Monthly Archives: November 2020

Holiday meals with my characters.

While cruising through social media this morning, I found a reference to a site talking about Thanksgiving with assorted science fiction and fantasy families. I thought about it a little bit, and decided it might be fun to do the same with my fictional families.

The Netwalk Sequence

First of all, I kinda did this already with Christmas Shadows (Amazon link here). From the blurb:
FOR the first time in years, Diana Landreth is looking forward to a quiet Christmas at home with her family. Or can she? Her mother, a leader in the new Third Force government, has become strangely uncommunicative. The random, disruptive attacks by rogue war machines on cities worldwide may call both Diana and her husband, Will, out to capture the machines. Then Diana learns that her mother’s ex-lover may be involved in the mechanisms that created the Disruptions.

It’s going to be one heck of a Christmas Eve dinner.

Yeah, that pretty much sums things up in that world. You’re gonna have lots of political scheming going on. There should probably be a therapist on site because there are a LOT of problems with the Stephens-Landreth-Fielding family. Meals go along with personal, political, and corporate negotiations. Lots of tense meals or else refueling in order to take on some big problems with physical demands. Holiday dinners in this world are gonna be fraught, even in calm times, because someone’s always got an agenda. Even if it is just close family members. Would I go to a meal with one of these folks? Maybe one or two of them in private. But the family as a whole? Um. No. I have more respect for my sanity than that. I don’t recommend you do it, either.

Goddess’s Honor

Food can be almost ritualistic in this world. Witmara decides to make breakfast pancakes en route to challenging the Emperor Chatain in order to settle her nerves. Her parents Katerin and Metkyi have a lovely dinner after a scary encounter with Zauril’s military forces, the day before they’re part of a challenge to Zauril’s leadership. Katerin’s assistant Colerei quickly finds her preferred role as baker, cook…and preparer of Katerin’s medical salves in Pledges of Honor. When meals are political, though…things do get tense. These folks are the ones you want to eat with on a road trip, though. You will eat well. I’d probably have a meal with them. They’re like having a chill Thanksgiving with your family of choice, and nice and quiet. Maybe not entertaining, but quiet.

The Martiniere Legacy

Let’s just get this out of the way right from the beginning. The Martinieres are fucking paranoid and they need to be. They exist in a world where public banquets can have adulterants that make attendees susceptible to mind control manipulation, and not a one of ’em trusts even events put on by friendly allies because the Martinieres developed a LOT of that technology. Besides, having one of ’em show up at your event can result in–um–interesting situations such as cyborgs attempting assassinations. And in the work in progress (The Heritage of Michael Martiniere) , Mike detects an attempt to drug him and kill his wife JoAnn. Ruby and Gabe have a huge argument during their first meal in public after their divorce, while working through issues that lead to their reconciliation. But their first marriage concluded with a big fistfight at an expensive restaurant that got both of them arrested.

Privately, though? Oh hell yes, I’d go to a Martiniere family meal, especially at Ruby’s Double R Ranch. Ruby raises her own veggies–legacy of the world in that mid-21st century era and food shortages. She has been known to grind her own grains for flour, plus her lab manager is experimenting with distilling from the ranch’s grains. And they have grass-fed ranch-raised beef…and locally-sourced other meats as well. A turkey on that table might just be one that one of the Martinieres hunted…or you could end up with venison. It would be good food and fun, though if I were you I’d plan to stay overnight if you go to a private Martiniere big dinner. You’ll get stuffed and the alcohol flows freely. But there will be music, entertaining conversation, and dancing, and you’ll have a good time. The Martinieres work hard and play hard.

The other part is that they tend to be grazers. Lots of deli trays and veggie trays for these folks because the Martinieres are busy people and lunchtimes in particular tend to get consumed on the run. Though Mike does have a special fondness for pain au chocolat.

Anyway, it was kinda fun to think about the role that special meals play in my worlds….

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2021 Awards Eligibility Post

Taking a deep breath because I’m not sure how well this is going to work, but damn it, I sure do believe in these books.

I have already nominated Inheritance (the first book of The Martiniere Legacy) for the Neukom and Dragon Awards, but I would certainly appreciate more Dragon nominations and votes when voting time comes around! Also planning to submit to the Endeavour Award.

Anyway. My major candidates for awards eligibility this year are…the three books of the main Martiniere Legacy series (Book Four, The Heritage of Michael Martiniere, will be coming out in late February/early March, depending on editing and cover processing). The trilogy fulfills an overall arc and Book Four is a standalone. Not sure if that means it’s eligible as a series.

Awards eligibility: Novel, possibly series.

What The Martiniere Legacy is about:

In the year 2059, climate change, economic uncertainty, and significant debt frequently leads to indentured servitude for individuals. That includes ranchers and farmers. Some of the more daring resort to competing in the AgInnovator, a game show that provides funding for agriculture technology innovations, in hopes of financing the launch of creative agtech solutions without crossing that fine line that will throw them into the indentured ranks.

When AgInnovator introduces a new competitive category, the Superhero, to commemorate their 25th anniversary in 2059, the finalists include ex-husband and wife Ruby Barkley and Gabe Ramirez. Through the competition Ruby and Gabe discover that a malign purpose underlay the causes for their divorce. This shadowy inheritance threatens the future of their son, Brandon, a producer of the Superhero segment of the AgInnovator. In order to save Brandon from being forced into the ranks of the indentured, Gabe has to acknowledge his hidden past as a member of the powerful Martiniere family. He must vie with his cousin Joseph and Joseph’s father Philip for the leadership of the family company, the Martiniere Group.

As Ruby, Gabe, and Brandon delve deeper into the secrets of the Martiniere legacy, they discover secrets upon secrets. Not only is Gabe not who he once thought he was, but Philip and Joseph have condoned interdicted human experimentation on indentured workers. Indentured workers are being held beyond the expiration of their contracts, not just in the Martiniere Group, but in other companies. And now a new class of indentured workers appears with significant body modifications and programmable loyalties. They aren’t quite cyborgs…but how far away from being cyborgs are they?

Inheritance: The Martiniere Legacy Book One

Rancher Ruby Barkley and her ex-husband Gabe Ramirez are competing head-to-head for the AgInnovator game show’s new one-shot award, the Ag Superhero. The winner walks away with $3.75 million per year for five years, with no accountability or need to re-earn the Superhero, unlike the Innovator’s other awards.

But issues beyond those raised by their long-ago acrimonious divorce face Ruby and Gabe. Fence cutting. Rogue biobots destructively ranging beyond programmed parameters. Physical attacks. And the realization that they may need to reunite to save their son Brandon from indentured servitude.

Then the secret shadow of Gabe’s hidden inheritance reveals itself. Will he step up to the Martiniere Legacy—and what role will Ruby accept in any future they may share?

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Ascendant: The Martiniere Legacy Book Two

Six months after the triumphant collaborative conclusion of the AgInnovator Superhero game show, Ruby Barkley and her ex-husband Gabriel Martiniere still struggle with the professional and personal fallout from their victory. The Superhero money allowed Ruby to launch her line of agricultural biobots. But one of the RubyBot spinoffs, the Defender, leads to unsettling revelations about crop tampering using body-modified indentured workers. Their son Brandon uncovers even more disturbing information about the abuse of indentureds as he campaigns to end it. All of these disclosures lead back to the Martiniere Group, the family corporation controlled by Gabe’s malevolent uncle, Philip Martiniere.

Meanwhile, Ruby and Gabe wrestle with what form their resumed relationship will take, as Ruby contemplates whether she wants to take on the role of a Martiniere wife. The revelation that Gabe’s father is not who they thought, and Philip’s attempt to force Ruby away from Gabe once again confirms her decision. But the need to rescue one of Brandon’s valued indentured informants turns celebration into catastrophe. Will Ruby and Gabe be able to recover from this disaster—or will Philip triumph yet again in his campaign to destroy Gabe?

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Realization: The Martiniere Legacy Book Three

The indentured labor wars heat up as Ruby Barkley and Gabriel Martiniere struggle with medical complications that interfere with their fight to stop the sinister goals of Gabe’s father Philip. Discoveries by their son Brandon about the degree to which Philip and the family corporation, the Martiniere Group, are involved in unethical, interdicted human experimentation push them into accepting a questionable treatment to speed their recovery.

Philip’s direct challenge initiates Gabe’s final push to take over the Martiniere Group. Ruby and Brandon consolidate family support behind Gabe. When a high-profile assassination attempt at a political banquet reveals the existence of cyborged Martiniere descendants and clones of Philip intended to provide him with replacement parts, Ruby and Gabe must take action. One clone—Michael—still survives.

Along with their bid to win control of the Martiniere empire, Ruby and Gabe now face the dilemma of what is to be done with Michael. Can they save both the family and Philip’s clone—or should they even try?

The realization of their dreams is within Ruby and Gabe’s reach. Can they fulfill it while still remaining true to themselves?

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And thank you very much to anyone who buys and/or reviews and nominates these works!

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