Tuesday, June 30, 2015

One Day Soon, We’ll All Be Telepathic...

by Mattie Dunman



One of my favorite plot devices in SFR is having a main character be telepathic in some way; whether by reading minds or controlling them, using the brain to do something extraordinary has always been particularly fascinating to me.

When I sat down to write my first book, At First Touch, I wasn’t thinking about developing a character who could read minds. I was creating someone who had seen the worst of people and was still fighting. As the story developed, it became clear that my main character’s ability wasn’t the main problem or catalyst; it was how people in power perceived her and sought to use her for their own purposes.

And it got me thinking. There are so many books, movies, etc. about characters who can read minds or other variations on the theme. What is it about knowing the thoughts of everyone around us that is so compelling?

When I was a lowly undergraduate, I majored in Psychology. The real draw for me (apart from all the fun personality tests) was learning how to read people, understand the way they think, why they behave the way they do. In short, I wanted to be a mind-reader.

Everyone is a bit of a mind-reader. It’s how we know to stop asking the boss for a raise when he gets a certain tone in his voice, why we recognize when our significant other is about to end things, or how we know the time is right to ask our parents for that raise in allowance. We base our reactions on a lifetime of memories and precedence, and most of the time we’re right.

So why do we dream about more? Why are we so drawn to stories of cyborgs, characters who can move things with their minds, who can heal with a thought? Some of the best SFR out there involves telepathic abilities in one way or another.

Because it’s a completely awesome idea. And it may not be that far off in the future. There’s some pretty exciting stuff being investigated right now, things writers have been dreaming of for decades. Microchips in the brain that teach us to heal ourselves, that link to others, link to computers. The list goes on. For instance, during a recent neuro-technology experiment at the University of Washington, two subjects actually accomplished brain-to-brain interaction using a brain-computer interface (BCI).

Brain-to-Brain Interface (BBI) is the newest and most exciting development in the field. Unlike BCI, where the interaction is interpreted by a computer, recent advances are in the stages of infancy, but rely solely on mind-to-mind connections. In 2014, Harvard Medical researchers were able to connect a human brain with a rat’s brain (creepy, right?) to move the rat’s tail with 94% accuracy using only direct neural commands from the human brain.

Eventually, this area of research is intended to produce the ability to send a text or email with a thought, to give commands on a video game telepathically, along with other, more practical implementations. Can you imagine if covert military operatives were able to communicate brain to brain instead of relying on whispers or signals? Or individuals suffering from strokes, ALS, or other debilitating conditions that prevent speech being able to hold conversations in their heads? Already the technology is being used in robotics, making robotic prosthetics a very real possibility in the near future. The implications are staggering.


Of course, I wasn’t thinking about any of this when I created my own telepathic character with BCI; I just wanted to see what it would be like if she were burdened by knowing everything about anyone she came in contact with, and how that would change her as a person.

            But it raises some interesting questions, both regarding the good that can be accomplished by such technology and abilities, as well as the harm that can be done. What would the societal ramifications be if we all had computer chips in our brain that interfaced with a larger server? Or if we were expected to work with someone across the ocean using only a neural interface? What privacy concerns and ethical issues would arise if this technology became a reality?

             Readers and authors of SFR may be ready to answer some of those questions now, and in fact, some already have.

             At any rate, synthetic telepathy is a real possibility, and a wonderful source of inspiration, even if we’re not all lining up to be joined with a rat brain!




Really cool info!


Mattie Dunman is a lifelong resident of "Wild & Wonderful" West Virginia, and has dreamed of being a writer since she first held a pen in hand. Mattie has pursued several useless degrees to support this dream, and presently is lost in the stacks of her local library. She spends most of her free time writing, but also indulges in reading and traveling. She is the proud owner of an adorably insane American Eskimo named Finn, and a tyrant cat named Bella, who take up more of her attention than they probably should.

Mattie would love to hear from you! www.mattiedunman.com

The views expressed are solely those of the author and not representative of the SFR Brigade.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The SFR Brigade Summer Cafe - Supernova Hot #scifirom #erotica #giveaway


It's Week Five of the SFR Brigade Summer Cafe, and we're serving up the Supernova Hot category for your enjoyment! In the menu card you'll find our servings of SFR: starters are shorter length stories, the main courses provide something more substantial, and desserts give you a sweeter finish. You'll also find this week's prize bundle listed under extras, and all the prizes on offer are to the same theme of space opera. One winner will be chosen by rafflecopter at the end of the week (and the rafflecopter only appears on the participating blogs).

To visit the participants in the Supernova Hot menu, simply click on one of the blogs below and show your appreciation at each with a little comment love if you could. Who knows, it might win you some extra goodies too!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The SFR Brigade Summer Cafe - Androids & Aliens #winner

The fourth week of the SFR Brigade Summer Cafe has ended, and we have our winner. The Androids & Aliens bundle was won by:

Shelly Hammond


Congrats and enjoy your prize! Tomorrow sees the start of week five - Supernova Hot!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Congrats to our Brigaders - Golden Quill


Congrats to Brigader Christina Westcott who finaled in the Golden Quill Contest (fantasy/science fiction category) run by Desert Rose RWA.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Five Things I've Learned Going Indie #publishing

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. On the 1st of May, 2015, my main publisher closed, leaving my five titles homeless. This was the third publisher I'd lost in just over a year, and I really didn't want to go through it again. 

So I decided the time was right to go fully self published (although I still have one title with a publisher). I've been self publishing short stories for as long as I've been with small presses, and had just committed to publishing my first full length novel - Keir - which had been my debut but reverted to me early 2014 after losing that publisher too (no, I'm not a jinx!). Only time and the costs of cover art and editing had held me back from self publishing more.

My former publisher went out of his way to make the closure as painless as possible by allowing us to use the edited version of our books (the norm is that you get the rights back to your unedited MS and often with a clause that you can't use the edits provided by the publisher). We were also given the option to buy modified versions of our book covers (ie logos removed) at a much reduced cost compared to having to buy totally new covers. As it happened, I took the opportunity to change two of my covers and bought two others from the publisher. 

Which left me the task of minor edits to remove the publisher's info front and back of book and adding new info, reformatting and uploading all my books to a host of retailers, and the new artwork. I'm not going to go through all that process, but I will share five keys things I learned while doing it to save you some trouble. 

1. Previous reviews, especially Amazon. One thing that disheartened me was losing the precious few reviews I'd had, but someone told me these transfer over to the new edition. Well, sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. There's something you can do about it though (but not for iTunes. Once those are gone, they're gone). If after republishing on Amazon they don't automatically transfer over, you can email Amazon and ask for them to be linked (include titles, new ASINs and your author name for good measure). In the case of my SciFi romance Keir - which had been off Amazon for nearly eighteen months AND had a name change - they requested the old ASIN number for the original release in order to find those reviews (if you don't have it, check out the 'other editions' of your book on Goodreads - it should be listed there). Within a few hours even those reviews were back (though Amazon do say allow five days). Surprisingly, B&N automatically linked all my old reviews to all my titles without any intervention from me, even the one that had had a title change! You can also get ebooks linked to the print books the same way.

2. Don't upload on a Friday. The book I uploaded on a Friday at D2D and Kobo still wasn't live by Monday, even though the books I uploaded Monday were live by Tuesday. I also had copyright issues with one of my titles, possibly because my publisher's print edition was still live (and I only suspect that because similar things happened to my fellow ex-Breathless authors). It was rejected twice with a request to confirm my rights and the dire threat of needing to do it within five days or it would be deleted. Eep! I emailed KDP several times, but didn't get a reply until the Monday. Fortunately by then a third attempt to upload the contested book resulted in it publishing (if this system is meant to prevent piracy, it's extremely flawed since simple persistence got the book up).

3. Have all your info to hand (blurb, cover, tags, categories, previous publication dates if applicable, pricing, etc), whatever digital formats you need, the Goodreads page open, and the dashboard for each retailer open. This means you can just copy and paste, or click and go pretty quickly. If you don't have your own ISBNs, do NOT use the free one issued by Smashwords or any other retailer. Those are specific to YOUR book on THAT retailer. For All Romance eBooks, they have their own 13 digit number system to use in place of an ISBN but you need to email them.

4. Do all your formatting and preparation beforehand. Depending on if you use software to prepare and/or convert your MS (like Scrivener or Calibre, which many authors swear by) or if like me, you just work with Word and use online conversion programs (or Word to make my pdf), be sure to have all versions ready to go. If you're new to the process and using Word, be sure to download and read the free Smashwords Style Guide. It looks long and complicated, but it takes you through step by step and can save you a lot of trouble.

5. Be strong! While not without its issues, hiccups and glitches, and being time consuming even when things run smooth, at the end of the day you have full creative control of your work, the option to play with pricing, categories and tags, and almost instantaneous sales data to show you if something is working particularly well. You can also instantly update your work, change around your back matter with things like traceable smart URLs to see what readers prefer to click, and keeping any sales links inside the book up to date. It's worth it!


Do you have any tips to share on the process?




Bio:

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 22 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade and Broad Universe, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include YA and adult stories crossing a multitude of subgenres from scifi to the paranormal, often with romance, and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), the EPIC eBook awards, and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

You can stalk her at her website, or at her blog, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

Blogs –
Adventures in Scifi - http://www.pippajay.blogspot.co.uk
Spacefreighters Lounge - http://www.spacefreighters.blogspot.com

A SciFi Romance Novella
Goodreads | Available from...
Amazon | All Romance eBooks
B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Scribd
Smashwords | Google Play


Blurb:
She can kill with a kiss. But can assassin Tyree also heal one man’s grief, and bring peace to a galaxy threatened by war?

For Tyree of the Su, being an assassin isn’t simply something she was trained for. It’s the sole reason for her existence. A genetically enhanced clone—one of many in Refuge—she’s about to learn her secluded lifestyle, and that of all her kind, is under threat by a race capable of neutralizing their special talents to leave them defenseless.

For Zander D’joren, being a diplomat has not only cost him his appearance, but also the love of his life. Scarred, grieving, he must nonetheless continue in his role as co-delegate to the fearsome Tier-vane or risk a conflict that could only end one way.

Now both of them need to keep each other alive and maintain a perilous deception long enough to renegotiate the treaty with the Tier-vane, or throw their people into a war that could wipe out Terrans and Inc-Su alike. But there’s more at stake than humanity, whether true or modified. Can the love growing between them save them both? Or merely hasten their destruction?

Monday, June 22, 2015

The SFR Brigade Summer Cafe - Androids & Aliens #scifirom #giveaway


It's Week Four of the SFR Brigade Summer Cafe, and we're serving up some awesome Androids & Aliens for your enjoyment! In the menu card you'll find our servings of SFR: starters are shorter length stories, the main courses provide something more substantial, and desserts give you a sweeter finish. You'll also find this week's prize bundle listed under extras, and all the prizes on offer are to the same theme of space opera. One winner will be chosen by rafflecopter at the end of the week (and the rafflecopter only appears on the participating blogs).

To visit the participants in the Androids & Aliens menu, simply click on one of the blogs below and show your appreciation at each with a little comment love if you could. Who knows, it might win you some extra goodies too!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The SFR Brigade Summer Cafe - #Dystopia winner

The third week of the SFR Brigade Summer Cafe has ended, and we have our winner. The Dystopia bundle was won by:

Riley Moreland


Congrats and enjoy your prize! Tomorrow sees the start of week four - Androids and Aliens!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Congrats to our Brigaders - NERFA & Passionate Plume #finalists

We have three more Brigaders due congratulations for making the finals in a couple of contests. Firstly, congrats to Brigaders Kate Corcino and Carol Van Natta for being finalists in the National Excellence in Romantic Fiction Award in the Paranormal/Futuristic category!


Congrats also to Brigader Patricia Green for two of her sci-fi books being finalists in the Passionate Plume contest!
Best of luck to you all in the next stage of the contests.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Easing Into Science Fiction

by Sam Cheever

I love science fiction romance. In fact, I find myself inserting a bit of sci fi into most of my paranormal stuff. I didn’t even realize I was doing this until I started seeing the books described as science fiction, futuristic romance. Then I realized reviewers were right. I’ve written flying cars, futuristic food machines and hybrid communication devices since I created my first paranormal series.

I guess that genesis should have told me something about my style of science fiction…I don’t write complex worlds with elaborate naming conventions and multifaceted ruling structures. That type of sci fi is wonderfully intricate and compelling, but it can often take a good third of the first book to get acclimated to it all. I don’t have a problem with those books, it’s just that…well…sigh…I guess I’m a lazy reader.

My world building is a fairly straight forward amalgam of the world as we know it now, the world as we expect it to be in the future, and stuff we haven’t even imagined yet. My characters fly around in space ships (or flying cars) that are fueled by Hydrogen gas, fire O2 guns and lasers, and wear space suits when they’re on planets with non-compatible air.

They might have an altered density so that gravity affects them differently. But they mostly look like us and they’re enough like us to make them easy to understand and accept. My aliens speak a language that is similar enough to ours that they can acclimate easily. They are tied to us in some way through shared history but they’ve evolved differently. They’re distinct enough that dropping them into our world creates instant entertainment. They eat enough like us to survive easily on Earth, but have fun discovering things like chocolate and popcorn. They appreciate our computers and technology, while laughing at our use of paper and street art to communicate.

I use a background in chemistry and biology (I studied to be a nutritionist before I decided I’d rather write #:0) to create my characters and space experiences. I’m like the mad scientist who mixes and matches new and untried science with common, well-known tech.

But my overarching goal is always to make my world-building simple enough to quickly grasp so that the reader can focus on the characters and their antics. The world they interact in is vital…but it mustn’t overwhelm the characters. It should wrap quietly around them, enhancing rather than eclipsing. It’s a flavor rather than an entity…white noise instead of a soundtrack.

I know I’ve succeeded in creating a sci fi world that’s comfortable to newcomers when readers who generally don’t read sci fi enjoy the stories I’ve created. My goal is to help unfamiliar, maybe downright resistant, readers discover this wonderful genre. And I’m happy to ease them into SFR, so those of you who create more intricate worlds can capture them and pull them more deeply into our sci fi web. *grin* Happy Reading, Everybody!


**The views expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author and not the SFR Brigade.
 

She might be the enemy. He might have to take her down. But all he really wants to do is make slow, sweet love to her.








 
Grimm Forbes has been captured by sexy spaceship Captain Cari Pascale and turned into her sex vassal. But, as alliances conspire to take down his old friends at the Authority, Grimm worries that the woman who ignites his sexual fantasies might be at the epicenter of the treachery. It's possible he'll have to make a choice between his friends and the woman he wants in his bed. He only prays he has the strength to make the right decision, because the consequences of making the wrong one will be apocalyptic.


Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PUP0U6E/?tag=wwwsamcheever-20

Barnes & Noble US: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/an-apocalyptic-need-sam-cheever/1120799369?ean=2940046412840

Kobo Books: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/an-apocalyptic-need-1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/494207

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Sam_Cheever_An_Apocalyptic_Need?id=_7xuBgAAQBAJ

Selz.com: (Discounted price) https://samcheever.selz.com/item/54d7690db7987201f8aa3888




About the Author
USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

If you haven't already connected, Sam would love it if you Liked/Followed her wherever you enjoy hanging out online. Here are her online haunts:
Newsletter: http://www.samcheever.com/newsletter.html Subscribe to my newsletter and win a free copy of the fun and sexy Honeybun Fever Box Set
Website:
www.SamCheever.com
Blog: http://samcheever.com/blog/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/samcheever
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamCheeverAuthor
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/samcheever
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/samcheever1/
Tsu:
https://www.tsu.co/Samcheever

Monday, June 15, 2015

The SFR Brigade Summer Cafe - Dystopia #scifirom #dystopia #postapoc #giveaway


It's Week Three of the SFR Brigade Summer Cafe, and we're dishing up Dystopia and Post Apocalyptic Romance for your enjoyment! In the menu card you'll find our servings of SFR: starters are shorter length stories, the main courses provide something more substantial, and desserts give you a sweeter finish. You'll also find this week's prize bundle listed under extras, and all the prizes on offer are to the same theme of space opera. One winner will be chosen by rafflecopter at the end of the week (and the rafflecopter only appears on the participating blogs).

To visit the participants in the Dystopia menu, simply click on one of the blogs below and show your appreciation at each with a little comment love if you could. Who knows, it might win you some extra goodies too!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The SFR Brigade Summer Cafe - Weird Science Winner

The second week of the SFR Brigade Summer Cafe has ended, and we have our first winner. The Weird Science bundle was won by:

Jan Jackson


Congrats and enjoy your prize! Tomorrow sees the start of week three - Dystopia!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

World Building the Easy Way

by Irene Vartanoff


World building can be a daunting task, or it can be fun. Some of the most famous science fiction stories only take a step or two away from our world. In what became the movie Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick created new science that complicated people's lives in a large, crowded city. He didn't erect new building types or a new city itself. Yet creating new cities is common in science fiction. The movie poster for Tomorrowland has an image of a futuristic city that epitomizes how we imagine ideal future worlds look: organized, shining, and nearly symmetrical.


I couldn't use a classic distance shot of a futuristic city when I sent Chloe, the heroine of my novel, Temporary Superheroine, to a different universe, because the characters arrived at street level in midtown Manhattan. Chloe and her companion needed to know immediately that they weren't in our familiar universe anymore. How could I tell my characters (and the readers) they were in a different place? I made two simple world-building moves at once, one big and one little.


I put a highway in the sky. Not like the real ones that still exist in a few U.S. cities, that at most are as high as a very elevated train platform. No, my highway was way, way up and freestanding. Since the technology to create such a sky highway does not exist in our universe, seeing one told the characters right off that they'd traveled to a different place. Additionally, highways in the sky—or at least, very high extended overpasses—are a common feature in classic depictions of futuristic cities. Putting one in my story was shorthand telling the reader that some elements of this new universe would correspond to familiar flights of fancy made popular in 20th century movies. Also, the sky highway suggested that this unknown universe was more utopia than dystopia. That's a lot of world building for the price of one mention of a sky highway.


The little piece of world building I did was make all the people dress like it was 1962, in much more formal clothing than we see on the streets today. They wore familiar clothes styles, not the attempt at "futuristic" garb typical in scifi movies during the 20th century that consisted mostly of skintight uniforms for the men and short skirts for the women. I could have invented some new piece of clothing that everyone in my new universe wore, but that would have built a different kind of world. Instead, I made the men wear hats, and the women, too. Ordinary hats such as were worn fifty to sixty years ago.


World-building details that are different from our own world should have some bearing on the plot. Otherwise, we're just painting the walls. True to the dramatic principles of Anton Chekhov, my heroine eventually takes the sky highway—and hats play an unexpected role in the story.



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are solely those of Irene Vartanoff  and not the SFR Brigade.



I dreamt I was a superheroine...

but what if it was more than a dream?

Blurb: Chloe Cole, struggling webcomics artist, is tormented by crazy dreams, mysterious e-mails, and ominous sightings of a supervillain on the loose. In her dreams, she's a superheroine. Could those dreams have been responsible for unleashing ultimate chaos?

When Chloe goes to New York looking for answers, dreams crash with reality and comic book fiction turns to fact. Driven to undertake a desperate quest, Chloe must unravel the mystery of her parentage while navigating a bizarre mirror universe. Can she and her ragtag team—her comics fanboy ex-boyfriend, an enigmatic and powerful comic book company executive, an elderly comics icon, and an eccentric artist with a grudge against society—possibly be enough to vanquish a fearsome foe?


Bio: Irene Vartanoff started reading romances, comic books, science fiction, ERB, and more as a teenager. Writing comic books and working on staff at Marvel Comics and DC Comics absorbed her early career years, aspects of which are gently spoofed in Temporary Superheroine. After being a freelance editor in the romance field, Irene switched to writing romances. To her surprise, some of her lighthearted romance ideas turned into women's fiction novels about serious topics such as dementia, hoarding, and cancer. Others, such as Captive of the Cattle Baron, a sweet ranch romance out June 2015, are twists on old school romance clich├ęs. Temporary Superheroine has a sequel to be published in 2015. Irene has more manuscripts in the hopper, including paranormal adventures, historical novels, and a cozy murder mystery. She's having a ball.

Contact Irene at http://www.irenevartanoff.com

Nook Press: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/temporary-superheroine-irene-vartanoff/1121441695?ean=2940151432238


Monday, June 8, 2015

The SFR Brigade Summer Cafe - Weird Science #scifi #romance #giveaway


It's Week Two of the SFR Brigade Summer Cafe, and we're serving up some wacky Weird Science for your enjoyment! So what is weird science? Well, it's anything that involves the more imaginative kind of science - genetic engineering, mutation, zombies, superheroes, advance/enhanced humans, biological experiments, Frankenstein's Monster type stories - if it's science and it's freaky, it's in! In the menu card you'll find our servings of SFR: starters are shorter length stories, the main courses provide something more substantial, and desserts give you a sweeter finish. You'll also find this week's prize bundle listed under extras, and all the prizes on offer are to the same theme of space opera. One winner will be chosen by rafflecopter at the end of the week (and the rafflecopter only appears on the participating blogs).

To visit the participants in the Weird Science menu, simply click on one of the blogs below and show your appreciation at each with a little comment love if you could. Who knows, it might win you some extra goodies too!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The SFR Brigade Summer Cafe - Space Opera 1 Winner!


The first week of the SFR Brigade Summer Cafe has ended, and we have our first winner. The Space Opera 1 bundle was won by:

K J Van Houten

Congrats and enjoy your prize! Tomorrow sees the start of week two - Weird Science!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

How To Build A Better Villain

(Or Any Other Believable Character For That Matter)

by Christina Westcott



In my latest book, the villain, Janos Tritico, is so driven by the desire to gain ultimate control of the Scyran Empire, that he’s willing to form an alliance with the alien Tzraka. Half a century earlier, humanity waged a devastating war against these creatures, a conflict in which Tritico himself was nearly killed. What type of person would lust for power so fiercely that they would be willing to destroy everything they sought to gain total control of it?

That answer can be found in an intriguing personality typing system called the Enneagram. Its origins are thought to date back to the ancient Middle East, but it came into modern prominence in the self-help boom of the 1980s. A fellow author turned me on to a book entitled Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery by Don Richard Riso as a guide to put together believable personalities for the people who lived in my books. I’ve used it so often my copy is dog-eared, held together by tape and full of underlines, yellow markers, tea stains and cat hairs.

The Enneagram separates personality types into nine distinct numbered groups and this book further divides them by Healthy, Average and Unhealthy, with personality traits and motivations listed for each. I chose to make my villain an Eight, often called the Leader or the Boss. Oddly, this is the type where we’re most likely to encounter the Alpha Male. Healthy Eights are magnanimous, heroic and able to inspire others. They seek power, but to use it for the good of humanity. Conversely, the Unhealthy Eight also seeks power, but for his own twisted reasons and he doesn’t care what he has to do to achieve his goals. The two sub-groups are mirror images. A Neurotic Eight is the most destructive of all types, while the healthy individuals can be among the most magnanimous and heroic.

We want our characters to grow, or disintegrate, in response to the changes we put them through, but to transform in a way that is consistent with their personality. After all, an introverted artist type wouldn’t deteriorate into a megalomaniac—or if they do, you’d better give us a good reason why it happened. The Enneagram supplies us with a glimpse into our character’s personality traits as he rises to become the hero (Luke Skywalker) or steps to the Dark Side (Darth Vader).



These are a couple of sites to take the Enneagram Personality test for yourself, just for fun, and then as your character. Once you’ve established their type, you’ll be able to find a wealth of information on how they’d behave and craft a richer, more complex character.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this guest post are solely that of the author and not of the SFR Brigade
 
 
 
 
A Hero for the Empire: Book One in the Dragon’s Bidding Saga
Warning: Space is no place to go it alone. We recommend taking along a telepathic cat, an immortal mercenary, and a cybernetically augmented Imperial SpecOps agent. You never know what kind of trouble you’ll run into…
Blurb: Commander Kimber FitzWarren is running on borrowed time. The cybernetic augmentations that give her superhuman strength and speed have also shortened her life. The success of her next mission is imperative, not only to save her Empire, but because this operation could be her last. She and a cabal of idealistic officers are plotting to topple the corrupt Imperial government. The key to placing missing military legend Arianne Ransahov on the throne lies with the one man who can find her, mercenary Wolf Youngblood.
Having just survived an Imperial assassination attempt, Wolf is understandably on edge when Fitz shows up in his bedroom at 0-dark-30. Except she isn’t there to kill him, but to plead for his help. Help he’s reluctant to give—until another assassin pushes the issue. Pursued by Imperial forces, left with no one to depend on but each other, a passion grows between them that even their secrets can’t destroy.
But before they can explore what’s left of their futures, they have to survive this mission.

Bio: As long as she can remember, Christina Westcott has had imaginary people living in her head. Cyborgs, mercenaries, wizards, dragons and cats. Lots of cats—shape-shifting cats, talking cats and telepathic cats. After continual nagging from this weird cast of characters inside her, Chris decided to turn them loose on the world in her science fiction and fantasy stories.
She’s been an collector of not only books and cats, but of experiences, riding in rodeos, driving racecars and flying airplanes. All good experience for becoming a writer.
She lives in sunny Southwest Florida where she delights in telling all her friends “up north” the local temperature in the middle of January and she proudly wears the moniker Crazy Cat Lady. She and the cats are hard at work on Cypher, the second book in the Dragon’s Bidding Saga, where we find out what happened when our heroes returned to the Empire and tried to live their happily ever after—not an easy job for two Imperial cyborgs.


Monday, June 1, 2015

The SFR Brigade Summer Cafe - Space Opera Group 1 #spaceopera #scifirom #giveaway


It's Week One of the SFR Brigade Summer Cafe, and we're serving up some stellar Space Opera for your enjoyment! In the menu card you'll find our first servings of SFR: starters are shorter length stories, the main courses provide something more substantial, and desserts give you a sweeter finish. You'll also find this week's prize bundle listed under extras, and all the prizes on offer are to the same theme of space opera. One winner will be chosen by rafflecopter at the end of the week (and the rafflecopter only appears on the participating blogs).

To visit the participants in the space opera menu, simply click on one of the blogs below and show your appreciation at each with a little comment love if you could. Who knows, it might win you some extra goodies too!

SFR Brigade Bases of Operation