LYLBTB Advent Event 2013 : Kate Lowell
In Christmas Goes Analog, I introduce a couple of characters who loved games and gaming and computers so much, they made it their life’s work. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a geek myself. I grew up on the social commentary of the Original Star Trek, fell in teen lust with Starbuck from the Original Battlestar Galactica (and who can say they didn’t have a crush on at least one of those boys, eh?), devoured Spiderman and Batman comics as soon as I got my paws on them. I remember the animé Star Raiders, and the one with the five cat-shaped robots that combined to make one giant fighting machine (I can never remember the name, though they were known collectively as G-Force, which makes me laugh hysterically now for entirely immature reasons). I read Heinlein and Anderson and Asimov, McCaffrey, Burroughs, Norton and Huff. I played text based games on an IBM Pet computer and climbed as quickly as I could up the technological ladder. I’ve played Diablo and Starcraft and Final Fantasy ad nauseum.
It was a wonderful life.
But, unless you’re lucky, into every geek’s life comes a period of time where the realities of school and everyday life outweigh the love of all things geeky. So I’m here today with a confession:
I’m a lapsed geek.
Forgive me, Yoda, for I have sinned.
It’s been months since I last watched Firefly.
My dear Dr. Cooper, I am sorry for my sins with all my arc reactor.
In choosing to watch cop shows and in failing to see Star Trek: Into Darkness
I have sinned against you whom I should geek out over above all things.
I firmly intend, with the help of Netflix and Mastercard, to do penance, to watch Thor 2 and to avoid whatever leads me to romantic comedies.
In the name of Gandalf, may Smaug have mercy.
With Shawn and Rob to lead the way, I hope to once more tread the hallowed halls of video gaming and speculative fiction with pride.
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Author : Kate Lowell
Publisher : Loose Id
Release Date : December 3 , 2013
Pages : 32,000 words
Blurb : When Rob’s dad was injured by an uninsured driver, it spelled the end of Rob’s carefree childhood and, more important to Rob, the idyllic Christmases they used to have. Hard work and sacrifice nets him a degree in computer programming and then a contract at a rapidly-growing video game company. Things are looking up, especially when he meets his new System Administrator. But the closer it gets to Christmas, the more bugs there are in the system.
Shawn’s found him. The Guy. But Rob’s had it rough and it’s been years since he’s been anything but responsible. It all comes boiling to the surface when a family financial crisis is followed by a work emergency that ruins Rob’s plans to bring Shawn home to meet the family over Christmas holidays.
With Rob’s mood growing darker the closer it gets to Christmas, Shawn needs to find some way to give Rob the Christmas he’s so desperate for. And he just might have the plan… (read excerpt below, for more)
Purchase at : Loose Id
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Kate Lowell has spent most of her life either buried in a book or having unexpected adventures, which usually end up with Kate covered in mud or other unmentionable substances. Except when they end with fires—yeah, she’s that kind of lady. She cut her reading teeth on the likes of Anne McCaffrey, Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, Shakespeare, and Madeleine de L’Engle, but continues to voraciously devour anything that looks (or tastes) good. Currently, she lives on the East Coast of Canada, where you are never far enough away from water to avoid falling in on a convivial Friday night and where every conversation starts with “What’s yer father’s name?” because you ain’t nobody ‘til they’ve figured out how you’re related. (In case you haven’t noticed, she also really likes run-on sentences and is regularly slapped silly by her beta readers, who do not share her enthusiasm.) On occasion, she’s even been heard to profess a certain admiration for countryman Bill Shatner, who has “balls bigger than most of my main characters”. Previous to her plunge into writing, she worked as a surgical nurse in a veterinary clinic, dragged an impressive array of farm equipment around the countryside with large tractors, taught French as a second language, and drove an ambulance at high speed over country roads. Now, she mostly spends her time arguing with fictional characters and trying to scale Mount Laundry-more.
You can find Kate at :
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At five o’clock on Christmas Eve, Shawn closed the door on his workspace, grabbed his and Rob’s coats from the staffroom, and went to pry his boyfriend away from the computer. Rob had been working crazy hours, he and the rest of the staff who’d drawn the figurative short straw. The mood in the building was grim and even all of Shawn’s clowning hadn’t been able to coax a smile from Rob since the beginning of the week. It was like the whole company was infected with the mood of the game’s crazy protagonist.
Tonight, however, Rob was spending the evening with Shawn, not with a revenge-bent digital killer, and he was going to enjoy himself. Or Shawn might be going all Rage of the Assassin himself, but not a tv screen.
Shawn stopped in the doorway to Rob’s room and watched his boyfriend work for a moment, before clearing his throat and saying, “It’s five. Let’s go.”
Rob wore his genius wrapped up in a problem expression, his fingers flying over the keyboard. “I’m not quite finished.”
“Yes, you are. That can wait until tomorrow. Do I have to cut the power on you?” He reached for the cords plugged into the wall beside the computer tower.
Rob spun in his chair. “You wouldn’t!”
“Watch me. It’s Christmas Eve. I want to spend it with you.”
Rob stared doubtfully at him for a few moments, then said, “Five minutes. I need to patch this.”
Shawn checked his watch. “I’m counting.”
Rob turned back to the keyboard, and the computer screen spit out a pile of code so fast Shawn couldn’t even follow it. Then, with a couple of clicks of his mouse, Rob saved his work, backed it up—twice—and shut down the computer.
Shawn’s lips curled in a small smile. “Four minutes, thirty-three seconds, Software. Not bad.”
“Lots of incentive.” Rob sidled up to him, his eyes dancing with laughter now that he wasn’t bogged down in the game code, and ran his tongue over Shawn’s earlobe.
Shawn gasped and leaned into Rob’s body. “How hungry are you, anyway?”
“Not ve—” Rob started to answer, but was interrupted by a loud growling from his stomach. He glanced at his belly, wearing a comically betrayed expression. “Traitor.” It growled again, and he sighed. “Maybe we better feed it before I take you home and make sure you end up on the naughty list.”
“So long as your name’s there too.”
“I know how much you like company, so I guess I can make that sacrifice.”
“Hmmph.” Shawn hit the light switch and herded Rob toward the front door. The building was silent except for the hum of the heating system and the odd click or crack from the walls themselves. Everyone else had already left, but like Rob, they’d be back tomorrow afternoon, or working by VPN, for the final steps before the game went live the day after.
They shrugged into their coats as they walked, turned off the last of the lights, and locked the door behind them. Their breath misted out in front of them as they walked to the car. It wasn’t icy cold, but enough below freezing that Rob’s teeth started chattering right away, just from the change in temperature. Rob was always cold—he blamed it on having been raised in apartments and never playing outside. Not for the first time this winter, Shawn wished he’d bought a remote starter for his car, instead of the Arkham Asylum Lego kit he’d picked up in September. Tonight, especially, he didn’t want Rob getting chilled.
Not until they got to the start of his Christmas surprise.
When they were in the car and waiting for the engine to warm up enough to defrost the window, Shawn pulled a strip of black fabric out of his pocket and turned to face Rob. “Okay, I’m taking you for a surprise, but if it’s going to stay a surprise, you have to put this on.”
Rob looked at him like he had two heads. “You’re making me put on a blindfold to go home for supper?”
Shawn shook his head and pushed the cloth at Rob. “No, I’m taking you out. But I want to surprise you. So put it on. Please?”
With a short laugh, Rob took the blindfold and tied it over his eyes. “There.”
Kate has kindly offered up a choice of prizes – either an e-copy of “Christmas Goes Analog”, or an interactive Jacquie Lawson advent calendar. For you to be in the running to win one of these gifts, all you need to do is tell us (in the comments thread below) what is your favourite Christmas food or drink? The lucky winner will be announced on December 30th. Good Luck!