Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Heidi Ruby Miller Helms Dog Star Books, Plus COG Cover Reveal

File this one under “Ain’t it cool news?”: This past weekend, Heidi Ruby Miller (you know her from her SFR political thriller AMBASADORA) was named managing editor of Dog Star Books. You can read her bio here. Congratulations, Heidi Ruby Miller, on your new gig!

DSB is a Science Fiction Adventure imprint of Raw Dog Screaming Press and they are hard at work on next year’s summer launch titles.

Speaking of which, I have a cover reveal for K. Ceres Wright’s COG, which is the first DSB cover to hit the Web. COG (Summer 2013) is a cyberpunk SF thriller with strong romantic elements.

Cover design by Bradley Sharp

Here’s the story blurb:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Interview With GHOST PLANET Author Sharon Lynn Fisher, Plus Giveaway

Hear ye, hear ye! Sharon LynnFisher debuts with her science fiction romance GHOST PLANET (October 2012, Tor)!
A world in peril. A bond deeper than love. 
Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world - a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she'd struggle with the requirement to shun these “ghosts.” She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet. 
As a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy - creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone - oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love - Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence. 
But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet…a struggle that could separate her forever from the man she loves.
Learn more about the story’s premise in the First Look feature I wrote for Heroes and

A couple of elements in particular about GHOST PLANET struck me as I read it. First, I really dig the story’s high concept premise. I love mystery in my SF, especially when it has to do with aliens. So color me riveted when the first part of the book pulled me deep into that plot thread.

Monday, October 29, 2012

More coyote Con SF/SFR & Steampunk Chat Transcripts

Coyote Con has now posted all of the transcripts from the various chats. You can read the transcript of the Steampunk session I conducted with co-panelist Ciara Knight here.

For more Steampunk action, check out the other chat here. And the other SF/SFR chat is here.

Happy reading!

Joyfully yours,


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Transcript of Coyote Con 2012 SF/SFR Chat

On October 28, I had the pleasure of participating in one of the SF/SFR chats at the 2012 Coyote Con (an event revived and organized by the awesome Joely Sue Burkhart).

My co-panelists were authors KS Augustin (who moderated), Veronica Scott, and Sharon Lynn Fisher. Now, for your reading pleasure, I’m presenting the transcript of the event. (I cut a few lines here and there to streamline it).

Begin transcript

KS ‘Kaz’ Augustin: Hello everyone and welcome to the SF & SFR panel at CoyoteCon.

I’m KS Augustin, but please call me Kaz. My great love is writing science-fiction romance (or SFR) across a variety of heat levels, from erotic to sweet, but I also dabble in urban fantasy, contemporary romance and erotica. I’ve been published for five years now and, in 2011, set up my own micro-press called Sandal Press. Wish me luck with that one!

KS ‘Kaz’ Augustin: With me today are Sharon Lynn Fisher, Heather Massey and Veronica Scott. I know this is an early start for all three of them, so I’m getting the replicators to produce some java, extra-caffeine! Everyone is welcome to help themselves. I’d also like to add that a transcript of this chat will be appearing on the CoyoteCon website.

Before I continue, I wonder if I could get each of the panellists to introduce themselves.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Free Kindle Ebook at Amazon: BANNOCKBURN BINDING by Tracy Cooper Posey

From October 26-28, you can download a free Kindle ebook: BANNOCKBURN BINDING by Tracy Cooper-Posey. It’s the first book in the author’s erotic time travel vampire romance series and includes M/M/F elements.

Here’s the story blurb:

In the early 23rd Century, vampires learned how to travel back in time, and created a time-tsunami that threatened life as we know it, until they corrected their mistake. They created the Chronometric Conservation Agency, which is tasked with preserving history and therefore protecting humanity's future. The Touring arm of the Agency offers trips back into the real past, with vampire guides, called travellers.

When Natalia (Tally) Marta, vampire and traveller, takes her client to visit the siege of Stirling Castle in 1314, she is caught and held hostage for ransom by Robert MacKenzie, a Bruce clansman. Rob finds himself drawn to the wilful, stubborn and very different English lady he has captured and the relationship becomes an intimate, highly-charged sexual pairing. Swiftly, Tally and Rob realize their bond is more than sexual, that the emotions stirring their hearts are true.

Christian Lee Hamilton, vampire, one of the last true southern gentlemen, and Tally's ex-lover, knows the 1314 time marker enough to jump back and help Tally return home. His arrival at Bannockburn adds complications, for Christian finds himself drawn to Rob MacKenzie as much as Tally is. But neither of them can stay in the past forever. To do so means certain death.

Happy reading!

Joyfully yours,


Coyote Con 2012 Begins Tonight!

Coyote Con 2012 starts tonight beginning at 5 pm ET. It runs from October 26-28. Visit to register. Here’s a link to the schedule.

Hosted by author Joely Sue Burkhart,

Coyote Con is an online convention for writers and readers of all flavors of SFF, horror, and romance.  Yes, those do go together!  If you love stories blending mythology, fairy tales, spine-tingling horror, futuristic worlds, epic fantasy, and romance from sweet to spicy, we welcome you.  Stop by the forums and get to know us, and return in October for panels in our chatrooms on topics ranging from monsters to aliens, love to serial killers, and anything that goes bump in the night.

I’ll be participating in two panels. The first is the Steampunk panel on Saturday, October 27 at 9 am ET. My co-panelist will be author Ciara Knight. Room: Iktomi

On October 28 at 9 am ET, I’ll be participating in the SF/SFR panel along with authors KS Augustin, Veronica Scott, and Sharon Lynn Fisher. Room: Loki

Join the chats and you’ll be entered for a chance to win prizes including an e-gift card and ebooks!

See you there!

Joyfully yours,


Thursday, October 25, 2012

What Does It Mean To Be A Hero/Heroine In Science Fiction Romance?

In Fight Like A Girl: The Case For Real Women As Heroines In SFR, Donna S. Frelick expressed concern regarding underdeveloped kick ass heroines:

But too often, those uniquely feminine elements of their characters are overlooked, and only the “kick-ass” elements—the physical courage, the strength, the independence, the resourcefulness—are replicated in the women who populate many SFR (and urban fantasy and YA) novels. 

There’s definitely a case for well-rounded characters of either gender. I would argue that many male action heroes (in films and books) lack humanistic and even traditionally feminine qualities that would lend their characters more depth. Sometimes they come across as little more than fighting machines made of flesh. Female kick ass characters certainly aren’t immune to that. “Kick ass” is awesome, but for those characters to really shine they need more than just their kung fu skills.

Donna also points out that traditionally it’s the hero who has

…the emotional profile of the “wounded hero”, the “loner” who goes through life with shields up, unwilling to form emotional bonds with anyone until the heroine somehow reaches him. 

And that

Today very often the roles are reversed, and it’s the heroine who has relationship issues.

I can only speak to SFR since that’s been my reading focus, but I’ve certainly encountered that role reversal and I really enjoy it. Yet I’m having a hard time coming up with more than a handful of SFR heroines whose kick ass/wounded natures might be considered as overshadowing the character. (Maybe it’s a different case in UF/YA?)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Adult Sci-Fi Romance: Victoria H. Smith’s THE CRIMSON HUNT

From what I’ve gathered, New Adult books are trending fast. Therefore, when I discovered that Victoria H. Smith has a forthcoming New Adult sci-fi romance--THE CRIMSON HUNT (Eldaen Light Chronicles, #1)--I decided to pass along the news. It took some hunting, but I found that the publisher is Curiosity Quills Press.

Here’s the blurb:

College junior Ariel Richmond is working on year three of Project Normalcy.

Her house reeks of keggers past and her bestie is just a slight bit vulgar. But the thing is—they both aid in making life refreshingly uneventful.

So much for hard-earned mediocrity when Luca Grinaldi appears on the scene.

Luca’s sudden presence on campus is hard to ignore. Those bright eyes act like a beacon to unsuspecting females, and with features like his, he’s got to be moonlighting for GQ. Luca hopelessly captivates Ariel with his confidence and charisma, but the mysteries surrounding him make him nearly untouchable. And just when Ariel grows close enough to unlock his secrets, a tragic event sends her life in a downward spiral.

That steady life is no longer an option and allies quickly become scarce. The mysterious Luca seems to be the only one willing to help her—but with that trust comes the burden of his secrets. He has a dark mission of otherworldly proportions, and is willing to sacrifice as many lives as it takes to see it completed.

Gone are the days of simply maintaining normalcy, and if Ariel isn’t cautious with her trust, so soon may be her future.

Thank goodness for tagging because going by cover and title alone I would have guessed this book was a paranormal/vampire romance. It has TWILIGHT written all over it, but hmm, maybe that was intentional given the target audience.

Read a short scene from the book here.

THE CRIMSON HUNT releases November 12, 2012.

What are your thoughts about New Adult SFR? Does it interest you? Have you heard of any other titles on the horizon?

Joyfully yours,


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Free Kindle Ebook: Eva Caye’s DIGNITY

From October 21-23, 2012, Eva Caye is offering her indie sci-fi romance DIGNITY for free at Amazon!

So that you can learn more about this series, the author hooked me up with info & links. 

Here’s the blurb for DIGNITY:

Why does Emperor Victor Sinclair fall madly in love with Lady Felicia Sorensen?  She is a High Royal lady scientist in a heavily patriarchal society, and the Emperor has only dated socialites who see him as an icon and a prize.  Felicia's intellect and capacity to see him as a man with more than sexual needs instantly inspires Victor to want her as his Empress, for he needs true love and support, not a lady who will be a burden upon his time and energy.

Although he entices her with all the resources at his command, from sexual stimulation and outrageously expensive gowns to promising she can 'write her own job description', Felicia cautiously learns the differences between love and manipulation.  After an interplanetary invasion and being censured by a ducal panel, all due to one of her inventions, she must choose between toughing out the extreme social and political pressures of a high elevation, and pursuing her scientific achievements. And Victor finds a way for Felicia to do them both!

This science fiction romance is the first of the seven-part To Be Sinclair series. The saga begins with DIGNITY and its companion volume MAJESTY, which describe the romance and first years of marriage of the Emperor and Empress of the Sinclair Demesnes. A few scenes describe sexually explicit behavior.

Friday, October 19, 2012


After seeing Stephen Chow’s extraordinary film SHAOLIN SOCCER (2001) (view the lame American trailer here), I thought, “I’d love to see something similar, but with steampunk.” And now I’ve got my wish! (It only took a decade, but who's counting?)

Here’s the premise of Stephen Fung’s TAI CHI 0:

In legendary Chen Village, everyone is a martial arts master, and uses a powerful form of Tai Chi in all aspects of their life. Yang has arrived to try and learn it, only to find that it’s forbidden for the villagers to teach their secret style to an outsider. But when a mysterious man comes to town with a frightening steam-powered machine and plans to build a railroad through a village, the villagers realize they may have no choice but to put their faith in Yang, who has a secret power of his own. With action directed by the legendary Sammo Hung (Ip Man 1 & 2), Tai Chi 0 is a full-on steampunk kung-fu throw down that will knock you out of your seat.

With Sammo Hung involved, this is going to be fun. Check out the trailer:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pushing The Hero Vulnerability Envelope: Pippa Jay's KEIR

Even though I read science fiction romance books regularly, I find that some reading experiences need to simmer gently for a time before I can officially declare them properly processed. Such was the case with Pippa Jay’s KEIR (Lyrical Press), which I read this past summer.

The least you need to know (non spoiler version): Quin, a human with extraordinary abilities, is Doctor Who-like in her ability to travel across space and time. In this story, sentient life exists on a number of planets in the Milky Way, regulated by the Galactic Commission. Planets that haven’t achieved space flight are left alone à la the Prime Directive. Quin, originally from Earth, has the ability to travel to various worlds. She’s on a mission to find someone and during her travels rescues the titular Keir.

What jumped out at me about this story was the hero dynamic. Without going into spoilers, Keir struck me as a tortured man dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, among other challenges. Once Quin rescues him, he’s in recovery mode. Quin assumes the leadership role in their adventures while Keir seeks answers about what he is. So right there you’ve got mucho subversion happening, especially since Keir is in such a vulnerable state.

That vulnerability, to me, is at such extreme odds with how romance and SF heroes are usually envisioned and marketed (notwithstanding KEIR’s cover, which fully embraces the man titty). Yet KEIR's hero is one type that can challenge readers' expectations about the hero/heroine dynamic in an interesting way.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blogging at Heroes & Heartbreakers, Plus Giveaway at Spacefreighters Lounge

I’m blogging at Heroes & Heartbreakers on the subject of Too Smart? Intelligence in Romance Novels. Though it’s more of a general topic, I wanted to tackle it because intelligence diversity is yet another area worth exploring in sci-fi romance.

How much diversity is there in romance regarding intelligence? If marketing departments are to be believed, romance characters across the board are amazingly brilliant. But is that really the case? And of the heroes and heroines who are intellectually gifted—the scientists, the scholars, the inventors—do they inadvertently receive the lion’s share of the attention, both in terms of marketing and reader interest?

All that reflection on the subject made me wonder what authors could do in this area. "Flowers For Algernon"SFR style, perhaps? 

Also, you can check out this nifty post by author A.R. Norris at Spacefreighters LoungeHealthcare of the Future:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Nice Steampunk Romance Surprise: N.K. Jemisin's "The Effluent Engine"

I finally caught up with a library copy of THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF STEAMPUNK, an anthology of thirty-one stories edited by Sean Wallace. A handful of the stories are original and the rest are reprints. I’d had my eye on it for a while and so was glad for a chance to check it out.

I was basically in the mood for a heavy dose of steampunk by new-to-me authors. Specifically, I wanted some cool tech and amazing visuals. I didn’t really have any expectations beyond entertainment. Romance was optional.

So I read the first third of the anthology. Each story was well written and there were a few nice surprises in terms of characters (mutated airship conductors! Little Person Protagonist!). So far, the stories have been pleasant but nothing blew me away. The short form may have been a factor here because I kept wanting bigger plots and more exciting denouements. But if you enjoy quiet/mood-driven steampunk then this might be up your alley.

However, I did discover a fun little gem among the mix I've read so far: “The Effluent Engine” by N.K. Jemisin. Because guess what? It’s an f/f steampunk romance! I could hardly believe my eyes. At first, I kept my expectations in check. This anthology is on the SF side so the romance subplot could have gone either way. But sure enough, the arc qualifies it as a romance (in terms of romance conventions).

According to the author, “The story is both steampunk and alternate history (with quite a bit of real history mixed in), is sort of vaguely inspired by Nina Simone’s song “Pirate Jenny”…” It’s also “A swashbuckling adventure-romance set in 1800s New Orleans with secret societies, derringers, and bustles.”

The story was originally published in STEAM-POWERED: LESBIAN STEAMPUNK STORIES (which I promptly downloaded for my Kindle while working on this post, heh!).

Here are a few non-spoiler elements in “The Effluent Engine” that jumped out at me:

* plot driven story with action and suspense

* Both heroines are intelligent. One is a spy and the other is a scientist

* Both heroines are people of color

* The steampunk elements are integral to the plot but not front and center

* The romance is subtle and falls squarely on the sweet side. In fact, I think this story would be a great place to start for readers who have been hesitant to read f/f SFR but are willing to give it a try.

* As the story progresses, the romance becomes integral to the plot. If you removed the romance from this story, it would fall apart.

And guess what else? You can read "The Effluent Engine" for free at the author’s site right here! Happy reading!

Joyfully yours,


Friday, October 12, 2012

SFR News & Links Extra (October 2012)


Blogger Donna S. Frelick landed an agent with her SFR manuscript UNCHAINED MEMORY. Read all about it at Spacefreighters Lounge. Congratulations, Donna!

My new gig

I’m excited to share that I’ve been invited to blog for RT Book Reviews about science fiction romance! My debut post is about the 5 Habits of Highly Successful SCI FI Romance Couples. Here’s a snippet:

Nurturing a romance can be tough even during the best of times. But what about when aliens are attacking Earth to steal all of our natural resources? How can a couple even begin to plan a date? Or imagine the challenges of executing a simple “getting to know you” conversation when an evil galactic empire is bent on the destruction and domination of one’s whole entire world!

Evil mega corporations don’t make it any easier with their Big Brother control issues and life-threatening products. Those types of workaholic villains can put a serious dent in a couple’s ability to carve out some “we time.”

Yet science fiction romance couples always achieve a Happily Ever After or Happily For Now no matter what the obstacles. How do they accomplish such a nigh impossible goal? What’s their secret?

Aquatic characters revisited

After reading K.S. Augustin’s entertaining EUROPA, EUROPA, I spun off a previous post about sci-fi romance aquatic characters with Swimming Against The Stream: Why Aren’t There More Aquatic Heroes in Sci-Fi Romance? (Heroes and Heartbreakers).

Authors blogging

At CONTACT – Infinite Futures, Ella Drake (METALMARK) discusses space opera-steampunk mashups in—wait for it—Genre mashup: Steampunk and Space Opera??

So when I started writing a space pirate story, somehow I ended up smooshing all sorts of things together. Gender role reversals (the pirate is the heroine. The virgin is the hero), pirate ships and space ships, and a play with symbols–false and real–using a royal amulet and …biomechanical bugs.

Current SFR giveaways

WARRIOR PRINCE by Nancy J. Cohen (The Galaxy Express)

BLUE GALAXY and BLUE NEBULA by Diane Dooley (Smart Girls Love SciFi & Paranormal Romance; Reading Reality)

At Backward Momentum, TK Anthony (FORGE) has a Decadent Publishing ebook and $20 Amazon gift card up for grabs.
Totally epic video

Galaxy Express passenger Anne Elizabeth Baldwin kindly tipped me off about a really cool video that features a firefighting robot. Ain’t technology grand?

The music accompanying the images put me in the mood for an equally epic SFR film that could include such technology. Think: THUNDERBIRDS meets Ella Drake’s FIRESTORM ON E’TERRA. Sweet.

Joyfully yours,


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Interview With WARRIOR PRINCE Author Nancy J. Cohen, Plus Giveaway

Author Nancy J. Cohen is here to celebrate the release of her latest science fiction romance, WARRIOR PRINCE, with an interview and giveaway! The story’s high concept premise mixes Bermuda Triangle action with an alien invasion. Frankly, neither of those concepts ever gets old so it’s lovely to have a story in this subgenre that includes them both.

Following my interview with Nancy J. Cohen are the details of the giveaway. But first, here’s the story blurb:

Warrior Prince: Book One in the Drift Lords Series

When mythologist and Florida resident Nira Larsen accepts a job as tour guide for a mysterious stranger, she's drawn into a nightmare reality where ancient myths come alive and legendary evils seek to destroy her. To survive, she must awaken her dormant powers, but the only person who can help is the man whose touch inflames her passion.

After a dimensional rift in the Bermuda Triangle cracks open and an ancient enemy invades Earth, Zohar—leader of the galactic warriors known as the Drift Lords—summons his troops. He doesn't count on a redheaded spitfire getting in his way and capturing his heart. Nira has the power to defeat the enemy and to enslave Zohar's soul. Can he trust her enough to accomplish his mission, or will she lure him to his doom?

The Galaxy Express: What is it about science fiction romance that appeals to you as an author?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Interview With SKIES OF STEEL Author Zoë Archer

Zoë Archer’s steampunk romance SKIES OF STEEL releases today (October 9) and so what better time to pick the author’s brain about the making of the book? No other, I tell you!

SKIES OF STEEL is Zoë Archer’s second book in The Ether Chronicles, a series of loosely connected steampunk romances taking place in an alternate, war-torn Earth. Nico Rosso is the other half of this writing duo, and if you missed my interview with him you can check it out here.

I invited Ms. Archer aboard to tell us about the evolution of this series as well as what readers can expect from SKIES OF STEEL. But first, here’s the story blurb for the latest installment:

In the world of The Ether Chronicles, the Mechanical War rages on, and appearances are almost always deceiving . . .

The prim professor

Daphne Carlisle may be a scholar, but she’s far more comfortable out in the field than lost in a stack of books. Still, when her parents are kidnapped by a notorious warlord, she knows she’ll need more than quick thinking if she is to reach them in time. Daphne’s only hope for getting across enemy territory is an airship powered and navigated by Mikhail Denisov, a rogue Man O’ War who is as seductive as he is untrustworthy.

The jaded mercenary

Mikhail will do anything for the right price, and he’s certain he has this mission—and Daphne—figured out: a simple job and a beautiful but sheltered Englishwoman. But as they traverse the skies above the Mediterranean and Arabia, Mikhail learns the fight ahead is anything but simple, and his lovely passenger is not entirely what she seems. The only thing Mikhail is certain of is their shared desire—both unexpected and dangerous.

And now for my interview with Zoë Archer. Enjoy!

The Galaxy Express: You’re writing a steampunk romance series, The Ether Chronicles, in conjunction with the one by co-creator author NicoRosso. How did the original idea come about?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What Will Sci-Fi Romance Be Like In The Future?

Image Source: Lounging at the Waldorf

I’ve got a few $64,000 questions for you. To begin, what will a science fiction romance story be like in the far future? Meaning at least two hundred years or more. I wonder about these things. I really do. Here are the other questions that have been running through my head lately:

* What will be the popular tropes and character/relationship dynamics? For example, will Alpha heroes still dominate? Virginal/innocent/pure heroines? What about kinky alien sex? Starship captains? Invasion-themed SFRs? Which tropes will stand the test of time, or, conversely, diminish in popularity?

* Will the heteronormative/patriarchal viewpoint dominate or will diversity come to define the subgenre?

* How will SFR need to adapt in order to remain relevant, especially assuming future technological changes/advances in real life? Keep in mind that would also include advances in psychology, medicine, genetic engineering, and the like—changes that would impact romantic relationships.

* Will cultural attitudes toward sex and intimacy alter significantly by that time and thus influence the types of stories we enjoy?

* How will people read sci-fi romance? Will the distribution system/medium change the way they’re perceived and consumed?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Should Sci-Fi Romance Try The FUGAZI Formula For Success?

I recently read author and author advocate Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s latest post, The Business Rusch: Watching The Numbers.

There’s a plethora of great information in the post, not the least of which is how she cautions authors against obsessing over day-to-day sales numbers. A few other things also jumped out at me. One had to do with the advantage of thinking long term:

The other part of the long-term? Your writing career isn’t about this month or next month or last month or even five years from now. If you do this right, your career should last for your entire working life.

She also analyzed author Joe Konrath’s disclosure about his indie sales figures:

What’s impressive about Joe’s numbers to me aren’t his sales figures. It’s his income.  The huge potential earnings on indie-published books even at numbers that are small by traditional publishing standards should have all writers sitting up and taking notice…

…From a traditional publishing point of view, Joe’s numbers are extremely impressive in money earned, but extremely unimpressive in numbers of individual titles sold. As it stands, right now, by traditional publishing’s standards, Joe is a pretty standard midlist author. He’s not a bestseller even though he’s earning bestseller royalties. [emphasis mine] I’m pretty sure that traditional publishing insiders took one look at Joe’s lifetime sales numbers and immediately dismissed him as a player. They had thought he was, but now the numbers—by the standard that traditional publishers use—prove he’s not.

They miss the most important numbers to their business. He’s earning $37,000 per month on his indie titles. He’s earned nearly 1 million dollars on his indie books since 2009—on sales numbers that traditional publishers will dismiss.

When—and I do mean when—his sales increase, his earning potential is off the charts. Why am I convinced his sales will increase? Because all of our sales will increase, if we exploit the rising distribution market.

In other ways, this method has been proven before. Let’s look at this from another angle, namely the band FUGAZI.

FUGAZI is/was an alternative/post-punk band fronted by Ian MacKaye of MINOR THREAT. Aside from the lineage and cool music, they’re known for playing low-cost shows and basically calling the shots the way they want them called—period.