Guest ~ Alanna Blackett
Today we’re thrilled to welcome Alanna Blackett to our pages – complete with a giveaway of her latest release to one lucky commenter!
Which social networking tool do you use the most? Why do you like it? How long have you been using it? Do you find it an effective tool for authors? How important do you think it is for authors to keep in touch with their readers? Do you use many social networking tools, or just a few carefully chosen ones? Do you dislike them? Tell us why?
Oh boy, social networking. This means we get to talk about Twitter, which is one of my, like, top three favourite things in life. I’ve been on Twitter since 2008. I have a personal account that I mostly use for saying snarky things about NBA basketball with an awesome group of bloggers and other people who say snarky things about NBA basketball. I do have a new author account, which is @AlannaBlackett. The funny thing about having a real-life Twitter with thousands of followers is how weird it is to hop over onto my author account and remember what it was like to only be talking to a few people. But you have to work up to it. As a new author, no one’s heard of me, and that’s OK. It’s more important to me that I have all my writerly stuff in one place. I get most of my cool links and fresh news from Twitter these days.
I personally think Twitter can be good for writers because the 140 characters force me to go back and remove bad-habit “junk” words like “just,” “like,” “really,” etc. Most of the time the thought is just as effective without them. I follow a lot of authors I like on Twitter. I figure, chances are if I like your voice in your writing, I’ll like your voice on Twitter. (And indeed, I have never had a bad experience meeting any of my Twitter friends in real life. I’m about 8 for 8 in Good Twitter Friend Meeting Experiences so far.) So I guess my advice is to not censor yourself too much and use your real voice. Some people will love you, some people will hate you. But they have the option of not following. So whatever. I don’t do Twitter drama. Haha.
Besides Twitter, I am on Goodreads, and I have a blog (that I should probably update more). I do have a real life Facebook, but I’m always complaining about it, so it’s not likely I’ll get an author one. So I guess I would say I choose social networking tools I know I enjoy using.
Riley is one of the best hackers around. She’s always kept her online identity separate from her real life… mostly because she doesn’t have much of a real life. But someone is stalking her through the network. Someone who knows about the big job she just pulled off and won’t stop till he finds out who she is.
Two years ago, CJ was a hacker at the top of his game, until he got caught. Now the prisoner of a ruthless corporation, he is forced to hunt down his former friends and colleagues. He finds himself irresistibly drawn to the woman he knows only by her alias, Samantha, as he traces her from virtual nightclubs to the dark streets of the Manhattan sprawl.
But when Riley and CJ’s relationship crosses over into real life, things get dangerous.
CJ grinned as she signed off. He still had the trace on her connection. She had disconnected from their chat and was logging into something that looked like…he didn’t know what, specifically. Some part of interspace. It was a server with a massive number of connections. He checked the numbers. 240,000 users were currently logged in. A city simulation? The server had a name he didn’t recognize, but that wasn’t surprising. There were so many of the things. Maybe, he thought with a sudden flash of heat, it was where she had her apartment in interspace. He wouldn’t say no to that, although it was no comparison with the real Samantha.
He followed her, connecting to the server. His vision went dark and three cycling blue lights appeared in the center. Then the area finished loading and the world sprung up around him.
Except he wasn’t in an apartment. Or a club. He didn’t know where the hell he was. Or he did, but only sort of. There was something definitely not right about it. He recognized the street signs illuminated in the pavement, and the dingy advertisements on the sides of the buildings. He recognized the damp chill in the air.
It was his street. And it had a giant robot on it.
The robot’s head whirred toward him as it identified him with a vague mechanical interest. It was at least twelve feet tall, a towering boxy thing with multiple arm cannons. Its eyes were old-fashioned LED screens that glowed yellow. It lifted one arm.
The impact slammed him across the sidewalk into the side of a building. “Get down!” someone shouted as the air exploded into rapid stuttering gunfire. He heard the sound of glass blowing out and pressed himself against the closest large object he saw. It was a set of stairs. He lifted his head, disoriented.
Wisps of blue hair stuck out from under Samantha’s bandana as she opened fire on the robot, half-crouched behind a nearby trash can. She wore some kind of dirty military pants and a grimy T-shirt with a logo he didn’t recognize on the shoulder. She’d just blown out the window of the building across the street from his. He gazed up from his hiding place against the side of a concrete stair railing and took in the detail of the street. Unbelievable. It was a near-perfect replica.
Except for the giant robot.
Samantha’s gun blasted one more time, and he heard the whine of failing electronics. There was a pop, and sparks flew out of the robot’s neck. Its yellow LED eyes flickered off, then came back on again. Samantha hit it again, this time right in the eyes. Headshot. The robot toppled to the street, its limbs screeching and creaking as they folded up on each other.
Samantha pointed her black automatic rifle into the air and surveyed the damage with a satisfied grin.
Alanna Blackett writes science fiction and fantasy with a side dish of romance. Growing up, it annoyed her that she always had to be Princess Leia when they played Star Wars, because there weren’t any other female characters. She would much rather have been Han Solo or Indiana Jones. She immediately set out to fix that through her writing. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and two cats, and has a weakness for video games, NBA basketball, and books about chicks who blow stuff up.