Tuesday, May 31, 2011

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An Interview With KT Grant, Author of “Brass Balls and Hysteria”

Wild Woman
Erotic steampunk romance is nice and all, but what would really draw me to it on a consistent basis is the idea of steampunk sex toys. The subversive nature of sex toys in the Victorian era has a strong appeal to me, in part because it’s not exactly like one can read a textbook on the subject (however, a quick Google search turns up this interesting tidbit about “The Manipulator,” one of the first (steam-powered) vibrators). So if I can’t easily learn about the real thing, stories will go a long way toward fueling my imagination about what it must have been like for adventurous couples.

Which brings me to KT Grant’s “Brass Balls and Hysteria,” an erotic short in L&L Dreamspell’s newly released DREAMSPELL EROTICA, Vol. 1 anthology. I’ve known about the author from her fun and feisty blog, Babbling About Books, and More, and was excited to learn she’d penned an erotic steampunk romance story.

Here's the blurb for "Brass Balls and Hysteria":

Jessamine Starling is in in for the surprise of her life when she sneaks into the factory of her family’s biggest competitor and doesn't find a top secret dirigible project, but a steam powered sex chair that helps cures female hysteria.

“Brass Balls and Hysteria” is a totally outlandish but also entertaining story (the ending in particular was quite a hoot). Despite some of the over-the-top elements, KT Grant obviously researched for her tale and it shows. Now I’m even more excited to learn about the underground nature of Victorian sex toys—and I wouldn’t mind reading other stories with that premise, either. (Incidentally, author Christine Danse alerted me to Clancy Nacht's “A Certain Pressure In The Pipes” (Noble Romance)—an m/m steampunk romance—and given the reference to a "steam-powered Pleasuring Machine," I’m thinking it would make a good companion piece to KT Grant’s piece!).

I wanted to learn more about “Brass Balls and Hysteria,” so I invited KT Grant to come chat with us, and here she is!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

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DREAMSPELL STEAMPUNK Vol. 1: A Giveaway

I have two copies of L&L Dreamspell's e-anthology, DREAMSPELL STEAMPUNK, Volume 1, to give away! (Disclosure: I contributed a story). Winner chooses the format (PDF, Mobi, or ePub).

To enter, leave a comment for this post and tell me what kind of automaton you'd build if you were a steampunk inventor. I'll pick two winners at random. The contest deadline is midnight EST on Tuesday, May 31.

Here are the blurbs for the featured stories:

Steam Time by Pauline B Jones

The man formerly known as Tobias Smith hadn’t planned to ride along with Dr. Everly and his Medicine Show. Grifters gave him a pain their elixirs couldn’t heal. But he was headed to Marfa, too. And Everly’s son turned out to be a really fine looking damsel—one in distress when the ghost lights of Marfa bump them into an alternate reality complete with an automaton gang and airships. Could he be the good guy? Be the hero, save the day and get the girl?

The Prometheus Engine by Chris Samson

When an airship is shot down over the desolate Kashmir landscape, seven survivors of disparate backgrounds must band together to escape. As a swarm of marauders approaches, the survivors’ only hope lies in the untested Prometheus Engine.

Steambot Rampage by Heather Massey

On the eve of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, a no-nonsense secretary and an intrepid reporter join forces to battle a bizarre automaton on a rampage.

Angelina by Linda Houle

Valerie is fascinated with an antique ruby and diamond pendant. Where did it come from and why was it hidden in a makeshift wall safe? An old log cabin on her new husband’s ranch holds the answers and a lot more, but once Val goes through a secret door will she ever find her way back home?

***

Thanks for your interest!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Saturday, May 28, 2011

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All Romance Ebooks Memorial Day Weekend Sale

All Romance Ebooks is having a "50% Site-Wide Rebate" sale this weekend. To be eligible, you must use Paypal or credit card. There are lots of science fiction romance titles for the plucking.

(Ahem...and if you're looking for steampunk, DREAMSPELL STEAMPUNK Vol. 1 is now available there!)

Go score some great deals and happy reading!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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Carina Press Cover Exclusive: RULEBREAKER by Cathy Pegau

Thanks to the generosity of author Cathy Pegau and Carina Press, here is an exclusive peek at the cover of RULEBREAKER (August 2011)!

The classy cover (with Carina’s signature cool-blue tones, natch) for this f/f science fiction romance made me realize a couple of things. One, I really, really, really have a thing for these next-gen SFR heroines—meaning the ones that don’t take a back seat to the hero. I love reading about them in the stories and I enjoy connecting with them on a cover. After the recent parade of endless male torsos, it is so refreshing to see a cover with double-the-heroine action.

Two, this cover doesn’t scream “hot hot hot erotic sex!” With its tastefully portrayed heroines, RULEBREAKER challenges readers to avoid conflating GLBT romances and erotic romances. And many publishers don't exactly help keep the boundaries clear by lumping GLBT non-erotic romances with GLBT erotic romances. Newsflash: nothing frustrates readers more than being promised one thing and receiving another. In this market, Carina took a risk by creating a non-erotic cover for this story, and I salute that.

Seems like RULEBREAKER is breaking rules in more ways than one…!

Let’s take a look at the story blurb:

Monday, May 23, 2011

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SFR News & Links Extra

A couple of interesting posts popped up recently, so I wanted to share them with you:

SFR Brigade blogged about the PRISM Award finalists in the futuristic category (and one in the fantasy category that I would have grouped in with futuristic, but oh well--I'll take what I can get since it's a steampunk romance!). Way to go, double finalist Sheryl Nantus (BLAZE OF GLORY; WILD CARDS AND IRON HORSES), Marcella Burnard (ENEMY WITHIN), and Sara Brookes (MIDNIGHT'S GHOST)!

Also at SFR Brigade, Laurie A. Green interviews e-self-published author Victorine E. Lieske about her second book, a science fiction romance called THE OVERTAKING:

Q: Tell us a little about THE OVERTAKING. How did the core idea for the story come to you? Where or when does the story take place? What are the science fiction elements of the story and how does the romance and conflict develop?

The core idea for THE OVERTAKING was simply a what-if. What if we found out we weren't on Earth? What if everything around us was fake? What if our memories were altered? This idea formed in my mind almost fifteen years ago, and has taken this long to become a novel. The story takes place on a planet of peaceful people, where another race of humanoids invade and capture everyone, putting them into a created world, which is Earth as we know it. The science fiction is fairly soft in the book, you won't find long technical explanations. It's mostly a backdrop to the story. The romance develops when Danielle, a member of the overtaking race, falls in love with Shayne, who starts remembering pieces of his past life.

 At Novel Reaction, Pauline Baird Jones (in brass goggles, no less!) blogs about defining steampunk:

STEAMPUNK = Mad Scientist Inventor [invention (steam x airship or metal man/baroque stylings) x (pseudo) Victorian setting] + progressive or reactionary politics x adventure plot.” (Steampunk Bible, Jeff Vandermeer)...
...So how does the reader find the right steampunk fit? Real world steampunk aficionados create a persona –a steamsona they call it—when putting together their steampunk outfit. May I suggest that a reader can do something similar—though figuring out your reader steamsona will be a lot less work than putting together a steampunk outfit for a local convention. No sewing machine or smithy required.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Sunday, May 22, 2011

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Help Choose The New Cover For Elizabeth Lang's THE EMPIRE

A few months ago, I blogged about the cover for THE EMPIRE, author Elizabeth Lang’s romantic SF book. While many small press/digital publishers lack big budgets for covers, the one for THE EMPIRE boasted more technical flaws than others in its class. Ideally, covers should entice readers as opposed to making them question the book’s contents (and in this case, having read the story, I felt the cover did it a disservice).

So what’s an author to do?

In the case of Elizabeth Lang, she advocated for a cover change and her publisher approved. Not only that, but she asked me if she could share the initial drafts with you, my blog readers, and solicit your feedback before she makes her final decision. I happily agreed, knowing the readers and authors who hang out here have always engaged in thoughtful discussions about covers in the past.

Therefore, on behalf of the author I invite you to study the three initial cover drafts for THE EMPIRE, featured below. Please take a moment to share your opinions about them. Which one do you like best? Which elements succeed at portraying the various genre elements? Is there anything about any of them you would change/add?

To read the story blurb, click here. In case it helps to know, angst-ridden hero Adrian Stannis is very much the focal point of the story and in this case—at least based on my reading of the story (your mileage may vary)—it makes sense for him to take center stage on the cover.

Without further ado, here are the drafts:
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Winners of BLUE GALAXY and APOCALYPSE RISING

The winner of Diane Dooley's BLUE GALAXY is...Raelyn Barclay!

The winner of Maria Zannini's APOCALYPSE RISING is...Cate Masters!

Winners, please email me at sfrgalaxy "at" gmail.com (subject line: winner) to claim your prize.

Thanks so much to everyone who entered!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, May 19, 2011

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How To Write A Blurb—Make Your SFR Irresistible to Readers

money bags
It seems to me that many authors who have sold stories to a digital/small press publisher are expected to write a story blurb for the ebook/book in question. If that expectation is the norm these days, then it certainly would hold true for authors of science fiction romances.

According to my 2011 Science Fiction Romance New Release Roundup, the majority of SFR stories released this year will be digital-first. That’s a whole lotta blurbs on the ebook front!

Those same stories belong to a niche market, one that needs marketing mojo just as much as—if not more so—the sister SFR books released by mainstream print publishers. Therefore, I would like to facilitate a discussion about writing effective blurbs for science fiction romance ebooks. The better and more streamlined the blurbs, the more effective a marketing tool they will be.

Blurbs that snap, crackle, and pop can help raise the visibility for SFR. And if authors are the ones writing the blurbs, then this is a very significant opportunity that starts with them.

I’m going to throw out a few ideas to get things rolling. The best advice I’ve seen so far about writing blurbs comes from agent Kristin Nelson’s Query Pitch Workshop:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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The Secret Ingredient In Manda Benson’s MOONSTEED

Moonsteed
Back in November 2009, I blogged about the South Korean 2001 action film MY WIFE IS A GANGSTER. If you’ll recall, the heroine of that film, Eun-jin, “ties the knot with Kang Soo-il, a sweet, pudgy, teddy-bear of a guy who’s in for a big surprise once he discovers his wife’s line of work.”

In that post I indicated my wish for “a version of this couple in a science fiction romance” and that “I also like the idea of the nurturing hero to be the physical antithesis of the typically chiseled romance hero.”

Believe it or not, one author answered the call.

MOONSTEED by Manda Benson is that story. This ebook was just released by Lyrical Press, and the author was kind enough to send me an eARC. Given the promise of a sweet, pudgy hero paired with a kick-butt heroine, I devoured it in record time. Here’s the blurb to catch you up:

Zeta Verity killed a man who deserved to live, and let a man live who deserved death. Now she has a limited amount of time to stop him and bring justice to Callisto.

Born to excel but living in the shadow of her auspicious ancestors, Zeta is posted to the newly terraformed Callisto to work with specially bred horses. Killing a spy in possession of stolen data is just another day’s work. She’s not impressed by timid and scholarly Vladimir Bolokhovski, who arrives at the research base with a beautiful stallion he has genetically engineered. But when Zeta's superiors start disappearing and an arrest warrant is issued on her for spying, she discovers the man she killed is not what he appeared.

Once Verity discovers they're all part of some twisted game, she needs the help of both Vladimir and the dead spy to find and stop the mastermind behind it all.

I began MOONSTEED with high hopes, but also some trepidation. Would she really go all the way with such a subversive hero? Would the romance dynamic fulfill me in a way that was similar to MY WIFE IS A GANGSTER? In essence, would I get the same “rush”?

Monday, May 16, 2011

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A Short Comment About The Comments

You may have noticed the absence of the archived comments since the recent TGE upgrade. Fortunately, my engineer has successfully imported them. However, we are still working on fully  importing the most recent comments.

Your patience is greatly appreciated!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Sunday, May 15, 2011

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No Time Like The Present For J.L. Langley's MY FAIR CAPTAIN

MY FAIR CAPTAINI’ve known about J.L. Langley’s MY FAIR CAPTAIN (Samhain Publishing) for some time. Given the 2007 publication date, I should have read it a lot earlier. However, better late than never: An improved personal budget, owning a Kindle, and this recent post at The Naughty Bits prompted me to go ahead and finally purchase it.

More specifically, it was the following comment by Teddy Pig that propelled me to order it immediately:

I also think My Fair Captain should be reviewed since it is going Japanese soon which for that book is like going full circle in it’s own Jane Austin meets Star Blazers in a dark alley way.

Well! Given my love affair with STAR BLAZERS, how could I possibly resist? I’d heard good things about MY FAIR CAPTAIN, but hadn’t heard the story described in quite that way before. (Click here to read the author’s brief announcement about selling the Japanese rights.)

Having finished the story, I didn’t detect any overt STAR BLAZERS homages or references, but was glad to have finally experienced it. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, here’s the blurb courtesy of Samhain:

Talk about a compromising situation!

A storm of political intrigue, murderous mayhem and sexual hungers is brewing on planet Regelence.

Swarthy Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins ran from a past he had no intention of ever reliving. But when his Admiral asks him to use his peerage, as an earl and the heir to a dukedom, to investigate a missing weapons stash, he’s forced to do just that. As if being undercover on a Regency planet where the young men are supposed to remain pure until marriage isn’t bad enough, Nate finds himself attracted to the king’s unmarried son.

All Prince Aiden Townsend has ever wanted was to be an artist. He has no interest in a marriage of political fortune or becoming a societal paragon. Until he lands in the arms of the mysterious Earl of Deverell. One look at Nate’s handsome face has Aiden reconsidering his future. Not only does Nate make a virile subject for Aiden’s art, but the great war hero awakens feelings in Aiden he has never felt, feelings he can’t ignore.

After a momentous dance at a season ball, Aiden and Nate find themselves exchanging important information and working closely together. They have to fight their growing attraction long enough to find out who stole the weapons and keep themselves from a compromising situation and certain scandal.

MY FAIR CAPTAIN, as part of the author's “Sci-Regency” series, is based on a high concept premise that you either buy into or you don’t: an entire planet with a Regency England based setting—along with an m/m twist. I thought the author made the clever premise plausible, but your mileage may vary. As I was reading, a few interesting elements popped out at me. In addition to tagging them, I wanted to share a few of my thoughts about the setting.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

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Winners of Total-E-Bound's SEEING STARS Anthology

Congratulations to the following winners, each of whom will receive a PDF copy of Total-E-Bound's SEEING STARS anthology:

CD Covington

KC Burn

Belle

Winners, please email me at sfrgalaxy "at" gmail.com to claim your prizes.

I'd like to extend a hearty thanks to everyone who entered.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Friday, May 13, 2011

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"It's A Wicked World" by Diane Dooley & Maria Zannini (Plus Giveaways)


dick dastardly

Villains. I love them! It’s always one of my favorite moments in books and film when I get to meet the villain for the very first time. It’s kind of a make-it or break-it moment for me. If the villain is introduced and I don’t feel that ominous little shiver run down my spine, then I’m disappointed. Think of the first time you met Darth Vader or that monstrous bitch from Alien. Did you feel the same shiver that I did?
I know I’m not alone. In fact, my fellow Carina Press author, Maria Zannini loves her villains as much as I do. In honor of Friday 13th and our shared love of villains we are offering excerpts from our recent releases and the chance to win a digital copy of one of them. All you have to do is meet our villains for the very first time and answer one easy question. Ready?
First up is Maria. The following is an excerpt from her recent release, APOCALYPSE RISING, a fantasy/time travel romance.
APOCALYPSE  RISINGAPOCALYPSE RISING: The only place to hide was in the past. Leda and Grey have one chance to escape a madman and that’s through a portal to a time before the apocalypse. But nothing has prepared them for 21st century culture, and every misstep draws them closer to the End Times. The world is teetering on extinction, and they may very well be the cause of it.
In this scene Leda meets the demon who will forever change her life. Things get far worse from here on out.
***
He caressed her skin with long cool fingers and she jerked back. Again he touched her, a forceful presence on trembling flesh.
Leda tried to get up, but her legs refused to obey. She looked down and found the femurs of
both legs neatly sheared off above the knees. “My legs—”
“Broken. Yes. Wouldn’t want you to run away, now would I?”
Her mouth dropped open, but a scream never emerged. How could she fight this sadist who had
broken her bones with a mere thought? This was magic she’d never known. No wonder her wards were useless here. “What do you want from me?”
“Everything,” he whispered. He bruised her lips with his, a scorching kiss that fed her Element
and buoyed it. She had to get away. “I know what you’re thinking, Leda. But don’t try it. Don’t throw your life away, not if you value the life of your mate.”
Her legs were made whole again. And that terrified her most of all.
***
For a chance to win a free copy of Apocalypse Rising, tell Maria what most scared you when you were a child. She’’ll choose a winner at midnight (cst) May 20, 2011. (Please be sure to leave your email address if you’d like to be in the drawing for this book.)
Bio: Maria Zannini used to save the world from bad advertising, but now she spends her time
wrangling chickens, and fighting for a piece of the bed against dogs of epic proportions.
Occasionally, she writes novels.
Apocalypse Rising is the sequel to Touch Of Fire. Try them both!
***
Blue GalaxyNext up is moi. The following is an excerpt from my recent release, BLUE GALAXY, a science fiction romance.
BLUE GALAXY: Captain Javan Rhodes took a mission to transport Sola, a beautiful young aristocrat, to an unknown destination on the outer rim of the colonies. The job is lucrative, but also highly illegal. As tough as it is to evade both the law and the lawless, the hardest part of the job is not falling in love with his irresistible cargo.
In this scene Javan and Sola are paying a flying visit to the space station, Valhalla, where they encounter the very last person in the galaxy that Javan wants to run into. He has his reasons.
***
The door disintegrated as four armed men rushed in and trained their weapons on them. As the dust settled, they were followed by a tall, familiar figure made even taller by her platform-heeled boots. Javan sighed and looked from the boots, all the way up the rangy legs and sleek torso, over the magnificent bosom to the ice-blue eyes and long blond mane of Olympia Philou— the reason he should never, ever have come back to Valhalla.
***
For a chance to win a copy of Blue Galaxy, tell me who your all-time favorite sci-fi villain is. I’ll choose a winner at midnight (est) May 20, 2011. (Please be sure to leave your email address if you’d like to be in the drawing for this book.)
Bio: Diane Dooley currently lives in a money pit of an old farmhouse in upstate New York, where she tends her husband, sons and a collection of reptiles. When she is not at her day job, she is either reading, writing, gardening, avoiding housework or driving her children to various sporting events. She is also a geek of intergalactic proportions with a severe YouTube habit.
I’m currently working on the follow up to Blue Galaxy. If you want to know more about Olympia Philou, I interview her here.

Thanks for reading!


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L&L Dreamspell Presents: The Little Steampunk Anthology That Could

At long last, L&L Dreamspell has unveiled the lineup for its DREAMSPELL STEAMPUNK ANTHOLOGY, Vol. 1 (release date TBA)! This e-anthology has been a long time in coming. In fact, I first blogged about the call for submissions in June of 2010. L&L Dreamspell is nothing if not persistent!

Why should you be interested in this steampunk anthology, you might be wondering? Well one reason is that at least two of the stories are steampunk romances—with automatons! Let’s have a looksee, shall we?

Steam Time by Pauline B Jones

The man formerly known as Tobias Smith hadn’t planned to ride along with Dr. Everly and his Medicine Show. Grifters gave him a pain their elixirs couldn’t heal. But he was headed to Marfa, too. And Everly’s son turned out to be a really a fine looking damsel—one in distress when the ghost lights of Marfa bump them into an alternate reality complete with an automaton gang and airships. Could he be the good guy? Be the hero, save the day and get the girl?

The Prometheus Engine by Chris Samson

When an airship is shot down over the desolate Kashmir landscape, seven survivors of disparate backgrounds must band together to escape. As a swarm of marauders approaches, the survivors’ only hope lies in the untested Prometheus Engine.

Steambot Rampage by Heather Massey

On the eve of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, a no-nonsense secretary and an intrepid reporter join forces to battle a bizarre automaton on a rampage.

Angelina by Linda Houle

Valerie is fascinated with an antique ruby and diamond pendant. Where did it come from and why was it hidden in a makeshift wall safe? An old log cabin on her new husband’s ranch holds the answers and a lot more, but once Val goes through a secret door will she ever find her way back home?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

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Let's Hear It For Diane Dooley, Laurie A. Green, & Sharon Lynn Fisher!

Diane Dooley's BLUE GALAXY has liftoff! Confessions of a Bookworm is the author's debut post at the Carina Press blog. 

In It's An Honor Just To Be Nominated: Three Sci-Fi Romances Final In The 2011 RWA Golden Heart Awards at Tor.com, you can read my interview with Laurie A. Green and Sharon Lynn Fisher about their experience being finalists in RWA's Golden Heart Awards. Their achievement is a validation both for their work as well as for readers who love SFR.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Monday, May 9, 2011

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SEEING STARS Anthology Giveaway

I'm excited to host a giveaway for Total-E-Bound's erotic sci-fi romance anthology, SEEING STARS. This collection includes a story by IN ENEMY HANDS author KS Augustin (whom I also have to thank for bringing this anthology to my attention). Anthologies are a great way to sample the works of various authors, and science fiction romance has been having a veritable bounty of them lately, with more to come!

Total-E-Bound has provided three digital copies (PDF) of SEEING STARS to give away. To enter, leave a comment for this post. The deadline is midnight EST on Friday, May 13, 2011.

Here are the story blurbs:

“Bodies of Light” by Lisabet Sarai

Love travels faster than light

Physicist Dr. Christine Monroe has devoted her lonely life to research on hyper-space travel. Her continued failure leads her to sign on to the Archimedes, a sub-light-speed mission aimed at establishing a colony in the Sirius B system. Waking from suspended animation, she discovers that the ship is wildly off course and the rest of the crew are dead due to equipment failure.

At first she thinks the two handsome strangers who show up on the ship are figments of her imagination - erotic hallucinations created by isolation and stress. However, Alyn and Zed are solid, real, and ready to sacrifice their lives for the strong woman they've found stranded in deep space. As her ship begins to disintegrate, Christine must choose between the planet she was sent to save and the two alien beings she's come to cherish.

“The Sevarian Way” by Justine Elyot

In space, no-one can hear you scream. So you can spank as hard as you like.

Commander Azed Paul and Ensign Suka Demontel are space anthropologists in a future civilisation where kink is illegal. Both have learned to repress their natural sexuality, but Suka's undergraduate work on the ancient practice of BDSM has captured Paul's professional attention, and his less academic interest too.

This makes her the perfect crew member to accompany him to the surface of Paladium Three, a dead planet where old-fashioned service and discipline were woven into the fabric of life.

There might not be any life forms left there, but what Paul and Suka discover is fascinating evidence of a culture that both realise might have suited them very well...

The temptation to experiment, risk-free, with the kinks they have been denied all their adult lives, proves too much for the space explorers and they give their fantasies free rein.

But will this be a unique, never-to-be-repeated experience, or will Paul and Suka find a means to fully embrace the Sevarian Way?

“Europa, Europa” by KS Augustin

The Company appreciates its genetically modified humans...as long as they don't get any smart ideas.

Salvia is a genetically modified human, at home in the oceans of Jupiter's moon, Europa. Intelligent, young, lonely, she demands that the mysterious "company" that employs her send a companion or she'll never work for them again. With no choice, the company creates Rhus, a young brash male. But a relationship that begins with mistrust ends up forging deep links between the pair and they look forward to a happy life together.

Unfortunately, Salvia's tactic of holding the company to ransom was not well received. While they may have introduced Rhus to Europa, the company are mulling over other options. Options that include the very real possibility of death for Salvia. Or Rhus. Or both.

[More below the cut]

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Gini Koch Features BLUE GALAXY Giveaway & Interview With Author Diane Dooley

Now playing: Gini Koch interviews Diane Dooley, author of BLUE GALAXY (Carina Press). While imbibing a gargleblaster (or three), you can also enter for a chance to win your very own copy of this space opera romance novella featuring a rare element: the story is told entirely from the hero's point-of-view (plus there's action-adventure, juicy plot twists, and yummy lovin').

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Sunday, May 8, 2011

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Forthcoming F/F Sci-Fi Romances: KS Augustin's WAR GAMES and Cathy Pegau's RULEBREAKER

How cool is this? Two f/f science fiction romances are hurtling down the pipeline within days of each other. KS Augustin (IN ENEMY HANDS) announced on May 5 that she will be releasing WAR GAMES, her f/f military sci-fi romance. She shared an interesting story about her decision to e-self-publish this story:

War Games started as a novella, then grew to about 50,000 words. I expanded it to about 75,000 words to get it up to novel length, submitted it to a publishing house and got an R&R (Revise & Resumbit) letter from them. Taking heart from their suggestions, I added another 27,000 words. The house accepted the revised novel BUT I wasn’t happy with some of the contract clauses. This is a tough one. Every author wants so badly to see their work in print. But the clauses were rather infantile (Do not say anything critical about the house to anyone! Well, what if they do something wrong? I’m not allowed to talk about it? And how enforceable is a clause like that anyway?) and they tied any future stories down to a mindboggling degree. I walked away. In the year that followed, I tried to get other publishers interested in War Games but I was told that f/f doesn’t sell very well. Oh dear.

Visit her site for the rest of the tale.

WAR GAMES is slated for an August 2011 release (you mean I have to wait a whole three months?! Wahhh!) Here's the story blurb:

What can you do when you start falling in love with the woman you’re meant to kill?

Laisen Carros is an agent of the Fusion sent undercover to infiltrate the Perlim Empire. However the years she’s spent impersonating military commander Cheloi Sie are starting to wear her down.

To Lith Yinalña, Cheloi Sie is nothing but a war criminal and Lith considers it her personal mission to kill the Colonel.

Unfortunately for Laisen/Cheloi, the Empire and an idealistic assassin aren’t her only enemies. When Laisen and Lith start falling in love, it’s only a matter of time before someone else notices. And acts.

***
And look! The WAR GAMES cover promises an interracial romance to boot.

August 2011 will also see the release of Cathy Pegau's f/f sci-fi romance RULEBREAKER (Carina Press). She recently shared the story blurb on her blog:

Liv Braxton, a small-time thief stuck on a backwater planet, takes on the gig of a lifetime filling in as executive assistant at Exeter Mining Company. Her job is to download incriminating files, but Liv finds herself unexpectedly torn when she falls for Zia Talbot, the beautiful and alluring VP she is supposed to betray.

I must say, I'm feeling quite warm and fuzzy about the fact that authors are willing to take risks to deliver a type of story that readers like me are eager to devour. Yes, I recognize I'm probably in the minority. But in a sea of stories that take a "safe" path to the HEA, it's refreshing to encounter a few that dare to plumb new depths.

Even if f/f is not your thing, you gotta hand it to authors like KS Augustin and Cathy Pegau because they clearly embrace innovation and fresh approaches to the subgenre--even if it means having to pursue alternate publishing options and risk the possibility of lower sales. Even more amazing is that these stories have a better chance of survival because of the market for ebooks.

Like, wow. That's the beauty of niche.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Saturday, May 7, 2011

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Gini Koch Sells German Rights For ALIEN TANGO

Gini Koch recently shared her exciting news that German publisher Piper will release "...the German language version of "Alien Tango" in April, 2012! That follows the German language version of "Touched by an Alien", retitled "Aliens in Armani", that's coming in October, 2011"

Congratulations, Ms. Koch!

In that same post, she also shared details about her KLB virtual tour for latest release, ALIEN IN THE FAMILY, with interviews and giveaways. Go forth and grabbeth a piece of Alpha Team action!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, May 5, 2011

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COBRA THE SPACE PIRATE: Adventuring Your Way Soon

Space pirate alert!

With the 2011 Cannes Film Festival set to roll out May 11, new projects are appearing tout suite. Among them, a big budget live action version of COBRA, helmed by Alexandre Aja, who directed the stylish HAUTE TENSION along with the more metroplex, mall-friendly THE HILLS HAVE EYES and PIRANHA remakes.

Here’s the poster, courtesy of la version française de Premiere.

Space Pirate Cobra

Hubba, hubba! This new reincarnation is hot beyond belief and I just had to share. I'd always thought the original character's looks were kinda sorta okay, but this poster had me salivating faster than a Pavlovian dog. As soon as I saw it, I turned to my husband and said, "Don't you think he's totally hot?" and my husband was like,

"..."

but I knew that's what he was thinking.

Anyway, in case you’re unfamiliar with manga artist Buichi Terasawa’s COBRA (and unless you're a card-carrying anime fan, there’s a good chance you are), think: A cigar-lovin’ James Bond/Han Solo in space meets TOTAL RECALL and THE BOURNE IDENTITY.

An ordinary guy (or is he?), takes a paid virtual fantasy vacation where he’s an ultra-alpha space pirate hero—only it later turns out to be true. He’s just forgotten he’s the dashing hero. He romances buxom blondes in space with his faithful partner Lady Armaroid by his side. Everything is very pulpy and very 70s, and I say that as a positive.

Oh, and he has a gun for his left hand—the “psychogun.”

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

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A Questionnaire For The Sci-Fi Romance Community

Recently, author Sharon Lynn Fisher forwarded me a request for information from a Danish student—for privacy purposes I’ll call him S.—who was interested in learning more about science fiction romance for a school project. S. sent Sharon a questionnaire, and asked if she knew of anyone else who could help him out.

After Sharon contacted me, I answered the questions. Once I realized how I involved I’d gotten in my responses (and believe me, I could have easily written a few more pages!), I asked S. for permission to share both his questions and my answers on The Galaxy Express. I thought S.’s questions were good food for thought and figured we could have a stimulating discussion/debate about them.

As S. is seeking upwards of 20-30 responses from a mix of authors and readers, I also thought there’d be a few folks who would be piqued enough to answer some or all of the questions right here in the comment section. Alternately, if you’d like to send S. your answers directly, contact me at sfrgalaxy “at” gmail.com (subject line: questionnaire) and I’ll send you his email.

Below are my responses to the questionnaire. Whether you agree or disagree, I’d love to hear your thoughts and I’m sure S. would, too! Thanks in advance to anyone who participates.

Do you think SFR is primarily a subgenre of science fiction or of romance, an independent genre of its own, or another option I haven’t mentioned?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

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SFR News and Links for May 2011


What a lineup! Our to-be-read piles are going to explode this month! Let's get straight to it.

THE FIRESTORM CONSPIRACY (romantic SF) - Cheryl Angst

One conspiracy. Two reluctant heroes. A meeting that will alter the fate of billions of lives…
THE FIRESTORM CONSPIRACY 
On long-term leave from the UESF, Fleet Commander John Thompson is drifting through life until an old war buddy-turned-politician swoops in and shatters his carefully constructed illusion of contentment. In fewer than fifteen minutes, John’s worries go from avoiding the attentions of a professor with marital baggage to saving the human race - again.

Done with ships, and space, and fighting wars, John insists on maintaining his civilian persona for the duration of the mission. However, adjusting to life on board a warship proves more complicated than he imagined. John is horrified to discover he actually enjoys aspects of a journey he thought would be hell.

Of course, anything that seems too good to be true always is. A disaster with a quantum generator vaporizes nine crewmembers—including the captain and executive officer. In addition, his secret is blown out an airlock when Diplomatic Officer Rebeccah Santiago gains access to his confidential records. 

With the mission on the line, John must decide: refuse to take command of the Firestorm and jeopardize the operation by allowing someone unqualified to take over, or take command and go against every vow he made after the war. 

Oh, and save humanity while he’s at it.


ENEMY GAMESMarcella Burnard 

Enemy Games
Kidnapped while combating a devastating plague, Jayleia Durante fights to resist the attractive Major Damen Sindrivik, an officer from a rival government’s spy corps. But with her spymaster father missing, and mercenaries hot on her trail, Jayleia must join forces with the magnetic, charming and manipulative spy. She must see past her desire and remember that his single-minded agenda is for the protection of the empire - not her or her people.

Damen knows a shadowy network of traitors has allied with the violent Chekydran, and that Jayleia’s father holds the key to dismantling that web. She becomes his only lead in a circuitous round of hide and seek and despite their opposing sides, he can’t resist her. Too bad his instincts tell him Jayleia is lying to him. 

Now Jayleia and Damen must find the love to match their passion and end the war or they’ll become the prey of the traitors they stalk, and one species’ civil war will consume the galaxy.

TABOO (re-release) - Leslie Dicken

Taboo Leslie DickenWhen two strangers meet by chance, their shared ecstasy challenges cultural differences and changes the course of their future.

Two societies have lived apart on a remote planet for generations. At the top of the Dwelling live the Aerotaun, people who have built wings to help them fly. The bottom is occupied by the Marimar, hearty swimmers who live and feed by the sea. Because of the mystery surrounding their ancestors’ landing, suspicions and distrust thrive between the cultures.

Until a taboo encounter occurs on an isolated beach.

Ariana, an Aerotaun, cannot resist the seductive allure of the forbidden Andreus. Their few days alone ignite sexual exploration and uninhibited ecstasy. But when Ariana finally learns the shocking secret about their purpose on the planet, she must decide if her heart belongs with her people or the sexy Marimar.


Blue GalaxyBLUE GALAXYDiane Dooley

Falling in love is easy; staying alive long enough to enjoy it just might be impossible.

Javan Rhodes, the hard-drinking, disreputable captain of space freighter The Kypris, took a mission to save himself from hitting the bottom of the food chain. Transporting Sola, a beautiful young aristocrat, from Earth to an unknown destination on the outer rim of the colonies is lucrative, but also highly illegal.

As tough as it is to evade both the law and the lawless, the hardest part of the job is not falling in love with his irresistible cargo. Just as he decides that he will never be able to hand her over to the warlord she must marry, he discovers that Sola has been playing a very dangerous game—one that could not only cost them their lives, but could also affect the balance of power in an increasingly dangerous universe.