Please welcome author Diane Dooley to the blog. Make her feel welcome by leaving your questions and comments in the comments section following this post.
Romance, Religion and Politics, Oh My!
In Mako’s Bounty, my science fiction/romance novella from Decadent Publishing, the hero is a man known throughout the galaxy as ‘The Saint.’ People believe his nickname is derived from his formal name, Vin Sainte, but in fact he is monikered thus due to his penchant for praying. Yes. Praying. Even though this story is most definitely NOT an inspirational romance, one of the main characters is a man of faith who, usually at highly inappropriate moments, likes to offer up a plea for help or a word of thanks to the God he believes in.
I’m an atheist myself, so my character’s religious beliefs are not me channelling my own. I did, however, have a very religious upbringing and grew up in an area of Scotland that was rife with religious strife between catholics and protestants. And the plot and characters of Mako’s Bounty are very much inspired by those times growing up in political turmoil in the west of Scotland. In addition to being religious, Vin Sainte is also a rabble-rousing communist. It *is* possible to be both. Ever hear of liberation theology? Vin would call himself a freedom fighter rather than a communist, no doubt, but he DID name his ship after the Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin.
Religion and politics? In a romance story? I must have been crazy! But please believe that I’m not heavy-handed with it; Mako’s Bounty is actually a comedy. When a writer sits down to invent an imaginary person, where does she find them? I found Vin Sainte in Scotland, even though I had him be born in a bleak mining colony in the asteroid belt. His political and religious beliefs are merely facets of a multi-hued character; background details that inform his motivations and worldview. Believe it or not, he’s actually a charming and funny guy.
Now I’ve nearly scared you off with serious issues, let’s see if I can reel you back in *grin* Here’s the opening. You’re meeting the heroine – Makiko Dolan, bounty hunter:
Excerpt From Mako’s Bounty:
“About freakin’ time!” Mako Dolan cursed as Flight Control gave final clearance to bring her Zebra One Eighty into the bay at Lunar Station. Damn place was always so busy with ferries and amateur day trippers from Earth. She guided the craft in at a little over legal speed, performing a nifty maneuver to ensure she docked softly as a whisper.
The comlink blinked on. “Two hundred credit fine for speeding.”
Damned overzealous employees with nothing better to do. She needed her cred balance to be going up, not down. “You’ve got to be freakin’ kidding me, Dockie.”
“Knocked off a hundred for the sweet maneuver. Take it or leave it.”
Mako heaved in a deep breath to get her temper under control. “Acknowledged, Dockmaster.” She flicked switches until her beloved Zebra quieted then patted her armrest. “It’s been a long haul, Zebbie, my sweet. Ya did good. Time to rest.” She walked back to the empty hold and fondled the manacles and chains bolted to the bulkhead. Won’t be empty much longer. “I’ll be back soon, Zebbie. With company.” Hitching her backpack over one shoulder, she strode to the dockmaster’s office, kicking the door open with her grav boot.
The pimply youth behind the counter raised his hands in mock surrender. “Not me who fined you, miss. Honest!”
He wasn’t quite so young or scared that he failed to give her a quick up and down with his eyes. Noting his leer, she tossed her log on the counter. “I don’t give a shit, sonny. Just get me processed as quick as you can. I gotta be somewhere else soon.”
The youth shuffled through her log book. “Makiko Dolan. Bounty Hunter. Everything seems in order.” He removed her lectrocard and ran it through a scanner. “Approved.”
She snorted. “Well, of course I’m approved.”
“Who are you chasing?”
Nosy little shit. “No one. I’m on vacation.” She placed her palm on the scanner. “Dock fees, refueling, miscellaneous charges from my business account.” Noticing the red-faced young man ogling her, she bent over the counter, bringing her six foot frame down to his level and allowing him a glimpse of cleavage. “Wanna do Mako the Shark a little favor, sonny?” She smirked at him.
He nodded, turning even redder.
She played with the zipper of her flight suit, tugging it down a little. “Is there a ship called The Gagarin in dock?”
The boy dragged his gaze away and tapped into his ’puter. “Yeah, docked sixteen hours ago.” His eyes went back to her jumpsuit zipper.
She pulled it up to her neck. She’d saved herself a long walk around the docks. “Thanks, kid.” She hitched her backpack over her shoulder and headed toward the ferry terminal.
I’ve been chasing you for nine months, you bastard. And now I’m only sixteen hours behind. Grinning, she licked the sharp little teeth that had helped to earn her nickname. Not long now, Mamma. Not long ’til I can claim that bounty and get you out of that freakin’ mining colony.
Blurb From Mako’s Bounty:
For nine long months, at the behest of the evil Ravenscorp, Mako Dolan has been hunting the space pirate they call The Saint. Now she’s finally lured her prey to a one night stand with a mysterious woman—herself. But Vin Sainte is not at all what she expected. Far from being a ruthless space pirate, his main occupation seems to be rescuing nuns, adopting orphans and praying like a champ.
For nine long months Vin Sainte has been fleeing the bounty hunter from one temporary refuge to the next. Now he’s got Mako exactly where he wants her: weak from gravity sickness and ripe for conversion. Problem is he didn’t expect a foul-mouthed, hard-as-nails bounty hunter to be such a devoted daughter. His head on a platter is Ravenscorp’s price for her mother’s freedom.
They have less than twenty four hours. One will win; one will lose. Mako might be a fearsome predator, but Vin has the Lord on his side. Who will win the bounty?
What do you think? Will the determined bounty hunter be a match for the praying space pirate? And what do you think about having a man of faith as a hero in a romance that is not intended to be an inspirational romance?
About Diane Dooley
Diane Dooley writes science fiction, romance and horror – sometimes all in the same story. You can learn more about her previous and forthcoming publications on her blog or Facebook. You can also track her down on Twitter.
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