality stretched and twisted becomes the heart of–not the shield from– darkness). Zoe follows his orders–no matter what–and she would kill for him.  She also never–I mean never–loses her cool.

River Tam–child genius, experimented on and manipulated, she is turned by the powers that be into the ultimate weapon-unpredictable, psychic, antisocial and potentially very violent.  Her brother Simon rescues her from the Alliance and they hide out on Serenity.  Much of the crew walks on eggs around her, never sure when she’s going to blow and yet most of her surprises are the insights of a woman who lost her childhood in the most brutal ways imaginable.

Inara Serra is our friendly, neighborhood courtesan, a respected profession in the Firefly verse. The irony is that she bestows legitimacy and social standing on this crew of smugglers.  If we dig deep into the weeds and whispers of the series, we can find hints of her skill at swordplay, archery and martial arts.  Courtesans apparently are also trained fighters.  Interesting edges she navigates.  She and Mal, the lovely Captain of the Serenity, fight clear feelings for each other, a tension that brings out the nasty in each and Inara is so very capable here.

Kaylee Frye–the instinctual mechanic, innately sweet, she is the moral center of the crew.  But as mechanic on a smuggler’s ship, she does learn how to live on those edges, and for Simon, she just might cross them.

For Firefly lovers, how have these woman surprised you?  What makes you love them?  For those who haven’t seen the show or the movie,  take a peek. Its unique.  Movie is fun if a little gory, but you get to see River turn weapon which is a sight to behold.


Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine in romance fiction. You can meet the first heroine in Fires of Justice at Elloras Cave, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

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