Today we turn the blog over to S.B.K. Burns, (Susan) to talk about her Sci-fi, time-travel, steampunk romance entitled FLY LIKE AN EAGLE. Take it away Susan.
My Theme today: Spirituality vs. Science
Many think that science and religion should be adversarial, but they’re really two different perspectives on reality. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase: Religion requires faith, and science requires proof. For writers these different perspectives can fuel conflicts in our stories. Especially when lovers exist on opposite sides of the fence.
In FLY LIKE AN EAGLE, Samantha as a tomboy does connect with nature, but is also aware of science and mathematical descriptions of it. Half-Native American, Eagle, designs hang gliders—kind of an applied scientist—but he is also immersed in his people’s flow, a blissful state of nature that allows all sorts of supernatural things to happen. So the world view of this novel is something like man against nature.
It’s 1824 Philadelphia at the opening of the Franklin Institute of Science, and one of its founders, Samantha’s father, wants her to marry his business partner, a much older man, to keep their war industry dealings secret.
Looking for a way out of the arranged marriage, tomboy Sam finds it in Eagle, the half Native American son of the man she is to marry.
Eagle brings Samantha into his spiritual world, his bimijiwan, in order that she might stop their father’s preparations for an ironclad Civil War at sea. To do this, Sam might have to convince Benjamin Franklin to abandon his kite experiment.
EXCERPT: Tomboy Samantha investigates her father’s factory to discover secrets about the dirigibles he seems to be building there.
She examined the images along the wall more closely, making her way to the door, then slipped out.
The thumping and screeching of machinery, metal against metal, overwhelmed her hearing and rang out, vibrating the narrow bridge on which she stood. Below her, workers intent at their duties hadn’t looked up.
Too much noise. The factory workers down below didn’t notice a young woman holding her skirts up and exposing the bottoms of her frilly silk drawers as she did from time to time in performing her clandestine research. She should get an award for how deftly she descended ladder after ladder, floor-to-floor, unseen, until reaching the bottom.
Oh, my. A mild sulfur smell accosted her, and blackened oil from the bridge railings smudged her hands, petticoats, and gown.
Without thinking, she entered a room at the base of the ladder and saw something that reminded her of Vaughan’s painting—Migizi, naked to the waist, and shoveling coal into a small steam mechanism—a locomotive engine.
Because of the noise, he’d been unaware she stood behind him. And, God help her, she took in the magnificent sight—his skin much darker than hers, and his sizable muscles tensing as he lifted the shovel to deposit coal into the engine’s hopper. It would be hard to think of him as an intellectual after that.
He stopped to wipe his brow with a cloth and turned to see her.
She caught herself sliding her hand across her sweaty neck.
Moving toward her, reaching out, he handed her the cloth. He seemed mesmerized watching her wipe her hands, her neck, then dipping down below into the depths of her bodice. It was like an oven inside the room—her whole body damp, her pulse quickening.
“Come.” Migizi raised his voice against the noise filtering in from the plant as he closed the door to the outer factory, then the heavy black iron door to the furnace.
From his stare returning to her person, he was anything but unaware of her state of disarray.
Migizi motioned toward the other end of the room, where sheets of newsprint, some rolled into cylinders, rested on a table.
Getting a nod from him, she unrolled one, recognizing it as a diagram of what could have been the wings of the monster she’d seen out back of her manor house.
“Another form of art,” she said aloud, realizing she wasn’t just speaking of his drawings, but of his muscular torso. When finally she looked up, he’d moved too close to her and was breathing a bit strangely. Was it the hot and humid conditions of the room or something else?
With every muscle she’d seen illustrated in her anatomy books gloriously evident on his smooth chest, he didn’t seem embarrassed or aware of his level of disrobement. No, not in the least.
About the Author:
RWA Award winning author of sci-fi romance, S.B.K. Burns (Susan), led a first career life as a science teacher in junior high school, then as an aerospace forensics expert on the F-16 assembly line. She went on to publishing her work on two-dimensional, low energy instabilities in an expanding universe. Her last position before developing her philosophy website and storytelling, was as an applied mathematician developing computer models of irrigation emitters from crops planted on sloping land that needed differential watering amounts.
My work in progress, now in editing:
STAND ALONE WIP: FLAT SPIN, a space opera romance, in which a kidnapped alien girl is to be returned to her people by an American aerospace-plane test pilot. Much of the aerospace forensics that make up this world is based on my own experiences at the F-16 Materials Lab of General Dynamics at Carswell AFB.
Other stories on the backburner:
LEGENDS OF THE GOLDENS SERIES: in LOVE ME, BITE ME, we meet Chastity, the most powerful Golden/Human hybrid who falls for a vampire, Drake, from the Dacon clan of vampire baddies. The next book in the series, a space opera (VAMPIRES IN SPACE?), Drake and Chastity’s combative love story will be front and center. All the posturing, arguing, and sexual tension is part of their foreplay.
AGES OF INVENTION SERIES: The third book in this series will feature a romance between Naomi, the quantum, time-traveling machine pilot and her “schizophrenic” fiance, Maxwell. Scientifically it will cover the scientific history of electrical flow (coming out of Franklin’s Kite Experiment) and leading to Einstein’s theories.