That person is about to join the ranks of people I don't often brag about - except today. Her name is Starla Huchton. She is a kick ass Navy wife and mom, former Navy herself, awesome cover designer, singer, podcaster, voice artist and oh yeah - she's a fantastic author.
And I get to read her stuff before anyone else because she is my writing "wife." Today marks a big day for Starla. It's cover reveal day of her soon to be published book "MAVEN," Book 1 in her new "ENDURE" series.
Background - in January Starla asked me to read this new book she had just finished. She had told me a little bit about it - something like "It takes place underwater and is sciencey." What she didn't realize was that it was so good it was impossible to put down. Strong female character, dog of a guy who is looking for redemption, family relationships, underwater labs, mystery, romance and amazing characters who are ALL well rounded. This is not a book about the main characters - it is truly an ensemble book.
Yes, I am biased. I not only read the book, I also helped her edit and acted as a sounding board for plot/characterization/cover ideas/anything else she needed to vent about so I do have skin in this game. I am emotionally attached. But those of you who know me well know that I do not brag about my stuff often. I am lousy at self marketing. This I will brag about. I am proud to have a part in this series, however small, and am looking forward to reading/editing/soundboarding books 3 and 4 (after I review the ePub of book 1 so y'all have a well formatted book to read.)
Now, onto the book and what I think about it from a somewhat objective point of view. After that, I also have a graphic of the cover and an excerpt.
The book itself is a page turner. It is a great beach read in that it reads fast and has all the required brain candy elements (action, relationships, etc.) The added benefit to this book is that it is also smart.
* It is SciFi - set in the 21st century in an underwater lab focused on exploring our oceans for everything from resources to medicinal properties to new fuels.
* It is Romance - the two main characters are both smarter than Hell, Lydia is a child prodigy who received her PhD before she was 20 and was awarded a Nobel Prize for discovering an amazing breakthrough for Alzheimers, also before she was 20. Daniel is a playboy, but he is also an IT wunderkind. There isn't a system or program he cannot master.
* It is Mystery - without giving away too much, let's just say that Lydia discovers something that could change the human race forever, and not in a good way. Unfortunately, what she discovers is based off of her research, manipulating it into a deadly force she never intended.
* It is about family relationships - Lydia is an orphan, Daniel's father is the commander, and the military force and scientific community aboard the lab become a family quickly just as any military base/ship etc. becomes a family with the good, the bad and the ugly all rolled up in one.
* It is political - the lab is a U.N. sanctioned lab funded by private corporations. Yes, this is looking at how our politics may evolve in the future - something I like to call Social Science Fiction.
Starla is just playing up the SciFi/Romance aspect of the series, but I think anyone who likes any of the five areas I just described will love the book. No, it will not be for everyone. But if you like the first page, you probably won't come up for air until you finish.
Now for the cover and the excerpt. Links to purchase will come out as soon as the book launches on June 3, 2013. Enjoy!
"Yeah, there's one or two of the guys you'll want to avoid here, but..." Cordy stopped mid-sentence, staring at something over Lydia's shoulder. "What is he doing here?"
Curious, Lydia rotated to see who she was talking about. She immediately regretted it. Daniel Brewer locked in on her like a homing beacon and strode across room to her table. "Crap," she muttered when she turned back.
"And he would be one of those.” Cordelia smirked. "Good luck." She stood, lifting her tray of dishes.
Lydia's panic level rose. "You're leaving?"
Cordelia shrugged. "Hate to abandon you, but I've got a call scheduled at 1845 I can't miss. I expect a full report on this later, however." She grinned and headed for the exit.
Lydia willed her hands to be still and her breathing calm. Her throat was scratchy and dry, but she didn't trust she could pick up her glass of water without spilling it everywhere.
"You're a difficult woman to track down," Daniel said as he plopped down on the bench across from her.
Not difficult enough, she thought to herself. "It's dinner time. People usually eat around now. Or are you skipping meals again?" She fought back a flinch, realizing what she gave away.
His eyebrows lifted, but he didn't comment on the remark. "I see you were talking with Ms. Orietti. Interesting choice in friends."
She sniffed. "I hardly think you're qualified to judge. My personal life aside, did you hunt me down for a reason?"
"I saw your request."
Lydia feigned surprise. "The one I sent at 1700? I assumed you wouldn't see that until whatever time it is you remember to go to work in the morning."
He frowned. "Despite what you think, I actually work quite a bit. My regular hours extend until 1900, and then I'm on call until 0700. I take breaks for meals, of course, but I have several high level projects going on at any given time."
"Of course.” She swallowed. Perhaps she had crossed the line a bit with that last one. "That was uncalled for. I apologize. What did you come to ask me, Mr. Brewer?"
"You can call me Daniel," he said, his grin returning.
It was easy to see why he was so popular with women, but that he still thought that was going to work rankled her. She steeled herself. "Mr. Brewer," she said, standing and lifting her tray. “It's been a very long day, so if there's a business matter you wanted to discuss..."
He kept pace with her as she crossed the room to dump her dishes. From her peripheral vision, she saw several heads turn to follow their progress. “Well, I thought we could discuss the specific project needs you have and do some outlining so I can show you my skills.” He winked at her.
The subtle emphasis he placed on the word caused her to miss a step. "I'm sorry, did you just..."
"What?" Daniel looked at her, the picture of innocence.
Lydia sighed and kept walking. "Nevermind. Mr. Brewer, I--"
She stopped outside the SAT station and punched the call button. "Mr. Brewer, if you refuse to conduct yourself in a manner appropriate for someone in your position, I will withdraw my request. I would prefer to have your expertise on this, but I will not tolerate immaturity."
"Dr. Ashley, I assure you I can be nothing but professional--"
"Good," she interrupted. "Then you can prove that at 0730 when you meet with me and my lab staff to discuss the necessary details." The SAT car arrived, and she stepped inside. "My coworkers are crucial to the lab's success and they will all have input in the needed software." The door closed. The last thing she saw was Daniel's stunned expression.