Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Science, shape-shifting and murder. Oh my!

Even the smallest degree of hope can spark love.
Against her wealthy father’s demands, and the usual blockades of a male dominated profession, Kylie Sanderson proves worthy of her position as lead investigator of planet Andan’s Scientific and Investigative Research Taskforce. Someone is killing Andan’s women in an attempt to mutate them into reptiles. Kylie makes it her mission to discover who’s behind the murders and prevent more grotesque deaths.
Shapeshifting lizard Griff comes to Andan to stop his brethren from mutating other planets’ women into mindless breeding stock. Overcoming Kylie’s suspicious and defensive nature proves difficult, but he must in order to help the SIRT team thwart his planet’s scientists.
When Kylie is abducted and becomes the first human to survive the transformation, it’s up to Griff to rescue her so SIRT can restore her human form. On the run and desperate to unravel the mysteries of Kylie’s past to solve the crimes of their present, can she and Griff forge a future for themselves?

Wow. We can only follow that with introducing author Lyndi Alexander and heroine Kylie Sanderson from A Small Degree of Hope, a June release from Lyrical Press.
As always, we'll start with Lyndi first. Tell us a bit about A Small Degree of Hope. It’s the story of my Scientific and Investigative Research Taskforce elite team’s investigation of a series of murders on the planet Andan where the bodies of several women are discovered, all in various stages of mutation into reptiles. In the course of our investigation, I’m approached by a man named Griff, who wants to help our search for the killer or killers. We soon discover those killers are reptiles from another planet, looking to transform women into their breeders. The surprise is, that Griff is, too. Once we find the reptiles’ secret lab, though, bad things start to happen. I get
captured and altered into a reptile. Fortunately, Griff rescues me. From then on, he seems to be my only friend, and a devoted one, as we try to sort out the mystery and save the remaining women.
Sounds utterly scary. Tell us more about Griff. What did you think the first time you saw him? That he was creepy.
Yep, sounds right, considering the circumstances. What was your second thought? That he was creepy, and maybe stupid.
Did you think it was love at first sight? Not at all.
What do you like most about Griff? He is honestly the most loyal friend and lover I’ve ever known. He would do anything for me. Anything.
How would you describe him? At first, I was really a little concerned about his shapeshifting abilities. Those teeth, those claws… But in Griff, I’ve truly found someone with an amazing, wonderful spirit and a strong heart who shows me the kind of person I want to be. Even if he’s not a person.
That is one of the nicest things we've ever heard about a man. How would he describe you? *laughs* He’d say I’m headstrong and stubborn, always running into dangerous situations when I should stop and plan first. He also tells me I’m brave—considering some of the circumstances we’ve found ourselves in, I guess that’s a good thing.
What made you choose exoterrestrial biology and police investigation as a profession? Partly because my father didn’t want me to do it. He thought I should spend my life staying home and being decorative, like my mother and my model sister Nissa. But I didn’t want to just be a pretty flower. I love my work, even when my hands are buried in alien innards. An adrenaline rush every day! I feel like I really do something meaningful.
Considering all you've accomplished, that's reasonable. But how do you relax? I really don’t. My job is such a 24-7 kind of thing. I’d love to be able to take a vacation on a beach and lay out in the sun. Especially now.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Maybe Nancy Drew, from the old Terran books? Anyone who loved mysteries and solving them.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Griff said I didn’t have to be an island, taking care of everything on my own, that I should reach out to those who could help me and invite them into my world.
He sounds like a keeper even with the odd teeth and claws! Now, we'd like to talk to Lyndi. What movies or books have had an impact on your writing? I really enjoyed watching FIREFLY—I’ve studied the scripts from the show, trying to understand how to create characters and dialogue that’s punchy and appealing. I also found both the old romantic suspense [novels by] Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart and woman-centered science fiction/fantasy by Anne McCaffrey as I really got into reading in my teen years, so they have heavily influenced the kind of stories I want to tell—not just a quick flash of passion and sex, but tales with a great deal more meat to them.
Good for you We'd like to know something about your publisher. publisher. How did you hear about them? I actually found the Lyrical Press editor in a Savvy Authors pitch session. She picked my book out of about 50 people who pitched—I was so excited!
Tell us a bit about the submission process. We didn’t even get through the first edit, though, before she left the company. I thought maybe the whole deal would fall through after that, since Lyrical had turned their focus more towards romance and less toward science fiction.
But I was fortunate that the editor who took over the project, Penny Barber, was intrigued by the idea of the story. We worked very hard over several long months, to pull the story within Lyrical’s current guidelines. Both of us came to be quite attached toKylie and Griff’s unusual love story.
How long did it take from query to release? All in all, it was probably just over a year from first pitch to final product.
That is incredibly fast. Good for you for sticking with it and good for Ms. Barber who liked your story. Let's read an excerpt:
She drove home as dusk set in. Hands full with her keys and a case containing analytical printouts, she ran up two flights of stairs to her tempartment. She juggled everything until she got inside then dumped it onto her tiny dinette table. She leaned down to unzip her boots kicked them off in the direction of the refrigeration unit, and went back to close and lock the door.
Delighted not to hunch over the scope, she rolled her shoulders and stretched from side to side. A click of the remote activated her music player. Ethnic drums played, joined by a flute and strings. There. Add fragrant candles and a nice drink, she’d transport herself to a dull but relaxing evening of reading bioresults. Ah, my thrilling life.
She poured herself a stemmed glass of a semi-sweet red vintage, not her favorite but Nissa’s. Her sister’d bought everyone a full case the year-end before. Rummaging through leftover cartons of takeout food, she smelled more bacterial cultures than she’d discovered today at work, and she pitched them. Settling for something with noodles and a mystery meat substitute, she jabbed a fork into the open serving-size box. Carrying her wine in her left hand and the box in her right, she headed for her living room.
Griff stood two meters from her, dressed in a black pullover shirt and slacks. Inside her locked apartment door.
She didn’t need him to tell her that her heart nearly stopped, then began to race. Her purse containing her firearm lay on the table where she’d dumped it. Much closer to him than to her. Her boots lay behind her on the floor. She could use the stiletto if her hands weren’t full. But shock froze her.
His face in shadow, he watched her. “I don’t mean you harm. I came to warn you--”
“Warn me? That you’re a psycho killer? I think I’ve got that much, thanks.” Her words loosed the terrible paralysis. She tossed the box into the single steel sink, keeping the fork, holding it tight in her hand.
She expected he’d come for her, try to stop her, but instead he looked bewildered. “Killer? No. No, Kylie Sanderson, I am no killer.” He showed her his empty hands. “I come only to help stop the killings.”
The edge of sincerity in his voice nearly stopped her. Boy, he was good. She took a swig of wine for courage and stepped back. “You want to give yourself up? That might be constructive.”
He moved toward her, his hands still out. “I don’t understand. I am not the one. X is the one. He wants to perpetuate our race. The majority of our females have become infertile due to a change in our star’s radiation output. X developed this plan to make breeding possible again.”
He kept coming closer. As big as he was, a fork was nothing. She dropped the glass on the floor, its shattering catching Griff’s startled gaze. While he was distracted, she lunged for the table. She hunkered down behind it, grabbing her bag. She ended with gun in hand, set for paralyze, not kill. “Get your hands up.”
He hadn’t moved, just stared at her. “I do not--I will not hurt you,” he insisted. “But women wait, in danger, now. I need your help.”
“I know you understand me! Put. Your. Hands. Up. Now. Or I’ll tag your ass.” She came to her feet, fingers closed tight on her gun’s stock, its aim fixed right at his heart. His hands raised slightly. “Where are the women?”
“In a warehouse,” he said, taking one step toward her. His face held no emotion. His voice sounded even, almost pleasant. “I can take you there.”
“I don’t think so, friend.” She pulled the trigger. The first blast staggered him, but he remained on his feet. It took two more shots of hot blue electric current, fired in close proximity, to subdue him. He slumped to the floor, his eyes open and staring at the ceiling. His skin mottled up, almost red, or rust colored, with spots of gray. Just a flicker before it returned to normal.
Mystified, she kept her gun on him as she called the station, dialing with her left hand. “Jaco, it’s Sanderson. I’ve got the perp. He’s here in my apartment. Someone come haul him out, huh?”
“Sanderson!” Jaco yelled in her ear. “Don’t you be a hero.”
“Come get him, will you?” She hung up.
As the adrenaline faded, she realized how badly this could have gone, the two of them alone here. A shiver ran through her. She moved out of reach, those twenty minutes some of the longest she’d ever encountered, until the grab and bag unit arrived. How had he gotten into her apartment? As she headed back to the Cendiary to question the perp, she felt a lot less safe than she had the day before.
Wow—that's terrific and has definitely piqued our interest. We hope it works the same on visitors to our blog. Good luck Lyndi!
Kat and Veronica
To learn more about Lyndi Alexander and the stories she
creates go to:
To purchase A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE, go to amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com