Tuesday, September 7, 2010

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Nathalie Gray’s METAL REIGN Hits The Sweet Spot

Metal Reign

METAL REIGN by Nathalie Gray is one of three stories in Samhain Publishing’s IMPULSE POWER space opera anthology. This author is known for her high octane science fiction and paranormal romance stories that feature intense heroes and heroines. She’s a multi-published author, and oh, yes—most of her books fall under the erotic romance umbrella.

And if your eyes just glazed over at the mention of “erotic romance,” stay with me for just a moment.

Would you be surprised to learn that as far as heat level is concerned, METAL REIGN falls in the “sweet” category? Yes, it does! Can you believe it? The bedroom door is 100% closed (technically, the story takes place before the couple even goes anywhere near a bedroom). METAL REIGN is an SFR from a digital publisher known for its erotic romance selection, and whose covers veer toward dark and sultry (and not unexpectedly, the one for this ebook is no exception).

I was so surprised I read it twice. It also helps that the story has fun characters (the heroine is a starship captain! The hero is a cook!), lots of action, solid worldbuilding, and crackling dialogue. I realize ebooks aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but there are some stories worth crossing the divide for. Take a moment to read an excerpt.

We’ve discussed heat level in science fiction romance previously, and in particular whether there’s room for stories that close the bedroom door. (It’s also the topic of my forthcoming LoveLetter column.) METAL REIGN prompted me to revisit it for a few reasons.

One is that given the limited number of SFR print releases, and conversely, the higher number of erotic science fiction romance releases, the chances of finding a sweet SFR is rather small. So if you’re looking for sweet, METAL REIGN might be up your alley, especially if you enjoy space opera (and doubly so if you’re a fan of the ALIEN film franchise).

The second reason is that for those of us who enjoy science fiction romances of all heat levels, the main path to having more choices is to purchase the stories. Sales numbers is the only way publishers know that readers want stories like METAL REIGN. At $3.50, buying a story such as this won’t break the bank. And at 52 pages, it’s a fast-paced read.

A third reason I wanted to blog about this story was that it underscores the importance of word-of-mouth and tagging for a niche subgenre like science fiction romance. If a reader visits Samhain’s site, at first glance it appears that the only books they offer are erotic romances. But METAL REIGN demonstrates that some digital publishers are willing to take a risk with not only a niche subgenre, but also with heat level. Wading through the mass of erotic romance titles to find such exceptions, however, poses quite a challenge.

Which, of course, is a big reason I started blogging about SFR in the first place.

How refreshing, also, that an author can take a chance and write a book that varies from her past ones in such a significant way—without having to resort to a pseudonym to do so. Anecdotal stories I’ve read tell me that mainstream print authors don’t usually have the same flexibility (understandably so, given the higher production and distribution costs).

Hmm…yet another reason that science fiction romance could thrive in the digital market.

What about you, my fine passengers? Are you looking for a "sweet" heat level in science fiction romance? If you haven't yet read an ebook, would you venture beyond print to read such stories?

Joyfully yours,

Heather