Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Welcome My Latest Guest: Catherine E. McLean!

I want to welcome author Catherine E. McLean. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

I'm a wife and mother, who has ridden and exhibited Morgan Sport Horses. I'm an avid clothing and costume designer, an award-winning amateur photographer, a 4-H leader, and a Red Hatter who loves bling.

Living on a farm nestled among the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains of Western Pennsylvania, I write "starscape fiction"—fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal stories—where I (and a reader) can escape to other worlds for adventure and romance.

Tell us about your latest release.

Love, vengeance, attempted murder, and a bomb…No reason to panic.

That line lets readers know HEARTS AKILTER is a lighthearted fantasy/sci-fi romance. The setting is a space station, one that doesn't orbit any planet but is near a jump portal that leads to Earth's Star Colonies.

The story is about people. Marlee is a pragmatic robotics maintenance tech and Deacon is a bomb expert. Then there's Henry (the cute little robot), who is evolving into and A.I. (Artificial Intelligence). Henry works exclusively in sickbay, and when he has pains in his chest, he complains to Marlee that he's having a heart attack.

Well, robots don't have hearts, and when Marlee investigates, she finds a bomb. Because of who Marlee suspects put the explosive in the robot, Marlee decides to secretly contact a bomb expert, one Deacon Black, and get him to diffuse the bomb.

Trouble is, someone is trying to kill Deacon. When he sets a trap to reveal his would-be assassin, he nabs Marlee instead. He's immediately intrigued by her refreshingly forthright and gutsy attitude— okay, so he's smitten. But Marlee has recently sworn off men, especially handsome ones with boy-next-door grins.

In essence, HEARTS AKILTER is about her heart, his heart, and a robot's nonexistent heart. A quick-paced, smile-of-a-read.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?  

Topping my list is the Sheriff Of Nottingham (as played by Alan Rickman  who also played Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series). I liked him in both roles for his sexy black attire, his deep voice, and his facial expressions (or lack thereof). And, especially, because of the seriousness of both roles and the sudden Wow! factors that pop up when either interacted with others.

The Sheriff's wow factor include  'funny-punny' lines at unexpected moments, which made me laugh.
Then there's straight-faced Snape who could put in a deep-throated zinger that shocked and sank home a point. Or scared one witless.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

Adrada, the Archangel of Departed Souls, who has gigantic golden wings edged with mournful purple feathers. Why? Because he slipped into my mind when I was trying to figure out a murder premise for a contest. That bantering between the piece's narrator and Adrada won me the contest, and my first published, lighthearted sci-fi piece.

Since Adrada came on-stage, so to speak, he's been either a key player or a bit player in most of my stories. He was prominent in my paranormal fantasy romance, KARMA AND MAYHEM, but he's not in HEARTS AKILTER.

3.) What genre do you write in? What made you pick that one?

It wasn't a matter of picking a genre as much as following my heart and of telling tales of love among the stars and in the days of tomorrow. For a long time, I didn't know what genre my stories fit into other than to call them sci-fi space opera. Then in the latter 1990's, I discovered futuristics and knew it was my niche. Trouble is, by the time I got a novel polished to market, futuristics had devolved into something else. I still struggle to find others who write the old-fashioned futuristics. With recent reprints of some of the old ones (re-released by their well-known authors), another generation of readers might spark the demand for futuristic/space opera sci-fi romance.

4.) What are you working on now?

When HEARTS AKILTER's launch is over, my goal is to get back to the self-edits of LOVE UNDER LITE SPEED (a lighthearted, sci-fi / space opera romance) and submit it. This novel is a galactic brew of thieves, political intrigue, family duty, government loyalties, and saving face— where notorious privateer Sarina "Dammit" Dannon and no-nonsense government agent Aaron Cantrall find love travels under lite speed. That's not a typo. It's 'lite' speed, not light speed.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I always entertained myself with stories I created in my mind, but I didn't write them down. After all, no one ever told me I should become a writer or that I had talent for storytelling. Yet, I read a lot and I worked with wordsas a secretary and later as a journalist for a small, regional specialty publication.

Then an injury to my back made it impossible to keep working as a secretary. I would shut out the back pain by concentrating on writing novels and letting myself be swept into starscape worlds. After my husband read my work, he suggested I see if there was any merit in my writing and maybe I could make a little money with it. I found a well-known literary agent and asked him to just tell me yes or no, quit writing or go with it. The man sent me back a nine-page letter with two sheets, printed back to back, single spaced, of book titles. In essence, he said I was a storyteller, but I needed to bring the art and craft to the writing. I didn't even know there were techniques and devices that made for marketable stories. I readand studiedevery one of the craft and how-to books on his lists, then I took the Professional Writing Courses at the University of Oklahoma. That was in the early 1990's. (The program is no longer offered.) A month after completing the short story phase of the course, I sold a short story, then another, and another.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Out of thin air. That's no joke. I never lack for a topic to write about nor a storyline. I think that's because I never censure my subconscious. It can give me an idea, birth a character, tell me a scene of a possible story, and so on, at any time. But here's the deal, I will jot down whatever it is, and when I have time, I will look at it and see if I'm interested or the idea has merit. That's why I have this three-ring binder filled with "Bits & Pieces" from which to write stories. I'll never have enough lifetimes to get through all of themor the new ones that keep arriving!

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

That I never anticipated becoming a writer or an author. I never told myself that I wanted to be a writer. Why? Because I was raised to get an education, get a job, feed and clothed myself, and pay my own bills. Writing was not considered a worthwhile endeavor. And that's likely why writers are still told not to quit their day jobs. J

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I sew. Although I cannot create outfits or costumes from scratch or by using my imagination, I can duplicate what I see in history books or in pictures, or clothing catalogues. Most recently, I've been recreating Erte gowns for Darq, who is the fashion doll, avatar-heroine of my JEWELS OF THE SKY novel. Erte, by the way, is considered The Father of Art Deco (think Downton Abbey dress styles). The hard part about creating Erte fashions is that I only have paper doll illustrations to go by, but those artists don't draw in seam lines, so I have to rely on my knowledge of garment-making to duplicate outfits.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

Since I never aspired to be a writer or author, was never encouraged to pursue such a career, there was no advice offered—other than get a job, pay your bills, put food on the table, and stand on your own two feet. (Which is, nonetheless, good advice.)

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

Sorry, I cannot think of a single person or famous figure, living or dead, who I would like to meet, let alone converse with. As to fictional characters, well, that's another matter. There are so many  The Sheriff of Nottingham and Snape, Captain Kirk, Captain Picard, Mal (FIREFLY), Iron Man, James Bond, Remington Steel, Wonder Woman, Agent Peggy Carter . . .

As to what to talk about? I would ask: What would you do for true love, a life-time lasting love-of-your-life?

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

This question is just too, too funny. You see, I can't recall songs or music lyrics, carry a tune, nor play an instrument. I can't even understand the dot-flags on music sheets. I even hum off key. Being so musically challenged, I never took an interest in singers, songwriters, bands, or orchestras.  However, my husband says I don't march to the beat of any drum, I follow the wail of bagpipes. J

12.) If you could come back as any animalwhat would it be?

A Morgan Horse. Not the show ring type but a Morgan Sport Horse. They are honest, intelligent, willing, forgiving, try their best, and they don't bottom out, that is, they don't quit. I owned, rode, and drove a number of themand rode one to become a Reserve National Champion Competitive Trail Rider.



About Catherine E. McLean

Besides Catherine being a wife and mother, she has ridden and exhibited Morgan Sport Horses. She's an avid clothing and costume designer, an award-winning amateur photographer, a 4-H leader, and a Red Hatter who loves bling.

She lives on a farm nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. In the quiet of the countryside, she writes fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal stories where a reader can escape to other worlds for adventure and romance.

Her short stories have appeared in hard-copy and online anthologies and magazines. Besides having two novels published, soon to be released is her lighthearted fantasy/sci-fi romance HEARTS AKILTER. Catherine also gives writing workshops, both online and in-person. A schedule is posted at http://www.writerscheatsheets.com/workshops.html

Catherine's website for writers is http://www.WritersCheatSheets.com and she blogs at http://writerscheatsheets.blogspot.com/



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Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1I64GqK

Hearts Akilter


Love, vengeance, attempted murder, and a bomb...No reason to panic.

When a medical robot insists he's having a heart attack, Marlee Evans, a pragmatic maintenance technician, has every reason to panic. There's a bomb inside him.  Since Marlee can't risk the bomber discovering she's found the device, her only option is to kidnap Deacon Black, an unflappable bomb expert, and secretly convince him to disarm it.  Things go slightly awry when Deacon sets a trap for someone who is trying to kill him, and inadvertently captures Marlee instead.  Instantly intrigued by her refreshingly forthright and gutsy attitude, he's smitten.  Unfortunately for Deacon, Marlee recently hardened her heart and swore off men, especially handsome ones with boy-next-door grins.  But as Marlee and Deacon attempt to identify and prevent the bomber from detonating the device, they discover that love may be the most explosive force of all.

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Excerpt

HEARTS AKILTER
By Catherine E. McLean @ 2015

The bomb. Right. Dismantle the bomb. In this lift? No, that was insane. “Marlene, if the bomb goes off accidentally—”
“It’ll blow the station to kingdom come?”
He nodded.
“Not to worry.”
She said that with such nonchalance that he found himself speechless. He cleared his throat. “Why not? Did you snatch the portable Bomb Disposal Unit, too?”
“Better.”
“What’s better than a BDU?”
“Garbage incinerators.”
“What?” He glanced out into the darkness beyond the lift.
Giant machinery stood silhouetted and veiled in shadows. “Where are we?”
“Deck forty-three, Ring D zero three. Relax. Don’t panic.  They once accidentally incinerated a torpedo in number four, over yonder.”
She pointed to the left. “Nobody heard or felt it explode, and there wasn’t even a drail’s worth of damage done to the incinerator, or anything else.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“It happened three years ago. I was there, a deck above.
Never mind.”
Henry manipulated his finger appendage, grabbing and briefly tugging the shirt sleeve of Deacon’s good arm. “Marlee would never lie about anything so important.”
“Does she lie about unimportant things?” He instantly regretted his caustic remark.
“I do not know.” Henry spun sideways, facing Marlee. “Do you lie about unimportant things, Marlee?”
“I have been known to tell a white lie now and then to spare someone’s feelings, but on the whole—” She looked away from Henry.
As her blacker than black eyes met his gaze, Deacon felt pinned to the wall.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for featuring me and HEARTS AKILTER today.

    ReplyDelete