We’re so pleased to have author Susan Laine joining us today to introduce her newest novel from DSP Publications, Skyships Over Innsmouth.
Hi. I’m Susan Laine, the author of Skyships Over Innsmouth. Thank you kindly, The Novel Approach and Lisa, for having me here today.
Skyships Over Innsmouth is a Lovecraftian horror story with touches of both science fiction and steampunk, plus an M/M romance side plot. It comes out today, on August 2, 2016, by DSP Publications.
Today, in this guest post, I’m here to talk about heroes and heroines. This story has two heroes, Dev who is the captain of an airship, and Shay, a scholar who loves to read and learn new things.
But… there is also a heroine. Her name is Malia. And she’s a warrior.
Dev and Shay love each other from afar. But Shay is together with Malia. The love triangle forms the interpersonal conflict in this book.
Malia, however, is far from a simple character. Why did I bring a woman into a gay romance? Well, Shay is not a warrior, and though Dev is more than capable of handling himself in a scuffle, he does not wish to kill. He’s an explorer.
Enter Malia, a kickass fighter whose brazen attitude and blunt directness give her the fortitude to wage war against her foes.
I’ve read hundreds, perhaps thousands of books in my lifetime. Yet I never felt satisfied with the many portrayals of women. It felt like no matter how clever the heroines were, they weren’t smart or wise enough to rise above their tribulations. No matter how strong they were, they weren’t powerful enough to match the heroes in these stories and stand on equal footing.
In short, I grew weary of how women always seemed to fall short.
Malia is not like that. She’s fearless—not because she knows no fear but because she faces her fears and grows stronger and fiercer as a result. She’s cunning—not because she’s all-seeing or all-knowing but because she adapts to new situations and fights for what she believes in. She’s beautiful—inside and out, even though beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I will, nonetheless, leave it up to you to decide if Malia rises above other heroines, not just in horror but in other genres as well. She is as strong and clever as I believe any woman can be. You be the judge, dear readers.
About the Book
Category: Horror, Sci-Fi
Length: 200 Pages
Purchase Link: DSP Publications
Blurb: Twenty winters have passed since the Cataclysm brought down society and robbed people of their memories. Humanity, vastly reduced in numbers since the initial chaos, has started anew in Canal City with the aid of library books and steam technology. The Scout and Ranger Corps was established to search for possible survivors and to replenish dwindling resources.
Dev is the captain of the scout airship Smoke Sparrow, and Shay is the scholar of their newest expedition. Their destination is Innsmouth, Massachusetts, a small fishing town that is mentioned in obscure books but shows up on no maps. Might its secrets offer answers? But within the fog-covered, ruined hillside town by the bay lurk unspeakable dangers and horrors beyond imagining. The expedition team soon learns that Innsmouth is one town that should have been left forgotten.
Malia scanned their surroundings. The bay stood between their landing spot and the actual town. “Not a blade of grass stirring.”
Dev shuddered. “This place gives me the creeps.”
Malia felt no such apprehension. She had nerves of steel. There wasn’t a ghost town or haunted mansion invented that could make her blood run cold. She said nothing, deeming it useless. Dev would either gain control over his anxiety, or he would not.
“Shay staying on board?” she asked, never letting her gaze veer from the town across the round bay. Though she rarely felt fear, she had an uncanny sense when it came to being watched. No one yet had been able to take her by surprise. Somewhere, in the shade of a broken town, eyes were fixed upon her. Of that she was certain.
“For now,” Dev replied, frowning. “The waters are so still. Like cement. Odd.”
Malia shrugged. “Essex Bay is supposed to have calm waters. It’s an estuary, after all.”
“Is that where we are?” Dev asked, a worried tinge to his voice. “The maps Shay’s got with him are less than clear about this whole area. Apparently it’s mostly marshland, creeks, and low forest-covered hills.”
Malia waved her hand dismissively. “You know how it is, Captain. Once people leave a place, it reverts back to wilderness. Besides, all the maps we have are from before the Cataclysm. No way to know how accurate they are after twenty winters with no one around.”
“I guess.” Dev sounded only marginally assured by the confidence of her tone. “So where do we start?”
Malia nodded toward the street following the curve of the coastline. “I reckon that’s Water Street, as mentioned in the maps. If we walk the length of it, we’ll keep the bay to one side and the town to the other. If we can’t outrun a threat, we may need to swim to get away.”
“This is a fishing town,” Dev noted with a modicum of amusement. “The locals, if there are any left, could be masterful swimmers.”
Malia grinned. “That’s what our weapons are for. Let’s get moving while we still have daylight.”
“Yes.” Dev shivered. “I don’t want to get caught in this place after dark.”
Malia chuckled at his timorous tone but didn’t comment.
Keeping her rifle in hand, Malia rounded the lighthouse to find the actual street. It was a dirt path along the sandy reef, but beyond it, where proper mainland began, the street seemed to transform into cobblestone or asphalt. They were too far away to tell properly.
Thankfully Malia didn’t have an itchy trigger finger. Nonetheless, she never let down her guard. While she wasn’t afraid, proper caution saved lives.
As they braved on ahead, Malia observed the pebbly shoals awash with capsized boats, their rotting boards bristling with barnacles. More half-sunken ships jutted from the bay or lay half-dragged to the shoreline. Shattered lobster pots and twisted wire fish traps dotted the coastline.
Dev had been right. The still waters didn’t churn, wave, or even ripple. With an ocean not far from them, that stillness was unsettling, unnatural, and… plain wrong.
That’s all, folks. I hope you’ve enjoyed this guest post. And thanks again to Lisa and The Novel Approach for arranging this visit.
About the Author: Susan Laine, an award-winning, multi-published author of LGBTQ erotic romance and a Finnish native, was raised by the best mother in the world, who told her daughter time and again that she could be whatever she wanted to be. The spark for serious writing and publishing kindled when Susan discovered the gay erotic romance genre. Her book, Monsters Under the Bed, won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Paranormal Romance.
Anthropology is Susan’s formal education, and she could have been happy as an eternal student, but she’s written stories since she was a kid, and her long-term goal is to become a full-time writer. Susan enjoys hanging out with her sister, two nieces, and friends in movie theaters, libraries, bookstores, and parks. Her favorite pastimes include pop music, action flicks, eating chocolate, and doing the dishes, while a few of her dislikes are sweating, hot and too-bright summer days, tobacco smoke, and purposeful prejudice.