I'm very excited to be able to share the cover of The Final Dawn.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Friday, February 12, 2021
This book is so adorable, it should be illegal.
Captain of the school soccer team, Bryson Keller, is involved in a dare where he gets asked out every Monday and can't say no. He then has to be a perfect boyfriend until Friday, then the dare starts all over again the following Monday. Kai Sheridan, who is so far in the closet he can't even see the door, doesn't plan on asking Bryson out, it just kind of happens after a series of unfortunate events sees both boys land in lunch time detention and Kai gets just a little bit enraged.
Bryson lives up to the whole "perfect boyfriend" thing and it feels too good to be true for Kai. Over the week, the two boys quickly start falling for each other, even as they hide their dare-based relationship to protect Kai from being forced out.
The book was lots of fun, had so many "awwww" moments and was a quick, enjoyable read. I'd love to see this book made into a movie! An easy 5 stars.
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
When the season 2 promos for Virgin River were playing every time I opened Netflix, I decided it was a good time to make a start on season 1 and watch it through. After all, two seasons to watch are better than one! Going into it, I was vaguely aware the premise was similar to Hart of Dixie (2011 - 2015) but I had no idea just how similar the shows would end up being.
Hart of Dixie
Big shot New York surgeon Zoe Hart makes the (arguably impulsive) decision to move to Bluebell, Alabama after she fails to get the cardiothorasic fellowship she wanted and her boyfriend breaks up with her. Her mentor tells her she has terrible bedside manner and could do with some experience as a GP to see patients as people, not cases needing to be solved. The mysterious Dr Harley Wilks has been sending her postcards once a month since her graduation, inviting her to become a doctor in his small town, so she decides to take him up on the offer.
When Zoe arrives in Bluebell, not only is she way out of her comfort zone, but she finds out Dr Wilks has recently passed away. This is soon eclipsed by the startling news that he was actually her biological father and left his half of the GP practice to her. Hi-jinks ensue. A love triangle between Zoe, George Tucker (town golden boy and lawyer) and Wade Kinsella (town bad boy bartender, with a secret heart of gold), is made more complicated by the fact George is engaged to the town's queen bee, Lemon Breeland, who is also the daughter of Zoe's rival, Dr Brick Breeland. It's soon revealed that Lemon had an affair with the ex-NFL player and town mayor, Lavon Hayes, who is Zoe's landlord and quickly becomes her BFF.
The web that the showrunners and writers spun is nothing short of genius. When laid out like this, it sounds confusing as all hell. And in later seasons, it became even more complicated as other characters like AnnaBeth, Shelby, and Tansy all throw their hat into the small dating ring. It could have easily become a giant mess, but instead it was a roller-coaster where you could never see the next twist or plunge coming.
Big city nurse Melinda Monroe (from LA, but I may be misremembering) decides she needs a major life change and answers an ad to take on the role of nurse practitioner in the remote northern California town of Virgin River. At first, we don't really know why she left LA, but through a series of flashbacks over the season, personal trauma is revealed as the reason. She meets the handsome owner of the local bar, Jack Sheridan, who is immediately taken by her and works with the quirky town mayor to ensure Mel stays in town, despite the many reason she has to leave again.
Most of the season is focused on Mel and Jack falling for one another and overcoming various hurdles along the way. The flashbacks were occasionally almost more compelling than the central story line, and it was her past with lost husband, Mark, that kept me watching when I otherwise would have switched off. I wanted to know what had happened to him and why. This question was answered by the end of season one, and sadly, I wasn't motivated enough to continue on with season two, especially when my sister watched it and told me season two ends of a massive, frustrating cliff hanger. I really loathe cliff hangers, but maybe when season three is available, I'll consider whether I want to watch any more of it.
Comparing the two shows possibly isn't entirely fair. Hart of Dixie is a comedy drama romance, so it could often get away with ridiculous story lines. Virgin River is a romantic drama, with way more angst. Plus, oringinally airing on the CW, Hart of Dixie would skew toward a younger audience (<45 years old) while Virgin River undoubtedly captures an older demographic (>45 years old).
However, watching Virgin River made me undeniably nostalgic for Hart of Dixie, especially since Tim Matheson played town doctor in both shows. I'd originally seen Hart of Dixie as it aired on the CW between 2011 to 2015, so getting to watch it now in an ongoing binge was an absolute pleasure. There were so many things I'd forgotten about it, and I quickly fell in love with the characters and quirky but lovable town of Bluebell all over again.
Its probably easy to tell that my personal opinion is that Hart of Dixie is the better show. However, comedy drama isn't for everyone. I can see where a lot of people would find Virgin River the better show, and feel that Hart of Dixie was a little bit ridiculous sometimes. It was. But that's what made it so great.
Like so many other shows getting the reboot treatment, very late last year, several of the key actors in Hart of Dixie said they would love to reprise their roles and head back to Bluebell. The show had managed to gain new life and a brand new following on Netflix (I believe it might have since ended its run on the platform in the US. Here in Australia, its currently available on a streaming service called Stan.) and many fans were calling for Netflix -- or any other streaming service that might be interested -- to pick up the show and film a season 5. It would be really interesting to restart the series ten years later, and I'd love to see what new writers might do with it. But, down that path, showrunners and writers take the risk of destroying a legacy. And there's nothing worse than a show being revived or rebooted, only to completely suck and taint the whole franchise.
Personally, I'd love to see Zoe and Wade settled with a handful of kids and get a glimpse into what became of other beloved characters and the town of Bluebell as a whole. If the show runners managed to get back most of the original writers, then just maybe, we'd be lucky enough to see another 4 or 5 seasons of lovable Bluebell shenanigans.
Thursday, February 4, 2021
With the upcoming release of the final book in the Atrophy series, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the TV series that influenced me, both before I became a writer myself, and leading up to beginning the Atrophy series.
If we're talking purely sci fi TV shows, then Stargate SG1 was my addiction through my late teens and early twenties.
SG1 had all the elements to make a great TV show:
> A premise that managed to create ongoing tension, but still be fun and compelling.
> A team viewers could connect with and root for.
> Snappy, smart dialogue.
> An easily identifiable enemy with clear intentions that came into conflict with our heroes.
Technical elements aside, there were so many other things to love about this show. I was shipping Jack and Sam before I even knew what shipping was. If you ever want to learn a thing or two about how to successfully string out UST (unresolved sexual tension), then the ongoing will they/won't they relationship between Jack and Sam is an example of how to do it well, and how to do it in style.
As for personal favorites, I was a total Daniel Jackson fangirl. I had the biggest fictional hero crush on him that lasted years and considering how many dedicated fans he had on the internet, I know I wasn't the only one. He went on a very typical hero's journey. His wife was abducted by the bad guys, which was the inciting incident that set his story into motion.
At first, Daniel resisted everything the military stood for, and this gave the team great internal and personal conflict, especially when his views brought him in direct disagreement with Jack, who was in charge of the team and got the final say. There were plenty of times Jack and Daniel would argue over something, then one of them would be proven wrong and subsequently learn from each other.
Jack and Daniel definitely grew closer over the years and were a great example of a caring, unapologetic platonic male relationship, even though plenty of people argued !Gay Subtext! over the years.
I still find Daniel's journey over the years on SG1 very interesting. He started out as this complete geek, didn't know how to hold a gun, could barely stand up for himself in most situations and definitely had this almost naive optimism. When he was killed off (I think it was the end of season 6 and possibly due to "creative differences") the fans lobbied endlessly to get him back and eventually were successful.
By the time the series was wrapping up with a couple of movies ten years later, Daniel was a completely different character. He could hold his own in many different ways, and had become the kind of true hero many writers aspire to create.
Stargate was truly a juggernaut franchise. The first spin-off, Stargate Atlantis, definitely managed to live up to SG1 standards with 5 seasons of its own. Stargate Universe unfortunately was missing that "spark" that gave Stargate SG1 its magic, and limped its way through 2 seasons before being cancelled due to poor ratings.
In this era of reboots, there were of course rumors floating around the internet that MGM had a new Stargate series in the works, and this was confirmed by co-creator Brad Wright in mid-2020. However, the covid-19 pandemic claimed many things last year, and it looks like the Stargate reboot might have been one of them. Later in the year, there were still rumors that MGM were doing something and that it was a "work in progress," with speculation that if things went well, a new Stargate series could hit our screens in late 2021. Unfortunately, a search of any new information pretty much results in crickets chirping.
I always have mixed feelings about reboots. According to Wright, this wouldn't be a reboot, so much as a continuation of the story. An entire new series, with a new team and some cameos from fan favorites thrown in could actually work. But that's the point where things get sticky. Writing something that both feels familiar and gives the original fans what they've been wanting (namely more Stargate) while also feeling fresh and new to capture an entire new generation and audience isn't going to be an easy task, and I wouldn't want to be the writer fronting up to develop that pilot script.
There's usually not much in the way of middle road where reboots are concerned. Either they're amazing and start an entire new wave of fan obsession for the franchise (eg 2005 reboot of Doctor Who) or they completely tank and fans cringe every time they think about it (eg 2009 reboot of Melrose Place). We can only hope that should a reboot actually come together, then all the stars will align and a new shining era of Stargate adventures will grace our screens.
Monday, February 1, 2021
This month Atrophy is on sale for 99c!
Twelve years on the prison planet Erebus makes a man long for death. The worst part for Tannin Everette is that he was framed for murder. He's innocent. When the ship Imojenna lands for emergency repairs, Tannin risks everything to escape...only to find himself face to face with the captain's undeniably gorgeous sister.
Zahli Sherron isn't planning on turning Tannin in. In fact, she actually believes him. Sure, he's sexy as every kind of sin, but he's no criminal--so she hides him. But no one escapes from Erebus and lives to tell about it. With every day that passes, Zahli further risks the lives of the entire crew...even as she falls in love with a man she can never have for herself.
The Atrophy series is best enjoyed in order:
#5 TBA - releasing in 2021
"...fans of Firefly and Serenity! this is the series for you. Anyone
who has ever craved for more of this space Western drama television
series + movie will LOVE Atrophy. Rogue space bad boys, ass-kicking women, mysterious and evolved beings and of course let's not forget shape shifting aliens. Everything your heart desires in an awesome series by Jess Anastasi." ~Ash P Reads, Goodreads
5 stars "Oh. My. Heck. This was a fantastic read! [...] I was hugely satisfied with this book. I loved the characters, the ship they travel on (it definitely reminded me of Serenity and made me feel at home), and this new universe that is waiting to be further explored." ~Abby, Goodreads
4 stars "There's a motley crew to get to know, multiple conflicts waiting to unfold, shady & tortured pasts to uncover and loads of unresolved sexual tension to strip away--all of which remind me of Firefly on steroids set in the ever-faulty Millennium Falcon, full of cynical humor, spiffy dialogue, and all kinds of mad behavior." ~Unstuck Pages
4 stars "Best science fiction romance book by Jess Anastasi that I have read. If you loved Joss Whedon's Firefly series or his Serenity movie, then this is a book that needs to be on your radar." ~LiteratiLiterature Lovers
5 stars "Great book filled with action and suspense, outstanding characters and the best part, it's a sci-fi romance." ~Jacque, The JeepDiva
5 stars "Atrophy is a pulse pounding action adventure romance. This book has great characters, an awesome plot, and great writing. [...] I need to know what comes next for the crew of the Imojenna! This is a great read, not to be missed. "~Linda, Goodreads
Friday, January 29, 2021
Ah, the humble blog. Does anyone even read these things anymore?
For those die hard fans who may still lurk around this blog in the hope of catching some new snippet of info about my books, you'll undoubtedly notice all previous posts are now gone. Yep, all one-thousand and something of them. Apparently I'd been blabbing away at the Interwebs for the last thirteen years.
In reality, the posts aren't gone, just archived and waiting for me to re-read them. I decided to do a bit of an overhaul and wanted to curate my content instead of just having a whole lot of everything slapped up here.
In the meantime, there'll be some news coming this way, so stay tuned!
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Colonel Cameron McAllister has a covert mission behind enemy lines to team with the Ilari rebels and overthrow the bloodthirsty dictator who’s torn their planet apart. The last thing he needs is to get sidetracked searching for a downed pilot, especially since it means having Lieutenant Theresa Brenner tag along. Not only doesn’t the frosty pilot have the ground game to keep up with his seasoned group, she’s a potential distraction with all those gorgeous blond curls of hers—and she might be just like her brother, whose foolhardiness got his men killed.