Thursday, May 31, 2012

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SFR News & Links For June 2012

Thanks for coming aboard The Galaxy Express! Check out what's happening in science fiction romance this month:

New releases

UNDERCOVER ALLIANCE (erotic) - Lilly Cain

Book Three of The Confederacy Treaty Series

Sarina is scarred. Her L'inar, the curving nerve lines that enable Inarrii to experience their full sexuality, were severed in battle and she can no longer reach completion. Until she accepts a job as bodyguard to the human ambassador John Bennings, and is astonished to discover that they share a mental bond—a mirrored pathway of thoughts that will allow Sarina to climax.

When John's the target of an attack and they are forced into hiding, he's not sorry to be in close quarters with the compelling Sarina. They explore their erotic connection, and John is happy to demonstrate that humans have more sexual skills than Sarina thought.

To prove that she is whole and rejoin her Inarrii clan, Sarina needs John to bring her to climax in public in accordance with tradition. With a roomful of Inarrii and humans watching, will John be willing to perform as Sarina needs—and will their public display make John vulnerable to another attack?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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Two New Sci-Fi Romances From Jessica E. Subject, Plus Giveaway


Author Jessica E. Subject is heating up the cosmos this month with two new science fiction romances! Out today is SATIN SHEETS IN SPACE, an erotic m/f/m short story in Decadent Publishing’s 1Night Stand line.

And on May 30, her erotic science fiction romance AN UNEXPECTED RETURN (m/f) will be released under Decadent’s Elatia series (if you missed my cover reveal of the launch titles, click here).

To help celebrate these new additions to the SFR universe, the author came aboard for an interview. She’s also giving away an Amazon.com e-gift card to one lucky passenger (details follow the interview).

Let’s chug-chug away!

The Galaxy Express: Please describe SATIN SHEETS IN SPACE using six words.

JES: Danyka’s date – Alien abduction or paradise?

TGE: What’s the Hollywood elevator pitch for AN UNEXPECTED RETURN?

JES: Star Wars meets Pretty Woman

TGE: In general, what types of science fiction elements do you like to explore in your stories?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

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Bring On The Socio-Political Hot Stuff: Heidi Ruby Miller’s AMBASADORA


Heidi Ruby Miller is the author of the science fiction romance AMBASADORA. Recently, she and I had some fun reading each other’s respective ebooks and decided to blog about our experiences. Heidi tackled my erotic clockpunk romance THE WATCHMAKER’S LADY while I dove into her political thriller romantic SF tale, AMBASADORA.

We decided to structure our posts in a special way. We each created a selection of talking points about our stories with the goal of teasing out the underlying themes and layers of our respective tales in non-spoiler ways. Then we exchanged our lists. 

Heidi’s AMBASADORA talking points below make a handy reference tool both during and after reading the story. Following the talking points is my commentary on some of the elements in AMBASADORA that stood out for me.

Let’s launch this baby! Here is the story blurb for AMBASADORA:

Sara Mendoza is captured, tortured, and falsely accused of treason by the Embassy, but she is given a chance to win back her freedom. She only needs to charm information from one of the fragger leaders, then kill him. But by the time she figures out the Embassy's intel is flawed and that Sean Cryer is her true mark, she's already in love with him.

Sean knows why Sara is on his ship from the start, but as a lonely, anti-social doser, he doesn't value his life, only his ideology within the fragger organization. Against his better judgment, he becomes her protector, each day caring more about a future he was always afraid to hope for.

AMBASADORA Talking Points by Heidi Ruby Miller

Friday, May 25, 2012

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Happy 35th Anniversary STAR WARS!


STAR WARS 1977 PosterYes, the film that changed all modern filmdom—SF or not—turns 35 today.

Looking back, it’s hard to believe that so many studio heads were originally dead set against this movie. Now, it serves as the very template of what they’re looking for in a tentpole movie: Likeable characters we can relate to; great special effects with big explosions; merchandising opportunities out the gundark; etc. etc.

And yet, at the time, several studios turned it down, and some of the people at 20th Century Fox supposedly hated it so much while it was in production that they only referred to it as “that space thing.”

Well, “that space thing” changed modern-day films—for the better (and the worse). Here’s what I mean:

STAR WARS proved that SF films could make money—as in lots of money. As in, “we have so much money, we’re going to have to pay someone to burn part of it to make room for more” amounts of money.

The strong, personal dramas of the 70s..? Gone overnight. It was as if millions of directors’ voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced (or at least a few dozen off of Topanga Canyon Blvd.).

There's more the Jawas hath scavenged as well...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

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10 Random Thoughts About Science Fiction Romance



1) I love being pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of cool gadgets or tech. I feel entertained and smarter at the same time!

2) Inventive worldbuilding can excite me just as much as the romance or plot.

3) I just saw a new sci-fi romance cover with man tittyblatant marketing alert!and that style still doesn’t compute. The story premise, however, is right up my alley. Based on what I know about the author, the story will probably have high-octane action scenes. So why can’t the cover reflect that?
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Call For Sci-Fi Romance Release Information

I'd like to make sure my 2012 Science Fiction Romance New Release Roundup is current. Authors, if you have a science fiction romance coming out between now and December, please leave a comment with the title, subgenre, and heat level. Alternately, you can email me at sfrgalaxy "at" gmail.com.

If you have an SFR that released earlier this year and don't see it on the list, please let me know and I'll add it.

Thanks!

Heather

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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Introducing THE BLACKSMITH’S LOVER (Clockpunk Trilogy #2)

I’m excited to share the news that THE BLACKSMITH’S LOVER, the second novella in my erotic clockpunk trilogy, will release in July 2012 from Red Sage Publishing!

Here’s the story blurb:

The year is 1840. On the run after being caught in a scandalous incident, scullery maid Sarah Bailey must find refuge before her vengeful former mistress has her killed. When she stumbles upon a blacksmith’s shop in need of an apprentice in West Boylston, Massachusetts, she applies for the position.

Viktor is a brawny, reclusive blacksmith who creates strange clockwork and steam-powered devices. The gruff man makes it clear that Sarah’s plight is no concern of his, but ghosts from his past dictate otherwise. Viktor agrees to protect the spunky maid, but only until her trail of henchmen runs cold.

Sarah quickly discovers that the fire of this blacksmith’s forge runs volcanic hot. Unable to resist one another, she and Viktor begin a lust-filled affair. But how long will their idyllic arrangement last before Sarah’s former mistress destroys it?

***

Monday, May 21, 2012

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Two Comedic Sci-Fi Romance Films

I discovered a new trailer for Nacho Vigalondo's EXTRATERRESTRIAL, which I last blogged about back in September 2011. According to The Film Stage

Following up his excellent time-travel drama Timecrimes, everyone will finally be able to see the next film from Nacho Vigalondo. Extraterrestrial is a science-fiction film of sorts, but the kind you won’t find in your local multiplex. Favoring characters, this film is much more about relationships. While the ending is muddled and unsatisfying, but the journey is a fun one and one can read my TIFF review here.

Focus has now announced a VOD premiere this summer, along with a limited release backed by the newfangled Tugg system, where one can demand a screening in their hometown. We’ve also got a new trailer and poster, with the former selling it like some sort of sitcom.

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SFR News & Links Extra


Congratulations to author KC Klein, whose sci-fi romance, DARK FUTURE is a finalist in the Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal Chapter 2012 Prism Contest! (See her announcement Tweet here.)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

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Does Sci-Fi Romance Take Itself Too Seriously?


Once in a while I wonder if science fiction romance takes itself too seriously. I don’t mean should SFR be ha-ha funnier or do we need more comedic stories. Rather, my question is more along the lines of “Are we having all the fun we could be with this subgenre?” “Creatively, are we holding back unnecessarily?”

This is a challenging topic to articulate, so please bear with me as I’m going to approach it from another angle.

One of the strengths of science fiction romance is that many if not most of the stories are so very earnest in nature. Authors take both the subgenre and their stories seriously. I’ve seen amazing efforts by authors to incorporate believable scientific elements into their stories and to also ground them with themes, social commentary, and compelling characters. In my experience, even if stories contain throwbacky worldbuilding or implausible/fantastical science, sincerity oozes from every page.

In general, my reading informs me of a concerted effort to approach SFR from a place of respect. That’s a real strength because the subgenre offers so much diversity and has the potential for more. It’s part of what makes SFR unique. It’s why I keep reading it.

Sometimes, though, I wonder if the “serious” factor is holding the subgenre back.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

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In: Making Characters Suffer. Out: Letting Characters Off The Hook

I love lighthearted action-adventure stories, I really do. But lighthearted doesn’t have to mean lightweight. This distinction came to mind after I recently finished a sci-fi romance in which the climactic action scene was full of obstacles for the hero and heroine, and yet they overcame them completely unscathed.

The hero couple spent the entire scene avoiding dangers so expertly, in fact, that when a few bullets started flying at them, the scene crossed the line to boring. No one was injured. No one was captured by the enemy.

It was, in the words of Vader, "all too easy."

I was never concerned/involved/caring about the couple’s safety—even when the characters’ introspection “told” me I should be—and guess what—that’s when I started to worry.

In fact, it was a little bit like this scene from THE CRITIC with a review of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II:



See what I mean? Sometimes a hero or heroine can be too impervious to danger.

However, rather than rant about that disappointing experience, I decided to compile a list of sci-fi romances whose action scenes toward the end had high stakes and also felt weighty to me in some way. Meaning that the hero/heroine experienced setbacks that made me doubt their ability to overcome, which in turn ratcheted up the tension. Or that they had to sacrifice something important (e.g., safety, pride) in order to defeat the villain.

This is a short list because a) some books wouldn’t fall into this category and b) I’m using very specific—and also very subjective—criteria based on my personal reading experiences. I may very well come across other titles to add in the future. (The usual caveat: Your mileage may vary.)

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Breaking News: Blogger Laurie A. Green Signs With Literary Agent


Please join me in wishing blogger and aspiring science fiction romance author Laurie A. Green a huge congratulations for having signed with literary agent AmandaLuedeke of MacGregor Literary, Inc! Laurie blogged about the experience in her announcement post at Spacefreighters Lounge:

My agent search has been a long and challenging one, but I've always believed the right agent was out there--the one who could really get behind my work (and SFR)--and someday I'd hit the jackpot.

The manuscript that attracted Ms. Luedeke’s interest was P2PC. Here’s the premise as described on Laurie’s Web site:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

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An Open Letter to Marvel Studios and Edgar Wright: The Love Story of Ant-Man and the Wasp Is The Next Superhero Film You Should Make


I recently read in the May 18 issue of Entertainment Weekly that filmmaker Edgar Wright (SHAUN OF THE DEAD; SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD) “is developing an origin-story” of Ant-Man, one of the original founding members of the Avengers (p.6). Wright began his Ant Man project back around 2007. In July 2011, he delivered a third draft of the script to Marvel Studios.

The EW column explained that the first incarnation of Ant-Man was “…Henry Pym, a biochemist who discovered subatomic particles that allowed him to alter his own size.” He developed a “cybernetic helmet” which gives him control over ants.

You can read the detailed origin story here.

Now, I had known about Ant-Man, but what I didn’t know is that he fell in love with a woman who became a kick-butt superhero known as the Wasp. Here’s the summary from EW:

Janet Van Dyrne, a wealthy Jersey girl who wanted to avenge her father’s death, persuaded Henry Pym…to expose her to “Pym particles.” As a result, she was transformed into the Wasp, sprouting wings and gaining the ability to shrink to insect proportions. She teamed up with Pym—even marrying him at one point—and coined the moniker “Avengers.”

According to Wikipedia, the Wasp was “Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in Tales to Astonish #44 (June 1963).” You can read about her origin story here.

Janet Van Dyrne is also one of the founding members of the Avengers. According to EW, there are no plans to make a film based on the Wasp, nor have I seen any information to indicate she will be in the Ant-Man film.

I’m sorry…WHAT?!

Friday, May 11, 2012

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Crowdsourcing "Near Future Romances" At CONTACT - Infinite Futures

At CONTACT - Infinite Futures, Ella Drake (METALMARK) is blogging about "near-future, lab enhanced humans":
Specifically, looking at near future, lab enhanced humans, there are several successful series that I’d consider SF but are marketed YA, paranormal or UF right now, but folks ARE reading and buying Sci-Fi Rom, even if they don’t know it.
Darn straight! I think near-future SFR, with genetically enhanced characters or other kinds, is ripe for exploring. I love a rollicking space opera adventure but I also dig stories closer to home. I keep wondering why we don't see more near-future settings in this subgenre, especially since some of them have cross-over appeal for superhero fans.

Near-future stories also lend themselves to a variety of tags and genre labels (e.g., suspense, thriller), so it could also be a case of meeting readers where they are comfortable. For example, a book could be recommended as a "near-future suspense with romantic elements." Publishers wouldn't use that phrase on the spine of a book (at least, I think it's a pretty safe guess), but it's a useful description when one is hand-selling titles.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

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Tagging Angelia Sparrow’s ADVENTURESSES

ADVENTURESSES is a collection of new and reprinted f/f erotic speculative short stories by Angelia Sparrow:
Ten tales of lesbian adventure take you from the far reaches of the galaxy to the science fiction convention down the road, from a steampunk west to a world where the Confederacy got nukes. Come along and fall in love with a waitress or a pirate or Medusa herself.

I’ve been wanting to read more lesbian sci-fi romance, so having enjoyed the author’s erotic steampunk romance SKY RAT I was excited to learn that her latest release featured such stories.

As far as reader expectation, my thought is that ADVENTURESSES makes for a fun way to sample Angelia Sparrows' work. This is an eclectic mix of stories and the writing consistently popped. The collection is not just about adventuresses—it’s for adventurous readers who enjoy stories beyond the mainstream.

While some form of romance is present in all, the short form might present a challenge for readers who want something meatier.

All of the stories have erotic elements. That said, the erotic aspects range from mild to sizzling. Since the erotic element cuts across all the stories, I thought I’d have a little fun tagging other aspects, especially since many of the tales feature detailed worldbuilding. Here they are in the order they appear in the anthology:
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Blogging at Heroes & Heartbreakers

In honor of Mother's Day (May 13), I revisited the topic of moms in science fiction romance at Heroes and Heartbreakers: Moms of the Future: Why Are There So Few Moms in Sci-Fi Romance?.

Cover art by Dan Dos Santos

Also, the SFR Brigade posted the latest list of science fiction romances that are ready to be tagged at Amazon.

And at CONTACT - Infinite Futures, author Robert Appleton (PREHISTORIC CLOCK) continues the conversation about female action heroes in Milla vs The World:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

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Ella Drake At Paranormal Romantics

Author Ella Drake is blogging at Paranormal Romantics where she's now a regular contributor! While there you can also enter for a chance to win a copy of her latest sci-fi romance adventure, DESERT BLADE.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

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Interview With Pippa Jay, Author Of KEIR


KEIR by debut author Pippa Jay is now out from Lyrical Press! It’s always exciting to discover another author who decided to write a science fiction romance. Plus, color me giddy with anticipation about diving into a new story.

I invited the author aboard to discuss her novel-length book. But first, here’s the cover and blurb for KEIR:

Outcast. Cursed. Dying. Is Keir beyond redemption?
For Keirlan de Corizi--the legendary 'Blue Demon' of Adalucien--death seems the only escape from a world where his discolored skin marks him as an oddity and condemns him to life as a pariah. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise: Tarquin Secker, a young woman who can travel the stars with a wave of her hand. 

But Quin has secrets of her own. She's spent eternity searching through space and time with a strange band of companions at her back. Defying her friends' counsel, Quin risks her apparent immortality to save Keir. She offers him sanctuary and a new life on her home world, Lyagnius. 

When Keir mistakenly unleashes his dormant alien powers and earns instant exile from Quin's home world, will she risk everything to stand by him again? 

***

And now discover what Luke Skywalker, mitochondrial mutations, and freestyle street dances have in common:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

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Now Showing: MIDNIGHT JUSTICE, Samhain Publishing's Superhero Romance Anthology

In light of THE AVENGERS breaking records and sweeping the box office this weekend, I thought that now would be a perfect time to share the link to an in-depth interview at The Book Pushers with editor Sasha Knight and the authors of Samhain Publishing's new superhero romance anthology, MIDNIGHT JUSTICE (May 2012).

The Midnight Justice Anthology will feature three novellas: Blade of Moonlight, Breaking Bad, and Superlovin’ by authors Jodi Redford, Vivi Andrews, and Kimberly Dean.
The post has the 411 on how the anthology evolved as well as the sparkly covers. Happy reading!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, May 3, 2012

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Heroines Can Be Heroes, Too

The May 4, 2012, issue of Entertainment Weekly features an interview with Joss Whedon and the cast of THE AVENGERS. At one point, the interview turned to the topic of female superheroes:

[EW:] There are a lot of female superheroes in comics, but why so few on film? Joss, you tried to make a Wonder Woman movie for several years, right?

Whedon: Studios will tell you: A woman cannot headline an action movie. After The Hunger Games they might stop telling you that a little bit. Whatever you think of the movie, it’s done a great service.

That exchange made me feel intensely emotional. I was hit with a one-two punch of a) hope at the prospect of cinematic change that THE HUNGER GAMES might usher in for female movie action stars and b) oppression upon being reminded about the toxic message that a woman can’t.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

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Blogging At Heroes & Heartbreakers About Steampunk & Paranormal Romance

I'm at Heroes and Heartbreakers blogging about steampunk romance and why it has yet to follow the successful path of paranormal romance. The reasons are many; however after much reflection I uncovered one key factor that differentiates these two subgenres. The discussion is heating up and I invite you to share your opinion on the subject!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

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SFR News & Links For May 2012


From space opera to steampunk and from sweet to sizzling, the science fiction romance releases this month offer something for everyone!
New releases
HEART OF BRASS (steampunk romance) - Kate Cross

A Novel of the Clockwork Agents
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Blog Tour Schedule For Pippa Jay's KEIR


Pippa Jay's debut science fiction romance KEIR is out this month (May 7) from Lyrical Press and she's celebrating with a blog tour and giveaways! Pack your bags and here's the itinerary:

May 1st-14th

1st - guest post on Writing Demons into Science Fiction with Chantal Halpin

2nd
- guest post on “Casting Keir” with Lauri Owen & interview on the TBR blog

3rd
- guest post on Tattoos at Kerrianne Coombes blog

4th
- guest post on Time-Travel with Gayle Ramage