I have done a lot of crazy things for research. The longer I'm an author, the more likely it is that I'm going to go out on a limb for the sake of accuracy. I am, in fact, in the middle of some wacky research I'm going to use for a story I hope to publish around Christmas this year.
I'll likely embarrass the heck out of myself at some point by telling y'all exactly what that research entails, but there are some lines I refuse to cross.
Goats just happen to be one of those lines.
A few years back, I was visiting my Aunt Bonnie who, at the time, had a small flock of goats. The billy wasn't mean, exactly, but he insisted on head butting my thighs the entire time Aunt Bonnie was giving me the tour of her goat pasture. No matter what I or anyone else did, Billy trotted after me, head lowered. It was so bad, I had to give the baby I'd been holding back to her mother so I could use both hands to fend him off. I ended up hobbling home, and I never forgave that goat. In fact, I've pretty much avoided caprids ever since.
I bet you're wondering what goats have to do with the price of tea in China or, more specifically, which story will feature these agile creatures. Believe it or not, they'll show up in Alien Mine, a SciFi Romance set here on Earth and the very next Pruxnae novel scheduled for publication.
The heroine in Alien Mine is Rachel Hunter, an Earth woman with two extraordinary daughters, the youngest of whom warrants protection in the form of sexy Pruxnae Dyuvad ab Mhij. You met Dyuvad's middle brother Benar Q'Mhel in A Warrior's Touch, which offered a quick peek into a culture (the Q) that will turn up again in future stories.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Rachel is a single parent. She supports her small family in part by raising milk goats. Caring for them and turning their milk into products she can sell, like goat's cheese, takes up a significant part of her day. Normally, I'd research exactly what that entails in a more hands-on way by, for example, visiting a local goat farm, but after my last experience with goats, I decided I'd rather pass on that particular adventure.
After all, the goats aren't the focus of Alien Mine. I can't clue you in yet on what its focus is. That would give the entire story away! But you will get a hint or two of the bigger picture and what the Pruxnae Series is building toward.
Ok, ok, just a few clues:
- In The Choosing, we met the Sweepers.
- In Thief of Hearts, we learned a little about Origin Space and the Great Migration.
- In A Warrior's Touch, we were introduced to the Q.
- In Alien Mine, we'll learn a smidgen more about the Net telepaths.
I know how random the Pruxnae Series must seem to readers, but I promise, there's a purpose to each installment beyond each one featuring a bride-stealing (or in one instance, a groom-stealing) Pruxnae. All of the above will come together to some extent in the fifth book in the series, but it's just the beginning of a much larger tale. Do you remember that Christmas story I told you about earlier? It will be the bridge between the Pruxnae Series and the story yet to come, and will feature Fate, Rachel's wily, homespun brother.
I promise, you're going to love Fate, but again, I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Rose-eating goats aside, Alien Mine is shaping up to be a sizzling romance seasoned with a good dose of mountain humor. Dyuvad's innate sensuality gets Rachel in a tizzy from time to time, that's for darn tootin' (as she would say), but the way they interact is wonderful to watch. I can't wait to get their story in the hands of readers so y'all can read another piece of the growing puzzle that is NetVerse.
I love hearing from readers, so if you have questions or comments about the Pruxnae or what's in store for the residents of NetVerse, drop me a line. Just, you know, don't ask about the goats.