Just Imagine

Just Imagine

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Welcome to my blog! Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and read what's on my mind. I've a vicious sense of humor, an apprecation for romance and a mad addiction to writing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A-musing the World. Astronomy time! Multiple winners. Comment for a chance to win!

Welcome to my A-musing the World Blog Event. This week it’s my pleasure to welcome Masha Holl to chat about her contribution to The Song of the Muses Anthology titled, The Brightest Heaven. Her muse? None other than Urania, the Muse of Astronomy. As always, there's a contest. The question this week is...Urania despairs what? Click HERE to find the answer. (Hint: Answer may be found in the About Me section!). Return to this blog and leave the answer in a comment by Saturday, October 23 6 AM, EST for a chance to win. What up for grabs? Two winners will be drawn. One wins a $5 gift certificate to Digi Books Café, the other an Ecopy of The Brightest Heaven! Time to get to know Urania and Masha a bit better…

The Brightest Heaven

Urania, Muse of Astronomy and the Sciences has lost faith in human creativity. This modern age seems rich in gadgets but not in true inspiration. Then she meets Daniel, a bright spirit whose fertile mind fulfills her need to mentor... But his very genius threatens the balance between universes and the great powers of Olympus issue an ultimatum: Urania must stop Daniel's experiments, or else... And the gods of Olympus know how to execute their threats.

SKY: Thanks so much for joining me this week!

MASHA: Thank you for inviting me! And accept my apologies for being late.

SKY: Oh, no worries. Just glad you could make it! Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been writing? Do you have a genre preference? What have you published thus far?

MASHA: The better question is, when have I not been writing? Or, when have I started writing something I was willing to show off?

I used to make up stories all the time, sagas that continued from one day to the next when I played with dolls (my Barbies were Amazons), and then more sagas to entertain me while I walked to and from school. Then one day I decided that if I could keep them straight in my head, I might be able to keep them straight on paper.

I didn't know it would be so hard. I had to learn English and move to the US before I took myself seriously.

I don't think I ever conceived of a “normal” story. There's always been some element of magic or other-worldliness, whether the green-alien type or the revenant type. Although I have and do (and will continue) to read in just about every genre, I make up stories that are sci-fi or fantasy. The closest to normal I've come to is a historical saga project set in the 13th century.

Now I've found a home for my stories at The Wild Rose Press.

SKY: When you first knew you were going to be part of The Song of the Muses Anthology, what was your first thought?

MASHA: OMG it's happening! OMG OMG it's a deadline. OMG OMG OMG it's a SHORT deadline!!!

SKY: LOL, I think I had a similar response! Did you find yourself researching Greek Mythology quite a bit while writing your story or were you already a guru in this genre?

MASHA: You may think you know the answer, and if you expect me to say I was already a guru, then I faked it really well!

Truth is, I did know quite a bit about Classical mythology. After all, I do have an academic background in folklore, and knowing myths is kind of a requirement. But to write about Urania's family and to picture her interacting with her siblings, half-sibs and semi-cousins (and assorted odd relations), I wanted to get the bloodlines straight. So I did do a lot of research.

SKY: Let’s chat about your muse. What drew you to her? As she was literally your inspiration, share a little about how you formed an entire story around her?

MASHA: I think it went like this: Greek! Mythology! OMG, someone has to do the research right! Urania! Science! Yay! Sci-fi romance! I want Iwant I want.

It wasn't very coherent, as you can tell, and the basic plot idea came to me the next morning in the shower. You could say that I was visited by the Muse. It was just too perfect: all my favorite themes in one place!

SKY: Time to crawl inside your muse’s head romance style. I’d love to read an excerpt from your story that revolves around her interacting with your hero. Pull us in─lead out with three words you feel could be a mini title for this glimpse inside your tale!

MASHA: Making love like a man...

“How long have you been working on it?”

“You know. Since the day Zoe called you.”

She shook her head. “No. I mean straight.” Ourania stepped close to Daniel. “Without sleep.”

“Oh.” He let himself sink back on the kitchen chair. “Oh.” Exhaustion suddenly carved deep lines in his face and painted dark circles under his eyes. He looked at her with a guilty expression. “And you?”

She swept her fingertips along his jawline. He shouldn't care about her. He wouldn't, if he knew what she was sworn to do.

“I slept more than you, I think.” She moved even closer, into his heat, and framed his face between her hands. “You need rest. You can't afford mistakes now.”

Covering her hands with his, he stared into her eyes. “I wouldn't be able to sleep.”

Urania let herself lean into him. Their lips touched, uncertain, tentative, and then he grabbed her head and brought her tight against him.

His tongue traced the seam of her mouth, awakening sensations in a storm of bliss only Dionysus' wine had been able to unleash. With a small whimper, she surrendered and fell into his arms.

“Not here. My room,” he managed to say, and stood, pulling her up, leading her up the stairs, while his hands roamed everywhere, peeling off her human garments and caressing her mortal shell... and oh, she suddenly understood why so many gods had taken mortal guise!

SKY: Oooh, great excerpt! Hero time. Introduce us. What does he look like? Where’s he from? Why was he lucky enough to hook up with one of the nine muses of inspiration?


I present Daniel as Urania sees him first:

The man ran as if pursued by the Vengeances. Sweat plastered his shirt to a body worthy of the art of ancient sculptors. His stride was smooth and even, enough to make Artemis the Huntress herself proud.

And then:

The man tightened his hands into claws and thrust them at the sea, repeating his parting motion with a new energy. Brought them back to his center and rolled them out, pushing out with a hiss. Searching. Searching for something with his whole being.

The shimmering lights around him grew brighter, pressing into the visible range, fanning in the ethereal sphere over the entire spectrum.

Breakthrough. He’d touched whatever he was reaching for.

Urania meets him apparently by chance and recognizes the creative energy in him that calls for her nurturing. Daniel is a physicist, a genius, and a widowed father. His daughter promises to be as bright as he is.

Here's how Urania introduces herself into his world:

A curriculum vitae slipped out of the stack. A colorful paper clip attached a photograph to it. Daniel picked up the printout, curious, and froze.

A young woman stared at him. Moon-silver hair framed a pixie-like face with brilliant, sapphire-blue eyes. She smiled as if the whole world belonged to her, comfortable in...

A photo? In an applicant file?

He blinked, and realized he was looking at an ordinary résumé. But the dazzling afterimage of the pretty woman remained imprinted on his retina.

“How about her?” he said, and stared at the name. Ania Apollodorou. He tried it out loud. “Ania Apollodorou.” Odd that he couldn't bring to mind her talk when the memory of her striking features kept him staring at her file.

SKY: Just to mix it up, make you think─if you could’ve chosen one other muse to write about in this anthology, which one would it have been? Why?

MASHA: That's a hard question. Any of the other arts would probably take me into a different genre, since I don't do time-travel. Urania and science seemed like such a perfect fit... Maybe Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry. But what the story would be? I have no idea! After all, Urania is the one who picked me!

SKY: Thanks for visiting and sharing!

MASHA: Thank you again for having me.

Watch a Book Trailer for The Brightest Heaven


“The Brightest Heaven” is beautifully written and entirely unpredictable. Dialogue is snappy and believable. Modern life interweaves with mythological characters as if perfectly naturally; as if indeed, space and time wove them together. ~Long and Short Reviews

Purchase The Brightest Heaven now! Click here.

Sky here. As I do every week, I like to encourage my muse sisters to share what they’ve been up to since the anthology. So here’s a bit about another one of Masha Holl’s releases…

The Joining

Erik has no memories that go back more than five years. And no one knows how he's lost them. No memories, no prejudices, and an empathic ability. It makes him the perfect diplomat for the Space Guild.

Then how can he remember the woman he saved from an explosion in space? She may hold the key to his locked past, or be the key to his future.

Short Excerpt:

Erik shifted uncomfortably in the pilot's seat. His instincts told him his passenger was an ally, but complete lack of empathic clues unnerved him. Why would his talent fail him now, when the situation had turned sour in a single moment?

Shakuntala merely watched the forward screen with the serenity of a meditation master.

His gaze slid down her body.

He looked away hastily. In five years of remembered life, not one woman had caught his interest, as if his libido had vanished with his memories, buried in a past no one had been able to uncover.

But not now.

Even when he didn't look at her, he was acutely aware of her lithe form, her graceful movements, her quiet intensity, and her femininity.

Especially her femininity.

He could feel it, as if it pressed against his skin. He could smell it, like a heady perfume disrupting his thinking. It made focusing on his instruments difficult, when he could be watching her, when he could be inching closer...

Proximity sensors erupted in blasphemous cacophony.


At Erik's side, Shakuntala leaned closer to the console, frowning at the readouts.

"Still a million kilometers or so away. They must have a base on the second..." He grunted when the schematics appeared on a monitor.


Large and armed. Not a freighter. Not a liner.



Purchase The Joining now! Click here.

Visit Masha at her Website. Though you're invited to visit Masha's website now, it is undergoing a makeover and she'd love for you to check back often to see the new look coming soon!

Masha also offers web services. Click HERE to learn more about her company, Otter Creations (Creator of Masha's website and trailer).

A little more about the author…

Masha Holl was raised on magic tales, Russian literature, Mozart, Verdi, and French cuisine. Today, she writes romantic science fiction and fantasy—that's spaceships, alien universes, and very close encounters—to the sounds of Metal Rock. Romance brought her to America, and here she stayed, so expect love and happy endings in her stories.

She studied language and literature first in Paris (France, that is), and then at the University of Wisconsin, where she was awarded a Master's degree. She has taught Russian and French language and culture both to bored and to excited college students, and she is always eager to share her love of the writing craft with whoever will listen to her speeches. And don't even get her started on myths and folklore.

Her novella The Brightest Heaven, and her short story The Joining, are available from The Wild Rose Press. You can find excerpts on her website at MashaHoll.com.

Masha Holl also offers online workshops and web design, and other web services for writers through her company Otter Creations. Look her up on the web at MashaHoll.com.

Don’t forget to enter the contest! The question this week…Urania despairs what? Click HERE to find the answer. (Hint: Answer may be found in the About Me section!). Return to this blog and leave the answer in a comment by Saturday, October 23 6 AM, EST for a chance to win. What up for grabs? Two winners will be drawn. One wins a $5 gift certificate to Digi Books Café, the other an Ecopy of The Brightest Heaven! Winners will be announced Monday morning.

Thanks for popping in!



Kimberly Miller said...

Urania despairs: invention rules, creativity has disappeared.

kdmiller90 at live dot com

Hywela Lyn said...

Great to see you again, muse sister Masha - and Sky too of course!

Wondeful continuation of your blog series. the Brightest Heaven is an amazing story,and I loved 'The Joining' too!
Masha, you are so talented, Did I mention she also made graphics for each of the muse sisters?

Sky Purington said...

Thanks for popping in, Kimberly!

Sky Purington said...

(((Hugs, Lyn))) TY for stopping in muse sister!

Kimberly said...

Sure thing Sky. I love to read your blog, and would comment more but I'm more of a lurker and get "type fright" when I want to say things. I'm glad I commented! :)

Sky Purington said...

Me too! See, look what you won!!! :)))