Wednesday, April 1, 2015

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SFR News & Link Roundup For April 2015

New releases

Happy April! Behold this month's shiny new titles:

DEADLY LOVER - Charlee Allden

In the future, love can get you killed.

Security contractor Lily Rowan is clawing her way back to normalcy after a training mission gone horrifically wrong left her physically and emotionally broken. She’s returned to the city she grew up in, but not to hide from her nightmares, to face them. Living alongside the Ormney—genetically altered refugees who’ve settled in The Zone—is a daily reminder of the Ormney trainee who nearly took her life. Lily knew it would be tough, but she couldn’t have known coming home would drop her straight into a madman’s deadly game.

Someone is drugging Ormney men and turning them into mindless killers, reenacting the attack Lily barely survived. To stop the killing spree and put her own demons behind her, Lily must overcome her fear and work with Jolaj, a refugee Law Keeper with dangerous secrets and hidden motives of his own.

Jolaj long ago dedicated his life to his people. As a Searcher he slipped into the black nothing of inter-dimensional space day after day, risking everything to find them a new home. As a Law Keeper he is once again tending to their future. But working with Lily could prove to be the most difficult task he’s ever faced. Despite the Council’s decree making relationships with the outsiders forbidden, he’s finding it hard to keep the courageous Lily at a distance.

With the fragile peace between their people on the line, Lily and Jolaj must stop the horrific crimes before their growing attraction makes them the killer’s next targets.

In the near future, the world is forever altered by the arrival of refugees from a parallel universe. The Ormney refugees fled their dying world with no possessions, no technology, just a natural ability to slip in and out of phase with the world around them. Few survived the harrowing journey and those who did are restricted to a zone within the mega-city called the JAX Metropolitan Area, spanning the North Florida/South Georgia coastline.

With all that has changed, two things remain the same—serial killers still walk among us and murder is still as ugly and terrifying as ever.

PRODIGAL STAR (Purgatory Field #2) - Nuah Belleton

A Dystopian Sci Fi Romance

Back in the Citadel. Package delivered. Client calls it a 'stupendous victory'. To Te it's been nothing short of complete disaster.

Outside is burning - an open war-zone, all because of her.

The Citadel is worse. She has come to the attention of The Spire and that's never good. Te is a loose end and the Militia is the scalpel. No place safe, everything she has built is threatened. She has become someone's assignment.

And Jin is dead.

That should mean nothing to her - but it does.

Down in the fire and fume of battle something is stirring. Coming back, returning for her. And Te is fast running out of places to go.

RIVER ARROW (New Guardsmen #2) - Ella Drake

Jared Covington is about to veer off course. He’s survived the end of known civilization by staying focused. His crew, his community, and his own life demand he take no chances. Working the Mississippi River carries enough risk, but it pays to avoid trouble where he can, including never getting involved with the ragtag communities on his trade route. He doesn’t count on Mari and how involved he wants to get.

Mari is a survivor. An attacking drifter gang has captured her entire village and she’s the only one who can stop them. If she’s going to die saving her people, least she can do is finally get her hands on Jared, the man she’s dreamed of since she first set eyes on him. When her entire life is upside down may not be the best time to get him in her bed, but she’s not taking chances.
Mari knows Jared is her lucky break. She just has to convince him of that. Later. For now, their sizzling attraction is put on hold. Because, unless they free the village from the drifters, there is no future.

BADLANDS EDGE (New Guardsmen #3) - Ella Drake

Two decades after civilization’s fall, Nathan Covington makes his last trucking run into the lawless Midwest dust bowl. The rig he's refurbished has been his entire life, but he’s getting antsy. A change is coming.

Hawk, Scout, scary-ass-bitch. She goes by all those names. Her real one doesn't matter. The only thing that does is survival. Food. Shelter. Supplies. A trucker who doesn't want to give her what she wants? Well, he can be sacrificed. Even if he's the one thing she's wanted to steal more than any other.

Use caution: story contains a heroine who knows how to throw a knife, a hero who dares to run dark in a big rig, a motorcycle gang who’ll do anything for fuel, and sweltering love in the badlands.

COSMIC FIRE (The Mars Academy #1) - S.E. Gilchrist

(cover image and blurb unavailable at the time of this post)

MARCUS (Hell Squad #1) - Anna Hackett

(blurb unavailable at the time of this post)

CRUZ (Hell Squad #2) - Anna Hackett

(blurb unavailable at the time of this post)

BLEED (new adult; The Devastation Series #3) - Kelley Harvey

Lexa and Nathaniel leave on an interstellar adventure in search of Gabe. Their journey takes them to foreign planets where they experience close encounters of all kinds, some enchanting, others deadly.

Difficult choices must be made.

Will those choices cost them their lives or something more?

GRAND MASTER’S PAWN (complete novel) - Aurora Springer

A thousand years in the future, wars and portal failures disturb the fringes of the galaxy. On Terra, twenty-two year old Violet Hunter seems an ordinary student of the Space Academy, who dreams of exploring unknown planets. She applies to serve as the pawn of one of the twelve Grand Masters, although her hidden talent of empathy makes her ineligible. Violet has defied the prohibition against psychics for half her life. Why should she stop now?

Isolation is the penalty for a Grand Master’s great power because their touch is deadly to a normal person. The Grand Master with the griffin avatar selected the girl with the star-shaped birthmark in spite of her father’s dire prophesy. He is suspicious about his disobedient pawn, yet he cannot deny the success of her missions to strange planets where she finds more than he expected.

Violet seeks the truth about the mysterious Grand Masters. Who or what are they? Do they threaten or benefit civilization? While searching for answers, Violet does the unthinkable. She makes a bargain with her obnoxious Grand Master and challenges him to meet her face to face, risking her secret to discover his purpose. She plunges into an impossible love and a world of intrigues. Can she survive the vicious conflicts?

HER ALIEN HERO (1Night Stand story) - Jessica E. Subject

Librarian by day, erotic romance author by night, Melinda Rose sets out for another exciting conference, this one in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. But all her plans go up in smoke when the 1Night Stand she applies for is set to happen at the same time.

Cooper Tate heads to Ottawa to meet a friend. When he learns of her deception, he is ready to head back home and vows never to trust her again. That is, until he sees a picture of his stunning date.

With the help of Madame Eve, can these two former neighbors become lovers? Or will extraterrestrial secrets rip away the hero Melinda has always dreamed of?

SING A SONG OF THE STARS (multi-author boxed set of previously released titles) - Laurie A. Green, Rinelle Grey, Sandy James, C.E. Kilgore, Shelley Munro, Greta van der Rol, Rachel Leigh Smith, Aurora Springer
A collection of eight sci-fi romance novels and novellas.

Spanning the universe, from futuristic Earth to unique alien worlds, these stories combine the realms of science fiction with heartfelt romance and tantalizing sizzle. Adventure, mystery, space exploration, technology, betrayal, and love, these eight stories sing the songs of the stars—igniting the imagination, arousing the spirit, and uplifting the heart.

Farewell Andromeda by Laurie A. Green
The last thing deep space pilot Tiharra Bell needs is another romantic entanglement, and certainly not with the galaxy’s most famous astronomer. But she's about to be fooled.

Reckless Rescue by Rinelle Grey
He crash-landed on her planet. Can they survive the winter together without falling in love?

The Seeker by Sandy James
The Vymains have conquered Earth but Kara Michaels refuses to surrender. When Aiodhan Riel is sent to assassinate the Vymain leader, he crash lands. Will he carry out his mission or fall for the rebellious Kara?

Unbound Instinct by C.E. Kilgore
Vex is unique among his kind. Cris is the last of hers. Freed from slavery, they seek an acceptance of themselves and an understanding of each other.

Alien Encounter: Janaya by Shelley Munro
Janaya is stuck on Earth. And because she neglected to have her travel inoculations in her hurry to protect her aunt from Torgons, she has bonded with an Earthman.

A Matter Of Trust by Greta van der Rol
Surrounded by enemies, it seems the only man prepared to help Princess Amira is the Demon Admiral. But can she trust him?

My Name Is A’yen by Rachel Leigh Smith
A'yen Mesu, a Loks Mé slave, doesn't believe his homeworld exists. Dr. Farran Hart does. When she finds it, he'll do anything to protect her. Even if it costs him his heart.

Captured By The Hawk by Aurora Springer
A Space Operetta: Kat steals codes from the Emperor’s Revenge. Captain Black Hawk hides his face under a mask. Will he win her heart before she uncovers his tragic secret?


Coming May 2015 from Samhain Publishing: Yolanda Sfetsos’ DASH (Recast #4):
Taylor may be the Clash Arena’s most dominant—and only—female gladiator, but today she just can’t catch a break. After winning yet another brutal fight, with the arena inexplicably falling down around her ears, she jumps at the chance to escape the prison of her subterranean pit.
Instead, she finds herself knocked unconscious more times than she can count, and pursued over the edge of a sea cliff by an AI enforcer she can’t shake off her heels.
Walsh has been living a double life, masquerading as a tyrant’s enforcer while hiding his true agenda. When the despicable arena falls, there’s only one thing on his mind—saving the savage blonde who doesn’t trust him as far as she can throw him. Which is a considerable distance.
Once he convinces her he’s not out to kill her but help her survive, they form an uneasy alliance. But Taylor senses he’s keeping a secret, not just from her, but about her. And the truth will show them exactly what it is to be human.               
Product Warnings
This book contains some girl-on-girl action, a kick-ass gladiator who takes no crap, an AI who puts it all on the line, a band of misfits who aren’t as merry as they seem, cute tadpoles with sharp teeth, and grip-you-by-the-hair kisses. Strap in, interstellar turbulence is a bitch.
SFR events

SFR Station is hosting “April Fools For Love”:

SFR Station is excited to bring together thirty amazing Science Fiction Romance authors for fun blog posts and a huge giveaway! Throughout the month of April, we’ll be celebrating the foolish things people do, human and alien, for love.
The event includes a $75 ebook gift card + ebooks giveaway. Click here for more information.

Diverse book covers

Mosaic Stock completed a successful Kickstarter campaign, which is great news for authors and publishers seeking to release books with covers that reflect the stories' diverse content.

Mosaic Stock’s tag line: “A stock photography site as diverse as the world we inhabit”. Here’s a bit more information:
My next update will contain more information about Mosaic Stock's site launch. As of now, we are looking to do a 'soft launch' in May. The photos we will have available will be contemporary solo shots that our photographer has the rights to sell. Please keep in mind there won't be any genre specific themes until our first shoot in June.  At that time we will have couples, costumes, genre specific themes, etc. When we sat down and looked over the images we already had (some of which we displayed on the campaign page and on Facebook), we realized that many of them would look great on book covers, and we can begin selling them the moment we can get a website up and running. Again, you'll receive an update via Kickstarter in the coming weeks with more info on the site launch.
Women in geekdom

At Stacked, Alexandra Duncan wrote about Staking Our Claim in the Science Fiction Universe. The focus is primarily YA SF, but articles like these resonate with me because they speak to the experience of being a longtime female science fiction, romance, and fantasy fan.
When you think of “girly” books, chances are, you’re not thinking about science fiction. Sci-fi, along with horror and other “weird” fiction, has long been male territory, where women are the exception. I learned this lesson over and over again as a teenager searching for sci-fi written by or starring women. Not that I didn’t get any pleasure from Robert Heinlein’s “boys” novels, for example, or gain insight about issues like poverty (Citizen of the Galaxy) or self-determination (Farmer in the Sky), but there was a special kind of excitement in finding a sci-fi novel with a female protagonist.
Ms. Duncan also writes about "...the false dichotomy set up between hard and soft science fiction" as well as the fact that "Women have staked out territory in all areas of sci-fi in recent years." Both of those points apply to SFR and its challenges.

It's also why I'm convinced there are more potential SFR fans around than one might suspect, including younger readers who will grow up with sci-fi romance being the norm rather than the exception.

Lauren Panepinto wrote a fascinating article called “The No-Stilettos Rule or, My Philosophy as A Woman SFF Art Director.” The main topic is her discussion “...about how being a woman affects my experience in art and in geekdom.”
As I explained in my last post, Women’s History Month seemed like a good time to talk about these issues, and I’d like to keep the ball rolling and keep talking, because they aren’t going away. Women Artists are speaking out against injustices in the art world. Social Media has been a gender-issue battlefield this year. I really believe we are finally at the watershed moment where female fans of comics, games, and SFF books are not content to sit idly by while their desires and needs are dictated to them. They want a say in the creation of material designed specifically for them. And companies are starting to listen. Artists are learning that they need to take their changing target audiences into account, not just assume they are the same as five, ten years ago. I believe this is an important evolution. Women fans do not want to “ruin” anyone’s fun. There are plenty of places for a male POV and enjoyment of sexual objectification. I absolutely do not think those places need to be eliminated. But places that are meant for an audience of women need to consider the desires of those women. This will make art and geek media a better, more inclusive place. I know this, because it is what I have been doing, quietly, at Orbit Books for years.
There’s lots of information in her article about how she approaches cover design and I especially I love the idea of cover characters having agency:
A hero character on the cover needs to be both “sexy I want to be” for the fans of that gender and also “sexy I want to $%^!#” for the fans of that sexual orientation. And the key, again, is agency. I kid about being a big Supernatural fan but that show hits this balance perfectly. Women are the dominant fanbase, but there’s a lot of men who are fans as well. The main characters are cool enough for the guys, but hot enough for the ladies.
I also discovered there’s a thing known as “book-experienced models,” which Ms. Panepinto stated she uses in order to create convincing cover scenes. That’s pretty cool! I'd love to see more of these types of models on sci-fi romance covers.

Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly

For more sci-fi romance fun, check out issue #6 of the Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly (brought to you by KS Augustin, Diane Dooley, and me). Best of all, it’s free!

Now I turn the mike over to you. Got any hot SFR news/links to share?

Joyfully yours,