Sunday, April 3, 2011

Science Fiction Romance News & Links for April 2011

I must say, science fiction romance is smokin' this month!

New releases


Collision Course

Mara Skiren is a scavenger, a black-market dealer. Blackmailed into helping Commander Kell Frayne infiltrate a treacherous corner of the galaxy, Mara learns that her biggest danger is from her sexy, by-the-book partner. She’s a loner with more than a few battle scars on her heart, but something about Commander Frayne stirs up her long-buried need for an intimate connection.

An ace pilot for the elite Black Wraith Squadron, Kell’s mission is to rescue a lost pilot and ship. Unable to deny his attraction to the beautiful, rebellious woman , he decides bedding her would cool his ardor. But one taste is not nearly enough, and he finds himself sharing more of his real self with Mara than he has with anyone.

With deadly criminals on their heels and an increasingly dangerous assignment to complete, he’s starting to wonder…. If they survived, could he let her go? And will Mara want to stay?

Read the excerpt.


The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale

On a mission to recover the time travel mechanism stolen from her brother Bacon, time pirate Stormy Gale finds herself in a battle of wits with The Loony Duke of Leister and a battle of hearts with a man from her past.

As a young girl in 19th century London, Stormy spent her time on the streets. Discarded by her family, she and the other Fenchurch Street urchins struggled every day just to get enough to eat. Then, Professor Gilly Green blew into town and swept Stormy and her brother away on a journey through time, to the 20th century where he raised them as his own. Sixteen years later, she is grown and has embraced a life of adventure. She's a modern day Robin Hood hell-bent on righting the wrongs in the world and...she's an absolute mess. When she embarks on yet another escapade through time, things don't go according to plan. She finds herself in 1836 New England running an ill-conceived con on a madman in order to get back what is rightfully hers. Her adventure lands her in hot water as she winds up shackled to a bed in The Loony Duke of Leister's torture chambers. Little does she know that the Loony Duke is someone from her past, who is going to turn her life upside down.

Read the excerpt.

THE SLIPSTREAM CON - S. Reesa Herberth and Michelle Moore

The Slipstream Con

Is love the biggest con of them all?

A Ylendrian Empire story.

For three years, Kellen Frey has led bounty hunters Tal and Vanya on a merry chase, evading capture with flair and style. Now, just when they finally have their pet project—and object of their mutual fantasies—cornered, the elusive con artist turns the tables and gives himself up. A sudden attack of conscience, perhaps? Tal and Vanya know better.

Their suspicions are confirmed when a crime lord comes dangerously close to killing them all, and the rapidly sickening thief is forced to confess the truth—he’s been accidentally dosed with a highly illegal form of nanotechnology.

If Kellen can’t get his hands on another dose, he’s finished. The problem is, the only thief who’s ever broken in to Slipstream Labs is his ex-girlfriend, and she’s allergic to bounty hunters. As he does his best to play both sides, he struggles with his growing desire to be more than a prisoner to Tal and Vanya. Without trust, they won’t survive long. The clock is ticking as they race to uncover a conspiracy that spans the Ylendrian Empire.

Read the excerpt.

STEAMROLLED – Pauline Baird Jones

(cover coming soon)

Going on a transmogrification machine hunt…

Robert Clementyne feared that finding the machine would be as difficult as pronouncing transmogrification (or believing the steam-powered device could perform as advertised). And really, how useful could any information be, coming from a steampunk themed bowling alley/museum?

It’s pretty crazy, but he’s been there, done that, thinks he can handle it.

And then he meets the proprietor/curator….

Emily Babcock grew up in crazy, still lives in it, hey, it’s her freaking zip code. So no worries when Robert and his team walk into her bowling alley, her first visitors ever to her museum.

But neither of them is prepared for what happens when they open the door to the past…

…and the future…

…with a side trip through Roswell…

…and a face-to-face meet with the evil genius/wannabe-evil overlord-of-everything (who is doing a good job of meeting his goal).

With all of time at risk, it’s a bad time to fall in love…unless it’s the only time….

Read the excerpt.


Alien In The Family

Super-Being Exterminator Kitty Katt and the Alpha Centaurian she loves, Jeff Martini, should be finalizing their wedding plans. But that was before she discovers Jeff is in line to become Emperor back on his home world. Kitty knows she is everything a royal family wouldn't approve of, and is bracing herself for the worst. As it turns out, the royal family is just the beginning. Especially when extraterrestrial Amazonian terrorists are determined to start and end Kitty and Jeff's nuptial festivities with a bang.


Photographs & Phantoms

Brighton, 1855: As a member of the Order of the Round Table, Kendall Lake is overqualified to be investigating strange phenomena at a seaside photography studio. But since the photographer is related to the Order’s most powerful sorcerer, Kendall reluctantly boards a dirigible to Brighton.

Amy Deland is haunted by a shadow that appears in some of her recent portraits. In each case, the subject died within days of the sitting. Does she have her grandmother’s gift of foresight, or has she somehow caused the deaths?

As Kendall and Amy search for answers, their investigation draws them together in a most improper way. But it seems the evil presence in the studio is determined to keep them apart…

Read the excerpt.

And finally, the following release actually came out in March 2011, but thanks to a heads up by author Karin Shah (STARJACKED), I can share it with you now:

SEDUCE ME IN DREAMS (A Three Worlds Series) – Jacquelyn Frank

Seduce Me In Dreams

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Nightwalkers and Shadowdwellers series, Seduce Me in Dreams begins a sexy new futuristic series featuring an elite group of military heroes.

Dark. Mysterious. Sensual. When Bronse Chapel, the commander of a specialized unit of the Interplanetary Militia, begins to dream about a beautiful and exotic brunette, he wants to dismiss it as being induced by lack of sleep…or perhaps lack of sex. But his instincts tell him it’s something different, something far more dangerous.

Ravenna is the leader of the Chosen Ones, a small group of people from her village born with extraordinary powers. She doesn’t know that draws her to Bronse’s dreams night after night, but she senses that he and his team are in jeopardy. Ravenna can help him, but first Bronse must save the Chosen Ones from those who plan to use their powers for evil. Together, Bronse and Ravenna will be unstoppable. But Ravenna is hiding something that could endanger them all.

Le shiny

Pauline Baird Jones (STEAMROLLED) recently unveiled her sparkly new Web site. Features include resource pages for readers and writers.

Authors blogging

Kaye Manro (FORBIDDEN DESTINY) shares advice about breaking into publishing with science fiction romance in Boldly Going Back To Basics:

SFR is not just about settings in different universes. It requires even more attention to plot development and world-building details. Yet some points in writing a SFR in a sense are the same as writing any fiction story-- believability and focus on character, conflict and consistency.

Ella Drake (JAQ’S HARP) discusses how science fiction romances have explored humanity’s relationship with ecosystems in The New World:

All that aside, it does bring the question of how man approaches the new world and new ecosystems. Must man colonize and overtake, as the example of the Americas so well represents? Can man create a livable ecosystem for space travel, exploration, and settling?

The most recent and most notable look at this concept is the movie Avatar. The idea of Earth and how it approaches the resources of a un-plundered new world.

On getting "the call"

At Spacefreighters Lounge, Laurie Green blogs about her reaction to the call about the news that she's a double finalist for the Golden Heart Awards:

Let me first explain that I took the day off work Friday, because it was “Golden Heart Day” and because I expected to be disappointed and moping about like I did last year, while at work, after not getting a call. No thanks. I’d rather sulk in solitude. So I prepared myself for the sinking-stomach feeling, and then to regroup and start off in a new direction.

Then…my whole world reversed the spin on its axis. Yes, I got the call. Twice! Let me recap, in this manic, head-to-page account.

Via SF Signal I came across Hard SF and Soft, or Girls v. Boys by author Nicola Griffith. While not about science fiction romance per se, the post had a lot of interesting observations about the perception of SF stories that addresses relationships/sexuality/gender issues/romance:

SF as a genre is terrified of the body. As a result, its depictions of physical pleasures are rare. Historically, writers and readers seem to prefer their characters to pop nutrition pills rather than delight in a gourmet meal, dwell 24/7 in sterile environments rather than wander through a wood, and jack into virtual sex rather than touch another human being.

When SF does dare mention sex, the focus is on the intellectual and emotional aspects of the experience. SF still subscribes to Cartesian dualism: the mind is pure, adamantine, and noble, the body bestial, soft, and squicky. (I have talked about this at length elsewhere: see my essay “Writing from the Body.”) Even a hint of body-to-body sex can be enough to earn an sf novel an Approach With Caution warning—that is, categorization as soft SF.

In this regard, the world-view of the SF Old Guard has a lot in common with that of the cultural guardians of Old Iceland. Embedded in the Icelandic sagas is that society’s tendency to divide the world—politics, intelligence, gender, sexuality, the physical properties of objects—into hvatr (hard) and blauĂ´r (soft). Hard equates to bold, independent, powerful, vigorous, sharp, dry, and decisive; soft to weak, powerless, dull, moist, and yielding.

Guess which was deemed the more admirable quality.

Guess which kind of SF, hard or soft, is privileged critically.

The issues raised in the article definitely have implications for science fiction romance. I'll have to revisit it a few more times because I can feel a post coming on....

Which brings us to my final item: In addition to my regular posts this week, on Tuesday, April 5, I’ll be guest blogging about sci-fi romance at Romance Divas. And courtesy of author Lilly Cain (ALIEN REVEALED) on April 8 you can find me blogging about it some more at CONTACT – Infinite Futures.

Now I turn the mike over to you. Got any sci-fi romance news and/or links to share?

Joyfully yours,