Thursday, October 31, 2013

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Happy Halloween!

This Halloween prank video by Tom Mabe has nothing to do with science fiction romance, but it's so funny and fantastic I just had to share. Safe for work as well as kids 6 and up. My favorite part is the scene with the two male joggers. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

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Renae Jones' TASTE OF PASSION And the "Rarity" Connection



I'm tellin' ya, there are days when being a science fiction romance fan with a wide range of interests--and I do mean wide--comes in mighty handy! Case in point: Renae Jones' erotic sci-fi romance novella TASTE OF PASSION (Carina Press) and MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC

OMG this post is going to be epic! Wait until you see the connection. I can't believe how lucky I am!

First, read the blurb for TASTE OF PASSION:
Fedni, an empath who can taste emotion, was once a highly desirable courtesan. But the conquering New Earth Federation has abolished her temple, forcing her into early retirement and making her struggle to find her place in a transformed world.

Lonely and bored, she visits her ruggedly handsome new neighbor, an off-worlder doctor named Rasmus whose strange ways and delicious body arouse more than her curiosity. Hot, hard lust flares between them, and a series of steamy encounters reveals to Fedni a generous lover.

But incredible sex can't keep their cultural differences at bay. Rasmus is disgusted by the temple system, and Fedni leaps to defend her way of life and to show him the beauty of her traditions. As their heated arguments make them each question their long-held beliefs, Fedni must reconcile her newfound knowledge and her pride in her past, or risk losing the man who stokes her passion to new heights.
Now I'm going to set up the MLP context.

I've been watching the television series MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC with my seven year-old daughter. Because of the merchandising machine related to the show, I was initially wary about the show's quality. But my daughter loved the new discovery, so I soldiered on. 

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Join Coffee Time Romance's "Steampunk Spooktacular" Tonight!

I invite you to join me for the Coffee Time Romance "Steampunk Spooktacular" at 9 pm EST on Tuesday, October 29, 2013--that's tonight!

I'll be giving away copies of my steampunk romance titles and of course would love to chat with you about the genre! Click here to see the author lineup. To enter the chat, click here.

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Sunday, October 27, 2013

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Interview With LACE & LEAD Author M.A. Grant, Plus Giveaway



If you're fans of romances wherein the romance conflict stems from heroes and heroines from different societal classes, then M.A. Grant's LACE & LEAD might be up your alley. M.A. Grant is an author with Escape Publishing, and her new science fiction romance will release November 20, 2013.


Here's the blurb for this novella-length story:

Blue-blood Emmaline Gregson survived one of the most brutal mining accidents ever recorded in the Republic, but she’s never been in a fire fight. So when unknown assailants circle the family estate, the only man she can rely on is Peirce Taggart. A former Lawman, turned mercenary, Peirce has a simple job: protect Emmaline until her father can collect her and sell her to sex trafficker Richard Stone to pay off debts.

But when Arthur Gregson breaks the contract, Emmaline seizes the opportunity to hire Peirce for herself, regardless of how crude, dangerous, or appealing he may be. Given the chance for redemption, he promises to help her escape both her father and Stone. But Peirce soon realises that hiding her in his apartment until the storm has passed may be more dangerous than looking down the barrel of a gun...

Not only do I have news of this release for you, but I have the author aboard The Galaxy Express for an interview and giveaway as well! Read on to learn more about LACE & LEAD. Details on how you can enter to win a copy of this ebook follow the interview.

The Galaxy Express: As a storyteller, you have so many genres to choose from. Why science fiction romance?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

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Two Links: A Call For Submissions And A Mystery Book Challenge

Via SF Signal I discovered Alex Dally MacFarlane's Call For Reprint Submissions: Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women.

The link will take you to the complete submission guidelines. What made me think this opportunity might be of interest to authors of SFR was the inclusive tone of the call:
I take a very broad definition of ‘science fiction’. If you feel that your work is at the boundary between science fiction and literary/historical/fantasy/other genres, please send it to me. (If you know that your work is, say, a secondary world fantasy about elves or a contemporary fantasy about vampires, please don’t waste my time.)

I want the anthology to encompass the full range of the world’s women, in the authors and in their stories. I welcome submissions from all women: women of all cultural and linguistic backgrounds, women of all countries, women of all religions, women of all sexualities, trans and cis and genderfluid women, women of all abilities, women of all classes.
Based on the above, it seems like Ms. MacFarlane would consider sci-fi romance reprints.

And now for the mystery portion of our show:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

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Are Readers Ready For More Inter-species Sci-Fi Romance Like R. Lee Smith's THE LAST HOUR OF GANN?



[Warning: epic post ahead! This might be the longest one I've ever written. Also, an alert for mild story spoilers regarding THE LAST HOUR OF GANN. And if general mentions of rape/torture/sexual peril is a trigger for you, you may want to avoid this post.]
 
At the All About Romance blog, Wendy Clyde and Dabney Grinnan discussed their impressions of R. Lee Smith's THE LAST HOUR OF GANN. This book, which has been tagged as sci-fi romance, "grimdark" romance, and erotic horror, features a heroine who crash lands on an alien planet and encounters the hero, an alien in the form of a humanoid lizard. 

Here's the blurb:

It was her last chance:

Amber Bierce had nothing left except her sister and two tickets on Earth’s first colony-ship. She entered her Sleeper with a five-year contract and the promise of a better life, but awakened in wreckage on an unknown world. For the survivors, there is no rescue, no way home and no hope until they are found by Meoraq—a holy warrior more deadly than any hungering beast on this hostile new world…but whose eyes show a different sort of hunger when he looks at her.

It was his last year of freedom:

Uyane Meoraq is a Sword of Sheul, God’s own instrument of judgment, victor of hundreds of trials, with a conqueror’s rights over all men. Or at least he was until his father’s death. Now, without divine intervention, he will be forced to assume stewardship over House Uyane and lose the life he has always known. At the legendary temple of Xi’Matezh, Meoraq hopes to find the deliverance he seeks, but the humans he encounters on his pilgrimage may prove too great a test even for him…especially the one called Amber, behind whose monstrous appearance burns a woman’s heart unlike any he has ever known.

To qualify, I've not read Gann (reports that the heroine and other women in the story lack agency stopped me cold), but based on my reading of many reviews, posts, and tweets about it, I learned that the story is epic length--about three books bundled into one--and features dark themes such as rape.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

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On Fans & Feedback: A Guest Post By Jacqueline Lichtenberg

[Author Jacqueline Lichtenberg kindly wrote a post with mucho keen insights for us to accompany this week's "IfYou Like…" science fiction romance multi-blog event!]
 
We know what we like in a whopping good story, and following blogs like Spacefreighters Lounge, Smart Girls Love SciFi & Paranormal Romance, The Galaxy Express, SFR Brigade, and Backward Momentum is one way to sift the avalanche of novels in the SFR field (and on the fringes) to find those stories that just curl your toes.
 
As those who follow Alien Romances (where I post on Tuesdays) know, I am monitoring, commenting on, and dissecting the fictional offerings on TV, in Film, in Big Publishing, in Indie (film, webisodes, and publishing) and self-publishing trends. 

As the available sources of good fiction fragment, there have been 3 essential elements provided by Big Publishing that didn't automatically just come along with us as we left the controlled stream.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

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Discover New Sci-Fi Romances With "If You Like…"



Discovering your next science fiction romance read can be a challenge sometimes, so a number of bloggers and authors decided to make the search a whole lot easier.*

Introducing the "If you like…" event!

Below you'll find a handy list of sci-fi romance books that share similar elements, settings, and/or character types. This comparison is designed to help you find new books based on ones you've already enjoyed.

All this week, various bloggers and authors in the SFR community will tag books to help you find a sci-fi romance that's up your alley. Once they've all gone live, I'll compile a master list and post it here for your convenience!

Let's begin the show! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

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Are Big 5 Publishers Setting Sci-Fi Romance Up To Fail?



An aspiring author recently shared with me a portion of a rejection letter from a Big 5 publisher regarding her science fiction romance manuscript. I found the message incredibly frustrating, so I asked for permission to discuss the issue on my blog. For the purpose of anonymity, I'm going to paraphrase the message.
According to this rejection, it's highly challenging for stories combining science fiction and romance to satisfy both SF and romance genre conventions. It's so challenging, in fact, that such stories are bound to fail in their attempts to appeal to SF and romance audiences.
The main implication was that because this SFR manuscript lacked appeal, it lacked bestseller potential. Hence, it's not worthy of publication. In fact, the message implied that SFR is not even worth writing because it's just so DIFFICULT and nearly IMPOSSIBLE to combine the two genres in just the PERFECT way that will make publishers gobs and gobs of money.
Science fiction romance is rocket science, apparently.
The actual wording of this letter also conveys the belief that when SF and romance are combined, the two genres actually *harm* each other.
Hence, in this case, it seems like SFR is being set up for failure.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

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Cover Reveal: Sharon Lynn Fisher's THE OPHELIA PROPHECY

Yay, science fiction romance is finally getting more biopunk! Makes me delighted when authors answer my prayers, even if they weren't exactly planning on it, LOL!


Sharon Lynn Fisher (you know her from GHOST PLANET) has a forthcoming release called THE OPHELIA PROPHECY (Tor/Macmillan). It's a post-apocalyptic biopunk SFR and will hit shelves in April 2014.

I've got a freshly-minted cover to share with you, along with the blurb and a meaty excerpt I'm cross-posting from the author's site. For more information, including pre-order links, visit the author's announcement post.

Enjoy!

Blurb

Our world is no longer our own.

We engineered a race of superior fighters - the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities. Twenty-five years ago they all but destroyed us.

In Sanctuary, some of us survive. Eking out our existence. Clinging to the past.

Some of us intend to do more than survive.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

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The Invisibility of SFR, Part II



This post is a continuation of my previous one in which I presented an example of the invisibility challenge facing science fiction romance.

Exhibit B: Authors of science fiction romance are often underrepresented or absent from "women of genre" lists

I saw a tweet regarding a post at Worlds Without End called 100 Women Authors Added for the Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge. There have been several such "women of genre" lists circulating for the past couple of years, but I'm always glad to see another.

Lately I also peruse these lists to see if there are any authors of SFR present, in part to explore the possibility of cross-promotion purposes. Apart from the usual classic SF authors who have written romantic SF, I rarely see any names of the current batch of SFR authors in existence--especially digital-first ones.

This is another example of the invisibility challenge facing science fiction romance, namely, authors being overlooked and/or underrepresented in women-in-genre lists.

Now, I realize the curators of these lists can't include every last author. It's simply not practical. Yet the goal of the lists is to increase awareness of women genre authors, and a lengthy one is sure to make a significant impression.

Monday, October 14, 2013

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WE SEE A DIFFERENT FUTURE Blog Carnival



Thanks to the marvelous information-sharing juggernaut that is Twitter, I learned about an intriguing new anthology called WE SEE A DIFFERENT FRONTIER: A Postcolonial Speculative Fiction Anthology (Fabio Fernandes and Djibril al-Ayad, Editors). Here's the description:

This anthology of speculative fiction stories on the themes of colonialism and cultural imperialism focuses on the viewpoints of the colonized. Sixteen authors share their experiences of being the silent voices in history and on the wrong side of the final frontier; their fantasies of a reality in which straight, cis, able-bodied, rich, anglophone, white males don’t get to tell us how they won every war; their revenge against the alien oppressor settling their “new world”.

This theme struck me as a brilliant idea, and kudos to the anthology's creative team for persevering with this project. We need more stories based on that theme in both SF and SFR. I'm certainly looking forward to reading the anthology.

WE SEE A DIFFERENT FRONTIER includes a story by Sandra McDonald, an author whom I've blogged about several times because of her fun romantic SF trilogy THE OUTBACK STARS!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

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The Invisibility of SFR, Part I


In this post and the next, I'm going to present examples of the invisibility challenge facing science fiction romance. I feel these are important issues to be aware of since they can adversely impact readers' access to stories as well as SFR's overall visibility.

Exhibit A: Science fiction romance is sometimes overlooked as a source of certain stories/elements

Galaxy Express passenger L. alerted me to a Tor.com post called Sleeps With Monsters: Writing SFR in the Future. Alex Dally MacFarlane expressed frustration about the "failure of imagination" on display in science fiction when it comes to the depiction of families:

This failure of the imagination is one I encounter too often, and it can happen in many ways. The one I want to talk about is the depiction of families: namely, that they are almost always families of one man and one women—straight, cisgender—with a child or two.

Families across Earth exist in great variation, from extensive kinship networks to only a few relationships, connected by genetics or choice. People of all sexualities and genders join together in twos, threes, or more. Family-strong friendships, auntie networks, global families... The ways we live together are endless.

Yet in science fiction, families—where they appear at all—are normally small, one man and one woman, with children or parents. There is little sense of an extended family beyond these immediate relationships, or that people other than one man and one woman might form a family. And this is a norm.

MacFarlane also asks, "Where are the stories rooted in family, their conflicts and revelations drawn from these relationships?" and calls for "no norm" when it comes to the depiction of family in SF

Thursday, October 10, 2013

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A Unique SFR "Mission"


A Galaxy Express passenger, whom I'll call "D.", recently wrote me with a very interesting request. She gave me permission to share our exchange in a general way on The Galaxy Express.

D. is taking an astronomy class. One of her assignments is to read a hard SF book set in space and then examine the science aspects of it. My first thought was, where the heck can I sign up for an astronomy course like that?!

D. was looking to avoid thriller type stories as well as those with a strong focus on gore and sexual content. She had one book in mind and asked if it fell into the hard SF category. I had read the book in question and while I enjoyed it, I was 100% certain it wasn't hard SF (but I hope D. reads it anyway!). 

So I came up with a short list of sci-fi romance/romantic SF titles based on a) my reading experience and b) her personal tastes and c) what I thought might fit the requirements for her class. Given that there are few SFR authors who incorporate hard SF into their stories in a major or at least significant way, the list isn't super long. (Given the subjectivity factor, an argument could be made for expanding the definition of "hard SF".)

I'm presenting the book titles pretty much as I had arranged them for D. After reading over the list I realized I had included various tags. And so that's another reason I had asked D. if it was okay to share them with the rest of the passengers!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

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Interview With Emma Jane Holloway, Author of A STUDY IN SILKS



Emma Jane Holloway recently made her debut with A STUDY IN SILKS (Del Rey), part one of a new steampunk romance trilogy. Book two is A STUDY IN DARKNESS (October 2013). The final installment, A STUDY IN ASHES, releases in December 2013. Click here for complete information about the trilogy.

I haven't read it yet, but the author assured me that the romance arc completes in the third book. Based on the research I did, lots of mystery and steampunk elements seem to abound in this trilogy. If you're a fan of Sherlock Holmes, a sweeter heat level, magic, steam barons, and political intrigue, then A STUDY IN SILKS (September 2013, might be up your alley.

Here's the blurb:

Evelina Cooper, the niece of the great Sherlock Holmes, is poised to enjoy her first Season in London’s high society, but there’s a murderer to deal with—not to mention missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse . . .

In a Victorian era ruled by a Council of ruthless steam barons, mechanical power is the real monarch, and sorcery the demon enemy of the Empire. Nevertheless, the most coveted weapon is magic that can run machines—something Evelina has secretly mastered. But rather than making her fortune, her special talents could mean death or an eternity as a guest of Her Majesty’s secret laboratories. What’s a polite young lady to do but mind her manners and pray she’s never found out?

But then there’s that murder. As Sherlock Holmes’s niece, Evelina should be able to find the answers, but she has a lot to learn. And the first decision she has to make is whether to trust the handsome, clever rake who makes her breath come faster, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything for her if she would only just ask . . .

I invited Emma Jane Holloway aboard for an interview so we could learn more about the trilogy!

Monday, October 7, 2013

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Coyote Con Sci-Fi Romance Panel With Eva Caye and Veronica Scott

Authors Eva Caye (DIGNITY (To Be Sinclair)) and Veronica Scott (ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE) ran a science fiction romance panel at this year's Coyote Con. Here's the link to the transcript!

My favorite part was Eva Caye's observation about one reason SFR can be so appealing:
...if you have some devastating whatsit, dystopian future or what have you, most revolve around catastrophes or really huge occurrences, wars and such. And those mind-bending, world-shaking things MAKE people want to connect to each other.
Exactly! In various ways, science and technology have a direct impact on relationships and can also influence the very formation of many relationships. SFR focuses on that point in time when science intersects with romantic love.

Visit Coyote Con this coming weekend for another round of panels. More information here. Have fun!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, October 3, 2013

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SFR News & Links For October 2013

It's time for another dip into the science fiction romance goodie bag!


New releases

AGAMEMNON FROST AND THE CROWN OF TOWERS – Kim Knox


Book three of Agamemnon Frost

Edgar Mason is losing Agamemnon Frost despite everything they've been through—the passion, the torture, the heat. Frost's fiancée, Theodora, is back, and Mason can feel his lover gravitating toward her. Every day he sees them together, it tears at his heart.

Frost feels raw himself. His brother and sister-in-law are missing, and his guilt about failing to save Theodora from Pandarus eats at him. His feelings for Mason, whom he has put through hell twice already, just twist the screws tighter.

On top of that, Pandarus and the Martians are back to make their final push to Earth, and Frost and Mason are duty bound to fight them. People are vanishing. Bodies are turning up burned beyond recognition in the slums. The bleak, human-less future Frost and Mason saw in the hollow ships has nearly come to pass.

And in order to prevent it, each man will have to make a final choice: lose his lover or doom the world.

Find out how it began in Agamemnon Frost and the House of Death.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

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Christine Pope's BREATH OF LIFE: A "Beauty and the Beast" Sci-Fi Romance


You may have noticed that The Galaxy Express is a science fiction romance blog. :) Therefore, I can't discuss my new book from Lyrical Press, LORD OF SNOW AND ICE, because it's a fairy tale romance. It even has a "Beauty and the Beast" theme, but too bad, Heather. It's not science fiction romance. :P
 
But I can spotlight Christine Pope's BREATH OF LIFE, a B&B inspired sci-fi romance. Now that's what I call an SFR for the win!


BREATH OF LIFE (2011) is the first book (novella length) in the author's Gaian Consortium Series. Here's a description of the series courtesy of the author's Web site:

A series set in the far future, where Gaia (Earth) has aggressively colonized a significant section of the galaxy. The Gaians are not the only humanoid race in the galaxy, however, and humanity's interactions with the other races range from peaceful to openly hostile. The Gaian Consortium seeks to continue its outward expansion...sometimes with less than positive results. As with the Tales of the Latter Kingdoms series, these books are connected by setting rather than by characters.

I can't remember exactly where I learned about BREATH OF LIFE, although I came across it in a discussion thread several months ago. It sure was a fun discovery! Here's the story blurb:

Anika Jespers, a homesteader's daughter on a Gaian colony, thinks she's destined for a dull existence on her family's farm. But when her father makes an impossible bargain with their neighbor, one of the alien Zhore, she faces a future different from anything she could have possibly imagined.

The familiar story of Beauty and the Beast takes on new life in this inventive SF romance novella, with the Beauty a homesteader's daughter and the Beast an alien on a faraway colony world.

[This will be a non-spoiler post.]