Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Guest Post and Giveaway: Legends of the Goldens by S.B.K. Burns

Series Description:

The Legends of The Goldens Series is a collection of quirky urban-fantasy romances, about vampire good guys—psychic orbweavers who create, or weave together, real universes. They can shapeshift, telepath, teleport, heal—and make love, not war, with their fangs. Instinctively they rescue both humans and vampires, even when neither is too keen on being saved.


Part human. Part alien. Being superhuman doesn’t make them immune to love. Or to heartbreak. 

Akeelah never asks to be different. She sure doesn't ask to be a hybrid. She doesn't want to be a psychic orbweaver like her people—able to create new worlds with only a thought. 

She. Just. Wants. To. Be. A. Girl. More precisely, Saffron’s girl. 

Saffron's her best friend, a hybrid like her—and hot. Being superhuman doesn’t make him immune to love. Or heartbreak. His one focus—Akeelah. 
Coming into their powers and against the wishes of their android guardians, together Akeelah and Saffron practice their psychic skills. 
Because of the dangers of orbweaving, the guardians they trust take Akeelah away, zap her memory. 
Saffron can't live without Akeelah. All he wants is her memory restored, so she knows she's in love with him. 
But trust is rare in a world full of deception, androids, and aliens—even when two people love each other.


Eco warrior, Maggie Maclaurin, can somehow see through Andrew’s conjured fraternity disguise: he’s a psychic cousin to the vampires, and with those flying dragon tattoos undulating suggestively across his naked chest, positively an endangered species, definitely in need of saving. 

But when real vampires make a pact with the corrupt government to bring a little more nasty onto campus, Maggie’s chaotic human vibes keep Andrew from protecting her, make him sick, each time he comes in for a nibble from the neck of this attractive, yet headstrong young woman. 

Can Andrew forget about his self-centeredness long enough to gain Maggie’s trust, so he can save her from the vampire’s fangs, and, if he does, who will save her from his own?

Creating Accessible Worlds

I come from the highest levels of geekdom. An engineer who is really an applied mathematician. So I shouldn’t be able to write anything that is accessible to the general public. Correct?

The first book in my Legends of the Goldens Series, Forbidden Playground was first named Weird Cosmology and before I wrote romance, I created the novel as an out-and-out science fiction. 

No matter how fantastic the worlds we build—if they’re too heavy into preachy science and lack the intimate musings of real people with thoughts and dreams and attitudes—then they won’t entertain the reader. And for me, entertainment is the most important goal of writing. 

To entertain myself, making the writing process fun, and to entertain as many potential others as I can, means making my imagined world accessible to the reader. 

That doesn’t mean I can put a full moon rising in the west (which it never does) just for effect. Just as Regency romance authors do their due diligence of research, so must our writers of the paranormal. 

Don’t worry. It’s not that difficult. You don’t need to go beyond a junior high school science education to flesh out a paranormal world. I taught junior high science. And I have to say, unless you’re writing a fantasy in which you can make up the rules as you go along, you need to, at least, review some of that textbook information if you want to make the rules of the worlds you create believable.

Back to Weird Cosmology. A cosmology is the story of your world. To make it believable you need some kind of theme or personal philosophy applied to make it come alive. As a research scientist, I published an experiment in a physics journal. The experiment: a very thin droplet of water is injected and expands into oil. Basically, it was a simple model of our own expanding universe and how things in it like massive stars and black holes form as information and energy flow from inside the droplet to outside, from outside the droplet to inside. It’s information and energy flow that create the shape of the droplet and our world.

One thing my expanding water droplet did was vibrate. Droplets expanding faster, vibrate faster. In a primitive way, they experience the passage of time based on the speed with which they expand and vibrate.

Those vibrations in that experiment made me wonder about complex forms of consciousness, like human consciousness and that of my psychic, shapeshifting, telepathing and teleporting Goldens. 

Thus arose the higher-vibrational, more-concentrated, more-rapid orbweaving skills of my Golden characters and the conflicting slower-vibrating skills of Earth humans like the Maclaurins (who figure prominently in both books of the Legends Series). 

Because supernatural powers require lots of concentration, my psychic characters needed lots of down time. They didn’t know how to chill out like the humans did with their awesome laid-back powers. So they traveled to Earth to find out. They hybridized with humans and thus my Legends began.

Since these were my first novels, and they involved lots of concepts about human consciousness, it was easier for me to set them in a world as contemporary as I could make it. My stories were located—as much as possible—in the near present on—what I call—a near Earth.

Since it’s easier to write about what we know, I suggest first-time authors use what they know about contemporary Earth society (and science) then tweak it a little, as I hope I’ve done.

Good luck in your orbweaving or world-building—whatever you want to call it.
Susan (S.B.K. Burns)


Excerpt Book One: 

Tanzania, in the near future, on a near Earth

Out of the watchful eyes of her android guardians, Akeelah’s spirit floated weightless in the dark.

Come to me. Come into my world, a galaxy of stars spoke to her as they winked in and out from the black celestial sphere of her mind. Each of their pleas, more promise-filled than the last.

There it was. The portal. The proper entrance to her jungle wilderness approached. It changed from pinpoint to circle. Taking the form of a long undulating tube, the portal into the jungle universe enveloped her, sucking her into a mist-filled clearing.

Through the fog, green fan palms and ferns smothered her in fragrances rich with life percolating from the loam beneath. Tempted by a clearing bordered by moss-covered rock, she inhaled the aromatic air. Everywhere, space filled itself with the busyness of life. Birdsong rang out with diversity richer and more complex than found in Uhuratown, her home on the trembling slopes of Kilimanjaro.

And here he was—Saffron—just where he said he’d be, all smiles and confidently striding toward her.

He thinks he’s the one who got us here. Noting his false confidence, she shook her head, averting her eyes to palm fronds waving gently against the powder-blue sky.

This orb, this universe, she'd created, would be special, if it held, if woven tightly enough. As real as my belief in it. As safe as I want it to be.

Nearly breathless, she looked up at Saffron and inspected his perfection. When had her image of him changed from a so-so childhood friend to this overwhelming distraction?

Saffron. Magnificent Saffron. Muscular in his creamy skin, like hers with just a tinge of metallic gold. His crystal-blue eyes, his dazzling smile framed in long white-blond ringlets, flowing over those powerfully built shoulders.

Akeelah moved her hand over the bib of her overalls and down past her stomach, hoping to put out fires aroused by thoughts of her attractive friend.

Her orbing had worked. They'd arrived safely, unscathed. The universe had changed. Didn’t it always? Yet, she still had the same immature body and, unfortunately, the same cravings.

Her heart beat faster as she attempted and failed to catch her breath. Undoubtedly he’s all there too.

He put his hand out to her, palm up. So inviting.

Saffron smiled big at her, the smile that melted many a native girl’s heart. Yet he seemed clueless about his allure, or he’d have noticed her looking at him with the same longing.

He grabbed her hand and pulled her through the forest. Cold and wet foliage slapped against her face. Here she was again, thoughtlessly dragged behind him as if some forgotten appendage.

His large hand grasped hers and projected self-assurance. False assurance.

He meant well, but Akeelah could not resonate with the discomfort. She wanted to behave maturely, with the grownup and sophisticated fortitude shown by the village girls who gathered around as he scintillated bigger than life. At such times, she felt trivial standing there beside him—her hair, a dirty blonde, her eyes, a polluted turquoise, and her skin, pale and freckled, all wrapped up in the baggy overalls of a tomboy. They were both twenty. Slow to mature, but she looked years younger.

She wanted to suck up her distress and carry on, pretending none of it mattered. But, eventually, whether she complained or not, she would fail. Once disenchanted, she’d be unable to find the will to forcibly resonate with him, and this world would collapse without her continued support.

Slick from the jungle wetness, Saffron’s hand lost its grip. He bounded ahead, leaving her collapsed to her knees in a shallow swamp.

Just like him. It would be minutes before he’d realize she was no longer in tow.

She sat there waiting for some creature to shove its ugly head through the silent fronds. Soaked to her waist, she scooted back against the trunk of a palm.

A punk-looking kid, a kinky-haired redhead, appeared in front of her, a teenager with piercings all over his freckled face.

“Oh, sorry, love,” he said, with a sexy, maybe-Scottish accent. “I must ’ave lost ma way.” Then the punk kid disappeared—right through her.

She gasped as Saffron exploded from the fronds and grabbed for her hand, water dripping down his handsome face to a soaked shirt plastered against his muscled torso.

“Come, Akeelah. I made an ocean, reefs and all. I want you to see it.”

She tried to tell him about the redheaded interloper, the punk kid, but all Saffron did was shake his head in confusion. Smiling again, he continued his obsession with showing her his creations. She sighed, ready for another round of wet foliage and squishy swamp.

As the rain dripped down her face, darker clouds gathered above. Probably reflecting her mood from Saffron ignoring her feelings.

He pulled her through the jungle toward his ocean at an uninhibited pace, her attention helplessly drawn in front of her to jeans stretched tightly over his straining bottom.

It no longer mattered how magnificent, how handsome he looked, because he didn’t know how she felt trapped in her young body, a body that wanted the same thing as those more stylish girls—him—a body that might never have him.

This orb, this tropical forest, she’d helped Saffron conjure, wasn’t real, or put more succinctly, Akeelah could no longer force herself to believe in it. As her conviction ebbed, nimbus clouds gathered, and the world began to disintegrate. A clap of thunder robbed her of the sweet-smelling air, pulled her out of his grasp and through the jungle’s birth canal, delivering her back to Tanzania onto the scraggly-forested slopes of Mount Kili. Home.

As silence descended, she found herself sprawled on the fallen leaves under a baobab tree.

Tension gripped her insides. No Saffron.

Excerpt Book 2 

My blood. Andrew couldn’t stop his nose from bleeding. He couldn’t think the blood away.

The good news—the pressure in his head lessened the farther he was from the commons and Maggie, that strawberry-blond Valkyrie. The bad news—they were caught in a dark alley between two buildings with three very tall Pseudo-vamp fraternity brothers blocking their way.

Andrew had the strangest sensation the silhouetted figures were predators, velociraptors on alert, eyeing their prey—them—before the attack.

Hey, wait. They’re not pseudo anything. They’re the real things. Real vamps. Vampires.

Messing with me? Even in his present condition. A big, big mistake.

As he closed in on the vamps, their real-live fangs deployed. Their pupils expanded until their eyeballs went black, glistening with anticipation. Although Andrew’s own fangs descended from time to time, these were much larger, not meant for mating, but for accessing human jugulars big-time.

Still feeling weak, he turned to Nathan. “Get out of here.”

How could his roommate, who claimed to believe in and worship vampires, be clueless of the consequences? He thought he could handle the vamps. Nathan wouldn’t rate as a memorable snack.

His roommate hesitated, looking toward Andrew then back along his escape route, deciding whether Andrew could survive if he cut and ran.

Andrew placed his hand behind his back so Nathan could see the conjured gun he pretended to hold. Nathan took off.

Good boy. Andrew had a lot of explaining to do back at the dorms. How he’d smuggled the gun onto campus.

The first vampire spoke. “We didn’t mean to scare you. I thought you guys could help us.”

“You know, free blood,” another said. “You look quite tasty with that lovely nosebleed of yours.”

“Please,” Andrew said, “just turn around and forget I’m here. Ignore the blood. I’m not what you think.”

At that, all three vamps laughed heartily, maybe believing themselves at the top of the food chain.

Andrew never had run-ins with real vampires. They were supposed to be a myth. And what was happening to him? He shouldn’t be afraid, yet it was all he could do to inhibit shaking from his lips to his toes.

He ramped up his courage. How difficult could this be? He’d opened portals to other universes, convinced others of anything he wished, and, just as quickly, made them forget.

The vampires approached, each with his own kind of overconfident swagger, energy fields projected from their demon-black eyes. They were attempting to mesmerize him!

He felt nothing.

How lame. They really had no eye talent whatsoever. Seriously, they need lessons.

As they reached out to seize him, he closed his eyes. Were his portals still wacky from his run-in with Maggie? Did he have enough time to find a portal to the Goldens’ homeworld, before the vamps got to him?

In the dark of his mind, the end of an oscillating tube rushed toward him. He let it suck all of them into another universe.

About the author:

Before dedicating herself to full-time writing, Susan earned two advanced engineering degrees and worked in the fields of biology, oceanography, biomedical, and aerospace engineering. That knowledge, and the experience of working with a smorgasbord of mostly men, continues to populate her science fictions, urban fantasies, steampunks, and other paranormal romances.

Author's Giveaway
Tour Wide Giveaway
$25 gift certificate to Amazon
If less than ten 10 people leave a comment, 
SBK will pick one of them at random to receive a $25 Amazon gift certificate

$50 gift certificate to Amazon
if more than 10 leave a comment, 
SBK will pick one of them at random to receive a $50 Amazon gift certificate

Free Series (first two novels plus comic) for exceptional posts. 
For those who SBK decides have given exceptional or well thought out comments she'll send them the entire series (Legends of the Goldens Series: Forbidden Playground and Dancing Dragons) along with the Forbidden Playground comic--all ebooks


laurie said...

thanks for the great giveaway

will have to go get a copy of the book


Joseph Hawkshaw said...

Love the cover of the book looks amazing i love Indian books would love to read this one for sure. josephhawkshaw@yahoo.com.

Unknown said...

I got to admit...the covers didn't appeal me much (they aren't bad now that I look at them better, but they lack that 'something' that sparks my interest...purely personal I guess), the summaries sounded a bit too generic and a bit too cryptic for my tastes and I was temtped to just give up on writing a comment and move on. THEN I read the Guest post and I got hooked.
The advice given here sounds to my ears precious and very wise. It's important to keep things easy and 'believable' even in the fantasy and especially in paranormal genre. The whole theory of vibration and consciousness is fascinating and I'm actually quite curious to know how the author managed to weave her stories around it.

melissa cushing said...

I LOVE the sound of this awesome book! Thanks so much for sharing and good Luck To all entering!

Anonymous said...

Would love to discover the Legends of the Goldens.
I like the mix between fantasy-romance-telepathy and paranormal.

Susan Burns said...

Thanks for the great feedback.
Not sure you got my philosophy website, still under construction. I'd love if you read some of my ideas and commented on them.

Thanks again,

Susan (S.B.K. Burns)

Susan Burns said...

Here's the link to my philosophy website, The Union of Opposites


stacey dempsey said...

I love all things paranormal and this series sounds great as it seems to have a mix of a lot of my favorites, vampires etc and the hybrids sound great as they are a mix of a lot of things . Thanks for the excerpt the bio and the giveaway
roswello at Hotmail dot com

Unknown said...

Thanks for the post and the giveaway! The book sounds awesome and I love the cover!!


Unknown said...

This book sounds really amazing!

Unknown said...

This book sounds really amazing!

From Head To Tale said...

Last year, I decided to change my reading approach. I am trying to better embrace the worlds that authors create and accept them as they are (and not judge them on what I expected them to be pre-read).

I find this easier to do with fantasy and paranormal books. Even if I find the story a bit unbelievable. The full moon rises in the west? Um, okay. I'll try go with it, if it supports the story.

I have all but given up on Regency romance books. I've found that the last few books that I read lacked basic research. I am no expert on the era. There was nothing really Regency about the books - except the book cover and description. The language, behaviors, and opinions sounded way too modern.

I agree with Susan. Stick closer to what you know or do a little research and planning. It will go a long way towards helping readers connect with the story.

Psychic, shapeshifting, telepathing and teleporting Goldens? Sign me up!

Thanks for hosting the giveaway. Fingers crossed to win.

skeeterlee63 [at] gmail.com

Amie said...

Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway.

Unknown said...

thx for the giveaway

Torialeigh said...

thanks for the giveaway