Thursday, November 29, 2012

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Science Fiction Romance Cover Déjà vu

Berinn Rae's COLLISION, meet Jessica E. Subject's AN UNEXPECTED RETURN (Folks, I just can't resist this kind of stuff!):
 
Sienna Wolfe knows it’s going to be an interesting day when a man with golden skin and strange tattoos crashes in her backyard… and ends up tied to her bedposts. She likes her life just the way it is – simple, easy, relaxed. But when the gorgeous new alien in her life asks for her help in an inter-galactic war on a collision course with earth, she can’t say no… but she’ll soon wish she had.

The U.S. military has figured out they have uninvited company, and they’re not happy. Sienna knows it won’t be easy protecting earth from an alien invasion, but she refuses to back down. Now it’s up to Sienna to pull off the impossible: save the world and – hopefully – live a little happily ever after.

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10 Things I Appreciate About Science Fiction Romance



Here are 10 things that I really appreciate about science fiction romance:

* Quite a few authors of science fiction romance tackle subversion in various ways, e.g., characters, themes, and/or settings.



* SFR meets readers’ needs for stories that feature eclectic/weird/off-the-beaten-path elements. This is one of my favorite ways to broaden my horizons!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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Blogging About A GALACTIC HOLIDAY At RT Book Reviews


I joined forces with authors Stacy Gail, Sasha Summers, and Anna Hackett to spotlight A GALACTIC HOLIDAY (Carina Press) at the RT Book Reviews blog! This title is a holiday themed science fiction romance anthology. Since these types of releases are still pretty rare I'm excited about the chance to showcase it in collaboration with RT. Happy reading!


Joyfully yours,

Heather

Sunday, November 25, 2012

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BLACK LIGHTNING: The Best Film About A Flying Volga Ever!



I first blogged about the Russian film CHERNAYA MOLNIYA, a.k.a. BLACK LIGHTNING, back in 2009. If you’ll recall, this film is a superhero adventure tale featuring a flying car—a “black 1966 GAZ 21 Volga,” to be exact. But it also has a heaping helping of romance! Here’s the trailer (it’s the lame American DVD/Blu-ray release version, but it shows the story pretty well):


One of the original Russian trailers is here.

I’d been wanting to see this film ever since I first heard about it—preferably for free in order to keep my budget in check. Imagine my delight when I discovered the title on Netflix while taking advantage of a free trial. Boo-yah!

Now that I’ve seen BLACK LIGHTNING, let me tell you just how much I adore it. Wow, what a lot of fun! The story hit all of my action-adventure buttons in just the right way. Some of the special effects were a little old school, but frankly that was a big part of the appeal. It's entertaining in the "you can't take this seriously" way that producer Timur Bekmambetov (NIGHT WATCH) loves to serve up, and it features some nice photography by DP Sergey Trofimov.

During the film I was bouncing in my seat at times. Okay, most of the time. So what was it about this film that gave me such a buzz?

Friday, November 23, 2012

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Bring On The (Non) Kick-Butt Sci-Fi Romance Heroines!




Kick-butt heroines in science fiction romance are ubiquitous and perhaps even the default type of heroines for this subgenre. However, they’re certainly not the only type of heroine SFR has to offer.

Still, it can be challenging to create an SFR heroine who is dynamic and compelling without having to rely on flashy kung fu or other combat skills. She needs to equally drive the plot forward (both romance and external if there is one) rather than just be a sidekick/love interest/sperm depository for the hero.

Once I started thinking about this topic I wondered about the general description for heroines who don't kick any ass. The “non-kick-butt” only tells us what they aren’t rather than what they are. Sometimes they’re quiet with great inner strength; others are brainy and experts in their fields (e.g., cyberpunk heroines). Also, they can have extraordinary qualities (e.g. cybernetics, psychic abilities, alien physiology) but not be kick-butt. Is there even a name for them? Or maybe “kick-butt heroine” is simply a tag to denote a heroine with that ability. Everyone else is a “heroine.”

Simply because a heroine isn’t kick-butt doesn’t automatically translate to an incomplete character. My reading in the past year has included lots of these heroines so here’s a roundup of what struck me about them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

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Trailer For Stephenie Meyer’s THE HOST. Ummm…

The first meaty trailer for Stephenie Meyer’s THE HOST is out and the science fiction romance vibe is super strong. Check it out:



The tone of the trailer is in line with what TGE guest contributor Agent Z said about the book when she profiled it here back in 2008:

Without giving away too much of the ending I have to say that yes, this novel most definitely meets this definition [of SFR]. The entire plot is driven by the refusal of one woman to give up on love. The earlier scenes, as Melanie introduces Wanderer to the nature of her love for Jared, and her desperate longing for him, are among the best in the novel. In the end, the future of Earth and the survival of humanity come down to one thing–love.

And now an adaptation of the book is poised to hit theaters, which is great. However--and I feel bad for saying this--I was distinctly underwhelmed by the trailer. Wahh. Underwhelmed.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

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Action-Adventure in Sci-Fi Romance: Issue or Non Issue?



The Wasp & Ant-Man. Image source: ComicBook

We’ve discussed action-adventure elements in science fiction romance any number of times, but the other day I realized that I had never actually specifically blogged about its role in this subgenre. I was reminded of this omission upon reading a review of a fairly recent SFR title (name withheld so as to not prejudice potential fans).

In the review, the reader observed that the novella had too much action. Having read the book in question, IMHO the issue wasn’t one of too *much* action as opposed to the book having too few scenes of relationship development and other types of scenes. As much as I love action scenes, I agree that they have the potential to overwhelm a story.

Action scenes done right become a seamless part of the story. But for some readers—male or female—even mild action scenes might be deemed too much excitement. Still, one’s taste for action-adventure isn’t an inherent gender trait. Cultural influences shape our tastes in fiction and sometimes an artificial divide results.

When analyzing these types of issues in sci-fi romance, I often think back to Jacqueline Lichtenberg’s insights about genre divergence that I shared in a previous post:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

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Science Fiction, Action Scenes, & The Gender Divide



I followed a link from Twitter to an interview with author Donna McDonald (via author Ryan Schneider’s site). It was great to see her share that


My “indie urges” have led me in science fiction and fantasy romances to read Melisse Aires (cyborg books), Linnea Sinclair (space opera), and the spicy Sylvia Day (specializes in alien sex).


But then this passage stopped me in my tracks:


And now, as you know, I am looking for interesting male voices in science fiction and fantasy. Male authors tend to write exceptional fight scenes, action, and more fact-based novels.

That observation rankles me to no end. My feelings have nothing to do with Donna McDonald and everything to do with the fact that the bias she tapped into is nothing new and also so very entrenched in Western culture. Her observation spoke to the fact that women have been discouraged again and again and again from both enjoying and writing action-adventure stories, not to mention science fiction. 

So when readers express the idea that male authors are the default source for “…exceptional fight scenes, action, and more fact-based novels…” in science fiction I just want to go ARRRRRGGGHHHHH! My frustration stems from the implication that there's little chance women could accomplish that kind of entertainment as well.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

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Interview With THE SECRET OF NARAVA Author Isabo Kelly, Plus Giveaway



Author Isabo Kelly has two, count ‘em, two new science fiction romances out and I’m delighted to share them with you. I first interviewed the author back in 2009. That was a fun introduction (if I do say so myself ;) ) to Isabo Kelly the author and her book, THE PROMISE OF KIERNA’RHOAN.

Now it’s time to delve a little deeper into her Naravan Chronicles with an all-new interview because she has recently expanded that universe for your reading pleasure.

And stay tuned because the giveaway details follow the interview!

The Galaxy Express: Your category length sci-fi romance THE PROMISE OF KIERNA’RHOAN (The Naravan Chronicles) was released by Samhain Publishing in 2008. Please describe five basic facts readers should know about your Naravan universe.

Isabo Kelly: Thanks for having me at The Galaxy Express today, Heather!

Five basic facts. Okay. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

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Three Luscious Sci-Fi Romance Links




At The Qwillery, Sharon Lyn Fisher is doing a giveaway of her debut sci-fi romance GHOST PLANET, plus blogging about the fact that You Got Sci-Fi in My Romance!

Donna S. Frelick caught the alien hero ball I threw and is running with it in We Need A Hero (Spacefreighters Lounge).

Speaking of heroes, I’m blogging about two grittylicious dark ‘n’ gritty m/m SFR heroes at Heroes and Heartbreakers.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

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Blogging About Alien Night Crawlers at Heroes and Heartbreakers

I'm a sucker for couples trying to nurture a romance amid harsh alien landscapes, so I couldn't help but blog about Jenna Bennett's FORTUNE'S HERO at Heroes and Heartbreakers. In this novel-length book, the couple is up against, among other things, a squicky alien creature that is fascinatingly repellant.

So the story is basically this:


plus this:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

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Interview With STELLARNET PRINCE Author J.L. Hilton, Plus Giveaway



One of the new releases this month is STELLARNET PRINCE (Carina Press) by J.L. Hilton. STELLARNET PRINCE is the novel length SF/cyberpunk/romance thriller that continues the adventures begun in STELLARNET REBEL.

Here’s the blurb:

An otherworldly love. Human blogger Genny O'Riordan shares two alien lovers: Duin, a leader of the Uprising, and Belloc, the only surviving member of the reviled Glin royal family. Their relationship has inspired millions of followers--and incited vicious anti-alien attacks.

A planet at risk. A Stellarnet obsessed with all things alien brings kidnappers, sex traffickers and environmental exploitation to Glin. Without weapons or communications technology, the planet cannot be defended. Glin will be ravaged and raided until nothing remains.

A struggle for truth. On Earth, Duin discovers a secret that could spur another rebellion, while on Glin, Belloc's true identity could endanger their family and everything they've fought for. Have the Glin found true allies in humanity, or an even more deadly foe?

To help celebrate the release, J.L. Hilton is aboard for an interview and giveaway! (Details follow the interview.) There’s a lot of ground to cover in the Stellarnet universe so let’s jump in!

The Galaxy Express: Name up to three experiences in your life that influenced your decision to become a writer.

Friday, November 9, 2012

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Pre-order THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF FUTURISTIC ROMANCE


THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF FUTURISTIC ROMANCE (January 2013; edited by Trisha Telep) is now available for pre-order. Here are some links:

Amazon Kindle

Amazon paperback

BN.com (paperback)

Contributing author Kiersten Fay posted a complete list of the authors.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

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Blogging At RT Book Reviews

I'm spotlighting "Heroines At Work In Sci-Fi Romance" at the RT Book Reviews blog!

There are probably as many answers as there are heroines, but if you’re venturing into science fiction romance territory, these heroines are frequently defined in significant ways by their occupations. Each romance subgenre promises heroines with a variety of skills and traits, but one day I got to thinking about just how much sci-fi romance heroines are shaped by their occupations.

SFR heroines are some seriously busy ladies and so please join me in celebrating their industrious natures!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, November 8, 2012

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Borrow One Of These SFR Titles For Your Kindle



I went through the ebooks on my Kindle to see which ones I could lend. Below is the list I compiled. If you’re interested in borrowing any of them please email me at sfrgalaxy “at” gmail.com and let me know which one. Titles are listed alphabetically by author and I included a few tags.

Please note that there may be geographical restrictions: refer to the Kindle lending FAQ page for more information.

It’s first come, first serve. If there are any takers I’ll post updates as the list shrinks.
 
ALIEN BLOOD (erotic m/f in futuristic reality show setting) – Melisse Aires

HER CYBORG AWAKES (space opera) – Melisse Aires

THE MYTHMAKERS (space opera) – Robert Appleton

LADY DOCTOR WYRE (erotic Jane Austen space opera) – Joely Sue Burkhart

UNNACCEPTABLE RISK (cyberpunk) – Jeannette Grey

KEIR (space opera) – Pippa Jay

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

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Branding Challenges For Authors of Sci-Fi Romance



As I was reading “That’s A Wrap! Author Branding in a Nutshell” by Carina Press Executive Editor Angela James in the December 2012 edition of RT Book Reviews, I began wondering about the relationship of author branding with readers who look to genre/subgenre first when making decisions about which books to read.

An author can brand all she wants but for readers who pick books according to genre first (like me) the branding may very well be a non factor. Unless, that is, one defines the very act of writing a sci-fi romance a type of branding (Angela James defines brand as a “promise to readers”).

This issue comes into play with science fiction romance when authors who write in this subgenre have to decide how to brand themselves. I regularly encounter the umbrella genre tags included in the brand. Meaning authors brand themselves as SF *or* romance authors even if what they write are hybrid stories with elements of both. Then readers like me go and ferret out the specific SF and romance elements and blog about them like crazy no matter what the author’s stated brand is.

Which I’m sure must drive some authors nuts, especially if they’ve worked hard to build a specific brand or define their work a certain way. Then there’s the fact that the romance angle is seen as less valid by some people. Do authors of SFR risk branding themselves with “romance” or do they sidestep the issue and stick with the generally safer “SF” description? No matter which brand an author chooses, however, sometimes it must seem like they can't win.

Case in point: author Margaret Atwood. Many consider some of her books to be squarely science fiction. But she has insisted otherwise:

Monday, November 5, 2012

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GHOST PLANET Winner

The Randomizer has crunched the names and the winner of Sharon Lynn Fisher's GHOST PLANET is...

Laurel Wanrow!

Congratulations! Please email your snail mail address to sfrgalaxy "at" gmail.com to claim your prize. Subject line: ghost

Thanks so much to everyone who entered!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

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Two Sci-Fi Romance Ebook Specials From Lyrical Press



Lyrical Press is running a 50% discount on two science fiction romances. The sale runs from November 5 - November 12, 2012.


Sale price: $1.00

Genre: Romance/Science Fiction/Steampunk

Length: novelette

Sometimes, ya just gotta let your hair down.

Mache Harcming is an airfoil pilot having a bad day.  Forced to make an emergency landing on an unmarked dirigible, he discovers a genius inventor, Valeria.  She is beautiful, fascinating, and unlike any woman he has ever known before.  SheÆs also dangerous.  Mache is certain f the CEO of her company, Elthgo Inc., discovers his presence aboard her aircraft, he will die.

But Valeria begs him to stay. And stay he does, hiding in the vents of the airship whenever the CEO visits.  How can he refuse such a beautiful woman?  More importantly, how long will the ruse last before he's found out?

WARNING: Brief torture scene. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

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Alien Heroes Who Fell To Earth: Why Aren’t They More Popular?



There are quite a few science fiction romances featuring hunky alien heroes coming to Earth in contemporary/near-future times and hooking up with human heroines. Nancy J. Cohen’s WARRIOR PRINCE and Anna Zaire’s CLOSE LIAISONS are two of the more recent ones. There’s Jessica E. Subject’s CELESTIAL SEDUCTION and Barbara Elsborg’s LUCY IN THE SKY.

Rowena Cherry’s FORCED MATE. Dara Joy’s KNIGHT OF A TRILLION STARS. Susan Kearney’s JORDAN. Lily Cain’s THE NAKED TRUTH.

This premise can also be found among the list of Science Fiction Romances With “Alien” In The Title that I compiled—like Gini Koch’s TOUCHED BY AN ALIEN.

I’d also include under this umbrella SFRs wherein the story doesn’t always take place on Earth, but still involves the alien hero-human heroine pairing. Susan Grant’s CONTACT is one of the earlier ones. Also, C.J. Barry’s UNEARTHED and UNLEASHED. In these and similar stories, our Earthling heroine is whisked away for intergalactic adventures.

The titles are too numerous to list, in fact, and they seem to be a staple of science fiction romance. So why aren’t these stories more popular? More specifically, why haven't they been the type of breakout story for sci-fi romance among romance readers? I’m feelin’ kinda perplexed here.

These types of sci-fi romances offer readers coming from the romance side a number of appealing elements:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

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Cover & Blurb For Cathy Pegau’s Forthcoming CAUGHT IN AMBER




Author Cathy Pegau has a forthcoming sci-fi romance and I’d like to share the details with you. CAUGHT IN AMBER has strong suspense elements and is scheduled for a January 13 release from Carina Press

Here’s the blurb:

Recently out of rehab, Sasha James is determined to keep her head down, complete her parole, and never touch amber again. The chip in her neck controls her cravings for the highly addictive drug, but also tracks her every move. Not that she goes anywhere other than work and the halfway house she calls home—a far cry from her luxurious former life as lover of the mining colony’s top drug dealer, Guy Christiansen.

Agent Nathan Sterling has no desire to see Sasha fall back into amber, but his sister has become Guy’s latest conquest and the unexpectedly attractive Sasha is the key to getting her back. So in exchange for an introduction, he offers Sasha the one thing she can’t refuse—her freedom. From the chip, her parole, and even the planet if she wants. Though he would be sorry to see her go…

Torn between her growing attraction to Nathan, fear of Guy and the allure of amber, Sasha accepts. But who will save her if Guy refuses to let her go a second time?

* * *

Ooooh, me likes the addiction angle very much. Nathan Sterling is a secondary character from Cathy Pegau’s RULEBREAKER and he’s a real “good guy” hero. This pairing sounds very promising. And isn’t that an enticing blurb? Very tightly written.

Click here to read an excerpt from Chapter One of CAUGHT IN AMBER!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, November 1, 2012

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SFR News & Links For November 2012



Check out the awesome variety of science fiction romances in November’s new releases!

New releases

FORTUNE'S HERO (military SF space opera) - Jenna Bennett


Quinn Conlan had it all: a fast ship, a great crew, a gorgeous girlfriend, money, and adventure around every bend. That was before he agreed to ferry a shipload of weapons to the besieged planet Marica. Now he’s stuck in the prison colony on Marica-3, enduring weekly sessions with the camp’s “medical team,” and praying for a quick death before he breaks under the torture and spills everything he knows about the Marican resistance.

When opportunity strikes, Quinn takes Elsa, a Rhenian med tech, hostage and heads into the inhospitable interior of the small moon where he formulates a plan for getting his crew out of prison, his ship out of impound, and everyone out of orbit. But when Elsa professes her love, can Quinn take the beautiful doctor at her word, or will trusting her—and his heart—condemn him and his crew to an eternity on Marica-3?