Cover Reveal: Love Across the Universe

 

 

Love Across the Universe

 
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
 
Publisher: Stars and Stone Books
 
Date of Publication: August 1 2017
 
ISBN-10: 0-9977081-8-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-9977081-8-9
ASIN: B071JSHCGC
 
13 Stories of
Science Fiction Romance Set on Intergalactic Shores 


#spacebeachlove

Summer love is summer love, no matter the planet. Climb aboard your
spacecraft or time machine and travel across time and space with these
thirteen tales of love on beaches in the future and among the stars.
Includes stories by USA Today Bestselling Author Traci Douglass, Cara
McKinnon, Rhonda Jackson Joseph, A.E. Hayes, Sheri Queen, M.T. DeSantis, L.J.
Longo, K.W. Taylor, Mary Rogers, Elsa M. Carruthers, Emmerite Sundberg, Serena
Jayne, and Oriana Maret.

Traci Douglass – “A Dream to Build a Kiss On”

Can passion bloom between a bookish botanist and an analytical android?

Cara McKinnon – “The Pirates and the Pacifist”

Kai doesn’t believe in violence. Sam and Dek believe the ends justify the
means. Will passion be enough to bridge the gap between the pacifist sent to
broker galactic peace and the space pirates hired to keep him away at all
costs?

A.E. Hayes – “Tristan’s Tryst”

One mysterious being. Two lovers who find her. Can this threesome handle
the heat of this scorching summer?

Sheri Queen – “Red Sand”

If she can only save one thing, which will it be—the red beaches of Mars
or a love she can’t imagine living without?

M.T. DeSantis – “The Princess of Sands”

Secrets and lies. Can they be each other’s freedom?

L.J. Longo – “Breathless”

The manager of a resort planet and the head of its secret defense unit
team up to save the guests—and discover danger is a potent aphrodisiac.

K.W. Taylor – “Reprogramming”

Alex didn’t want to be marooned on an alien planet with a robot, but it
may just be exactly what she needs.

Mary Rogers – “Breakfast on Pluto”

Doing the right thing isn’t always what’s best—but sometimes it pays
off.  A chance meeting of two people unaware of their destiny with each
other results in a bond too difficult to break, but even duty has its
boundaries. Will love help them break free—and will love be enough?

Elsa M. Carruthers – “All B+ut You”

Lou is looking for the right guy and finds him where she least expects.

Emmerite Sundberg – “Fluid”

She’s everything she’s ever wanted but with one flaw – they can’t
actually touch.

Serena Jayne – “You Only Love Once”

Carpe diem the hell out of love.

Oriana Maret – “Renewal” 

She’ll brave the arms of destruction to shed the arms that betrayed.

STARS AND STONE BOOKS        GOODREADS       
 

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Booksigning at In Your Write Mind

one person presents a book to be signed to the author, who holds a pen

For my readers in the Pittsburgh area, I’ll be in Greensburg on Friday night for a booksigning! You’ll find me at the Seton Hill University Performing Arts Center in downtown Greensburg, PA from 7:00-9:30 PM.

Check out the In Your Write Mind webpage for more information about the workshop.

I will have copies of Essential Magic, A Theft of Magic, Memories of Magic and Crazy Little Spring Called Love, as well as bookmarks and some other fun swag. Come say hi and get your copies signed!

 

When: Friday, June 23, 2017
Where: Seton Hill University Performing Arts Center
100 Harrison Avenue Greensburg, PA 15601
What: Booksigning and Sales

In addition to me and my books, there will be over 40 other authors there including IYWM’s guest author, Diana Rowland, and guest editor Sandra Kasturi, co-publisher of ChiZine Publications. Authors also donate books to a giant book-basket which is raffled off at the end of the evening, so you could walk away with a huge pile of books!!

 

Cara Recommends: Martha Wells

cara recommends

Whenever anyone asks “who is your favorite author?” it’s pretty much impossible to answer. My favorite depends on a lot of things, like what book I just finished and whether or not I’m tired of bros in epic fantasy at the moment or not. So I decided to just pick an author that I consistently adore and make that person my go-to answer.

That author is Martha Wells. I have been in love with her work since the mid-nineties when I first discovered The Element of Fire at my local library.

elementThe Element of Fire (the original cover is pictured on the left–she has since gotten the rights back and republished it with a different cover) was the first adult fantasy book I read that took place in a non-medieval-inspired era. Something about the very first scene in the book, when magic collides with flintlock pistols and rapiers, has stuck with me my entire life. This book and the other titles in the Ile-Rien series are at least partially responsible for my MFA thesis being set in a secondary world that is approximately at the same technological stage as the Fay of Skye books (late Victorian).

The later Ile-Rien books take place in exactly that turn-of-the century-esque time period, with Death of the Necromancer having a very 1890s feel (including a Sherlock Holmes/Dr. Watson team, although they are *not* the main characters). The Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy is set in more of a 1910’s era, with the grown daughter of the main characters from Death. I may or may not be planning to do the same thing at the end of the Fay of Skye series…

Murderbot1One of the great things about Martha Wells is her versatility as a writer. She writes both fantasy and science fiction, including a recent “Hard SF” turn with the Murderbot Diaries, a novella series published by Tor.com. The cover for All Systems Red is off to the left there, and it’s a great story. It follows a cyborg security officer that has hacked its “governor module” and is now aware–and spends all of its free time watching TV shows, particularly soap operas. I stayed up way too late one night to finish this in one sitting.

Wells also has tie-in books to SF properties such as Stargate and Star Wars. Her Princess Leia book, Razor’s Edge, is my absolute definitive Leia in print, even though it’s now classed as a “Legends” title.

Her Books of the Raksura fall somewhere between SF and fantasy. They are amazing and depict a culture very different from ours, which skews the books more alien/SF, but they also include elements that are borderline magical. Still, hard-to-classify genre mashups are my bread-and-butter, so I don’t mind in the slightest.

Hard-to-classify aspects aside, the Raksura books are great adventure stories, and they do a fantastic job of transporting the reader to a far-off world that is nothing like our own.

wheeloftheinfiniteNew300Another great thing about Martha Wells is that she can do stand-alone novels just as well as books in a series. Her Wheel of the Infinite is my go-to title when I’m trying to bring people over to the fantasy dark side. It’s a one-shot with gods and goddesses, a middle-aged heroine, romance, danger, river pirates, a possessed puppet, actors, and an ancient civilization based roughly on the cultures of southeast Asia. It’s an amazing book that packs quite a lot into a single title. The best part is the main character, Maskelle. I love her attitude and her view of the world. She has made mistakes and become jaded and ostracized from her community, but they are going to need her–and she has to learn and grow to find her way back to them–if their world is going to survive.

This is the artwork for the original cover, inspired by mandalas, an important aspect of the plot:

wheelinfinitelarge

If you’re looking for a place to start with Martha Wells and you like fantasy, Wheel of the Infinite is where I would recommend you go.

If SF is more your thing, try Murderbot or the first book in the Raksura series, The Cloud Roads.

Also, if you are headed to World Fantasy in Texas this year, she’s going to be the guest of honor! I unfortunately could not afford to travel that far this year, so I will not be attending, but if you see her, say hi from me!

Do you have a favorite author? Or a “consistently excellent” author that you always love? Let me know in the comments!

Cover Reveal: Shattered

Shattered with coffee 02Coming 9/12/17
from Terra Publishing
SHATTERED
Memoirs of an Amnesiac
by A.E. Hayes


“You’ve been captive far too long,” she whispered. “So I’m releasing you.”

The universe was bathed in white light, and as I touched the azure and ruby stars dancing above my head, the crack within me split and fractured into madness.

I felt the shatter. But I was powerless to stop it.”

Shattered features a mixture of nonfiction and creative nonfiction stories about Hayes’ real-life experiences with a traumatic brain injury that caused retrograde amnesia, as well as the events prior to and following the event. However–is the internal shatter she experienced really due to the amnesia, or due to something else? That is what Shattered aims to reveal.


AEHAYES HEADSHOT

A.E. Hayes is a published author who has been writing since she was about four years old. She has been featured under various pseudonyms (Manda L. Earp, Mandi Hayes, Amanda Earp, and as a ghostwriter) in myriad anthologies, poetry collections, music magazines, and newspapers. She is currently finishing her 6th novel, On Common Ground, as well as working on a collection of supernatural stories for an anthology titled “The Eynes Anthology.”

She studied English and Writing at Hood College, where she earned her B.A., and later studied Fiction Writing at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. A.E. resides in Maryland with her husband and son, and when she isn’t writing or singing (or doing both at the same time), she spends her time drinking far too much coffee, logging miles by pacing around the living room floor in order to make her Fitbit happy, studying the violin, teaching children the joys of music theory, pretending to be a Cylon, talking about Battlestar Galactica when people don’t know what a Cylon actually is, and plotting ideas for several new projects (which usually happens during her living room pacing time).

You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, or her website aehayes.com, where she is likely to be ranting about something on a daily basis.



Side note from Cara–this is my 75th post on this blog! I feel like I should do something fun to celebrate, but if my calculations are correct, I should hit 100 right about the time that book 4 releases, so I’ll save the big celebration for then.

Convention Report: Balticon

IMG_3072[1]

I had a lovely time over Memorial Day weekend at Balticon, the Maryland Regional Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention. The link there goes to the 2017 Balticon, but if you go to balticon.org you will be redirected to whatever the current year is.

Balticon technically starts on Friday, but my Friday included being interviewed by Focus on Fantasy Romance (see the video here), so I didn’t show up at the convention until Saturday morning.

The first thing I did was check in to the Broad Universe table in the dealer’s room, drop off my books, and sign up for a few hours “broadening” the table (thanks to one of my fellow Broads for that one–sadly I can’t remember who!). I also said hi to some friends, and then headed off to attend a panel on cover design.

I already knew most of the things discussed in the panel (which isn’t to say that I execute any or all of those things well/perfectly!), but I did learn something new about fonts and textures (or rather, when not to use special effects), so that was valuable.

I then went to a series of panels about podcasting and audiobook narration. You might be able to guess (and you would be right!) that there’s a reason for my interest. I haven’t finalized all of the details, but I am planning to start a monthly podcast either this month or next month, depending on how quickly I can get things up and running. I plan to use the material from my romance pet peeves and sex and romance blog series as most of the initial fodder, but I am also going to open it up to any questions about writing, books, publishing, or anything else you’d like to hear me talk about!

The next thing on my agenda was the Rapid Fire Reading with Broad Universe.

Each author had about 4 minutes to introduce their material and read. I was the only one who picked a passage short enough to stop before the moderator cut me off, which was nice because I got to end on a dramatic note. (I read the first scene from Memories of Magic, up until the point were Olivia opens her eyes).

On Sunday, I spent most of my time hanging out in the Dealer’s Room with the Broads, chatting with passersby about books and other things. I also caught another panel about podcasting (this one talked about crowdfunding, specifically through Patreon, which is something I’ve been considering for a while anyway). After the panels were done, I got to go to dinner and chat with some writer friends, which was fantastic.

On Monday, I once again spent most of my day in the Dealer’s Room. I only left to chow in the con suite and to check out J.L. Gribble’s reading. But, I sold a book, so that was the highlight of the convention for me. Sadly none of the authors sold much at our table–or anywhere else in the Dealer’s Room. All of the vendors complained at the low sales this year. But I don’t mind–that was one sale I didn’t have before!

So in all, a great convention. Next time I’ll either stay in the hotel or find someplace closer to sleep so that I can attend more early and late panels.

Leave me a comment about what you’d like to hear on a podcast, or send me a message on Twitter or Facebook. If you want to hear about it, I want to talk about it!

Romance Pet Peeves: The “Other Woman”

Romance Pet Peeves - The Other Woman

If there’s one thing I can’t stand in romances, it’s when only the heroine gets to have a happy, fulfilling sex life and all other women are trashy sluts. That just feeds into a patriarchal view where a woman’s sex life belongs to her husband–where she’s allowed to feel desire, but only as long as it’s carefully defined and limited to a set of arbitrary circumstances that change depending on who you talk to. Women who feel desire outside of those imaginary boundaries are lesser, and deserve scorn and repudiation.

Of course not every romance writer goes to this extreme, but frequently the “other woman”–usually the hero’s ex–is portrayed as a villain. She’s manipulative, uses sex and seduction to get things from men, is catty and rude, can’t let go of the hero, and is a total slut-bitch-whore-etc.

And that’s bullshit.

You can probably tell that this subject riles me up, so let me tone it down a bit before I go full-fledged rant.

Here’s the thing about being sex-positive. I don’t degrade anyone for choosing to have sex. Or not to have sex. That includes anyone who prefers uncomplicated physical relationships that may only last as long as a single encounter–as long as they’re always honest and upfront with their partners and practice safe sex. I don’t judge you if you’ve had a thousand lovers, or none. That’s your choice, and I respect your right to do whatever you want with your body as long as you aren’t hurting anyone else.

But in traditional M/F romance, there’s this tendency to want to have our cake and eat it, too. We “need” a strong, virile hero who has bedded hundreds of women and become an exquisite lover (and don’t even get me started on sexual double-standards for men). We also “need” a reason for him to stop living his wild and carefree lifestyle and settle down. And here’s the thing. Writing that resolution takes hard work. You have to carefully craft your characters and their conflict so that the lovers end up discovering truths about themselves and love by being together. You have to make them work as a couple.

This is a very, very hard thing to do. What’s easier is to make the heroine look good by making the hero’s exes look bad.

This depiction of the wanton former (sometimes current) lover/mistress is particularly pernicious and prevalent in historical romance, where, for better or worse, I have at least one foot (the other is firmly in fantasy romance). Authors in this genre sometimes take the easy route and establish said woman as a coarse, fleshy (they’re always well-endowed–as if to say that all fat women are sluts), whiny, and demanding bitch who refuses to accept that her lover has moved on and plots to get him back–usually by harming the heroine.

And of course, the blushing virgin heroines espouse what the writer believes was the prevailing belief of the day, deriding the easy/loose/whorish women that their rakish lovers bedded before finding true love between their untouched thighs. But as Lani Diane Rich says, “reality is no defense for fiction.” Even if a sheltered, well-brought-up young woman would have had a negative reaction to meeting her husband’s former lover, that doesn’t mean the author has to agree with her.

Sometimes, the writers are good enough to then slap the heroine in the face with the reality of those women. Yes, there are a few nasties, but there are just as many, if not more, mean and awful women in the “pure” upper classes. In the best books, the former mistress is played not as an object of revulsion (or pity) nor as a prospective villainess, but just as a woman, doing what she needs to do to survive in a world built to keep her at heel.

In contemporary romance, there isn’t even the excuse of history (which is a flimsy excuse anyway). Just don’t go there, writers. We call people who make themselves look good by putting other people down bullies. Don’t bully your characters for the sake of your hero and heroine. Do a better job writing the romance so your lovers don’t need a negative comparison to prop up their characterization.

/end rant

Cara Reads Memories Chapter One!

Memories of Magic 09.1

For Memories of Magic’s release day party, I made a special YouTube video of me reading the first chapter of the book. I am not actually on the video–I recorded the audio and then used the book’s cover as a still image. So it’s almost more like a podcast.

I didn’t do any accents (I am intimidated by accents!), and there are some coughs and fumbles that I didn’t manage to edit out, plus a weird buzzing that I assume has something to do with an equipment problem but I don’t know enough to figure out what. Otherwise, though, I think this turned out fairly well. I’m even talking with A.E. Hayes (who did the live video with me on Facebook for the Crazy Little Spring Called Love release) about starting a monthly podcast.

Check out the video. I hope you enjoy it!

 


PS–tonight, several of the authors of Crazy Little Spring Called Love will be interviewed by Focus on Fantasy Romance, a weekly vlog about all things magical and romantic!

Check it out:

Focus on Fantasy Romance YouTube Channel and Website

Memories of Magic Book Soundtrack Addendum

book-soundtracks
While doing revisions on Memories of Magic, I had an epiphany.

Several of the songs on Lindsey Stirling’s new album Brave Enough caught my attention and went into my favorite song playlist, but the one in particular that I’ve been listening to on repeat is “Where Do We Go?”

 

Note–Lindsey Stirling makes epic music videos. If she makes one of this song, I’ll replace this with the official video. Until then, this is just the audio with her album cover.

Anyway, I couldn’t figure out what it was about this song that was getting inside my head until I was working on my revisions and trying to “up the stakes” for Olivia. There was already a thread in the book that things are not going well for her in her career, but the way I’d written it, she still had steady work and expected to turn things around any day. And then I realized that I was going too easy on her, and so I changed things. Now, the project that she’s working on is her last chance at making a go of her career. If this fails, she’s going to have to give up.

And that’s where the song comes in. Because now, it fits. Early in the book, circumstances force Olivia away from the project, tearing away her last chance, and now she has to ask herself: Who am I without my career, and where do I go now?

“Where do we go when our prayers are answered but the answer is no?”

Memories of Magic 09.1

Memories of Magic is now available! Buy it here:

Memories of Magic

Memories of Magic 09 print

eBook

trade paperback (links coming soon)

Amazon | CreateSpace | B & N | Ingram

Memories of Magic releases today!!

Normally I do a whole series of blog posts leading up to a release, but in my haste to get this book out to all of you, I scheduled this release only three weeks after the spring romance anthology, and I am, honestly, worn out. So I am going to take a break for a week or so, and then do my Memories-themed blogs in June. Look for blogs about history, anthropology, Hinduism (or at least the version of it that exists in my world, which is simply called Sutra), and my struggle with writing a non-gender-conforming but femme-skewing heroine who also doesn’t have access to twenty-first century terminology or non-gendered pronouns.

Thank you to everyone who is taking this journey with me and Clan Fay and its members! If all goes well, I plan to spend the next few months researching and then writing book four (title to be revealed soon!).

Keep reading for an excerpt from Olivia and Savit’s first meeting!

EXCERPT FROM MEMORIES OF MAGIC

Olivia rose from her chair and walked back to the parlor. Sorcha followed.

Everyone had clumped together around the new arrival, greeting him informally instead of following the more rigid rules of social introduction that her mother had always preferred. Olivia was glad to see Etta didn’t stand on ceremony, even with outsiders.

And then Liv saw Dr. Reilly and heat rose from her core, sending waves of desire tingling along every nerve ending in her body.

Dr. Alexander Reilly was gorgeous.

Not gorgeous in the same way as most of the male lovers she’d taken in the past, many of whom had been student laborers from universities on the Continent and bulky with muscle from digging. In many ways, he reminded her more of her last female lover, who had been slender and had stunning, well-defined features. He was beautiful, compact and slim, and only a little taller than her brother, but with nearly-black hair that curled at the ends, eyes dark as a moonless night, and skin a shade darker than Etta’s.

She had to suppress a very inconvenient desire to go and proposition him as she might a man met on her travels.

This was Dr. Reilly, the bane of her academic existence. She’d just skewered him in all but name in the last edition of Walking the Past, the premiere archaeological and historical journal in the United Kingdom.

So why was her pulse still racing, and why did her fingers itch to tangle themselves in his mass of black curls? She closed her hands into fists. She’d promised herself: no more mixing work and sex, and certainly no sleeping with the enemy.

~*~

Savit shook Ronan’s hand, then Malcolm Seward’s, and finally Etta Cook-Fay’s. He was a little surprised to shake a woman’s hand, and even more surprised when Ronan casually mentioned that she was married to Malcolm and was, by the way, the Duchess of Fay.

The woman looked nothing like his preconceived notions of a duchess. In fact, she looked more like his memories of his mother, with warm brown skin, brown eyes, and black hair. The only difference was a wide streak of opalescent silver that matched the one arching through her husband’s red-brown hair, and eyes that appeared slightly slanted above high cheekbones.

Her magic felt nothing like his mother’s, though. Hers was the deep pine of a forest, mixed with the scent of fresh-tilled earth and the taste of honeysuckle and salt. His mother’s had been jungle-hot, a mix of lotus and lily.

He released her hand, and her expression changed, becoming more assessing. She’d been testing his magic even as he experienced hers. She said nothing, but he altered his first impression of her immediately. She’d been informal, almost casual, but she was not a woman to be underestimated or dismissed. She might not match his imagined picture of a duchess, but the title and the power it held rooted her like a banyan tree. What had she determined in her survey? Did she find him lacking?

Ronan drew Savit’s attention away from the duchess. He had taken the hand of a very short, very voluptuous woman with pale blonde hair. He presented her as his wife, Sorcha Fay. Apparently the Fay women did not take their husbands’ names in marriage.

And then Savit saw the other woman, and such insignificant thoughts fled.

She was magnificent. From her tanned skin and heart-shaped face, to the toned body that spoke of an active lifestyle, to her tailored clothes that only barely edged over into femininity, he found her attractive, although a little thin and haggard, as though she’d recently been ill. But for that beauty to be crowned with such hair was a wonder and a delight.

Shorn shorter than he’d ever seen on a woman, her hair was no single color. Instead, the shining mass was caught somewhere between purest white, silver, and opal. Each individual strand would have been the crowning glory of a seashell, and put pearls to shame.

And even still, all of this only attracted him in a pleasant, aesthetic sort of way. There was something else underneath, an energy and a pulse of awareness, that roused his flesh, his mind, and his spirit all at once.

The flesh was easy to ignore; he’d not remained celibate for years now without learning to control his baser lusts. But the arousal of his mind and spirit was far more difficult to ignore.

Then Ronan said her name. Olivia Seward.

Olivia Seward? His shoulders shifted backward in a tiny, unconscious movement, pushing his chest out. He didn’t believe in coincidences, and Oliver Seward had been running a campaign to have him discredited now for almost six months.

Savit held out his hand. With a tiny hint of a smile, she took it.

Magic flared between them. He experienced her gift with a befuddled sort of wonder. She was all dust, leather, and bone, a mix of old books and the storage rooms where his college kept antiques and specimens. But cutting through these familiar scents was a refreshing flavor of peppermint.

Up close, he could see her eyes were hazel: a mix of greens and golds and greys and browns. Her mouth was formed with generous lips, and her jaw had a stubborn, deliberate line. Beneath the severe tailoring of her coat, her breasts rose and fell, too quickly for her not to be experiencing the same desire as he did.

He wanted her. Again his blood began to heat, his heart tripping into a faster rhythm. His cock stirred. Her lips parted, and she exhaled. Warmth settled in his chest as he pulled her breath into his lungs. As though he could make her part of himself.

He yanked his hand away and brought his body back under control. He could not do this. Must not give in to his physical desires. They clouded his thoughts, and his magic.

Once he’d calmed the raging beast within him, he recognized what else he had felt in her, mixed in with magic and desire.

Animosity.

She was definitely Oliver Seward. Even if he was tempted to break his ascetic vows for the gorgeous woman—which he most definitely was not—he would never do so for the scathing author of “How Anthropology Fails to Uphold the Basic Tenets of the Scientific Method.”

He deliberately turned his back on her.

© 2017 Cara McKinnon

If you enjoyed this taste of Memories of Magic, click below to get your copy!

eBook

trade paperback (LINKS COMING SOON)

Amazon | CreateSpace | B & N | Ingram

 

Character Interviews from Crazy Little Spring Called Love

Crazy Little Spring Called Love


After interrogating our Crazy Little Spring Called Love authors about their writing habits and stories, we asked them to turn the spotlight on their characters. The responses are sometimes straightforward, and sometimes silly, but always entertaining!

For more interviews and information about the blog tour, check out the blog tour landing page on starsandstonebooks.com.


INTERVIEW #5

Subjects: Rena, Duke, and Nate from Elsa Carruther’s story Welded

Spring 17 Interior Image EC F.1Question: Do you have any special skills? Describe one.

RENA: I can weave spells into my welds.

DUKE: I take photos that reveal the past.

NATE: I am good at tracking people down.

Question: What is the one thing you want most? Why do you want it, and what would you do if you got it?

RENA: I want to be safe.

DUKE: I want to be a good person.

NATE: I want to find meaning and happiness.

Question: Be honest. How do you feel about Love?

RENA: I don’t think I need it.

DUKE: I want to fall in love and start a family, but I’ll never admit it out loud.

NATE: I think I’ve already found it; I just have to convince them.


INTERVIEW #6

Subjects: Pennora and Edward from Sheri Queen’s The Girl with a Broken WingSheri

Question: Do you have any special skills? Describe one.

PENNORA: I used to have the ability to help bring about spring blooms and new growth. That was before my accident and when I could fly. Now, I’m just the Matchmaker’s lame assistant sent off to find a human whose name ended up on her list. But after seeing this guy in person, well, I can say that even being a lowly assistant has its perks.

EDWARD: I never thought I had any special talent. I’m pretty much obsessed with making clockwork creatures, particularly ones with wings. I’ve had this thing about wings ever since I saw a fairy when I was a kid. Then Pennora entered my life, and I see things differently. Maybe I do have a special talent. Maybe I can help her, if she’ll let me.

Question: What is the one thing you want most? Why do you want it, and what would you do if you got it?

PENNORA: I just want to be me again. You know–normal. If I could have my wing back the way it was, I could be a harbinger of Spring again, and be certain of my place on the Matchmaker’s list. But look at me, that’s not going to happen.

EDWARD: I have to have Rowan wood to get out of a debt my father owed before he died. Once I have that I would be free to do anything I wanted.

Question: Be honest. How do you feel about Love?

PENNORA: Love doesn’t happen for crippled fairies. Old magic is fortified when strong bonds are made between mates. My chances of that happening are pretty slim. And if Edward’s name is accepted on the Matchmaker’s list, how would someone like me get matched with him? I don’t even know if my name is still on the list. Love sucks.

EDWARD: I’m a recluse. My world is my clockwork. Love? I’m not looking for it to happen.


INTERVIEW #7

Subjects: Leora and Reed from Cara McKinnon’s story Love at Dawn

CaraQuestion: Do you have any special skills? Describe one.

LEORA: I’m not sure if a thorough understanding of fluid dynamics is a special skill, but that’s all I’ve got. I’m also a competent healer, and I’d like to be able to train more in that discipline–if a certain someone wasn’t in my way.

REED: I’m a surgeon, but while that’s a necessary skill and I’m good at it, I’m not sure I would call it “special.” My special skill seems to be annoying Leora, but I have no idea why.

Question: What is the one thing you want most? Why do you want it, and what would you do if you got it?

LEORA: To be a healer. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do, since I was little and helped out in my father’s surgery. It makes me feel necessary and truly a part of my community to help heal the sick and injured. And something about the human body just makes sense to me. I can tell what needs to be done to fix it when it’s broken. If I got to be a healer, some empty part of me would be filled. But it’s never going to happen, because *someone* picked the job before I could. I’ll never forgive him for that.

REED: Leora. Not that she’s a thing. I should say that I want to be with Leora, because I’ve been in love with her for years. But she hates me, and I don’t know why, so I can’t even imagine what it would be like if we actually got together.

Question: Be honest. How do you feel about Love?

LEORA: Love is a beautiful thing. Our society is built on the foundation of our patron god and goddess’s love for each other, and we’re taught that all living things are worthy of respect and care. But if you mean romantic love–so far, I haven’t really experienced it. I’ve had a crush on one guy forever, but he has never looked at me that way. So I don’t know what to think about it.

REED: It’s a nuisance to love someone and know that your presence riles her up. But on the other hand, she doesn’t go out of her way to avoid me, so maybe she likes our daily shouting match. I’ll admit it gets my blood heated up to see her snarling and her eyes sparking. One of these days I’m going to kiss her just to see what happens. If I could have Leora in my life and in my bed, I might just change my opinion about love.


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