The hottest kind of fire #SciFi #Pietas #MFRWhooks

This week’s BookHooks offers a sneak peek at my upcoming book, a military science fiction novel with romantic elements. What is the hottest kind of fire?

Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire

Humans created the Ultras, a genetically enhanced race, to defend mankind. Instead, Ultras became their greatest threat. With the help of traitors, humans captured half a million of the immortal warriors.

Exiled to an alien world with no tech, no tools, and no resources, their leader, Pietas must protect his people, find food and shelter and unite them. But before he can, he must regain command from a ruthless adversary he’s fought for centuries–his brutal, merciless father.

Ultras are immortal, and no matter how they die, they come back. Reviving after death isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Some wounds heal instantly and a few take time, but battered and broken trust? Immortals may heal, but a wound of the heart lasts forever.

In this scene, Pietas performs a ritual at the urging of his friend, Six.

Pietas’s long hair, full of static electricity from the wind and storm, settled over his shoulders and adhered to his neck. He could not lift his arms to gather it himself but he did not want the others to see he needed help nor did he want Six fretting over it.

The man blamed himself for the injury. Yes, Six had bound Pietas. It had been Six’s duty to do so. In truth, those who had placed Pietas inside the pod and refused to release him were to blame, but no matter how often he reminded Six of that, the ghost refused to relinquish his guilt.

Six dug into his pockets. “I think I have another strip.” They had torn several from a ragged shirt. Six wore the biggest piece around his neck. He set down his pack and opened it.

“Six,” Pietas hissed. He did not turn his head, but looked toward the others. “Leave it!”

The ghost glanced up at him, then the immortals, waiting ahead. “You want the women messing with your hair? Is that it?”

He closed his eyes, counting to ten. To a hundred would not erase this embarrassment. “No.” When he beheld Six, the man had the discourtesy to smirk. “Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.”

The man chuckled. “We should have cut your hair before we set out.” He rummaged through his kit, which held all Six owned when he’d been abandoned on this world. Little more than survival gear.

“I never cut it except in ritual.”

“I know.” Six withdrew a boning knife used for it.

Before every battle, Pietas performed the solemn rite to affirm superior strength and prowess. The ghost had been the first human to see it carried out, albeit the first half from a distance while hiding.

Six stood. “Maybe you could perform it now.”

“How like you to see the easy solution. But there are a few elements missing. No fire. No water. No mask.” He gestured toward the oncoming storm. “No time.”

“Haven’t you ever heard of pretending?”

“One cannot ‘pretend’ a ritual.”

“What a boring childhood you must’ve had. Why not?”

Pietas opened his mouth to answer. Shut it again.

Six lifted one eyebrow. “Do you want to go into that dark hole and meet up with your people without performing it?”

“No, but there’s no time.”

“Rain’s coming.” Six jerked a thumb toward the forest. “Like I said, you have to go in there or you won’t reunite with your people. Are you going to stand out here making excuses, or do this?”

“Ghost, this ritual is important. It deserves respect.”

Blah, blah, blah. That storm is bearing down on us.” A few drops of rain splattered them both. “See? Or maybe you’d rather have your sister help you with your hair every morning.”

“Fine!” With a resigned sigh, Pietas capitulated. “How do you propose we ‘pretend’ my ritual?”

Six tucked the knife into his belt and held out his cupped hands. “This is fire.”

Pietas hesitated.

“Come on, Pi.” Six wagged his cupped hands. “This stuff is hot.”

“Of course it is.” A smile slipped onto his face and refused to leave. “It’s pretend fire. That’s the hottest kind.”

“Remember, you do this naked. Unzip your robe or whatever it is you’d wear.”

Pietas mimed removing his silk robe. He plucked one hair and laid it across Six’s hands, feeding it to the fire. “As fire has victory over life, so I have victory over my enemies.” He passed a hand through the imaginary flame. As he had in the real ritual, he hissed at the scorching heat. He cupped his hands over Six’s, a symbolic end to the flames. “I am powerful, as fire is powerful.”

“Next is air, right?”

“Yes.” He lifted both hands, made fists, and yanked them back. “I own the wind. I prevail over the breath of my enemies.”

Again, Six cupped his hands. “Water.”

“Water submits to my presence the way enemies submit to my will.” He scooped his hands into the bowl, lifted his arms and pictured the liquid dripping down them. “The blood of my enemies trickles into the pool of time, is absorbed, and forgotten.” He bent and pushed both hands through his hair. “My mind is clear. I do not waver.”

Six held his hands flat, waist high. “The pond.”

Pietas ducked as if to submerse himself, then rose, throwing back his head. “My body submits to my will. No pain defeats me. No fear touches me.” He brushed his hands down the length of his body. “My will is absolute. I am bigger than any fear. I prevail in every circumstance. I face every foe. I vanquish every enemy. I overcome. I am indomitable. I am invincible.”

“Black face paint for the mask.” Six held out his hands.

The ceremonial mask represented a splash of blood across his face received during battle. Dipping two fingers of each hand into the bowl, Pietas outlined a bandit’s mask up over his dark eyebrows to the area beneath his eyes. He brushed his fingertips over his eyelids and met Six’s gaze.

Finding a mixture of awe and respect threw him out of the moment. He faltered, unable to recall what came next.

Six offered the knife hilt first.

The man had seen the ritual performed once, from a distance, yet he’d remembered each step. Six wouldn’t have known the next part was performed by Pietas’s sister if no trusted partner or friend was at hand. The time Six had seen it done, Pietas had not yet considered him either one.

How wrong he had been. The man was more than both.

The hottest kind of fire burns within the heart. --Pietas Click To Tweet

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What a telepath focuses upon, she controls #SciFi #MFRWhooks #MFRWauthor

What a telepath focuses upon, she controls #SciFi #MFRWhooks #MFRWauthorIn this scene from Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, Pietas and the search party sent to find him have stopped their upward mountain trek for a short break. Prior to their reunion the previous day, Pietas had spent a year in confinement, hands bound behind him. He’d been starved to the point of death, but because he’s immortal, could not die. Although he has healed since, the brutality left a lasting toll on his once robust physical body. As they prepare to get underway, he unwittingly reveals the impairment. To a telepath…

Wincing, Pietas stretched to ease cramps in his back.

His sister stood. “Tas!” she called up to him. She’d started using her childhood name for him since they’d reconnected the day before. “Are you hurt?”

A quick telepathic scan from Joss swept over him before he realized it was there. Pietas had still been a teenager when she’d trained him to shield his mind from those with her gift. Not that he’d ever been able to block her. She was far too powerful, but today, she’d read him with no more difficulty than a hunter spying trail signs. He’d been near no Ultra telepaths for over a year.

His affinity with Six had made him careless and he’d neglected the basic lessons Joss had taught him.

It wasn’t a lack of trust. Trust had never been an issue with Joss.

He treasured her, but he ought not to have been so unguarded and open. Vulnerable.

“Pietas.” Joss stood. The waves of emotion he picked up from her held love and concern in equal measure. And a bit of disappointment. “You’re injured.”

He ducked his head like a schoolboy who’d forgotten his lessons. Admit mortals had damaged him? Never. Neither would he lie about it. He’d take better care to hide the pain.

“Don’t worry about me.” Whistling, he circled a finger in the air. “Let’s go! Long climb ahead.” He leaped down from the rocks. “Joss, you lead.” Last thing he wanted was her behind him, using him as an object of focus.

What telepaths focused upon, they controlled.


Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire
Science fiction with romantic elements
Rated PG13 for violence (no explicit content or profanity)
Humans created a genetically enhanced race to defend mankind. Instead, the Ultras became humanity’s greatest threat. Traitors among them help humans imprison half a million and exile them on an alien world.
Pietas has no tech, tools, or resources, but he vows to unite and avenge the Ultra people. First, he must regain command from a ruthless adversary he’s fought for centuries–his brutal, merciless father.
Ultras are immortal, and with few exceptions, they revive after death. Some injuries heal instantly. A few take time. But battered trust and a broken heart… That pain lasts forever.
This military science fiction novel is scheduled for a December 29th release.
Publisher Romance Lives Forever Books
Genre science fiction with romantic elements
Rating PG13 for science fiction violence (no explicit content or profanity)
Length about 74,000 words / 300 pages
To take part in an exclusive pre-release online party and get advance notice of its availability, join the Romance Lives Forever Reader Group. You’ll also get free books and other downloads and goodies.

The prequel for Forged in Fire is Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas. Next book in the series is Bringer of Chaos: Watch Your Six.


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That feeling when you think you’re explaining–but you’re not #Pietas #scifi #MFRWhooks

That feeling when you think you're explaining--but you're not #Pietas #scifi #MFRWhooksIn this scene from the military science fiction novel Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, the hero, Pietas, has discovered a familiar item on an alien world. He points it out to Six, explaining in detail so his friend will understand.

Explaining isn’t always easy

Not far from the waterfall, they found sandy soil and the start of shrub with orange blossoms.

“Look, Six.” Pietas stooped to run a finger across the plant’s dense florets.

“It’s like a cross between daisies and sunflowers. What is it?”

“Helichrysum. There are over six hundred species of this plant on Earth. They come in every color except blue, although my mother’s been working on that. You’d know it as Strawflower or Immortelle. It’s edible as a seasoning.” He picked a leaf, sniffed it, held it for Six to smell.

“Reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen. Like rosemary.”

“The oil is good for arthritis. Joint pain. Clear skin.” Standing, Pietas brushed off his hands. “There’s a break in the growth up ahead.” He approached and went down on one knee.

Six squatted beside him, boots crunching the dry soil. “You know, we’d have made it here a lot quicker if you didn’t have to study every plant we came across.”

“I don’t study them. I identify them. But I’m not looking at plants here.” He pointed. “This is a trail. The tracks are from ungulates. Popular with terraformers. They put them on every colonized world. These are artiodactyla, to be precise. Bovidae. Probably a derivative of aepyceros melampus.

“You know, Pi, when you say things like that, you think you’re explaining, but you’re really not.”

“Animals with split hooves. Even-toed. Lightweight impalas. Antelopes.”

“What, you couldn’t say antelopes?”

“I just did.” Pietas got up, dusted off his ragged pants.

Six stood. “So, this is how it’s going to be?”

The other immortals had gathered a small distance away. Pietas shot them a glare and they scattered, pretending not to listen.

He returned his attention to Six. “How what’s going to be?”

“You’re back among your own people, so you talk like them. Showing off your three thousand years of education.”

“Hard to do since I’m not yet two thousand. My mother was chief scientist in the terraforming industry. She fed me taxonomy along with my milk.”

“Taxonomy?”

“Classification of organisms by structure and origin. As in, I’m Ceramin perpetualis. You’re Humanus originalis. Or you were. Your metamorphosis makes you Humanus pseudo-perpetualis, or something similar. I thought mortals taught this.”

“Well, excuse me! But my fourteen years of school didn’t quite prepare me for the level of science you take for granted.”

“You have that much education?”

Six’s dark eyes narrowed in a warning.

Despite himself, Pietas laughed. Drawing Six away from the others, he leaned in close. “I apologize. I was showing off.”

“Thank you. My point.”

“No, no. I wasn’t apologizing for speaking above your level of understanding. I teach you. Do I not?”

“Well, yeah, so what’s the apology for?”

“Showing off in front of my people.”

“Showing off how?”

“Banter. Joking with you. Most of them,” he nodded toward the four immortals, “have never had what I have.”

“Which is?”

Did the man not see it? Pietas smiled. “A human friend.”


Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire
Rated PG13 for violence (no explicit content or profanity)
Humans created a genetically enhanced race to defend mankind. Instead, the Ultras became humanity’s greatest threat. With the help of traitors, humans captured half a million of them.
Exiled to an alien world with no tech, tools, or resources, their leader, Pietas, must unite them. Before he can, he must regain command from a ruthless adversary he’s fought for centuries–his brutal, merciless father.
Ultras are immortal, and no matter how they die, they come back. Reviving after death isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Some injuries heal instantly. A few take time. The pain of battered trust and a broken heart, though… That lasts forever.

This book will be released soon and is subject to final edits. The final version may be slightly different from the one presented here. Please join the Romance Lives Forever Reader Group — you’ll get four free books right away and be the first to know when the book is available.

Read book 1: Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas, available free on Kindle Unlimited
Amazon https://amzn.to/28QOTpb

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Layering emotion into characters: Writing Pietas #writerslife #writers

Layering emotion into characters: Writing Pietas #writerslife #writersWhat does layering emotion into characters mean? Isn’t writing: “No!” he screamed angrily telling instead of showing? Yes, it is. So how do you add emotion without telling the reader what the emotion is? Here’s how to show, not tell.

To layer emotion, look at two things.

To add emotion to your writing, look at verbs and nouns. Before you heave something at the screen, let me show you what I mean. This is the opening paragraph of my upcoming military science fiction novel, Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire. I wanted to show that the main character, Pietas, is unhappy about being in a dark forest. He feels trapped. It’s closing in on him, but you can’t write that. It’s telling. So I focused on words that had a negative connotation instead. Here’s the first paragraph:

Would this incessant nightmare of darkness never end? The steaming, lightless rainforest stank of alien spores and enough flowers to choke the dead. Let the others inhale all they wanted, but this cloying scent left a sickening taste in his mouth. Pietas gagged, but controlled his stomach.

Verbs

Here is the same paragraph with the verbs highlighted in red.

Would this incessant nightmare of darkness never end? The steaming, lightless rainforest stank of alien spores and enough flowers to choke the dead. Let the others inhale all they wanted, but this cloying scent left a sickening taste in his mouth. Pietas gagged, but controlled his stomach.

The first verb, would, is passive, but used to ask a question with a negative connotation, which lends power. The rest have their own inferences, mostly negative. Since the goal is to show the character feels trapped, using verbs with negative concepts helps set the emotional stage.

Examine the verbs in your own first paragraph, or whatever section you think needs more emotional impact. How can you alter them to convey the emotion your character is experiencing? Is it positive?

Here’s the same paragraph, in the same location, experienced by a person who loves the setting.

The enveloping darkness cocooned him like warm gloves, blocking unwelcome light and filling the air with the scent of flowers. Others in his party failed to appreciate the floating spores and drifting pollen; he glimpsed the magnificence of this alien world through its ancient forest. He inhaled, drawing in its sweet fragrance.

By describing the setting with an eye toward emotional descriptions, you can alter the reader’s perception and let them see the character’s point of view.

Writers build emotion by choosing powerful verbs and nouns Click To Tweet

Nouns

Here’s the paragraph with nouns highlighted in red.

Would this incessant nightmare of darkness never end? The steaming, lightless rainforest stank of alien spores and enough flowers to choke the dead. Let the others inhale all they wanted, but this cloying scent left a sickening taste in his mouth. Pietas gagged, but controlled his stomach.

Layering emotion into characters: Writing Pietas #writerslife #writersIt evokes uneasiness with words like nightmare, darkness, spores, dead. The adjectives and adverbs around the nouns add to it: incessant, never, steaming, lightless, alien, wanted, cloying, sickening. All the words are negative or lean toward the negative. In the end, the reader knows exactly what the character is feeling without coming out and telling them.

By the next page, Pietas finally escapes the gloomy forest. The paragraph that describes his joy never says “He was happy” but you get it. He burst into the welcome light, squinting and shielding his face. After hours tramping through deep shadow, the noonday heat caressed his head and shoulders like a friend, hoped for but long lost.

Build emotion by choosing powerful verbs and nouns that evoke the feeling you want to convey. Your readers will fall in love with the story, empathize with the characters, and scout out more of your work.

 

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Whom will you believe, human? #Pietas #SciFi #MFRWhooks

Who will you believe, human? #Pietas #SciFi #MFRWhooksThis week’s BookHooks offers a sneak peek at my upcoming book, a military science fiction novel with romantic elements. Will you believe the truth when you see it? Think so? Read on, human. Pietas has advice for you.

About Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire

(Book 2 in the Bringer of Chaos series)

Humans created the Ultras, a genetically enhanced race, to defend mankind. Instead, Ultras became their greatest threat. With the help of traitors, humans captured half a million of the immortal warriors.

Exiled to an alien world with no tech, no tools, and no resources, their leader, Pietas must protect his people, find food and shelter and unite them. But before he can, he must regain command from a ruthless adversary he’s fought for centuries–his brutal, merciless father.

Ultras are immortal, and no matter how they die, they come back. Reviving after death isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Some wounds heal instantly and a few take time, but battered and broken trust? Immortals may heal, but a wound of the heart lasts forever.

Who will you believe, human?

The foreword of this book is from Pietas, the hero.

    It’s human nature to lie. Telling the truth is mine. Why? First, because honoring my word means more to me than life. Second, though humans are craven, distasteful, reprehensible supplanters of power, I acknowledge you need the truth. Third, because others of my people have lied to you. They conceal themselves among you, claiming we are myth. They feed you false hope that you are safe. They lull you into complacent ignorance. The deceivers among my kind want to manipulate and confuse you.
     You believe them.
     You’ve heard tales of visitors from outer space. Stories of aliens who walk among you. You call them urban legends, myths, tall tales for the campfire. Their lies have fooled you.
     You believe them.
     This book relates my tale but is not from my point of view. Call it Science Fiction, but it did happen. My dimension might not be yours, but I exist. To honor a worthy human friend, I considered sparing humanity. I have since seen the folly of blanket exemption. Not all humans deserve to die, but there are requirements for being protected. I will choose few. Would I deem you worthy of being chosen?
     Perhaps. I offer no guarantee. Your fate is a bequest no one can usurp.
     Believe me.
     Read this, if you dare to know the truth.
     ~ Pietas

Read book 1: Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas, available free on Kindle Unlimited


The cover for book 2 will be revealed soon and is subject to final edits. The final version may be slightly different from the one presented here. Please join the Romance Lives Forever Reader Group — you’ll get four free books right away and be the first to know when the book is released.


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The sting of emotions bombarded Pietas #SciFi #MFRWauthor #MFRWhooks

The sting of emotions bombard him #SciFi #MFRWauthor #MFRWhooksWhen I wrote Bringer of Chaos, I knew the hero would not be a sympathetic character. I didn’t expect him to change, but as I wrote, trying to understand him, I began to see  my initial perception was false. He is an anti-hero but there is a nobility about him that I  never suspected. In the scene below, the Ultra Council has agreed to meet on a neutral starport for peace talks with humans. No one will believe him when he warns it’s a trap, so Pietas decides to push the humans into showing their hand.

Emotions Bombarded Pietas

At the appointed time, Pietas entered the elevator with the Council, ignoring the warning looks from his father. His mother tugged his father to the rear of the elevator, and cast a hopeful smile at her son. Seeing the two of them together, with his father newly reborn and his mother aged, reflected their differences. He had always been hot-tempered; she, wise.

Pietas turned away, wishing he did not have to disappoint her, but he could not in good conscience carry out the Council’s command. Lock his people into a treaty with these oath breakers? Never.

The entire Council would be furious with him. As usual.

His sister, Dessy, arrived as the doors were closing, and slid into place on his right as second-in-command.

On her bosom sat an oval-shaped gold and black brooch, the glass front of which revealed a plait of his hair stolen after the ritual they’d performed. She’d interwoven it into a complex pattern. His sister said nothing, but he felt her empathic outpouring of assent. Yet despite her emotional support, she had voted against him.

Would he never understand this woman? Shoulder to shoulder they faced front.

The sting of emotions bombarded Pietas from all angles. His skin twitched and he rubbed his arms as if cold. What hid within the jumbled emotions?

A cadre of humans waited in the assigned receiving chamber. Ten humans would be given in exchange for ten members of the Ultra Council, as Mahikos and the Council had requested. While the Ultras were on board Enderium Six, the humans would act as hostages. If anything happened to the Ultras, the humans would die lingering deaths.

A crawling-ant sensation on his skin escalated to a sting. These creatures hid some secret he did not yet fathom. Pietas bit the inside of his cheek, fighting the urge to lash out, to rip away the life of these mortals.

As agreed, the Council members had come unarmed. Ultras didn’t need weapons. They were weapons.

Read the entire first chapter and intro.
Do you dare to follow Pietas on Facebook?
Did you know Pietas is on Pinterest?


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