Heather Massey's Blog, page 2

June 16, 2014



Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly seeks review copies
Authors and publishers, if you've got a forthcoming SFR release as of June 2014, please consider submitting a review copy for possibly review in the Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly. We accept the following digital formats: PDF, EPUB, and MOBI.
Send files to me, Heather, at sfrgalaxy "at" gmail DOT com and I'll forward them to the editor.
Promotion of SFR & reader-centric spaces
I read something today which made me wonder if some authors of SFR have concerns about reader-centric SFR sites not having a promotion-friendly policy. Maybe this person was unaware of the reader-driven aspect? After all, that's been the philosophy behind a number of sites in the online SFR community. In fact, I've told many an author that I don't go for the hard sell here at TGE since this blog's main goal is being a resource site. And if anyone's going to aggressively hand-sell the genre on TGE it's going to be Super Fan me, gosh darn it! ;)
I can understand an author's frustration about the limited promotion venues available for SFR. Or should I say, affordable promotion venues. Given SFR's niche genre status, even readers know there's value in marketing because it translates to more choices. Alas, the opportunities have been perilously few.
But no one site can be all things to all readers/authors. I wonder also if maybe things get a little fuzzy--and hence frustrating or puzzling--when some authors are blogging, with their reader hats on, for an audience of readers.

That said, there arepromotional opportunities for authors of SFR. I'd going to highlight a few. Starting like, right now!
Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly
For years, SFR didn't have a dedicated place where authors could obtain affordable ads and which also provided free SFR-specific content for readers seeking information and books in this genre. However, that changed with the Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly (of which I'm a founding member). Ads aren't inherently problematic--execution is everything. Many readers are fine with ads as long as they get access to quality content at the same time. Therefore, SFRQ delivers columns, reviews, release news, interviews, and at least one free short story per issue.
Here are a few things authors can do to promote their books in the Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly:
* paid advertisements. Read the FAQ for more information.
* Submit new release book information for a cover and blurb highlight (Details in the SFRQ FAQ.
Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly has highlighted a diverse number of book releases via covers and blurbs. Stories range widely in terms of settings, characters, and heat level. The releases section so far has included books such as Jael Wye's ICE RED, Christie Meierz's THE MARANN, Cara Bristol's BREEDER, Reesa Herberth's IN DISCRETION, Christine D'Abo's GILDED HEARTS, Rachel Bach's HEAVEN'S QUEEN, and Lyn Brittan's LANA'S COMET--all at no cost to the authors.
* Write a short story--SFRQ is a paid market--and submit it for consideration.
* Do a free link exchange with SFRQ. Details here.
SFR Brigade blog
Authors of SFR can apply to join the SFR Brigade, a consortium of authors dedicated to raising the visibility of SFR. Membership is free. My understanding is that authors can blog about their books on the condition that their posts contribute in a meaningful way to the community.
SFR Brigade Midsummer Blog Hop
Now in its third year, the Midsummer Blog Hop is a great way to get one's book(s) in front of readers. Authors can contribute books and/or other prizes.
Here's some information about this year's forthcoming event:
Midsummer is fast approaching, and boy do we have a celebration for you! The SFR Brigade's 3rd annual blog hop will take place in just one week, on the 21st to the 25th June. What's in it for you? Well, 46 participants offering stellar excerpts and posts on the chosen theme of Starry Nights. Want more? How about the FIVE grand prizes on offer?

Click here for complete details and prize information.
Pippa Jay
Author Pippa Jay (TETHERED) has author promo opportunities available via her blog. This is a free service.
If you're an author who offers a similar type of support for fellow authors, let us know in the comments!
Indirect ways advocates are promoting SFR
Earlier this year, Laurie A. Green organized SFR prizes for the Brenda Novak Annual Online Auction For Diabetes Research. This was a huge undertaking and Laurie did it all without any kind of compensation. SFR Brigade authors had a chance to contribute prizes for a great cause and it was another way to get one's books on readers' radars.
While Veronica Scott's Sci-Fi Encounters column (USA Today Happy Ever After blog) is a signal boost rather than a promotion venue, authors can help spread the word about her widely-read column. Consider paying it forward--you never know where such efforts could lead.
Follow @vscotttheauthoron Twitter.
Also, each month here at The Galaxy Express I highlight a number of new SFR releases by featuring covers and blurbs so readers can learn about them. Here's a link to the 2014 new release roundup. See my sidebar list for past years.
It's a work in progress and I update the list on a regular basis. I'm a one woman operation so it's not comprehensive, but authors are welcome to send me news of their new/forthcoming releases so I can include them.
FWIW, Amazon's new category for science fiction romance has helped me immensely in discovering new titles.
Promotion opportunities are out there. Have faith and help venues like the Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly and others like it to grow by plugging into existing opportunities. Or start a new venue yourself! Different readers like different types of SFR, and not only is that okay, it's nice when a particular site is tailored to their interests. The more, the merrier.
Here's another promotion opportunity: if you're part of an SFR group/site that promotes the genre, tell us about it in the comments!
Joyfully yours,Heather

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Published on June 16, 2014 18:18 • 1 view

June 14, 2014



Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly #3 is now out and available for download! Get your free copy of this action-packed science fiction romance magazine here(full disclosure: I'm one of the team behind the 'zine). Here are some notable news items about issue 3: *This issue includes not one, but two free SFR shorts!
Lovelab Podcast--Interplanetary Edition by Tara Campbell and Liberating Clemency by Emmeline Locke
*New reviewer: RK Shiraishi brings her passion for SFR to the Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly.
*Jody Wallace, author of the sci-fi romance ANGELI and one of the former heads of the Science Fiction Romance Newsletter is our guest columnist this quarter. Her insightful article about patriarchies and matriarchies in SFR is a must-read.
*New feature: Award-winning author Ian Sales and host of SF Mistressworks joined our team. Each issue, he'll contribute an analysis of a woman-authored science fiction book. There's nothing like a little cross-pollination to help boost the signal of women in SF/F, eh? 
You'll also discover an interview with author Nico Rosso (THE LIMIT OF DESIRE), a huge list of recent releases and their beautiful covers, reviews, and columns by Charlee Allden (Smart Girls Love SciFi & Paranormal Romance) and me.
Enjoy!
Joyfully yours,Heather

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Published on June 14, 2014 04:00 • 3 views

June 12, 2014



Alisha Rai's NIGHT WHISPERS (Shadowlands #1; Samhain Publishing) is one of those books that straddles the fence between PNR and SFR. One reason is its near-future, post-apocalyptic setting. Another is the premise: a plague called the "Illness" has swept across the globe and renders victims--"Shadows"--into mindless zombies who feed on human blood in a vampire-like fashion. When humans weren't attacked by Shadows, they fell victim to nuclear attacks and a general infrastructure collapse.
I wasn't quite clear regarding how the plague started or why and I would have been interested in learning more. Who created the Illness and for what reason? How would the good gals and guys defeat it (presumably in future books)? The vagueness might even have been intentional, either to purposefully straddle the genre fence and/or to save the explanation for a future book.
Despite some ambiguities, I feel NIGHT WHISPERS nudges closer to SFR given the presence of secondary scientist characters, references to experiments, and various gadgets. Until I learn the Illness has supernatural origins, that's my speculation and I'm sticking to it!
I'm going to provide a few more non-spoiler tags so you can decide if NIGHT WHISPERS is up your alley, but first, here's the blurb:
When every night is a battle for survival, love is an endangered species

Analyst James Bennett has spent the years since humankind fell victim to the Illness living underground. Part of an elite group of survivors determined to save their race, his only interaction with the blood-drinking Shadows roaming the Earth is through surveillance technology carried by his team of search-and-rescue agents. Scarred by vicious events, he has no desire to leave the safety of his bunker for the dangerous world outside—until he recruits a tough, haunted young woman clear across the country.

Former gang member Jules Guerrero learned two things early on: the value of loyalty and never backing down from a fight. Both of those teachings come in handy now that her job description includes protecting humans and kicking Shadow ass. But it’s hard to keep her mind strictly on her mission when all she can think about is the man whose voice keeps her sane through the depths of each dark night.

When Jules is captured and threatened by a rogue organization even more bloodthirsty than the Shadows, James must draw on all of his courage to fuel a furious cross-country chase through the lawless land…before the Jules he loves is destroyed forever.

Product Warnings
Contains a hero who would fight monsters for his love, a heroine out to save the world, a treacherous wasteland, poetry as foreplay and flesh-eating enemies.

NIGHT WHISPERS features a nerdy Beta hero with a secret. James Bennett works in an underground military refuge as an analyst and he's in charge of several search-and-rescue agents. Heroine Jules Guerrero is a former gang member and drug abuser. She's one of James' agents and has a mean set of combat and survival skills.
There are action scenes interspersed throughout the story. I'd characterize them as moderate with a touch of grisly. In between, the romance builds in part with lots of introspection and quite a bit of angst. Their romance is one of friends-to-lovers. 
Despite the presence of blood-sucking plague zombies, the overall tone of the book is gentle/sweet. The love scenes sizzle tastefully and don't overwhelm the plot (not by a long shot).
Action-adventure would also apply to this story. There's also an ensemble cast featuring interesting secondary characters. In places, there's a strong sense of family/community as many people in this world have had to establish new bonds to replace ones lost from the catastrophic events.
One of the most notable aspects of NIGHT WHISPERS for me is one particular act of heroism on Jule's part (which I'm not going to spoil!). I will say that while reading the scene, I was immensely worried the story would pull back right when I was hoping the heroine would do exactly what the scene required (because otherwise she would have been Too Stupid To Live). The scene was gritty and messy, but absolutely necessary. I'll admit, I performed a mental cheer as it played out to my expectations. It made for a satisfying reading experience and reinforced my interest in SFR.
Interestingly, the reader is pointedly assured by the text that Jule's action was justified. Personally, I felt it was obvious from the context, but upon further reflection I can see how the passage could serve as a sort of guide post to ease the SFR learning curve. Meaning, the message to the reader is "Here's how to interpret the actions of this type of heroine in case you haven't encountered someone like Jules before. Rest assured, she's still likeable!" Jules was likeable from the beginning, so for me her every action was clearly heroic. Yet this one scene involves an act that's usually reserved for heroes, so for some readers it might take some getting used to. Still, NIGHT WHISPERS would be a good place to start if you want a relatively gentle introduction to heroines who are allowed to take care of business.
"Shadowlands #1" indicates that NIGHT WHISPERS is meant to be the start of a series, but it works fine as a standalone. I reached out to Alisha Rai about future books, and she said in an email that she does "…have plans to continue the series."
(Fingers crossed!)
To learn more about the author, visit her Web site, follow her on Twitter (@AlishaRai), and read her posts at Scribbling Ninjas.
Joyfully yours,
Heather

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Published on June 12, 2014 17:35 • 2 views

June 10, 2014



The concept of human characters merging with aliens fascinates me. Versions of it include alien bonding (humans becoming hosts to alien entities) and human-to-alien or partial alien transformations. The latter often results from an alien infection, a physical appropriation of some kind, or genetic engineering. The process is intriguing and disturbing at the same time, especially when it gets kind of messy or involves bizarre alien appendages.
I don't recall my first exposure to this trope in books since my SF reading goes way back, but in film it probably began with INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978). I'm also a fan of films like THE THING, ALIEN, DISTRICT 9, and THEY LIVE.
When the element is employed in SF, the results are frequently tragic and/or horrific. Humans the world over are pumped full of alien DNA and enslaved, the end. When extraordinary abilities develop as a result of the merge, the trope can fall under the category of superhuman SF. Many stories use alien bonding to explore various social and psychological themes.
When authors incorporate the alien bonding element into science fiction romance, sometimes there's a tragic element involved, but more often than not the idea of alien bonding is transformed into something with more hopeful and varied outcomes. Falling in love with someone who is part alien has strong emotional aspects. One's romantic partner now looks different and/or has unusual abilities. It's interesting to read interpretations about how such changes impact--or enhance--a couple's sex life. Post-change, both partners must decide if they're ready to navigate an otherworldly relationship (and sometimes the human character is seen as the alien!). Needless to say, there's a lot of adjustment involved.
Science fiction romance has delved into the alien bonding arena, but I'm surprised I haven't come across more stories in this vein. Maybe this concept is considered too strange, disturbing, or icky? Or maybe all three. Personally, I'm a fan, but I can see how even a partial alien transformation might make some readers squeamish.
It depends on the alien, though. Conceiving of aliens in terms of bugs, lizards, and tentacles can be limiting and also kind of throwbacky to pulpy SF, where such aliens are often menacing in nature. Alternates could include energy aliens, sentient plant-based aliens, or carbon-based life forms that aren't zoomorphic in nature. I'm open to anything, so hit me up!
Here are a few books that feature heroes or heroines who've been transformed by alien DNA/consciousness in some way. I won't go into details to avoid spoilers, but the books feature some kind of alien-human merging.
I've read most of them and one of the titles is on my to-read list. (Apologies in advance if I've forgotten an important title or two.)
THE TROUBLE WITH MEMORIES - Eva LeFoyBONE RIDER - J. Fally THE HOST - Stephenie MeyerREFUGEES ON URLOON - Melisse AiresFORTUNE'S PAWN - Rachel BachThe Felig Chronicles series - P.J. DeanGROUND MISSION (All Wrapped Up anthology) - Laylah HunterGHOST PLANET - Sharon Lynn Fisher
Have you encountered other sci-fi romance titles in this category?
Joyfully yours,Heather

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Published on June 10, 2014 16:53 • 1 view

June 8, 2014



Author Eva Caye's To Be Sinclair saga has reached its finale with the release of MORALITY, the eighth book in her futuristic royalty-in-space series of sci-fi romances. Given the occasional lament that SFR lacks enough novel-length stories, I saw this as an opportunity to connect readers with the work of an author who's been contributing exactly that kind of content to the genre. Therefore, Eva Caye is aboard to tell us more about her epic series!
The Galaxy Express: What was the initial inspiration for your To Be Sinclair series?
Eva Caye: I wrote Dignity to deal with my depression.  I took the person I was (overstrung alpha, forced to make judgments every day) and began having conversations with the person I wanted to be (student of science, focused on learning how to get things done).  The pressure of those internal dialogues was so great, I began writing them down, and they developed into characters. By the time I had completed the rough draft of book one, I knew essentially what the entire series would be like.
TGE: What kind of setting can readers expect from the books? EC: The To Be Sinclair series consists of a ruling family who cares about the lives of their subjects; they work hard, take responsibility, and anticipate the needs of their society.  In other words, the Sinclairs are genuine, loving, brilliant, and thoughtful, acting for the betterment of their people, virtually the opposite of every politician and government currently on Earth!   
TGE: Does each book stand alone or is there an overarching plot?
EC: They are best grouped as companion volumes. The overarching plot is stargates, ‘stelluric’ science, but each two books are philosophically bound. 
Dignity and Majesty cover the romance of the Empress and Emperor, as well as the Empress’ development of stargates.  Fealty and Royaltycover the duties as well as the personal sides of their first two sons, destined to be politicians.  Dynasty and Loyalty are over six siblings who will carry on the Empress’ stargate legacy, as well as the security involved in being members of the Imperial Family.  Nobilityand Morality are about the two most important grandchildren, the one who will be Emperor of his generation, and the cousin who will be his greatest support.
I do have an extra book of four novellas, laughingly referred to as ‘book 6.5’.  Evan’s Ladies is about the problems the youngest Imperial Son has in finding a lady, and it is my editor’s favorite for its heart-wrenching travails.  
I have also added extra short stories or novellas to the ends of the books, completely unpublicized, as ‘Easter egg’ lagniappes.  They are usually from the point-of-view of a secondary character, so you get to know the entire Imperial Family, and they are often more erotic than the books!
TGE: Who are a few of the heroes and heroines readers will meet?
Empress Felice is the star of the series, the most important person in the galaxy, so each character revolves around her in some way.  Emperor Victor Sinclair is dominant in the largely behind-the-scenes politics, so I show his involvement in his family more than anything.  ‘Pizazz’ could be Crown Prince Zhaiden’s middle name, while his brother Phillip is his right-hand man.  Princess Anne is declared the most intelligent person on the planet, but sees more than her fair share of pain, so the younger siblings tend to revolve around her.  Of the grandchildren, Prince Matthieu and Princess Grace are very complex characters, for all that they are next to godlike in their zeal to perfect themselves.
TGE: Please tag the first book, DIGNITY, in six words.
EC: Future Empress-scientist triumphs behind the scenes!
TGE: Describe a few of the underlying themes explored by the various books.
EC: A science too dangerous to be allowed to be known, yet too valuable to hide; depression as an inherited disease; the security needed by important people on an everyday basis; being raised in a family known for ‘forward-thinking’, where achievement is assumed of you; finding the right person with whom to share your life when you are surrounded by people who have no idea what your life is actually like; finding friends you can trust with your life itself. 
TGE: What can readers expect in terms of heat level?
EC: I describe sexual encounters explicitly, but briefly and, ah, scientifically, and usually not more than to make a plot point.  Almost all the sex is implied, but I do have at least one fairly explicit sex scene in each book, and always to make a point, such as to cement the relationship.
TGE: What's been the most rewarding about self-publishing? The most challenging?
EC: I love having complete control over my work!  Why should I cut scenes just to keep the manuscript under a certain number of pages?  In truth, my writing is so spartan I have to go back and add embellishments.  I had Dynasty out for three weeks before I realized it needed an emotional reaction by the Imperial Sons to the climax!
TGE: Where can readers find your books?
EC: Amazon, OmniLit, AllRomance, Smashwords, Payhip.  All but Morality are available through CreateSpace, too.
TGE: What's next for Eva Caye?
EC: I have two prequels to the series over half-finished; they are both about 450 years before the series, some 150 years in our future.  One is about the society founded by scientists on Corona Segundus, and the other is the founding of Sinclair Demesne.  My third work-in-progress is about a lady dealing with the official formation of a telepathic guild, as well as a godlike alien.
TGE: How can readers connect with you?
EC: I’m on Facebook every day -- eva.caye for my personal account -- and I do remember to tweet on occasion.  You can find a lot of information, as well as ways to reach me, on my Amazon Author Page and my website, but I can always be reached via email, which I include in every book.  Write me; I’ll write you back!

What can jolt an 18-year-old Princess from her worries about her sex life? Her training in Grandmother’s secret stelluric science, of course!
Daughter of the most brilliant scientist on the planet, Princess Grace Encino-Sinclair fights to have a private life, quite difficult to achieve since she has been trained to so many Imperial secrets. Her relentless duties become a never-ending scramble to meet Imperial demands by using her scientific and political knowledge, as well as her consummate social skills. When the most unthinkable assassination of all occurs and everything goes downhill from there, Grace suddenly finds herself the most highly trusted person in the Empire, the power behind the Imperial throne….
Discover the power of ladies as the backbone of Demesne society in this novel of social intrigues, ethics, and justice, as Princess Grace defines the true meaning of morality!

About the author 


Futuristic romantic science fiction space opera author of eight books and counting!

***

Ms. Caye, thanks so much for your art, and for your time.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

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Published on June 08, 2014 14:00 • 1 view

June 5, 2014

Author Sharon Lynn Fisher's next sci-fi romance release is ECHO 8 (February 3, 2015; Tor) and she kindly sent me the cover image hot off the press!
Here's the (unofficial) blurb:

The fate of two worlds hangs in the balance as three lives entangle: Jake, a man shifted to an alternate Earth, where he must drain energy from others to survive. Tess, the parapsychologist trying to save him. Ross, the FBI agent torn between duty and his love for Tess.

ECHO 8 was also a 2011 RWA Golden Heart finalist.

And there's more! You can read the first chapter and find pre-order links on the author's site.

Enjoy!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

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Published on June 05, 2014 13:25

June 4, 2014



SPECULATIVE RELATIONSHIPS: A Sci-Fi Romance Comics Anthology has reached funding success! (See my previous post about it here.) As of this post, the campaign raised funds beyond its original $9,000 goal. Pretty cool! I invited project leader Scott Kroll aboard to share more information about what readers can look forward to in this unique, visually-rich anthology of romantic SF stories. Plus, feast your eyes on some of the art samples he provided!
The Galaxy Express: Describe the very first moment that inspiration hit for SPECULATIVE RELATIONSHIPS.  Scott Kroll: It was a Twitter exchange between Brandon Graham (a comics artist), Tyrell Cannon (the Co-Editor), and Daniel Warren Johnson (a contributor). Brandon had an idea for a monthly romance comic series and Tyrell and Dan put their own spins on the idea. It was at best a brainstorming session and at worst, a joke. Either way, it got us thinking that this was something we should actually do.
At first we were just going to do something small, maybe comic book-sized, but when we saw how excited artists were to work on this, we decided to do something bigger. Kickstarter seemed the next logical step.
TGE: During your Kickstarter campaign, you stated that "We think it is about time for a revival [of romance comics]." What appeals to you about the idea of reviving the romance genre in comic book form? In other words, why mix romance and science fiction, as opposed to say, mystery ad science fiction?
SK: I don’t know if I have the space here to go into the long history of comic book genres, but romance was once the biggest genres in comics! The American comics market was gotten more and more diverse in recent decades, but romance hasn’t come back in the same way as say, crime, horror, or sci-fi comics. 
It odd because romance is so universal. Even if a story isn’t completely about romance, there are almost always romance elements. 
As far as why we mixed it with sci-fi, that’s harder to answer. I think because Tyrell and I are both big sci-fi fans! Also, Sci-fi in comics is having a huge resurgence now. Books like Prophet, Saga, and Trillium are some of the most popular books going right now.
TGE: How did you go about selecting the team of artists?
SK: These were all artists that Tyrell knew that he felt needed more exposure. They’re all artists we felt were on the cusp of making it big. We hope that this will give them a big push into the limelight.
TGE: What type of science fiction settings do the artists explore in their stories?
SK: That’s tough to answer because it’s so varied. We have one story that takes place purely in the dreams of a space traveler in hyper-sleep, another that takes place on a futuristic battlefield, another in the core of a dying planet, and another on the bottom of a frozen alien ocean! And more!
TGE: Some romances have upbeat endings while others end in tragedy or on a bittersweet note. Without going into spoilers, what kind of romances can readers expect from the SPECULATIVE RELATIONSHIPS anthology? 
SK: The endings are as varied as the settings. We have sad, to bittersweet, to hopeful, to funny.
TGE: What type of characters will readers meet? 
SK: We have humans and humanoid aliens. We have cyborgs fighting for love. Several robots. An obsessive computer program in love. Hermaphrodite with five genders… Yeah, the trend in this anthology is variety. 
SK: All the artists work mostly traditionally (meaning with ink on paper as opposed to digital). We also insisted that all the artists letter their story by hand (again, rather than digital). We have nothing against digital, but we like to see an artist hand in his or her work.
Check out the links to the various artists' individual sites to get a sense of what they do:
Isabella RotmanMichael ManomivibulRinko EndoDaniel Warren JohnsonTyrell CannonScott Kroll
TGE: What's next for you and the other members of the SPECULATIVE RELATIONSHIPS team? Any chance of a second sci-fi romance anthology?
SK: We hope that this anthology gives lots of exposure to the artists and makes them huge comics stars!
But seriously, Daniel Warren Johnson has a comic coming out from Dark Horse comics called “Ghost Fleet
Isabelle Rotman will be in future issues of Maple Key Comics
Tyrell Cannon is working on another issue of his series “Victus
As far as a second volume, that is a definite possibility. We have had a lot of great artists approach us wanting to contribute. It would be a shame to waste all this enthusiasm. 
TGE: Where can readers purchase a copy of SPECULATIVE RELATIONSHIPS? Which formats are available? Is there a dedicated online site for the anthology?
SK: We’re in the last days of the kickstarter, which is the fastest way to get the book (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1619738205/speculative-relationships-a-sci-fi-romance-comics).
After that, purchasing information will be on our Tumblr or Twitter (@SciFiRomanceCom).
***
Congratulations to the SPECULATIVE RELATIONSHIPS gang!
As of this post, there's only a few hours left to back this project. Here's a handy link if you're interested!
Joyfully yours,Heather

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Published on June 04, 2014 08:45 • 1 view

June 3, 2014

I had a post planned for tonight, but folks, you really ought to head over and read the one at SFR Brigade by Michelle Browne instead: Technowank vs. Character Drama: Which One is King?

Here's a taste:
Well, sci-fi romance is ultimately only as strong as its characters. It's why diversity is so important in media, and it's why those of us defending that get pretty up in arms about it. Some sci fi romance is probably not that well-written, but the same is true of the 'old-fashioned', 'traditional' technowank stuff that relies on shiny bits rather than character development. Ultimately, one or two or even ten bad books do not merit discarding an entire genre. Sci-fi romance needs a little more time to grow up and branch out, sure, but it's a very new subgenre. Ultimately, the potential of more explicitly character-driven sci-fi is really exciting.
Well said.

Thanks to L. for the heads up!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

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Published on June 03, 2014 17:13 • 1 view

June 1, 2014



New releases
MORALITY (To Be Sinclair #8) - Eva Caye

What can jolt an 18-year-old Princess from her worries about her sex life? Her training in Grandmother's secret stelluric science, of course!

Daughter of the most brilliant scientist on the planet, Princess Grace Encino-Sinclair fights to have a private life, quite difficult to achieve since she has been trained to so many Imperial secrets and is constantly followed by Sentinels. By using her scientific and political knowledge, as well as her consummate social skills, to balance Imperial needs and demands, her relentless duties see her dealing with one mind-boggling near-disaster after another, with objectivity but also with heart. When the most unthinkable assassination of all occurs and everything goes downhill from there, Grace suddenly finds herself the most highly trusted person in the Empire, the power behind the Imperial throne....

Discover the power of ladies as the backbone of Demesne society in this novel of social intrigues, ethics, and justice, as Princess Grace defines the true meaning of morality!

This science fiction romance is the final book of the eight-part To Be Sinclair series. The saga continues with NOBILITY and ends with MORALITY, which detail the romances and political struggles of the future Emperor and the power behind the throne. Several scenes describe sexually explicit behavior.
LANA'S COMET (Outer Settlement Agency) - Lyn Brittan
Drill Instructor Cyprus Dhoma lives and dies by the Outer Settlement Agency badge on his shoulder. Every soldier in the solar system wants to be him and just as well, he's trained half of 'em. But when a loud, obnoxious and completely insane recruit signs up for the next round of basic training, it'll test the famous control and reputation he's spent years building up.

Lana hates the military. Everything about OSA completely, totally and unredeemingly sucks - except for the hottie instructor with the bad attitude. He may be annoyed with her now, but she's on a secret mission and needs his help. It'll take a lot of work to bring him in line, but she'll be doggoned if she doesn't get him in tow. Besides, a man that cute shouldn't be that pissed off.
Interracial Sci-Fi Romance Futuristic Novella.
THE CONSORT (Tellaran Series) - Ariel MacArran
After spending a year enslaved by the Az-kye, Commander Kyndan Maere has good reason to hate them. On the eve of peace between the Tellaran Realm and the Az-kye Empire, Kyndan finds himself drawn into a duel for the hand of Alari, the First Imperial Daughter. When their passion ignites, Kyndan learns the only thing harder than winning this princess would be losing her . . .
QUEEN OF SWORDS (Sanctify #1) - Katee Robert
When the cards tell Ophelia Leoni she's supposed to marry the Prince of Hansarda, the gunrunner grits her teeth and boards the starship that comes for her. It doesn't matter if the ship's commander is the gorgeous stranger she just spent a wild, drunken night with. As a Diviner, she’s painfully aware the cards don't lie. Ever.

Boone O’Keirna knows Ophelia is trouble the second he sees the way she moves. Not about to let the little hellcat marry his sadistic half-brother, Boone pretends to be the Prince’s emissary and kidnaps Ophelia. Too bad they can’t be in the same room without him wanting to throw her out an airlock–or into bed.

Even as they fight each other–and their explosive attraction–Ophelia and Boone sense something is wrong. Too much is going their way. Soon, they realize while the cards may never lie, the truth is sometimes hidden between them...and the future king of Hansarda is not one to take defeat lying down.

ON HER WATCH (Don't Tell #2) - Rie Warren

The year is 2071 and all hell has broken loose. As the government tries to control the territories that were once the United States, an armed rebellion erupts . . .
AWOL from her military post, Lieutenant Liz Grant will do anything for the rebels she now calls friends. Her latest mission: return to the Beta Corps army and obtain classified information that could turn the battle in the revolutionaries’ favor. There’s only one problem: Commander Linc Cutler.
Strong, coldly handsome, and always in control, Linc is perplexed by the beautiful soldier brought in for questioning. He doesn’t know if he believes her explanation for why she went missing. He only knows his intense sexual desire for her cannot be denied.
Awards
Courtesy of Love in the Margins, I learned about the Swirl Awards. Mission statement: "…the Swirl Awards was created to promote romance without color barriers!"
SENSORY OVERLOAD, an erotic SFR by Areana Senoj, is among the finalists! Check out the complete list here.
Resource on diversity
For authors interested in diversifying their sci-fi romances, here's an in-depth article about Alternate Visions: Some Musings on Diversity in SF. The article contains many great insights as well as possible inspirations for characters and settings.
Never give up, never surrender!
In Selling the Moon Buggy (On Rejections, Part III), Laurie A. Green (Spacefreighters Lounge) provides personal examples to illustrate why mainstream print publishers are wary of releasing more science fiction romance:
So the problem, as I understand it, is that these publishers do not see science fiction and romance working together. They must have forgotten that classic commercial about mixing chocolate and peanut butter, huh? Or is it possible that they experimented with the merger and it didn't work out for them? Peanut allergies, mayhap?

In short, they don't yet know how to sell SFR. It'll probably take a runaway bestseller from the digital-first indie realm to show them the money.
New "SF Obscure" feature at Smart Girls Love SciFi & Paranormal Romance
RK launched a new "SF Obscure" feature in which she will "…try to track down some of the SF/Fantasy shows and actors of yesteryear. (some series maybe best forgotten, but always good for a laugh)." First stop, THE SECRETS OF ISIS!
I have fond memories of that show and RK's post reminds me that I need to revisit it on DVD since I have ISIS in my collection!
Mark your calendars
Issue #3 of the Sci-Fi Romance Quarterlyreleases on June 15!
Now I turn the mike over to you. Got any SFR news/links to share?
Joyfully yours,Heather

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Published on June 01, 2014 19:09 • 11 views

May 29, 2014



I'd like to share a snapshot of a few of my recent sci-fi romance activities. And away we go…
I sampled G.S. Jennsen's STARSHINE (Aurora Rising #1). Plot tags include space opera, thriller, mystery, action-adventure, and political intrigue. Heroine is a pilot and the sample hinted at a coming-of-age thread for her. From what I've read, this series will appeal to readers who enjoy hard SF elements and romantic SF (especially since the romance doesn't kick in at the same time as the external plot).
You can read the prologue and first chapter excerptat the author's site.***
A Galaxy Express passenger informed me that Ariel MacArran's STARDANCERfeatures the captivity and kidnapping trope, but without potentially triggering content. I've read about half the book and while the heroine makes life-altering decisions under significant duress, the story so far doesn't enter dub-con or non-con territory.
The romance features a battle-of-the-sexes trope between a starship captain heroine (with red hair, natch) and a Conan the Barbarian type warrior from another planet. The story also explores the concept of navigating cultural differences within the context of an intimate relationship. The style and tone harks back to futuristic romances of the 1990s and will probably hold the strongest appeal for romance readers.
Also, the author has another book in the same universe listed in her Coming Soon page: THE CONSORT.*** I first reported on the Korean drama MY LOVE FROM ANOTHER STAR back in April. Since then, I've been slowly making my way through this 21 episode series for free via Drama Fever.
Let me tell you, it's been really hard not to glom this addictive show all in one sitting. This is my first kdrama, so I'm not sure if the romance will have an HEA. That, and the story isn't making any solid promises either (which is actually adding a dash of delicious suspense!).
Either way, I'm going to blog about MY LOVE FROM ANOTHER STAR because while much of it is derivative romance and SF, the combination of the two genres with the soap opera format, larger than life characters, and a Korean setting are blowing my mind. (Watching it on Drama Fever can be a drag, though, given the commercials and occasional glitches. I should have watched it on Roku from the beginning).*** If you enjoy novella-length erotic sci-fi romance, mad scientists, superhero romances, heroes of color, doctor heroines, superhuman transformations, the tame-the-hero-trope, forbidden doctor-patient relationships, and don't mind fictional professionals crossing some serious ethical lines (but all in the name of fun, eh?) then Tatiana Caldwell's WAY OUT OF CONTROLmight be up your alley! You can download a free PDF excerpt at the author's site.***
I've had FIREFLY on the brain lately, so here's a short list of FIREFLY-esque science fiction romances (based on both my own reading and what I've heard):
FORTUNE'S PAWN - Rachel Bach (Read the author's Women in SF&F post Love and the Science Fiction Action Heroine at Fantasy Cafe.)
ASCENSION - Jacqueline Koyanagi (I tagged this book here.) 
IN THE BLACK - Sheryl Nantus (The author blogged about her book at CONTACT - Infinite Futures.)
THIEF - Anitra Lynn McLeod (I tagged this book here.)
FORTUNE'S HERO - Jenna Bennett (Author interview)
THE SYSTEM - Heather Lin (Author interview here.) GRIMSPACE - Ann Aguirre (Tags & info in the author's Supernova feature.)
Related post: Space Westerns: In or Out?

Tell me about some of your recent sci-fi romance adventures!
Joyfully yours,Heather

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Published on May 29, 2014 17:07 • 27 views