Tuesday, November 30, 2010

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Cover Exclusive: LADY DOCTOR WYRE by Joely Sue Burkhart

Lady Doctor Wyre

LADY DOCTOR WYRE is the first book in Joely Sue Burkhart’s brand spanking new science fiction romance series from Samhain Publishing (March 29, 2011). The author and publisher have framed the story as “A Jane Austen Space Opera” featuring Regency role reversals, ladies in power, and nanotechnology.

Thanks to the author, we at the Galaxy Express have an exclusive first look at the cover!

Here’s what the cover is telling me:

First, note the abundant cosmic backdrop. The cover for LADY DOCTOR WYRE shows we can haz skiffy elementz AND a romantic feel in one package. Nanotechnology is kewl, but I have doubts we could represent such a miniscule phenomenon in a decent way on a digital cover. :P And verily, those bodacious ta-tas are a sight to behold! Truthfully, I’d rather have that kind of imagery than man-titty. Given that the artist had only stock photos to work with, at least there’s a strong hint of the futuristic Regency setting.

Other thoughts: The two men on the cover seem to promise a bit of a love triangle in the story. The cover also has Samhain’s signature darker tone. That aspect could hinder the overall image standing out from the pack, but the publisher delivered a cover that is unabashedly SFR, so I’m not complaining.

As for the story, courtesy of the author I can also present the (unofficial) blurb:

In a universe where Jane Austen reigns supreme, Charlotte, Duchess of Wyre, earned the name Lady Doctor Wyre as the Queen’s Physician. Fearing the atrocities the Britannian Empire might commit with her research, she plotted her “death” and subsequent escape with the help of the galaxy’s most infamous assassin, Lord Regret.

Unfortunately, the colony where she’s hiding has declared independence, and the humble sheriff she’s been courting is actually an undercover marshal trying to win her confidence—and her technology—for the new government. Wearied of hiding, running, and worse, living without tea and silks, Lady Wyre decides the seven-year solstice eclipse is the perfect time for her to send a warning to Britannia’s Queen: cease hunting Lady Doctor Wyre…or lose the technological power Britannia holds so dear.

***

Starting in March, Joely Sue Burkhart will start featuring a free, serialized prequel to the series. How’s that for an SFR bargain?

LADY DOCTOR WYRE sounds like an intriguing story, and I’d like to thank Joely Sue Burkhart and Samhain for this wonderful exclusive.

So, my lucky passengers, what are your thoughts on this cover? Do you think it's trying to sell anything other than what I mentioned? Do you think the historical elements in the cover will intrigue fans of historical romance?

Joyfully yours,

Heather

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Gini Koch's TOUCHED BY AN ALIEN Sells to Germany

Hooray! Gini Koch sold first foreign rights (Germany) for TOUCHED BY AN ALIEN. (Wasn't too long ago that I shared the news of other science fiction romance foreign rights sales in that territory). Read more about this fantastic development at the author's announcement post.

Congratulations, Ms. Koch!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Sunday, November 28, 2010

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An Interview With ISLAND OF ICARUS Author Christine Danse

Island of Icarus

Christine Danse’s ISLAND OF ICARUS is a shiny new steampunk romance novella being released by Carina Press (November 29, 2010). I’m telling you, there’s no end to the variety of steampunk romances we’re seeing so far. I’m also excited that ISLAND OF ICARUS features a male/male relationship, because diversity is the name of the game in science fiction romance. And who can beat the $3.59 price tag? Sweet.

I contacted Christine Danse so we could delve further into the history of the story, as well as learn more about her as an author. If you like free reads, details follow in my interview with her regarding sampling what she has available.

But first, here’s the blurb for ISLAND OF ICARUS:

Field Journal of Jonathan Orms, 1893

En route to polite exile in the Galapagos Islands (field work, to quote the dean of my university), I have found myself marooned on a deserted tropical paradise. Deserted, that is, except for my savior, a mysterious American called Marcus. He is an inventor—and the proof of his greatness is the marvelous new clockwork arm he has created to replace the unsightly one that was ruined in my shipboard mishap.

Marcus has a truly brilliant mind and the gentlest hands, which cause me to quiver in an unfamiliar but rather pleasant way. Surely it is only my craving for human companionship that draws me to this man, nothing more? He says a ship will pass this way in a few months, but I am welcome to stay as long as I like. The thought of leaving Marcus becomes more untenable with each passing day, though staying would be fatal to my career...


Now, on with the show:

The Galaxy Express: Ms. Danse, it’s a pleasure to have you aboard The Galaxy Express! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you become a writer?

Christine Danse: Thank you, the pleasure is mine! It may sound cliché, but I’ve been a writer for as long as I’ve been able to put words together. My dad used to immerse me in these incredible interactive stories, and as soon as I learned to write, I started penning my own. In the 7th grade, a well-meaning English teacher encouraged me to pursue publication—and sparked an obsession! I’m glad she did, because what else am I to do with an overactive muse, a scattered attention, and a mass of eclectic interests?

TGE: You recently made your first sale to Carina Press. ISLAND OF ICARUS will be released on November 29, 2010. First, congratulations! Please tell us a little bit about the story.

CD: Thank you!

Island of Icarus is a story about two men falling in love in an alternate 1893 with advanced technology—a steampunk setting in which wonders like mechanical computers, steam-powered androids, and clockwork body parts are all a part of normal life. Well, usually.

When Icarus opens, biology professor Jonathan Orms is trying to piece his life back together. It’s been a hard year for him—first his fiancée left, and then he lost his right arm in a horrible accident. What he is left with is a hulking clockwork prosthetic and a shattered spirit. As if things couldn’t get any worse for Jon, his dean sends him to the Galapagos Islands on “field work” because his dark spirits are scaring everyone. Fortunately for Jon, he doesn’t make it that far. A violent storm off the coast of South American leaves him marooned on a (mostly) deserted tropical island. There, he is saved by the one man who lives here, a handsome surgeon and engineer. The two get along famously, maybe because they are both absolute science geeks.

The rest is, well, his-story. :)

TGE: What inspired it?

The Island of Doctor MoreauCD: Funny enough, The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells. Here’s this story about a man shipwrecked on an island inhabited by a mad scientist… What if the mad scientist was pleasantly eccentric instead of murderously insane? (“And what if he was hot and liked men?” adds my friend Rhianna from across the table, with a grin.)

The romance in Icarus was inspired by Mercedes Lackey’s fantasy novel, Magic’s Pawn, which I read in high school. It’s still one of my all-time favorites. Like Jon from Icarus, the main character in MP, Vanyel, has no idea he’s gay—he just has this difficult time fitting into society and has no clue why. One day, he meets this really sweet, smart man and realizes he’s falling in love. In fact, one pivotal scene in Icarus was heavily inspired by MP. I won’t tell which one, because that would give the story away. :)

TGE: What was the path to publication like for this story?

CD: Oh, man. Can I start at the beginning? ::puts the popcorn on::

In July 2009, I visited a small fantasy convention with my friend and writing partner, Dena Celeste. We were relaxing in the hotel room, jotting notes and cruising the Internet, when Dena suddenly announced that Lyrical Press had posted a call for steampunk submissions. I just about danced. I had been turned on to steampunk in 2004 after reading China Mieville’s macabre steampunk fantasy, Perdido Street Station, and had no idea it had become so popular. (What rock had I been under for five years?) I did some research and discovered that steampunk was exploding! Lyrical Press was not the only publisher searching for steampunk titles. Samhain was collecting submissions for a steampunk-themed romance anthology, so I set to work immediately on the story that would become Icarus.

I was disappointed by a form rejection from Samhain, but I shrugged my shoulders, brushed up the manuscript, and sent it out to Carina Press. About a week after submitting it, I woke in the afternoon (I’m a night owl) to a voice message from Angela James, the executive editor of Carina. She had called regarding Icarus, but she didn’t state why—only that she would be sending a follow up e-mail. I was lying down when I listened to that message, and I have never leaped out of bed so fast! I was a mess that day. I checked my email about every five minutes. Of course, Angela called because Icarus was accepted. ^_^

Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of edits, edits, edits. I was in San Francisco for my birthday in August when the final copy was sent out to the copy editor. I was so glad my hotel room had wi-fi!

TGE: Do the characters use any cool steampunk gadgets? Describe a few of them.

CD: Yes. :)

The narrator, Jon, has a clockwork arm. His real right forearm was lost in an unfortunate accident that involved sleep deprivation and the operation of heavy machinery. Apparently, difference engines and emotional crises do not mix. When Jon is marooned, Marcus—the story’s other hero—builds him a new model. I love Marucs—he just can’t stop tinkering, can’t stop moving. He is working on a pair of man-sized mechanical wings, but he keeps getting hung up by relatively little—but very important—details.

My favorite gadget in the story is actually a pair of yellow finches that Marcus keeps in his bedroom. As a side project, he has built tiny electric wings for them. They can’t fly, but the birds can spread and flutter them like real wings. I can see them glittering metallically in my mind’s eye.

TGE: In general, what kind of stories can readers expect from you?

CD: love character-centered stories and rich settings, hence Icarus.

I love, love, love creating my own worlds and making them tick, and I am very interested in science fiction and fantasy mish-mashes, so I’ve got a whole slew of hybrid worlds to explore: supernatural cyberpunk, futuristic fantasy, and clockwork fantasy. Although it’s not evident in Icarus, my steampunk world is actually a “strange steampunk” world with alchemy, dragons, fae, occultists, and gargoyles. There’s more of that in my Pushing the Bell story, “That Dratted Affair with the Dream Engine.”

TGE: If you could travel to any steampunk setting, where would you go, and why?

CD: Oh! Man. Good question. I’ve never been to London, so that’s an obvious choice. I’d sure love to visit my heroes on their deserted tropical island (it’s modeled after the gorgeous Cocos Island off of Costa Rica). But really, it’s gotta be San Francisco. That’s my current project/obsession: building an alternate strange-steampunk San Francisco. I love that city and its old Victorian homes. (Of course, they wouldn’t be “old” in the 1800s!) I love the winds that chase you down the street, the evening mist, the waterfront, the steep streets, the history—it’s a perfect place for a mix of advanced Victorian technology and supernatural influences. In my alternate San Francisco, there’s a lot of spiritual, occult, and fae activity. Oh, and a sexy gargoyle. ;)

Whitechapel GodsTGE: Please describe a few of your favorite steampunk/steampunk romance books, films, and/or television shows.

CD: Ah! The Difference Engine by Gibson and Sterling, for sure. Of course, I mentioned that Perdido Street Station started it all for me. That was a very heavy, dark story—I absolutely loved it, but it took me a year to read. I love the steampunk elements in American McGee’s computer game, Alice, and in the massively multiplayer online game, World of Warcraft. Oh, and I loved the novel Whitechapel Gods by S. M. Peters. That is my personal favorite.

TGE: Is there anything else you’d like to share about ISLAND OF ICARUS or any other projects?

CD: Since Icarus was told in the first person, I regret not being able to explore my other hero’s (Marcus’s) thoughts, so I wrote a “deleted scene” for him. [http://christinedanse.com/?p=21] The scene takes place near the beginning of the story, so you don’t need to worry about spoilers. ;) I’ve also got a few free short steampunk stories up on Smashwords and Tumblr that I hope readers will enjoy—my erotic Pushing the Bell stories [http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/christinedanse] and a romance that takes place in my alternate San Francisco (starring the sexy gargoyle previously mentioned) [http://whispersfromtrees.tumblr.com/post/1396513955/fear-of-darkness-a-short-steampunk-paranormal-romance].

***

Ms. Danse, thanks for your time, and for your art.

For more information about the author and ISLAND OF ICARUS, follow her on both her blog and Twitter (dansedesirable).

Let's hear it for clockwork arms!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Saturday, November 27, 2010

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Whose SFR Team Reigns Supreme?

The SFR Brigade is currently hosting a "Weekend Poll" "...for the most SFR friendly e-publisher." Click here to see who's in the lead, as well as to cast your vote.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

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Science Fiction Romance Needs to Get High On...Concept

“…High Concept.

That's the kind of phenomenon we need to create for the HEA driven fiction that is the core of the Romance and SFR and PNR genres.”

The above quote is from Jacqueline Lichtenberg’s Worldbuilding with Fire and Ice Part I Failure of Imagination Part IV at Alien Romances.

Hold on to that quote for a moment.

Mount Fuji

In the November 5, 2010 issue of Entertainment Weekly, there’s a review for THE WALKING DEAD, AMC’s television adaptation of the hugely popular zombie apocalypse graphic novel by Robert Kirkman.

In the review, Ken Tucker has this to say:

As protagonists for a TV series, zombies have a few disadvantages. They don’t talk much beyond Yarrgghhh! They don’t move very quickly, which makes for slow chases. They are, however, relentless and steady. And they’re not brooding romantics—they lack the tragic sexy self-awareness that gets vampires such good PR.

Upon reading that passage, the proverbial light bulb exploded in a shower of sparks above my head. Science fiction romance is like zombies! Lots of staying power, but in terms of mainstream audiences, it lacks the sparkly glamour of vampire romances. But as in the case of THE WALKING DEAD, could it be that slow and steady wins the race? And how might the subgenre accomplish such a feat?

I’m so glad you asked. Now, back to Jacqueline Lichtenberg’s observation about high concept. In the aforementioned post, she quotes a great definition of the term “high concept” by Sarah Beach:

I’ve always felt that High Concept was like seeing a line of mountains on the horizon. You know exactly what is in front of you, and even at a distance, you can see the main features of it. Low Concept was like a rolling landscape where features are hidden, waiting to surprise you.


My take on Ms. Lichtenberg’s observation is that the concept of a Happily Ever After needs a, well, a high concept to break out beyond the romance reading audience. That, of course, implies the same for science fiction romance. Not every story needs a high concept premise, but I’d argue that the subgenre certainly could use more of them. Not all of them may lead to breakout status, but the more such stories authors write, the better the chances.

Easier said than done, however. How exactly would one go about transforming science fiction romance into a high concept juggernaut? What type of story is like that “line of mountains” described above? Which setting should be exploited for such a purpose: space opera, steampunk, military SF, other? What type of characters would lend themselves best to high concept stories: cyborgs, scientists, bounty hunters? Or one that has yet to be created?

Paranormal romance subverted vampires to great success.

But…is there *one* type of high concept story or character in SFR, as in the case of vampire romances, that is so high concept that it can launch an armada of similarly successful stories? How can a subgenre so rich in diversity rise up from “Low Concept” to high concept?

Perhaps the answer lies in those rotting, pustule-ridden carcasses of the undead—zombies. Of THE WALKING DEAD show, Ken Tucker observes:

The zombies—or “walkers,” as they’re called here—are nothing new in the genre’s history; it’s the way they’re dealt with that gives The Walking Dead it’s fresh fizz.

A-ha! That’s what science fiction romance needs: “fresh fizz!”

If you build a mountain of fresh fizz, they will come, but sometimes that means building your mountain of different material than the one populated by vampires and zombies. SFR has loads of exciting elements, but maybe some of them are due for subversion, reinvention, and/or a blast of high concept.

When it comes to science fiction romance, what’s your recipe for “fresh fizz?”

Joyfully yours,

Heather

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TANGLED IN TIME eNovella by Pauline B. Jones Now Available

Tangled in Time

Here’s an early Christmas present: the digital edition of TANGLED IN TIME, the steampunk romance novella by Pauline B. Jones, went on sale ahead of schedule. Readers can purchase this ebook at All About Romance and Omnilit. A Kindle edition is also available.

Here’s the story blurb:

Colonel Carey (from The Key and Girl Gone Nova) takes a test "flight" through the Garradian time-space portal, but an unexpected impact lands him somewhere and some when. As he attempts to get to Area 51, he crosses paths with Miss Olivia Carstairs, who could be Mary Poppins' twin sister. Or maybe her cousin. Olivia's got a transmogrification machine powered by steam and a mouth he'd like to kiss like it was his job. Can he convince her to join forces before she shoots him with her derringer?


I read an advanced copy of this story ages ago, and of all the steampunk romances I’ve read to date, it’s one of my favorites. TANGLED IN TIME works to some extent as a stand alone, but it’s best read as part of the author’s ongoing series that begins with her novel THE KEY.

Happy reading!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Related post: A Chat With Pauline B. Jones About Her Big A** Series

Sunday, November 21, 2010

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An Interview With Marcella Burnard, Author of ENEMY WITHIN

Enemy WithinFinally! Debut author Marcella Burnard’s science fiction romance ENEMY WITHIN is out this month and available for our reading pleasure. This RT Book Reviews “Top Pick” is garnering good buzz and was also nominated for best futuristic romance in RT's 2010 Reviewer Choice Awards. From what I’m seeing, it’s a highly anticipated book. I know I’m excited.

Today, I have the pleasure of featuring an interview with the author, and given that she’s one of so few with a current mainstream print SFR, I didn’t hold back when it came to my questions. Neither did Marcella Burnard hold back with her answers, so without further ado, read on to discover what Nicadeimos, haikus, and shore-side showers have in common:

The Galaxy Express: Tell us a little about yourself. When did you know you wanted to become an author?

Marcella Burnard: Given that my actual degree is in acting, I don’t suppose I ever really thought I could become an author. Writing was simply something I did to stay sane. Ish. When I finally connected all the dots of my various interests (yes, I was even a medieval minstrel for awhile) I realized story telling was the common thread and that writing had become as necessary as breathing. My husband urged me to begin submitting short stories. My first rejection letter was from Marion Zimmer Bradley. Many more rejections, from far too many other people, followed. A coworker invited me to an RWA meeting and the bug really bit. So did the learning curve. As for me, I’m a geek. Used to lament the fact – desperately wanted to NOT be a geek, but I think the condition is terminal. D&D, comic books, World of Warcraft, cats, boats, tea, making up stories. I’m the one wearing black covered in cat hair.

TGE: In your bio, you revealed that films like “…The Omega Man, The Fly, and The Incredible Shrinking Man” influenced your interest in science fiction and fantasy. Where does the romance part come in?

MB: Romance had to sneak in. For the longest time, I swore I disliked romance. Then I read a few and realized that several authors set me up to value a good love story: Andre Norton. Anne McCaffrey. Charles de Lint. Robin McKinley. Oh. And too many over-the-top action/adventure movies from the 70s and 80s.

H.M. Hoover wrote some dark, dystopia YA books that I loved, and again, while they weren’t romances, relationships transformed people in those books. That’s what stuck with me – that it isn’t often circumstances that transform someone - it’s relationships that do. It finally dawned on me that precious few people redeem themselves simply because they want to – they redeem themselves for someone they love. A book called Deep Survival emphasized again and again that the people who survive disasters when everyone else dies all had someone to live for.

That makes a relationship one of the most powerful of human interactions.

TGE: Tell us about the inspiration for your debut novel, ENEMY WITHIN.

MB: I wish I knew. I think the seeds were sown years ago. A friend’s husband served two tours of duty in Iraq. When he came home, the PTSD was so severe; he couldn’t sleep unless it was in the bathroom floor with the shower running. That struck a chord, I guess. The ‘what ifs’ started flying. What if a heroine has PTSD and yet has to operate around it in order to save her family and friends? How would the people around her take advantage of her Post Traumatic Stress to achieve their goals at the expense of hers? Then scenes and confrontations began popping into my head. It was over. I had no choice at that point but to write the book.

TGE: What was the path to publication like for this book?

MB: Charmed. Really. I’d sent queries out to the few RWA listed agents who accepted science fiction. Three asked for the first three chapters and synopsis. One agent asked to see the full. This was Good Friday.

Easter morning, my mother called in tears because one of her cats had gotten out of the house and was missing. Off I went in the pouring rain to hunt for Nicadeimos. We didn’t find him. I am a crazy cat lady, descended from a long line of crazy cat people. I’d adopted Nicadeimos from the Humane Society (though it became obvious that he idolized my folks, so I was merely a stepping stone in the boy finding his right home). That adoption was ‘til death do us part. I wasn’t ready for that death to be *that* day. It was long after dark before we had to call off the search.

I drove home, feeling like I’d had my heart ripped out and stomped on. None of us slept that night. Monday morning, the phone calls began at 6am – ‘Anything?’ ‘Nothing.’ ‘What about setting a trap?’

Then at 9am, my phone rang again. I didn’t recognize the number. I answered with that deep, dark, forbidding voice you reserve for people trying to shill ‘let us help you refinance your mortgage!’ schemes.

“Hello.”

A nice, cheery voice asked for Marcella. Huh. Usually the refinance shills don’t get my name right. Or at all.

“Speaking.”

“This is Emmanuelle Morgen.”

My brain stalled. Did I know that name? Should I know – ? A single neuron resumed firing. Wait…the agent you queried – the one who asked to see the full. My heart stalled. She *can’t* have read the entire thing over the holiday weekend. Right?

She had. And she’d liked it. Emmanuelle offered to represent me. I was thrilled and accepted.

Her phone call to tell me Berkley wanted to buy the book had to have been a disappointment…I live aboard a sailboat. I haul my backside up to the shore-side showers each morning (why shower aboard where I have to clean up when for a few quarters, I get a shower and someone else has to clean the bathroom). I’d just stepped into the shower as a matter of fact, when Emmanuelle called. I hopped, dripping, out of the shower, grabbed my phone and my towel, in that order and had to restrain my reaction because there were two other women in the building…who commented in disapproving tones that one ought to be able to get away from the phone long enough to shower at least. I wanted to scream at them that I’D WANTED TO BE PUBLISHED MY WHOLE LIFE! The shower could @)*%) wait!

Oh. The cat. Mom did set up a humane trap. Exactly one week to the day after he’d gotten out, he walked into the trap and got to go home. Happy endings all around.

TGE: If Ari made up a haiku about Cullin when she first meets him, what would it be?

MB: I will get you for this if it is the last thing I do. I’m going to have to get this printed on a t-shirt now, you know.

A blade at my heart
Lethal tempered work of art.
Sharp, lithe, golden man

TGE: Without spoilers, what type of universe/setting did you create for ENEMY WITHIN?

Diverse. Divided. Bigoted. Political - which surprised me. I hate politics. I wanted the freedom to do some things with my humanoid populations that defy the current design specs for homo sapiens, so the humanoids in this universe aren’t from earth – I guess that makes this my own brand of ‘In a galaxy far, far away…’

TGE: What is Cullin’s coolest pirate accessory?

MB: Oo. That’s tough. His charm? His ability to manipulate? His secrets? The figurative aces up his sleeves? Intel. I’d say definitely the intel. It’s what gives him his edge. At least until Ari agrees to ally with him.

TGE: Please describe a few of your favorite science fiction romance books, films, and/or television shows.

MB: Firefly. Hands down. At the time, it was the best writing on TV while it lasted. Loved the first and second seasons of Farscape, but then they lost their writers and…it pains me to speak of it. Of course I loved the Star Wars movies (Original, Empire and Jedi – the others changed the rules so much, I count them a separate trilogy in a separate universe. My own bias.) Books…I enjoy Linnea Sinclair’s books a bunch. Hers were actually the stories that convinced me to put aside UF and give SFR a shot.

Enemy GamesTGE: Can you give us a sneak peek of any kind for ENEMY GAMES (Spring 2011), the next book in the series?

MB: That’s Jayleia’s and Damen’s book. They think they know who and what the enemy is. They’re wrong.

TGE: Is there anything else you’d like to share about ENEMY WITHIN, or science fiction romance in general?

MB: I am SO lucky I get to write science fiction romance. I love seeing all of the different permutations of SFR – all the opinions on what it *should* be. It’s fun indulging in so many other worlds and realities. Yes. I do have my own notion of what makes an SFR science fiction romance rather than futuristic.

In SFR, I’d like for science to play a role in resolving the external conflict (bonus points if it resolves the internal conflict, too – but that’d just be showing off), otherwise, the science part of the fiction is little more than a prop. Who was it who said: If there’s a pistol over the mantle in act one, it had better be fired by the end of act three?

Ms. Burnard, thanks very much for your time, and for your art.

For more information about the author and her work, visit Marcella Burnard's blog. You can also follow her on Twitter (marcellaburnard).

By the way, I’m first in line for the t-shirt.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

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Cover Unveiled for Ella Drake's JAQ'S HARP

In addition to the cover exclusive I shared yesterday, I have more science fiction romance cover news for you. Ella Drake recently unveiled the cover for JAQ'S HARP, her forthcoming "Futuristic Romance/Twisted Fairytale/Biopunk" (Carina Press). Take a look:

Jaq's Harp

(Cover art by Frauke Spanuth of Croco Designs)

Such an elegant cover! It's a wonderful addition to the science fiction romance collection (and wonder of wonders, no man titty!). It's been refreshing to see Carina Press embrace the diversity of SFR not only in the stories, but also the covers. Fingers crossed that this trend is here to stay.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Saturday, November 20, 2010

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Cover Exclusive: THE MYSTERIOUS LADY LAW by Robert Appleton

The Mysterious Lady Law

Robert Appleton’s THE MYSTERIOUS LADY LAW (Jan 31, 2011, Carina Press) is a steampunk mystery with romantic elements, and he’s giving us an exclusive first look at the cover!

The cover art is by Frauke Spanuth, and I must say, what a fabulous job! The images promise pure steampunk adventure. It's also proof that stock images can work magic in the right combination.

Now that your eyes have feasted, here’s the story blurb to wet your mind’s appetite:

In a time of grand airships and steam-powered cars, the death of a penniless young maid will hardly make the front page. But part-time airship waitress and music hall dancer Julia Bairstow is shattered by her sister's murder. When Lady Law, the most notorious private detective in Britain, offers to investigate the case pro bono, Julia jumps at the chance—even against the advice of Constable Al Grant, who takes her protection surprisingly to heart.

Lady Law puts Scotland Yard to shame. She's apprehended Jack the Ripper and solved countless other cold-case crimes. No one knows how she does it, but it's brought her fortune, renown and even a title. But is she really what she claims to be—a genius at deducting? Or is Al right and she is not be trusted?

Julia is determined to find out the truth, even if it means turning sleuth herself—and turning the tables on Lady Law...

***

Claire De LuneAdditionally, the author, with Sloane Taylor, also wrote CLAIRE DE LUNE, an erotic SF mystery with romantic elements. It’s out this month in eBook from Amber Quill Press (paperback edition follows in December). As you can see, this one also has a lovely cover.

Here’s the story blurb:

Cocky young detectives Gerry Rappeneau and Sebastian Thorpe-Campbell arrive at the premier lunar resort expecting a week of eye candy and long massages. With a half-billion-credit purse up for grabs, this year’s pageant is the focus of a hundred worlds. And beauty isn’t the only thing in the eye of the beholder.

One contestant, Evelyn Lyons, is attacked and her assailant killed. Surely a simple case of a stalker gone mad, as nothing bad ever happens at the Selene contest. So the brochure says.

The closer Gerry gets to Evelyn, the more he is convinced she’s hiding something. His meticulous character sparks with her wild, sassy nature, and they embark on a torrid affair. Their forbidden romance isn’t the only thing set to ignite in Pont de Reves.

Sebastian’s infatuation with demure Claire Villiers, another contestant, threatens to put all four of them in harm’s way.

A deadly trail of corporate conspiracy, monstrous assassins and hot bikini wax is more than anyone bargained for in this incendiary erotic mystery. Get ready for some serious heat on the dark side of the moon.

***

Thanks for all the eye candy, Mr. Appleton!

What are your thoughts about the cover for THE MYSTERIOUS LADY LAW? Is this a template publishers should adapt to help give steampunk romance a distinct look? How do you think it compares to covers for other books in the subgenre?

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, November 18, 2010

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Panic In The Lingerie! An Interview With Book Reviewer Shiori

Panic In The Lingerie! is a place readers can go to “for reviews of sci-fi romance, urban fantasy, and manga titles.” Did you, ahem, notice that not only is science fiction romance listed, it’s listed first? Boo-yah!

While I generally avoid reviews until after I’ve read a book (to avoid spoilers), I really enjoy reading them in order to compare my take on a book with that of the reviewer’s. I’m particularly interested in the opinion of SFR reviewers because one, it’s my favorite subgenre, and two, it’s an opportunity to have conversations about the stories with fellow fans. I also love gaining new insights, both about individual stories and SFR as a whole.

Since my post on SFR-friendly review sites, I realized I wanted to know more about some of them. Being of an inquiring-mind-mode, I contacted Shiori, who runs Panic In The Lingerie!, to learn more about her endeavor, and she generously agreed to an interview.

And away we go:

The Galaxy Express: What appealed to you about reviewing science fiction romance, urban fantasy, and manga?

Shiori: I suppose it was a combination of liking these particular subgenres and wanting to engage others in further discussion about them. It's an amazing feeling to pour your heart out about a book then have others comment saying things like “oh I felt this way too” or “I disagree, but--”. While my background as a reader relates primarily to manga, SFR is where my heart lies these days and I kind of want to shout about it from proverbial rooftops!

TGE: Which book formats do you review (e.g., print, digital)?

Shiori: Both print and digital. As I'm located in Australia it's often easier to access digital books (though I do still love my paperbacks).

TGE: Do you have favorite settings among the types of genres you review? What kind of characters excite you the most?

In Enemy HandsShiori: When I was young I dug into my father's sci-fi book collection, discovered “Neuromancer” and haven't been able to shake an odd attachment to cyberpunk since. I just love the richness that can be developed when high technology evolves against the backdrop of a broken world. So I'd definitely like to see more romantic sci-fi stories set in destitute futures. The dystopian, the post-apocalyptic, the transhuman – yes please!

What characters excite me the most? Well, nothing beats a hero in uniform for me (unless perhaps you're offering a space pirate). I like heroines who are kick ass but I do also have a soft spot for intellectual ladies too. More than anything, I love a great combination – leads who make extraordinary partners (in more ways than one).

TGE: What are a few of your favorite reviews that you’ve done so far?

Shiori: Probably my review of “In Enemy Hands” by KS Augustin and “Touched by an Alien” from Gini Koch. Nothing satisfies me more than when I can write a positive review about a title I've been looking forward to reading.

TGE: Are there any particular stories or settings you’d like to see?

Shiori: While definitely wouldn't say no to more dystopian settings (in any subgenre), I'm quite happy to try any story or setting – if it's interesting and innovative, I'm there!

TGE: Are there any special features on your blog that we should know about?

Shiori: At the moment I'd have to say there's nothing out of the ordinary! I am working toward developing more interesting features (particularly articles) and hope to implement them early next year. I'm still a little green behind the ears where book blogging is concerned so I'm taking things slowly.

TGE: What is your basic review policy? How can authors get in touch with you?

Shiori: My complete review policy can be found here, but basically I review SFR, urban fantasy, paranormal romance and manga titles. At present my schedule allows me to review about one book per week. Authors are welcome to email me directly (neogrotesque@gmail.com) or to simply leave a comment on my blog/twitter account.

TGE: In addition to your blog, where else can readers find you?

Shiori: I'm all over the usual haunts (can't get enough of that social media)! You can find me at Shelfari, GoodReads, Twitter, and LibraryThing.

TGE: What can readers look forward to on your blog in the near future?

Shiori: With any luck, plenty of new reviews over the holiday period. Additionally I'm gearing up for my first giveaway, which should be fun. As mentioned above, there should also be some articles appearing in the future. I've certainly got some work in store for 2011, don't I? ;)

***
Shiori, thanks so much for coming aboard!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

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A Call For 2011 Science Fiction Romance Titles

I predict that 2011 is going to be an interesting year for science fiction romance. Along with the rest of the publishing industry, this subgenre has been impacted by the recent changes and upheavals. With the rise of ebooks, readers have more choices, but they have to be willing to take a different path to obtain the stories they want.

Since launching The Galaxy Express, I compiled book titles on my own for the annual “New Release Roundup” post (to view the lists for 2009 & 2010, see sidebar on the right under “SFR Specials”). However, that list was largely geared toward mainstream print books. Now, I think it’s time to look beyond the printed page.

This year, I’d like to do something a little different:

I’m putting out a call to obtain information for 2011 science fiction romance titles. If you will have a science fiction romance released between January 1 and December 31, I would love to know about it. I’d like to know about any titles, print or digital, erotic or non-erotic, het or m/m (even f/f if anyone is writing them). Romantic SF is great as well, although I prefer to include books/series wherein the romance has a well-defined arc, and for which there is either a Happily Ever After or Happily For Now ending.

If your book is an erotic SFR as labeled by your publisher, please let me know since I will divide the books into erotic and non-erotic SFR. Same goes for romantic SF. If you know your title falls into that category, please give me a heads up and I will make that a separate category as well.

Self-published works by an author I know will be automatically included, but for the time being I’ll hold off on any other kind. While my goal is to have a comprehensive list, ultimately the choice to include a book—or not—is my decision.

You can post the title and a link to your Web site in the comments, or email me at sfrgalaxy “at” gmail.com. If the news of your release isn’t ready for public consumption, email me about it as soon as you can and I will update the list as 2011 unfolds.

Spread the word, if you would be so kind. I’m very curious to see what type of list we compile—aren’t you?

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Related posts:

2010 Science Fiction Romance New Release Roundup
2009 Science Fiction Romance New Release Roundup

Sunday, November 14, 2010

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An Interview With Author Ella Drake

Silver Bound

Ella Drake pens “Dark Paranormal, Futuristic, and Science Fiction Romance.” Her work has been published by Cobblestone Press, Liquid Silver Books, and Samhain Publishing. One of those stories includes her novella FIRESTORM ON E’TERRA, which I blogged about here.

This is an author to watch, especially since she has two science fiction romances coming soon from Carina Press. They are: SILVER BOUND (11/22/10) and JAQ’S HARP: A BEANSTALK STORY (2/21/11). SILVER BOUND’s pending release made for a great reason to interview Ella Drake so we could discover more about her work. Read on to learn about the connection between Han Solo, lassos, and floating islands:

The Galaxy Express: What kicked off your interest in science fiction romance?

Ella Drake: Han Solo! Ever since watching Star Wars as a young girl, I’ve looked for a little romance in my SF. I watched Buck Rogers for that Buck and Wilma fix, too. But there wasn’t much romance in my dad’s SF shelf. For a while, that meant that I had to make do with Fantasy. Whenever I read now, if a character is explored in depth with relationships and family, I come to expect a romantic interest, or a dedicated partner. Without it, it feels a bit out of place to me. I’d say I’m an incurable romantic, but I don’t think that’s it. I think the human condition makes that search for a partner(s) a basic inclination. You don’t need a significant other—or several—to be a complete person, but I think many of us want that relationship. I’ve always been an avid reader, always interested in the future, the “what if”, the cool funky gadgets. I think Science Fiction Romance is natural for me.

TGE: When did you know you wanted to become an author? What type of stories can readers expect from you?

ED: I’m not one of those kids who wrote stories from the time she could put crayon to construction paper. From time to time, I did write a bit creatively in relation to school assignments, much to the dismay of a few teachers, and luckily, to the delight of others. I didn’t think about being an author until soon after I’d had my third baby. I’d just read as many erotic futuristic ebooks as I could get my hands on, and I wanted more. I sat down, told myself not to self-edit, and started writing. That first story was a futuristic. Maybe one day it’ll see the light of day, but one thing you can expect from me is that I’ll use my imagination to its fullest. I like to twist things and turn tropes this way and that.

TGE: SILVER BOUND is your forthcoming ebook from Carina Press (November 22, 2010). What inspired you to write this story?

ED: I don’t really have this happen frequently, but an image popped into my mind of a woman being controlled by a silver collar. I sat down to explore what could have happened to this woman and found myself twisting how one might expect a “sex slave” futuristic plot to go. I decided to have fun with it.

TGE: Tell us a little bit about the world that hero Sheriff Guy Trident and heroine Jewel Quinn inhabit. What distinguishes it from other science fiction romances?

ED: For one, I haven’t seen many SFRs with this type of Space Western, with an actual cowboy as hero (one exception is WITHER by Yolanda Sfetsos). SILVER BOUND isn’t Star Trek, in the pushing frontiers and exploring new worlds way, but in the bit of old world stuck in space kind of way. I enjoyed mixing a bit of anachronistic flavor of a cattle rancher with a race across the galaxy. Guy is good with his lasso and can fly a spaceship. Jewel goes from small town miss to stealing shuttlecraft.

Han SoloTGE: If you could be any type of character in a space western story, who would you be?

ED: Can I say Han Solo again? Somehow, when I picture who I’d want to be in a space exploration setting, it’s always as a man. Hmmm. Something I should ponder, maybe? Anyway, the type of character I’d want to be is the self-sufficient woman who is a force to be reckoned with, whether wielding a rifle or a laser gun. And a smart-aleck.

TGE: You’ve been blogging about sci-fi romance and paranormal romance since 2007. What are a few of the most interesting things you learned about these subgenres since then?

ED: What I’ve learned is that things are evolving, rapidly. The paranormal and SF romances of 2007 look different than the ones of today. Today’s are maybe a little grittier and push the boundaries of the romance genre. I couldn’t have read The Iron Duke in 2007 and I’m glad to have been able to read it in 2010. Most of the futuristic stories I could find in 2007 were the steamy and erotic kind (which I thoroughly enjoyed). Many futuristics from those same publishers have heated up tremendously in the past few years. Some have started publishing paranormal and SF Romance with less steamy titles. Ebooks are moving toward mainstream. I can get my hands on even hotter as well as sweeter SFR. And I can get them all with the click of a button. In 2007, if I wanted more mainstream SFR, I had to hunt it down and order it if I could find it. In the end though, they all stretch the imagination and are so much fun to read.

Titan A.E.TGE: Please describe a few of your favorite science fiction romance books, films, and/or television shows.

ED: I’m a big fan of Linnea Sinclair. One of my all-time favorite heroes is Kel-Paten in Games of Command. He’s one of those characters that stays with me. With that outer shell of strength and authority offset by his gooey vulnerability for Sass on the inside, he’s the perfect SFR hero. In film, it’s tough. I have favorite SF movies that include a love story, but they don’t always end well or the romance is way back seat. The original Terminator had the romance fairly front and center, but we didn’t exactly get a HEA with that one. When I’m in the mood for space western/science fiction romance, I load up Titan AE, an animated movie from 2000 that has that edge of space/exploration feel as well as a sweet romance.

TGE: You also sold “Jaq’s Harp,” a futuristic twist on a famous fairytale, to Carina Press. Can we get a brief sneak peek at the story?

ED: One of the fairytales my kids talk about as not making moral sense is “Jack and the Beanstalk”. They frequently talk about how it should’ve been. This usually takes the form of the Giant winning, or Jack being arrested, but one day I let my mind wander. What in the world is a person to learn from this story? Is there a moral? What if the beanstalk were actually biotechnology? What if the giant was a mega-corp? What if Jack was actually Jacqueline? And what if she were a secret agent? How cool would that be? And to make it cooler, it should have floating islands!

By the time I finished “Jaq’s Harp”, I had a futuristic romance with bio-punk overtones. This novella was so much fun writing that I’ve already completed the first draft of its sequel, another future tale of twisted proportions.

I’ve just posted an excerpt for Jaq’s Harp on my site.

TGE: Is there anything else you’d like to share about SILVER BOUND or science fiction romance in general?

ED: Science Fiction Romance is my addiction. I can’t express that any other way. I love writing it. I love reading it. Send more my way!

There’s more news regarding SILVER BOUND. It’s to be released in audio from Audible.com. I simply can not wait to hear it. SFR in audio! I’ll update my website (http://www.elladrake.com/SilverBound.htm) when I have the audible link. In the meantime, if you want more details about the world for SILVER BOUND, visit my site for maps, a deleted scene, and more.

Thank you, Heather.

***

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

If you want to sample Ella Drake’s work right now, you can read her SF tale The Adventures of Daphne for free on her site. You can also interact with the author on Facebook, Twitter (Lori_Ella), and Goodreads.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Friday, November 12, 2010

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Steampunk Romance Watch

It's official: Steampunk romance is here to stay.

Hot on the heels of my post about Samhain Publishing’s newly released steampunk romance anthology, I was at SF Signal today and saw a link to a post by author Tobias Buckell on the subject of steampunk romance. I was like, “Whaa…?” since I’d never previously associated Sir Buckell with this particular subgenre.

A pleasant surprise awaited me, for in his post “Stretching for something new,” he announced that his story “Love Comes to Abyssal City” was accepted for DAW Book’s steampunk romance anthology. According to Mr. Buckell’s post, the anthology is titled HOT AND STEAMY: TALES OF STEAMPUNK ROMANCE. It’s edited by Jean Rabe and will release “sometime next year.”

A quick Google search later turned up that C. A. Verstraete’s story “Kinetic Dreams” will also be in the anthology.

How exciting is that? If anyone turns up news about any of the other stories in the anthology, please let us know in the comments.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, November 11, 2010

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Samhain's Silk, Steel & Steam Anthology Now Available

Break out the brass goggles! Samhain Publishing just released it's steampunk romance anthology! Titled SILK, STEEL, & STEAM, it features three e-novellas. Here they are:

Bluebeard's MachineBLUEBEARD'S MACHINE (Mari Fee)

Love, science, death. She is all three.

A Silk, Steel and Steam story.

Determined to discover what new experiment is stealing her husband’s attentions, Annette Parker ventures into forbidden territory—his study—only to discover a secret he would kill to keep. She is his fifth attempt to clone the original Annette and, according to his journal, he’s planning a sixth…after he dissects her dead body.

Unsure of who or what she is, she assumes a new identity and flees to the Orkney Islands and her last hope. The man she once rejected.

Isaac Ward’s first instinct is to get this mysterious “Miss Ada” out of his undersea laboratory—and out of his life—before he repeats the mistakes that drove him there in the first place. Her wild stories and stubborn insistence that they’re true wear his patience thin, but it doesn’t matter. She is as irresistible as the tide.

Then the truth appears right outside the portholes of his lab, stripping away her dubious disguise. Exposing a secret that could kill them both…unless Isaac abandons the science he knows for a second chance with the woman who broke his heart.

Warning: contains mad scientists, wanton murder, identity crises, and boiling hot underwater sex. Submersible instructions not included.

Read an excerpt.

Flavia's Flying CorsetFLAVIA'S FLYING CORSET (Sahara Kelly)

Love lifted her heart to the skies. The rest of her needed a little more help.

A Silk, Steel and Steam story.

When Flavia Winters enters the aerial carriage that will convey her across churning waters to the magnificent, isolated castle of Dr. Harland Gennaro, it’s not a polite social call. Nor does she hope to re-ignite their former passion. Oh, no. She’s convinced the renowned scientist stole something of value from her lab, and she plans to get it back by whatever means necessary.

Once Harland blinks away the temporary blindness caused by Flavia’s clever magnesium beads, he finds himself tied to a chair as she insists he return a vital ingredient for some impossibility called “Icarus”. Then she demonstrates with the last of her compound, and all he can think about is convincing her he’s not the guilty party—and getting into the lab with her to recreate her gravity-defying wonder.

Side by side, they burn the midnight oil making new discoveries, and re-learning old ones about each other. As an ocean storm rises with their desire, though, skullduggery is afoot. A thief watches and waits for the moment they make a discovery that could be their last.

Warning: Reading this book may stimulate an interest in the principles of physics, aerodynamics and the science of sexual arousal. The author is not responsible for any injury incurred while investigating all three topics simultaneously.

Read an excerpt.

Stealing UtopiaSTEALING UTOPIA (Tilda Booth)

The plan: Kidnap H.G. Wells. Definitely not part of the plan: Falling in love.

A Silk, Steel and Steam story.

The year is 1897, the place, a Britain that could have been, but never was. H. George Wells is helping lead Britain into a new Golden Age, driven by technological advances and discoveries of the human brain. Then one night a beautiful woman abducts him at gunpoint, and she seems to despise everything he’s worked for. Despite his outrage, he can’t help but be intrigued by this adventuress and her passion for her cause.

Jane Robbins, agent provocateur, has reason to fear her country’s march towards a new world order. Using her wits and her arsenal of spy gadgets to infiltrate Wells’ house, she delivers him to her employer, who plans to use him as leverage to halt the coming Utopia. But when Wells’ life is threatened, she must choose between saving him or sacrificing him to the cause.

Scientist and spy, they are irresistibly drawn to each other even as the future pushes them apart.

Warning: This book contains gadgets, guns, death rays, dirigibles, sexy scientists and a smoking hot Victorian spy who’s as much steam as she is punk. Don’t blame us if it makes you want to slip a pistol into your garter and abduct the man of your dreams.

Read an excerpt.

Happy reading!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

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Nathalie Gray on Anti-heroes and a Free Contest at Literary Escapism

Agent Provocateur

Nathalie Gray (THE DEMON’S SECRET) guest blogs about anti-heroes at Literary Escapism:

I don’t think I ever created a hero who had no issues, who couldn’t be called anti-hero, and who didn’t do a bad thing when the circumstances called for them.


Ah, good ol’ anti-heroes. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em! Nathalie Gray definitely delivers on the anti-heroes (one of my favorites is Troy from her science fiction romance AGENT PROVOCATEUR).

Also, if you leave a comment at her post, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a copy of the MAMMOTH BOOK OF PARANORMAL ROMANCE 2 The contest runs until November 16, 2010.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

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Katherine Eliska Kimbrel’s FIRES OF NUALA Just Re-released in eBook

Fires of Nuala

I want to share with you that Katherine Eliska Kimbrel’s backlist science fiction romance FIRES OF NUALA is officially re-released in eBook. Book View Café is offering it in PDF, EPUB, MOBI and PRC formats.

Not only that, but Book View Café is serializing it Thursdays, beginning with Chapter One here.

Kindle owners can purchase FIRES OF NUALA as well. Click here for more information.

HIDDEN FIRES, another book in the series, has an all-new cover (scroll down) and is scheduled for a December 1, 2010 release at Book View Café. Look for the Kindle version of HIDDEN FIRES in 2011.

You can also follow news of the author’s books on her blog.

And remember: Any day is a good day for reading science fiction romance!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

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Military Couples In Love Rock My Universe

Impedimenta

If there’s one kind of romance in a science fiction romance that’s an automatic read for me, it’s the type involving a couple with a military rank differential. That’s a high falutin’ way of saying I lurv me a romance where one of the protagonists is a military officer who outranks his/her lover.

I adore this set up. I’ve loved it for years, although there aren’t tons of stories that really focus on the dynamic in a significant way. Usually I’ve found it’s a subplot of the overall romance. Not that I’m complaining or anything!

The reasons military couples are among my favorites are many, but I’ll list three here:

One, it’s almost always a forbidden love scenario given the inevitable restrictions against fraternization.

Two, the difference in rank creates a power imbalance, and there are all sorts of ways authors/filmmakers can exploit it for conflict. I love watching a mini rebellion unfold as the lower ranking half of the couple chafes against the (perceived) restrictive orders of his/her superior.

Three, because they are military personnel, the couple frequently faces some kind of external danger. Nothing wrenches my gut more than a captain having to send his lover into the dangers of combat, or having to leave him or her behind (possibly risking his lover’s very life) in the interest of saving the lives of many. Or experiencing the anguished emotions of the one left behind as the other races off to battle the villain.

The reason I’m blogging about it now is that I just finished Ann Somerville’s IMPEDIMENTA, which is a sequel to her previous SFR novella, INTERSTITIAL (and I strongly recommend you read INTERSTITIAL first). This m/m story features a romance between war hero Captain Sebastien Ven Hester and his pilot, Jason North. Here’s the story blurb:

A sequel to Interstitial. North and Seb are still fumbling towards happiness, but the baggage they both carry is holding them back. Still, a six month mission on a quiet backwater of a planet could be the making of them…but then Jati has to go and say the fatal words: ‘milk run’. She should know by now that nothing is ever that easy – and space is full of surprises.


(For those of you who want to know more, the story also features a het romance that's compelling in its own right.)

I won’t reveal any spoilers, so suffice it to say that Seb and North are both involved in a dangerous adventure that tests their love and risks their lives. I didn’t know the scenes were coming, so I was excited when they appeared. “Here is one of the reasons why I love science fiction romance,” I thought, because this relationship dynamic is one I’m happy to revisit again and again and again. I also love the fact that Seb is an older, more mature hero. The age difference created another level of tension, conflict and angst. North is a hothead, basically, so conflict is guaranteed from the outset.

Games of CommandSandra McDonald’s THE OUTBACK STARS also included this type of relationship. The heroine, Lt. Jodenny Scott, outranks Sergeant Terry Myell.

Nathalie Gray’s METAL REIGN features a starship captain, Frankie Beaumont, who falls in love with the ship’s cook, John O’Shaughnessy.

And, of course, there’s GAMES OF COMMAND by Linnea Sinclair, wherein cyborg hero Admiral Branden Kel-paten is Captain Tasha “Sass” Sebastian’s superior officer.

I’m interested in any kind of combination, and I think military couples in science fiction romance showcases one of the best intersections of science fictional and romantic elements. No wonder authors like writing these stories, and future tales are full of potential.

Do you enjoy reading about military couples? If so, please share the titles of your favorite stories. If not, what type of science fiction romance couple interests you the most?

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Sunday, November 7, 2010

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Interview With DAUGHTER OF THE MOON Author Patricia Green

Daughter of the Moon, Book 1: The Surface

The Internet is a vast and wonderful place, but that quality also makes it easy to overlook sites where I might otherwise discover science fiction romance. The work of author Patricia Green is just such a case.

The author recently contacted me about her new science fiction romance, DAUGHTER OF THE MOON, BOOK 1: THE SURFACE. Upon reading the excerpt, I noticed a reference to sex being “relatively safe thanks to scientific advances made during the previous century.” I was like, wow, I just blogged about birth control in SFR! Nice dovetail. Her excerpt promises lots of erotic sci-fi romance action.

Anyhoo, I thought I’d host a meet and greet so we can get to know Patricia Green and her work. We collaborated on an interview for your reading pleasure:

The Galaxy Express: Inquiring minds want to know: Who is Patricia Green? What appealed to you about becoming an author, particularly one who writes science fiction romance?

Patricia Green: I’m just your average, everyday writer. I write 4-6 hours a day on a variety of fiction and non-fiction projects. I wrote poetry for pleasure for many years, but just after my daughters were born, I tried my hand writing prose just for amusement. Friends coaxed me to submit a story to a publisher. It was picked up by a very well-known erotica publisher, and they asked me to write several more to match and form a book. Thus, my writing career was born. I have been spoiled since then by having 7 books published (and an 8th to be released very soon).

I love both science fiction and romance, reading extensively in both genres. When I combined them, something clicked and I found my niche. Since then, I’ve had an avalanche of ideas.

TGE: In a few sentences, please describe the premise of your new science fiction romance, DAUGHTER OF THE MOON, BOOK 1: THE SURFACE.

PG: The Daughter of the Moon series is about a group of twenty-something men and women who live in a future society bludgeoned by war. Their answer is a return to the mini-skirted 1960s, with free love and open relationships unhindered by pregnancy and disease. Birth control is still a question in this future and trust of one’s partner in this area is a plot element (that trust will be an issue for couples for a long, long time, in my view—no matter which gender is responsible), but the method in the book is reliable and long-term.

About twenty of these friends form a cohesive group to build a shelter should the war around them turn nuclear. Their timeline and technology are what make the story science fiction; their interactions with each other focus the love story on two remarkable people: beautiful, flame-haired Sonata and brawny, cobalt-eyed Mikhail. The ending culminates in the realization of love, leading into the second book.

TGE: How would you categorize the story (e.g., space opera, post-apocalyptic)?

PG: “Opera” is a good word for the story, simply because it has tragedy and comedy along with romance, all set in a future world.

TGE: What inspired you to write the book?

PG: Oddly enough, when I was a teenager, I belonged to a group which formed a plan to build such a shelter. This was during the middle of the cold war, in the late 70s. The group was unfunded, and though the plans were detailed, the members were more of a social clique than anything else. I outlined the book as a teenager, but didn’t write it until 15 years later—only the kernel of the idea and some of the traits of the characters remain.

TGE: What kind of heat level can readers expect from the story?

PG: This book is erotic, no mistake about it. Owing to the setting of the drama, the free-love aspect is a key ingredient and a foil for the group’s scary situation.

TGE: Where can readers find DAUGHTER OF THE MOON?

PG: Daughter of the Moon, Book 1: The Surface is available now at the publisher’s site as well as on Amazon.com. The easiest way to get it is to visit my web site at http://www.patriciagreenbooks.com, where there are links and an excerpt from the first chapter. It is an electronic book only, but comes in 10 formats, so it is accessible to everyone.

TGE: Do you have any other erotic/science fiction romances that might interest my blog readers? Do they all include a Happily Ever After?

PG: A few years ago, I wrote Laricon’s Ways, another sci-fi romance, this one set on Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter. It’s a lusty adventure about a military spy and a woman who nearly wrecks his mission. Of my other five books, one is a historical romance and one is a book of short stories; the others are outré erotica under a pen name. All of my stories have happy endings; all are love stories; all have an erotic component.

TGE: Please describe a few of your favorite science romance books, films, and/or television shows.

PG: I am a dyed-in-the-wool Larry Niven fan. I got started with his wonderful books and short stories when I was a teenager, and came to love the high-tech universes he describes. Johanna Lindsey, a very successful romance author, also captures my heart with her historical romances and, probably most of all, with her rare sci-fi romances. I’m not much of a TV watcher anymore, but in years past I was quite a Trekkie and later went into paroxysms of joy over Babylon 5. As for films, the most recent Star Trek movie captivates me. I’ve seen it 5 times so far--and counting.

Babylon 5

TGE: Do you have anything else in store for science fiction romance readers?

PG: Daughter of the Moon, Book 2: Articulus, will be released by the publisher shortly. It follows the progression of Sonata and Mikhail’s relationship which becomes considerably more complicated as they and their friends are forced into their high-tech underground shelter.

Also on the horizon is a prequel to Laricon’s Ways. It’s a publisher-requested novella detailing an escapade of the charming spy, Michael O’Malley. I am, simultaneously, in the beginning phase of a new sci-fi romance novel with unique properties I shouldn’t reveal—though I can say it’s an adventure through the stars. And just in the last week, I finished a short story that I hope will begin a new collection of shorts.

Thank you, Heather, for giving me this opportunity to introduce myself to your readers. I hope my scribblings lend your readers a smile and the pleasure of falling in love with a new hero or heroine in the magical, kaleidoscopic world of the imagination.

Ms. Green, thanks for your time, and for your art.

***

You might be interested to learn that Patricia Green has some free, non-SFR poetry available on her site. I can’t decide which piece I like better: “The Were-Pug” or “Why I Hate Comcast.” Now, if only she’d write some science fiction romance poems…

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Written on

RT Reviewer Choice Awards 2010 Nominees: SFR Hits It Out of the Park!

Okay, you gotta check out this unparalleled news: the RT Book Reviews’ Reviewer Choice Awards nominees have been announced (scroll down), and the list is chock full of science fiction romance titles. Not only that, but they split the “Paranormal/Urban Fantasy” category into “Futuristic Romance” and “Vampire Romance.” Now that’s what I call icing on the cake!

Here are the nominees:

BEYOND THE NIGHT
Joss Ware, AVON, (January 2010)

REBELS AND LOVERS
Linnea Sinclair, BANTAM, (April 2010)

CLOSE CONTACT
Katherine Allred, EOS, (June 2010)

MIDNIGHT CRYSTAL
Jayne Castle, JOVE, (September 2010)

ENEMY WITHIN
Marcella Burnard, BERKLEY SENSATION, (November 2010)

And that’s not all—under “Small Press Paranormal/Fantasy/Futuristic” is another SFR nominee. Can you guess who it is?

JABRIL
D.B. Reynolds, IMAJINN, (August 2009)

A GHOST OF A CHANCE
Carolan Ivey, SAMHAIN, (2009)

DYAD QUEST
Ann Hinnenkamp, CERRIDWENPRESS.COM, (April 2010)

GIRL GONE NOVA
Pauline Baird Jones, L&L DREAMSPELL, (April 2010)


THE MIDNIGHT EFFECT
Pamela Fryer, SAMHAIN, (June 2010)

Yes, I cheated, but who can blame me? It’s our own Pauline Baird Jones, yay!

Doing a happy dance here. Congratulations to all the authors!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Written on

SFR News & Links for November 2010

New releases

Enemy WithinENEMY WITHIN – Marcella Burnard

After a stint in an alien prison torpedoes her military career, Captain Ari Idylle has to wonder why she even bothered to survive. Stripped of her command and banished to her father's scientific expedition to finish a PhD she doesn't want, Ari never planned to languish quietly behind a desk. But when pirates commandeer her father's ship, Ari once again becomes a prisoner.

Pirate leader Cullin Seaghdh may not be who he pretends to be but as far as Cullin is concerned, the same goes for Ari. Her past imprisonment puts her dead center in Cullin's sights and if she hasn't been brainwashed and returned as a spy, then he's convinced she must be part of a traitorous alliance endangering billions of lives. Cullin can't afford the desire she fires within him and he'll stop at nothing, including destroying her, to uncover the truth.

***
ENEMY WITHIN is also an "RT Top Pick"!

Island of IcarusISLAND OF ICARUS — Christine Danse

Field Journal of Jonathan Orms, 1893

En route to polite exile in the Galapagos Islands (field work, to quote the dean of my university), I have found myself marooned on a deserted tropical paradise. Deserted, that is, except for my savior, a mysterious American called Marcus. He is an inventor—and the proof of his greatness is the marvelous new clockwork arm he has created to replace the unsightly one that was ruined in my shipboard mishap.

Marcus has a truly brilliant mind and the gentlest hands, which cause me to quiver in an unfamiliar but rather pleasant way. Surely it is only my craving for human companionship that draws me to this man, nothing more? He says a ship will pass this way in a few months, but I am welcome to stay as long as I like. The thought of leaving Marcus becomes more untenable with each passing day, though staying would be fatal to my career...

Ooooh...the author had me at "clockwork arm!" Read an excerpt of this steampunk romance here.

Silver BoundSILVER BOUND — Ella Drake

A dangerous journey across the galaxy

Sheriff Guy Trident doesn’t have much to do with off-worlders; he has his hands full keeping his own planet safe. But he’ll do anything, go anywhere to save Jewel Quinn. She broke his heart years ago when she left to marry a Terraloft aristocrat. Now she’s run away from her husband, only to fall into the clutches of slavers.

Posing as a wealthy playboy, Guy arrives at Zuthuru Station to learn he’s too late: Jewel’s memories have been erased. She’s been tipped in silver, a process that leaves nothing behind except her body, sexually bound to pleasuring her master. Unwilling to give up hope, Guy buys her.

Jewel fights to reclaim herself, recalling a different connection to the handsome sheriff, remembering the frightened eyes of a young boy and the events that made her run. Together she and Guy search for her cure, plan her son’s rescue from her ruthless ex, and test if they have any kind of future...before the past catches up to them.

Read an excerpt of this SFR space western.

ThiefTHIEFAnitra Lynn McLeod

Nothing has ever come easy for Jace Lawless, captain of the salvage vessel Mutiny. Forced into thievery after a virus unleashed by the InnerWorld Government killed his family, only one ambition burns at the back of his mind. Kill the next IWOG officer he has at his mercy.

Bargaining over goods with a middleman isn't exactly his strong suit. But who in his right mind spends an entire salvage job's profits on a woman, even if she has a body built for sin and eyes so fathomless a man could lose himself in them? He must be getting soft.

Once Kraft realizes Jace expects only the "cook" part of their cook-whore contract, she sets out to change his antiquated ideas about women. A challenge she relishes, especially if it earns her the freedom and money to get her own ship. Her big mistake is letting down her guard.

Shameless flirting only intensifies the itch to ride Jace hard and put him away wet—several times. It's an itch it would be dangerous to scratch. Exposing her heart could reveal her secret, one that the still-grieving Jace must never know . . . showing her mercy will be the last thing on his mind.

Warning: Contains a celibate ship captain who can't abide swearing, a kick-ass woman with a marshmallow heart, a motley crew of misfits, interstellar battles, thwarted groping, sensual seduction, and a total bastard who owns his own planet.

***

Read an excerpt. The awesomesauce cover is by none other than Kanaxa.

Forthcoming titles

Dear Author’s Jane Litte is the editor for the “Agony/Ecstasy flip novel that will be published by Berkley in November 2011.” Of the accepted submissions, she notes that

One of my favorites is the sole m/m inclusion which is by a previously unpublished author by the name of Cameron Belle. It’s a futuristic story that features a scene between a gladiator type and a med technician who is ensuring the fighter is clean (no drugs or enhancements) for his upcoming bout. It definitely left me wishing that there was a longer story for me to read.


Definitely sounds intriguing, eh?

Invasion of the NyloniansAn SFR-ish looking ebook with the Most. Original. Title. Ever.

Decadent Publishing will release INVASION OF THE NYLONIANS by J80. Check out the blurb:

The story follows John who has came to a small town in Nebraska to hear the reading of a late relative's will. While there, he is attacked and chased by seductive nylon clad aliens who have a strong interest in something from his family's history. The alien leaders known as Mistress Elders, come to Earth with teir essence or spirit in an egg. When a suitable host touches the egg the alien elder takes over the body by spreading a black liquid across the victim's legs that transforms into pantyhose. The Elder then can convert humans to do her will. As John tries to combat the invaders he encounters two women and falls for both. Which woman will John choose, and can he stop the sexy nylon invaders? Read Invasion Of The Nylonians to find out.

Be there or be square, people.

Author interviews

Dark Cargo features an interview with ENEMY WITHIN author Marcella Burnard.

SFR Brigade interviewed author Maree Anderson, who has a forthcoming erotic sci-fi romance FROM THE AHSES (December 2010, Red Sage Publishing).

Contest for readers

Pauline B. Jones is having a contest to celebrate the forthcoming release of her steampunk romance novella TANGLED IN TIME. Visit her site for details, or read more about it at SFR Brigade.

New SFR fans join the party

I really ought to blog about this GeekMom post in more detail, but until then, check out the awesome article on Science Fiction Romance: Not an Oxymoron by Corrina Lawson:

A few years go, I wrote an article for Sequential Tart about the lack of good science fiction stories with romance. In that original article, I said it was entirely possible that the two genres are incompatible.

I was completely wrong.


I found this encouraging tidbit at Book Chick City:

Sci-Fi Romance

I read a small amount of science fiction, but I never knew sci-fi romance existed until I came across The Galaxy Express blog. I haven't managed to read any yet but as I have a 'Women of Science Fiction' week planned in November, I will soon by diving into this sub-genre. I have quite a few books on my shelves and they all look like great reads, such as Linnea Sinclair's 'Dock Five Universe' series, Katherine Allred's 'Alien Affairs' series and 'Kitty Katt' series by Gini Koch.


Thanks bunches to both article authors for linking to The Galaxy Express.

Industry

L&L Dreamspell (home of SFR author Pauline B. Jones) recently announced some exciting news: the publisher is expanding its ebook program!

Readers can now purchase L&L Dreamspell titles at All Romance and Omni Lit. Also, in a few weeks, L&L Dreamspell titles will be available at Apple's iBookstore and Kobo Books.

And that’s not all—titles will soon be available through Overdrive, which securely distributes to libraries, and other major retailers.

All of which reminds me—this would be a great time to submit a short for L&L Dreamspell’s steampunk e-anthology. They might be open to one with romance, so why not take advantage of the publisher’s increased market presence?

“The Mammoth Book of Sci-Fi Romance”: Are we there yet? Well, I'm not sure, but Rae Lori (CIMMERIAN CITY--coming soon to the Kindle) brings news about Mammoth Books editor Trisha Telep. Toward the end of November, Mammoth Books editor Trisha Telep will have a shiny new site (www.trishatelep.net) where readers and authors can learn more about her books and anthologies. That’s also the place to learn news about upcoming Mammoth anthologies, as well as interact with Ms. Telep about queries, submission stuff, and more! Look for her official announcements on Twitter (TrishaTelep) and Facebook.

Steampunk romance

The Iron DukeBetter late than never: Meljean Brook recently concluded a huge steampunk romance celebration on her blog. Steampunk Romance Week featured authors such as Nathalie Gray (FULL STEAM AHEAD) and Sheryl Nantus (WILD CARDS AND IRON HORSES). The link above connects you with a full recap of the posts.

If, like me, you have a thang for steampunk set in the Old West or some variation thereof (e.g., WILD CARDS AND IRON HORSES!), then you might be interested in The Old West Brings the Steam by Felix Gilman. The article delves into the origins of steampunk:

Some of the very first proto-steampunk works are westerns. I give you Edward Ellis's 1865 “The Huge Hunter, Or The Steam Man Of The Prairies,”...

...The American-frontier proto-steampunk differs from the more commonly cited Euro-proto-steampunk of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne mainly in that (a) it's terrible - you can quite obviously tell that Ellis was being paid by the word -- and (b) it doesn't make the slightest effort to pretend that it has anything to do with actual science, the way Wells and Verne usually did, it just steams ahead with mad nonsensical enthusiasm, as if having pushed out past civilization and onto the wild frontier it can do whatever the hell it wants, and if what it wants is a steam-powered robot it's gonna have a steam-powered robot and there ain't no damn man from no gubmint can tell it steam-powered robots don't make no sense, dag nab it.


On writing

Here’s what The Art of Genre Blending (via SF Signal) had to say about science fiction romance:

But what about a science fiction story that’s primarily about a romance? Chances are you won’t be finding Love at 99.999% of Lightspeed on the Harlequin reading list anytime soon.


Oh, really? I have just two words for you, Mr. T.N. Tobias: Susan Grant.

Girl Gone NovaWriting contest news

Pauline B. Jones is a finalist in the 2011 EPIC eBook Awards (science fiction romance category!) for her novel GIRL GONE NOVA. Way to go, Ms. Jones!

Via SFR Brigade, we have other great news of contest achievements:

CONTEST NEWS

Donna S. Frelick has taken out 2nd place in the Indiana Golden Opportunity contest with her SFR, UNCHAINED MEMORY. Way to go, Donna!

We have two Brigader finalists in RWA's FFP On The Far Side contest:
Jennifer L.Hart 's novel, STELLAR TIMING in the RWA's FFP On The Far Side contest (futuristic category)

Laurie Green's novel, THE OUTER PLANETS also in the RWA's FFP On The Far Side contest (futuristic category)

Apparently, there were over 139 entries so, congratulations, Jennifer & Laurie, what an achievement!


My guest blogging gig at Enduring Romance

On November 5, 2010 you can find me at Enduring Romance where I'll be revealing how "Anime Turned Me On With Science Fiction Romance."

Best blog for professional geeks

Fan to Pro – The Blog of Professional Geekery, recently featured The Galaxy Express in its List of Geek Resources. Thank you, Mr. Steven Savage!

Now here’s the cool thing about Fan to Pro: it’s a resource hub for geeks, nerds, etc., who are looking for ways to monetize their SF/F interests! In other words, “Fan To Pro is a blog about how people can apply their fannish and geeky interests to their jobs and careers.”

This is the first time I’ve seen a site like this and I think it’s an intriguing idea. Given that science fiction romance authors and readers are as geeky as the next fanboy and fangirl, I thought the information might be useful.

Speaking of useful information, now it’s your turn to regale me with science fiction romance news or links of your own!

Joyfully yours,

Heather