What is a Space Opera?

DOP_Return_200From Wikipedia:

Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that often emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, usually involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, weapons, and other technology. The term has no relation to music but is instead a play on the term “soap opera”. 

Firefly, a television series created by Joss Whedon, is a terrific Space Opera. (Jayne Cobb is my favorite character.)

Jayne Cobb

Jayne Cobb

My series, Daughters of Persephone, is my homage to the subgenre. Book Two, Return, is free all week on Amazon. Here’s your link- Daughters of Persephone, Book Two, Return.

The Lady Ennat, has been sent by her mother to Resistance Commander, Karna Aram for protection. She is a Blood decoy. Her role is to protect her sister Aja, the Thousand Year Empress. She must draw the bulk of the Coalition forces away from the Resistance fighters. From the beginning she’s known she may not live to see tomorrow, yet despite her misgivings she finds herself drawn to Commander Aram. 

Karna Aram wanted the woman from the moment she set foot on his supply depot, but nobody touches a Princess of the Blood. He resists his bone deep desire until Ennat challenges him to pick up a sword and spar with her. All bets are off. Karna has a different kind of sword play in mind.

When the Ennat and her sister, Aja, are reunited, they know the Coalition is coming after them. They must risk all to save their devoted fighters and the men they love.

 

 

 

Posted in book bloggers, book reviews, Books, Contemporary Romance, nature, popular culture, romance, science fiction, True Love | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Busting Nutrition Myths – Sports Drinks or Plain Old Water?

glass of waterI choose a glass of plain old water any day.

One does not need 12 12-ounce glasses of water per day. But one does need water. Water is essential for every single function in our bodies.

I’m guessing I drink 1-2 liters of water a day, more on a hot day or if I’m working or playing outdoors. Tea and coffee– mild diuretics– aren’t really all that diuretic. They actually aren’t bad for fluid replacement provided one doesn’t rely solely upon coffee or tea.

iced tea

(I’m a big fan of iced tea, especially sun tea. Sometimes I add a little molasses or raw sugar to my jar of sun tea, sometimes not. Nothing beats a tall glass of iced tea on a sweltering summer’s day.)

I’m not saying sports drinks don’t have their place, and of course the choice is yours. What I am saying is that sports drinks contain plenty of sugar (and artificial coloring). One can buy sugar-free sports drinks but I’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners.

Gatorade, for example, contains sugar, sodium and potassium and it can help to provide quick energy and restore some electrolytes lost during strenuous exercise. But most of us aren’t playing professional football or basketball or soccer or running a marathon. Plain old water is fine to replace the fluid lost during regular exercise- a hike, a bike ride, a five mile run…

I’ve come to enjoy the taste of fresh coconut water as well. Coconut water is really interesting. It contains a unique mix of water and easily absorbed sugar and electrolytes. It’s used to treat infant diarrhea in Third World countries– to replace the electrolytes lost, especially potassium. It can even be filtered and given IV because coconut water straight from the coconut is sterile.

Fresh coconut water

Fresh coconut water

I drink coconut water out of a coconut a couple times a week. A good coconut provides enough liquid to share with 1-2 people. If you try a fresh coconut definitely open it outdoors because the process is messy. I set the coconut on the ground, sit on a step, and whack away at the top with a butcher knife. Try to cut a square as above. I never hold onto the coconut. If I did I’d lose every single finger. And keep your feet out of the way. Oh, and when you’re buying a fresh coconut make sure the outside is creamy white in color. Shake it. You should hear plenty of water inside.

Fresh coconut water is sort of an acquired taste. My husband gagged the first time he tasted it. Now he loves it. You can buy cans of coconut water but they don’t taste the same. I’ve searched for a brand that tastes as fresh as the water right out of the coconut. Ero Grove Coconut Water comes pretty darn close.

Ero Grove Coconut Water

Ero Grove Coconut Water

If you try coconut water, let me know what you think. It’s a healthy alternative to sports drinks, although just plain water is adequate for most of our hydration needs.

Posted in book bloggers, book reviews, Books, Food, nature, popular culture, romance, Travel, writing | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Writing Intelligent Romance. And Why I Have a German Shepherd.

Yes, the two are related!

That’s my overarching theme. My philosophy if you will– Intelligent romance. It is not a contradiction in terms.

I received a letter from a long-time fan, Joy. She wrote to thank me for writing decent heroes. She’s not a fan of what my author friend, Penny Watson, informs me are known as Alpha-holes- Alpha male protagonists who use and abuse women. (Think Fifty Shades or worse.)

I appreciate the feedback, Joy. :)

It is my goal to create characters who are intelligent, competent, courageous and kind. Men and women who love with all their hearts and souls yet retain their independent identity. I detest heroines who are TSTL and heroes who are jerks. I read a lot, a whole lot, and I always wonder why an author would glorify a woman who would hang around to fix an abusive man. Why do I wonder? Because once upon a time, in real life, I tried it. Didn’t work out so well. It’s self-defeating and frankly, dangerous.

Unfortunately I experienced quite a bit of physical and sexual abuse when I was younger. I have revisited these events in some of my work – Anytime Darlin’ and Come Back to Me – but once I opened my eyes to the reality of abuse there was no closing them. There was also no fixing the abuser. Only in fiction does the love of a good woman fix a bad man.

One of the things I learned was, or is, this– Each of us must take responsibility for our own behavior. An abusive man or woman only changes if he or she wants to change. There is no magic tool in any tool kit that will do the trick. There is no snap of the fingers to make it all better. I know other women who’ve survived abusive situations. They say the same thing I say – Thank god I came to my senses and got out. I’ll add- Before I got killed.

And so I write intelligent heroines. They like Alpha males, (I like Alpha males), but not Alpha-holes. And yes, an Alpha male can be both Alpha and kind at the same time.

Now you know why I keep a German shepherd like Jake around. He’s not only my best bud, he’s my protector when I’m alone at home and off alone on my hikes.

 

Posted in book bloggers, book reviews, Books, Contemporary Romance, erotica, humor, menage, nature, popular culture, romance, Romance/Suspense, science fiction, True Love, writing | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Why is it when you’ve spent all day making a nice Bolognese

Yummy Bolognese!

Yummy Bolognese!

your husband texts you at 6:30 p.m. to say he has a dinner meeting?

Sigh.

Wait. You know what this means???

Means I get to watch anything I want that is NOT sports! Yeee Hawwww!

Not Sports!

Not Sports!

 

Posted in book bloggers, book reviews, Books, Contemporary Romance, Food, humor, nature, popular culture, romance, Romance/Suspense, science fiction, sports, True Love, writing | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

To paraphrase Mrs. Clinton, Don’t roll in stupid shit is a pretty good organizing principle

for dogs.

My sister and her family recently spent ten days in California and Oregon. I called them after they returned home, after our earthquake, after we had power, and I got my nephew. I asked how their new crazy golden retriever puppy fared while they were away.

He said, “He did okay. Didn’t do anything stupid.”

So I asked, “His philosophy is don’t do stupid shit?”

My nephew said, “No, his philosophy is don’t roll in stupid shit.”

Their poor deceased golden loved nothing more than to roll in stupid shit while eating it. She was a remarkably talented dog.

Jake never rolls in stupid shit. Although I am always amazed by the fact that a dog who has no interest in the delicious food I leave in his dish possesses such a voracious appetite for rabbit shit.

But there are times when I wonder why it is people do stupid shit around dogs. I recently had to take Jake to the vet’s office for a vaccination. Nowadays he’s very good at the vet’s. Lays at my feet, waits to be called, goes into the back by himself, gets his shot, no muzzle required. The girls like him lots. But still, it’s the veterinary clinic. No dog in his or her right mind wants to be at the veterinary clinic. So the smart thing is this – Don’t do stupid shit around strange dogs at the veterinary clinic.

The last two times I was there, a strange woman (two different women) went all squeaky on me, said, “Oh, he’s so cute…” because he is cute, and then approached him uninvited, stuck out a hand and asked, “Can I pet him?”

Jake didn’t move a muscle either time, but of course I said no. When each woman looked all sad and insulted, I added, “This is a stressful situation for any dog. It’s not a good time to meet strangers.”

Each woman said, “Oh, right. Yeah, sure. Sorry.”

Believe me, Jake is a cutie pie, and he gets all kinds of compliments, guys even honk when they drive by– guys in pickup trucks. They yell – “Niiiiiiice dog!” It’s pretty funny. Most of the time Jake is sweet as sugar. But he comes from a long line of protection/working dogs and he can be touchy under certain circumstances, like when strangers crowd me or walk right up on me unexpectedly. He might give a little warning back-off growl the way he did this morning when a woman and her Doodle walked right up behind us as I was opening the car door after our walk. She came within a foot of my open car door just as Jake was about to jump in. Because she thought Jake was cute and she thought her dog would like to meet him.

I give strange dogs space. Many dogs don’t like German shepherds. They just don’t. The sight of a German shepherd rubs a lot of dogs the wrong way, makes them defensive and although Jake likes most other dogs he doesn’t like all other dogs. I find it hard to understand why you’d walk right up on a strange German shepherd.

So… I told Jake, “Quit.” Said, “Load up.” He jumped in the car and I shut the door. I turned to the woman. Shrugged. “Sorry.” And I drove away. End of story.

Don’t roll in stupid shit around dogs. It’s a decent philosophy.

Here’s Jake this morning and tonight. I snapped a couple photos of the worst upended sidewalk in the neighborhood. Jake was enthralled, wanted to climb up and over but I didn’t want to risk him.

Upended sidewalk - this morning.

Upended sidewalk – this morning.

Jake climbing upended sidewalk.

Jake climbing upended sidewalk.

The cutie pie this evening.

The cutie pie this evening.

 

 

Posted in book bloggers, book reviews, Books, humor, nature, popular culture, romance, Slightly Off Topic | Tagged , , | 9 Comments