Thursday, May 28, 2009

The History of the Science Fiction Romance Newsletter, Part IV

Welcome to our final installment on the history of the Science Fiction Romance Newsletter!

After Jody Wallace passed the reins to Joyce Ellen Armond, Ms. Armond reinvented the newsletter as Speculative Romance Online. (To read the previous interviews, click here, here, and here.)

Here’s what Ms. Armond had to say about her job as captain of the newsletter:

An Interview with Joyce Ellen Armond

The Galaxy Express: Please tell us how you became involved in the Science Fiction Romance Newsletter/Speculative Romance Online.

Bonds of DarknessJEA: I won second place in the annual Zircon short fiction award hosted by Science Fiction Romance Newsletter. I’d had several works passed over by editors and agents of horror and dark fiction: they accused me of sending them romance novels. So in frustration I decided to try the Zircon, to see if my stories were in fact romance. Through the Zircon, I developed a relationship with then-editor Jody Wallace, who was looking to pass on the responsibility.

I left SpecRom for a challenging day job, to develop some teaching skills for my long-range goals. I couldn't juggle the job, my writing, and the newsletter. So if anyone out there wants to be editor, I can't recommend the experience highly enough.

TGE: What were the joys-and challenges-of maintaining Speculative Romance Online?

JEA: The biggest joy was learning so much about cross-genre authorship, the romance genre and my own style and vision through being the newsletter editor. The exposure granted me to so many different people and such varied literature was amazing.

Challenges: the reviews. Hated doing reviews. And the technical aspects of maintaining the newsletter were aggravating at times.

But the biggest challenge was self-imposed, and it’s my biggest regret. Trying to please all people all the time made the newsletter a drag. I should have realized that I was trying to do the impossible, you can’t please everyone, and stuck with my vision.

TGE: Looking back, what specific impacts did Speculative Romance Online have on the genre?

Woman in the MirrorJEA: I think at the start, the newsletter and website increased the visibility and the credibility of romance with speculative cross-genre elements. It was a champion of authors and readers with new ideas and new visions.

During my time I changed the title from Science Fiction Romance to Speculative Romance because I wanted to keep up with the changes in the market. Authors were blending romance with not just science fiction but all kinds of different fantasy: light, high and (my favorite) dark. The lines among genres were becoming fainter and fainter, with romantic elements popping up in all kinds of speculative genres. I wanted to continue to follow the new ideas and new visions.

TGE: Is there any news or information about your current project(s) that you'd like to share?

JEA: Remember when my works were being dismissed as too romancey for horror? Now I'm at the opposite end of the problem: I’ve gone too dark for romance. So I'm still feeling my way around, trying to find a voice that satisfied audiences and me.

Ms. Armond, thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

Here are a few links relating to the author's work:

* Joyce Ellen Armond’s blog, I Heart Monsters

* The Speculative Romance Blogspot

Articles by Joyce Ellen Armond:

* Getting Your Love On in 2056

* Horror and Romance, Sitting in a Tree

And to top off our adventures in the History of the Science Fiction Romance Newsletter, here’s a really dark, intense SFR short by Joyce Ellen Armond called “Burned and Burning” at Quantum Kiss.

Best of all, it’s *FREE*!

The story contains mature themes, so it’s only for the very adventurous! (But oh my, is it ever worth the trip.)

Joyfully yours,