Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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Coming Soon: Suzanne Brockmann’s BORN TO DARKNESS

Suzanne Brockmann’s BORN TO DARKNESS (any relation to Sherrilyn Kenyon’s BORN OF NIGHT? Ha ha. I kill me.) will be released in just a few weeks on March 20. Brockmann is the author of the popular Troubleshooter series. As far as I know, she’s known for writing action-packed, thriller/suspense style romances. BORN TO DARKNESS is the first in her Fighting Destiny series. Does anyone know if this series is her first foray into sci-fi romance?

One thing SFR author Linnea Sinclair always used to say (and maybe still does) in various public forums was how her science fiction romance books would appeal to Suzanne Brockmann fans. I agree; however, the challenge was making them aware of Ms. Sinclair’s work.

In light of Suzanne Brockmann’s forthcoming SFR, I now find that situation a little ironic. If readers enjoy BORN TO DARKNESS, will they look beyond the Brockmann brand for other, similar science fiction romance titles? While I have doubts about the theory of a single book leading the charge from niche to mainstream, one can always hope.

On the author’s Web site, there are two blurbs for BORN TO DARKNESS, a short one and a long one. Here’s the short one:

Monday, February 27, 2012

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Cover Reveal: REBEL SOULS by D.L. Jackson

Forthcoming science fiction romance releases are shooting fast and furious down the pipeline these days! The one I'm sharing with you today is D.L. Jackson's REBEL SOULS, a military SF erotic romance (release date TBA; Decadent Publishing). Readers can expect a gritty, high-octane action-adventure tale that features an intense love triangle.

Here's the cover:


I checked with the author and the cover reflects the love triangle, not a menage. I love how the heroine takes center stage! She can kick my butt anytime.

D.L. Jackson recently posted the story blurb, which you can read here.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Sunday, February 26, 2012

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In Praise of “Below-decks” Characters

In my previous post, Should Science Fiction Romance Take More Risks, Diane Dooley expressed her interest in reading about

Less "important" characters: By which I mean "the little people." More below-decks engineers and less spaceship captains, for example.

I like the idea of “below-decks” characters, especially in terms of their occupations. There’s a lot of variety of which to take advantage. So why don’t we see them more often?

Friday, February 24, 2012

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Free Romantic SF Ebook Alert: SPLINTERED ENERGY by Arlene Webb

Arlene Webb's SPLINTERED ENERGY, an "...Earth based sci-fi/suspense/romance novel...," is currently available for free at Amazon (Kindle edition).

Happy reading!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, February 23, 2012

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Going Beneath The Covers Of Leslie Dicken’s THE IRON HEART

The Iron Heart by Leslie Dicken recently came out from Samhain Publishing. As a fan of steampunk romance, I looked forward to reading this book. “Iron” in the title? Check. Cool steampunky heroine on the cover? Double-check.

After finishing this novel-length ebook, I was kind of shocked that the blurb, tags, and excerpt on Samhain’s site barely hinted at anything more than the basic premise—especially given the various elements I encountered in the story. I’m already a steampunk romance devotee, but what about readers who might have overlooked this story because they lacked key information?

This is one of those times when it’s up to readers to uncover what’s really happening beneath the covers (heh!) of a romance adventure. With that in mind, I am here to tag The Iron Heart for you and present an interview I conducted with the author.

 But first, the story blurb:

His greatest creation could be the death of them both.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

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An Interview With MECHMAN Author L.J. Garland

I enjoy discovering new-to-me authors and therefore was excited to read MECHMAN (L&L Dreamspell) by L.J. Garland. Before I dig into some tags, here’s the story blurb:

Raven is on a suicide mission. Jex is a biomech on a mission to save humanity. They discover their mutual passion to destroy the enemy isn’t their only desire.

A war against the Darch has raged for years, and humanity is on the verge of extinction. Scientists have created biomechs to supplement as warriors, but it’s just a temporary fix on what appears an insurmountable problem. One desperate scientist injects JXS241, a biomech warrior, with what he hopes is the solution for mankind’s survival. But the biomech is captured by the enemy.

Raven Nirvanni survives on the fringes of a shattered culture. While on a self-imposed suicide mission to annihilate an enemy destroyer, she encounters the imprisoned biomech. Deciding the fate of humanity far outweighs the destruction of a single ship, she rescues him and decides to ensure he reaches his destination.

With the enemy anticipating their every move, Raven is completely taken aback when she realizes she’s falling for JXS241. But can she really love a machine? And if so, can he reciprocate?

***

Below are some non-spoiler tags that stood out to me as I read this story:

Monday, February 20, 2012

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RT Book Reviews Hosting Giveaway For Kristen Callihan's FIRELIGHT

Kristen Callihan's debut novel FIRELIGHT recently caught my attention because of its firestarter heroine. This is especially so since I had read Corrina Lawson's PHOENIX RISING a few months ago (that book features a firestarter hero).

As far as a marketing category, FIRELIGHT is a historical paranormal romance (Victorian setting), but I can't help wonder from the blurb if it has a superhero/X-Men element. Has anyone read it who can fill me in?

Anyway, the other reason I wanted to bring it up is that RT Book Reviews is hosting a fun giveaway for this book. Visitors to the RT site can enter for a chance to have a character named after them in the author's next book, MOONGLOW. (I seem to recall a certain science fiction romance author who did just this sort of thing with her books *cough*Linnea Sinclair*cough*.)

Visit the announcement post at RT Book Reviews for complete details.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Sunday, February 19, 2012

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SFR News & Links Extra

I discovered a few fun and informative posts recently and therefore would like to share them with you:

At Backward Momentum, Graylin Fox recently featured an Ode to Farscape. Seriously, there can never be too many odes to FARSCAPE.

At Paranormal Romantics, author D.L. Jackson (THIS ENDRIS NIGHT) asks What’s in a Cover? (FYI she kindly included an image of QUEENIE’S BRIGADE in her roundup!)

Pauline Baird Jones has been busy! STEAMROLLED won a 2011 CataNetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award in the Single Titles category. Way to go! Currently, she's blogging about steampunk, romance, and reader expectation.

What I particularly like about steampunk (besides playing with goggles and automatons and airships and hosing my characters) is that it is a genre that didn’t come out of New York publishing. It came from the grassroots of readers and artists and cosplayers. It is, for the most part, a genre without boundaries and rules, one fueled by the grassroots. 

Which makes it particularly ironic when anyone states that a piece of made up fiction broke the rules or isn’t steampunk because it did or didn’t have this or that.

And you can now watch the fun & quirky book trailer for KICKING ASHE, her forthcoming romantic SF release, at her site.

At (I might as well go three for three!) Spacefreighters Lounge, author Pippa Jay (KEIR) wants to know, How Alien are your Characters?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

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Benevolent Sexism and Science Fiction Romance

Many years ago, in my 20s, I visited New York City with some friends. While perusing a row of street vendor tables* in Times Square, I somehow got into a debate with one of the vendors about hand-to-hand combat.

You see, this man was of the opinion that a woman could never beat a man in a fight. As in never, under any circumstance. At the time, I wasn’t fully aware of the sexism dynamic in an academic sense, but I remember that his arrogant attitude and harmful black-and-white thinking making me feel extremely angry and also crushingly devalued as a woman. I remember thinking something to the effect of, “If only I had a black belt in karate, I could prove this asshat completely wrong.”

Fast forward to the present. I still don’t have a black belt in karate, but via a thread at Dear Author, I came across an article at Scientific American.com recently on the subject of benevolent sexism. I found this article very enlightening. In 1996, a report on a study done by Peter Glick and Susan Fiske stated that

We define benevolent sexism as a set of interrelated attitudes toward women that are sexist in terms of viewing women stereotypically and in restricted roles but that are subjectively positive in feeling tone (for the perceiver) and also tend to elicit behaviors typically categorized as prosocial (e.g., helping) or intimacy-seeking (e.g., self-disclosure) (Glick & Fiske, 1996, p. 491).

[Benevolent sexism is] a subjectively positive orientation of protection, idealization, and affection directed toward women that, like hostile sexism, serves to justify women’s subordinate status to men (Glick et al., 2000, p. 763).

When I found the article, I was in the middle of reading UNLEASHED (Carina Press) by C.J. Barry. During the course of the story I realized that some of the subtext involved confronting benevolent sexism.
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Sci-Fi Romance Teaser: WHISTLING DIXIE By Serenity Woods


I was playing catch up at the Lyrical Press blog and discovered an announcement for one of the publisher’s forthcoming releases: WHISTLING DIXIE by Serenity Woods. The story takes place in a near-future, post-apocalyptic setting—specifically, New Zealand (how cool is that?).

New Zealand: Home of the Shire
I contacted the author about her book and she kindly provided me with an exclusive teaser blurb to share with my passengers:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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Pheobe Conn Workshop on Writing Sci-Fi Romance

I just discovered a posting at Savvy Authors about a workshop being offered in March 2012 by author Pheobe Conn (a.k.a. Cinnamon Burke): The Sky's the Limit: Writing the Futuristic Novel.

Here's an excerpt:

Instructor: Phoebe Conn. PHOEBE CONN is the author of five Futuristic romances, written under her own name and also as Cinnamon Burke. A fan favorite, she’ll share her secrets for writing an unforgettable Futuristic romance.
 
 Learn how to analyze your ideas to select the best and turn your first book into a series. When THE SKY’S THE LIMIT, set your imagination free to create larger-than-life characters with wrenching conflicts to overcome. We’ll compare our impressions of popular films with Futuristic elements, THE TERMINATOR and AVATAR as well as other favorites. Those who wish to share their work for comments may do so, but there are no specific writing assignments required for the class. This is a four week course. Lessons will be posted on Monday and Wednesday. Friday will be reserved for questions and the sharing of students’ work.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

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Cattification powers...activate!

You know you've made it when Writer & Cat cattifies your book cover! Check out the cattification of my forthcoming erotic clockpunk romance, THE WATCHMAKER'S LADY. And the revamped blurb is truly the cat's meow!

May the purr be with you.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

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Come Join Backward Momentum's Valentine's Day Bash


Backward Momentum is hosting it's first annual science fiction romance themed Valentine's Day Bash!

Throughout the day, science fiction romance authors will be sharing a variety of posts relating love and science. Be sure to check them all out, as they are offering great prizes. And don't forget, your comments on each post count as entries toward the Grand Prize Draw!! (Only one comment per blog post, please.)

I'm blogging about The Top Ten Reasons To Fall in Love in Outer Space. And if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win an e-copy of my military science fiction romance, QUEENIE'S BRIGADE.

But that's not all! There are lots of other cosmically cool posts and prizes going on. Check 'em out:

Arlene Webb
Graylin Fox
Barbara Elsborg
Laurie A. Green
Jessica E. Subject
Jaleta Clegg
Rebecca Royce
Pippa Jay

Lovingly yours,

Heather

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An Interview With WARS OF THE HEART Author Inari Gray

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a new science fiction romance? Exactly! Today is the release day for Inari Gray’s WARS OF THE HEART (Freya’s Bower). And such an apt title!

To help celebrate the release and spread the news, Inari Gray came aboard for an interview so we could get the scoop on her book. But first, here’s the story blurb:

Someone has been tampering with Earth's Ozone Shield, and judging from the malfunction locations, Intergalactic Diplomat Katherine Morgan is convinced it's more than a mere technical glitch. Worried for the health and safety of her people, she petitions the Peace Keeping Intergalactic Council to conduct a full investigation and offer any kind of assistance Earth might need in the event of an ambush.

Unfortunately, the only assistance they can offer is in the mercy of the impetuous King of Salatiel, a man whose heart Katherine stomped on more than ten years ago.

The terms of the arrangement? Force an alliance, get Ja-el Lamar to yield at the threat of losing his kingdom. She didn't take into account how treacherous it would be, faced with everything she thought she no longer cared about, everything she left behind.

Meanwhile, Ja-el has an agenda of his own. He hates the Peace Keeping Intergalactic Council and everything it stands for. He's never trusted those in power there and he certainly won't start now. Especially not when they're sending Katherine Morgan in his direction. A woman he vowed to never see again. Whom they all know has the power to destroy him.

And now my interview with Inari Gray:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

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Should Science Fiction Romance Take More Risks?

Whenever I read positive comments about science fiction romance online (whether in the form of a particular book or the subgenre in general), it’s a guaranteed recipe for the warm and fuzzies. I like, feel all proud and stuff! Naturally, I could go for that kind of fix on a daily basis, because what that would potentially translate to is more reading choices.

The reason I’m bringing all this up is that for a while now I’ve been contemplating the various ways science fiction romance could stand out more among all the other books and genres competing for readers’ attention. One idea that I circle back to from time to time is the idea of sci-fi romance stories that take bigger risks, prompt controversy, and/or push genre boundaries in serious ways.

The risk/controversy could be anything. Perhaps it’s the way a story reinvents a particular romance trope or maybe it’s one that features a high concept premise. Or an old premise/element in new clothing. Basically, anything that gets readers talking and the buzz buzzing.

The book doesn’t even have to be above average or great. Many readers seem to love reading and discussing controversial elements in books even if the story has significant flaws. The important factor is that such a book has the power to entertain.

I hadn’t planned on blogging about this topic anytime soon, but a review of R. Lee Smith's HEAT at Dear Author prompted me to go ahead and share my thoughts.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

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Winner of KC Klein's DARK FUTURE

The winner of KC Klein's DARK FUTURE is...

Claudia Suarez!

Congratulations, Claudia! To claim your prize, please email me at sfrgalaxy "at" gmail.com (subject line: Dark) and I'll forward your email to the author. Please specify whether you prefer a Kindle or Nook format.

Thanks again to everyone who entered!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Friday, February 10, 2012

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Cover Reveal: KICKING ASHE by Pauline Baird Jones

Pauline Baird Jones has unveiled the cover for KICKING ASHE (March 10, L&L Dreamspell), Book 6 of her Project Universe romantic SF series!

Here's the cover:


This cover has a very "alternate dimension" feel to it, which is a perfect fit given what I've read of the series. The clockwork/time travel device in the background also lends it a very "Journey To The Center of The Universe" flavor. If I ran into something like that while traveling aboard my space ship I would totally freak out and love it at the same time. Gargantuan alien time clocks can beam me up anytime, yessiree.

I wouldn't have minded seeing Ashe on the cover, but given how difficult it is to find images of futuristic women that don't fall into the Barbie Sex Doll mode, I can understand the decision. Project Universe has strong SF elements and the cover suitably reflects that.

Here's the story blurb for KICKING ASHE:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

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Link Potpourri: Real-Life Female Action Heroes, Mom Heroines, & Futuristic Families

I’ve come across some interesting articles recently and would like to share the links with you.

The first is courtesy of author Joel Shepherd (CROSSOVER) who presents an awesomesauce rundown of real-life female action heroes. These are the type of women whose careers not only make for exciting reading, but who would also inspire some great sci-fi romance heroines.

The second link is from the blog Pharmacon, which is the domain of author T.C. McCarthy (THE LEGIONNAIRES). He wrote a post about Women in Military Science Fiction (cont) – What About Moms?

Confession: I have no idea how rare middle aged women are in science fiction. But I do know that off the top of my head, I can’t think of any mom heroins [sic] except for Sarah Connor.

That’s okay, Mr. McCarthy—I got your back!
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Blogging at Heroes & Heartbreakers: The Bounty Hunter Edition

I'm blogging about Hunting For Love: Space Bounty Hunters at Heroes and Heartbreakers. Characters like Boba Fett are cool, but sometimes I want to know about their love life. Hello, science fiction romance!

Happy reading!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

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Jessa Slade Dishes About HOTTER ON THE EDGE, A New Sci-Fi Romance Anthology, Plus Giveaway

Check this out: authors Jessa Slade, KC Klein, and Erin Kellison banded together for HOTTER ON THE EDGE, a science fiction romance anthology. Well done, Ladies!

I learned about this anthology while on Twitter, so needless to say I am loving what these social networking sites are doing for SFR.

And it gets better: HOTTER ON THE EDGE is only 99 cents at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords! The authors informed me that this is a limited time price, so grab yours before the cosmic winds drive this sweet price away.

Here’s the lowdown on the stories:

Three novellas of science fiction romance

On the edge of space...
On the edge of danger...
On the edge of desire...

All That Glitters by Erin Kellison

Cheated out of a fortune by the Sol royal family, lowborn Simon Miner will do anything to get his revenge, no matter how ruthless. When Princess Mica Sol, a terraforming expert, is shot out of the sky on the way to her sister’s lavish wedding, she fears the worst—scavengers—and flees into an alien jungle to avoid capture. But the man who pursues and captures her is none other than Simon, her former lover. Passions reignite as violence rocks Sol City, and Simon and Mica must fight for love, family, and their world… or lose everything.

To Buy a Wife by KC Klein

In a harsh land where corruption rules and women are few, cold realist Hudson Land must purchase a wife to save his farm. Instead of an auction, he witnesses the start of an execution. With his first look at a beautiful woman in years, Hudson knows he has to have her—no matter the cost. Lake, a chemist and a rebel fighter, is resigned to her death, but when some back-hill farmer rescues her from the chopping block she has no intention of simply becoming his wife. She’s pledged her life to the Rebellion and being bought for some stranger’s bed doesn’t change a thing, though his soft caresses have her longing for more. As lies and secrets build between them, are the quiet moments during the nights they’ve shared enough to stand against two warring factions in a world where only the strong survive?

Enslaved by Starlight by Jessa Slade

Transformed by empathic crystals into the perfect paramour, Benedetta Galil is the last treasure of her fading world. When raiders attack—seeking to corrupt the crystals and conquer all of charted space—she gives herself as a prize to the one man in the universe who values freedom over power. Mercenary sheership Captain Corso Deynah left oppression behind him on a burning planet and has no use for a sex slave, even one as seductive as Benedetta. But while he stubbornly resists her body, her fierce spirit tempts him, and he will risk everything—his ship, his seclusion, the very stars—to win not just her passion but her love.

Jessica Slade generously answered my questions about this project so that I could share even more information with you. Following the interview is a giveaway of KC Klein’s sci-fi romance, DARK FUTURE, so read on!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

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On Sex Scenes and The Male Gaze: Diane & Heather Chat About Robert Appleton's SPARKS IN COSMIC DUST

Every now and then I read a book and think to myself: Ooh, I HAVE to get Heather’s take on this. We don’t always agree (in fact, it got me killed one time), but the discussions are always so much fun. SPARKS IN COSMIC DUST, a recent book by Robert Appleton, had me running to the computer to e-mail Heather. A wonderful book chat ensued. This is not a review; rather it’s an analytical discussion about certain elements that we realized affected us both in similar ways.  

Beware The Massive Spoilers, including the ending. You have been warned! – Diane Dooley

Friday, February 3, 2012

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Blogging About Steampunk At Erotic Romance Publishers

I had the pleasure of doing a guest blog for Erotic Romance Publishers. The topic is Erotic Steampunk Romance: Fad or Forever? In my post, I explore how erotic steampunk romance must become more than just a sex toy of the week. If it doesn't, it risks becoming just another fad.

I invite you to join in the conversation! While you're there, hang out and explore Emily Veinglory's extensive resource of news and information on erotica and romance publishing.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

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A Cover Unveiling From Entangled Publishing: FORTUNE'S HERO by Jenna Bennett

Entangled Publishing has unveiled the cover for Jenna Bennett's forthcoming military sci-fi romance, FORTUNE'S HERO. Check it out:


And here's the story blurb:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

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Free Ebooks! Low cost Sci-Fi Romance! Fill up your Kindle!

Blogs listing ebook deals are the latest trend. But whenever I see a list including free romance ebooks (or low cost 99-cent ones), I rarely, rarely encounter any science fiction romances on the list. Therefore, I decided to compile one myself.

But as soon as the idea struck me, I was a little worried. Were there even enough out there for a substantial list? If not, no wonder bloggers aren't including this subgenre. You snooze, you lose.

Despite my trepidation, I did find a handful of them. However, it’s a shame I couldn’t find more. I know authors have little to no control over pricing (except those with self-published books), but I think a few 99-cent or free SFR titles a month would give the subgenre an advantage in terms of boosting visibility.

Consider this my appeal to publishers of sci-fi romance to make that happen—as well as to authors who are willing to ask their publishers to discount one or several of their titles. And you may have to ask more than once. Squeaky wheel and all that.

I realize that slashing prices is a very different mindset compared to even just a few years ago. And there would be risks. Still, I don’t think the risks are so significant that it’s not even worth trying.

Listed below are Kindle editions of a few free and 99-cent sci-fi romances I found on Amazon. Some are released through publishers; others are self-published; still others are re-releases. Many are erotic sci-fi romance. If Amazon Prime membership is required in order to take advantage of a low/free price, I flagged it with “*Prime.”

Titles are listed alphabetically by author.

These prices are current as of this posting. Please do your own research before buying because as with anything, the prices are subject to change anytime.

This post is not an endorsement of any of the titles; however, it is an attempt to help keep your book budget under control!