Sunday, August 8, 2010

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SFR News & Links For August 2010

New releases

STEAMSIDE CHRONICLES – Ciar Cullen

Emily Fenwick, formerly with the NYPD, is now the reluctant defender of 1890 New York. Unfortunately for Emily, who hates "the creepy stuff", she ignored her inner voice, went to a carnival in Central Park, and entered a Victorian tent in hopes a psychic would have some encouraging news about her woefully boring love life. The guarantee she received of meeting a tall, dark, and handsome stranger comes with a huge catch - he lives in an alternate dimension of the past.

Jack Pettigrew leads a quirky band of lost souls in a battle to save New York circa 1890. Nightmares have come alive and threaten to terrorize a fragile era. Jack leads the “punks,” who have been sucked back in time through a vortex. Each has a fleeting memory of their own death–or near death–and must determine for themselves why they have been chosen for this mission. Is Steamside their Purgatory? Could an Egyptian obelisk in Central Park be the cause of the time rift, or is Emily herself to blame for the goblins, zombies, and other nightmarish scenes plaguing them?

If the Punks want to return to 2010, they must ensure there’s going to be an 1891. If they conclude they’re really ghosts, then it might be time to party like it’s 1999.

Read an excerpt here.

SUREBLOOD – Susan Grant

Sureblood

Five years ago rival space pirate captains Val Blue and Dake Sureblood stole one incredible night together. But their brief, passionate history ended with the assassination of Val's father and the condemnation of Dake's clan. Now Val struggles to prove her mettle—to herself and to the dissenters amid her own people. Every successful raid is a boot heel ground into the burning memory of Dake Sureblood—and their secret son is a constant reminder of their shared past….

Ambushed and captured before he can clear his name, Dake Sureblood returns from a hell like no other to expose the true killer of Val's father. But as the identity of their enemy becomes chillingly clear, the former lovers must put aside their mistrust and join forces to protect their clans and their precious son.

Read an excerpt here.

CHIMERA – Nathalie Gray

Secrets Anthology
All warfare is based on deception

Sun Tzu’s Art of war


From the overcrowded slums of a future Earth, he rose as the perfect tool of lethal justice and deception. Cold and stoical by choice, alone by circumstances, he will neutralize any and all threat to his client then move on. Blunt, direct. Nothing personal. But when his next assignment involves a popular politician who’s as smart as she’s attractive, the greatest betrayal would be to deny his heart.

Read an excerpt here.

WILD CARDS AND IRON HORSES – Sheryl Nantus

Their love rides on a spring and a prayer…

During the recent Civil War, a soldier risked his life to save Jonathan Handleston—and lost. With the help of an advanced metal brace on his crippled hand, Jon now travels from one poker tournament to the next, determined to earn enough money to repay the man’s debt.

Prosperity Ridge is supposed to be the last stop on his quest, but his brace is broken and he needs an engineer to repair the delicate mechanisms. The only one available is Samantha Weatherly, a beautiful anomaly in a world ruled by men.

Sam is no fool. Jon is no different from any other gambler—except for his amazing prosthetic. Despite a demanding project to win a critical contract to develop an iron horse, she succumbs to the lure of working on the delicate mechanisms. And working with the handsome Englishman.

Like a spring being coiled, Samantha and Jon are inexorably drawn together. Sam begins to realize honor wears many faces, and she becomes the light at the end of Jon’s journey to redemption. The only monkey wrench is Victor, a rival gambler who will stop at nothing to make sure Jon misses the tournament. Even destroy Jon’s and Sam’s lives.

Read an excerpt here.

Industry

The biggest romance industry news this month hailed from the Publishers Weekly report that “Dorchester Drops Mass Market Publishing for E-Book/POD Model”:

Mass market romance publisher Dorchester Publishing has dropped its traditional print publishing business in favor of an e-book/print-on-demand model effective with its September titles that are “shipping” now. President John Prebich said after retail sales fell by 25% in 2009, the company knew that 2010 “would be a defining year,” but rather than show improvement, “sales have been worse.” While returns are down, the company has had a difficult time getting its titles into stores as shelf space for mass market has been reduced, Prebich explained. Dorchester recently let its field sales force of seven go, although Tim DeYoung remains with the company as v-p of sales and marketing. The editorial team remains intact, although Prebich said the number of titles released monthly will likely be reduced from over 30 to 25. He said the schedule for 2011 is set and Dorchester has books in the pipeline through June 2012.


The article also included the information that “Dorchester’s e-book business has had “remarkable growth” which he expects to double again in the next year.”

The news has shocked many but I personally didn’t find it very surprising. While Dorchester Publishing has been a great source of innovative romances as well as instrumental in launching the career of many authors, the company isn't backed by a mega corporation. I think it's done well to stay afloat as long as it has.

I’m glad Dorchester is doing what it can to adapt to the changing publishing landscape. As far as science fiction romance is concerned, I hope the move to ebooks means more diversity of stories in content, length, and price. Dorchester is known for taking risks on both new authors and niche subgenres. Once the dust settles, I sense an opportunity for Dorchester to partner with enterprising SFR authors who are willing to explore alternate publishing models as well as be actively involved in marketing and promotion.

We’ll see what happens.

In other publishing news, Decadent Publishing has launched! As noted above, Ciar Cullen’s STEAMSIDE CHRONICLES is among the offerings. (Learn more about what Decadent is seeking in my interview with co-founder Lisa Olmstead.)

Sugar Rush

On a related note, I’d like to extend a special congratulations to Skiffy Rommer Kimber An who sold her novel, SUGAR RUSH (YA Paranormal) to Decadent Publishing!

Steampunk Romance

Dear Author reviewed “Here There Be Monsters,” Meljean Brook’s short story from the BURNING UP anthology. The story launches her Iron Seas series, and reviewer Janine Ballard awarded it an A-:

The writing made me feel that I was truly there, inhabiting that world. I found the story absorbing and difficult to put down, and Eben and Ivy were both endearing.

You can also read an interview with Meljean Brook at Dear Author about the Iron Seas series. In the interview, she discusses the definition of steampunk as well as the evolution of her new books:

You pitched the Iron Seas idea to an editor two years ago, describing it as “The Pirates of the Caribbean meets The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen“. Were these films the ones that sparked the idea?

Oh, god no. Ha! I hadn’t even seen The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen at the time I pitched the books (I’d heard too many terrible things about it). No, I used those movies as examples simply because “steampunk” wasn’t on the romance-reading radar at the time. It was only last year that we saw BONESHAKER, LEVIATHAN, and SOULLESS come out, and speculation and buzz about the genre began to pick up in romance circles. Two years ago, there wasn’t even that.

Granted, there may not have been buzz on steampunk in most romance circles, but here in the science fiction romance community it was a different story: Remember “Steampunk Is The New Black” from September 2008? I do.

And if any of you still haven’t read Alan Moore’s exquisite graphic novel LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN (on which the horrible film is loosely based), run to the nearest comic book store or library. Run, I tell you!

Bring it on, baby: Japanese Steampunk (Via SF Signal).

via SFR Brigade

The SFR Brigade posted a few pictures of members who attended the 2010 RWA conference in Orlando, FL. Check out all the photos from the steampunk ball!

Also, the Thursday Tag Parties are still going strong!

Frances Pauli describes her experience as an SFR ambassador during her trip to Spocon.

Around the SFR online community

Over at Spacefreighters’ Lounge, Donna S. Frelick expounds upon why We Love Our “Bad” Science, Part Two. (Click here to read part one).

As writers start exploring the self-publishing frontier, Jacqueline Lichtenberg of Alien Romances poses the question, “What exactly does a professional editor do and why do writers need them?”. Her post is part one of an ongoing series, What Exactly Is Editing?

In Babel Fish vs. Brain Power, Rowena Cherry ponders

…some of the less diverse aspects of SFR: how writers cope with communication between species and races. It seems to me, it's either some version of the babel fish (usually an implanted chip rather than a parasite) or it's brain power and hard work in the language lab (or hypnopedia in the only one of my books where I give a nod to the problem).

SciFi Guy is back with a stellar Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, and SFF releases for August 2010! Check out the spiffy special section for SFR releases!

SONG OF SCARABAEUS

Dirty Sexy Books reviewed SONG OF SCARABAEUS by Sara Creasy. Rebecca notes that this series falls into romantic SF territory:

Color me impressed. Debut novels this good always leave me in awe, and Sara Creasy’s science fiction adventure was a vision to behold. It’s nicely spiced with romance, and yet I hate to call it a ‘science fiction romance,’ for fear of disappointing hardcore romance fans who expect certain things when somebody calls a novel a romance. Let’s just say that this will be a slow-simmer romance, and it will likely play out across two or more books. Actually, the stories that progress the romantic relationships in baby-steps are even more appealing to me, but I just want the romance fans to have their expectations set accordingly. We can turn bitter when we think we’re getting one thing, but it turns out to be another.

And John Scalzi wants to know: Does Your Favorite Sci-Fi Movie Do Right By Its Female Characters? (Thanks to Nathalie Gray for the link).

In memoriam

Kage Baker Remembered at RT Book Reviews (via SF Signal).

Now I turn the mike over to you. Got any science fiction romance news to report, or links to share?

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Postus Scriptus: It’s so good to be back!