The Key cover

The key will unlock more than an unknown civilization; it will define who one woman will become....

Sara Donovan, an elite member of Project Enterprise, signs up for a mission that will take her far beyond the safety of her galaxy and into one torn apart by warfare. Shot down, she finds herself on an inhospitable planet with an alien resistance fighter who has a few secrets of his own.

Kiernan Fyn is a member of a resistance group called the Ojemba. Kiernan has enough of his own troubles without adding a mysterious alien female searching for answers to the list. He is given little choice when Sara is targeted by three separate forces believing she has the key to a long lost civilization - a key they are determined to possess.

Together, Sara and Kiernan must avoid capture, and deal with their growing attraction for each other, while they search for a mysterious, hidden city on a planet that brings Sara closer to understanding her baffling abilities and her mother’s past.

Don't miss out on the excitement in this Independent Book Bronze Medal and Dream Realm Awards Winner! Join Sara and Kieran today as they discover where the key is hidden and stop those that would use the secrets left behind by a lost civilization for their own agenda.

Excerpt:

A vague throbbing in her right temple towed Sara back to a consciousness she didn’t want to face, though she was a bit fuzzy on why…

She opened her eyes to zero dark thirty—a darkness somewhat lightened by an eerie orange glow.

Okay, starting to remember…

She not only wasn’t in Kansas anymore, she wasn’t in the cockpit of her bird. The rough hewn rock over head seemed to indicate she was in some kind of a cave, but how did she get from Dauntless to cave?

She remembered…

…the dog fight.

…the double hit to her six.

…heading for the closest planet like a fast falling star.

…doing bat turns to slow her descent.

…seeing the long stretch of flat, white beach between tangled mass of jungle and sparkling ocean.

…endless feet-wet finally giving way to feet dry.

The narrow beach had skimmed past way too fast as she struggled to manage her uncontrolled descent.

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She remembered pulling her nose up long enough to clear a rugged tumble of rock spilling from high bluff into ocean, but on the other side ground was ground and no landing is a good one that ends against a tree.

Yeah, she remembered the tree.

But she didn’t remember a cave.

Her head didn’t seem to like all the remembering. She touched the complaining spot, finding something that felt like a bandage at the apex of the pain.

Okay...didn’t remember that either.

She tried moving various body parts. Everything was a bit banged up, but still worked, which was probably good. And she knew it would get better. It always did. Her zoombag had been loosened and her gloves were gone. Add that to the list of things she couldn’t remember, with an asterisk for slightly creepy.

As the rest of her senses began to come back on line she inhaled a warm, metallic scent that seemed to be emanating from a circle of rocks, the source of the orange glow. It was mixed with a warm, earthy smell and some scents she couldn’t begin to identify. There was a bit of a nip in the air, the edge taken off by the…fire? Was it a fire? It didn’t flicker like a fire.

It was deeply quiet in the cave, quiet enough to hear her own breathing…and someone else’s. An icy trickle made its way down her back. Who...or what...was sharing this cave with her?

Sara sat up, stifling a groan when various bruises and bangs registered formal protests to her brain housing group. She’d planned to stand up next, but something stirred across from her.

Who—or what—ever it was rose, throwing an ill-formed and very large shadow against the wall and roof of the cave. Maybe it was the bad light, but the outline was very Sasquatch-ish—shaggy and kind of ominous. The icy trickle turned to a rushing stream.

It moved toward her, passing into the half light cast by the sort of fire. Not Sasquatch, though he could have been a second cousin. He had a head full of dreads, he bristled with armament and he bulged with muscles wrapped in what appeared to be tight fitting leather. It was hard to find features—his face was darkened by dirt or camo, or both—but his eyes were deeply, sharply green.

And he was really, really tall. Sara had to tip her head way back to look up at him. He didn’t speak, which upped the eerie factor a few more degrees.

She somehow managed to get her legs under her and stand up.  She was a tall girl—Tall Girl was actually her call sign—but the top of her head didn’t reach his chin. He’d have to be around seven feet to top her by that much.

He looked like a ragged cave man, but there was a sharp intelligence in his eyes. And he’d managed to get her clear of her bird. Not exactly cro-mag man skills.

She wanted to say something, but all she could think of was, crap.

Not particularly useful.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:on Science Fiction Romance Quarterly:

"The Key is a huge, sprawling space opera of a book, so be prepared to wallow in the pleasure of exploring this universe for a good long time. Emphasis on both “good” and “long”.”

on Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf:

"This is a series that is a keeper for me and I will enjoy reading them all again. I did get The Key on Audible. I wasn't crazy about the narrator at first but she grew on me. Or better... the story became so engrossing I didn't notice any more! That is a sign of a really good story! This is a great series for anyone who likes sci fi action, like Star Trek or Galaxy Quest (funny movie!), with a clean, warm, intergalactic romance."

Christy Tillery French on Midwest Book Review wrote:

"From the beginning, action is non-stop and filled with suspense. Sara is more than the quintessential kick-butt heroine. She is the perfect warrior, a woman confident in her abilities in the air and on the ground, and so loyal to her country that she is willing to make personal sacrifices to ensure its safety. Peripheral characters are well-developed and the plot so thrilling readers will be reluctant to put the book aside. This sci-fi adds a nice dose of romance and a touch of humor, placing it at the top of the list for a danged good read."

on Single Titles.com:

"Award winning author Pauline Baird Jones has created a dynamic other worldly story. Her characters are strong, well defined and interesting; capturing the reader on the first page. Ms. Jones has given her readers wonderful dialogue, adventure, humor, kick-butt action and thrilling romance; all set in alien territories. So, slip into another galaxy and revel in THE KEY by Pauline Baird Jones."

on http://charsbookreviews.blogspot.com/:

"I don't generally seek science fiction, fantasy, or romance stories. Books in these genres must come to me as recommendations from trusted sources. After several people suggested I would enjoy The Key, I picked it up - and then couldn't put it down until the last word. Anyone in the market for a fun read should check out this book - just be careful when you start it as you just may find yourself staying up all night to finish."

on Manic Readers:

"This thrilling adventure and love story is the stuff of dreams for a perfect romantic space adventure. Stories like this are why I love to read, and I definitely understand why this novel has been nominated for awards. Forget sleeping, plan on take out, and invest your time relishing this magnificent tale." Five Stars, Featured review

on Night Owl Romances:

"The Key was good in every way a novel can be. It's an engrossing story with full character development and growth. There is an ultimate battle between good and evil and Ms. Baird Jones even makes the villain likable on some levels. For me, The Key is one of those rare books that strengthened my love of reading. Thanks for the story Pauline." Top Pick and Reviewer's Choice.

on Heartstrings Reviews:

"Love Linnea Sinclair? Get a kick out of Susan Grant? Then you'll want to glom up on releases by Pauline Baird Jones. The Key isn't so much a sci-fi release as it is a dang good read, and this reviewer is anxious to read more of Baird Jones. Fun and fantastic at the same time, The Key is an intergalactic space adventure that will thrill readers to the very tips of their toes."

on Mostly Fiction Reviews:

"Clearly this author knows how to tell a story no matter what the genre. Her character development, pacing and humor satisfy across genre boundaries."

Jill Smith on RT Book Reviews wrote:

Action is the name of the game as a feisty and hard-hitting heroine rises to the challenge in this rousing space adventure. Not only is this a fast-paced tale, the rampaging deception and cultural clashes ensure this hero and heroine will need all their survival skills."


Behind the Book: The (mostly) True Story behind the writing of The Key

Welcome to the story of how I came to write a science fiction story--curiously devoid of science!

Me: Well, this is such a weird departure for you, I hardly know where to begin with this interview.

Myself: You could start where you usually do. Or not.

Me: I could, but I think I'll start with where this came from. Where on earth did you get the idea for this book?

Myself: Well, once I finished Out of Time, I started kicking around ideas for the next book. This "kicking" involved watching Stargate Atlantis--

Me: You were researching book ideas by watching television?

Myself: Um...yeah.

Me: Okay...so how did that work for you?

Myself: Well, not so good at first. I started getting ideas for Atlantis and not my book. It got so bad, I decided to write my idea down, just to get it out of my head. It was pretty pointless, since I didn't own the rights to write anything about these characters.

Me: And how did that work for you?

Myself: Well, one hundred pages later...not at all. But I liked the character I'd created that did belong to me, so I decided to try to migrate her to a story I did have the right to write. I tried different approaches. I even tried to take her out of the science/fantasy world, but she had some special things about her that belonged in a fantasy type world, so I pressed forward and suddenly the story just clicked.

Me: Were you able to use much of your 100 pages?

Myself: Not as much as I would have liked. (sigh) But just getting a great character was worth it, IMHO. I love everything about this character. She's pretty much everything I'm not. (grin)

Me: There's something else...different about this book, right?

Myself: (sigh) Yes. It's...long. By the time it is for sale, it might not be as long, but it is longer than any book I've ever written. I didn't mean to do that. It just...happened.

Me: It just...happened? It had nothing to do with you typing, oh, too many words?

Myself: No, it just happened. I'm too lazy to type too many words.

Me: Right. So, moving on, this book, does it contain your signature humor mixed with your signature peril?

Myself: Absolutely. My early readers tell me that they are glad about that, too. I had a lot of fun with the setting, with the characters, even with some of the names.

Me: How do you have fun with names?

Myself: Well, the story is set in another galaxy, so I had to make up all kinds of names. When I could, I had fun with that, but it was also kind of hard.

Me: Does your galaxy have its own language?

Myself: No. I didn't want to go there. I'm lucky I know MY language, no way I could make up another one. Clearly this isn't a book for hard core science fiction readers, unless they are also able to get a bit whacky and have fun--and are able to do without the science component.

Me: Why did you leave the science out of the science fiction?

Myself: You just had to ask, didn't you? (sigh) Basically, science is my worst subject. Even ahead of math. Way ahead. I bought a book about world building and right away knew I was in trouble. They wanted me to do math AND science! So, if you want a meticulously researched book, this isn't it. I made it ALL up. It's all fiction.

Me: There's a funny story about your character, isn't there?

Myself: You know there is. Sara Donovan, my main character can seriously kick butt. Well, one day I was channeling her, trying to get her walk down. I had to go get the mail. Some guys were working on a roof across from the mail box and I guess I was walking like I thought she'd walk and I got whistled at. It was pretty funny. Of course, they were too far away to see how old I was--or they'd probably have fallen off the roof.

Me: You channeled Sara a lot, didn't you? Is this typical for you?

Myself: I usually get pretty deep in my characters, but this deep has only happened to me twice. The other time was Pig in a Park and I thought that was because the book was first person. But Sara clearly wanted this story told.

Me: And it's not over, is it?

Myself: No, one of the characters who didn't get the girl isn't happy about it. He wants me to write a book for him, but we'll have to see. I found him a girl, but not a story just yet...I do wish he'd let me do a few things in my real life though.

Me: Really? I mean, you want to do taxes?

Myself: Okay, so no, but I don't want to go to jail either.

Me: I'm with you on that one.

Myself: I thought you would be.

Me: Now let's talk about the space battle. What were you thinking? We don't know how to write a space battle!

Myself: I know. I kept thinking I could write a space/action/adventure and not have a space battle, all the while the story was moving toward a...space battle. A big one. Then I thought I could do like Jeff Strand did in How to Rescue a Dead Princess and just put "space battle" here, but this isn't that kind of book. Sigh.

Me: So you...

Myself: ...decided I needed a space battle consultant and immediately thought of my son. He's been doing all sorts of space battles on his computer, since he was pretty small. And he's a reader. Good combo.

Me: And he did a great job, didn't he?Nate the Great.jpg

Myself: Well, great in the sense that it is a great space battle, IMHO. Not so great in that he took all the cool stuff I'd made up and blew it all up!

Me: I think you are exaggerating just a little.

Myself: Maybe a little. But, dang! He was pretty ruthless. And he looks so sweet!

Me: People used to think you were sweet...and then they read your books...

Myself: True...but does that look like the face that could blow up a thousand ships?

Me: No, it doesn't. Well, we should wrap this up. Anything else to add?

Myself: Just that the book will be available Sept, 2007 and I'm doing a fun giveaway for the e and print release. To be the first to hear about it all, you need to be subscribed to my newsletter. And I  hope you enjoy my BAB.

Me: BAB?

Myself: Oh. Um...my big a** book? Otherwise known as my weird a** book?

Me: On that...high note, we'll end this with what dignity we can muster.

 

The Key
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