Thursday, July 21, 2016

#TBT Prism Award Celebration - Famous Tentacles in Literature

I've been dancing on air ever since it was announced that my science fiction male/male romance novella THE KLOCKWERK KRAKEN won first place in the RWA Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter's PRISM Awards. I am so honored and grateful.

I love that my tentacled hero is now part of a larger section of literature that celebrates the tentacle goodness.Besides appearing in Norse sagas, creatures with tentacles have had poems, books, even screenplays written about them.

Most lovers of tentacles cite the poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, THE KRAKEN:

Below the thunders of the upper deep; 
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea, 
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep 
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee 
About his shadowy sides: above him swell 
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height; 
And far away into the sickly light, 
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell 
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi 
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green. 
There hath he lain for ages and will lie 
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep, 
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep; 
Then once by man and angels to be seen, 
 In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die. 

Jules Verne’s TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA has a famous scene where Captain Nemo’s submarine is attacked by giant squids.

And lovers of horror are well versed in H.P. Lovecraft’s slumbering, tentacled god, Cthulu.

Even Herman Melville speaks in Moby Dick about “the great live squid”.

Most of the depictions of tentacled beasts are those of slumbering giants on the bottom of the ocean, quiet, until man awakens them. But my hero, Teo is anything but hiding. He’s one of the few people on his planet that have traveled extensively in the galaxy before settling down at the Switchpoint Waystation, far from home and family. He’s a little lonely, but that quickly changes at the start of my book.

I hope you’ll check out THE KLOCKWERK KRAKEN and meet Teo, my tentacled hero.


The Klockwerk Kraken
by Aidee Ladnier


ISBN: MLR-1-02015-0415
ASIN: B00YI1JQ48
Pages: 155
Cover Artist: Deana Jamroz
Editing: Kris Jacen

The Klockwerk Kraken
When the right space pilot walks into his bar, a desperate bartender uses all his wiles (and tentacles) to talk the man into business and his bed--but the spacer is still enslaved by his past and isn't sure he can deal with a two-armed lover, much less one with six.

As the supply shipments stop coming, Teo Houdin needs all his tentacles to keep his waystation bar open. Facing a riot by thirsty miners stranded in the backwater of the galaxy, Teo helps a greenie space pilot buy a ship in return for a regular haul of liquor. But he longs for the courage to invite the enigmatic spacer to fill his lonely bed as well.

Still smarting from his newly implanted navigational ports, Jimenez knows owning his own ship will prevent him from ever being bought and sold again. For a former slave, transporting cargo through the emptiness of space sounds like paradise, but after meeting the compassionate and sexy Teo, his heart feels empty, too.

At the edge of the galaxy's spiral arm, can Teo convince Jimenez that the heart has its own tentacles and theirs should be entwined forever?

Excerpt:

     Jimenez opened the bar’s airlock and the urge to run out again washed over him like a splash of cold water. He commanded his frozen legs to shuffle forward and inside. This could turn ugly if he lost his concentration for even a moment. But he wouldn’t. He’d been practicing, becoming accustomed to groups larger than this for revs now.
     He could be just like everyone else.
     None of them would see the scars on his back or the brand of his tattoo that had marked him since puberty.
     Men and women filled half the tables and booths, some laughing and drinking, a few puffing blue smoke. The gaming tables on the side were empty, while a lone player at the billiard table opposite pocketed ball after ball. The room rang with loud voices, clinking glasses, and raucous music.
     Jimenez slid into an empty spot at the pale stone bar and caught sight of the clearest, happiest eyes he’d ever seen, a shade lighter than the man’s tousled brown mop above. A dimple quirked at the side of his full lips, mesmerizing Jimenez. The loud voices behind him slid away and for a moment, it was quiet in his mind. Jimenez flinched when his shoulder was jostled and the spell broke.
     “Hey, you okay, buddy? First time? What can I pour for you?”    
     Jimenez blinked, realizing the tall bartender was speaking to him. The man’s smiling eyes crinkled at the corners of his bronzed face. Jimenez swallowed, and he ducked his chin, trying not to stare again, trying to hide his hot cheeks. He’d never been so close to such a handsome man.
     “Did you want a drink?” The bartender quirked an eyebrow.
     “Yeah… I mean yes. Whiskey neat.” His voice came out gruffer than he expected.
     “Bourbon, Scotch, Rye…?”
     “Surprise me.” It was a game Jimenez played. He’d order whiskey and discover what the bartender served. If he reached for the rail bottle closest to hand, it meant he would pour either the cheapest or the local favorite. If he pulled something from the top shelf, the bartender angled for a bigger tip. But if he grabbed a decanter off to the side or behind another bottle, he’d score the bartender’s personal pick. 
     “Coming right up.” The bartender raised a tentacle in greeting, calling out to another patron.
     Oh, God. The man was a Pod.
     Of course he was.
     In a joint named the Klockwerk Kraken, who better to tend the bar than a tentacled man?


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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Other Worlds: Write What You Know




So as a proud member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, I'm participating in the SFRB Summer Blog Hop. We're offering an grand prize (outlined below) and I'm personally offering a copy of my new book Elusive Radiance to two commenters on my blog post today. Just make sure you leave your email in your comment! (And disguise it from robots like this: aideelad at gmail dot com).

Science fiction has always been attached to other worlds, other places, other realities. I personally love creating a new place whether it be in outer space, here on Earth, in a technological future, or a steampunky past. But regardless of what any writer says, it's never created out of "whole cloth". Our expectations and assumptions follow us to these new places.

And this is for a very good reason - we've never been there. Any place a writer dreams up is filled with someplace they've been or something they've experienced, just like the creatures they create will be made from composites of people they know and parts of their own personality. You see, even when writing science fiction...writers always write what they know. Take my books for example:

In The Break-in, I filled roboticist Forbes Pohle's lab with all the things I wanted in my dream lab as well as things I remembered from my brother-in-law's grungy garage build site, and from robotics labs I saw in the background of DARPA videos on YouTube.

Of course my character also lives in a fabulous home that you'll get to see a little more of in the upcoming re-release of The Applicant. Stay tuned for more including the world's coolest library and a garden based on one of my favorite fairy tales.

In my book The Klockwerk Kraken, I patterned the Switchpoint Waystation on the truckstops that dot the interstate highway. A little dirty and smelling of fuel. And I also pulled on factory floors with loud noises and shouting when there are a lot of workers milling around because I thought space docks would be a little noisier with all the machinery used to keep the ships refueled and cargo lifted and loaded while enclosed in a metal space station.

Of course in the sequel, Spindrift Gifts, the two main characters, Teo and Jimenez, travel to Teo's home planet of Celos. Since this is a watery planet (hence the tentacles) I based the Spindrift storms on hurricane season here in the US. I made their homes look like elaborate coral reefs. And above them, the second reason for the tentacles, the artificial satellite ring glowed even at night, the way scientists extrapolate that a planet ring might.

And in my newest book, Elusive Radiance, the action takes place on a planet setup for commercial tourism similar to Las Vegas. There are hotels and casinos with different themes such as the Marchen Hotel based on Earth fairy tales, or the Mountain Casino with full winter sports available like skiing, ice skating and sledding. But the main action takes place in a meeting area high above the planet and only accessible via space elevator and shuttle. I've been to so many business receptions and whether you live in the far future or right here and now, I think that heavy hors d'oeuvres and an open bar are standard for any good meeting of minds to drink and schmooze by.

So are you interested in reading a copy of Elusive Radiance? I'm giving away two copies to commenters on this post. In addition, make sure you sign up for the blog hop grand prize Rafflecopter here.

Happy Reading!
Aidee


***GIVEAWAY***
and don't forget to comment below for a chance to win a free copy of my latest scifi romance!





Friday, July 1, 2016

The Applicant (or Virgins, Robot Bears, and Other Disasters)

My first published short story, "The Applicant (or Virgins, Robot Bears, and Other Disasters)" will be republished as a longer novella in January 2017 by Dreamspinner Press.

The Applicant
by Aidee Ladnier

Series: Busted Labs, Book One

Dr. Forbes Pohle knows interviewing lab assistants can be a tedious process--luckily the malfunctioning robot bear in the other room helps liven things up.

The story centers on a bright young man who thinks he's interviewing a candidate for a lab assistant position.  I won't spoil the story, but I will tell you his sexy visitor is not quite what he seems.  And of course, for added chaos, there is a rampaging (okay, it's a little too small to be really rampaging) teddy bear robot.  My DH coined a special name for the teddy bear--the cuddly juggernaut.

Dr. Forbes Pohle is my favorite type of character to read--someone who's a little afraid of going forward, but unwilling to let fear keep him from doing what he wants to do.  I felt just like this while writing my short story--a little afraid of submitting to a publisher but unwilling to let such a great opportunity pass me by.  Like Forbes, I think the fear was definitely worth overcoming.


Excerpt:

     The teddy bear robot hadn't powered down when Forbes sent the command code.
     The tiny whirlwind of metal and fur was still running full tilt into one wall, extracting itself from the plaster and then turning to run the other way, taking out chairs, filing cabinets, and tables in its way. A sharp smell of mechanical smoke and damaged wiring permeated the air. Forbes swallowed, trying to cleanse his mouth of the metallic taste.
     They watched the bear plow into a workstation cabinet leaving a large hole at the bottom. The sound of wood splintering and glassware breaking ensued as it ran down the inside of the cabinet to burst out the other end.
     Forbes winced as he spied the mainframe monitor black and dead, toppled onto the floor. It was unfortunately in the path of the bear, who didn't hesitate to tread into the sparking electronics. A retry of the shutdown code was not going to be possible.
     "Hey, your little doll is running into your stuff."
     The applicant stepped around Forbes to stand in the route of the robot, reaching down to pick it up.
     "NO!" Forbes yanked the other man out of the way as the robot ran past. It still managed to clip his visitor’s leg with one of its fast pumping furry arms.
     "Ow!" The man hopped back, and Forbes grabbed his arm to keep him from falling on the splinters of a chair. The little bear pulled itself out of a skid on some broken glassware and headed back their way.
     "In here." Forbes pulled the limping man into the blast chamber where he'd tested the indestructibility of the bear the previous evening.
     He closed the door as the little robot clanged against it, a teddy bear-sized indention popping through on their side.

  

Rave Reviews!

  • Goodreads Review: "Another standout was "The Applicant (or Virgins, Robot Bears, and Other Disasters)" by Aidee Ladnier, a delightful, humorous, sexy, romantic & slightly bittersweet story of love and time travel."
  • Goodreads Review: "I didn't read any story but the one by Aidee Ladnier entitled The Applicant. I found it to be a totally charming read."