Thursday, December 1, 2011

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SFR News & Links For December 2011

It may be the end of the year, but based on what we've seen in 2011, science fiction romance is just getting started. I hope you all had as much fun reading this year as I did. 

Here is my last monthly roundup for 2011:

New releases

HEART OF STEEL (steampunk) - Meljean Brook
(This book actually released in November. I figured better late than never!)

As the mercenary captain of the Lady Corsair, Yasmeen has learned to keep her heart as cold as steel, her only loyalty bound to her ship and her crew. So when a man who once tried to seize her airship returns from the dead, Yasmeen will be damned if she gives him another opportunity to take control.

Treasure-hunter Archimedes Fox isn’t interested in the Lady Corsair — he wants her coldhearted captain and the valuable da Vinci sketch she stole from him. To reclaim it, Archimedes is determined to seduce the stubborn woman who once tossed him to a ravenous pack of zombies, but she’s no easy conquest.

When da Vinci’s sketch attracts a dangerous amount of attention, Yasmeen and Archimedes journey to Horde-occupied Morocco — and straight into their enemy’s hands. But as they fight to save themselves and a city on the brink of rebellion, the greatest peril Yasmeen faces is from the man who seeks to melt her icy heart…


LESSERBLOOD LIES (refreshed version of A GREATER ART) - Ainsley Davidson 

To protect her children from the despotic Trueblood, Merianne defied them by taking her girls and fleeing the planet. Even though Merianne's daughters are Lesserblood, they have the Talents. The Trueblood would train her children to use their dangerous gifts, but their methods are cruel, and Merianne would never see her girls again.

Merianne tries to give her girls a safe, quiet life, but when they befriend Thorne, a brilliant scientist, she finds herself drawn to the kind and captivating man—despite his uncanny resemblance to the Trueblood.

Thorne wants to help the girls control their emerging Talents, and he's intrigued by their mother. But just as Merianne finally accepts Thorne's help, two of her children are seized. To rescue the girls, Merianne and Thorne must risk death at the hands of the Trueblood, who will kill to protect their lies.


UNACCEPTABLE RISK (cyberpunk) - Jeanette Grey

Plix spends her lonely, gritty life trying to solve the mysteries her father left behind. Armed with a variety of cybernetic enhancements and a talent for getting into places she shouldn’t be, she searches for clues to his murder-and who’s responsible for poisoning her city.
Waking up on a street corner with her brain wiring fried to a crisp, she figures she must have gotten close this time. There’s only one man she trusts to pull her back from the brink: a tuner who can retrieve the evidence hidden deep in the recesses of her mind. A man she dares not let too close to her heart.

When Edison downloads a secret SynDate schematic from Plix’s burnt-out circuitry, he knows with dreadful finality that nothing-not even the fiery kiss he’s been holding back for years-will stop her from pursuing her quest past the point of insanity.

All he can do, as he helps her plan her final mission, is ease her pain, watch her back and hope one of them doesn’t pay with their lives.




ALIEN PROLIFERATION – Gini Koch

A new set of conspiracies, old enemies, and a dangerous new drug being tested on unwilling subjects are more than enough to deal with, but new parents Jeff and Kitty Martini have an even bigger problem -- the bad guys want their newborn baby.


NO LIMITS (erotic) - Jenna McCormick

All Genevieve Luzon wants is to be loved by one man, a seemingly impossible task in New-New York City at the start of the twenty second century. Sure, she can buy sex as easily as order a pizza on a Friday night, but finding a forever kind of love among her self-centered peers is no easy feat for the unemployed off-world vacation coordinator. When an old friend offers her the position of secret shopper to test out the male prostitutes, Gen can’t think of a good reason to refuse. Hell, if she can’t find Mr. Right, she might as well try on a sampler of Mr. Right Nows.

Yet the perks of her new position don’t compare to the strange attraction she has, not for one of the prostitutes, but a candle that seems to warm places of her she never knew existed. When a man appears out of the flame, Gen is sure she's found the one. Rhys is an empath, made a slave by the Illustra Corporation and he’s everything Gen could ever want. Except available. Because Rhys is on a mission. One that might claim his life. He must try to free his people, consequences be damned. Now, Gen must choose between turning her back on the only man she’s ever loved and the monumental task he has set for himself. Should she risk her life fighting a war hidden from polite society against those who wish to control us all?

Is love really worth fighting for?

Forthcoming

In the comment thread of my Sci-Fi Romances With People Of Color? post, visitor Michelle noted that Clare Dargin’s COLD WARRIORS included a heroine of color. After contacting the author, I learned that her book will be re-released by Decadent Publishing (date TBA). Very cool!

She also provided me with the blurb so I could share it with you:

When Caitlin Driskoll is awakened from a cryogenic stasis, she’s got a lot of adjusting to do. It’s a new century and the planet is at war. Once married to a Navy JAG, she now experiences life from the viewpoint of a Jarhead, and the view isn’t pleasant.

Colonel Medoro Keegan lost the two most important things in his life during his Marine career: his wife to friendly fire, and his ability to fly combat missions. Now, he’s stuck aboard the Blanchard as the XO. The Corps is the only family he has left and he’s not about to lose the last thing he values.

Until he meets Caitlin, who isn’t shy about telling Medoro what she thinks about his Marines. How can such beauty wrapped in an icy body have so much fire?

It’s the future, and a new kind of prejudice has replaced the racial prejudice Caitlin experienced in the last century. After all, when you’ve been given a second chance at life, you are expendable.

***

You can also read a six-sentence excerpt of COLD WARRIORS by clicking here. I’m on the list for an eARC so this book will be in my 2012 TBR pile.

Sci-fi romance version of Meg Cabot’s THE PRINCESS DIARIES?

Via Pauline B. Jones (STEAMROLLED), I learned about CENTAURI DAWN, an ebook described as a science fiction romance and listed for .99 cents at Amazon. The premise struck me as a futuristic version of THE PRINCESS DIARIES:

Audra is a normal grad student in law school in Boulder, Colorado. Until the day she finds out she isn't. She's a princess from the planet Centauri. Her mission, whether or not she chooses to accept it, is to marry an alien and save the world, in order to save her family.

Darius is charged with delivering his brother's bride home to Centauri, ready to be queen. Falling in love isn't just forbidden, it's a death sentence for him and for his world.

I had to chuckle a bit. Anyway, thought you might like to know about it.

SFR Holiday Events

Jessica E. Subject’s “Light Up The Holidays With Sci-Fi Romance” starts today! Visit her site for a month-long celebration of sci-fi romance festivities. Click here for the complete schedule.


It’s also time to crack open your e-readers for The Galaxy Express’s 3rd annual SFR Holiday Blitz! A number of bloggers and authors have teamed up this holiday season so you can enter for a chance to win a variety of science fiction romance ebooks.

The SFR Holiday Blitz will launch at 3 pm on Sunday, December 11, 2011.

[Edited to add]

RT Reviewer’s Choice Awards

Here are the Futuristic Romance nominees from the RT Reviewer’s Choice Awards:

ALIEN IN THE FAMILY
Gini Koch, DAW, (April 2011)

SEDUCE ME IN DREAMS
Jacquelyn Frank, BALLANTINE, (April 2011)

ENEMY GAMES
Marcella Burnard, BERKLEY SENSATION, (May 2011)

BORN OF SHADOWS
Sherrilyn Kenyon, GRAND CENTRAL, (May 2011)

NIGHTFALL
Ellen Connor, BERKLEY SENSATION, (June 2011)

DARK TASTE OF RAPTURE
Gena Showalter, POCKET STAR, (September 2011)

BODY THIEF
C.J. Barry, BERKLEY SENSATION, (November 2011)

And in the Indie Press/Paranormal/Fantasy/Futuristic category:

SILVER SHARK
Ilona Andrews, SELF-PUBLISH, (September 2011)

Congratulations to all of the nominees!
Industry

I’m a bit late reporting on this, but here’s round two of better late than never: in October, Carina Press put out a Science Fiction Holiday Submissions Call:
Carina is looking for science fiction novellas with a winter holiday theme, to be published digitally both individually and as a collection in December 2012. The novellas should be from 18,000 to 35,000 words and feature science fiction elements as integral to the novella. The stories do not need to be romance, or even have romance elements, but can be straight science fiction, or science fiction with romantic elements, and can also feature elements of mystery, thriller, horror or other sub-genres. Additionally, there is no set heat level for these stories, so they can have no sex, or be ultra-sexy, or anything in between.

The submission deadline is March 15, 2012. See the Carina blog post for full details.

I found a recent interview with Samhain Publishing at the blog of Ciara Knight. This covers everything about them in a nutshell.

I read and enjoyed this book! Alien artifact fun.
In The Business Rusch: Free, Kristine Katherine Rusch offers great advice for authors (and publishers) about running a free ebook campaign:
Back to the whole concept of free, however. Let me share what I’ve learned over the past few weeks.
Use it as your guide if you want to offer a free e-book some time in the future.

1. Make sure you have more than one title before you offer a book for free.

2. Make sure that you have titles in the same genre, and if possible, make sure they’re in the same series.

3. Limit the amount of time the title is free. I have a date with both Kindle and iTunes to check the free listings once per week—and I know I’m not alone. This will introduce a lot of readers to your work, although maybe not right away.

4. Expect blowback. Readers who get books for free are a vocal bunch. Someone will hate your book. Others will love it. A few will be offended because the book isn’t what they expect. A friend of mine calls this the Netflix effect. His theory works like this: Most of the popular movies on Netflix have ratings of 5-7.5 (out of 10) because when you have hundreds (if not thousands) of people ranking the movie, the spread will work out so that the movie will rate right in the middle.  Some will like it, some will hate it, some will love it. It all averages out.

5. Remember that this is a promotion. It’s called a loss leader—meaning that you expect to lose money on this title to lead readers to your other work. Do this only when you can afford a promotion, and not before. Think of it as advertising, and like all advertising, it’s a bit of a gamble.

Personally, I think a free SFR ebook campaign is a great idea because it would help raise the visibility of not only the author, but the subgenre as well. Authors, if you ever do a free SFR ebook promotion in conjunction with your publisher, please let me know so I can help spread the word.

Here’s the latest news in the Amazing Stories re-launch:

ROBERT SILVERBERG JOINS AMAZING STORIES EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD

Experimenter Publishing Corp, Hillsboro, NH, November 24, 2011 - Robert Silverberg, award winning author and SFWA Grand Master, has joined Barry Malzberg, Joe Wrzos, Patrick Price and Ted White on the Amazing Stories Project Editorial Advisory Board.

Mr. Silverberg, multiple Hugo and Nebula Award winning author of  The Majipoor Chronicles , Hawksbill Station, Dying Inside (to name just a very few) and editor of the seminal anthology The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, was selected for SFWA’s Grand Master Award in 2004 and has been a fixture of the genre since the 1950s; among his many achievements, he is particularly noted in SF Fandom for his role as Toastmaster of the Hugo Award ceremonies.

His newest book is Tales of Majipoor, a collection of stories set on the planet he first wrote about in his 1981 best-seller, Lord Valentine's Castle.  Subterranean Press will publish a limited first edition of it in 2012, followed by the regular trade edition from Berkley.

Mr. Silverberg, whose fiction first appeared in Amazing Stories in 1956, will serve in an advisory capacity and will author an updated version of his Introduction to Amazing Stories for the first issue of the magazine’s latest incarnation, slated to appear sometime in 2012.

The Amazing Stories Project can be followed by visiting
www.AmazingStoriesMag.com; a Facebook page devoted to the subject can be found here

***

Authors blogging

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Jeanette Grey’s Uncacceptable Risk Blog Tour, which will run December 9-13. This includes a stop right here at The Galaxy Express on the 15th.

Diane Dooley (BLUE GALAXY) speculates about the popularity of novellas in A Novella Renaissance?.

Kate Elliott (JARAN) imagines a new frontier in If I rebooted Star Trek. Heck, I’d watch it!

Author appearances

On December 10, Gini Koch will be juggling seven alligators dressed in tweed suits signing copies of ALIEN PROLIFERATION at San Diego’s Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore from 3-5pm.

Author interviews

PHOENIX RISING author Corrina Lawson was recently interviewed at Write angles Conference 2011.

SF Signal interviews author, scientist, and scholar Athena Andreadis.

Promotion opportunity for authors of SFR

From Maria Zannini’s (TRUE BELIEVERS) Newsy Links comes the, er, news of Cate Master’s forthcoming TBR blog, which will launch in 2012. The tagline is “Meet the authors who’ll make your list grow” and will be “Highlighting books you haven't yet read but would love to…”

Authors interested in having their work featured can contact Ms. Masters about scheduling a spot. Details are here. Paid advertising services are also available.

Evolution of the romance heroine

In And This Heroine Is Just Right, Dear Author’s Jane featured an interesting post about the nature of heroines in romance:

The truth is that the female role in romance is not so easily categorized as the male role. That allows for quite a bit of freedom but I wonder if we aren’t limiting ourselves as readers, requiring the females to fit into certain categories and within certain boundaries.

She also speculated about the success of heroine-centric stories:

My belief is that readers have embraced cross over fiction because those stories are generally more female centric and contains stories about women who have more agency. It is expected in urban fantasy, particularly first person urban fantasy, that the female protagonist be proactive, have power in her own right, and has the ability to exercise choice and influence her own outcomes.

Hmm, what if we substituted “science fiction romance” for “urban fantasy”? Is it just me, or are there some interesting similarities?

Heroines have been on my mind a lot lately, so I added my two cents. Let me just say that I applaud authors who have taken risks with their SFR heroines.

Now I turn the mike over to you. Step up and share your science fiction romance news or links!

Joyfully yours,

Heather