Thursday, April 4, 2013

Written on

An Open Letter to Felicia Day



Image source: feliciaday.com
I have a message for Felicia Day, but for folks unfamiliar with her, first here’s a brief overview of the lady and her work.

Felicia Day is an actress, producer, and writer, but she’s also a true geek and a reader of science fiction romance. In addition to her many credits, she runs the Vaginal Fantasy Hangout, a lively, entertaining, and no-holds-barred online book club. Members include Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazebee and Bonnie Burton.

Several of the books they’ve discussed fall under the science fiction romance banner:

THE IRON DUKE - Meljean Brook

GABRIEL’S GHOST - Linnea Sinclair

SLAVE TO SENSATION - Nalini Singh

NAKED IN DEATH - J.D. Robb

And, forthcoming (April 30, 2013), GHOST PLANET - Sharon Lynn Fisher

Alternate picks have included Ann Aguirre’s GRIMSPACE and Sara Creasy’s SONG OF SCARABAEUS.

Clearly, Ms. Day and her group are familiar with SFR. In light of her obvious interest, one might wonder why I even feel compelled to write her an open letter. Well, read on to discover the answer!

Dear Ms. Felicia Day,

Vaginal Fantasy Hangout has a great track record of reading and discussing science fiction romances and as such it’s a boon for fans of the subgenre. I’m still in awe of the Internet, frankly, because it’s helping people connect with SFR more than I ever thought possible and in ways I never would have predicted. So I salute your enthusiasm and all the hard work you and your team put into the discussions. Amazing stuff!

I noticed that all of the SFR titles chosen for VFH to date are print-first editions. I’m guessing the primary reason mainstream print SFR books are your first source for book club choices is visibility. 

Mainstream print SFR books are easier to find. They’re more likely to draw viewers, many of whom would have heard about the titles through advertising or seen them in bookstores. In other words, the power of mainstream print distribution compels you!

An interesting thing about science fiction romance is that currently, the majority of titles published in this subgenre are digital-first books. No hard statistics here; I’m going by the titles I track during the course of my blogging. 

Since the inception of ebooks, the shift to the digital medium for SFR has been relatively quick. Digital essentially became the market for science fiction romance. For every GHOST PLANET, there are dozens of SFR digital-first books (including all heat levels).

Small press and digital-first publishers like Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Loose ID, Red Sage Publishing, Lyrical Press, Ravenous Romance, Entangled Publishing, and many more have enthusiastically embraced SFR all along. Erotic sci-fi romance still predominates, but as more publishers branch out into digital imprints the choices for readers are increasing.

Whether you’re looking for space opera or cyberpunk, superhuman or steampunk, the digital realm is home to all kinds of interesting SFR titles. Does the quality vary? Sure. But it also varies among print-first titles. The more important question is whether a book, regardless of medium, gives us something to talk about.

In light of the above information, may I humbly suggest you consider selecting a digital-first title if you decide to pick another sci-fi romance for a future Vaginal Fantasy Hangout discussion? 

You’re no stranger to indie projects, whether as a creator (Hello, web-based series THE GUILD! Here’s looking at you, Geek & Sundry!), actress, or consumer. Like the authors and publishers who release indie/small press ebooks, you understand the appeal of risk-taking projects, stories, and characters.

If you’re game, I’d like to recommend one digital-first title in particular: Cathy Pegau’s CAUGHT IN AMBER (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?

***

This is a non-erotic novel I’m recommending, since in a previous discussion you mentioned your decision to choose books with a substantive plot (i.e., take away the sex scenes and the story still stands). Here are some other tags for CAUGHT IN AMBER:

*Futuristic setting with noir elements (non-space opera)
*Heroine who’s an ex-drug addict
*Hero is a nice balance of Alpha and Beta
*Character-driven story with a splash of suspense

If for whatever reason CAUGHT IN AMBER doesn’t catch your fancy, we of the online sci-fi romance community are ready with plenty of other recommendations. Just give us a holler!

Joyfully yours,

Heather