Thursday, March 3, 2011

5 Reasons To Avoid Heather Massey’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE

Once Upon a Time in SpaceYes, you read that right!

This post is a public service announcement for my science fiction romance ebook, ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE (Red Sage Publishing)—now out and in the wild. I thought I’d compile a list of reasons *not* to read my story. Why? Because the truth is that even among science fiction romance fans, taste varies widely.

Think of this as the ultimate, spoiler-free tag post. To familiarize yourself with the story, read the blurb and/or the free three-chapter excerpt here.

And because I’m a firm believer in that no SFR reader should walk away empty handed, I also provide book recommendations that might help you find the type of story you are seeking.

Ready? Here you go:

5. High concept space opera isn’t your cup of space java

ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE fires on all the action/fun/love cylinders.

It's basically about a futuristic Christopher Columbus in space—with a romance. How much higher can the concept go? The kernel of this story was basically me envisioning the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria flying around the galaxy. But I couldn’t stop there. Mix in one sultry space pirate, and you get loads of space western-style face-offs.

The story is packed with pulpy space opera adventure, but without the dated prose. This also means that the story contains homages to some of the great vintage SF I’ve enjoyed over the years. Oh yeah—there are themes and other Serious Stuff, but think of it in terms of Flash Gordon teaching the class vs. Albert Einstein.

If you want characters standing around talking and explaining things...and talking some more...and then explaining some more—well, this is not for you. Think pacing more along the lines of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (in space), not THEY CAME TO TALK.

Another reason you may want to avoid this book is that technically, it should be classified as a science fantasy romance. You won’t find any dragons or wizards, but there are elements whose scientific explanations are so off the charts I couldn’t include them. In other words, more “Wavehandium” than hard SF elements here.

Alternate reading: Stories that blend hard/plausible SF and romance include THE PHOENIX CODE (Catherine Asaro); IN ENEMY HANDS (KS Augustin); and THE HIDDEN WORLDS (Kristin Landon).

4. You’re just not that into erotic romance

Regarding heat level, ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE is erotic science fiction romance. The hero and heroine, Nick and Raquel, are insanely attracted to one another. In fact, if they act on their attraction (which they do, natch), the whole mission is threatened. Needless to say, lots of high stakes rear their heads as a result of Nick and Raquel’s biological urges.

They don’t meet in the first chapter, or even the second one, but the story delivers a level of sexual tension and erotic scenes that readers have come to expect from Red Sage. Of course, I made sure the story had other important elements, like a plot, character arcs, and nifty worldbuilding details, but don’t let that fool you. Nick and Raquel are hot, hot, hot for each other and aren’t afraid to let the reader know it.

The kicker is that the erotic scenes further develop the relationship and move the plot forward. But definitely avoid this one if that’s not your…scene.

Alternate reading: Science fiction romances on the sweet side include DARKSHIP THIEVES (Sara A. Hoyt), METAL REIGN (Nathalie Gray), and GIRL GONE NOVA (Pauline B. Jones).

3. You think all space pirates belong in the "Aye, me Aldebaran matey!" category

Just because I’m a raging space pirate-aholic doesn’t mean everyone else has to like them. Therefore, I should warn you that ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE has lots of space pirate action. None of the characters are going around saying "Arrgghhh!," walking on peg legs, and talking to robotic parrots, but they do engage in such space pirate pastimes as hijacking starships, looting, and killing.

That would be campy; this book isn't.

They do swear, carry dangerous guns, and look unbelievably hot while so engaged. In fact, the heroine wears a sleek black eye patch. But if you don’t go for that kind of fantasy, feel free to pass this one over.

Alternate reading: For plenty of non-pirate science fiction romance action, check out CLOSE CONTACT (Katherine Allred), CONTACT (Susan Grant), SOMATESTHESIA (Ann Somerville), and TOUCHED BY AN ALIEN (Gini Koch).

2. You want just the romance—no action

ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE is about 50-50 as far as the SF-romance ratio goes. It will appeal to readers who enjoy external plots that feature treacherous obstacles the hero and heroine must overcome on the cosmic road to romance. Incorporating an external plot also meant that I took all of the conflict, both internal and external, to intense levels.

However, if you prefer quieter, more character-driven stories that focus more on the inner emotional journeys of the hero and/or heroine, then my story may not be for you.

Again, I'll use the word "intense" to describe this—and I do not do that lightly.

Alternate reading: SILVER METAL LOVER (Tanith Lee); ISLAND OF ICARUS (Christine Danse); and Robin D. Owen’s Heart Book series.

1. Anti-heroines make you run for the nearest asteroid belt

Regarding my space pirate heroine Raquel, I’ll tell you straight up: She’s ruthless. Determined. She doesn't wag her finger at someone...and then feel bad about it later. She’s what we here aboard The Galaxy Express like to call an extraordinary heroine. An anti-heroine to be precise, which means she has one redeeming quality. To find out what that is, of course, you’ll have to read the book.

But proceed at your peril if you have difficulty consenting to anti-heroines. There is some heavy trope inversion here. I made sure Raquel fit the description to a “t.” Then there are her actions—she doesn’t just talk or reflect about doing bad, dangerous things. She actually does them. Her path to redemption is a fierce one.

Alternative reading: For a taste of compelling “good gal” heroines, peruse BEYOND THE RAIN (Jess Granger), GABRIEL’S GHOST (Linnea Sinclair), and THE PROMISE OF KIERNA’RHOAN (Isabo Kelly).

All of that said, are you up for ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE? Do you like action and romance? Tales dripping with sex and revenge...? What about robot parrots? (OK, skip that last one.)

If so, I have two e-copies to give away. To enter, simply leave a comment. The deadline to enter is midnight EST on Sunday, March 6. And again, you can sample the first three chapters here on your Kindle, Nook, PC, etc.--gratis.

Joyfully yours,