Thursday, May 30, 2013

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Pippa Jay Ponders The Invisibility Of Women SF/SFR Authors At Spacefreighters Lounge

At Spacefreighters Lounge, author Pippa Jay (KEIR) reflects on the challenges facing women SF and SFR authors: Without the romance, Dune was just a book about worms...

Over the last few weeks I've been thinking about the problems in promoting and selling SFR, and even SF if you happen to be a female author. It's bugging me (can you tell?). I've seen a lot of conversations on Twitter about why female SF authors aren't necessarily a minority, but aren't given the same recognition or notice as male SF authors...

...Their [io9's] research found there's a (probably) unconscious bias toward male authored speculative fiction by reviewers, but it was the comments that kicked off the Twitter conversation.

1.Female SF authors only write character driven or even romantic scifi (or as one person said on Twitter "eww, romance") as opposed to action driven.

2.Male SF authors only write action driven SF.

Oh, really?
Good food for thought.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

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Kindle Ebook Sale: WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM For 99 Cents

Veronica Scott's WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM (and SFR Galaxy Award winner!) is on sale for $.99 cents now through midnight on 5/31/13. Here's the cover and blurb:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

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SFR & Discoverability


While exchanging emails with an author of SFR, she raised the issue of discoverability. It reminded me I'd been wanting to touch upon the topic.

Image source: icanhazcheeseburger
While growing up, I had the unfortunate experience of believing the only TV shows available were those offered by the three main networks (and a handful of local channels). And that terrestrial radio music was the only kind in existence. The only valid stories were those offered by mainstream print publishers through brick and mortar stores. I feel embarrassed even now when I reflect on my ignorance (because I let myself be manipulated?).

As an adult, I witnessed a time where all of the above has been disproven. There are so many more entertainment choices available than what corporate marketing machines put in front of our faces. Yet there are still obstacles to discovering books, films, music, etc., beyond the mainstream--including how we limit ourselves as consumers.

While I can't help but depend on mainstream sources for some of my entertainment needs, I don't rely on them as my *only* source. Science fiction romance is a prime example of that. Heck, as a U.S. resident I got my start in this subgenre by watching a show from Japan!

But discovering SFR stories takes more work than simply opening a magazine and looking at ads or walking into a bookstore and perusing the end cap displays. Finding more SFRs to read involves online research and networking extensively with readers and authors.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

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"Cream of the Crop" Vs. "Best Fit" Sci-Fi Romance



I'm perplexed about the "cream of the crop" mentality regarding elevating some science fiction romance books (and authors) above others. I wouldn't say it's rampant, but I encounter it enough to be concerned.

By "cream of the crop" I mean the idea of placing mainstream print books on a pedestal simply because they're released by a Big Six publisher. This situation manifests when the same authors are mentioned (in forums, blogs, comments, etc.) over and over and over again, as if no one else was writing books in this subgenre.

When it comes to a niche subgenre like SFR, "cream of the crop" as defined by mainstream print distribution is meaningless because there are so few books in that category. You need an entire crop before you can identify the creamy bits (no pun intended!). In fact, where SFR is concerned, the main crop right now is actually comprised of digital-first titles.

Rather than approach titles/author recommendations in terms of "cream of the crop," I'd like to see a greater focus on connecting readers with SFR books that are right for them. Maybe the right book is a mainstream print release or maybe it's digital. Maybe it's by a well-known author or it could be a book by someone no one's ever heard of, with a single SFR title to her name. (Like space pirate heroines? Check out Karin Shah's STARJACKED!).

Saturday, May 25, 2013

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Charming SFR Archetypes for the SFR Author By Maybelle


[The Galaxy Express is excited to present a series of posts by a Very Special Guest. Her name is Maybelle and she's here all the way from sweet home Alabama to give us her take on archetypes in science fiction romance. This is the fourth installment of a ten part series. Maybelle's posts will go live Saturday 9 am EST).] Part I Part II Part III



The King of the Galaxy might be the king, but he ain’t the only stud in the stars. Here’s a few more archetypes you might meet when you get kidnapped by aliens. I hope you’re finding my expert tease on this subject handy. I mean, I been getting a few speaking gigs and such now that I’m back on Earth, but they don’t pay as much as being Queen of the Galaxy would have. Dang it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

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8 Susan Grant SFR Titles Now Available In Digital Formats


Susan Grant's nine earliest books have been re-issued and are now available from Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and Kobo, as well as Smashwords, in both the US and worldwide. Eight of the nine are science fiction romances. Susan Grant is a longtime author in this subgenre, so it's a great opportunity to revisit her stories or discover them for the first time.
 
Here are the titles and brand new covers!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

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"The Ministry Initiative" Kickstarter Blog Hop, Plus Steampunk Romance Giveaway



The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences authors Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris, in conjunction with Galileo Games, are developing an exciting new Kickstarter project:
Galileo Games and Imagine That! Studios have teamed up to bring you an ambitious steampunk project! The Ministry Initiative is a two-part creative endeavor that will not only premiere new fiction from the steampunk world of the Ministry but also present a brand new role playing game from the makers of Bulldogs! and the ENnie Award winning game Shelter in Place. Thrill to the tales in Ministry Protocol anthology, or join in as an Agent in The Ministry Initiative RPG. Find out more about this endeavor and support the Kickstarter here.



The Galaxy Express is part of the Ministry Initiative Kickstarter Blog Hop (May 22-29) to help spread the word about this project. (To learn more about the authors, see my interview with them.)

Giveaway time!

To enter, leave a comment and you'll be entered to win a Steampunk Romance Ebook Bundle from me, Heather Massey. Tell me about a steampunk/steampunk romance book you enjoyed (or want to read). Or tell me what your weapon of choice/transportation vehicle of choice would be if you were an agent of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences!

Here are the prizes:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

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Revisiting The Hero's Point-Of-View in Sci-Fi Romance



In When A Romance Is Not A Romance, Rachel Leigh Smith expressed her preference 

…for the male lead to have the majority of the POV scenes. I know I'm in a minority on this and I deal with it. But I feel cheated when I start on something billed as a romance and I find out his POV isn't there.

She goes on to state, 

If you're telling me a book is a romance and all I get is her POV, it's not a romance to me. A romance is about two people falling in love. I want to see BOTH of them on that journey.

While I am of the opinion that a romance can be told from any POV or combination thereof and still be a romance, a story told, say, entirely from the hero's POV would catch my eye simply because it might offer something different or a unique story angle.

I've blogged about the issue of the hero's POV in science fiction romance previously, here and here. Since a bit of time has passed and ushered in more titles, I thought I'd highlight a few books that IMHO are heavy in the hero POV department.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

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Why I Love Science Fiction Romance

Lately I've been trying to pin down why science fiction romance excites me so much. The reasons are varied, and not easily condensed to one or two reasons. Why is this issue important to me? I want to be able to concisely articulate the reason this subgenre appeals when making book recommendations and/or blogging about it.


It's a challenge because as soon as I come up with one reason my mind is like "Oh wait, there's this too! And don't forget this!" Each element soon snowballs into a chorus of "Pick me! Pick me!" It's one thing to define SFR; quite another to describe its underlying appeal in a handy sound bite.

The issue really came to the forefront when Laurie A. Green of Spacefreighters Lounge sent me a link to a Goodreads discussion about science fiction romance. I knew if I left a comment it would pretty much evolve into the length of a blog post, so I decided to simply go ahead and respond with a post!

The moderator, Michelle, posed this question:
Tell us more about sci fi romance! Why should we read it? How does it differ from normal sci fi or normal romances, apart from the obvious?
I'm going to answer the questions by listing the main things I look forward to in an SFR (in random order):

Saturday, May 18, 2013

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Next In Line to the King: More SFR Archetypes By Maybelle



[The Galaxy Express is excited to present a series of posts by a Very Special Guest. Her name is Maybelle and she's here all the way from sweet home Alabama to give us her take on archetypes in science fiction romance. This is the third installment of a ten part series. Maybelle's posts will go live Saturday 9 am EST).] Part I Part II




Last time, I told you about the King of the Galaxy. Remember? The one dead set on having that cranky Earth girl as his destined mate? He’s closest to the “chief” in normal archetypal terms (from: The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines). Since there can be only one King, according to that busybody Traxian Seer, what other types of Martian guys can a kidnapped Earth girl hook up with?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

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Exclusive Cover Reveal: MAVEN by S.A. Huchton



I've been keeping an eye out for futuristic undersea adventures in science fiction romance, so when author S.A. Huchton came aboard the Galaxy Express to let me know she had just such a story in the pipeline I was immediately intrigued. MAVEN is a new adult sci-fi romance that takes place beneath the sea and will release on 6/3/13.

I'm excited to present an exclusive cover reveal for S.A. Huchton's MAVEN (The Endure Series #1). Read on for the blurb and an excerpt the author handpicked for TGE passengers!


Book Description:
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Coffee Time Romance: Heather Massey's Steampunk Cafe

 
For my post this month at Coffee Time Romance's steampunk page, I solicited input from a group of authors about how they approach the integration of romance and worldbuilding. Participants include Beth Ciotta, Zoe Archer, Nico Rosso, Pauline Baird Jones, Coleen Kwan, and Cindy Spencer Pape.

Here's the link: Heather Massey's Steampunk Cafe.

Have fun!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

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Sci-Fi Romance Free Ebook Special: RECKLESS RESCUE by Rinelle Grey

Rinelle Grey's RECKLESS RESCUE will be available for free at Amazon May 15-17.

Here's the cover and blurb:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

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K.S. Augustin's COLLATERAL DAMAGE: Tagged!



Having enjoyed K.S. Augustin's COLLATERAL DAMAGE (and other stories by her), I'm starting to wonder in earnest why her name isn't shared more often among readers who prefer plausible and/or hard SF elements in their science fiction romance.

K.S. Augustin's skill at integrating SF and romance is on a par with Linnea Sinclair, Sara Creasy, Kristin Landon, Marcella Burnard, Sharon Lynn Fisher, and Sarah A. Hoyt. The only difference is that Ms. Augustin is a digital-first author (and thus lacks certain distribution advantages).

K.S. Augustin has written eleven science fiction romances as well as two space opera novels (QUINTEN'S STORY and WAR GAMES). Some of her SFRs are set in the world of the Republic, a setting that ought to appeal to fans who like a wholistic approach to worldbuilding. When not writing in the Republic arena, she delivers unique fare like EUROPA EUROPA, an ocean-based story featuring genetically engineered characters.

Her work is available from digital-first publishers like Carina Press, but she also releases stories through her Sandal Press venture. Nothing comes between K.S. Augustin and her readers! She's willing to learn new skills and navigate the rapidly changing publishing landscape in order to get her stories out there. Not only that, she brings a multicultural perspective to her work that I find incredibly refreshing.

All of the above is why I'd like to tag COLLATERAL DAMAGE, her new sci-fi romance short story. First, here's the blurb:

Monday, May 13, 2013

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New Feature! Sci-Fi Romance Ebooks for 99 Cents Or Free


Introducing the "Cheap/Free ebooks to Download" page!

I'm excited to announce I've created a new section here at The Galaxy Express (see header) in order to showcase affordable and free ebooks to download. My goal is to help make science fiction romance more accessible to readers--especially potential ones.

An increasing number of bloggers have been helping readers connect with great ebook deals. I saw a similar need for science fiction romance, so I compiled a list of SFR ebooks in the free to 99 cents range.

This feature includes two brand new short stories! The first is K.S. Augustin's COLLATERAL DAMAGE (space opera):

Saturday, May 11, 2013

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What Are Them Mars Guys Like: Archetypes for SFR Writers By Maybelle



[The Galaxy Express is excited to present a series of posts by a Very Special Guest. Her name is Maybelle and she's here all the way from sweet home Alabama to give us her take on archetypes in science fiction romance. This is the second installment of a ten part series. Maybelle's posts will go live Saturday 9 am EST). Part I]



So what are they like?

Inquiring minds want to know. Inquiring dirty minds.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

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Sci-Fi Romance: A Space Brothel-Free Zone?



Author Malinda Lo posed an interesting question on her blog: On Space Opera: Why so many brothels in space?

Reading Leviathan Wakes, though, also reminded me why I don’t read that much space opera. It’s not that I haven’t tried — it’s that so much space opera is written from a distinctly male perspective that can be off-putting to me. The main characters are men; they talk about women as if women can’t hear them; and what few female characters there are typically exist as sexual objects for the main male characters.

Let me be clear: Leviathan Wakes wasn’t bad in this arena; I’ve read plenty worse. But I did find it amusing that there were so many brothels in the solar system of Leviathan Wakes. As brothel after brothel was casually mentioned, I started to wonder: Why the hell are there so many brothels in the future world of Leviathan Wakes? Really, why?

This wasn't the first time I've come across the issue of brothels in a space opera SF novel. After reading Ms. Lo's post I couldn't help but reflect on my science fiction romance reading, which covers a range of SF-romance hybrids. I tried to remember the last time I read a story that referenced a brothel(s) in a major way. My mind came up absolutely blank (but I also need to account for imperfect memory. :P).

In my reading experience, it's pretty much the default that SFR stories won't feature strong/overt/repetitive references to brothels in the same way as a book like LEVIATHAN WAKES (and to qualify, having not read the book, I'm going to trust Ms. Lo's judgement).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

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SFR News & Links Extra - May 2013



1) F.A.B.! S.E. Gilchrist (LEGEND BEYOND THE STARS) is hosting an interview with author Fiona Greene. Ms. Greene is polishing a science fiction romance with an intriguing premise. But that's not all--she's also a fan of THUNDERBIRDS. It's imperative you read her interview before the Hood catches you doing anything but! 


2) On May 1, author Misa Buckley launched an indie press devoted to science fiction romance called Sunburst Press:
Sunburst is a new e-publisher of science fiction romance, looking in particular for stories that embrace diversity, celebrating colour, ability and sexual preference.

For further information, please see the Submissions page or email.
Go diversity, yay!

Here is additional information per the press release I received:


Royalty Information
Sunburst Press will pay Author a royalty of 40% of the Retail Download Price, for sales of the Work at the publisher's website. For digital books sold through outlets requiring distribution discounts, Author will receive a royalty of 35% of the sale price. 
 

For further information, please contact Misa Buckley at publisher@sunburstpress.com 
Even better, all formats will be DRM-free. Best of luck to Misa Buckley in her new venture!


3) Laurie A. Green of Spacefreighters Lounge gave me a heads up about PASSENGERS, a forthcoming film that was described as a science fiction romance! According to Xpose Entertainment, actress "Reese Witherspoon is in early talks to take the female lead opposite Keanu Reeves in forthcoming science fiction romance Passengers."

How cool is that?

Here's the premise:
Passengers is set in the future and focuses on the love that sprouts between two people on a human cargo starship. When the spacecraft suffers a misfire, Keanu's character is awoken from slumber. His cryogenic transporter device opened up a century before the other passengers' due to the malfunction. Lonely, he decides to wake up a female rider to keep him company.

Brian Kirk will direct the Wayfare Entertainment picture.

Prometheus writer Jon Spaihts penned the script's most recent draft.
I hope the film explores why Keanu Reeves' (presumably heterosexual) male character wakes up a woman. I'm so very curious about that detail and I hope the writer and director don't squander an opportunity to address it through social commentary.

For more information about PASSENGERS, check out these articles:


4) Smart Girls Love SciFi & Paranormal Romance has a roundup of SFR news in SFR Potpourri!

Joyfully yours,
Heather