Thursday, June 6, 2013

Guest Post - Lyndi Alexander's "A Small Degree of Hope" where a cold-blooded creature can be hot

Lyndi Alexander, author of "A Small Degree of Hope" is here to talk about her new release, the premise for which I found very intriguing.  I never imagined cold blooded creatures could mate with warm blooded ones, but Lyndi will reveal how her research has made the concept possible.  What's more intriguing is the idea that this novel may develop into a series.  So, take your shoes off, sit back and relax while we assume the controls and take you on a slightly different, yet utterly fantastic journey....

Welcome, Lyndi, I'm so glad you could join us.  I'd like to say that I love the title of your new book.  Can you tell us how you came up with it?
I researched the quote libraries on line looking for something that really defined that moment when love catches fire. I found this quote by Stendhal:  A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love.   It was so appropriate, because when Kylie loses everything else, Griff brings her hope, which does eventually lead to love between them.

 Who designed your cover?
Actually, it was Lyrical Press CEO Renee Rocco. I’d been working on my 12th round of edits with my editor Penny Barber, and running some promotion of the work at the same time. Renee was so pleased I was working hard, she put the cover together herself! I love the sci-fi looking writing, and the space background.

A shapeshifting lizard and a human is such an unusual combination for a romance, and very intriguing.  What sort of research did you do for your book?
Because my hero, Griff, is a reptilian shapeshifter, and the bad guys of the novel are aliens of Griff’s race who are trying to mutate human women into their species, I interviewed some college professors who teach comparative biology, trying to figure out exactly how that change would take place. Since it appears that reptiles and humans have common lineage in the way-back times, it wasn’t as far a stretch as what I thought!
I also studied up on autopsies and genetic studies so that my heroine investigator, Kylie Sanderson, would have a strong foundation for her detective/CSI type work.

Did you include any experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I actually created Kylie several years ago as a character in an online role-playing game through which I met my husband. He had a number of characters, one of whom was a shapeshifter named Griff, and he showed me how Griff was worth loving. The two had many adventures in the game, and I was pleased to be able to bring them to new life in the pages of a novel and share them with readers.

Okay, I'm hooked.  Can you share a little of "A Small Degree of Hope" with us?

This is an excerpt from the book—after she’s been captured, then rescued from the evil reptiles.

Kylie extricated herself from Griff’s grip, overwhelmed. Let’s see these options again. Be a mindless lizard. Die. She considered the implications of altered genetics, possibly leaving her not lizard or human. Or worse than either. Fantastic.

He doesn’t lie to me. I’m not going to lie to him.

Behind her, Griff suggested, “There is another alternative, if we believe the intelligent female is superior to the animal female.”

She walked to the window, studying the darkened houses around them, feeling the echo of deserted emptiness swell inside her heart. “Under your theory, asserting my cells seek out a higher level, you could change me into an intelligent female. But I’d live out my life as one of you.”

“It is merely one alternative. I would care for you either way.”

She sighed, facing him again. “You’re one of the few in the universe I can count on right now, Griff. I know you’re trying to do what’s best. I just don’t know what’s best now.”

“A fair assessment.” He glanced at her arm. She covered the spot, embarrassed, and he froze, his emotions reading faint pain.

By all the hells, couldn’t she do better than to hurt the only one willing to help her?

“Griff, it’s all right.” She crossed the room to embrace him. His heart raced in his thick chest. “Let’s look at worst case scenario, okay? If I degenerate into reptile form, I’ll have abilities, right? Teach me how to use them, here, where it’s safe. Then we’ll be ready to take on whatever enemies await us. Please?”

“I will do anything you ask, Kylie Sanderson. Now, and for all the future.”

Those were words similar to others she’d heard from boys over the years, girls too. Best Friends Forever. I’ll love you until the end of time. We’ll never be apart. Many different phrasings, never really thought through, just offered as temporary comfort.

But Griff? She’d risk her life that he truly meant every word. What a glorious being he was. And how lucky she was to have him standing by her. As she held him, his skin rippled. Startled, she pulled back.

“Do not be alarmed, Kylie,” he said from a human mouth. He had returned to his disguised state. “I wish for your comfort. I can maintain this form for now.”

Guilt dripping over her like chilled honey, Kylie turned away from his earnest gaze. She wanted to apologize, but she couldn’t find the right words.

He pulled her close, tilting her face up with one hand. “When humans wish to express their emotion for someone, they do it in this manner.” He kissed her.

At first, his kiss was tentative, his lips testing, pressing against hers lightly, then with more certainty.

“Like this?” he whispered.

“Just like this.” His mouth soft against hers, his taste was reminiscent of his musky scent, slightly spicy and alluring. She didn’t want to stop.

She pulled him closer, her nails digging into his shoulders. His arms came tight around her. They continued to kiss, clinging to each other like a life raft.

Hot blood rushed through her ears, her heart pounding. She wanted him more than she’d wanted anyone before, the feelings his touch generated driving her to mindless reaction.

Passion gripped her as strongly as he did, and made her shudder, her hips snapping sharp against him. “Yes,” she whispered. “Yes, I want you.”

He kissed her again then slowly released her. “Teach me, Kylie Sanderson. Show me how to make love like a man.”

Wow!  Is there a special message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That love can happen between two beings of any kind, and even if it’s not what’s traditionally expected between a human man and woman, that makes it no less beautiful and special.

I think that's one of the aspects of your story that intrigue me the most.  So, how long did you write before you were published? 
That’s an interesting question. I’ve been writing since about the third grade, when I sat at my living room window and watched my cat kill and eat a rabbit, writing it all down in gory detail. I took my essay into school the next day and my teacher read it to the class. (Probably if that happened these days, the teacher would have called Child Protective Services and had me put somewhere I didn’t have to watch things like that!) 
Then I wrote my first novel at 14, a horrid Gothic time-travel romance about a governess in a dark house and the handsome young heir—all the rage at the time, but not so well-done. Not published. Then the novel about the young teacher caught up in international espionage at the state teacher’s conference. Also not published. The one about the young woman who was the oldest daughter in the home of a single dad, and had too many responsibilities taking care of her siblings to have her own life, so she volunteers at a crisis line and gets burnt out? The same.
(For the whole story, see my seven-part interview at Novelspot)
The bottom line is that forty years after that first novel, in 2009, I finally found a publisher who really liked my work, and Dragonfly published my Clan Elves fantasy series.  From there, I’ve contracted nine novels as Lyndi Alexander, in fantasy, science fiction and YA, and another six as Alana Lorens, writing romance and romantic suspense.

Wow, again.  Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and YA all require different voices and skills.  So, tell us a little about your current projects and what's currently in the works,

Later this month is the release of the first book in my YA sci-fi post-apocalyptic series WINDMILLS from Zumaya Publications: After terrorists launch a plague in the United States that spreads to kill most of the world’s Caucasian population,  Tzu Lin Kwan’s father, a renowned medical doctor and biologist, defects from China to help develop a cure. His only daughter, Lin Kwan, is left behind in Hong Kong with her aunt. Kwan’s father summons her to bring him Chinese medicinal herbs, and she travels with her sensei Li Zhong to the New World. But a Chinese spy is on her trail, determined to kill her and Zhong. When Kwan discovers her father has disappeared, she sets out on a journey to find him and deliver her precious cargo, a quest that she may not survive.

I’m also working on final edits on a suspense story set in New Mexico, ENCOUNTER, about what happens when a group of lawyers on a retreat for the purpose of team-building  and a group of illegal aliens trying to cross the border are caught in a freak snowstorm and trapped under the same roof. That will be a release from Hydra Publications later in 2013.
Then I have about half a dozen other stories I can’t wait to get to work on. Too much to do, too little time!

A lot of genres and identities to juggle.  I have enough trouble with just one.  Given that, could you name one entity (person, place or thing) you feel supported or inspired your writing goals outside of your family members? 
I am profoundly grateful for the support I’ve received from the Pennwriters critique groups I participate in on a regular basis. I’ve shared work with some of these other writers for almost ten years, and they have helped my writing grow exponentially through many, many revisions. And they never took my wild sci-fi ideas at any less than face value. Thank you, northwest Pennsylvania folks!

Do you have a favorite author, and if so, tell us and what strikes you most about their work?
Probably the one writer who truly influenced my interest in writing science fiction was fantasy-sci fi writer Anne McCaffrey. She always constructed the most compelling characters, made them so human and dragged my heart right along with theirs as they survived their trials and tragedies.

Anne McCaffrey was an excellent world-builder.  I love dragons, and I guess lizards have a lot in common with them, which is why your concept fascinates me so much.  Since you write so many different types of books, do you have any advice for other writers?
 Just keep writing. Persistence is the real key to getting what you want. Sometimes it takes forty years. But looking back on it now, it’s certainly worth it for me. J

Lastly, and just for fun, if you could have any super power, what would it be?
I’d love to be able to fly.

Yeah, dragons could fly, too.  Thank you so much for joining us, Lyndi.  I've enjoyed our chat and I wish you great success with "A Small Degree of Hope."  Now tell us where we can buy the book, okay?

Buy Links:

And where can readers find you on this vast web called the Internet?

Thanks again, Lyndi, I shall now return the control of this blog back to the readers, so they can leave lots of comments.  Don't be shy, guys.  We're here for you.


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me--it looks wonderful!

  2. Even though it took you a while, Lyndi, it looks like you made it with a splash. Good work, and best of luck!

  3. Thanks, Patricia!!


I love hearing from readers, so thank you for making my day! Writers with any thoughts at all (Naughty or otherwise) love comments, and I'm no exception.