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Monday, April 29, 2013

Ending a Series



They say time flies when you’re having fun. I can’t believe how the time has flown since I started writing SWITCHED back in the 1990s. After rejections from several New York publishers, SWITCHED found a home in 2001 with ImaJinn, a new niche publisher of paranormal romance.

SWITCHED started with a “what if . . .” as so many stories do. What if a young woman was abducted by aliens? What if those aliens (many of whom looked human) had been studying us as a primitive species? What if an unethical scientist had separated Terran twins before birth to study their behavior? What if one of those twins, raised on an alien planet, wanted to find her biological family on Earth and accidentally switched places with her identical twin?

I didn’t set out to write a series. I just wanted to tell a story of the Earth twin who ended up on a starship and fell in love with the captain. As I wrote Jessie’s story, her twin who had been raised in a restrictive society intrigued me. They were such opposites. Many environment did have the greatest impact on one’s personality. Before fans asked when Veronese’s story was coming out, I’d already started writing her story.

Life’s circumstances prevented the publication of SWITCHED, TOO until last June. I wanted to tell Veronese’s story in space plus what was happening on Earth to Jessie and her captain, a victim of the same experiment as Jessie and Veronese. In order to stay on Earth, the captain switched places with his twin, a NASA reject. By the time I realized wrapping up those two stories would make the book way too long, I knew a third book was necessary. 

That’s how SWITCHED RESOLUTION came about. True love never runs smooth. Doubt and insecurities are bad enough, but what if villains planned more dastardly deeds? What if . . . Well, you get the picture.

For over fifteen years, the characters—those on Earth and on the alien starship—became as familiar as if they were part of my life. Okay, my imaginary life. LOL Like most authors who write a series, especially one with a cast of characters, I had to keep everybody straight. Some writers call it a “bible”—I called my files “details” and “characters.” Real original, huh? But if I didn’t, sharp-eyed readers would call me on it.

I had a blast writing the series. While I love Jessie and Marcus, Veronese and Scott, Drakus and . . . well, all of them, it’s time to let them go. I’m saddened, as if moving away from dear friends, but they’re on their own now to live their own lives. Will I return to that world? I don’t think so. But . . . You never know when the “what ifs” will start up again.

I hope you enjoy SWITCHED RESOLUTION. 

Come on back here next Monday for the launch.

Here’s a first time ever excerpt:

Something was very wrong.
Lilliam Cabbeferron had returned to Spacedock to retrieve her dress uniform from her quarters aboard ship. She never needed it during shore leave on Serenia before. But Space Fleet Command had just ordered the entire crew of the Freedom to serve as General Porcazier’s honor guard at the next day’s opening ceremonies of their Founders’ Day Celebration.
As she walked down the deserted corridors on Freedom’s Secondary Level, she had the strangest feeling. The ship felt . . . different.
It wasn’t unusual to find no one about, at least on this level. The Maintenance and Repair crew had come aboard immediately after the Freedom docked earlier that day at Serenia Space Station Alpha. The M & R crew would be in the tail of the ship overhauling the engines. The Janitorial crew usually started on Primary Level of the main section, saving Engineering for last as they thoroughly cleaned the ship, literally, from top to bottom.
She’d thought it odd to find the main ramp and airlock to the ship barricaded but assumed the Janitorial crew had finished that area and didn’t want the night M & R crew to traipse through when they arrived to relieve the day crew. Someone should have put up a sign.
Having been aboard the Freedom for three tours, she knew other ways to enter without disturbing the workers who would be very irritated if they had to leave their work just to open the airlock for her. However, that meant she had to retrace her steps down the docking bay and around to another near the ship’s shuttle bay, but Lilliam preferred to avoid conflict.
The Freedom had just returned after six months of war, followed by three weeks of sabotage from an unknown terrorist. Conflict avoidance seemed like a precious and rare commodity—something she hadn’t always done. But then she’d put that part of her life behind her when she reinvented herself and joined Alliance Space Fleet.
In her quarters, she retrieved her uniform. While looking for her Lerossian insignia and her Alliance commendation pins, a source of immense pride, she heard the main engine power up. Although she had never come aboard before during refit, she supposed it wasn’t unusual to test the engine during routine maintenance while in Spacedock.
Lilliam checked the chronometer on her link. Planning to meet friends at a small cafe not far from the Spaceport terminal, she didn’t want to be late. Since shuttles regularly transported people down to the surface, she shouldn’t have a problem. Still, as soon as she left her quarters she hurried down one corridor then another. One of her shipmates likened the midsection, where the majority of the crew had their quarters, to a maze. On her first tour, she’d frequently gotten lost. With the conveyance to the shuttle bay still a distance away, she quickened her step.
Ten meters from the main corridor, she heard the conveyance open and the automated voice say, “Secondary Level.”
The conveyance was another fifteen meters down the main corridor and around a curve. With little time to reach it, she started to run. Suddenly, a sense of warning came over her and she stopped. That’s when she heard the voices. Stygian voices.
How unusual for Stygians to be on Alpha Station’s M & R or Janitorial crew, especially with tension running high between Serenia and Stygia.
“I don’t see why we have to search this level,” a male said. “Let those other two do it.”
“They’re searching Primary Level. This is our job.” Another male.
Lilliam’s specialty in xenolinguistics enabled her to understand him and his companion without the aid of a universal translator. For some odd reason, the tiny device that the crew wore behind their ears irritated her skin. If not for her training in languages, she would have had to wear an earpiece even bulkier than the device she wore when on duty, which enabled her to receive communication from outside the ship.
“But that warning about a maleferrus leak already cleared the ship.”
Lilliam’s heart jolted before she remembered the Freedom didn’t carry that deadly gas.
“Yeah. Did you see how fast those guys left Engineering?”
“Not as fast as the cleaning crew. Kabosec had a good idea.”
Wait a second. Kabosec? Lilliam had heard that name before. He was one of the captured rebels.
The voices grew faint as the men entered rooms. Lilliam debated what to do. They were in the main corridor. Between her and the conveyance.
“I don’t see why we’re doing this?” The male must be back in the main corridor—out so quickly he could only have done a cursory check. “The ship is empty except for us.”
“You heard Hervimb. She ordered every level checked. If you ask me, she should be in charge, not that Serenian.”
Now Lilliam knew something was very wrong. Captain Viator had incarcerated Hervimb—that traitorous fem—along with the rest of the captured rebels. She couldn’t be giving orders.
Lilliam backed around a corner. A beep from a general comm speaker above her head made her jump. It signaled a ship-wide broadcast.
“Engineering, are all systems ready for departure?” That sounded like Science Officer Xaropa.
“Aye, Captain.” The gravelly voice—not Chief Luqett’s—sounded like a Fleurian male. Even odder than Stygian searchers because Fleurians never worked on Serenian vessels.
Hold on. The Fleurian said Captain Xaropa. Surely Space Fleet Command hadn’t demoted Captain Viator because of his detour to Earth. Then another thought occurred. How odd that Mr. Xaropa was leaving Serenia when the entire crew was supposed to be at the opening ceremonies in a few hours. The celebration was part of his Serenian heritage.
If the ship was preparing to depart Spacedock, she had to get off without the Stygians seeing her. Maybe she could go back through the maze of quarters, circle around and reach the conveyance from the other direction. As she dithered, she heard Mr. Xaropa say, “Clear all moorings” followed by the release of the latches that attached the starship to the Space Station.
“Captain, I told you the bio-scanner is not working. My people haven’t made sure the ship is cleared.” That came from Hervimb, the Freedom’s former Security Chief. The traitor.
An icy chill raced down Lilliam’s spine. By the stars, Hervimb had escaped. She and the rest of the rebels.
“Continue the search once we’re underway," Xaropa said. "If you find anyone, push them out an airlock and let them float home.”

6 comments:

  1. It is always sad to let characters go that have been with you for awhile. They really do feel like old friends, don't they? But then, of course, you meet new friends with stories to tell!

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    1. Thanks, Alyssa. The new friends have been clamoring for me to tell their stories for months!

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  2. Must be so bittersweet to end this series. Next on my to-read pile. Can't wait to dig in! :)

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    1. Thanks, Jess. Bittersweet is a good way to describe how it feels. Happy for a new release but . . .

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  3. Congrats on your wonderful series. It is hard to leave favorite characters behind. Do you have anything new planned or coming up after this series wrapped?

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    1. Thanks, Melissa. Next week, I'll start the edits on a romantic suspense for The Wild Rose Press. Plus I'm writing another book in the Outer Rim series.

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