*glances at nearest neighbor's house* Was that too loud? Well, pfffft, I DON'T CARE. You can tell I don't care because I'm wearing my I-don't-care face along with my Hello Kitty PJs. Why am I doing all this? Because the RT website is spotlighting A GALACTIC HOLIDAY! *throws confetti* Why not hop on over to see what's going on? ^_^
I'm thrilled to see all the buzz about this anthology. Of course, when I heard Carina Press wanted to do a mash-up of sci-fi romance with a holiday theme, I was all over it like white on rice. I mean, how magnificent is that concept--taking the holiday spirit that embodies a sense of love, family and giving, and setting that in the frame of a time that's far in the future? I LOVE things like that. Which probably explains why I also adored the mash-up concept of a cute cheerleader named Buffy who was also a hardcore vampire slayer/superhero.
For me, things that might seem counterintuitive at first glance have more impact when fully realized, because they're unexpected. After all, it's not very impactful when, say, a mild-mannered, not-scary psychologist helps a kid deal with his ability to see dead people. But it's a solid kick in the gut when it's discovered that the mild-mannered, not-scary psychologist is a ghost who's haunting this kid, and the person who has to work through the reality of death is HIM, not the kid.
Mash-ups. They're BRILLIANT.
You know what's also brilliant? Those fantastic people who get mash-ups. And that's why I'm loving the interest in A GALACTIC HOLIDAY. I'm amazed that so many people get it. Whether it's the Victorian era, contemporary times or the far-flung future, the need to come together to renew the bonds of family and friends, and bask in the spirit of giving is universal. And when it's housed within a sci-fi frame, the meaning of the season--peace of earth and good will toward men, women and androids--is that much more impactful.
You've heard what my fave mash-ups are. What's your favorite?
And as promised, I've got another excerpt from my sci-fi holiday novella, HOW THE GLITCH SAVED CHRISTMAS (it's the first-kiss scene between tough-gal Reina Vedette and the oh-so yummy Edison Wicke *SQUEEEE!*). Hope you like it. ^_^
Putting her free hand to his chest she levered her hip against his and made a limping beeline for the toy store’s front door. “Why didn’t you wait in your car, you idiot?”
“Because one, I was trying to get the damn sales droid to let me in early so I could get a jump on our meeting with the manager and two, I didn’t know that when it’s minus-fifteen degrees out, the synaptic response-time of the nanites fused with my muscles slows down to a slug-like crawl. By the time I realized I was in trouble I couldn’t make my legs move back to the car without keeling over, so I’ve been freezing my ass off out here ever since.”
“You need a frictionsuit.” The rusty, Tin Man movements of his body, almost twice as heavy as that of most humans thanks to his military-grade hardware, made her stagger as at last they reached the automatic doors. “A frictionsuit, or a transfer to Costa Rica.”
“Costa Rica? Pretty random, Vedette.”
“I’ve always wanted to visit Costa Rica. I hear they put umbrellas in their drinks.”
“Yeah well, rough-and-tumble Chicago suits me just fine, and I could never look as good as you do in a frictionsuit.” A sigh of relief escaped him as they made it into the store’s vestibule, ignoring both the welcoming pink-eyed sales droid and the saccharine-sweet cheerful Christmas music screaming overhead. “Let’s face it, that gorgeous body of yours owns that look.”
The admission punched the breath out of her lungs, and for a suspended moment she suspected the validity of her hearing. “I can’t tell if you’re flirting with me, or if your neurolinks have frozen over,” she finally managed, all the while praying his amplified hearing didn’t pick up the sudden chaotic drum roll of her heart. Blame it on the exertion of getting him into the store, she told herself frantically. Or on the freezing weather. Or…
Or on the fact that he was the hottest damn man-morsel she’d ever come across.
“Is that so?” His voice roughened around the edges, either a sign of distress or growing desire, she couldn’t tell which. “Obviously I’m going to have to work on my technique. Damn, I can no longer feel my hands.” Then he hissed as they suddenly curled into twisted, spasming fists.
“Just as soon as I have a free moment I’m going to write a strongly worded email to the bod-mod manufacturer about this.” Genuinely worried now, Reina propped him up in the vestibule’s corner behind the droid and out of the way of pedestrian traffic, then pulled off her gloves so she could sandwich his cramping hands with hers. “Cripes, do you think your system could be malfunctioning? Your skin is like ice. What about hypothermia?”
“I don’t think I’m that bad off yet.” But he closed his eyes and rested his head back against the wall, his face tight with pain. “I just need a few minutes to warm up and I’ll be ready to roll. Your hands feel good.”
“Yours don’t. They’re turning mine into a couple of ice cubes.” She did her best to chafe them into a relaxed state, but it was a losing battle as her own hands chilled. After a moment’s hesitation, she tugged him upright by his coat lapels. “Switch places with me.”
“You’re bigger than I am, so you make a better blind.” Executing a quick one-eighty, Reina put her back in the corner and took his sluggish body along for the ride. “Okay. Just stand there.”
“Reina, what are you doing?”
“Don’t get excited. This is for medicinal purposes only.” With that stern warning leveled at both of them, Reina tore open the Velcro collar overlapping the suit’s zipper pull.
Even half-paralyzed, Edison still managed to jolt in surprise. “Reina—”
“Relax, you prude. I have clothes on underneath.” Though it was only a thin camisole in her favorite shade of pink and a pair of low-riding briefs. At least she wasn’t going commando. “Give me your hands.”
Without a word or hesitation he did as he was told—probably the only time in his life he’d ever done so—and she heard his breath hitch as if he’d been stabbed when she slipped them inside the toasty confines of her suit. It was a strangely magical moment, almost like she was at last realizing a dream she’d never allowed herself to weave. There was no doubt Edison Wicke was the stuff fantasies were made of, so maybe her reaction wasn’t that far off-base. With his cocky smile, impossible swagger and burly warrior’s body that made her hands burn to explore, it was all she could do to keep herself from swooning like a simpering Victorian miss.
Then his hands shifted, and she tried to inject a little reality into the moment. “Cop a feel and I swear I’ll kneecap you, Wicke.”
“It’d be worth it.” The knots that were his fisted hands burrowed against her sides before coming to a rest on the flare of her hips. “Geez, this is the worst kind of torture. I don’t know which is worse—the cramping or not being able to feel you.”
“You poor thing, this just isn’t your day, is it?” If only she had the same lack of sensation, she lamented with a distracted sigh. His hands and forearms were as cold as glacier ice and certainly not the most comfortable thing she’d ever experienced. But concentrating on that less-than-pleasant sensation was preferable to losing herself in the increasingly bold press of his powerful chest and the unapologetic way he slipped his thigh between hers.
“Um. Detective.” She heard his muffled snort, which confirmed her suspicion that standing on formality at this exact moment in time was, in fact, hilarious. “Remember when I told you this was strictly medicinal?”
“Uh-huh.” Edison leaned into her with a heady threat so blatantly masculine it made her heart trip over itself. Then he rubbed against her in an all-over body caress that made it scorching hot within her frictionsuit, and as giddy excitement surged through her like a drug she had to reconsider the whole swooning business as a viable option. “Praise me. I’m taking my medicine like a big boy.”
Big boy. Reina’s mouth went desert-dry as she tried not to notice a bulge starting to swell against her abdomen. But facts were facts. As his body warmed, there was no doubt that Edison Wick was indeed a big boy. “Here’s the thing. I also said not to get excited.”
“Yeah…about that. I’m going to have to disappoint you on that score. And in my defense, you have to take some of the blame for being so damn sexy you should be declared illegal.”
“I’m just trying to warm you up.”
“Congratulations, you’re doing a bang-up job of it.” His head lowered, and his eyes drifted shut as he brushed his face over her hair. “God, Reina. I didn’t know you smelled like heaven and sin all rolled into one. If I had, I would have done this a lot sooner.”
She pulled in a breath to ask him what he was doing when his mouth slid down her cheek to unerringly capture her lips.
Interested in more of HOW THE GLITCH SAVED CHRISTMAS? Check out the blurb on my BOOKS page, or take a look at its detailed storyboard on Pinterest.