Huge thanks to Raven for having me on her blog today –now she's scraped me down from the roof as my debut SF romance, "L'Wren, Hawk and the Doves is published. I’m so excited I’m about to explode like a runaway warp core on a star ship. Which is apt as L,H & D is set, mostly, on a star ship.
In a nutshell it's a standard boy meets girl who both meet boy and girl who might be girl and boy while boys and girls fight it out over boys being boys and girls being girls thing.... in space.
As Raven knows when I’m not writing (or should be writing) I’m singing and strumming and a number of songs either sprang to mind or inspired some of the characters, events and plot twists in L, H & D.
For starters, and this is a bit of a teaser which I’m hoping will become more apparent when you get to chapter six (no spoilers allowed), this is an excellent rousing rock anthem from Aerosmith about gender confusion. I just love Steve Tyler’s Jagger-esque antics in this as well the rather fab guitar work but it’s the brass section that really lifts that into something special.
Dude Looks Like A Lady – Aerosmith: https://youtu.be/nf0oXY4nDxE
A lot of action in L,H & D takes place on the planet Ourania, a world divided along strict gender lines and at war with itself because of this. The mission for the mysterious Doves is to broker a peace deal and not offend the delicate social and sexual sensibilities of the opposing factions. For me writing the scene between Cytheria and the leader of the Ouranian matriarchy, Sarkare Khanome, was a big challenge. I had to put myself into the mind-set of a powerful woman. Cue Shania Twain…
Man I Feel Like A Woman – Shania Twain: https://youtu.be/ZJL4UGSbeFg
The Doves, Cytheria and Anchises, are innate empaths – they can feel the emotions of those around them. However it’s a dangerous two way thing – here’s an excerpt where Anchises is pondering his situation:
It had been a struggled to deal with the weight of the emotions in the briefing sessions. He'd felt every single one—the impressions that they took from his presence, the fears they felt about the mission, the love and pain they felt at being far away from loved ones, all of it. And he'd struggled to hold his own responses in check, to stop himself teetering on the edge of the abyss of the emotions around him; the deep, endless ocean of feelings, and fear and love. It had been touch and go quite a few times; and it wasn't going to get any easier.
Being an empath was a two-way thing. He felt everything those around him felt. He also took on those emotions and reflected their innermost, sub-conscious thoughts and ideas, hopes and fears in himself. The discipline he'd had to learn, the self-control, had been hard earned and a long time in the learning. He'd felt pain, hurt, loss, love, anger and at times been close to being overwhelmed by it all. It had taken time but with the help of his parents he'd embraced the techniques and coping strategies that had made them so successful as ambassadors, counselors and negotiators.
But it was always there, the risk that it would get too much and that he, or Cytheria, would be swamped, engulfed.
Eyes closed, he focused on that inner self, his core, the very center of who he was and breathed slowly and evenly. He let the emotional wash that had come with him from the briefing flow over him, through him, but not into him.
Let it go; you are not my emotions, you are not me. I am Anchises, I am not you, your feelings are not mine. I am who I am.
Anchises struggle to keep his own emotions under control reminded me of this classic song that not only addresses the issue it also has that brilliant gender twist where, for the video, the guys in the band are replaced by fabulous female models (check out the amount of red lipstick in this video!)
Robert Palmer – Addicted To Love: https://youtu.be/XcATvu5f9vE
But a song that encompasses the whole book? A hard one to think of, but on Ourania we have various rebel factions fighting it out while I like to think that gender and sexuality are two of the main themes in L’Wren, Hawk and the Doves, so… how about a song with the first line ‘got your mother in a whirl, she’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl’. The awesome David Bowie…
Rebel Rebel – Bowie: https://youtu.be/eF551z9KlA8
And as a special treat for you, Raven, here’s our special mutual friend performing his ukulele cover of Rebel Rebel. Hope you like it…
Rebel Rebel - ukulele cover: https://youtu.be/7rWxj7iZLdI
Captain Saker Hawkings and First Mate L'Wren James agree to keep the mission and passion separate, but with two beautiful alien empaths onboard, it's not only planetary peace negotiations that are in danger of breaking down.
L'Wren James and Saker Hawkings know that there's no room on a starship for a captain and first mate to indulge their passion during a dangerous peace mission.
The fragility of the cease-fire in the gender war on the divided planet Ourania threatens the stability of subspace shipping lanes, and the starship Sulaco's mission is to get the negotiating team there and deliver them safely back.
But when they take onboard Anchises and Cytheria, mysterious empath negotiators from the secretive world of Turaceona, they find their commitment to duty and to each other a struggle to maintain in the sexually heightened and emotionally charged atmosphere.
But Anchises's and Cytheria's struggle to keep their secret and the loss they cannot speak of hidden leaves one dangerously injured and the other missing in action. Only the truth about the man he is and the woman she is can save them.
Can Hawk and L'Wren face up to the challenges of duty, passion, and sexuality and still save not only their relationship but the peace process itself?
Trailers for L’Wren, Hawk and the Doves –
D.K. ffrench bio –
Lost in space, yet still boldly going, D.K. ffrench returned from the forbidden planet a long, long time ago to live a quiet life in a small town called London.
The minimal research he'd done lead him to the conclusion that his identity would best be protected if he masqueraded as a business analyst by day and a writer and musician by night and at weekends.
Available for musical soirees at the drop of a hat, he writes steamy SF romances on a MacBook Air and plays a Gibson Les Paul too loudly while he waits for a set of replacement dilythium crystals for the broken warp core on his ship.
Buy the book –