Sunday, May 3, 2015

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SFR News & Links For May 2015

May looks bright and wonderful for sci-fi romance! I invite you to check out this month's new releases as well as some interesting articles.

New releases

 STEALING MERCURY (erotic space opera; Arena Dogs #1) - Charlee Allden 

 Born a slave, Mercury is an Arena Dog, genetically engineered to fight and die in the Arena for the entertainment of others. Trained as a gladiator from boyhood in a violent world, where men must form alliances and share what little bounty they have to survive, his only goal has been to keep his men alive. But two are dead and the rest are condemned to be hunted down and killed for sport. Worse, their demise will leave a woman Mercury has sworn to protect, alone and vulnerable. And then there is Samantha—a courageous human he has no right to claim. But she is his. He feels it deep in his soul and with an ache in his body he can’t deny.

Samantha Devlin is an indie-freight pilot who has lost everything: her ship, her crew, and her father. When an old friend hires her as an emergency replacement to pilot a cargo carrier for the Roma Company, she’s shocked to learn her cargo is three, living, breathing, and dangerously sexy Arena Dogs. When Samantha learns she’s taking the men to their deaths, she must decide is she if willing to risking everything for a man whose customs require that he share her with one of his men and demands he return to Roma to protect another woman. Mercury, their leader, and Lo, his emotionally broken arena-brother, challenge all her notions of honor, loyalty, and love. Her heart tells her Mercury is worth any cost, but her head sees nothing ahead but disaster.


Worst Possible Birthday: Being sold into slavery by none other than your lover.

Tover Duke’s rare ability to move anything instantly across light-years of space makes him a powerful, valuable asset to the Harmony Corporation, and a rock star among the people of the colonies. His life is luxurious. Safe. Routine.

He has his pick of casual hookups passing through Dadelus-Kaku Station. His one brush with danger of any kind—the only bright spot in his otherwise boring life—is Cruz Arcadio, a dark-haired, hard-bodied engineer whose physical prowess hints he’s something much more.

When a terrorist abducts Tover, hurling him into a world of torture, exploitation and betrayal, it’s with shattering disbelief that he realizes his kidnapper is none other than Cruz. As Tover struggles to find the courage to escape his bondage, he begins to understand the only way to free his body, his mind—and his heart—is to trust the one man who showed him that everything about his once-perfect life was a lie.

Warning: This story contains descriptions of extreme violence and assault. It also contains graphic sexual depictions. It also has a lot of birds. And pirate movies from the future. And romance.

THE TIME SLIP GIRL - Elizabeth Andre

What if the woman you loved was more than a century away? Dara, a computer programmer from Chicago, is visiting London when she opens a door in an Edwardian house and slips into Edwardian England. Agnes, a beautiful London shop girl, takes in the bewildered 21st century American lesbian, but, as Dara begins to accept that she is stuck in 1908, she also begins to accept that she has feelings for Agnes that go beyond gratitude. And the longer Dara stays, the harder Agnes finds it to hide her growing love for the accidental time traveller from the future. Will they overcome grief and prejudice to acknowledge their true feelings for one another? Or will Dara be snatched back to the 21st century before they can express their love?

LONELY SHORE (Chaos Station #2) - Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen

All they can do is live day to day…

Felix Ingesson has returned to his duties as the Chaos‘s engineer with Zander Anatolius, his ex-boyfriend-turned-broken-super-soldier, at his side. Hope means something again. But there’s nothing Felix can do to battle the alien poison flowing through Zander’s veins, or his imminent mental decline. With each passing day, the side effects of Zander’s experimental training are becoming more difficult to ignore.

When the ruthless Agrius Cartel seeks their revenge—including an ambush and an attempt to kidnap the Chaos’s crew—Zander is pushed over the edge. He can no longer hide his symptoms, nor does he want to. But hurting Felix when he’s not in control of himself is Zander’s worst nightmare—when it nearly happens, he agrees to seek help. Even if that means trusting the unknown.

As Zander places his life in alien hands, Felix appoints himself his lover’s keeper. And though he tries to be strong, he can’t ignore the fact that he might lose Zander…forever this time.

THE CAPTAIN'S PET (Alien Slave Masters #1) - Samantha Cayto


When a distant planet’s ownership is in dispute, conquering aliens turn defiant human males into pampered sex slaves.

In a not-too-distant future, a lopsided war has led to aliens invading and occupying an Earth settlement. Wid is a young colonist who has been caught harassing the aliens. He and his friends are rounded up and sent to an alien warship patrolling the disputed space. His fate is to serve as a sex slave for the ship’s imposing captain. Wid, at first, fights against his enslavement, but soon learns that not only does he stand no chance against the much larger and stronger captain, he isn’t sure he even wants to.

Like all Travian males, Kell is bound by duty to defend his people. Having risen to the rank of captain, he nevertheless chafes against the boring and endless patrol of the space invaded by the humans. His misses his family and constantly guards against his scheming first officer. He sees his reward of a human sex slave as more of a nuisance. Yet the pretty, fair-haired human’s exotic allure is hard to resist. He finds far more pleasure in the use of his pet than he would like.

Kept naked and leashed, Wid’s days are filled with boredom, while his nights wrapped in Kell’s arms turn from fear into pleasure. Even as the humans plot their escape, Wid and Kell form a bond and their growing affection cannot be ignored. When tensions boil over among the aliens, Wid and his friends may be Kell and his crew’s only chance for survival.

Reader Advisory: This book contains sex scenes of both non-consensual and dubious consent, as well as scenes of violence, abuse and torture.

ODD COUPLING - Jaylee Davis

Bethany Montgomery’s peaceful life is shattered when an alien ship crashes near her isolated South Texas ranch. She rescues the huge feline pilot before a murderous gang of local ranchers can capture him. She’s determined to protect him. Falling in love with him isn’t part of her plan, but her heart won’t listen.

Vren, a D’Lyrian warrior, survives the crash, but he’s not out of danger. The locals think the only good alien is a dead one, and they’re hot on his trail. The human female who comes to his aid doesn’t seem to fear him, even after he hisses at her for grabbing his tail. Coupling with her should be the last thing on his mind, but her scent calls to him. Has he finally found his life mate only to lose her?

CRUSADER (Battle Born #1) - Cyndi Friberg

Ashley comes home after a long day and finds a spaceman searching her apartment. Before she can call for help, or run like hell, the intruder stabs her and leaves her for dead.

Willing to risk everything for the chance at a better life, Bandar, a battle born soldier, travels to Earth. His superiors believe a geneticist name Daniel Kane holds the key to freedom for Bandar’s people, but first they have to find him. Bandar’s search leads to Daniel’s daughter, Ashley, just in time to save her life. Bandar is so captivated by the fragile human that his need to protect and possess her threatens his mission.

Ashley awakens miraculously healed and filled with questions. Bandar is gorgeous and heroic, but she knows he’s full of crap. This isn’t the first time she’s run across aliens and now she knows it won’t be the last. She agrees to help him unravel the secrets surrounding her father’s work. Ashley has always believed her father was murdered and now she has a chance to learn the truth. But it’s hard to trust Bandar when the brush of his fingers makes her entire body tingle. Their volatile attraction could fulfill her wildest fantasies or open the door for planetary invasion.

Note to Readers: This book contains detailed descriptions of sizzling passion only suitable for mature readers.

From Cyndi: Battle Born is a spinoff of my Shadow Assassins series. However, it’s not necessary to have read the earlier books to enjoy these new stories. All of my books are cross-genre romances. They blend elements of science-fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romance. The Battle Born books will lean a bit more toward sci-fi, but there will still be plenty of steamy romance. Enjoy!

SET TO RIGHTS (serial; Huntress of the Star Empire #12) - Athena Grayson

Can Treska overcome her phobia enough to allow Micah into her mind? Will Micah’s talents be enough to cut through the lies that make up her identity before her sanity splinters? As the false constructs around Treska come crumbling down, the Union itself begins to fracture, torn apart by warring desires for freedom and security. How far must Micah go to set the star system to rights?

About The Huntress 

She always gets her man… 

Treska Sivekka is the best Vice Hunter in the entire Union of Civilized Worlds, but her latest bounty might put her right out of a job. She’s on the hunt for the last of the psypaths, whose psionic gifts are thought to have caused devastating alien attacks on a dozen worlds. The last psypath, Micah Ariesis, is the only remaining chink in the armor of the Union. 

Acquiring her target starts Treska on a journey not back to the safety of the Civilized Worlds of the Union, but its wild edges, where she begins to question all she’s known—about the attacks, about psypaths, and about herself. As she unravels the shocking mystery of her own origins, she must question everything she believes until she finally hunts down the truth.

Huntress of the Star Empire is a sci-fi romance serial adventure, told in weekly episodes released each Thursday until the season finale.

COSMIC FIRE (The Mars Academy #2) - S.E. Gilchrist 

Ensign Dana Lawson of Sector Seven fire team on the star ship, Columbus, has one goal: her own command. On an exploratory mission to Alpha Centauri A, she has the opportunity to earn her stripes, but instead faces a challenge that threatens to send her plans up in smoke.

Rick Morgan, a guy with heartbreaker imprinted in his DNA, the warmest smile and the bluest eyes she’s ever seen, ignites a fire inside her heart. He is trouble, on every level…and he’s brought his dangerous past with him.

Now a saboteur has Dana and Morgan in his sights. Together, they must learn his identity before he strikes again and kills them both…or destroys the ship and everyone on board.

GABE (Hell Squad #3) - Anna Hackett

In the aftermath of a deadly alien invasion, a band of survivors fights on… Join Marcus Steele and the toughest commando team fighting for humanity’s survival—Hell Squad. Battle-hardened soldiers, men and women who never give up. Heroes will rise…when they have someone to live for.

PERIPHERAL PEOPLE (A Ylendrian Empire Novel) - Reesa Herberth and Michelle Moore

Corwin Menevie and Nika Santivan are decorated veterans of the Imperial Enforcement Coalition, and are perfectly capable of solving cases the old-fashioned way. When they’re paired with Westley Tavera and Gavin Hale, the most powerful Reader/Ground team to emerge from the Psionics Academy, it could either be the best thing that’s ever happened to crime fighting, or the makings of a quadruple homicide.

During a routine investigation, West’s talent puts them on the trail of a brutal serial killer who traps his prey in a deadly mental playground. Then the killer starts baiting the team, laying psychic landmines at crime scenes and exposing IEC secrets. The strain of the case binds the agents closer together—so close that Nika and Gavin start sharing a room, and even the curmudgeonly Corwin finds himself as occupied with West as he is with the murders.

But as West’s visions of death grow more violent, the only way out for all of them may be straight through the mind of a monster. If they’re not careful, they may forget which side of the hunt they’re on.
ALIEN CONTACT FOR KID SISTERS - Ed "Mr. Valentine" Hoornaert

Fleeing rebels, the queen’s sister finds a hero to save her. Or is he kidnapping her?

Marianne is sick and tired of being just the kid sister of the famous queen of Kwadra Island. Although she daydreams about being a warrior, when rebels bomb the royal ball she’s shunted to one of the many tunnels that honeycomb Kwadra, where she awaits a captain of the valiant Royal Guardians.

Quinn, a scam artist fleeing the police, dons the uniform of a Royal Guardian killed by a tunnel collapse. When Marianne mistakes him for her bodyguard, Quinn can’t decide whether to save the feisty maiden, fall in love with her—or kidnap her. With bloodthirsty rebels pursuing them and a treasure map in his pocket, what will he choose?

A worthy sequel to Alien Contact for Idiots, this book stands on its own as a grand adventure of science fiction romance in the spirit of Romancing the Stone.

DASH (Recast #4) - Yolanda Sfetsos 

She escaped the arena of death, but trusting him might be the death of her.

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.

TO SAVE A LIFE (A'yen's Legacy #3) - Rachel Leigh Smith

A’yen's loved ones are under attack. To save them, he'll risk everything.

Half the Lokmane are free and the resettling of Lok’ma is in progress. A'yen is crowned king, but it isn't stopping his enemies. Someone is after Ro, and the woman he's falling in love with is caught in the middle.

When Fae is injured in a cave-in at a dig site, A'yen knows who’s to blame. Proving it is the hard part. Things get worse when he walks into a political trap, and Ro is framed for murder. Saving his reputation is easy compared to saving Ro. Ro’s demons come for him, taking him back to a life not worth living.

A'yen races to save Ro before he can act on his deepest desire: killing his tormentor. Happily ever after can't happen if Ro is dead.

KEEP THE STARS RUNNING (m/m anthology) - Lexi Andor, Tayla Andor, Leona Carver, Cassandra Pierce, Andrea Speed

Space is not always filled with adventures and glory. Not everybody goes racing off to battle evil and save the galaxy. Between the rebels, pirates, royals, and spies are the everyday people who work hard just to get by and ensure everyone gets home safe. Less Than Three Press presents a collection of tales about the ordinary folks who keep the stars running.

The Prince and the Programmer by Cassandra Pierce
The Aurora Conspiracy by Lexi Ander
About a Bot by Andrea Speed
Flight Risk by Talya Andor



A long time ago, a determined young woman escaped the despair of her homeworld, turning herself into one of the galaxy’s best martial artists, Ebony Strike.

Decades later, the people of her homeworld have tracked her down. They need money and, in order to get that money, they need the old Ebony Strike back. But Ebony has moved on since that time. She is now Xin Dell, a respected government security trainer. And what her people are asking of her is insane: to participate in a corrupt official’s underground fight tournament…and win. Nothing less will do.

To Ebony, it means training a body that’s out of shape, honing disused skills, spending her own time, effort and money, for a planet she’s all but forgotten. But, faced with the alternative–the death of thousands on her world–does she have a choice?

Ebony needs to be focused and ruthless. She needs to win the tournament. Little does she know that she’ll end up losing her heart.

KEIR (Redemption #1) - Pippa Jay

A demon waiting to die...
An outcast reviled for his discolored skin and rumors of black magic, Keirlan de Corizi sees no hope for redemption. Imprisoned beneath the palace that was once his home, the legendary 'Blue Demon of Adalucien' waits for death to finally free him of his curse. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise.

A woman determined to save him.
Able to cross space and time with a wave of her hand, Tarquin Secker has spent eternity on a hopeless quest. Drawn by a compulsion she can't explain, she risks her apparent immortality to save Keir, and offers him sanctuary on her home-world, Lyagnius. But Quin has secrets of her own.

When Keir mistakenly unleashes the dormant alien powers within him and earns exile from Lyagnius, Quin chooses to stand by him. Can he master his newfound abilities in time to save Quin from the darkness that seeks to possess her?

Book One of the Redemption series and part of the Travellers Universe. Previously released by Lyrical Press Inc. 7th May 2012

JANAYA (Alien Encounter #1) - Shelley Munro

Janaya is a bodyguard on a mission. She must protect her Aunt Hinekiri from mercenaries and return to Dalcon in time to take her captain’s exam. A simple assignment for an officer of her caliber—except nothing goes as planned. Their spaceship crash-lands on Earth. No spare parts available. Big problem.

Janaya is stuck on a tiny outpost called New Zealand. She’s going to bungle her promotion chances. And because she neglected to have her travel inoculations in her urgent hurry to protect her aunt, Janaya has bonded with an Earthman.

Police officer Luke Morgan seeks a quiet life. No press. No nosy reporters. No women. Just lots of fishing and fresh country air. He doesn’t count on meeting a pair of aliens and a talking dog, or participating in a shootout with purple-suited aliens. Nor does he expect the surge of lust he experiences for Janaya. Suddenly a routine callout turns into a huge problem that Luke suspects might only be the tip of the iceberg.

Reader note: This book was previously published as Talking Dogs, Aliens and Purple People Eaters.
Debut author news

Lise MacTague's DEPTHS OF BLUE (On Deception’s Edge #1), an April 2015 release from Bella Books, looks great and I'm super intrigued by the blurb, but…but the price! $9.99 for the ebook. It's out of my price range given my current budget and it's the start of a trilogy, so the romance might not be resolved until the last book. So I'm looking at potentially $30.00 for all three books.

On the other hand, lesbian SFR is difficult to come by. On the third hand, my birthday is in a few months. I'm thinking I could justify the splurge on that particular day. :D

For those of you who don't have to wait as long as I do, here's the blurb for DEPTHS OF BLUE:

For Torrin Ivanov, life is a bargaining table. Every planet is a new business opportunity. Legality is optional and supplying one side in a local civil war always adds up to profit.

Jak Stowell is at war within a war. A woman hidden in the heart of a male-only army, her brother’s murder has left her desperate for vengeance. Her skill as a sniper gives her both the disguise she needs and paves the way ever closer to her real goal. She kills efficiently, without remorse. Putting down an off-world smuggler will be no different.

A moment’s hesitation. A flicker of doubt. Two women on a collision course set off a chain reaction of intergalactic intrigue—and awaken a dangerous passion that could cost them their lives.

You can also learn more about author Lise MacTague and her book in her article, Why Sci-Fi?
For my first foray into fiction (I’ve been publishing professionally for a few years now), I waded right in to science fiction. I’m talking straight up sci-fi here, like a space opera, dykes in space a kind of deal. I’m not denigrating other areas of speculative fiction, I love them all! From fantastic worlds with sorceresses and elves to urban fantasy settings with kick-ass werewolves and seductive vampires, I’ve spent wonderful hours being lost in them…

… While I loved the stories I found during my childhood and adolescence, female characters were mostly relegated to supporting characters. They were rarely the lead and I thirsted for a strong female protagonist. When I discovered Mercedes Lackey, I discovered what I hadn’t even realized I’d been missing. Here were female characters and gay characters. The first time I saw myself represented within a novel in the genre was her fantasy novel: Arrows of the Queen. Here was a book where the main character was female and she had gay friends, even a few lesbos! What wasn’t to love? Sure it was fantasy and not my most-beloved sci-fi, but I was hooked.
Here's the production schedule of On Deception's Edge per the publisher's site: 

"Depths of Blue, book one of On Deception’s Edge, published by Bella Books. Available April 20th, 2015.

Heights of Green, book two of On Deceptions Edge. Forthcoming 2015.

A Vortex of Crimson, third and final book of On Deception’s Edge. Forthcoming 2016."

On marketing labels and marginalization

At Spacefreighters Lounge, Greta van der Rol blogged about sci-fi romance and The vexed question of genre.
This blog, and most of what I write, is science fiction romance, so let's look at how SFR fits into bookshops and reader expectations.

Several years ago, someone suggested I'd like Linnea Sinclair's Games of Command. So I went looking for the book in a real-world bookshop. I found it, not in the SF section, but in romance. Since I don't read non-SF romance, I would not have found it if I wasn't looking for that book. That was a few years ago, and one hopes we've managed to persuade some of the die-hard SF fans that the girl-cooties won't hurt their SF, so that Games of Command can stand proudly beside Elizabeth Moon's Vatta series on the SF shelves. But I suspect we still have a loooong way to go.
On a related note, author Judith Tarr asked Who Got Fantasy in My Science Fiction? (via Charles Stross' blog). She wrote about the migration of psi from SF to fantasy, but her post is also about genre marketing labels and their impact on the marginalization of women authors:
What happened here was that what used to be all one column had become, for marketing purposes, Column A and Column B. Column A: Future, technology (usually high), time travel (if by mechanical means), alien planets, space travel, and so on. Column B: Past or secondary worlds, low tech (or at least lower than the present day, though there's also urban fantasy, which hits most of the other checkboxes), dragons and elves and other mythical beings, time travel or portal travel (if by magical/nontechnological means), magic--and, as a subset thereof, the mind powers known in earlier science fiction as psi, etc., etc.

So Pern's lost Earth colony was labeled fantasy, between the dragons and the psi. Darkover? Um, yeah. Fantasy. Low tech (albeit voluntary) and psi, despite the central theme of conflict between high and low tech in a spacefaring future. (And yet Dune is still science fiction in spite of the psi and the weirdness. Higher ratio of spacefaring culture to low-tech planet? Post-technological vibe? Male author?)

What this did to younger writers was lock in the categories and make it difficult to impossible to sell work that crossed the lines. Female writers were pushed to heighten the romance and emphasize the fantasy elements, and many were actively discouraged from venturing into science fiction. [emphasis mine]
Luckily, times are changing. I'm proud of all the women staking our rightful claim in SF. And our motto: Never give up, never surrender!

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

Joyfully yours,