Tuesday, July 31, 2012

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SFR News & Links For August 2012



The number of science fiction romance releases may be on the thin side this month, but that doesn’t make them any less awesome!

New releases

CIRCUIT THEORY (cyberpunk; m/m) – Kirby Crow and Reya Starck 

Dante and Byron are avatars. Driven by human beings, yet still only digital representations of their ideal selves. In reality, they live far apart, but share most of their waking and working hours together in a virtual world called Synth.

In Synth, like in most code, the laws are infinitely more simple and infinitely more complex. Navigating the system rules of virtual lovers is like steering through a minefield of deceit, suspicion, heartbreak, and half-truths.

Under pressure, Dante makes a friendship that trips Byron’s warning bells, disrupting their carefully-ordered lives and calling into question the wisdom of trusting your heart to a man you can never touch in the flesh.

Read the excerpt.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

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Steampunk Romance Watch – July 2012


I learned about two forthcoming steampunk romance releases and wanted to share them with you.

HER SKY COWBOY (The Glorious Victorious Darcys #1) – Beth Ciotta (Signet, November 6, 2012)

Amelia Darcy has no interest in marrying well. Her heart belongs to the sky and the dirigibles of brass and steel that swoop over Victorian England. But when her father, an eccentric inventor, dies, the Darcy siblings are left with scrap metal—and not a penny to their names.

Their only hope to save the family reputation and fortune is to embark on a quest to discover an invention of historical importance in honor of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Armed with only her father’s stories of a forgotten da Vinci workshop, a mechanically enhanced falcon, and an Italian cook, Amelia takes flight for Florence, Italy.

But her quest is altered when her kitecycle crashes into the airship of ex–Air Marshal—and scandalous dime novel hero—Tucker Gentry. Tuck agrees to escort Amelia to her destination, but the two are challenged by political unrest, a devious sky pirate, and their own sizzling attraction. Soon the pair is dragged into an international conspiracy that could change the course of history...again.

My commentary: The premise sounds really fun and the heroine comes across as having both agency and purpose. The hero’s occupation is a nice twist.

I like the color scheme of the cover, but I wish the poses were more natural. The models look so stiff and inert, which makes it a challenge for me to engage in the fantasy. This sounds like an action-adventure story, and I wish the cover reflected that more.

The heroine-centric aspect is a plus, though!

(thanks to Katiebabs of Babbling About Books, and More! for the info)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

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PRINCE OF GEMEN Winners

The Randomizer hath spoken and the winners of D. G. Novak's PRINCE OF GEMEN are...

Lisa C and Liz S! (love the symmetry of your names there!)

Winners, please contact me at sfrgalaxy "at" gmail.com to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, July 26, 2012

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The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee: Classic of Science Fiction Romance? by Diane Dooley


[Heather’s note: I had read THE SILVER METAL LOVER some time ago and enjoyed it very much. Strangely, however, I had never blogged about it at length before. So when TGE regular contributor Diane Dooley approached me about doing a post on it, I jumped at the chance.]


I often think of science fiction romance as a shiny new genre, ripe with infinite possibilities. I’m wrong. It does have infinite possibilities, but it’s not new. It has its own rich history and those of us who aspire to write it would do well to investigate our forerunners. One such classic of science fiction romance is The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee. It has long been on my list of books I really need to read, yet it was a happy accident that led me to finding it recently.

On vacation in a book-stuffed cabin on a lake in Canada, my husband handed me a much-thumbed, brown-paged, coverless paperback of this book. “Looks like your kind of thing,” he said, grinning, as I swooped on it with excitement. I fully expected to love it to bits. I didn’t, but it was one of the most interesting reading experiences I’ve had in a while. Let me explain.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

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An Interview With Author D.G. Novak, Plus Giveaway

Author D.G. Novak has been busy, busy, busy at work on a science fiction romance universe she’s named the Shadrani Series. Here’s the introduction from her site:

Imagine a people so attractive, so vital, so sexually enticing that they have been hunted, enslaved, and persecuted for over five hundred years. Imagine that there are creatures from all over the universe who would kill to own them. These are the Shadrani. 

The author has written and re-released/self-published four of a planned multi-book series. She goes on to explain that she “…created a world that is a challenge to long held beliefs about sexual stereotypes, gender roles and sexuality in general...”

That’s a curiosity-building statement if there ever was one, especially since sci-fi romance is well-suited to embracing diversity and challenging our assumptions about exactly those things.

The Shadrani Series launched with PRINCE OF GEMEN. Book four, STE. CLAIRE, releases July 30. I invited D.G. Novak aboard so she could tell us about her series. Following the interview are the details of the giveaway, so read on!

The Galaxy Express: What inspired you to write the Shadrani series?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

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To Host A Blog Tour Post Or Not To Host?


Increasingly this past year, I’ve been approached by authors of sci-fi romance for blog tour spots. That’s been one indicator that more science fiction romances are being published, which is great. However, I haven’t fully committed to including blog tour posts on a regular basis for the simple reason that I don’t want to overextend myself.

In general, I still only blog about three times a week because I like to put as much effort as possible into my posts. And while a guest post doesn’t require that much extra time, they could quickly add up. I’m also not sure that I want to risk supplanting my regular blogging days (Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday) with too many guest posts.

Therefore, as a rule, I’ve been declining author requests for guest posts. I’ve done interviews, of course, since that’s a feature I’ve been doing from the beginning. Little bit of a loophole, there. ;)

Another reason I’ve been reluctant to go the blog tour route is because I’ve seen too many posts that are obvious rush-jobs or scant in nature. Sometimes they are little more than a paragraph about some topic and then the rest is blatant promotion. I tend to feel cheated if that’s the case, especially when a particular post title caught my interest.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

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Sandra McDonald Contributes Sci-Fi Romance To WAR AND SPACE: RECENT COMBAT Anthology


File this one under ain’t it awesome news:


I recently learned that author Sandra McDonald (THE OUTBACK STARS) contributed an original sci-fi romance short story to the recent anthology from Prime Books, War and Space: Recent Combat (May 2012; edited by Rich Horton and Sean Wallace). For a full description as well as the table of contents, visit the spotlight at SF Signal. And here’s a link to the (much cheaper) Kindle edition.

As far as I know, all of the stories are reprints—with the exception of Sandra McDonald’s story! "Mehra and Juin" is in the “Enemy Mine” vein, but with an SFR twist. Here’s the blurb:

Two enemy soldiers, stranded together with no hope of rescue, seek peace.

The short is about 2k words long and includes Sandra McDonald’s signature touches including an adorable sidekick. Despite the short length, she doesn’t skimp on worldbuilding. If you’re a fan of her Outback Stars Trilogy, then you’ll definitely want to check this one out.

I’ve only read “Mehra and Juin” courtesy of the author’s generosity, but this anthology strikes me as a collection of interest for fans of military SF who also enjoy sci-fi romance. The roster of contributing authors is certainly impressive.

It sure is interesting to discover where sci-fi romance turns up! Happy reading!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Saturday, July 14, 2012

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Author Melisse Aires On Self-Publishing, Plus A Free Kindle Ebook!


[Heather’s note: I’ve been following the recent self-publishing adventure of science fiction romance author Melisse Aires. When the rights of one of her books reverted back to her, she gave it a new name, a shiny new cover, and re-released it through Amazon. 

During subsequent email exchanges, she shared some of the details of her experience with me. I was amazed at her results and thought her strategy might be of interest to authors and readers, especially at a time when the fiction distribution system is rapidly changing. Therefore, I invited Ms. Aires to blog about her findings and she generously agreed to tell the story behind her new self-publishing venture. 

Plus, details follow the post regarding how you can obtain one of her free sci-fi romance ebooks at Amazon! (limited time offer)]

Sea Change, My Journey to Self Publishing

A few years ago I started a series I was excited about. Stand alone scifi romance stories set in a wide, wild galaxy. Four brothers to start with, then later I would match make all their friends in this open ended series I called Diaspora Worlds. But due to the roller coaster ride that is digital small press, I ended up with the rights back to a 35k novella, originally titled Cybot Awakens, actually the first in the series. I had moved on to new stories so it just sat in my cloud of writing files. One day I would get around to doing something with it.

I had heard of self publishing, even had an out-of-contract short story on Amazon and Smashwords. It made a tiny bit of money but nothing exciting. One day an online cover artist mentioned she had a sale so I went and looked. One of her covers looked just like the couple in my novella. I commissioned a cover and even got it at a sale price!

So then I had the book and the cover sitting in my cloud. I was working on a SFR shifter story and in general keeping busy. I’d started a story about Genteel Ladies with robotic parts, for fun. But I got stomach flu so stayed home from the Day Job one Wednesday. Why not upload the book to Amazon? So I did, with a new title, Her Cyborg Awakes. Amazon had a program with free promotion days, maybe I could use the novella for a little free advertising. I set it up to run for free over Memorial Day, which just happened to be the upcoming weekend.

It did well for free! I ended up with 6k free downloads. It also picked up about five reviews, good ones, a better amount than any of my other Kindle books received. My other books also had a boost in sales.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

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HAPPY ACCIDENTS: A True Sci-Fi Romance Gem



My new favorite science fiction romance film is HAPPY ACCIDENTS (2000). OMG THIS FILM IS SO AWESOME!!!


Written and directed by Brad Anderson (of SESSION 9 fame—at least, I hope he’s famous for that haunting, suspenseful film!), HAPPY ACCIDENTS stars Marisa Tomei and Vincent D’Onofrio as Ruby and Sam, a couple swept away in a unique, mind-bending romance. The setting is contemporary and the plot is full of twists—not the least of which is one in the time travel mode.

Here’s the setup:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

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Ex Libris’ “The Romance and Me Reading Challenge 2012”


Stella of the blog Ex Libris has a very cool feature called "The Romance and Me Reading Challenge 2012." Each month she’s focusing on a different romance subgenre. Click here to see the schedule.


And this month the focus is on steampunk romance (and Stella generously gave two of my books a mention)! I’m working on a guest post about steampunk romance for Ex Libris that will run later in July and will let you know when it goes live.

There are also giveaways galore, so head on over for some fun!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Monday, July 9, 2012

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Interview & Giveaway At Book Lovers, Inc.

The terrific team behind the book review blog Book Lovers Inc. kindly invited me to participate in an interview there today! They're also hosting a giveaway, so head on over for a chance to win one of two digital copies of my erotic clockpunk romance, THE BLACKSMITH'S LOVER.


Plus, in the interview I compiled a list of some of my favorite cult films. If you've seen any of these, I'd love to get your take on them!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Saturday, July 7, 2012

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THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF FUTURISTIC ROMANCE: Coming January 2013


Coming January 2013 From Running Press

Back in October 2010, I asked the following question: “Where is ‘The Mammoth Book of Sci-Fi Romance’?” It seemed then—and still does—as though there has been a “Mammoth” book of everything except this particular subgenre. Plus, sci-fi romance anthologies have historically been few and far between, so having another one on the shelf would be a reason to celebrate.

Still, knowing that so many obstacles face science fiction romance, I wasn’t holding my breath about editor Trisha Telep (or anyone else) releasing one.

Fast-forward to last night: I was doing some research for a post and had reason to visit author Linnea Sinclair’s site. In her “coming soon” section I discovered this interesting bit of news:

MAMMOTH BOOK OF FUTURISTIC ROMANCE
Trisha Telep, editor
Release date: January 2013
"Seven Months of Forver" by Linnea Sinclair - a new Sass and Kel-Paten, Games of Command short story!
"Macawley's List" by Linnea Sinclair

Additional stories by Jess Granger, Leanna Renee Hieber, C.L. Wilson, Susan Sizemore, and more!

So, like, wow! Nearly (only?!) two years after my post, THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF FUTURISTIC ROMANCE is forthcoming from Running Press in paperback format. It's even available for pre-order on Amazon. Further research revealed that authors who contributed to this anthology, such as Jess Granger, began blogging about the news as early as April of this year.

Actually, that's not the whole story. Here’s what I mean:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

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Sexy, Futuristic Undersea Adventures


King Titan is da manI mean, fish man

 As a diehard fan of Gerry Anderson’s STINGRAY, I’m a guaranteed lover of any science fiction romance that takes place underwater and/or features aquatic characters. STINGRAY featured a mermaid heroine and lots of wild-looking ocean creatures both good and evil. The show is highly fantastical, but that’s what I love about it. So if a science fiction romance were to take that route, I have already bought into the concept hook, line, and sinker. (Could resist going there, heh heh.)

Of course, there’s a difference between the child in me who enjoys STINGRAY-inspired stories and the adult me who expects at least a modicum of plausibility—or at least a great BS device. In terms of plausibility, aquatic characters are a big logic leap. I mean, we’re basically talking futuristic, gill-bearing fish people here.

Creating believable aquatic heroes and heroines poses a number of challenges. It probably goes without saying that most of these characters will be humanoid in nature. But even so, readers will want to know specific details about them. How did they evolve? If they didn’t evolve, how were they created? In what ways are they similar to fish or other aquatic life and in what ways are they different? How do all the various human and fish parts fit together? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What do these characters have to say about gender identity, sexuality, and gender roles (i.e., hopefully something beyond the heteronormative default)?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

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Diane Dooley Interviews KC Burn About Sci-Fi Romance 'N' Stuff

Read the blurb & excerpt.
Dooley: Tell us about your books, KC. What do you write?

Burn: I write gay romance or male/male romance, also called m/m.  Within that, I’ve written contemporary, science fiction, paranormal and historical.  The running theme, though, is romance.  I love giving people happily ever afters.

Dooley: Why m/m? What is its particular appeal to you?

Burn: There were a number of aspects that influenced why I started writing m/m, but the underlying premise is that I believe love between consenting adults should be celebrated, regardless of gender.  In terms of craft, I’ve always found writing from the male point of view more comfortable, so books where both romantic leads are men seem to coalesce more easily into a story.

Dooley: What was your first published piece?

Burn: MIA Case Files: Wolfsbane, from Loose Id.  It’s a paranormal romance with werewolves (as I’m sure is obvious) but in my book, I go back to the classic, in a way, with werewolves as the bad guys.

Dooley: What is your most recent publication?

Burn: My most recent is a sci-fi romance called Alien ‘n’ Outlaw from Carina Press.  It’s my first stab at alien loving, and it was a blast.

Dooley: Which authors inspired you to write?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

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SFR News & Links For July 2012


Greetings! Unless a meteor hits planet Earth tomorrow, I’m happy to announce that The Galaxy Express is *mostly* back from hiatus. Over the next month, my goal is to ease back into the swing of things starting with one or two posts per week. Thanks so much to all of my passengers for your patience during my time away.

Seeing as we’re in a new month, I thought it’d be apt to kick things off with a sci-fi romance news and links roundup!

New releases

LETHAL BEAUTY (erotic) - Sarah Brookes


As a covert operative in Elatia’s elite military, Sway Waybourne is used to fending for herself. But a powerful rebel uprising means she’s now responsible for guarding the leader of a neighboring planet. Within seconds of meeting Dason Cavaletti, sparks fly and Sway realizes she’s gotten more than she bargained for—Dason is her mate. After a merciless firefight forces the duo to escape Elatia, there isn’t much to do but hide and wait. Both soon find out that simply twiddling your thumbs during the pull of a powerful bond isn’t as easy as it looks.

Dason is curious about the arousal taking over his mind, body and soul. When he can no longer stand the overwhelming desire, he confronts Sway. But the disturbing news she delivers isn’t at all what he expected. Unleashing their intense passion for one another could kill Dason. But just as their craving reaches a boiling point, the rebels discover their location. It’s a battle that will alter lives and forever change the path of an entire generation.