Lee has already broken the news of The Incredible Apocalyptic Gift Basket (or should that be The Incredibly Apocalyptic Gift Basket?), so let me introduce my reason to take part in it: The Himiko books. To my knowledge the only books ever created in the sub-genre "sigh-fi".
It's not that I don't love my characters; I really do. We have the incredibly annoying Pietr and the foul-tempered Matt, and they're just as terrible (and terribly hot) together as it sounds. Unfortunately, Pietr happens to be an alien, and Matt isn't.
So, aliens - that means sci-fi, right? Except that "Himiko" isn't. The starting point was when I began thinking "what if" (that's how my books almost always begin, by the way). This time I was thinking "what if Plato really was right." 2500 years ago, Plato had a theory that we're all one half of an original whole being - that is, our other half is out there somewhere, and we aren't whole until we find him or her. What fascinated me about Plato is that this theory is still so strong in our culture: Every romance novel deals with finding your other half. Then I thought: What if Plato really was right - but not for the reasons we thought? Add a mysterious object in space, an alien invasion, and one annoying alien in particular, and you have the outline of "Himiko." Here's something about the story:
Have you ever wondered why love stories talk about finding "your better half"? Matt hadn’t, really. Not until humanity got its biggest surprise ever: the arrival of intelligent life from space. When Matt is "harvested" -- kidnapped -- by the Himika, he's terrified. Nothing makes sense until he meets Pietr. Well, he does a lot more than just meet Pietr. Pietr may be the most annoying, smug, sarcastic humanoid Matt has ever met, but it turns out he's also Matt's bonded mate. Because Plato was right. Everybody really does have a better half, a soul mate, and against everyone's better judgment, it seems Pietr belongs with Matt.
But learning how to communicate the Himiko way (preferably without killing himself or Pietr in the process) is hard, and Matt's mentor, Aki, might be even more aggravating than Pietr. It doesn't help when Matt develops powers that not even the Himika understand. Matt isn't sure he's going to make it -- or if he'll have to let Pietr go in order to keep his mate safe and sane.
Giving up isn't an option, though. Even though Matt's pretty sure that Pietr's the most annoying alien in history, he's also sure that his mate is more important to him than anything else. But Matt's mental strength is increasing, and Pietr can no longer hide the one secret he's been desperate to keep. Matt's world falls apart, and he's not sure if he's ever going to be able to put it back together.
But he might not have a choice. The hostility between humans and Himika is increasing, and Matt is forced to face some unwelcome truths about his own nature in order to ensure not only his own survival, but that of his fellow human beings as well.
So, sigh-fi or alternate reality - or just another love story: I hope you'll like my crazy jumble of genres. The Himiko story is in two parts: "Himiko: Bonding" and "Himiko: Warrior".
Did that put you in a sufficiently apocalyptic mood? If so, post a comment and you'll get a chance to win The Incredible Apocalyptic Gift Basket (sorry. I really like saying that).