Tuesday, January 31, 2012

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SFR News & Links For February 2012

Wow, if this is the science fiction romance action that February is delivering, I can't wait to see the rest of the year!

New releases (check out all the heroine-centric covers!)

PREHISTORIC CLOCK (steampunk w/ romantic elements) – Robert Appleton


Airship officer Verity Champlain is well-respected by her crew. But after a vital mission nearly goes wrong, she is having second thoughts about her career.

Lord Garrett Embrey is on the run. The Leviacrum Council, the secretive scientific body that holds sway over the Empire, executed his father and uncle and now they want him dead too.

Professor Cecil Reardon is consumed by grief. Since his wife and son died he's been obsessed with his work, and now he is on the verge of an extraordinary scientific breakthrough: his machine is about to breach time itself, to undo fate's cruel taking of his loved ones.

But the time jump doesn't go according to plan, and part of London winds up millions of years in the past. Verity and her crew—Lord Embrey, Professor Reardon and others stranded with them—must pull together to survive in a world ruled by dinosaurs...and to somehow get home.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

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The Hollywood Elevator Pitch: Useful For Sci-Fi Romance?

While on Twitter in the recent past, I noticed Entangled Publishing's Senior Editor Liz Pelletier using a Hollywood elevator-style pitch for two of the publisher's forthcoming releases.

The first (scroll down to view cached tweet) was about Candace Havens’s Western steampunk romance, IRON WITCH (what did I tell you about “iron” being the new buzz word for steampunk romance?!), which she described as “Supernatural meets the Wild, Wild West.”

Firefly Cast


The second was Jenna Bennett’s sci-fi romance, FORTUNE’S HERO, which she described as “Firefly w/ special forces training.”

This is technique goes way back, of course, but seeing it applied to science fiction romance books got me thinking:
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Winner of Yolanda Sfetsos's CLASH

The winner of CLASH and WITHER by Yolanda Sfetsos is...

Ella Drake!

Congratulations! Ella, to claim your prizes, please email me at sfrgalaxy "at" gmail.com and I'll forward your email to the author. Subject line: Clash.

Thanks so much to everyone who entered!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, January 26, 2012

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Lyrical Press's "Advance Contest" Plus Dragonfairy Press Open For Submissions

Via Dear Author, I learned about Lyrical Press's Advance Contest:

Lyrical is ringing in the new year with a contest! Beginning January 15, Lyrical is accepting submissions (synopsis and full manuscript – following usual submissions criteria found on the website). The editorial department will review the entrants and choose the winners. Entries accepted until February 5 and winners announced around March 12.
Prizes are:
  • 1st prize—a contract and $200 advance (100 payable on contract and 100 payable upon publication)
  • 2nd prize—contract and $100 advance (50 payable on contract and 50 upon publication)
  • 3rd prize – likely multiple – critiques of partial manuscript and synopsis by Lyrical editors.
  • Categories: Contemporary Romance; Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Romance, Historical Romance, Steampunk with Romantic Elements and Erotica (all genres). They are looking for all heat levels and romance with the exception of Steampunk (romantic elements) and Erotica.
  • Deadline: January 15 - March 12 2012
  • Send all submissions to: contest@lyricalpress.com
There is no entry fee. It does mean that Lyrical can choose not to read/judge an entry based on whether it fits Lyrical’s lines and level of writing.
Isn't it cool that they'll consider all heat levels? Hurry, though, the deadline is fast approaching. Submission guidelines are here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

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An Interview With "Celestial Seduction" Author Jessica E. Subject, Plus Giveaway


Decadent Publishing is currently hosting a Speculative Fiction Blog Tour. In light of the event, it was a great opportunity to interview Jessica E.Subject, an author who debuted with a sci-fi romance short story called “Celestial Seduction” in June 2011. Since then, she’s been on a cosmic roll, having since contracted three more stories in the subgenre. Woo-hoo!


To refresh your memory, here’s the story blurb:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

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Cover Reveal: THE WATCHMAKER'S LADY

I'm excited to share the cover for my forthcoming erotic clockpunk romance, THE WATCHMAKER'S LADY (Clockpunk Trilogy #1):

Cover design by Lyn Taylor

I do believe the stars were aligned as this cover was born! It truly was a case of synchronicity because cover designer Lyn Taylor included elements that foreshadow some of the story's content. I had the fortune of contributing input, but only did so in a broad way. Ms. Taylor pulled it all together and came up with a design that is a strong representation of the story.

Notice the cover's focus on the heroine. I know the trend is for hot man titty covers, so I especially appreciate Red Sage's support for a cover that spotlights this story's extraordinary heroine. (And the fact that she resembles Angelina Jolie has got to be a bonus, LOL!) The clockpunk elements are front and center and also help convey the sensuality of the romance.

Those are my thoughts. What do you think about this cover?

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Release Day Fun: Yolanda Sfetsos's CLASH Giveaway

Yolanda Sfetsos has a new science fiction romance out today, and it's called CLASH (Samhain Publishing). To help celebrate the release, I have a double giveaway for you: The author has donated copies of her ebooks WITHER (Book 1) and CLASH (Book 2) for one lucky passenger!

Contest details are below. First, here's the story description for CLASH:

When revenge, secrets and lust collide, there can only be chaos.

Recast, Book 2

Jenks Maine is dead, but the devastating effects forcing Recast to fight in the arena goes on. Half-Recast Ace Abu is determined to put a stop to it. All he needs is to get to the planet Fray, locate the concealed Clash Arena, and destroy it. But first he has to cross half the galaxy before the sound and smell of his partners’ nonstop lovemaking drives him mad.

By the time he parks himself on a barstool in the town of Grit, he’s more than ready for a few beers. Except the sexy singer on stage is only making him—and his inner beast—burn hotter.

Ely’Shea longs for the freedom Jenks stole from her. She’s his right-hand woman, but when the boss is away she steps out of her enforcer role and ducks into a remote bar to indulge her passion: singing onstage. The night she catches a glimpse of an alluring cowboy in the audience, he ignites a spark inside her she never thought she’d feel again.

Unable to resist temptation, they’re consumed by passion…but once the fuses are set, their deepest personal secrets could blow any chance of forever all to hell.

***

If you'd like to be entered into the contest, Yolanda Sfetsos has a question for you:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

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Blogging At Heroes & Heartbreakers

I have a new post up at Heroes and Heartbreakers: Androids Have Delicious Despair Moments, Too: Alpha by Catherine Asaro.

The focus is on a pivotal moment in the book that yields delicious despair for the reader. I invite you to share it with me; however, if you haven't read ALPHA, but plan to, then please be aware that there are some spoilers. I didn't give away the ending or anything, but I did describe a key scene. If you have read it, then I hope you'll have fun re-experiencing that moment!

I knew I'd have to re-read ALPHA to research it for this post. Frankly, I had such a thrilling experience the first time that I was a bit worried the story wouldn't be as good the second time around. Fortunately, the opposite was true. I enjoyed the book as much as--if not more than--the first time I read it.

I recommend ALPHA if you're a fan of anti-heroines, androids, May-December romances, seasoned military heroes, fighter jets, nanotechnology, cyberpunk elements, high-tech weapons, and near-future suspense stories. It's all in there!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Friday, January 20, 2012

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Grand Central Publishing Launches Digital-First Romance Imprint

Via Dear Author (via the press release):

Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, announced today that it will launch Forever Yours, a new digital imprint, in February 2012.  The imprint will publish two to four e-book titles a month, featuring both new, original works and classic romance titles from Forever’s rich backlist.  Jamie Raab, Executive Vice President and Publisher, and Beth de Guzman, Vice President and Paperback Editor-in-Chief, made the announcement.

The first two e-books on the list are EMBER by Kristen Callihan, a gothic historical romance prequel to the author’s debut novel,Firelight; and ONCE UPON A WICKED NIGHT by Jennifer Haymore, a historical romance novella set in the world of the author’s bestselling Donovan series.

Amy Pierpont, Editorial Director, Forever, will oversee and direct the imprint. “With the growth of the e-book market, and the success of romance e-books, which always top the e-book bestseller charts, this is a tremendous opportunity for authors and readers,” said Pierpont. “We are excited to discover new voices in romance, and introduce readers to an exciting array of stories across all genres—contemporary, historical, and paranormal.”

Forever Yours will be accepting submissions from agented and unagented authors alike, and publishing short-form novellas (10,000 to 50,000 words) as well as longer length novels (up to 100,000 words).  Submissions can be sent toforeveryours@hbgusa.com.

I hope that by "paranormal" they also mean science fiction romance! Good luck to anyone who submits, and please do let me know if you succeed!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, January 19, 2012

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Space War Sci-Fi Romances: The List

A little green space alien grabbed my ear and said it would be fun to crowdsource a list of science fiction romance books that take place before, during, or after an intergalactic/interplanetary war. Who am I to argue?!

What actually prompted this post was my thought that despite the popularity of STAR WARS and other similar fare, not every science fiction romance puts its hero and heroine smack dab in the middle of a space war. Some stories focus on the political unrest leading up to a war; others take place during a war; while yet others occur shortly after a war has ended (but the peace is usually a shaky one).

I can understand the choice to set a story or a series before or after a war. It can narrow the scope and allow for a tighter focus on the romance. Intergalactic wars, on the other hand, can be sprawling, messy affairs (so I’ve heard) and finding a good balance between the romance and the action-adventure/political elements has got to be challenging (especially since shorter stories seems to be the default for ebooks currently). And I’m hard pressed to choose among the many possibilities I’d like to read regarding a wartime sci-fi romance—I want ‘em all!

Anyway, I came up with a short list to get us started. It’s based on books I’ve read or books I know about that feature the space war element in a significant way. There are many sci-fi romances with a space opera setting, so apologies in advance if I overlooked an obvious title or two (but hopefully not three, heh!).

 If you'd like to suggest titles, I’ll add them to the list!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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Hanging Out At SF Signal's Mind Meld

SF Signal's latest Mind Meld tackles the topic of Current Politics in SF/F. The question: "How should SF writers respond to the politics of their time, if at all?"

I contributed an answer and the panel also includes esteemed participants Paul Graham Raven, Rachel Swirsky, Peter Watts, and Chris N. Brown.

I invite you to visit and share your thoughts on the issue!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

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The Nerd Hero, Kick-Butt Heroine Dynamic

Author Zoë Archer, in a post at the Carina Press blog titled In Praise of Nerd Heroes, describes the hero and heroine of her latest release, the science fiction romance CHAIN REACTION.

What drew my attention in particular was the following part:

Of course, I’m also talking about a romance hero, so my favorite nerd heroes can also kick butt. It wouldn’t quite work if the heroine had to keep bailing him out, would it?

A fascinating question, indeed, and one I’d like to tackle. :)

My first reaction was hmmm, why wouldn’t it work? What if the heroine did keep bailing out the hero? Is such a scenario really that invalid for a sci-fi romance? Assuming a nerd hero partners with the heroine in key ways and is not a placeholder a.k.a. failed hero, what kind of story could successfully feature a kick-butt heroine and a non kick-butt nerd hero?

Monday, January 16, 2012

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Winner of Jenna McCormick's NO LIMITS

The winner of Jenna McCormick's NO LIMITS is...Gail Hart!

Congratulations! To claim your digital copy of NO LIMITS, please email me at sfrgalaxy "at" gmail.com (subject line: No Limits) and I will forward your email address to the author.

Thanks very much to everyone who entered, and especially for your enthusiastic participation.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Sunday, January 15, 2012

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Jacking In To Tag Jeanette Grey's UNACCEPTABLE RISK

I’m totally jazzed about the fact that I’m starting to get caught up with my TBR pile. While ebooks have a nice long shelf-life, it’s still fun jumping into titles on or shortly after their release dates.

To wrap up my recent foray into cyberpunk romance, I’d like to tag Jeanette Grey's UNACCEPTABLE RISK for you. To refresh your memory, here’s the story description for this e-novella:

She may learn to live for love…if vengeance doesn’t kill her first.

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.

***

Here are my non-spoiler tags, in no particular order:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

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Guest Blogging At Babbling About Books, And More!


I'm jazzed to be participating in the "Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event," which is hosted by Katiebabs at Babbling About Books, and More! My topic is F/F Sci-Fi Romance: The New Frontier and I invite you to join the conversation.

In my piece, I spotlight two books: RULEBREAKER by Cathy Pegau and WAR GAMES by KS Augustin.

Happy reading!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Friday, January 13, 2012

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An Interview With Jenna McCormick By Diane Dooley, Plus Giveaway


Diane Dooley: Congratulations on your new release, No Limits. Tell us about its journey to publication.

Jenna McCormick:  Thank you! Jenna McCormick is a recent persona. I’m actually published under my non-erotic handle, Jennifer L. Hart. Some of my books are self-published, some are small press published, a few are e-press published. Every book made the rounds with literary agents and editors, but none managed to snag enough interest to take me to the next level.  Then in September of 2010, I went on a writing retreat dubbed the Sanibel Word Orgy. This was the first time I’d ever spent so much time around other writers and it helped me to realize I was holding back. That’s why Jenna’s bio reads Born on Sanibel Island, because I really was!

Dooley: No Limits has a plethora (and a diversity, may I say) of hot sex scenes. Which is your personal favorite?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

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Vampires In Spaaaaace! Nina Croft’s BREAK OUT

Back in September 2011, I blogged about romances that fused SF and paranormal elements. In the comment section, I wrote this:
I was thinking the other day about what a vampire-in-space story would look like. Many stories feature vampires who are hundreds of years old, but as far as a specific title featuring a (non-alien) vampire in a far future setting, with romance, none are coming to mind.

I would definitely check out such a story, but at the same time, I think it'd mess with my mind, LOL! I guess a lot would depend on the execution, and the mindset toward the supernatural in that time period. What kinds of themes could be explored in such a story?

Lo and behold, in December, Marlene Harris, the super librarian behind Reading Reality, tipped me off about Nina Croft's BREAK OUT (Entangled Publishing). This novella features a vampire in space and is the first book in the author’s Blood Hunter series.

Naturally, I had to check it out. I was interested in seeing what an author might do with a supernatural vampire in a futuristic setting. What follows are a few (non-spoiler) thoughts I had about the vampire-in-space component.

Here’s the least you need to know:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

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PERFECT SENSE: An Apocalyptic Science Fiction Romance Film

I was fooling around at apple.com/trailers yesterday and discovered the trailer for PERFECT SENSE, a film that blends SF and romance. I love stumbling upon sci-fi romances like this!

The film’s tagline is “Without love, there is nothing” and stars Eva Green and Ewan McGregor. It debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and will release in US theaters in February 2012.

Here’s the set up courtesy of a review of the film at DIY:
It is a bizarre mixture of science fiction and romance, set in a near future where a rapidly moving and mysterious plague is gradually robbing the world's population of each of their senses. Epidemiologist Susan (Eva Green) and chef Michael (Ewan McGregor), who both consider themselves immune to love, meet amid the slow disintegration of the world this causes, and despite their cynicism eventually fall in love.
And here’s the official trailer:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

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SFR News & Links: Fairytales, Pitches, and Lesbians

Ahoy there, space cadets!

Heroes and Heartbreakers initiated a series of posts about fairy tale themes/stories in romances and YA books. Naturally, the first thing that came to my mind were the futuristic fairy tales of Ella Drake, namely JAQ'S HARP and BRAIDED SILK. I invite you to read my spotlight on these books. The post is called Twisted Fairytales Biopunk Theater Presents: Ella Drake's "Future Tales."


Thursday, January 5, 2012

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On Forced Seduction In Science Fiction Romance

A few weeks ago, a little birdie kindly sent me a print copy of Gennita Low’s VIRTUALLY HERS (2009) to recycle the book. (I lurv going with the green, baby!) I noticed the story had a cyberpunk-military SF combo for the win, so I decided to check it out even though this is the second in a series that begins with VIRTUALLY HIS (2007).

Samhain Publishing describes VIRTUALLY HERS as “Romantic Suspense,” but there are very strong erotic elements as well. Surprisingly, the story begins with lots of worldbuilding and military acronyms. I mean, like wall-to-wall. Okay, so that’s taking a risk and I love a good risk in sci-fi romance, cool beans.

But then…but then…one particular scene of forced seduction came along and I had to put the book down for some serious reflection on what I had just experienced.

Please note that I fully support readers who enjoy a forced seduction fantasy in romance. I've enjoyed a few myself. Ultimately, this post isn't about VIRTUALLY HERS. Rather, my experience with the part of the book I read is a jumping point for me to share my thoughts on the topic of forced seduction in a futuristic/alternate tech-based setting. This story took the forced seduction trope in directions I never anticipated and really made me think about some of the ingredients that go into a successful erotic sci-fi romance.

[Mature content advisory—adults only] [Beware spoilers] 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

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Superhero Romance Power, Activate! Form of: Tags!*

I’d been craving superhero romances, so after I read two of them recently, I decided to get tag-happy! Below are my impressionistic tags of HEROES WITHOUT, MONSTERS WITHIN by Sheryl Nantus and PHOENIX RISING by Corrina Lawson. Despite falling into the same superhuman category, the two books are very different.

Following each story blurb are my tags (non-spoilers except for one, which I flagged). Your mileage may vary, but I hope the information helps you in your science fiction romance reading journey.

HEROES WITHOUT, MONSTERS WITHIN
by Sheryl Nantus

Fight alone, die alone.

Blaze of Glory, Book 2

In the weeks since Jo “Surf” Tanis and her rough-and-tumble band of super-powered actors broke free of the government-sponsored superhero show, they’re all still dealing with the aftershock of adjusting to this thing called reality.

It doesn’t get much more real than a mission to dig survivors out of what’s left of Erie, PA, after a mysterious earthquake. A trembler that powerful is as out of place as Jo feels as the de-facto leader of the troupe. Not to mention the soul-shaking feelings she has for Hunter, a team member whose past as an Agency Guardian casts a heavy shadow over any possible relationship.

It seems one of the supers, an earth-warper named Ground Pounder, has gone rogue, using his freedom from the Agency’s brand of virtual slavery to put the “villain” back in supervillain. Failure to find him before any more innocent bystanders are hurt means the team could be back under the Agency’s thumb.

It’s a burden that doesn’t rest easy on Jo’s shoulders...especially when the man who’s invaded her heart is caught in the crossfire. 

***

HEROES WITHOUT, MONSTERS WITHIN is book two of the author’s Blaze of Glory series, which began with—wait for it—BLAZE OF GLORY. In the first book, readers learn about Jo Tanis’s superhero origins and the development of her superhero league, The Protectors. I strongly recommend that you begin this series with BLAZE OF GLORY. Still, many of the tags below apply to both books.
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Jenna McCormick's "No Limits Blog Tour": Enter To Win a Kindle Fire!



Starting today, author Jenna McCormick is celebrating the release of her erotic science fiction romance, NO LIMITS, with a groovy blog tour. Throughout the tour, she's giving away copies of NO LIMITS and also a grand prize of a Kindle Fire! (Entrant participation is required, but it's easy).

You can view the complete details and rules for the contest at her SFR Brigade announcement post. Here are the tour stops:

January 3: Writers Gone Wild.
AND an Interview at Kylie Griffin's Blog
January 4: No Limits for the Naked New Year Blog and A Giveaway! (Doubled up with the New Years Blog Hop)
January 5: Frances Pauli Blog Interview and A Giveaway
January 6: Book Lovers and A Giveaway
January 7: SOS Aloha
January 9: Jeanette Grey Blog and A Giveaway
January 10: Kaye Manro Blog and A Giveaway
January 11: Interview at Believing is Seeing and A Giveaway
January 12: Smart Girls love SciFi and Paranormal Romance
January 13: Interview at the Galaxy Express and A Giveaway
January 15: Space Freighters Lounge

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Sunday, January 1, 2012

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2012 Science Fiction Romance New Release Roundup

Danger Planet by Justin Burks

Dearest passengers, welcome to the New Year, and to a new round of fun, adventurous science fiction romance stories!

In this post, you’ll discover a formidable list of forthcoming 2012 sci-fi romance books. Most of the titles are digital-first. Content ranges from romantic SF to erotic SFR. I included brief tags based on what I know for many of them. For complete details, visit the author/publisher Web sites.

This list is a work in progress and subject to change since I’ll be updating it throughout the year. I divided the titles by month of release and listed them alphabetically by author. For future reference, you can go to my sidebar under “SFR New Releases” and click “2012 Releases” for an easy jaunt to this year’s list.

As always, if anyone knows of titles or brief tags that belong on this list, please leave a comment or email me at sfrgalaxy “at” gmail.com.

Let’s blast off!