Sunday, June 9, 2013

Angelia Sparrow's Adventures In Fandom, Plus Giveaway

Introduction: So I've been reading Angelia Sparrow and Darren Bloomquist's HARD REBOOT (2012, Amber Quill Press). While this isn't the first book of Ms. Sparrow's I've read, this title in particular contained such attention-to-detail worldbuilding that I became very curious about her background as a science fiction and fantasy fan.

I'm sure my reaction had a great deal to do with the dark, post-apocalyptic setting and vivid cyberpunk elements. Something about the prose told me she was committed to creating a compelling world for her readers.

I'd characterize HARD REBOOT as a gritty cyberpunk suspense story with strong romantic elements. Its particular style of graphic sexual content means it's not for the faint of heart, but the tale is thought-provoking nonetheless. (I'm hoping to blog more about HARD REBOOT when I'm done, but in the meantime, a review at Hearts on Fire provides many helpful tags).

Given my experiences reading Angelia Sparrow's work, I invited her aboard to blog about the SF/F influences that informed her writing. As it turns out, she's had a very interesting journey and is here to share it with us.

Details for an ebook giveaway follow her post. Enjoy!


A big thank you to Heather for having me here today. When Heather asked me to blog about early influences: TV, movies, fanfiction, she hoped I'd say yes. She didn't expect the answer she got.

You want early influences? Try this. A few years ago, I was talking to a man and he said, 'You have the most unusual accent. I write voice recognition software and I've never heard anything quite like it. Definitely midwestern, Upper Missouri or Kansas, and Nebraska. But there's a heavy television overlay, California, but almost Canadian.' I laughed and said it was Canadian with a side of California. I had watched a lot of television as a small child, and my favorites were Star Trek and Lost in Space. The Williams, Shatner and Mumy, helped teach me to talk.” While this is not literally true—I did have parents and grandparents who talked to me and read to me-- they did help me refine my speech, since I had been deaf during much of my primary language acquisition period.

My earliest and most vivid TV memories are of Star Trek, Lost in Space and Wild Wild West (steampunk before there was steampunk). I liked the drapes on the Newlywed Games, and the bubbles on Lawrence Welk and “Amanda Blake as Kitty,” but it was Trek I actually remembered scenes from and sought out again in my teens.

When I was nine, Star Wars roared onto screens. The whole country was gripped, but I was rapt. There it all was, just the way I had known it could be. The novelization became the first full-length adult book, with no pictures, that I ever read.  (Dr. Doolittle books were longer, but they had a few pictures)  The following summer, I was introduced to Edgar Rice Burroughs and swept off to Mars. When I saw the trailer for John Carter a couple years ago, my children were appalled at how loudly I squeed. I had waited more than 30 years for that movie.

I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy in the next few years. I got the complete Lord of the Rings for Christmas in 1978, about the time the Bakshi movie came out. I still have memories of recovering from ear surgery the following February, and alternating my huge reading vocabulary assignment with chapters of The Two Towers.

The early 80s were a great time for SF. Star Wars. Star Trek. Buck Rogers. Flash Gordon, where I developed a harem fantasy and an unending crush on Max von Sydow. Ice Pirates, my introduction to Anjelica Huston. Indiana Jones, not SF, but where I got my taste for swashbuckling

When I was 15, I was introduced to fanfiction. We were feral fans, my friend and I, writing our own stories, and not knowing that thousands of women across the country were doing the same. We found the local fan group and bought one of their zines, which we read to tatters. We loved it. Alternative points of view, missing scenes, alternate endings, everything. When we went to our first SF convention, George Takei and Anthony Daniels were guests, we quickly learned more. I heard of slash and saw naked Jim Kirk fan art. I was traumatized, yet enthralled and determined to be part of that world.

Fanfiction went on hiatus as I got into gaming and started writing adventures for that. I dabbled with fantasy throughout high school and college, each piece more erotic than the last, although my own sex life was literally ambidexterous. I found mailing lists and had e-mail from 1987 onward.  I frequented usenet News Groups and rediscovered same-sex erotica through Elf Sternberg's Journal Entries on I wasn't a huge fan, Anne Rice's Beauty series having rather soured me on it, and on too many spankings.

Then married life and children ate me.

I forgot about gaming. I quit writing. There was too much to do.

Until 1998, when Buffy the Vampire Slayer seized my attention. Now, there was the internet. Now, there was fanfic at my fingertips.  As I told Nicholas Brendan at a convention last summer, “You may be responsible for this,” I gestured to my crate of books, “ten novels and oodles of shorts, and all because I had to write Xander fanfic after Killed by Death.” He laughed and hugged me again.

I made my first website. By the time Geocities closed, I had written in ten primary fandoms, including Brimstone, Star Wars, Star Trek, Indiana Jones and Narnia (pre movies). I had 13 orphan fandoms as diverse as Anastasia, Captain Blood and Witness. And more than a few crossovers. I was the list-mom for Luke_and_Han at yahoogroups. I'd been in fanzines and started doing SF conventions.

Then I found Fandom High, an online RPG. As I always say when asked how I got started writing with Naomi Brooks, “Once upon a time, Han Solo fell in love with Bagoas.” Which is pretty much what happened in game. Out of game, we played with some stories, discovered we made a good team and started writing books together.

My sources show, if you know where to look in my books. Hopefully not like a cheap slip, but they are there and those who are looking will see it. Some bits are more obvious than others. Some are blatant homages, as when a character is looking at a post-apocalyptic assembly of vehicles, led by a masked man and thinks of The Road Warrior. Others it takes me until the third editing round to realize, “Oh dear. My spiffy urban fantasy is 'Sons of Anarchy' Mary Sue fanfic in Urban Fantasy drag. Ooops.”

Whatever we're being fannish about has a way of ending up in our writing. We went through an Errol Flynn kick, and that resulted in the Robin Hood novel, Cherry Tart, Curse of the Pharaoh's Manicurists and a western. He also inspired Commander Cliff Cody, of the Space Exploration Rangers, who has two short stories. It's also having an effect on a steampunk boxing piece, although the Flynn muse is resolutely sitting that one out, having sworn never to do SF again.

I describe the steampunk short story, “Cherry Tart” as “a big stagecoach romance, starring Olivia DeHavilland and Errol Flynn, except the stagecoach is a spaceship to Jupiter.”

The Robin Hood novel is even more obvious, since we used all the set pieces and lines from almost every Robin Hood movie ever, including Mel Brooks and Disney. But Sweeney Todd found its way in as well. I watched the scene with Anthony and Judge Turpin far too many times, since those were two of the player-bases/mental cast.

Barbarossa's Bitch is what happens if The Sons of Anarchy, led by Adam Lambert, decide to re-enact The Postman. But there are subtler things in there too, such as Barbarossa telling Dylan that yes, he has an Amazon daughter, by their leader General Prince, but her name is Diana and they claim she was made of clay and brought to life by Hera. Even Dylan's taken name, Kane, is a Buck Rogers allusion.

Nikolai, the gateway book to my dark future universe, started as Star Wars/UC:Undercover crossover, with a dab of Smallville for good measure. When I started writing more in that 'verse, including Glad Hands, I drew on my travels, on a lot of truck driving songs and on political stuff I was reading.

Even in my latest release, Heart's Bounty, Gabriel Belthir and I played with a lot of the cliches of space opera, and we also stuck a few sly SF in-jokes into our romance. The boys first get together on a planet called Taushi. There were more than a few jokes between Gabriel and myself about whether the primary export of the planet is power converters. (Yes, I know it's spelled Tosche, but they sound alike)

If you keep your eyes open, there's no end to what you might see. The influences are there, if you want them. If not, sit back and enjoy the story.

My work can be found at
I can be found on facebook as Angelia Sparrow

Inkstained Succubus, my small press, welcomes SFR.


Now for the giveaway! One lucky passenger can enter to win a digital PDF copy of either HARD REBOOT or HEART'S BOUNTY!

Hunting is a young man’s game and Miho is well suited to it. He is a product of centuries of selective breeding, making him human-plus. He has a reputation for finding his quarry. But he doesn’t expect to find an older man at the Tag Board looking for work of his own.

Hevik was outlawed and banished from his homeworld, and now lives a solitary life hunting small-time criminals among the planets. A pretty boy with hair as dark as deep space makes him reconsider that lifestyle.

As the fates keep throwing them together while they pursue the same bounty, both of them discover depths about themselves, and about their lust and need for each other, that makes chasing their quarry all the more dangerous.

Inside Scoop: This highly charged male/male tale of two bounty hunters scorches across galaxies! There are scenes of m/f, f/f, threesomes and moresomes. There is also a very brief rape scene. Don’t worry, our heroes get their happy ending!
To enter, leave a comment for this post. To make it more fun, describe your very
first encounter with an SF/F/SFR book, film, or television show!

The deadline to enter is midnight PST on Saturday, June 15, 2013. I'll choose a winner at random.

Joyfully yours,