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Lift-Off – Author Guest Post

Welcome to the December 2nd guest post stop on the blog tour for Lift-Off by Fiona Lehn, organized by Silver Dagger Book Tours. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for excerpt spotlights, other guest posts, and a giveaway! (More on that at the end of this post.)

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

I’m going to hand it over to Fiona for the guest post portion and then I’ll be back at the end with more information on the book, the author, and that giveaway.

Guest Post

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

I grew up in a vast agricultural region and began writing punny science fiction stories with green aliens in them around age seven. Some childhood faves were the Nancy Drew mysteries, C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy, and L’Engle’s Time Trilogy, though I read pretty much everything I could get my hands on, and I made up songs and stories whenever my nose wasn’t stuck in a book. In my twenties, I wrote mostly speculative fiction that explored gender roles and women’s lives–stuff I thought nobody would publish because I had read so few speculative stories with women as the main characters, so I shied away from submitting my work to publishers. I wrote songs too, which I recorded and performed all over–probably in a coffeehouse or at a festival near you!

The first major milestone in my writing career occurred almost 15 years ago, when a friend convinced me to enter the Writers of the Future international speculative fiction contest for emerging writers. My novelette, The Assignment of Runner ETI, won Third Place. That recognition boosted my confidence enough that I then sent out my first novella, The Last Letter, to Aqueduct Press. They published it, and with two pro sales under my belt, there was no stopping me! I set out to write a novel–and another novella–both of which got published in the past year. The novel, Transformation Junkies, is a speculative, feminist adventure tale of two women on a quest for satisfaction in their lives. The story also features a loser vampire, ancient gods, precocious herding dogs, a touch of romance, and humour.

The novella, Lift-Off, is an inspiring and heart-warming pre-space adventure novel with a bit of romance. It’s a fun ride–a lot like a rom-com–but in book form, and it is set in the near future, so there are some quirky, futuristic surprises for the reader. Also, the story is set in the three days leading up to New Year’s Eve, so it’s a great winter holiday read, too.

Like most artists, I’ve had a lot of day jobs over the years–teaching high school, at-risk teens, and ESL, editing for magazines, editing audio for film and television, waitressing, and doing admin in countless offices. Unfortunately, I was exposed to chemicals at one such office almost ten years ago, and my life changed drastically. I got chemical sensitivities and M.E., which–nutshell–means I have severe chronic pain, cognitive issues, and energy limitations. In a matter of weeks I went from being able to hike, workout, run long distance, sing and perform, to being bed-ridden for months. So, that was a sea change, to say the least, and it has taken me several years to learn to manage symptoms and adapt to a very different life with M.E.

These days, I live a rather isolated hermit-like existence due to my health issues, and I write very little now and very slowly, but I still love writing and do it whenever I can. People still dig my stories, too, and I’m really grateful about that.

What else can I tell you? I love to laugh, I live in British Columbia, and I serve a Feline in perpetuity. Thanks for joining me here–nice to meet you!   

Jenna Comment

Hello from the other side of the country! (Newfoundland.) I grew up in British Columbia, specifically Langley but used to spend summers in the Okanagan. Gosh I miss the mountains! Thank you for the guest post 😊

About the Book

Lift-Off
by Fiona Lehn

Published 27 December 2019
by eXtasy Books Inc – Devine Destinies

Genre: Romantic Science Fiction
Page Count: 178
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

The world’s first tourist space cruise launches from the International Spaceport in White Rock, British Columbia, on New Year’s Eve. One hundred free cruise tickets are hidden all over North America. You have three days left to find one. Would you…

Break and enter? Risk a billion-dollar inheritance? Betray the love of your life?

It’s a random universe. While millions around the globe celebrate the Quicksilver spaceliner’s impending launch, a handful of our heroes struggle to achieve their stellar dreams.

One of them is a methane heiress desperate for a free ticket. Another is a newscaster digging for a killer scoop. And another is a veteran astronaut who’s never been in space.

There are more. Tween twins attempt a secret mission, a star is almost born, and everyone is trying to get to the launch before the Quicksilver—you know—launches.

A lot can happen in a random universe. Do-gooders become saboteurs, cowards muster courage, and loners find love. Who will crash and who will soar? The clock is counting down to one moment that will change everything: Lift-Off!

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Excerpt

Strumming and singing brave extra long, Ginée leaned forwards to offer the man a glimpse. In show business, some jiggling cleavage never hurt, she’d learned, and sometimes it helped a whole lot.

She ended the song to a smattering of applause. The man didn’t clap, but he was approaching. Ginée smiled her winningest smile and thanked the few who flicked coins at her feet.

“You made a mash-up of The Star-Spangled Banner and O Canada?” the man asked.

She wished very different words had come out of his mouth. Those were the breaks. “Everyone’s a critic,” she said, tuning down the high E string that kept going sharp in the December air. “Check it out.” She pointed at the domes beyond the pier. “That’s the International Spaceport—U.S. and Canada, get it?”

“It sounds awful.”

His twangy southern accent sounded awful, but Ginée didn’t say so. “Take it up with your government,” she said. “You’re a bit late though—the spaceport is already built. You could try joining the protest, for what it’s worth.” She jabbed a thumb over her shoulder at the cluster of bundled-up locals steadfastly protesting the spaceport’s environmental and social impact on their sleepy beach town. The D string was sharp, too. Why couldn’t she have perfect pitch, even perfect relative pitch? Ginée kicked on her pedal tuner and tweaked every string.

“No, the song,” he said. “It’s awful.”

“Believe me, I wouldn’t’ve picked either of them as national anthems.” She clacked off her tuner and strummed. “Again, take it up with your—”

“And then there’s you.”

“Me?”

“Yes, you. Someone’s got to talk to you straight.” He stepped closer and lowered his voice. “How old are you anyway?”

She gave him the stock line. “Twenty-one.”

“Nice try. More like seventeen, I’m guessing.” The guy knew something, at least. “What are you doing here, vying for a world-class—no, a galactic-class gig?” he asked. “Go back to Pipsqueak, Oklahoma, before someone unscrupulous gets ahold of you.”

Another naysayer. It was an epidemic. “Alberta.” She strummed, gazed into the weak noontime sun, blew into her hands.

“What?” He screwed up his face as if trying to remember who Alberta was.

“I’m from Alberta, not Oklahoma, and I’m going. On the space cruise.” She pointed the neck of her guitar in the general direction of the Quicksilver. Just because it wasn’t naked-eye visible from where she stood didn’t mean it wasn’t there.

“To do what? Dishes?” He put his hands on his hips. “Saph Diamond, rockstar of the century, is headlining. What makes you reckon you belong on that stage?”

“I wrote a song specifically for this occasion…and, I had a band once. I know the ropes.” She flipped her hair. Unfortunately, it was prairie brown, not blonde. Still, it was long and curly and flippable, and flippability was what mattered, she’d learned. “Who are you to be so opinionated about my work? You’re just an aging, misplaced southern gentleman who—”

“I’m Zig Powie,” he said, as if she should know the name. He scuffed the sole of one of his blue JPK loafers on the sandy pavement. “I’m the Quicksilver Entertainment Manager.”

“Manager! Really?” She did another supermodel hair flip and jiggled like Annette Funnyjell-o did in those old-time beach movies. “You’re here to hire me, aren’t you? Are we on camera? Is this a test? Where do I sign?”

“Actually, that’s why I’m here.” He shifted his weight and his pants hitched up enough that she caught a glimpse of bare ankles. Loafers with no socks—this really was the big time! “Can you read that sign behind you?” he asked. “No Busking. If you leave now, I won’t call the White Rock sheriff, or deputy, or whatever they have in this country.”

“Come on, give me a chance,” she said. “I wrote this one special for the launch.” She fumbled along the fret board and strummed. “Jet engines are a go…” she sang.

“Go.” Zig Powie rolled his eyes. “Go away.” He flicked his wrist as if to brush her from the planet’s surface, headed towards the pier and, with a flash of his ID badge, disappeared beyond the Mercury security checkpoint.

“Prairie Oysters!” Ginée said. She picked at her strings idly, wondering if she should chase after Zig Powie or stand her ground. If he was her lucky break, he’d be back, right?

The scent of sage suddenly filled the wind, overpowering the low-tide seaweed funk. “I’d like to hear that song,” someone said from behind her. His voice was deep and wild, like a growl. A coin arced overhead, spinning and glinting in the sun before it landed with a heavy tink, scattering the small pile of change in her guitar case. The coin was the size of a toonie, but instead of lead and copper, it appeared to be made of pure gold.

“Sure thing, mister,” she said, glancing at the generous tipper. “Thank you for your patronage—jeepers!”

The enormous grin of Saph Diamond, rockstar of the century, was grinning at her, and it was attached to the body of Saph Diamond, rockstar of the century, of course. A body skinnier than in his pictures, although his mouth was as big as the celebrity rags swore—wider than Julia Roberts, wider even than Animal the Muppet. He wore a coonskin cap, tight black leather pants, a midnight blue silk kimono, and his trademark bare feet, even on the frosty pier planks. Sapphires sparkled where his toenails should have been. Three bodyguards in spangly suits postured behind him like Vegas casino towers. A delicious warmth infused Ginée’s body, probably sexual heat from the collision of two stars.

“I’m always hunting for new material, and new talent,” Saph Diamond said. No question, he was sizing her up. “I would love to try you on, darlin.”

Ginée flipped her hair, offered him her winningest smile, and played the intro.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK
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About the Author

Little is known about reclusive writer Fiona Lehn, but legends abound. Some claim she emerged from her mother’s womb singing “We Are the Champions,” a half-written story clenched in her angry fists. Many believe she is serving life without parole for leading an Ottawa sit-in demanding that cloudberries be made one of the four food groups. Others tell that Lehn daily frolics with Sasquatch in glacier-fed slipstreams. Still more assert that Lehn will only answer to “Hermit FiFi” and wields a bedazzled staff like a weapon, fending off house-size mosquitoes and meteorites with a single blow.

All we really know is this: Lehn lives in Canada, has ME/CFS, and lovingly serves a Feline in perpetuity. Her songs have earned the praise of Billboard magazine, and she is a Writers of the Future winner.

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Giveaway

One lucky follower of the tour will walk away with a $5 Amazon gift card! Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway.

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Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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