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Boosting the Signal

Boosting the Signal: Here Be Magic Boxed Set, by Various Authors, Post No. 4

The Boosting the Signal special feature run for the Here Be Magic boxed set continues! With this post, I welcome back yet another previous Boosting the Signal guest: Veronica Scott. Veronica’s story in the set is Healer of the Nile, and she’s sent in a character interview to highlight her heroine’s goals as well as her general personality! Check it out.


Here Be Magic Boxed Set

Here Be Magic Boxed Set

1550 BCE

When Pharaoh sends injured warrior Tadenhut home to die, his noble family asks Mehyta, the local healer, to ease his path to the Afterlife. Mehyta discovers he’s trapped between Life and Death, caught in the dreamspace. Touched by his fighting spirit and will to live, Mehyta vows to use all the powers Shai, god of fate, gave her. Together Tadenhut and the brave healer battle to overcome his injuries, as well as threats from devious family members. While struggling to rescue her patient, Mehyta comes to realize he matters more to her than any man ever has before. But even if his life can be saved, what do the omens say about a match between a highborn soldier and a simple healer?

Today we’ll interview Mehyta, but without giving away any spoilers!

What is your idea of perfect happiness? As an Egyptian, I subscribe to the principles of ma’at, that if truth, order, law, morality and justice can be kept in balance, then the world is in harmony. For myself, I’m happy at the end of the day if I’ve done well using my healing skills to benefit others. And if I can have a peaceful dinner with the man I love each evening, talking of the events of our respective days, that’s ideal. He’s my best friend! Sometimes we go for a sail on the Nile, which is a rare treat as well.

Which living person do you most admire? Pharaoh, of course! May the gods grant him life, prosperity and health.

What is your greatest extravagance? Buying special herbs and plants from other lands, that I may try new remedies and methods of healing. I have a garden where I grow as many as possible but some foreign plants fail to thrive in Egypt, despite the bounty of the Nile and richness of our soil.

On what occasion do you lie? I misled many people when I was trying to save Tadenhut’s life, not by telling outright lies, but by not explaining everything I was doing. Allowing people to think what they wished and not correcting their misunderstandings. I always told Tadenhut the hard truths, however, about his injuries.

Which talent would you most like to have? I’d like to know how to run the estate effortlessly, to know all the proper protocols for entertaining Pharaoh and his nobles. To know how much food and wine to order for a dinner, how many entertainers there should be, how to ensure the entire house is ready at the appointed hour. Fortunately there are others I trust to arrange these things on the Hunting Cat estate, leaving me free to concentrate on using my healing gifts. I’m a very shy hostess!

What is your most treasured possession? My pouch of omen stones. They were passed down to me from my grandmother, who was a true daughter of Shai, god of Fate. I don’t have all the powers she possessed, but I can read the stones and tell people their fortunes. I have beautiful spheres of many precious and semiprecious stones and usually when someone asks a question, I put my hand into the pouch and withdraw five or six stones. The right ones will come to my hand, whether the answer is going to be favorable or ominous. Then I cast the chosen stones onto the ground and interpret the pattern. When it came to Tadenhut’s fate, however, I had to cast all the stones, more than once, and seek the counsel of Shai himself.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Being separated from Tadenhut for more than a day!

What historical figure do you most identify with? It is said in the time of the pyramid builders there lived a wise and beautiful female physician, Peseshet, whose knowledge of cures and spells was unparalleled. She was lauded in her son’s tomb as having been the “lady overseer of the female physicians.” I would so love to sit under the palms with Peseshet for an hour, asking questions. The scribes keep much knowledge from the past in the scrolls but I never learned to read. And often one can glean more by talking to someone anyway, rather than merely reading the dry accounts. Tadenhut has put forth word that he will pay dearly for any papyrus related to her teachings but as yet none have been located. Even Pharaoh’s library fails to provide anything more than her name and reputation.

What’s your personal motto? The ancient proverb, “There is no one who can ignore Shai.”

What is your most marked characteristic? I think most people, including Tadenhut, would say I’m stubborn. Once I decide on a course of action, I won’t give up, no matter how many obstacles are placed in my path. I’ll find a way.


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Boosting the Signal

Boosting the Signal: Wreck of the Nebula Dream, by Veronica Scott

Veronica Scott is one of my fellow authors from the Here Be Magic crowd at Carina Press! She writes the Egyptian Gods series for Carina, but she’s also got some indie work, and this post is about one of those! Wreck of the Nebula Dream is SF adventure with a side helping of romance, and if you’re a fan of the lore of the Titanic sinking, you may well find this book to your tastes–because it draws a lot of inspiration from that. This book won awards in 2013, and got a lot of highly favorable commentary from the SFR (science fiction romance) community.

You don’t need to stretch much to figure out what her hero’s goal is in this story: save lives. Check it out!


Wreck of the Nebula Dream

Wreck of the Nebula Dream

Captain Nick Jameson, Sectors Special Forces, reporting as ordered for the interview. I don’t usually talk about that time on the Nebula Dream–I think pretty much everyone in the Sectors knows the story of how she was the newest, most luxurious spaceliner ever built, destroyed on her maiden voyage, with a huge loss of life. I happened to be the right guy, in the wrong place – what was a solder like me doing hobnobbing with the rich and high powered on such a ship, you may ask? Asked myself that, more than once on the first few days of the voyage. Usually when I was getting drunk in my cabin, trying to blot out the memories of my last disaster of a mission. If the ship’s Second Officer hadn’t given me a tour, trying to impress me with the new tech, if I hadn’t met Mara Lyrae, first on the shuttle and then again in the Casino…well, I might have opted for finishing the trip in cryo sleep and then where would we all be? Dead or worse, that’s where.

Mara’s pretty amazing. She was a Vice President for Loxton Galactic Shipping at the time, doing big business deals, wheeling and dealing across the Sectors. But the moment the ship was in trouble, she was right there, brave as any soldier I ever served with, ready to do what had to be done to save lives. I tried to get her off in a lifeboat right after the crash but she wasn’t having any of that, no, sir. Mara is stubborn. There were some kids trapped in a cabin close to hers up on the next level and she wasn’t leaving the Nebula Dream without them. We had some pretty tense moments rescuing them, let me tell you.

Couldn’t have done it without Khevan, member of the D’nvannae Brotherhood. He’s just as scary smart and strong as the legends say those guys are, with a healthy dose of spooky stuff going on between him and the Red Lady his order serves. I don’t know if she’s a goddess or an alien or what she is, but she came through when we needed her. Of course then she tried to kill poor Khevan because she was mad at him but that’s another story. Talk to him about that.

Then there was Twilka, the Socialite. I gotta say I thought Twilka was going to be dead weight for my little group. Worse than the two kids! Spoiled rich girl, totally in her own version of reality, went off looking for her jewelry when we had to risk going down into the hold to find some gear I needed. But, she did pull her weight later when events demanded she step up. I’ve got no complaints about her and if she ever needs my help, I’ll be there.

Lady Damais? I uh, I still can’t talk about her, not in any detail. What she did for me, for all of us that night on the Nebula Dream, well, there are no words. I know she was an old lady, pretty ill by all the signs, but she had more guts than many a soldier I’ve served with.

So those were the people I was directly responsible for, while we were running around the Nebula Dream that night. The AI was trying to hold her together for me, maintain air and artificial gravity levels where I needed to be. My challenges? Find my gear, call for help, keep us alive till help arrived, fight off the enemy forces that showed up, ask Mara to have dinner with me if we actually did survive…yeah, long night. Not to mention various other surprises and developments that kept getting thrown at us. If only there’d been enough lifeboats. Lot of “if only” about the wreck.

Later some reporter told me about a shipwreck in ancient times, on Old Earth, where a lot of good people didn’t make it either. The Titanic, I think? Looked it up one day, sounds like her officers and a lot of brave people did the best they could too, against overwhelming circumstances. Freezing ocean or freezing outer space, innocent men, women and children in harm’s way, too many lost.

The story for WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM, a 2013 SFR Galaxy Award and Laurel Wreath Winner:

Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces Captain Nick Jameson is ready for ten relaxing days, and hoping to forget his last disastrous mission behind enemy lines. All his plans vaporize when the ship suffers a wreck of Titanic proportions. Captain and crew abandon ship, leaving the 8000 passengers stranded without enough lifeboats and drifting unarmed in enemy territory. Aided by Mara, Nick must find a way off the doomed ship for himself and other innocent people before deadly enemy forces reach them or the ship’s malfunctioning engines finish ticking down to self destruction.

But can Nick conquer the demons from his past that tell him he’ll fail these innocent people just as he failed to save his Special Forces team? Will he outpace his own doubts to win this vital race against time?


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