Dying for Space by S. J. Higbee Book Blitz

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This is my stop during the blog tour for Dying for Space by S.J. Higbee. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 14 till 31 December. See the tour schedule here.

Dying for SpaceDying for Space (The Sunblinded Trilogy #2)
By S.J. Higbee
Genre: Science Fiction
Age category: New Adult
Release Date: 14 December 2017

Blurb:
Cadet Officer Elizabeth Wright just wants to make her father proud, while the mercenary warlord is looking for her to replace his dead family…

I finally get the opportunity to become a serving officer and fulfil my childhood dream, as well as get to know my biological father, General Norman. And when I first clap eyes on Restormel, the HQ of my father’s space mercenary outfit, it’s the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen.

But appearances can be deceptive. There are dark secrets hidden in the twisting corridors and blood-soaked cells beneath the training grounds and banqueting rooms. Secrets that seep out. Secrets that demand fresh victims, because whatever else happens, they can’t be allowed to see the light of day…

You can find Dying for Space on Goodreads

You can buy Dying for Space here on Amazon

First book in the series:
Running Out of Space

Elizabeth Wright has yearned to serve on the space merchant ship Shooting Star for as long as she can remember – until one rash act changes everything…

You can buy Running Out of Space on Amazon

 

SJ HigbeeAbout the Author:

Born the same year as the Russians launched Sputnik, I confidently expected that by the time I reached adulthood, the human race would have a pioneer colony on the Moon and be heading off towards Mars. So I was at a loss to know what to do once I realised the Final Frontier wasn’t an option and rather lost my head – I tried a lot of jobs I didn’t like and married a totally unsuitable man.

Now I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’ll never leave Earth, I have a lovely time writing science fiction and fantasy novels while teaching Creative Writing at Northbrook College in Worthing. I’ve had a number of short stories, articles and poems published – the most recent being my story ‘Miranda’s Tempest’ which appeared last year in Fox Spirit’s anthology Eve of War. I recently signed a publishing contract with Grimbold Publishing for my science fiction novel Netted, which is due to be released in 2019.

I live in Littlehampton on the English south coast with a wonderful husband and a ridiculous number of books. I can be found online chatting about books at my book review blog https://sjhigbee.wordpress.com/ and you’re very welcome to pop onto my website http://www.sjhigbee.com and my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sjhigbeeauthor/.

You can find and contact S.J. Higbee here:
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Blog
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Top Ten Favourite Space Opera Heroines by S.J. Higbee

Dying for Space blog tour

Given that Running Out of Space and Dying for Space feature my protagonist, Elizabeth Wright, who is actually telling the story of what happens, I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite heroines in space opera adventures.

Cordelia Vorkosigan from the Miles Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold

She is the mother to Miles and suffers an assassination attempt that causes Miles to be born with major birth defects in a warrior culture that despises any physical defects. She has to watch her young son struggle against the prejudice of nearly everyone – including his own grandfather who thinks he should have been killed at birth. She is tough, loving and goes through the agonies of the damned as the menfolk in her life continually are at risk. Awesome character!

Torin Kerr from the Confederation and Peacekeeper series by Tanya Huff

She is another tough, very capable woman who features in two successful military science fiction series. I love the fact that she isn’t just physically able to do the job – what makes her stand out is her ability to keep cool and continue to think strategically when the going gets impossible. She is also mindful of her team and good at keeping everyone focused and working efficiently together – there is a nice amount of snarky dialogue amongst them.

Kylara Vatta from the Vatta’s War series and Cold Welcome – Book 1 of Vatta’s Peace by Elizabeth Moon

Kylara is plunged into all sorts of trouble when the merchanting family she has been born and raised into is attacked. Most of her parents’ generation are murdered and the trading outposts grabbed and overrun. Kylara is faced with the prospect of surrendering – or fighting back. Through the first series, we watch a traumatised youngster fumble her way into becoming a confident woman who copes magnificently when in Cold Welcome she is one more confronted with a potentially lethal situation.

Theo Waitley from Fledgling – Book 12 in The Liaden Universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Theo is something of a misfit. Born on a world famed for its academic prowess and the peaceful risk-adverse behaviour of its citizens, Theo’s clumsiness is seen as a significant threat that marks her out for social disgrace and worse. This coming-of-age story is beautifully told in a nicely detailed world as we follow’s Theo’s fortunes – and learn why she doesn’t belong in a quiet, well-ordered world.

Ahni Huang from Horizons by Mary Rosenblum

Ahni Huang is hunting for her brother’s killer. As a class 9 empath with advanced biogenetic augmentations, she has complete mental and physical control of her body, and can read other people’s intentions before they can even think them. Ahni soon finds though, that there are deceptions behind deceptions, and in the middle of it lies the fate of her brother. That’s the blurb and nicely sums up her task. But the story takes place on a space station where Ahni’s need for revenge becomes entangled in a group desperately fighting for some freedom from Earth’s stranglehold on their economy. This is a gem and it’s a real shame this book isn’t better known. One of my all-time favourite space opera reads.

Sirantha Jax from the Sirantha Jax series by Anne Aguirre

As the carrier of a rare gene, Sirantha Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace – a talent which makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. She is also reckless, hard-living and as a ‘Jumper’ her life expectancy isn’t long – and then she surfaces to find herself in jail and accuses of crashing her ship… And that’s the start of a trail of problems. I love the fact she isn’t perfect, doesn’t always do the right thing and is far too fond of a drink and a good time. Which makes her one hell of a heroine.

Yalda from The Clockwork Rocket – Book 1 of the Orthogonal series by Greg Egan

For starters, Yalda is an alien – and she is truly different from any kind of human blueprint. In a world where mothers’ bodies break down and normally divide into four to provide two sets of twins – two co’s – Yalda is different. She doesn’t have a male twin, so is larger than normal and she has also encountered a fair amount of prejudice in her short life over her unusual beginning, often regarded as a freak. Despite her difficult start, she manages to become a scientist and embark on the greatest adventure her species has ever attempted.

Fura Ness from Revenger by Alastair Reynolds

Once it becomes apparent that both Fura and her older sister Adrana have a coveted gift of reading the ancient skulls that open up pathways in space for ships scavenging for anything they can steal or tow, they sign up. Unlike so many adventure tales, this proves to be a dreadful mistake. The first person narrative charts Fura’s transformation from a shy, well brought up young lady to a vengeful, dangerous character who people go to some lengths to avoid. Quite right, too…

Rosemary Harper from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

If you enjoyed Firefly then give this book a go, as it manages to recreate the same vibe that had so many of us tuning in to see what would happen next to the crew. While Rosemary is the protagonist, this tale is as much about the varied crew and their fortunes as they serve aboard the Wayfarer. While it is an ensemble piece, it is Rosemary’s experiences and first impressions that provide much of the initial focus for this story. And it certainly provides a gentler reading experience to some of the more violent, grim adventure tales available.

Cara Carlinni from Empire of Dust – Book 1 of the Psi-Tech novels by Jacey Bedford

I really loved Cara – she is desperate and frightened when we first meet her. Clearly used to dealing with the sleazier side of life, she doesn’t hesitate to sleep with Ben, the pilot who offers to take her off-planet, thinking it’s part of the deal. But over the length of the book, which includes chases, murders and helping establish a colony on a new world, Cara begins to find herself again. Bedford effectively depicts a woman struggling to put an abusive past behind her and build a new life for herself – and I really enjoyed the fact that it certainly isn’t all plain sailing just because she finds someone who cares for her.

Excerpt Four:

Hearing the hostages’ appeals for help had hardened the mood on Peacebringer. I swear the crew would’ve spacewalked down to Modimo, where we finally cornered the slimers. They were heading for a series of caverns in the foothills surrounding one of the biggest plateaux on the dirtball. Bilge-babble claimed that Morrigan was up for vaporising the moon, but as it orbited the mining planetoid Hosi, that was a complete non-starter.
Our fighting force landed over the horizon from their camp. We spent a long, unlovely
journey bouncing around the transporter as it jolted along what passed for a road on this dust-scuffed ball. Then, bruised and aching, we disembarked and crawled for a long light year to surround them, all fully suited as Modimo’s atmosphere was only just breathable if you moved no faster than a dozing snail. We’d just got into position when their proximity alarms started howling.

Sergeant Gently’s face tightened behind his facemask as his voice growled into my
eardrop, “Right. This is liable to get flooding messy.” He glared at me as if it were my fault.

“You stick with me like we’re Tuf-Taped together. Got that?”

“Yessarge.” My mouth was on auto while the rest of me was struggling to take it in. I was
actually seeing real action. Today some bad people were going to die. Maybe some of us
would get hurt, too. My guts churned with excitement and fear. Inside battle gauntlets, my hands were damp. The only dank spot was having Sergeant Gently alongside.
Even now, as lasers spat and spyflakes sizzled on max power around me, resentment
burned. Was I also rushing to attack alongside the rest of the crew? Nah, I was tethered to Gently’s apron-strings. Gripping my weapon, I cursed under my breath as everyone else surged past us. Fact was, I was so busy fuming about being kept out of the action I missed Sarge’s first hand-sig to move up. His slap across my visor soon had me paying attention, though. After which, I was struggling to keep up with Gently, who must’ve been related to a snake, the speed he belly-wriggled across the ground.

Come to think of it, his Mum being a poisonous reptile would explain much about him.

“Give it up! You’re not gonna get outta this. Throw down your weapons!” Morrigan’s
amped voice roared over the opening stutter of weapons’ fire.

“Go prod yourself, bitch! Or better still – wait till I give you one, myself!” came back the
reply. “Keep this prod-fodder company, why don’t you?” A girl about my age stumbled as
she was shoved out from behind a rock, falling to her knees. Wearing nothing but a few
shreds and a breather, she was bloodstained and filthy. And so traumatised, she seemed
indifferent to the weapon trained on her head.

They’d chosen their position well. It was a small gully surrounded with boulders and the
geo-fiz readouts suggested the area was honeycombed with caves. We all knew if the pirates managed to escape underground, we could spend the next year trying to flush them out. Our air-drone hovering over their camp suddenly exploded in a fireball and sadly, the flaming remains didn’t land on top of them.

Sarge started swearing under his breath as the Captain’s voice came through my ear drop,“Our spyflakes are being fuzzed, but we estimate there are around twenty bandits and between four and ten hostages. So careful who you’re shooting at, people. That said – our instructions are that this scum don’t leave here in one piece. The ship they took is one of our subscribers.”

Does that mean the hostages are expendable? I didn’t know. Thinking of that girl and
what she’d gone through made me sick to my stomach. Looking up, I spotted another air-
drone buzzing in the sky. Laser fire broke out ahead of us and the ground shook as something big exploded off to the left. I couldn’t see a thing, stuck behind the largest rock Gently managed to find. Indeed, it was so big you could’ve fitted at least another two useless newbies behind it. I started shuffling to the edge. Until a hand landed on my shoulder.

Sarge growled in my eardrop, “If I had my way, we’d still be aboard Peacebringer
alongside Morrigan – but she wanted me with the troops. Which is why you’re here. But
don’t you so much as breathe without my yaysay, girl.”

“No, Sarge.” My voice was flat with the effort of holstering my temper. I was s’posed to
be experiencing action – not shielded behind some old rock while everyone around me got to join in!

“Cover my back and then follow when I’m in position. On my mark,” he snapped.
Easing right up behind Sarge, the sharp smell coming off him was a shock. He’s afraid.

“Now!” Gently dived across the gap between our rock and the next smaller boulder. For
an older man, he moved fast.

Jabbing my weapon out round the rock, I let off a couple of volleys. Then recalled
Morrigan’s words about being careful who we shot at. Cold with horror, I stopped. What if I’ve just taken down one of our own? Or worse still – one of the hostages? A zipping burst pinged off the rock, pattering stone shards onto the sand. I crawled to the
other side and risked a quick look. A bandit had my boulder in his sights and was waiting. I jerked back as dust and hot splinters flared off my suit shielding. Another spatter of laser fire erupted on either side of me. What if they’ve surrounded me? What if I’m cut off? What if I hit Sarge and I’m left here?

Get a grip, for Mother Earth’s sake! Jessica’s nagging was no help.

Gritting my teeth, I loosened the flap on my pulse grenades. The crudsuckers weren’t
taking me without a deal of grief. After seeing what they’d done to that poor girl, no way was I gonna end up like that.

“Norman! Move up,” roared Sarge. “Now, flood it!”

Light-headed with terror, I flung myself across the gap to the smaller boulder. The bandit
who’d been shooting at me was slumped across the scarlet-splashed outcrop. I only managed a fleeting glimpse as I dived for cover, but the sight brought a savage spike of pleasure. Yeah! Hope it hurt, you hell-bound bilgescum.

Sarge was waiting, eyes glittering behind his facemask. “When I say, ‘Move’ I don’t
ʼspect you to take all day over it!”

“No Sarge.” There was nothing else to say, especially as he had a point.

“We gotta lay down some diversionary fire. Trust your suit. It won’t fail. Think you can
do it? Cos if you can’t, there’s no shame in it. This sliming mess,” he muttered, jerking his
helmet towards the fighting, “isn’t normally how we ease newbies in.”

 My face burned with shame. While I’d been cowering behind that rock, I’d left him waving in the wind. I should’ve been the one to take out that pirate, not left it to someone else. “I can do it, Sarge. My word on it.” I hefted my weapon, flinching at the bright green
readouts winking back at me. Everyone’s firearms around me were mostly showing orange. I ducked out from behind the boulder. Two pirates had just set up a phase cannon off to the right, which could potentially pin down several of our positions – including ours. However, it was pointed at one of the smallest rocks where a couple of our people were trapped.

As he started shooting, the shielding flared red around it and Sarge’s voice sounded in my eardrop, “If the scumsac gets a shot off at that rock, Claxton and Thursk will be chewing carbonised sand.” He paused as he squeezed off another round. Soon as he stopped, I aimed and fired, swallowing rancid-tasting fear. Claxton and Thursk were in a world of trouble. The only thing stopping them being blown off the face of the dirtball was our combined firing. Because to fire the cannon, the zilchers would have to drop their shields and so long as Sarge and me kept up our barrage, they wouldn’t risk it. So we thought. One of the bastards ducked down and bobbed back up, holding up a small boy in front of him and the cannon. They were going to use him as a human shield while they blasted away at Claxton and Thursk. About the same age as Luke, the child was crying as the slimesac jabbed a laser pistol at his head.

“Mine!” Sarge knelt up, steadied his weapon and aimed.

I held my breath, waiting alongside him. As soon as the tell-tale shimmer outlining the
cannon and its crew disappeared, I heard Sarge hiss. OhMotherEarthabove, he’s not going to— But he did. That headshot was the sweetest piece of targeting I’ve ever seen –  and I’ve seen a whole lot since then. The scuzzer slumped forward, knocking the boy clear of the pirate’s outcrop. The child curled in a ball, screaming for his Mummy. I was on my feet, zigzagging towards him before I thought about it.

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