‘Enemy Within’ by Marcella Burnard With Interview!

Enemy Within
Chronicles of the Empire
Book One
Marcella Burnard

Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: July 17, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5092-2698-6 Paperback ISBN: 978-1-5092-2699-3 Digital
Number of pages: 422
Word Count: 98539
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor
Tagline: The military hung her out to dry. Captain Ari Idylle isn’t going to dangle.

Book Description:

Horrific torture in an alien prison torpedoed Captain Ari Idylle’s military career. Stripped of command and banished to her father’s scientific expedition to finish a PhD she doesn’t want, Ari refuses to fly a desk. She intends to have her command back by any means possible, until pirates commandeer her father’s ship, and she’s once again a prisoner. Perhaps this cunning captor isn’t what he pretends to be.

As far as Cullin Seaghdh is concerned, the same goes for Ari. Her past association with aliens puts her dead center in Cullin’s cross-hairs. If she hasn’t been brainwashed and returned as a spy, then she must be part of a traitorous alliance endangering billions of lives. He can’t afford the desire she fires within him. His mission comes first. He’ll stop at nothing, including her destruction, to uncover her true purpose and protect what is his.

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“You know how to use that thing?” He nodded at the energy blade in her hand.

She swallowed outrage and awarded him a tight smile. “I am proficient.”

He grinned. “Ever fight for your life?”

“No,” she said, pleased her tone remained steady.

His smile deepened. “Then this isn’t so different. We aren’t fighting for your life, are we? We’re fighting for theirs.” He gestured at the knot of scientists.

Fear gripped her. She’d won matches. She had awards. She practiced religiously. Sure, she’d fought Chekydran with the might of an Armada Prowler at her disposal. But energy blade combat had always been a highly regulated sport, a dance with specific choreography designed to minimize injury. She’d never dueled for anything of more value than a bit of metal or a piece of paper to hang on her office wall. Swallowing hard, she eased into guard position.

Taking his time, he matched her stance. Ari did her best not to frown at the avid smiles on his men’s faces or at the effortless way he sank into position and crossed his blade with hers.

Her mind raced. She had to find a way to keep everyone alive. No matter the cost.

Captain Cullin Seaghdh tapped her blade with his, bringing her attention back to her predicament and his damnably cocky grin.

“You’re willing to trade your life for theirs?” he asked, his question pitched for her ears only, his smile gone and his gaze searching.

Troubled, she shook her head. “Are you intimating I have a choice?”

“Then fight.” He lunged.

Ari scrambled back, her parries thrown off by the aggressive attack. He didn’t press his advantage. That maddening grin flashed at her as he backed off. One step. Two.

Charity. She wanted to scream at him. She clamped her jaw shut and advanced the ground he’d offered.

“Out of practice?” He opened his defenses, daring her.

She accepted, ignoring the taunt. She had no intention of explaining that she’d had a hard time keeping up on weapons practice while a prisoner of war. Her attack wavered, but she pulled it together and forced him back a step to avoid her blade. He drew her in and then pushed her back, like a teacher hearing lessons. She ached to wipe that smile from his face.

“Point,” he said, nodding at her chest.

She glanced down. The bastard had sliced clean through her jacket and the buttons of her shirt. A shiver ran through her. One millimeter more and she’d be bleeding, probably on the floor. A slice like that one took enough control and skill to scare her.

“Lesson one,” he said. “Watch the man wielding the blade, but never lose sight of the business end.”

Lessons? Or something more? From the shock of physical awareness twining through her blood, she suspected they were no longer discussing energy blades.

Snarling to cover the grudging admiration at Seaghdh’s skill welling up within her, Ari charged him. He did not retreat. They locked, body to body, blade to blade. Feeling the leashed strength coiled in him, she knew instantly that she’d made a mistake, one that in any other circumstance would have been fatal. Scorched where their bodies strained against one another at chest and hip, she struggled to control the rush of yearning crashing her defenses. What was wrong with her?

She met his hooded gaze. Desire glittered in the golden depths of his eyes. Pleasure rocketed through her, almost painful in its intensity. She’d forgotten what if felt like to be appreciated as a woman, and the want in his eyes, shadowed by surprise, took her breath away.

About the Author:

Marcella Burnard graduated from Cornish College of the Arts with a degree in acting. She’s a Tarot-reading, Third-degree Wiccan who knows far too much about space travel because she desperately wanted to be an astronaut when she grew up. Turns out she gets air sick. She wisely decided to write space travel instead. Marcella writes science fiction romance, urban fantasy, paranormal, and fantasy. If a story brings the weird, Marcella’s right there for it. She lives in Florida where she and her husband are outnumbered by cats. Marcella is actively involved in feline rescue in the Tampa Bay area and you can always find cat photos and videos on her Facebook page or on her Instagram account.

Tour Giveaway
Marcella Burnard will be giving away four (4) $10 Amazon gift cards to randomly drawn winners during the tour.

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Thank you so much for taking time to answer our all questions here at The Tired Buyer and we sure do appreciate your detailed answers! Thank you so much ❤

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Andre Norton, Ursula K. LeGuin, Robin McKinley, Laura Bickle, Jeffe Kennedy, Charles de Lint, Linnea Sinclair, N.K Jemisin, Carrie King

Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?

Andre Norton, Linnea Sinclair, Nalini Singh (though she’s more into paranormal than SFR, I still adore her writing and her worlds) I’ll think of six others right about the moment this publishes.

What are some great books you’ve read recently?

Play by Stuart Brown MD, Harlow by Carrie King

What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime?

Science non fiction – mostly for story ideas and because it fascinates me. I read historical romance, other SFR, paranormal, thrillers – just about anything I can get my hands on.

What are you working on now? Any chance of a sequel?

This book is the first in a five book series, all contracted with The Wild Rose Press. So yes. The chance of sequels is very high. I’m finishing up edits on book three in the series right now, with an eye to getting it to my excellent editor shortly. Then on to book four. I can’t tell you too much about them without spoilers, so I have to leave you here. 

Though I have a hot novella serialized on Radish that is available to read now. It is set in the same world as the series. In fact, you meet the hero of this novella in the first novel. It’s called Enemy Mine. You can find it by title or under my name. 

What are the upsides and downsides to being an author?

Upside: I get to make stuff up and tell myself stories all the time. Downside: It looks very little like working to the other people in my life who might harbor a little resentment over that fact.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Up at 5AM for exercise if the air quality permits, journaling and a bit of meditation. Get my family off to work and such, then at 8AM, I log into a group writing space and we all get to work. There’s a report in at the end of the hour to track how we all did. I usually go on writing on my own after that until cats and chores demand that I split my attention. I do try to keep to writing and writing related activity for six hours a day. Some days that works. Some days it crashes and burns. 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe in stories not having what they need to succeed and THAT blocking someone. I’d know. I just spent three years struggling with a story I knew wasn’t right. Wrote that book three or four times over trying to figure it out. I’m about to hand it off to an editor – we’ll see whether I managed to make it work.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

Keep showing up. I give myself permission to write around the problem – if I know what happens elsewhere in the story, I go write that and then come back to my problem spot. The wrong thing for me to do is to walk away saying I’ll give it time. That never works. I have to keep after it and keep after it if I want to work through the issue.

Out of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite?

If I got it finished and subsequently published, it’s a favorite. 😀

If someone is brand new to your work, what book do you think they should start with?

If you’re interested in Science Fiction Romance, read Enemy Within first. It’s where everything started. If you prefer Urban Fantasy, start with Nightmare Ink.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

Conferences, of course. New York City felt like a massive pilgrimage. But most of mine aren’t possible because SPACE. For the urban fantasy, I did a pilgramage to Pike Place Market in Seattle (lived there at the time) and took a lot of photos for a scene in one of those books. That’s probably the most direct pilgramage to get something right that I’ve been on. Some of my favorite pilgrimages have been to Port Townsend, Washington. It was a retreat spot for me when we lived in Seattle. There’s a hotel on the main street called The Palace Hotel. It’s a former brothel. The Miss Kitty Room is on the third floor and you can see pretty much the entire town. In the evenings, a massive flock of starlings performs arial acrobatics up and down and all around the buildings. It’s a brilliant place for writer retreats.

What is the first book that made you cry?

Charlotte’s Web

What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?

Publishing ‘books’ that are nothing but the last book you pubbed with the names changed. Amazon still hasn’t decided to go after book scammers. I suppose until it hits them in the pocketbook, they won’t care. But I hate that it damages reader goodwill.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Energizes me when it goes well, but also leaves me feeling emotionally and mentally wrung out. It exhausts me when I bang my head against a problem without breaking through it. 

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Not actually writing. Spending all your time trying to learn about writing so you’ll be good enough to DO it. The only way that actually happens is by writing and making the mistakes and learning from them. It’s not easy, but that is the best way to learn fast. I’m not saying don’t take classes – do! But don’t let that keep you from putting words on the page and taking risks with narrative while you do so.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

It’s not the size of the ego. It’s what you do with it. 🙂 You can absolutely help yourself and others with a big ego. You can also completely skewer your career if you’re a jerk. 

What is your writing Kryptonite?

An emergency with one of my parents or one of my cats. I’m a sucker for my family needing me. 

Have you ever gotten reader’s block?

Yes! I slowly quit reading for pleasure over a period of five years and never realized why that had happened when I love it so much. Turned out my eyesight was to blame. I couldn’t see! Got glasses and all is well again. 

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I think this goes back to the ego question? No. Because I wanted everyone to know it was me. 😀

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Yes? I want to hit a reader’s sweet spots in a story and I want to do that every time. But if I can bring some new twist or character to the story, I will. I guess I like to experiment and maybe push the boundaries a little. 

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

If the person was a good study of other people I think they could compensate for emotional depth. A writer’s job is to make the reader feel something deeply, not feel it themselves. It’s a very Method Acting question, right? American acting dogma is that Method is THE way to get stellar acting. You have to FEEL everything in order to convey it to an audience. The British acting community scoffs and focuses on technique. I believe it was Lord Lawrence Olivier who is credited with saying it wasn’t his job to feel. It was his job to make the audience feel. Long way of saying, there’s room for both the feeling writers and the technical writers. 

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Carrie King, Lisa Wanttaja, Darcy Carson, DeeAnna Galbraith, Kerry Schafer – lots of others. It’s a great community. We’re a very ecelectic group of writers but the greatest thing about these women is that they will call me on my BS when it’s needed and they’re endlessly encouraging. These are the people I can know I can trust with a new born manuscript. These are the people I can trust to talk me out of a tree when I’m second guessing myself or doubting my ability. It’s a group that brings a wide variety of technique and experience to the table. We learn from one another. We share class and writing book recommendations. I feel like we push one another.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

My preference would be for books to stand alone. But look at me. Writing series. 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

FINISH WHAT YOU START. Seriously. I wrote all the time. But I didn’t actually finish a story until I was grown and married. Yes, I was learning, but I wasn’t learning how to pull a story through from start to finish and there’s incredible power in doing that. I would likely have published much sooner and learned far more if I’d learned earlier to struggle through the tough parts of a story.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Condensed it. I could not longer afford 18 months or more per book. Until – ya know – the book that took three years to figure out. O_o

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Classes. Even when I hated the class, I’d found a writing technique and process that Did Not Work For Me. But oh boy. When I found teachers and classes that did work? They propelled me forward. Mary Buckham teaches a series of classes that really connected plot dots for me. I’ve taken her plotting class — what are we up to? Four times now? It’s that good.

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