Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Felicia Day's Vaginal Fantasy Hangout To Feature Sharon Lynn Fisher's GHOST PLANET

Today, Sharon Lynn Fisher’s sci-fi romance GHOST PLANET (Tor) is the selection for Felicia Day's Vaginal Fantasy Hangout!

Actress-producer-writer Felicia Day is a true geek and a reader of science fiction romance. In addition to her many credits, she runs the Vaginal Fantasy Hangout, a lively, entertaining, and no-holds-barred online book club. Members include Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazebee and Bonnie Burton. The VFH team is sassy, outspoken, and passionate about books.

The GHOST PLANET video discussion will go live on April 30, 2013 at 8 PM PST.

Watch the video and join other VFH viewers at the GHOST PLANET Goodreads discussion thread.

Want to know more? Visit the main Vaginal Fantasy Hangout Goodreads page. You can access all of the Vaginal Fantasy videos here, including ones featuring science fiction romances by authors Linnea Sinclair, Nalini Singh, J.D. Robb, and Meljean Brook.

We hope the VFH team enjoys GHOST PLANET and would appreciate any support you can offer via tweets, posts, and any other way you like to spread SFR news!


 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.

Reincarnated 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.


For more information about Sharon Lynn Fisher, visit her Web site and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Joyfully yours,


Sunday, April 28, 2013

How J.D. Robb Helped Me Find My Voice By Kat Cantrell

[Author Kat Cantrell is aboard to discuss the evolution of MINDLINK, her new science fiction romance from Carina Press!]

I’ve always been a voracious reader—I know, I know, how unusual. :) But I started running out of things to read in the romance section. A friend handed me Naked in Death and said, “It’s a futuristic murder mystery but don’t let the name fool you. It’s really Nora Roberts.” 

She had me at futuristic. But the rest sealed my fate as an author.

You see, I had just started writing my first novel and I knew it was going to be a science fiction romance like my favorite titles, with lush, detailed new galaxies, intriguing undiscovered species, huge stakes and timeless love. A space opera galore. Except it wasn’t coming together. My people talked like they’d just learned English, the hero and heroine had no chemistry and my cantina scene bore a strong resemblance to the one with Han and Greedo.

I started reading Naked in Death and had a revelation. I needed to combine my contemporary voice with my love of all things speculative. And by the way, I wanted to try writing a contemporary romance while I was at it. If Nora did it, I could too.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED - An Awesome Time Travel Sci-Fi Romance

[Note: this is a spoiler-free post!]

I first blogged about SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED just under a year ago. I'd flagged it as a comedic SF film with romantic elements, but wasn't sure if the romantic subplot would have an HEA or veer off in another direction entirely.

Since then, the film lingered in the back of my mind and I avoided articles/reviews about it until I could watch it. When it appeared on Netflix, I jumped on it faster than a flea on speed.

The premise of SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED is pretty straightforward: "Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel."

The story's central mystery is this: Does Kenneth the supermarket clerk (Mark Duplass) have a time machine, or not?

Here's the trailer:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

STRANGE FRAME: Instant Cult Classic

Some films are instant cult classics the minute they appear. G.B.Hajim's STRANGE FRAME is one such film.

This animated SF adventure also looks like a bona fide science fiction romance! With lesbian heroines! A far-future setting! Multicultural romance! Genetic mutations! And rebel rock stars! I mean, you can't go wrong with that kind of combination. Quality issues aside, this premise is bold, original, out there, over-the-top, experimental, risk-taking, and just plain wild. STRANGE FRAME is the type of SF-romance hybrid movie that gets me salivating.

Here's the blurb courtesy of IMDB:

More Sci-Fi Romance Movie Action

Science Fiction Romance Movie Week continues with two hot-off-the-griddle links:

At CONTACT - Infinite Futures, author K.C. Burn (ALIEN 'N' OUTLAW) shares her take on OBLIVION (very minimal spoilers).

At SF Signal, I'm part of the Mind Meld discussion about 2013 genre films--movies to see and/or avoid.

Have fun!

Joyfully yours,


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It's Science Fiction Romance Movie Week!

Okay, this now officially Science Fiction Romance Movie Week here at The Galaxy Express!

On Sunday, I blogged about Jac Shaeffer's TiMER: A Sci-Fi Romance Film With An Identity Crisis. This is one of the few SFRs directed by a woman. I had mixed reactions to the film, but am glad I saw it.

Charlee of Smart Girls Love SciFi & Paranormal Romance compared the 1990 film version of TOTAL RECALL with its 2012 remake starring Colin Ferrell. She notes that "Furthermore, I’m a romance junkie these days and the romance is much better told in the new version."

At Spacefreighters Lounge, Laurie A. Green blogged about how much she enjoyed OBLIVION (2013). (The post includes very mild spoilers, but beware major spoilers in the comment section.) Laurie reports that "This high budget, well advertised flick is, indeed, a Science Fiction Romance of epic scale. And with only the kind of mind-bending finale that a SFR can deliver."

Monday, April 22, 2013

TiMER: A Sci-Fi Romance Film With An Identity Crisis

After my recent guest post at SF Signal about women directing science fiction romance movies, an editor by the name of Peter Samet alerted me via Twitter that he'd edited a science fiction romance film by the name of TiMER (2009). And that a woman had directed it. Color me intrigued! It was available on Netflix so I was able to watch it immediately. 

TiMER (here's a link to the official site) is a romantic comedy with a high concept SF hook. It was written and directed by Jac Schaeffer and stars Emma Caulfield as Oona O'Leary, a woman in search of her soul mate. You can read the full story blurb here, but since it's kind of long I'll summarize.

In the world of TiMER, science has been harnessed to connect people who are soul mates. The connection is accomplished by a "TiMER," a device implanted in one's wrist. When two people who are soul mates choose to be implanted with a TiMER, a countdown begins. It ends when they meet for the first time.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

SFR News & Links Extra - April 2013

1) File this under exciting news: Veronica Belmont, one of the Vaginal Fantasy Hangout members, recommended Sharon Lynn Fisher's GHOST PLANET as a fun weekend read during this week's Sword & Laser Podcast (#125 - On the wagon)! (jump to 32:56 if you're pressed for time). See the author's post about it here.

Veronica begins by stating, "The Vaginal Fantasy book this month was GREAT!" Co-host Tom Merritt then asked if it has broader appeal, and she responded with "I do think so."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Blogging at SF Signal About SFR Films & Women in Fandom

I'm blogging at SF Signal about Looking to the Future: Women on Top of the SF&F World.

With the release of two bona fide science fiction romance films this year--THE HOST and UPSIDE DOWN--I started wondering about what exactly it would take for a woman to helm a successful, big budget Hollywood SFR film. Then many other thoughts kept hitting me because that situation is about so much more than a woman sitting in a director's chair yelling "Action!".

I invite you to head on over and share your thoughts, especially ideas about what has to happen now in order to achieve such a goal.

Joyfully yours,


Monday, April 15, 2013

New Steampunk Romance Gig At Coffee Time Romance

I'm excited to share that I'll be blogging regularly at Coffee Time Romance's Steampunk page about--you guessed it--steampunk romance! I'll be there with a fresh topic on the 15th of each month. Look for "Heather Massey's Steampunk Cafe."

My first post is on weird elements in steampunk romance. What does adaptation of this device mean for this subgenre? Can there be too much weird when a romance is in the mix? I invite you to come on over, check out some titles, and share your thoughts!

Joyfully yours,


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Vampires In Space Revisited

My latest Heroes & Heartbreakers post revisits the topic of vampires in space (which I blogged about previously here). Since my last post, I notched my SFR belt with the first two ebooks from Tina Christopher's Celestial Surrender series and tagged them a bit since both feature a vampire hero with alien origins. The author clearly wants to give readers a sizzling erotic adventure, and therefore I couldn't help but wonder why vampires in space are still such a rare breed.

Here's the cover and blurb from Tina Christopher's TANGLED SHADOWS:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Two Great Posts From Women Who Read Sci-Fi Romance

In lieu of my own post today, I'd like to direct you to two eloquent posts by women who read speculative fiction/SFR.

The first is Science Fiction Romance by author Ella Drake (METALMARK) (via CONTACT - Infinite Futures). She takes us on a journey about her adventures in SFR:
Let me start where it all began. In my dad's book collection. Like any good dad, he made sure to build my Nancy Drew collection and when the time came, Jane Austen and the Brontes, but he also gave me hard cover Stephen Kings for birthdays and Christmases when I got to my teens. But most importantly for my future as an author, he gave me full access to his book collection. He was a SFF book club member and his cup runneth over with Asimov, Herbert, Silverburg, Heinlein, and yes, a few female authors like Andre Norton.

The second is Women in SF&F Month: Janice From SpecFic Romantic (via Fantasy Cafe) who blogs about her introduction to female authored speculative fiction:
When Kristen asked me to post here for Fantasy Cafe’s Women in SF&F Month, it got me thinking about the authors that I first read when I was discovering this genre. I grew up somewhere where we didn’t have the biggest library, but by the time I graduated high school, I knew the four rows of shelves that housed the Fiction section backwards and forwards and I’d tried ALL the SF&F I could get my hands on.

Joyfully yours,


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Heroines in Sexual Jeopardy

Image source: Cheezburger
I've encountered heroines who fall into sexual jeopardy of one sort or another in six of the science fiction romance books I've read over the past several months (with varying publication dates). Probably coincidence, but it's hardly the first time, either. My reading experience hasn't revealed a rampant pattern in SFR of this trope, but the recent brushes with it made me realize I wouldn't miss it if I never encountered it again.

One reason it bothers me is the assumption that a heroine's gender automatically makes her vulnerable and her body a target for villain(s). I'm not arguing that it should never make a heroine vulnerable; rather I'm challenging the assumption that an author writing a story has *no* other options--none, nada, zip--than to place a heroine in sexual jeopardy for the purpose of a plot complication.

Another reason is the implication that her body belongs to the hero, who is expected to rescue her before the villain can sexually assault her. The objectification/heroine-as-possession factor, as it were.

Over-reliance on this trope can also prompt me to question a villain's motivation. Why is sexually molesting the heroine a major goal of the villain (or henchmen, as the case may be)? Does he seriously have nothing better to do? No worlds to conquer? No valuable objects to steal? Have studies shown that sexual assault is a more effective type of torture for extracting information than other physical means?

Harlequin Digital First Adds "Space Opera" Category

Sharp-eyed Galaxy Express passenger Christine Dong alerted me about additions to Harlequin's digital-first series. The company is seeking submissions in a variety of new categories and one of them is Harlequin Space Opera, which can include romance but it isn't a requirement. That to me says they're interested in acquiring romantic SF, which is great because authors who write romantic SF have been needing more digital-first publishing options.

Here's more information:
Harlequin Space Opera

Sweeping, melodramatic, adventure in space. High stakes, larger-than-life action, individuals against a massive operation. Intergalactic politics, military conflicts, galaxies hanging in the balance. If these words get your blood pumping, moving your phaser settings off stun and arming the plasma torpedoes, then send us your stories! In these novels—stand alone or multiple volumes—the world is vivid and the action nonstop, but the story focuses on the individual relationships in the heart of the battle, whether romantic, adversarial or otherwise. Readers will want to understand the magnitude of the undertaking, but also be able to comprehend the strategy and events of our heroes and heroines as they face their enemies from the bridge of a starship or the deck of an orbiter. Romance or romantic elements are welcome, but not a requirement.

For books, think about the Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold, the Old Man's War series by John Scalzi, the Honor Harrington series by David Weber, The Ender's Shadow saga by Orson Scott Card, Empire of Man/Prince Roger series by David Weber and John Ringo, The Confederation series by Tanya Huff, or Vatta's War by Elizabeth Moon among others. For movies/TV, imagine capturing the action in Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Firefly, The Fifth Element or even Galaxy Quest.

Happy writing!

Joyfully yours,


Monday, April 8, 2013

Steampunk Romance Watch - April 2013

I'm going to kick off this edition of Steampunk Romance Watch with a report on my experience watching director Stephen Fung's steampunk-martial arts mashup TAI CHI ZERO (2012).

What it's about:

Yang travels to Chen Village to learn a powerful form of Tai Chi. Though villagers are forbidden from teaching outsiders, Yang becomes their best hope for survival when a man arrives with a plan to build a railroad through the village.

I had blogged about the release previously and was really excited about it. This film definitely has both martial arts and steampunk elements. There's also a subtle romance with a strong heroine and bittersweet HFN ending. And some quirky videogame visuals a la SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD. Overall, though, I didn't get the giddy buzz I was hoping for.

The steampunk elements, while interesting, were purely aesthetic. Unless something was lost in subtitle translation, nothing informed me as to why steampunk technology existed in this world. It wasn't grounded in any kind of origin event—not even an eccentric inventor ahead of his/her time. The steampunk elements seemed to exist only to give the fight scenes a different flavor.

Even though I should be totally in love with this film given my interests, the story seems to be a case of style over substance. I'm more of a plot gal so the sparkly steampunk veneer of TAI CHI ZERO wasn't quite enough to overcome the plot flaws.

What made it worse was learning at the end of the film that TAI CHI ZERO is the start of a trilogy. Aaaarggghhhh! No wonder the pacing seemed "off." Sigh. Maybe I shouldn't have had such high expectations.

Currently, I’m undecided about seeing the next installment, TAI CHI HERO:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

An Open Letter to Felicia Day

Image source: feliciaday.com
I have a message for Felicia Day, but for folks unfamiliar with her, first here’s a brief overview of the lady and her work.

Felicia Day is an actress, producer, and writer, but she’s also a true geek and a reader of science fiction romance. In addition to her many credits, she runs the Vaginal Fantasy Hangout, a lively, entertaining, and no-holds-barred online book club. Members include Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazebee and Bonnie Burton.

Several of the books they’ve discussed fall under the science fiction romance banner:

THE IRON DUKE - Meljean Brook

GABRIEL’S GHOST - Linnea Sinclair



And, forthcoming (April 30, 2013), GHOST PLANET - Sharon Lynn Fisher

Alternate picks have included Ann Aguirre’s GRIMSPACE and Sara Creasy’s SONG OF SCARABAEUS.

Clearly, Ms. Day and her group are familiar with SFR. In light of her obvious interest, one might wonder why I even feel compelled to write her an open letter. Well, read on to discover the answer!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Fandom Factor

Well, THE HOST is out now, but unfortunately the numbers aren’t impressive. According to Box Office Mojo:
In sixth place, The Host opened to a meager $11 million from 3,202 locations. That's about on par with what Beautiful Creatures grossed in its five-day holiday opening last month, and is a fraction of the first Twilight movie's $69.6 million start. While The Host didn't get much of a push in recent weeks, it did have a teaser trailer attached to The Hunger Games last March, which suggests that distributor Open Road Films did have very high hopes for it at one point...

...The Host's audience was 78 percent female and 61 percent under the age of 25 (a bit younger than Twilight's typical crowd).
On the heels of that report, I came across a Twitter conversation between Katiebabs (Babbling About books, and More!) and Ceilidhann (Kayleigh Anne of The Book Lantern) in which they exchanged opinions about why THE HOST debuted with such a lackluster turnout. What struck me in particular was this comment: