I have to tell you, I read and reviewed this book because I’m a science fiction girl at heart. Hope you’re ready. Are you a full time writer or do you have a “day job”?
I actually have a “night job,” LOL! I moonlight as a nurse in my local Emergency Room. I enjoy nursing as much as I do writing and it gives me an opportunity to connect with other people at a time when they need someone the most. I don’t think I could ever give it up!
A nurse? That’s so giving. I could never have that job, but then I’m the eternal child of too smart for her own good. Let’s focus thought. What is your favorite part of writing?
My favorite part of writing is forming the story! I start with a spark and it turns into a fire! I love to see what happens to my characters along the way. In a way, I’m playing a role playing game and making up the plot as I go! I love how random things seem to happen and when I re-read a certain scene I’m like—What was I thinking?!?! That’s the fun part for me, the actual writing! It’s an escape to a different world where I call the shots!
Plotting can be fun and so can the spiritual flow of ideas. What inspired your latest book?
Maria’s Match was inspired by a number of thing. First it all started with Surrender Serenity, where I got this idea of an alien race whose population is doomed because their ability to reproduce is taken from them. Now, I know that’s not a very original idea-heck I can name several books off the top of my head where that’s the big plot line to get the ball rolling! But anyways, I’ve been interested in bio-terrorism (I’m a nurse and someday someone might show up in my ER due to bio-terrorism (It’s a long shot, but it could happen!) and I thought, what if this were an act of bio-terrorism? Thus, Salin’s Salvation was born! Maria was first introduced as the nurse who cared for Ember in Embracing Ember (Salin’s Salvation, Book 2), but I instantly loved her! And then I put her in a situation that placed her in danger in more ways than one. Think about it…She’s pregnant with an alien’s baby, she’s an army nurse who was part of a group to spy on the Salinians, and she’s got a past that’s less than conducive to trust!
Also, with this series, I didn’t want these aliens to be almost human-like aliens! In Surrender Serenity, I made it very clear that according to DNA, these two races are the same! So, I’ve got lots of secrets for these alien races to unravel!
Ancient Aliens, Battle Star Galactica, sounds fun to me. I wrote a science fiction story myself that I’m submitting right now, but the market is so small for this. Vampires are not in my blood though, and we write from the heart. What was the deciding factor in self-publishing your book(s)? Did you decide on ebook or print only or both?
I write for fun and I hope to never lose that! Self-publishing for me was a whim! I have always written, even as a child, for fun or therapeutic reasons and finally I decided—this would be even cooler if more people could read it! I didn’t know at all what I was getting in to! I’ve learned a lot since then! I went with eBooks at first, because that was easily done. I now offer those titles via POD, or print on delivery, which is pretty cool! I don’t have a traditional publishing story where I received lots and lots of rejections before I decided I’d self-publish! For me it’s always been sort of a hobby! I was just blessed to learn a few things on the way to make the stories a little better.
I counted mine. I have over a hundred for one story no one has ever seen. I have forty two for another book. Rejection and I are friends, but getting that contemporary sale was awesome too. For science fiction thought it’s just different. What genre(s) do you write in and why?
I primarily write in paranormal and science fiction erotic romance. I stumbled upon erotic romance a few years ago and instantly fell in love! I’ve always been an avid romance reader, even as a teenager, but erotic romance has something that just draws me! I know what you’re thinking, it’s the sex isn’t it! Well, yes and no! Let’s face it people, humans have sex! GASP! I know! Anyways, I like that erotic romance handles sex in its nitty, gritty details and I do love details. I like that it can take you on more than the journey of saving a planet and into exploring your fantasies and sexuality in a safe, private and entertaining way!
I took from my reading and the reasons that I enjoyed that aspect of erotic romance and I decided it would be even more entertaining if I wrote in that genre! And, I must say that it is! Now as for the lean towards paranormal and sci-fi, all I can say is I like the idea of another world living beside our own, or a planet of aliens out there living their lives much like we are right now! And when I write about it—I call the shots!
I read romance all my life. Before I joined RWA though, I never heard of Erotica. Now I have friends who write in it. But not only did I not know what that was, but I had a box of 300 various books a few years back. I split them up by story. Vampires go to this person, Grandma gets westerns. I should mention Grandma doesn’t go see any movie about a PG rating. A few days later, I received a call. Then I picked up a book set in Miami to see what she was accusing me of. Girl wants older brother’s best friend. He goes to sex clubs and she must have sex with other men to get his attention. I was like what is this? Apologizing to Grandma wasn’t nearly enough. But I’ve met so many people who write it and are so free. Part of me loves that about them, and it is another fantasy world. What was the hardest thing you’ve found in the process of self-publishing? What was the easiest part of self-publishing?
Hardest part of the whole process was editing. By the time I got through with my edits it was almost a completely different story! I’m poor with grammar and commas are probably the worst. I like to abuse them and for reasons I still can’t figure out! Editing is also, in my opinion, the most tedious part of the process. Let’s face it 50,000 or so words is a lot, and reading through it multiple times can be excruciating at times! I have a respect for editors now that I never had before, mainly because I didn’t know what their job entailed!
Finding an editor was hard, too. There are a lot of options when you type in editing services in google. Thankfully, I found a couple of people to read through my stories to catch a few more mistakes. I still read through and find some time to time and it can be nerve wracking because I spent so much time editing (a month or so)!
Now, the easiest part was the writing! It’s fun and for the most part flows quickly…but then comes the editing!
True, but it’s good to grow and be better too. I see differences in what I do, and I have a group of writers I met with to write, brainstorm, and critique. Do you have critique partners?
I do! I allow various people I know to read through my finished work and see what they think. They’re also pretty good at finding a few errors here or there! My critique partners are actually friends and co-workers who are avid readers themselves! Love those guys!
Part of me is jealous. My sister and best friend in the world are avid readers. They’ll notice a few things. Best friend, Christine, she’s big on small details like the dress was green, and how does she run for forty pages in high heels. My sister is more for overall opinion and she’ll let me have it if she hates something (Scorpio). I do love the editors who know what to do to make a story better. Let’s get back to writing. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
BOTH!!! I plot a rough outline…and I’m talking rough: Girl meets boy, boy is alien, boy abducts girl, fall in love, enter villain (da-da-da-dun), boy saves girl, girl and boy live happily ever after. Then I just write all loosey goosey till the end! If I don’t have a little structure, though there’s no telling what would happen! A little control to the chaos is a good thing!
Both makes sense. I have no idea how Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind backwards. I couldn’t do that. Tell us about your hero. Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.
Silvius is the hero of Maria’s Match and he has lost his entire family to the blue death, the virus that placed them in their current predicament on Salin. He was very angry in general and was spiraling downward in a dysfunctional grieving pattern. Dais helped him to overcome that grief, or so they both thought. I think Silvius’s strength and weakness is the same…his emotions run very deep and he loves as passionately as he hates. Grieves as deeply as he loves. It’s interesting to see how he deals with emotional upheaval in his life.
He sounds cool. Tell us about your heroine. Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.
Maria is an army nurse who was placed in a position to spy on the visiting alien race while they observed different aspects of life on Earth. I placed her in a proverbial river without a paddle. Like I’ve said before, she is pregnant with an alien’s baby who she was sent to spy on. I like Maria and her strengths like Silvius are her weaknesses. Maria is a strong and independent woman, sometimes to the point that she won’t accept help. Her response to possible emotional pain is to run away, not dealing with the issue at hand.
Now why would I make their strengths and weaknesses the same? Well, their strengths when used appropriately will benefit them, however, if they use their strengths as ways to avoid dealing with problems, then it has just become their weakness.
Maria was fun to read. What’s next for you?
I’m working on two things right now, (well, more, but I’m focused on two!). State of Resistance is the second installment of the Chronicles of JJ series, and their world is in for some serious surprises! The Chronicles of JJ is a paranormal series featuring changelings, vampires, darklings, and witches as they strive to overcome an ancient way of thinking…mixing the species.
I’m also working on Begging for Forgiveness, the second installment of the Pinewood Creek Shifters series. It is promising to be a crazy journey for Aspen!
- I post your links at the end, but where can readers find you?
I have several haunts on the internet:
I love to get emails from folks! I get all nerdy and get excited!!!
Astrid began writing when she was a child her stories featuring a variety of characters (including her imaginary friends). When she was in high school she wrote her first completed story and was published twice in poetry anthologies. Gathering her courage, Astrid self-published her first book, Surrender Serenity, Salin‘s Salvation, Book 1 and enjoyed every minute of it.
Now she balances her time between being a nurse (which she loves) and writing down the scenes that play out in her mind. She also plays World of Warcraft (which all of her friends think is weird)!
Astrid would love to hear from you!
Excerpts for Maria’s Match
Maria pushed the eggs and chorizo around on her plate. She was hungry, but she didn’t want this to come back up like most mornings. She was tired of vomiting. She couldn’t even go to the doctor and get an antiemetic for it because she feared the repercussions. “Oh, hi doctor. Yes, I’m pregnant. Oh no, it’s an alien.”
She laughed at the direction of her thoughts. She had well and truly lost it.
“Mija, you need to eat the food, not play with it.”
“I know, abuela, but I don’t want to vomit again.”
“Aye, mija. Just go to the doctor.”
Maria dropped her fork, its clatter echoing the kitchen causing her abuela to jump. Her emotions were too close to the edge lately. She didn’t have control. Not anymore. The tears fell down her cheeks and she swiped at them angrily. Before she didn’t cry at all, but now she cried about anything.
“I can’t, abuelita. I’m not sure what they will do to me. What if something is wrong with the baby? I can’t even get the pre natal care because I’m scared I’ll go to prison.”
“Well you know that you can’t do without prenatal care, especially since the father is an alien.”
“I know abuela. But how am I supposed to get that care without going to prison.”
Maria rested her head in her hands and the smell of chorizo and eggs hit her like a slap in the face. Placing a hand over her mouth, she jumped from the table and ran for the bathroom. Silvius stepped into the kitchen and caught her by the shoulders.
“What’s wrong, Maria?”
She tried to move around him, but he wouldn’t release her. He wouldn’t let her go to the sink or trash can. Then it was too late and Maria could only look up at him in horror after she painted his shirt with her vomit. She burst into tears at the mess that covered him, sure, that he would hate her now. Wasn’t that what I was going for? The thought only made her cry harder.
Silvius removed his shirt and wiped her mouth with a clean spot before pulling her into his arms. Maria rested her tear stained cheek against his firm crimson chest.
“Are you okay?”
His whispered question only made the tears start again. He didn’t push her away. He didn’t press her for more information. He simply held her as she bathed his chest in her tears. Finally, the crying stopped and she was relieved that she could finally see his face without the sheen of tears to blur her vision. He regarded her with furrowed brows.
“For vomiting on you.”
“No worries about that. Are you okay?”
“I don’t know. I can’t quit vomiting. I was just telling…”
“Yes. I heard. You need a doctor, but you haven’t gone to one.”
“Hey! I can’t help that! I’m carrying an alien’s baby!”
He released her as though she were a hot coal, his nostrils flaring. She wished she could take it back, take her words back. She placed a hand over her stomach and rubbed soothing circles over where a baby resided. Her baby. His baby. She sighed. Sometimes she forgot that it wasn’t just her involved in this fiasco. He was here, which was more than she could say for some men.
“I’m sorry. I just don’t know what to do. I don’t know if it’s a crime. I mean they’ll never believe that I don’t know anything since I slept with you. Hell, they’ll think I’m just a whore if I didn’t do it for information.”
Maria gasped when Silvius pinned her against the counter. He grasped her hair and brought her face to his. She was awed at the anger she seen reflected in his blue eyes.
“Is that why?”
“Calm yourself, mijo.”
Maria looked to the side to see her abuela just watching with interest. Silvius had never been anything but patient with her, but his body didn’t scream patience right now.
“Answer me, Maria!”
“Is that why you let me make love to you? For information?”
Maria struggled to get loose from his hold, but he was stronger than she imagined. How could he think so little of her? She couldn’t take it anymore. Maria brought her knee up, kicking him in the thigh beside his groin. Sure, she could’ve been a bitch and kick him in the family jewels, but she just wanted him to release her. She hated the feeling of being held so firmly, his face merely inches from hers. It reminded her too much of the way he would kiss her, his tongue snaking into her mouth to duel with her own. He didn’t seem to feel her kick to his inner thigh, instead his grip got tighter.
He stared into her eyes and Maria squirmed under his intense scrutiny. He relinquished his almost bruising hold and held her close, his breaths coming in almost pants. What was this all about?
“The point is I need to see a doctor. I need prenatal care, Silvius, and I don’t want to become an experiment since this is your baby, too.”
He pulled back and nodded before leaving her with her abuela. Maria collapsed in the chair.
“Are you okay, mija?”
Have you tried to get to know him, mija? I know you don’t put much faith into my visions, but I have a good feeling about you two. All you have to do is trust him.”
“I can’t Abuela. He’s leaving.”
“Do you really think he’ll leave his baby?”
Wasn’t that what scared her the most? That he would take her baby and leave her behind.
“I don’t want the tea.”
“Your abuela said it would make you feel better.”
Silvius shoved the tea into her hands and Maria smiled as she dropped it onto the hardwood floor, the small teacup smashing into so many pieces and the brown liquid pooling in the shards of ceramic. He looked at the mess and she just knew he wanted to clean it, but he would be otherwise occupied.
Maria pulled him to her, taking his mouth, and Silvius’s hands wrapped around her, pulling her closer to him. She pulled back nibbling on his bottom lip. He stared at her and she giggled as she pulled her shirt off over her head. She looked down, her once flat abdomen now curved and she lost her steam. She wasn’t fit and perfect like she’d been on the ship four months ago. She struggled to put her shirt on, but he ripped it from her hands.
His mouth halted her words. His lips were relentless as he plied her mouth for entrance. His hands caressed her abdomen, his tongue gaining entrance on her startled gasp. Maria stiffened and he relaxed his kiss pulling back for pecks that bordered on chaste, before he eased her back against the mattress, his mouth found her ear and he nibbled on the earlobe.
“You are beautiful, mea.”
His hands found her slightly rounded abdomen again and he bent to kiss the growing mound.
I was sent a copy of Surrender Serenity, Embracing Ember and Maria’s Match for an honest unbiased review. I was intrigued with the plot of women having alien men’s babies, and Maria’s past with her job made her the most interesting of the women in the series. And I had to read the other books to understand the premise and the world building. Maria’s Match was a sequel. The author is obviously a science fiction fan and a romance novel fan girl. It comes out in the writing. And I get it. I’m in the club, so it’s no judgment. And I so enjoyed the concept. Science fiction romance to me is something that should get way more attention and I’m glad to have read this series. If you are a fan of the genres, this book is fun.