Friday, November 29, 2013

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The Important Role of Science Fiction Romance



The Leaky Pipeline wants to know: Where are the women in science fiction? (Via SF Signal). Kathy Kitts' article explores various reasons behind the marginalization of women in science fiction. Here are a few of them:

This pipeline metaphor reflects the female experience in SF as well. The first leak originates in Hollywood. SF has allowed itself to be defined by visual media. Previously, SF attracted all types of readers and writers because of its promise to examine all facets of what it means to be human. However, the blockbuster mentality/economic model has effectively neutered the types of stories SF publishers accept. The topic must appeal to everyone and offend no one.

Subsequently, publishers discourage stories that target women because they won’t appeal to the entire audience. Taking this argument ad absurdum, middle grade boys don’t read; and therefore, Rowling’s Harry Potter books should not be published because there’ll be no market.

The next leak occurs in both formal and informal education. In formal education, the AWP reports few writing programs accept genre writers and women are actively discouraged from writing genre-based fiction. I suspect this stems more from a bias against all genre literature rather than SF. But regardless of the exact cause, writing programs shunt women away from writing speculative fiction.

The other reason I wanted to bring this article to your attention is because it acknowledges that romance is a place where women can find SF stories that speak to them and their interests:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

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Thank You!

Image source: Cheezburger
It's Thanksgiving here in the U.S. In light of this holiday, I'd like to take this opportunity to write a great big "Thank You!" to all of my Galaxy Express passengers around the world for coming along with me on my sci-fi romance adventures.

I appreciate all the wonderful SFR stories I get to read as well as the fascinating and insightful knowledge about this genre that I gain from my brilliant passengers. The Galaxy Express is nothing without you!

Joyfully yours,

Heather


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

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Tags For a "Lost Colony" Sci-Fi Romance: Rinelle Grey's RECKLESS RESCUE



RECKLESS RESCUE is the first book in Rinelle Grey's indie sci-fi romance series Barren Planet Romance. Here's the premise behind it:
People say that having things in common makes a good relationship.  But when two people are the same, they encourage each other to stay the same. It’s the differences that make you grow, and that make you a more interesting person.  And what is more different than being from different planets….

The omnipresent rule of the Colonies span scores of star systems, all of them different.  Some of them thrive, but others on the edges of the space have, where life is tougher, have different ideas.

Different worlds, different rules, different lives.  But love remains the same.
RECKLESS RESCUE is a lost colony story. I hadn't read one in a while so when the book was offered for free on Amazon I snatched up a copy. I love trying new-to-me authors because I enjoy the "What am I going to discover next?" feeling. And the oh-so-affordable price point made it mighty easy to take a chance! Before I start tagging this story, here's the RECKLESS RESCUE blurb:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

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Marlene Harris Picks "Best Books 2013: Ebook Romances" at Library Journal

Marlene Harris of Reading Reality fame chose her picks for Library Journal's Best Books 2013: Ebook Romances:
For the second year in a row, Seattle Public Library’s Marlene Harris has been tasked with selecting LJ’s list of Best Ebook Romances. Her mission was to pick her ten favorites from 2013. And it was still a difficult decision! This list should have something in it to pull at any romance reader’s heartstrings.
Her list includes a steampunk romance by Zoe Archer and a Sherlock Holmes alternate world SFR by Stephanie Osborn. Go forth and increase your TBR pile!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, November 21, 2013

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SFR News & Links Extra

My latest post at the Coffee Time Romance Steampunk page focuses on Dark Vs. Light Steampunk Romance. It's one way to distinguish the general tone of various stories, but I also wonder if there's a difference of perception between the two regarding quality:
I wonder about the perception of light vs. dark in this genre. “Light” can imply stories with less depth or plot. The word “escapist” has negative connotations for some readers. Consequently, are steampunk romances that feature a darker tone viewed as more valid and meaningful? Do readers take them more seriously than their action-adventure focused, Edisonade cousins? And if so, why?
At Heroes and Heartbreakers, I dive into another medium with Romancing The Video Game. Are gamers ready for RPGs that integrate romance in ways that impact the overall plot?
Seems to me that video games featuring a strong romance subplot or a romance that drives the story are ripe for developing. The key to success, at least initially, may be creating stories with strong cross-over appeal and that are more gender neutral (as opposed to a strong use of the female gaze).
 Come share your thoughts about where we are in terms of the romance-video game mix.

 One for the Titanic buffs: Pauline Baird Jones interviews Veronica Scott about WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM.

In other PBJ news, author Pauline Baird Jones (KICKING ASHE) is interviewed at Smart Girls Love SciFi & Paranormal Romance!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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Interview With Renae Jones, Author of TASTE OF PASSION



TASTE OF PASSION (Carina Press) is a science fiction romance from debut author Renae Jones.
 
I learned about the author in a highly unusual and, to me, mind-blowing way. For a long time, we had, unbeknownst to us both, a mutual friend (I'm withholding some details for privacy's sake). So one day my friend was at a party that Renae Jones was also attending. She happened to share the news of her forthcoming SFR and even mentioned The Galaxy Express.

This made our mutual friend go like, "Whoa!" He told Renae, "Check it out, yo--my friend Heather runs that site!" (I'm paraphrasing, tee hee!). He gained permission to share her news and told me all about it a short time after the party.

I couldn't believe that of all the genres in existence, Renae had written a sci-fi romance! The stars must have been triple aligned that night. And it was even more exciting to discover the news through a personal connection. That was a first for me.

Needless to say, I intended to bring TASTE OF PASSION into the TGE fold. After reading the story, I blogged about its fascinating connection with the MY LITTLE PONY reboot--specifically how the character of Rarity provided me with a context for relating to Fedni, the heroine. The post even comes with sparkly videos!

And now I bring you an interview with the author herself! First, here's the story blurb for TASTE OF PASSION:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

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SFR Giveaway: LILLY'S JOURNEY by A.R. Norris


A.R. Norris has a new ebook out called LILLY'S JOURNEY. This book was one of the titles highlighted in the new Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly and now the author is aboard The Galaxy Express to celebrate the release with a giveaway!


To win a digital copy of LILLY'S JOURNEY, simply leave a comment for this post. Winner's choice PDF, EPUB, or MOBI. If you could journey anywhere in the universe, where would you go?

The deadline to enter is midnight EST on Friday 22, 2013. Here's the blurb:

Having just lost her father and her home, Lilly Jordan must venture across the galaxy to her distant aunt. Lilly is ready to face the unknown away from the only place she'd ever been, however, she got more than she expected.

All is not how it seems on the beautiful space liner, Gentry II.

Now, armed with dangerous information, Lilly Jordan must determine which of the handsome, mysterious men she should trust with the truth, and with her life. Unfortunately one seems bent on vengeance while the other holds her at a suspicious distance.

**
Joyfully yours,

Heather

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A Non-Erotic SFR Goodreads List

I discovered a Goodreads list for SFR/Sci-fi/Futuristic Romances that are NOT Erotica and just added a bunch of titles. Since I've heard from readers that non-erotic SFR can be a challenge to find, I knew it'd be a resource my passengers would like to know about!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Friday, November 15, 2013

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Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly #1 Now Available

 

The Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly is a go! It's free! Click here to download the first issue. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

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How Can Sci-Fi Romance Reach Out To Latino Audiences?



Michelle Rodriguez from MACHETE KILLS

Check out this eye-opening article: Latinos Attend More Movies Than Anyone Else But Are The Least Represented On Screen (Via Huff Post: Latino Voices).

Here's the highlight:

Hollywood studios appear to be missing the mark when it comes to representing one of their biggest consumers on the big screen.

Latinos go to more movies than any other group, including whites, and yet they play only 4 percent of roles onscreen, according to a new study by the University of Southern California

Despite this awful discrepancy, studios don't hesitate to market their films to Latino audiences:

But the industry has noticed the demographic in theater seats, even if it's not putting Latinos on the screen. Studios have started advertising more heavily to Latinos, especially via websites and in Spanish language media, according to Clara Rodriguez, who studies Latinos in the media as a professor of sociology at Fordham University.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the second-largest cinema chain in the U.S. by locations, is looking at where Latinos live when deciding where to build theaters, The Wall Street Journal reported. One such theater is currently under way in San Antonio, Texas. 

Yet studios are still reluctant to feature Latino actors in lead roles? Why not create a win-win situation?
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Blogging About Tentacle Romance At Heroes & Heartbreakers

My latest Heroes & Heartbreakers post explores a new frontier of vast potential for sci-fi romance--tentacles!

In Are We Ready for Tentacle Romance Yet? I highlight the (very) few SFR tentacle romances currently available as well as explore the concept of romance transforming the tentacle trope into appealing stories. The comment section is already hopping with title recommendations so grab 'em while they're hot!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

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Revisiting People of Color In Sci-Fi Romance



In November of 2011, I blogged about People of Color in science fiction romance. Or rather, their unfortunate underrepresentation in this genre. I crowdsourced a list of titles, but in light of Suleikha Snyder's guest post Mind the Queue: Privilege, Diversity and Romance, it's time to revisit the issue.

Over the past year I've read a few more SFR titles featuring PoC and have discovered a few more. I'm betting--hoping--there are other stories out there. 

Am I not discovering additional titles on my own because I'm not looking in the right places, or do the books lack metadata tags that would help search engines pick them up? Or maybe it's a combination of both?
 
My current goal is to update the list I started in 2011. The criteria is that a) the book is SFR and b) the hero and/or heroine is a PoC. 

Titles include print and digital-first releases. They range from old to new. Heat level ranges from sweet to erotic. The list also includes romantic SF titles. Apologies in advance if I overlooked a title I should have known about.

As before, I'd like your help crowdsourcing a bigger list. Provide a title in the comment section or you can email me: sfrgalaxy "at" gmail dot com. I'll update the list as I can. Titles are in alphabetical order by author.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

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Mind the Queue: Privilege, Diversity and Romance by Suleikha Snyder



[Introduction: Greetings, passengers! Heather here. Part II of an interview with author Suzanne Brockmann at the AAR blog about characters of color and LGBT characters in romance caught my interest. Since Ms. Brockmann wrote a sci-fi romance called BORN TO DARKNESS, I hoped she might mention at least one relevant SFR title.

As I was reading, however, I became concerned by her responses. I felt as though there were some erasure happening, as if other authors of MC/IR and LGBT romances didn't exist, and that their contributions were much less important than hers.

Suzanne Brockmann's post How Far We've Come at Romance Matters only increased my concern about the marginalization of authors who write MC/IR and LGBT romances. In a post focused on how romance has changed over the years regarding diversity, Ms. Brockmann only made a passing reference to "…many other authors…"

The above posts reminded me about the importance of continuing the conversation about diversity in romance and to increase awareness about the number of authors who write with diversity in mind. 

They deserve to be named. 

Coincidentally, after reading the AAR interview, I encountered a few insightful tweets about diversity in romance by author Suleikha Snyder (BOLLYWOOD AND THE BEAST). Given how much the diversity issue was on my mind, I invited her aboard to share her wisdom.]
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Heroes & Heartbreakers Post About New Adult Sci-Fi Romance

If you like the idea of New Adult romances but prefer them with a speculative twist, check out my latest Heroes and Heartbreakers post: Can Sci-Fi Romance Give Readers a Fresh Twist on New Adult Stories?

I tagged S.A. Huchton's MAVEN and presented an overview of several other New Adult SFR titles (along with the pretty covers!).

Happy reading!

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, November 7, 2013

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Is DIMENSIONS: A LINE, A LOOP, A TANGLE OF THREADS a Film for Sci-Fi Romance Fans?


DIMENSIONS: A LINE, A LOOP, A TANGLE OF THREADS is a British film that debuted in the U.S. on VoD on October 18. It was written, directed, and produced by the team of Sloane U'Ren and Antony Neely.

Here's the blurb:
Stephen is a brilliant young scientist who lives in England, in what appears to be the 1930s - but nothing in Stephen's life is quite as it seems. A tragic event leads Stephen to become obsessed with finding a way to revisit his past. Love, jealously, desire and greed surround him, clouding his judgement and sending him spiralling towards madness.
In my October roundup, I wondered how this film would play out. Is it strictly an SF time travel story or would it actually be a sci-fi romance?

Courtesy of the filmmakers, I had the opportunity to watch the film in advance of its release. So I can now answer that question (subjectively, of course!). I can't tag it as a bona fide science fiction romance, however I think it has strong appeal for SFR fans. It's a film that includes some of the elements found in SFR even though it doesn't strictly follow genre conventions. "Romantic SF" might apply--depends on how you define it.

I'll discuss it in very general terms in order to avoid spoilers. 

DIMENSIONS is a cerebral, yet character-driven film. The time travel elements are definitely science based. The film doesn't focus on a developing romance between two adults per se, but it certainly celebrates how much of an impact love and friendship can have on our lives and life decisions. The story also explores the idea of exerting control upon Fate/destiny as well as the choices and sacrifices one might have to make in order to do so.

The story is open ended in that it invites the reader to decide what happens to the characters--particularly Stephen and Victoria--after the credits roll. DIMENSIONS is angst-filled (but not necessarily emotionally wrenching) and bittersweet, yet also hopeful.

There's no sex, gore, horror elements, or anything like that. There's some mild violence, mature themes, plus a scene involving a child in jeopardy.

Production-wise, it looks polished and the featured time travel technology is charming and inventive. The cinematography is lovely. I'd recommend DIMENSIONS for adults who prefer quiet science fiction films that engage them on an intellectual level. Upon further reflection, DIMENSIONS might make a good gateway film for adults interested in trying out a time travel SF film for the first time (in other words, the science fictional elements are very accessible).

DIMENSION: A LINE, A LOOP, A TANGLE OF THREADS will be available on iTunes and DVD later this year. In the meantime, you can rent/download or buy it. For more information, visit the official site, the film's IMDB page, and follow dimensionsmovie on Twitter.

Here's the trailer:


Joyfully yours,
Heather