Monday, July 22

Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: Maven by S. A. Huchton


The Endure Series, Book 1
S. A. Huchton

Genre: New Adult Science Fiction Romance

Date of Publication: May 29, 2013

Number of pages: 284
Word Count: 81,640

Cover Artist: Starla Huchton

Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     B&N     Sony    Kobo     Smashwords

How far would you go for love?

Since losing her parents at 14, young prodigy Dr. Lydia Ashley has focused on one thing: an appointment on the Deep Water Research Command Endure. Now 21, she’s about to realize that dream, but nothing is how she imagined it would be. Her transitional sponsor forgets her, her new lab is in complete chaos, and, as if that weren’t enough, she’s about to discover something so horrific it could potentially destroy all life on the planet.

Daniel Brewer, a noted playboy and genius in his own right, may be exactly what she needs… Or he may make everything worse.

Has she finally found a puzzle she can’t solve?
It hadn't been a lie. That last glass of champagne was probably a mistake. Lydia stared out at the shifting colors of sunset. Even if this little scheme didn't work at all, maybe it would clear her head some. She rested her hands on the stone railing of the balcony, watching the waves break over the sand.

"Gorgeous." Daniel's voice made her tighten her grip on the rail.

Lydia didn't look at him. "You don't see many sunsets under water," she said. "I'd almost forgotten how lovely they were."

He walked over and leaned next to her. "I wasn't talking about the sunset."

She hoped the changing light hid the pink in her cheeks. "Hmm. Your hypothesis lacks evidence to back it up, since clearly I wasn't attractive enough for anyone to actually invite to this thing."

Daniel winced. "Uh, yeah. About that..."

That was not the response she'd expected. "What, Daniel?" She looked at him accusingly.

He straightened and took a step back. "I may or may not have threatened to sever certain personal entertainment feeds for anyone that asked you."

Lydia stared at him, stupefied. "You... you threatened to disconnect their porn?"

"Well, if you want to be crass about--"

"Why would you do that to me, Daniel?" she yelled at him, shoving him, hard. All the rage she had been bottling up the last two weeks exploded out of her. "All my life, all of it, I have been too smart, too young, too intimidating, too... something, to be dated by anyone. The few times I was asked out somewhere, it ended with some guy asking me for a term paper or test questions so he could get a better grade or evaluation or something. And now, when I'm finally someplace welcoming, at an age where I'm not just a kid anymore, you decided issuing a threat to anyone who might even think of dating me is a good idea? What the hell, Daniel? Why? Why would you do that to me?" Lydia's eyes stung, but she would not cry. She. Would. Not.

Daniel's face was a mixture of fear and guilt. "You didn't hear them talking. I figured, anyone that would value porn over the chance at an evening with you, well, no one like that deserves you. I... I couldn't stand the thought of anyone else with you, Lydia."

She closed her eyes and turned away. "Then why not ask me yourself?"

There was a pause before he spoke. Whatever he had to say, it had better be good. "For one, I didn't want to cancel if my father decided I needed other arrangements. I thought if I waited until Friday morning and he hadn't pulled me by then I'd be safe. And for two..." His voice faded and she glanced at him.

"Well?" she prompted.

He swallowed, then exhaled in frustration. "Honestly, you scare the crap out of me, Lydia. I've never... I mean, you're the first and last thing I think about every damn day. I'm physically ill when I think I might not ever be the kind of person you deserve to be with. You make me want to be better at everything I do. I'm terrified whenever I screw up because I think I might never get the chance to kiss you even once, and if that were true I... I don't know if I could deal with that."

Of all the things he could have said to her, she couldn't imagine any of them being more perfect. Maybe it was all the champagne, but her anger evaporated.

He touched her bare shoulder. "Lydia, I'm sorry. I--"

She didn't let him finish. The word "sorry" had barely left his lips before hers were on them. It had taken every ounce of courage she had, but she had done it.

Daniel didn't respond for a moment. She thought maybe she had made a mistake, but his hand on her neck, and the other sliding around her waist eased her fear. His lips were warm, parting against hers. She thought she might actually melt at the sweet sensation. Her fingers dug into the fabric of his jacket, pulling him closer. Daniel's tongue tickled her own, encouraging her. The embrace grew heated very quickly and she didn't think she could stand much more.

Out of breath, she broke away. Unsure if her legs would hold her, she set a hand on the railing for support. She couldn't meet his eyes, anxious about what she might see there. He set his own hand over hers, entwining their fingers.

"Seems I was wrong," he whispered in her ear.

"Wrong?" Surprised, she looked up at him.

His empty hand touched her chin. "Well, now that I've kissed you, I'm not sure I can stop."

Lydia smiled. "And who's stopping you?"

He kissed her again, gentler this time, his mouth brushing her skin as lightly as the breeze coming off the ocean. At this, she came undone and lost any feeling in her feet. She laughed as he caught her. It was positively mortifying, but she couldn't care less. If it landed her in his arms, she would consider never walking again.

Guest Post: 

Taking New Adult Beyond the Contemporary
By S. A. Huchton

New Adult is THE hot new thing in books these days. And yet, so much of it consists of a single, common theme: it is set in the here and now. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. There are many, many stories that can be told in the setting of our modern day world. The number of tales to be spun is as vast and varied as there are people on our planet.

But what happens when we shift this category in time? The possibilities for new stories explodes exponentially. St. Elmo's Fire set in the Italian Renaissance? What about Animal House in the 24th Century? What does this alter? What new problems will the characters encounter? How does their world change what it means to be a new adult?

These questions excite me as a writer. So much so, that this is exactly what I've done in Maven.

Maven is not a typical New Adult book. It is not a Contemporary college or post-high school story. My main characters are prodigies, both already working in their chosen professions. That said, they still face the same issues as other New Adult protagonists: struggling to figure out where their places in life are, specifically in relation to their jobs and to one another. They are learning what it means to function in a society older than themselves, almost to an extreme due to their advanced intellects. And rather than college, these two are in a military environment, a path many young people chose, although Lydia and Daniel serve in a civilian capacity. Not only are they faced with a horrific problem that could alter the entire human population, but they must also learn what it means to love and how to function together while maintaining their individuality. These are all journeys that every person takes, and this will continue to be the case whether in past, present, or future tense.

Maven is labeled as Sci Fi Romance, but really, it's just the story of two young people learning about love in our world forty years from now. Not all that much has changed. No aliens have descended from the skies to abscond with half of the human race or take over the planet. Phasers and teleporters are still the things of fiction, even in the fictional world of the Endure series. The romance is so intertwined with the plot, that it's possible to forget it isn't happening in our day and age. And really, that's the key to any story. Identifying with characters and seeing the world through their eyes keeps you turning pages, touches your heart, and hurts you when they hurt. To take the abnormal and make it speak to a reader is an author's challenge: to make the characters' world the world of the one looking on from the pages of a book.

And so it becomes a challenge to readers. Will you step outside the box and take a peek at a possible future?


This is the first book in the Endure Series by S.A. Huchton.  I have not read this author before and typically don't read "New Adult", but something about this book caught my eye when I signed up for the Book Tour. Honestly, I hadn't planned on doing a review.  My plate was/is full this last half of July and I just didn't have room for another book.  And yet when I read the excerpt I was intrigued.  So intrigued I had to read a little bit more.  Before I knew it I was half way through the book and letting Roxanne at Bewitching Book Tours know that I wanted to do a review as well.

The story starts with Lydia, a young marine biochemist and nobel prize winner on her way to the Deep Water Research Command Endure. A goal she has been working on for over 6 years.  As a brilliant, but young woman, Dr. Lydia Ashley is used to working extremely hard and projecting a much more mature demeanor to be taken as seriously as some of the others in her field.  She is looking forward to working with Daniel, another prodigy in the field of computer software, who was stationed on the DWRC Endure with his father, the Captain, and who has since remained on board.  Unfortunately, they get off to quite the rocky start when he forgets her and leaves her to fend for herself.  Daniel figures she will be some older, boring scientist and conveniently forgets the date, since he is busy romancing a woman.  When they do meet, Lydia is unimpressed with his apparent lackadaisical approach and believes him to not be worth her time.

With its combination of New Adult, Science Fiction and Romance, this is one of those books that is hard to define and lodge firmly into a niche.  It's like fusion cooking, taking a little from this genre and a little from that one and creating something gloriously new and unique.  I have found that if a book will give a publisher nightmares on how to pidgeon hole it, then it's sure to be a favorite of mine.  And this book certainly fits that bill.  Lydia was smart, funny and just a bit naive about interpersonal relationships.  Daniel was smart and though a bit of a rake, underneath it all, very redeemable.  While their romance was fun to watch, it was only a subplot of the true story which has to do with mutation of underwater pathogens and a nefarious plot to destroy the world.  Take a psychological thriller, add a bit of action, more than a dash of romance, stir briskly, sprinkle with nautical and military terminology and set it in the future and viola - you have Maven.  I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads.   Yes, it was that amazing.


2 copies of Maven: 1 Print (US shipping) & 1 ebook (International)

Book Tour Info: 
Don't forget to check out the other stops on the Book Tour:

July 15:
My Book Addiction - Guest Blog
Buried Under Books

July 16:
Tynga's Reviews - Guest Blog
Kelly P's Blog

July 17:
Hywelalyn - Interview
Elfie Books
July 18:
Faerie Tale Books - Review
Mythical Books

July 19:
Krystal's Enchanting Reads... - Guest Blog
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too!

July 22:
Musings and Ramblings - Guest Blog & Review
Reading In Twilight

Author Bio:

Starla Huchton released her first novel, The Dreamer's Thread, as a full cast podcast production beginning in August 2009. Her first foray went on to become a double-nominee and finalist for the 2010 Parsec Awards.

Since her debut, Starla's voice has appeared in other podcasts including The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, The Drabblecast, and Erotica a la Carte. She is also a voice talent for Darkfire Productions, and narrates several of their projects, including The Emperor's Edge series, This Path We Share, and others. Her writing has appeared in the Erotica a la Carte podcast, a short story for The Gearheart, and an episode of the Tales from the Archives podcast (the companion to Tee Morris and Philippa Balantine's Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series), which garnered her a second finalist badge from the 2012 Parsec Awards.

Her second novel, a Steampunk adventure entitled Master of Myth, was the first place winner in the Fantasy/Science Fiction category of The Sandy Writing Contest held annually by the Crested Butte Writers Conference. Maven is her third completed novel and the first in a planned series of four, being released under the name S. A. Huchton.

After completing her degree in Graphic Arts at Monterey Peninsula College, Starla opened up shop as a freelance graphic designer focusing on creating beautiful book covers for independent authors and publishers. She currently lives in Virginia where she trains her three Minions and military husband.

To connect with the author online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


  1. Thank you so much for the wonderful review! I'm so glad it caught your eye and that it took you by surprise. It's always wonderful to reach new readers so thank you for giving it a try! For any curious, book 2, NEMESIS, will be going live on August 26, so hopefully folks will enjoy it as well. Thank you again!

  2. Thank you for writing a fabulous story that completely hooked me and transcended my "New Adult" phobia. I can't wait to check out NEMESIS!


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