Thursday, December 11, 2014

SFR News & Links For December 2014

Happy December! Sci-fi romance has had a great year. Thank you, dear passengers, for sharing your SFR adventures with me. Now it's time to wrap up with a roundup of new titles, scintillating blog discussions, and a look ahead at what SFR has in store for 2015! 

New releases
SPARK RISING (post-apocalyptic, superhuman; The Progenitor Saga #1) - Kate Corcino

All that’s required to ignite a revolution is a single spark rising…

Two hundred years after the cataclysm that annihilated fossil fuels, Sparks keep electricity flowing through their control of energy-giving Dust. The Council of Nine rebuilt civilization on the backs of Sparks, offering citizens a comfortable life in a relo-city in exchange for power, particularly over the children able to fuel the future. The strongest of the boys are taken as Wards and raised to become elite agents, the Council’s enforcers and spies. Strong girls—those who could advance the rapidly-evolving matrilineal power—don’t exist. Not according to the Council.

Lena Gracey died as a child, mourned publicly by parents desperate to keep her from the Council. She was raised in hiding until she fled the relo-city for solitary freedom in the desert. Lena lives off the grid, selling her power on the black market.

Agent Alex Reyes was honed into a calculating weapon at the Ward School to do the Council’s dirty work. But Alex leads a double life. He’s leading the next generation of agents in a secret revolution to destroy those in power from within.

The life Lena built to escape her past ends the day Alex arrives looking for a renegade Spark.


Working as an Aether Traffic Controller saved Holly Acklin after the death of her husband, but now she wants more—including a night of uninhibited passion with Jack Smith, whose very presence has kept her body tingling for months.

Special Agent Jack Smith kept his identity a secret when he came to the London Royal Port Authority with one assignment, one he cannot fail. It holds him back from following his attraction to Holly. But on the eve he must complete the mission, Holly asks for one night with no rules or boundaries, and his control snaps.

When London experiences an unexpectedly white Christmas, all dirigible traffic is grounded, leaving Holly and Jack free to act upon their stormy passions. Holly finds her determination to stay emotion-free crumbling unaware Jack is experiencing the same need. Each lover wishes for more, but fears it can’t be. Instead they focus their desires in mind-blowing passion.

But when Holly discovers that Jack isn’t who he claimed to be, everything is thrown into turmoil. Can she trust the man she thought she knew?

TANGLED REDEMPTION (Celestial Surrender #3) - Tina Christopher

Sydney Radnall is no man’s toy, despite fate’s attempt to make her just that. A kidnapping puts her at the mercy of a sadistic Feral commander. Being held prisoner is bad enough, but her Naema blood is powerful. In her current Vampiric company her presence is like ringing a dinner bell.

In an attempt to break the commander makes her the pet of two of his lieutenants. Miguel is one of the most dangerous men she has ever met, but she can’t stop the attraction blazing between them. Then there is Jayden, a Vampire who is as surprising as he is sexy. Two Vampires she should not be attracted to, should not want to surrender to, should not trust.

But things aren’t always what they seem. Secrets and lies shadow their connections, making it impossible to see clearly. What are the chances of her finding lifemates while surrounded by enemies? And making the wrong decision could not just shatter her heart. It could cost her life.

ES Siren Series

MINE TO HOLD (ES Siren #4) - Shona Husk

Captain Leo Grady is making his third trip to Solitaire. He's spent five years in space and is ready for a change. Not wanting to go back to Earth, he's chosen to pay off on Solitaire. All he needs is a woman willing to be his wife. Given that women are heavily outnumbered on the fleet of first settlers he knows he can't sit around and wait. He has to act.

Vance Knox has been working with vet, Silke Rask, for the last six months. He fancies her, but refuses to do anything about it because he still has a twenty year sentence to serve. He has nothing to offer any lover and he expects nothing. He made his choices a long time ago. But it burns to see her getting closer to Grady.

Silke is torn between the sensible choice of Grady and the more dangerous attraction she has for Vance, but as secrets are revealed she realizes that she has to fight for what she wants. Not everyone on the ship is there because they earned their place, and old Earth money still has power.

When disaster strikes and threatens the lives of everyone on board she realizes that that sometimes no choice has to be made. Why should love have limits?

MINE TO KEEP (ES Siren #5) - Denise Rossetti

He's all puppy charm, but he smiles like a wolf. Trust him? She'd have to be out of her mind.

All Sandy wanted was some R&R in Sydney before joining the Earth Ship Siren as head of Military Police. What she gets is a night of mystery and pleasure with a man so wickedly fascinating he can't possibly be law-abiding.

For professional con man Peter Stanton, Master Sergeant Alanna Sanderson, with her kick-ass body and cool blue eyes, is the most fun he's ever had. Eight months later, on the Siren, he gets to meet her again, but now he's Prisoner 141, and they're out among the stars, half way to the penal colony on Solitaire.

When a micrometeroid shower strikes the convoy, Sandy and Prisoner 141 are stranded on a stricken ship. Will he pull off the ultimate confidence trick and sacrifice Sandy for his freedom?

If only she could command her heart as easily as she wields her stun gun, because when he betrays her, as he surely must, she's going to have to kill him.

MINE TO SERVE (ES Siren #6) - Mel Teschco

When Lucinda Farrell is found guilty of a crime she didn't commit, she's resigned to her fate. It's either stay on a dying Earth or travel through the galaxy to the new world of Solitaire to complete her three-year sentence. Many claim the space bucket, Earth Ship Siren, won't make the long twelve-month journey and are almost proven right when a micro-meteor shower hits and cripples one of the three ships heading to Solitaire.

As pilot of the ES Siren, Jarred Cooper has never been short of female admirers. But he's got a secret he holds close to his chest—literally. Letting go of his past has never been so difficult when he's yet to find a woman who makes his breath catch and his heart beat fast. He knows love at first sight doesn't exist. Then he glimpses the beautiful prisoner, Lucinda.

But when overcrowding and rationing of food become serious issues, getting her to understand they can make things work, despite his past and their huge social divide, just might be the biggest hurdle of them all.

BEYOND GALAXY'S EDGE (Phoenix Adventures #5) - Anna Hackett

Ambitious Patrol Captain Nissa Sander has spent three years at the galaxy’s edge keeping the law and order, and chasing scoundrel smuggler, Justyn Phoenix. But the charming rogue has always outwitted her and she’s had a hard time ignoring his hard body and handsome face. But when one of the galaxy’s most important documents—the US Constitution—is stolen, Nissa finds herself working with the very man she’s been trying to throw in her brig.

Justyn Phoenix embraces life and offers everyone a wink and a smile. He’s also in love with a spit-and-polish Patrol captain. Yep, crazy in love, and he knows she’ll never love him back. But when the opportunity arises to work alongside Nissa on a wild and crazy mission to recover the US Constitution, he can’t resist.

But nothing on this treasure hunt is as it seems. The trail leads them to fake documents, rival treasure hunters, and a millennia old mystery. As the hunt takes them beyond the galaxy’s edge, Justyn and Nissa will face the firestorm of their desire, and soon learn if they can survive long enough to save the galaxy.

ON A CYBORG PLANET (Phoenix Adventures #6) - Anna Hackett

After a vicious coup, cyborg Axton Saros, Prime of the planet of Centax, is trying to rebuild his world. Still recovering from his captivity and dark guilt, he won’t let anything get in his way. But a priceless artifact, stolen during the attack, is still missing and Axton wants it back. What he doesn’t want is the emotionless and infuriating Centax Security cyborg, Commander Xenia Alexander, heading the investigation.

Everybody knows CenSecs are the galaxy’s deadliest killers. So enhanced that their emotions are dampened to nothing. But Xenia’s been keeping a secret her entire life—her systems don’t work and she feels. Working with Axton to find the Da Vinci Codex, he makes every emotion in her flare to brilliant life, but to be the perfect CenSec, she must not succumb.

As they follow a trail of clues and booby traps, Axton vows to do everything he can to show his beautiful cyborg the pleasure she’s never experienced. Even if she fights him every step of the way. But as the hunt takes a deadly turn, their desire might be the only thing that can save Xenia from annihilation.

Hugh Howey's forthcoming THE SHELL COLLECTOR mixes romance, suspense, and a post-apocalyptic setting, but whether the romance has an upbeat ending is anyone's guess. My bet is it'll be closer to romantic SF than a full-fledged romance. I'm including it in the roundup just in case. 

The ocean is dying. The sea is growing warmer and is gradually rising. Seashells have become so rare that collecting them is now a national obsession. Flawless specimens sell like priceless works of art. Families hunt the tideline in the dark of night with flashlights. Crowds gather on beaches at the lowest of tides, hoping to get lucky.

Supreme among these collectors is Ness Wilde, CEO of Ocean Oil. Ness owns many of the best beaches, and he keeps them to himself. It's his fault the world turned out this way. And I aim to destroy him.

My name is Maya Walsh. You might be familiar with my shelling column in the Times. I was working on a series of pieces about Mr. Wilde, when out of the blue, he called. He says he wants to talk. But I don't think he's going to like what I have to say.


Author Astrid Amara announced she's got a Melodramatic Sci-fi Romance Coming Your Way. SONG OF THE NAVIGATOR will be released by Samhain Publishing. Click on the link to read a description of the story.

Donna S. Frelick unveiled the cover for her forthcoming sci-fi romance UNCHAINED MEMORY. The image evokes a Frank Sinatra song to me even though I'm not even sure if he ever sang Unchained Melody (anyone know?). The color scheme is certainly a departure from other SFR covers. What do you think about it?

THE TIDE OF WAR by L.A. Witt is a military space opera m/m SFR that will be released by Riptide Publishing in June 2015. Here's the cover and blurb:

Lieutenant Commander Kyle West is one of Earth Fleet’s greatest fighter pilots. Every day, he leads his squadron into battle over Earth’s cities in a seemingly endless war against a vicious alien race, defending his home and his loved ones. 

Millions of miles away, the Fleet’s Elite Squadron attacks from another angle, engaging the enemy on its home turf. Casualties are high, and the Squadron needs more of the Fleet’s very best. But joining the Elite is a death sentence—a surety Kyle isn’t willing to face. Until a devastating attack wipes out the family he refused to leave. 

Commander Andrei Dezhnyov, an Elite Squadron gunner, isn’t sure what to make of the cocky new American pilot. Kyle is equally uncertain about the snarly Russian, but as they warm up to each other, their tentative alliance becomes a deep bond—one that endangers them both when a daring and disobedient rescue reveals secrets that call into question everything they’ve ever believed about their enemy. Secrets that their superiors would kill to protect.

WTF SFR of the Week

I learned about a book called IN BED WITH A TRANSFORMING ALIEN ROBOT from a tweet of author Suleikha Snyder. The blurb hints at a romance. Plus, I've watched plenty of shows featuring transforming mecha. Check out the cover below. Should I read this book and report back on it?

SFR: Serving underserved readers

Let's Talk Romance: My Sci-Fi Adventure is a neat article at Romance Novels in Color. It ran back in April and I discovered it by Googling "science fiction romance," but SFR doesn't have an expiration date so here we are!

Laurel provided a rundown of the genre's main elements, discussed its appeal for women readers, and shared some title recommendations. Here's a snippet:
The world of Science Fiction has gotten a couple of major dings recently. Mainly in the fact that a bunch of old school chauvinists have forgotten what year it is and that, oh yeah women can write some pretty kick-ass sci-fi books as well. However, outside of that ridiculousness, there is a large audience for the genre and a growing audience for Sci-Fi Romance.

As you all may know by now, I have a love for science fiction and fantasy romances, so today I wanted to cover some of the elements that make up the Sci-Fi Romance genre and share some recommended reads.

At Heroes and Heartbreakers, author Shawntelle Madison blogs about Scientific Theory: Science Fiction Plus Love = The Best Books. I'm inclined to agree, heh heh.

SFR Squee

At Spacefreighters Lounge, Laurie A. Green discusses her love of Rachel Bach's FORTUNE'S PAWN. This book is the first in a trilogy of space opera action-adventure SFR. Laurie outlines seven reasons why she enjoyed it. 

ICYMI: Veronica Scott interviewed Rachel Bach at the USA Today HEA blog.

On Diversity

At SFR Brigade, Pippa Jay continues the conversation about Disability in SF:
Since I write far future SFR, the fact that we are already able to perform such medical miracles right now makes it hard for me to imagine ANY disabilities existing in my worlds, though they still could. Of course, not all the civilizations are as advanced in my universe, so there are opportunities. But those don't tend to be the focus of my stories so far. So perhaps I need to consider that the whole concept or definition of disability itself will have to change in my stories.
Her post raises the issue of how much SF/SFR should rely on advanced medical technology regarding characters with disabilities. Will there be fewer disabled people in the future because of advanced tech, or will new disabilities emerge? In the comment section, author Misa Buckley makes an excellent point about the importance of representing people with disabilities in stories right now, regardless of how advanced technology is.

Author Interview

SFR Brigade featured SPARK RISING author Kate Corcino on #Meet the Author Monday:
What inspired you to write this particular story?: I’d seen several images that fired my imagination—a photo set of what the skies over major cities would look like if there were no lights, pictures of desert sand overtaking an abandoned town. But I originally sat down to continue writing an old story, a fantasy. When I began, Lena and Alex started telling me their story instead. They were just there, fully formed and very vocal. I couldn’t very well tell them to shush!
Wonder Woman Film News

Who knows if a Wonder Woman film will truly be made given the project's previous development challenges, but a director for the film was announced (via The Hollywood Reporter), which is encouraging.
Michelle MacLaren has signed on to develop and direct Wonder Woman, Warner Bros’ big-screen take on the iconic DC character.

According to insiders, MacLaren will work with the project’s writers, who remain unnamed at this stage, to lasso together a script for the movie, which would star Gal Gadot. The actress will make her debut as the heroine in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Now I turn the mike over to you. Got any SFR news/links to share?

Joyfully yours,