Review: Voodoo ‘n’ Vice (Galactic Alliance #3) by K.C. Burn

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Voodoo n Vice coverIn his anger and obedience to fleet rules and regulations, fleet captain Gideon Arcturus makes a serious error in judgement regarding the Ankyros Ambassador and his lover.  The repercussions from that disastrous event finds Gideon banished to Elora Ki, the compost heap of the galaxy.  Disgraced and demoted, Gideon is now a subordinate to a man he viewed as an inferior and considered an embarrassment to his wealthy and influential father.

Gideon’s last romantic entanglement was a nasty set up by a rival officer that almost cost him everything.  But during a visit to Voodoo, a seedy club in the first district on Elora Ki, Gideon watches a fire dancer on the stage and can’t get him out of his mind.

Tai is a fire dancer with his own secrets and disasterous past.  Hiding out on Elora Ki seems like the answer to his problems, at least for now.  His unique style of dancing keeps Tai from an even worst profession, that of a prostitute on a world that looks down on homosexuality.  He sees what it has cost his friend and roommate and Tai swears that he will never be paid for sex.  Then Tai watches a stiff, reserved freckled man standing at the bar watching him intently.  It’s Gideon on enforced leave.  Soon the sparks fly between them. Before long Tai and Gideon spend every night of his leave together, forming a bond neither wants to break.

But an illegal, addictive  drug, Flare, is being distributed in and around the clubs and brothels.The trade in Flare on Elora Ki and off planet comes under the scruntity of Gideon and the fleet.  Its a drug that almost cost Gideon his life and hurt his career. But it hits much closer to home as a drug lord focuses on Tai, threatening his safety and all associated with him.  Its up to Gideon to save Tai, and destroy the drug ring…but what if Tai’s secret poses an even bigger threat to them all.

When it comes to science fiction, the genre almost always falls on either side of a technology line.  On  one side you have the tech-heavy, science centric fiction and on the other side there’s the fiction that goes off into space, riding an author’s wild imaginative path to intergalactic adventure outside the boundaries of known cosmology and spatial dynamics.  It’s here that you might  find goofy aliens, space outlaws, and heros of all shapes, sizes, and species.  While I appreciate the first science fiction group of writers (think Arthur C. Clarke among others), its the wide open unknown spaces that grab my affection and reading time.  You have a multi-hued, three toed alien for no other reason than you wanted one?  Cool.  I get that.  I want one too.  And throw in the amorphous sparkly blob with the personality of Arthur Gottfried too while you are at it.  Doubly cool.  I appreciate one form but I love the other in much the same way someone might cooly admire a beautifully made model spacecraft but hug the furry spotted one eyed stuffed animal.

So it won’t surprise you that the Galactic Alliance series by K.C. Burn falls somewhat into the latter category and that I have become very fond of this series. It features a dead Earth with what’s left of its race scattered to the stars.  Where of course, they encounter the Ankyros, a lavender alien species that must have three beings to reproduce and have a family unit.  They evolved from a type of herbivore , a grazer with a hive racial organization and two distinct body types(not sexes).  The Ankyros get even crazier in culture and physiological description but meeting them is one of the joys of this series.  There was a war between the humans and the Ankyros, just recently over with all sorts of complications and reverberations for both.  If you had to sit down and make sense of it all, than you won’t enjoy this book or series.  But if you can just take it as is, then the entertainment and fun that K.C. Burns has in store for you has just begun.

The first story, Spice ‘n’ Solace (Galactic Alliance #1), introduces you to Jathan One-Moon, Galactic Alliance’s most important negotiator, and his lover, the brothel owner, Kaz. It is also our first introduction to that seediest of seedy outposts, Elora Ki.   Book two, Alien ‘n’ Outlaw (Galactic Alliance #2), brings the Ankyros species into sharp relief with its center story of a romance between an elusive human thief Darien Lancaster and R’kos, son of the Ankylos Emperor.  Until now, that has been my favorite. But with Voodoo ‘n’ Vice K.C. Burns deepens her plot with the misery that drug addiction brings along with a new race of aliens that has subjugated humans and manipulated their DNA.

Again its Burn’s characters that are easy to love.  Tai, the fire dancer with a huge secret to hide and Gideon, the 30 year old repressed gay son of an influential military family with an austere, controlling patriarch at its head.  Both are easy people to connect with and ultimately love. Gideon is the character that has the farthest to grow, from an upright, humorless Captain to someone capable of seeing the gray in a situation and being flexible enough to love and accept love, regardless of whether it comes from a human or alien source.   His growth as a character is realistic as are his actions and fear of romantic entanglements. Burn’s is also setting up her next story in the series with Gideon’s replacement, Sven, and Tai’s roommate who undergoes a traumatic event. At least I am hoping to see each of them once more.  They deserve a HEA too.

Seedy, disreputable and wild, Elora Ki is such a vibrant, alive location, just as important in this book as the people who inhabit it.  A sort of wild frontier where almost anything goes and everyone who comes there has a story, I enjoy the new districts or levels that K.C. Burns invents for each couple and story.  New “red light” districts, new nightclubs with owners both illegal and honorable.  They are as much fun as the plots wrapped around them.  There is also an ugliness and horror to its neighborhoods, it has its own tenements and squalor recognizable outside the realm of the safe and well off.  It works well to balance off the glitzy clubs and bars where everyone works at some profession. It’s a stratified society where some of its most important citizens are also among its most mean and conniving.  That works well too.

The romance here arrives quickly but I can forgive that as each man is so in need of each other.  I love the tattoos that decorate Tai’s body and the fascinating history behind them provided by the author. I hope this is not the last we have  heard of Tai’s planet and people.  Again, there will be parts here that make little sense if you are looking for a scientific foundation upon which to lay Burn’s creations.  Think more Marvel Comics than American Scientific Journal, but its in her descriptions that these people, their histories and their love for each other comes alive.    That makes the astounding beings, places, and events here jump with possibility and magic as well as an intergalactic love that feels not only reasonable but right.

I love this story and definitely recommend it to all who can suspend belief in the real and supposed futures set forth by science fiction authors and scientists alike.  K.C. Burn gives us the human element and spirit alive and kicking in a galactic space not always open to humanity and the chaos we bring with us. I read the first two books out of order and it didn’t seem to make that much a difference after going back to Solace ‘n’ Spice.  In fact I enjoyed getting to know the Ankyros people in Alien ‘n’ Outlaw first, and then pick up small pieces of intelligence about them in book one.  You decide the order in which to read the first two stories, but Voodoo ‘n’ Vice should definitely be read third in order for all the events and people who pop up to make sense.

Cover art by an uncredited artist is perfect for the fire dancer Tai and Gideon.

Buy Links:   Carina Press       Amazon             ARe

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published May 26th 2014 by Carina Press (first published January 1st 2014)
ASINB00I15VLGI
edition languageEnglish
seriesGalactic Alliance #3

Books in the Galactic Alliance series in the order they were written and should be read:

Spice ‘n’ Solace (Galactic Alliance #1)
Alien ‘n’ Outlaw (Galactic Alliance #2)
Voodoo ‘n’ Vice (Galactic Alliance #3)

Author Spotlight:G.B. Lindsey & “One Door Closes” Book Tour/Contest

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 Author and Book Spotlight: Up Close and Personal with G. B. Lindsey!

ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords welcomes G.B. Lindsey into the spotlight to talk about writing, inspiration and what makes a character a hero.

G.B. Lindsey has two giveaways for readers to enter. Look for the details below. Welcome, G.B.Lindsey!

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STRW: Why did you choose to write M/M stories?

G.B. Lindsey: It started out as completely unexplored territory for me as a writer, both in terms of the physical elements and the desire to portray a convincing homosexual relationship. Thank god, though: I quickly learned that it was all about writing a convincing relationship, full stop. Relationships of all kinds are the basis for most of the really interesting drama. Real people leading real lives, juggling the same things that everyone else juggles. So they have the same sexual organs as each other. Big deal. Nowadays, the gripping part is not the M/M so much as the emotional impact two people can have on each other. Since there is still a significant societal taboo involving men being emotional, especially toward each other, I also see it as a challenge: to bring forward the ways that emotion and masculinity are not mutually exclusive. In the wider frame, I really love the chance to (hopefully) introduce more readers to the fact that relationships are relationships are relationships: gay, straight, bi-, trans-, inter-, a-, omni-… We all struggle with a lot of the same questions. M/M stories started out as the gateway for me to tackle these themes as a writer, and I’ve learned a hell of a lot in the process, both about writing and about human beings. For that reason, I feel I’m always going to love writing M/M.

STRW: What was your inspiration for this particular story?

G.B. Lindsey:  My agent is the one who approached me and my co-writers Libby Drew and Diana Copland with the original idea. We were all on board from minute one. The premise was just too juicy to pass up: one of those story ideas that hits you low in the gut, and you know that it could be awesome. I like to think that Libby, Diana, and I inspired each other during the creation of our separate characters. It was fantastic to play off of each other, to fill in holes and likewise find our gaps closed by what was going on in the other two novellas, to toss questions at each other and find ready observations and answers. As far as other influences, when I write I take a lot from observing what goes on around me in my day to day life. The character of Glenna Stuart specifically was influenced by several people I’ve met over the years regarding the questions she raises about sexuality and identity. She worries about some extremely intimate, important things that I feel should be explored, contemplated, better understood.

STRW: What makes a character a hero to you?

G.B. Lindsey:  Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve thought about characters in terms of heroism until now! I usually think about them in terms of realism, conviction, how convincing they are, how much their motivations resonate with me as a reader/writer… It could be the most despicable character in the world, but if I am convinced, if I think it reads true, then I’m usually fascinated, anxious to pick apart how it was done from the writing standpoint. What makes a character a hero to me? Someone who isn’t afraid to be him or herself, I think. It’s been my own particular struggle as I’ve grown up. I was fairly quiet, taught myself early not to make waves, didn’t like standing out, and thus tended to let myself get pushed around or taken advantage of. It’s been a long journey, re-teaching myself that I have a voice, and that my opinions and ideas are not automatically less important than others’. I’m still learning it. I find a character heroic when he or she does what is right, what he or she believes to be best, and of course, when he or she can learn from the past and adapt, learn, keep reaching out even when burned.

STRW:  How much research to you do for any particular story?

G.B. Lindsey:   It depends on the story. For instance, at the moment, I’m working on a novel that requires quite a bit of delving into psychoses, firearms, law enforcement… I joke that I have probably finagled myself a nice NSA file, what with the websites I’ve been frequenting. One Door Closes didn’t require the same amount of research; we looked into property law, civil law, and the foster system, which I didn’t know that much about. But I love the research aspect. It’s one of my favorite parts of writing fiction. I used to just salivate over Michael Crichton’s novels because, wow, think of all the amazing things he got to dabble in! For fun! Because he wanted to! I would have loved to research for his books.

STRWIs there any specific genre of writing you don’t connect with and which ones are your favorite to write?

G.B. Lindsey:  Mystery is the genre I connect with the least. Not that I don’t love to watch mysteries. Sherlock Holmes and Brother Cadfael are two of my favorite characters ever, and both are amazing to read and watch. But I rarely write mystery, and I don’t read much of it unless it’s also thriller or horror. It’s just not a genre that piques my creative interest. The writing aspect of it turns me off because it’s rare that I visualize a plot so well right away that I can effectively craft the mystery and not give everything away too soon. I’ve tried, and I’ve been happy with the product, but yeah, definitely not my favorite. My favorite genre to write is Horror. It’s a heavily underappreciated genre in terms of “good literature” (and don’t even get me started on that argument because we’ll be here all night) and it’s one of the best ways to comment on societal fears. I’m pretty much addicted to horror films. It’s difficult to find good horror in Hollywood these days, so when I come across a movie or a book that really deliciously scares me, you’re probably going to hear about it. There’s a real beauty in turning a phrase in just the right way to send chills prickling over someone’s skin. My second favorite genre is Science Fiction/Speculative Fiction, and that is the best way to comment on society as a whole. Again, underrated by the Powers That Be. Again, they are wrong, wrong, wrong. What a fantastic thing, post-apocalyptic sci-fi!

STRW:  Thank you so much for stopping by.  That was a great interview.

For more information about G.B. Lindsey and her latest release, One Door Closes, visit the links below.

Special Note:  To listen to an audio recording of G.B. Lindsey reading the first ten minutes of the book, visit here.  

Link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mkj_prq43p4

Contest:  One $10 Amazon gift card and one copy of One Door Closes.  To enter, visit the Rafflecopter links provided below.  Contest rules include that you must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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Author Bio: G. B. Lindsey was born and raised in California, where she earned her undergraduate degree in Literature and Creative Writing from UC Santa Cruz. Her first love has always been writing: as a child, she cultivated such diverse goals as becoming “a cowgirl… and a writer” or “a paleontologist… and a writer.” Aside from her salacious and ongoing affair with the horror genre, she loves to write sci-fi, romance, historical fiction, and short stories. Other hobbies include playing the piano, reading voraciously, the occasional period drama movie night, and devouring scary film after scary film. She recently moved back home from Newcastle upon Tyne, where she earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing, and now lives in Sacramento.

You can follow G.B. Lindsey at:
Goodreads Author Page Website Twitter
E
mail at lindseywords@gmail.com

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About One Door Closes: Blurb:   Years ago, Calvin Ware found a refuge in Neverwood, a home for wayward boys. Now, following the death of his foster mother Audrey, he’s returned to fulfill her request to restore the decrepit Victorian mansion to its former purpose. Under the threat of repossession, Cal clashes with his foster brothers over restoration plans while fending off the unscrupulous developer who is breathing down his neck. Audrey’s well-meaning presence in his dreams does more harm than good as he struggles to cope with it all. What’s more, the contractor he hires to get the building up to code turns out to be Will Cabot, his high school flame. As they begin working together, Cal finds he still has feelings for his first love. But his mistakes of years ago threaten their future, just as they ruined their past, and Cal knows he can’t withstand the heartbreak a second time Three foster brothers are called home to Neverwood, the stately Pacific Northwest mansion of their youth. They have nothing in common but a promise to Audrey, the woman they all called mother…

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: June 30th 2014 by Carina Press
ASINB00I15VKGE
edition languageEnglish
Buy Links:  Barnes & Noble     Amazon

 

 

 

 

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WillPride  One Door Closes BadgeTour Dates: June 23 – June 28
Tour Stops: June 23: Jade Crystal, My Fiction Nook, The Hat Party June 24: Kimi-Chan, Amanda C. Stone June 25: Prism Book Alliance, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words June 26: Cate Ashwood, Parker Williams June 27: MM Good Books, Crystal’s Many Reviewers June 28: The Blogger Girls

 

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