Tuesday, July 30, 2013

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A Double Dose Of Deception



Here's a sci-fi romance double feature for you: DEEP DECEPTION by Cathy Pegau and NEVER GONNA DESERT YOU by Jessica E. Subject.

I was drawn to NEVER GONNA DESERT YOU because it's f/f. Lesbian SFR is still extremely rare so it tends to appear as a prominent blip on my radar.

This title is #2 in the author's The Underground series. It's probably best to read the stories in order. I forgot to check that detail going in (darn it!) and I'm guessing the setting was established in more detail in NEVER GONNA LET YOU GO. Anyway, I was keen to read another f/f sci-fi romance. Even more interesting was one part of the blurb, which I bolded:
Determined to find and bring back her girlfriend, Brook enlists in the next mission to the foreign planet, Airondelle. But the deception at Planet Core continues, and Brook doesn't realize the depth of her father's involvement until he orders her terminated. Struggling to stay alive, she quickly learns nothing is as she believed.

Will she ever find Melina? Or will Brook be stuck light years from home, alone, and with a fierce predator hunting her down?
Upon noticing the "deception" angle, the plot thickened for me because Cathy Pegau's DEEP DECEPTION, also f/f SFR, was already on my TBR pile. Did you notice the word "deception" is in the title? And guess what word shows up in the blurb?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

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A Must-Watch Video: "Nothing To Prove: Geek Girls & The Doubleclicks"

Via SF Signal, I discovered an amazing video called "Nothing To Prove: Geek Girls & The Doubleclicks" that addresses the gender challenges of geek culture. It's worth watching at least a hundred times. Check it out (and then pass it on!):


Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, July 25, 2013

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The Dark & The Gritty: Part II



Previously, I blogged about Ann Somerville's COLD FRONT, one of two dark and gritty sci-fi romance titles I made it a goal to read. The second title I had the pleasure of experiencing was Darren Bloomquist and Angelia Sparrow's HARD REBOOT.

When I first learned about HARD REBOOT, I was intrigued, but also a little fearful. The description and publisher tags told me I'd be entering new sci-fi romance territory:




Two years ago, Sean O'Neill's wife, Caitlin—the ace net-runner called Irishgirl—was stolen from their bed. Now, he knows where she is, but getting her back is only the first step in a long journey.

Caitlin has been trained as a sex slave, her former skills as a net-runner and cyber-thief totally stripped from her, along with her identity and most independent thought. Powerful and wealthy social elites, playing their own dangerous high-stakes games, have hired Sean to retrieve her and again make her what she once was.

But two years is a long time to be out of the net and out of normal society. A lot of new programming has been laid down. Now, giving Irishgirl a hard reboot may take everything Sean has in him, and more...

Science Fiction / Futuristic / Action / Adventure / BDSM / Menage / Group Sex / Contains Material That May Be Considered "Dubious Consent"

This book contains some non-consensual sex, along with some hardcore bondage and punishment. May not be suitable for the more sensitive reader.
My main concern was how the "sex slave" angle was going to play out. Usually this trope is eroticized and fetishized in sci-fi romance. On the other hand, the premise and graphic content promised to be unlike anything I'd ever encountered in SFR. So I took the plunge.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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The Dark & The Gritty, Part I



One of my recent goals as a reader of science fiction romance was to delve into two dark, gritty titles that have been in my TBR pile (I'll share them in a moment). The mood just seized me. I wanted to read stories that would challenge my brain and test my mettle as a fan of the niche. I was looking to experience elements I've never encountered before in SFR. When stories promise to push boundaries or explore new territory (or a new twist on old territory), they get my attention pretty quickly.

Pretty much anything of a dark/gritty/graphic nature will interest me. It can manifest in themes, tone, or a graphic level of violence, horror, or sex. But if I'm going to read dark content I go in with the hope that it will provide me with a new perspective, insight into a particular speculative element, and a greater appreciation for the written word. I don't mind feeling disturbed by a story as long as the graphic content has a purpose. Stories that are dark in gratuitous ways usually leave me cold.

Quite a few of my favorite books, films, and TV shows (regardless of genre) are lighthearted fare. Yet as I've grown older, I've felt an increasing need for adult content, but more specifically stories that are unabashedly for (adventurous) grown-ups. Which is probably why I've enjoyed graphic novels like PREACHER, books like George R.R. Martin's A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series, and TV shows like ARCHER in the past decade.

"General audience" stories like Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID are easy to come by. It's the risky, edgy stuff like Hideshi Hino's PANORAMA OF HELL that's a challenge to find. Incidentally, I'm a fan of both, but I'm not sure I could tell you why my taste runs along such a wide spectrum!

At any rate, I wanted to set up this post so you'd have an idea of where I'm coming from. :)

In this post and the next I'm going to reflect on two titles. One is Ann Somerville's COLD FRONT. The other is Darren Bloomquist and Angelia Sparrow's HARD REBOOT. I'll include some non-spoiler tags, but consider these reflections as more stream-of-consciousness impressions.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

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Cover Reveal Exclusive: ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE by Veronica Scott



Author Veronica Scott (WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM) has a forthcoming science fiction romance called ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE (August 2013). And guess what? The Galaxy Express has an exclusive cover reveal!



Such a nice cover! I love sharing this kind of news with my dear passengers. In terms of composition, this cover is similar to that of WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM, which might help make it easier for readers to spot Veronica Scott's SFR work online. Smart move on her part, especially since it's far too easy for indie titles to become lost in the noise.

ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE is a "Sectors Novel," which means it's set in the same universe as WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM.

I also have the blurb for you:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

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Happy Anniversary To Smart Girls Love SciFi & Paranormal Romance!


 

Let me tell you, I was so excited to learn about Charlee Allden's terrific blog, one that covers a range of science fiction romance and paranormal romance books and news--not to mention movies, reviews, and insightful posts about various genre-related topics.

Charlee has been a great supporter of SFR and I've loved having such a dedicated advocate along during various online events.

Charlee was also kind enough to mention TGE in Where are They Now?, a post dedicated to bloggers and authors who were involved with her blog from the beginning. Thanks for your kind words, Charlee!

The Smart Girls anniversary celebration is ongoing. Check out a list of the special features here.

Follow Charlee Allden on Twitter: @CharleeAllden

Charlee, thanks so much for your art and I look forward to your future posts!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, July 18, 2013

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Movie Review: THE ISLAND by Diane Dooley




It was a dark and sweaty night. There I was, slaving over my work in progress and dripping onto the keyboard, when my husband lured me to bed with the siren song I can never resist: “Come to bed, Diane Dooley. I’ve found a science fiction romance movie for you.” Oh, how I love that man o’ mine!

Soon I was ensconced in the delightful chill of the bedroom air conditioner, agog as the opening credits for THE ISLAND rolled. The name Michael Bay appeared. Uh oh. I don’t watch his movies because they’re boring and too noisy. “Be patient,” said my husband. He’d watched a chunk of the movie to make sure it wasn’t just loud explosions. I wasn’t too convinced, but the air conditioner had seduced me, so I decided to stay for the long haul. I’m glad I did, though it was a very long haul indeed. I’m glad I watched it lying down. My ass would not have been happy to see it in a cinema.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

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Cover Love For D.J. Davis' WHILE YOU WERE AWAY

Debut science fiction romance author D.J. Davis recently shared the cover of his forthcoming Red Sage release WHILE YOU WERE AWAY in a comment section at TGE, but I didn't want it to get buried. Especially since there's a big honking futuristic gun on the cover. Pretty awesome looking weapon!

Therefore, I did a little digging and found the blurb as well. The author shared with me that the ebook (a novella) will tentatively release in August 2014. Sure, that's a year away, but every day is a good day to anticipate an upcoming sci-fi romance!
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Dear Author Spotlights RWA RITA "Best First Book" Finalists

Dear Author is spotlighting Sharon Lynn Fisher's GHOST PLANET in RWA RITA Best First Book: Interviews & Giveaway (it's the fifth book in the lineup). Does the author's "readalike" ring a bell?!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

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Blogging About UFO Erotic Romance, & More

When it comes to science fiction romance, I get to blog about all kinds of fun (and different) stuff!


At the Coffee Time Romance steampunk page, you can check out the highly specific wish lists of editors who are actively seeking steampunk romance. Perhaps we'll see some of these stories in the future, authors?  :)

And at Heroes & Heartbreakers, I'm blogging about UFO erotic romance! It occurred to me that quite a few erotic SFRs are influenced by UFO mythology, especially stories about alien abductions. In my post, I explore how science fiction romance has adapted and transformed some of the UFO tropes.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Sunday, July 14, 2013

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Multi-Audiobook Giveaway: Pauline Baird Jones' Project Enterprise Series



Get set to enter for a chance to win a science fiction romance audiobook! Pauline Baird Jones is aboard to give away audiobook versions of five titles from her Project Enterprise series.
 
The least you need to know about it:

* romantic SF
* space opera
* military SF
* time travel
* heat level is on the "sweet" side
* steampunk elements in some of the books (with automatons!)
* smart heroines
* alien artifacts

Using a random drawing, I'll pick two separate winners per book. The author will provide each winner with a code, which will be redeemable at Audible.com. For future reference, here are the instructions:

2. Enter the download code into the "Redeem Your Promotional Code" field and click "Redeem". 
3. If you’re not an Audible customer you’ll need to create a new Audible.com account. Don’t worry, you can use your Amazon account to do this.
4. Follow the instructions. You’ll have 1 credit applied to your account.
5. Go to the book’s listing [insert link here]
6. Add it to your cart. When you check out you’ll see an option to apply the free credit.

To enter, simply leave a comment for this post. Tell me which person you'd most like to visit who can only be reached using time travel!

The deadline to enter is midnight PST on Friday, July 19, 2013.

Now for the audiobooks up for grabs:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

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Featured Guest on S.E. Gilchrist's "Spotlight on Writers"


Author S.E. Gilchrist (LEGEND BEYOND THE STARS) kindly invited me to participate in her "Spotlight on Writers" series. My interview is here. Naturally, I chat about science fiction romance, but you can also learn about what I like to do in my spare time (which may or may not surprise you, LOL!).

Other Spotlight on Writers posts featuring authors of sci-fi romance include Mel Teshco and Fiona Greene.

Thanks for visiting!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

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The Final Two: Alternate Destined Mate Archetypes for SFR Authors 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 tenth installment of a ten part series.] Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9


Let’s say, after reading my expert tease on all the space archetypes, the Cranky Pants Destined Mate most likely to land the King of the Galaxy makes you want to punch her too. Do you have to write your romance book about her? I am here to tell you that you do not! I have two other promising archetype choices for the King’s Destined Mate, unless, of course, you prefer to write a really exciting, best-selling, sexy adventure about an easy Earth girl named Bellemay who—

No, forget I said that. You stick with the archetypes and leave the best-selling, easy Earth girls to me, okay?

Friday, July 12, 2013

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In Memorium: Linda Houle, Co-Founder of L&L Dreamspell




It's with a heavy heart that I share the passing of Linda Houle, one of the co-founders of the small press publisher L&L Dreamspell. Linda had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She died early in the morning of July 12, 2013.

I'd like to extend my deepest sympathies to Linda's family and friends and her Dreamspell partner, Lisa Smith. The L&L, you see, stands for the two women who ran the company. They did so with awe-inspiring passion. Unfortunately, Linda's death means the end of L&L Dreamspell.


I first became acquainted with L&L Dreamspell through author Pauline Baird Jones. She published a number of science fiction romances through Dreamspell, starting with THE KEY. Her Project Universe series is truly an epic (and cerebral and quirky!) saga. Pauline Baird Jones is also an intrepid advocate of science fiction romance and a regular aboard The Galaxy Express. I can't thank her enough for her ongoing support.


Dreamspell was also the home of L.J. Garland's MECHMAN, an action-adventure sci-fi romance featuring a kick-butt heroine and android hero. I think fondly of this title as "the sci-fi romance with Angelina Jolie on the cover." It's a fun story and I'm glad to have notched my SFR belt with it.


Another Dreamspell title I enjoyed was K.T. Grant's BRASS BALLS AND HYSTERIA, a short story in the DREAMSPELL EROTICA, Vol. 1 anthology. It's a funky erotic steampunk romance short that delivers everything the title promises!


But that's not all. I had the extreme pleasure of contracting a steampunk romance short story with L&L Dreamspell. STEAMBOT RAMPAGE was part of the DREAMSPELL STEAMPUNK, Vol. 1 anthology. My story appeared with those of authors Pauline Baird Jones, Chris Samson…and Linda Houle.

Words cannot do justice regarding how much I enjoyed being a part of the Dreamspell family. Words cannot express how much I appreciate their interest in acquiring science fiction romance, a genre near and dear to my heart. When Dreamspell offered me a contract for my story, I was on the moon. Publishing the story with them was so much fun.

People like Linda Houle and Lisa Smith are among the soldiers who have helped keep science fiction romance alive and well all these years. I will always treasure the art they made possible.


Given Pauline Baird Jones' active history with L&L Dreamspell, I invited her to join me in this memorial post. Here's her message:

Linda Houle was an amazing person. She dreamed a dream and made it happen with her partner and friend, Lisa Smith. L&L Dreamspell opened its “doors” in 2006. When I met Linda, back in 2005, she told me that they wanted to run a company that was author friendly, that did things right. As one of their authors, I can say, they made it happen.

The day the doors closed on L&L Dreamspell, an Amazon search on their name pulled up 349 books. Each one of those 349 books is the realization of an author’s dream to be published—and six years hard work. 

If you don’t know much about publishing, if you don’t know how dang hard it is to run a business—and you triple that hard if it’s a publishing business—then you won’t know what a miracle L&L Dreamspell was to all of us privileged to be associated with the company, and with Linda and Lisa. What tough, determined, amazing women.

My life, both personal and professional, was enriched by knowing them, by having the honor to be published by them. My grateful thanks to both L’s. 

My deepest sympathy to Lisa, her best friend and business partner, and to Linda’s family.

Rest in peace, Linda. You will be missed. 

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Let's Make A List! Military SFR With Forbidden Romances


One great recipe for science fiction romance includes a military setting/characters and a forbidden romance. That setup promises conflict, politics, and sexual tension of an epic nature.

 
We need a list! Here's the criteria: The story must be a military science fiction romance where at least one of the characters is in the military and the couple embarks on a forbidden romance. Here are the ones I immediately thought of: 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

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Clare Dargin's COLD WARRIORS: Multicultural Romance, & More


It took me long enough, but I finally read Clare Dargin's COLD WARRIORS. A shout out goes to author Rae Lori who helped keep this book on my radar! One of the main reasons I was interested in the title was because of the multicultural nature of the romance--the heroine is a person of color. The version I read is a 2013 re-release from Decadent Publishing. Here's the blurb:

 
Left in cryogenic stasis for nearly a century, Caitlin Driskoll is awakened and drafted into a war she knows nothing about. Expected to defend a world where her kind is despised and expendable, she discovers love and respect from the one man who can’t be associated with her.

Lieutenant Colonel Medoro Keegan has spent a lifetime in the Marines. With no family to speak of, the Corps and his ship, the USS Blanchard, are all the loved ones he needs…until Caitlin sparks a fire within, that threatens to consume him if he doesn’t walk away.

Will he choose a life of certainty in the only world he knows or give it all to Caitlin and run the risk of losing someone, yet again?

***
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Blogging at Heroes & Heartbreakers: Royalty...In Space!

Got a thing for characters of royalty in sci-fi romance? Well, you're in luck--I'm blogging about Royalty in Space: Science Fiction Princes and Princesses at Heroes and Heartbreakers! I share my thoughts about this trope as well as a few representative titles.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Monday, July 8, 2013

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Does Sci-Fi Romance Need To Step Up Its Game?



Within the past 24 hours I encountered two observations about science fiction romance that left me discouraged.
 
The first was made last year by Felicia Day during her *Vaginal Fantasy Book Club discussion of Nalini Singh's SLAVE TO SENSATION. Over the weekend I was catching up with the SFR-related discussions, which is why I'm only discovering this now. Jump to 36:50. Felicia Day stated:

"I've been reading a lot of sci-fi romance to try to pick a really good book to present that to the club…A lot of it…it's very, very bad."

The second observation was made on 6/21/13. It was a comment left at a Smart Bitches review post of Sharon Lynn Fisher's GHOST PLANET. Ann F. says:

I love sci-fi romance but this was one of the best books I’ve read in that genre in recent years.

In response, I'm simultaneously tearing my hair out in frustration and nodding in agreement.

Here's why: when I learn about readers expressing disappointment in what science fiction romance has to offer, a number of issues come to mind.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

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Whining and Dining: More Female Archetypes for SFR Authors 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 ninth installment of a ten part series. Maybelle's posts will go live Saturday 9 am EST).] Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8




I’m glad to see all y’all sticking with me for so long! Well, we got four lady archetypes down and four to go. Today’s abductees will probably be recognizable to you, since you live on Earth and all.

Type 5f: The Whiny, Helpless Abductee Who's Scared of So Much Stuff It's Sickening (aka the Waif): In literary decades past, the Destined Mate was known to fall into this archetype, but just like the spare heir used to stick around the home planet and get on everybody’s last nerve, these days the Destined Mate is a different sort. These days she’s Cranky Pants, and ole Whiner is stuck in secondary character roles.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

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A Case of SFR Déjà Vu

Aubrey Watt's PARAGON has been on my radar ever since I learned about it. In a nutshell, the story is an android romance. Here's the cover and blurb:

In the middle of the Arizona desert, a hundred feet underground, the United States military is illegally developing the first emotionally sentient android. Classified top secret, the mission has failed to successfully awaken the first two androids created in the lab.

When brilliant neuroscientist Chal Davidson is called in to assist, the third android is just hours from being awakened. By the time she realizes the vast implications of her work, it's too late to stop the prototype's development. Torn by her moral and scientific responsibilities, Chal is even more confused by the emotional connection she is starting to feel with the newly-created man. The only hope she has is escape--for her and the android--and time is running out...

I was happy to finally read it. But then déjà vu hit me hard and fast. You see, not too long before reading PARAGON I had finished Catherine Asaro's THE PHOENIX CODE (see my post about tracking down a copy here). Here's the cover and blurb:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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Interview With Paula Dooley, Developmental Editor Of TALES FROM THE SFR BRIGADE




There's nothing more exciting than witnessing the various ways science fiction romance grows and expands. Thanks to the power of self-publishing and a can-do spirit, several members of the SFR Brigade (a consortium of authors dedicated to promoting SFR) have produced a free sci-fi romance anthology called TALES FROM THE SFR BRIGADE.
 
Wanting to know more about the effort that went into this project, I tapped Developmental Editor Paula Dooley for an interview. And away we go!



The Galaxy Express: Tell us about what inspired the creation of TALES FROM THE SFR BRIGADE. Who are the players?

Monday, July 1, 2013

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SFR News & Links For July 2013



Forget ice cream and the beach--summer pairs best with science fiction romance! Not that I'm biased or anything, heh. Check out this month's fun new releases:

New releases

SALVAGE (ENTHRALLED anthology; The Iron Seas series; steampunk) – Meljean Brook



A man who’s lost everything returns home to find that not only is his marriage in jeopardy, but he must now fight air pirates who intend to steal his one remaining treasure — his wife.