Tuesday, November 21, 2017

When Researching Cloned Cybernetic Cats by @Vivien_Jackson



by Vivien Jackson

It’s kind of  secret and please don’t tell the dogs, but…I’m a cat person. I grew up with cats—we always had at least one cat in our family, and for many years a gray domestic shorthair named Rascal was the most reliable alarm clock in the house. Every morning at 5am, she would sit on somebody’s neck until they couldn’t breathe and were forced to wake up.

With all this cat experience and know-how stored up, it’s kind of weird that recently I found myself both felineless and urgently in need of a cat.

For research purposes, right.

One key character in my book Perfect Gravity is a cloned, cybernetically altered, talking cat named Yoink. And no matter how small they are or how innately judgmental or pushy, the tiny Chihuahua dogs currently living in my fuzzy blanket weren’t going to give me the research nuggets I needed.



The search for a feline subject matter expert yielded two candidates: Oreokitty and General Leia. Oreokitty is my mother-in-law’s cat, and for a few months she came to live with me (the cat, not my mother-in-law), so I could observe her day-to-day and learn all things cat. However, it quickly became obvious that Oreokitty not a right cat. In fact, she was once a rat, or rather, she was a feral kitten who lived underneath the house and who got barked at by dogs so often that my mother-in-law at first thought she was a rodent infestation. Once MIL realized the infestation was instead black and white and adorable, Oreokitty became a legit part of the family. Nowadays, she’s a girl who’s seen hard times and is persistently appreciative of the fact that she’s living the good life. Like, really appreciative. You can feed her anything and she will love you forever. She starts purring when a human so much as enters a room. She seeks head rubs from my cell phone. 



I needed Yoink to be somewhat less accommodating, so I hit up my critique partner for advice from her cat, General Leia, who is much closer to the character I needed for my story. General Leia is also a rescue kitty and so has some personality quirks, but it is from patient observation of her that Yoink developed a pushy demand for belly rubs and the ability to judge you constantly because you are clearly failing. At everything. She is judging you right now. And she is IN CHARGE.



To fill in the blanks left by these two real-life kitties, I did some casual online feline research as well. My favorite site for this kind of browsing is a thing called Quora. Kind of like Reddit in structure, it’s a web site where someone asks a question and then people of varying levels of expertise attempt to answer. From Quora, I learned these gems of cat behavior:



  • If your cat persistently leads you to the kitchen and meows even though the food and water bowls are full, she probably wants you to stand there and watch her eat. Quora expert Ben Wu (owner of three cats) says his parents call this phenomenon, loosely translated, “accompanying the princess while she eats.”

  • Cats can not only be innately intelligent and empathetic but can also teach themselves a lot through observation and mimicry. Quora expert Jaimes Roe says his cat Stiles “hugs us, and he pets me when I’m not feeling well. He is always watching us to figure out how to do things like get into the cabinets or turn on the faucet.”
  •  Cats live in the moment, so they don’t spend a lot of energy on missing you when you leave. After a brief re-integration period, a cat will return to a previous relationship routine even if you’ve been gone a long time. Even a really long time. (In my character Yoink’s case, ten years and three clonings have occurred since she last saw her favorite human, but it takes her only seconds to realize that Angela, in fact, her human.)

I also learned why cats like boxes (conservation of heat and protection on all sides while they sleep), why they like to sit on computers (heat again, plus there’s usually something interesting to look at, not to mention a human to annoy/laze near), and why Rascal woke us all up at stupid o’clock every morning (she was evil and … no, more likely she was hungry and we let her rule the house).

Also (not at Quora this time) I read about crazysauce CIA experiments to create Cold War-era cybernetic spy kitties. Not even kidding.

In the end, I have to imagine that Yoink, despite her quirks, isn’t the weirdest cat in the history of people being owned by cats. But she sure was fun to write and research.

 

Vivien Jackson writes fantastical, futuristic, down-home salacious kissery. A devoted Whovian Browncoat Sindarin Jedi gamer, she has a degree in English, which just means she's read gobs of stuff in that language. Her debut science-fiction romance, Wanted and Wired, was selected as an Amazon Best Romance of 2017. The follow-up, Perfect Gravity, was a Amazon Best Book of the Month. With her similarly geeky partner, children, and hairy little pets, Viv lives in Austin, Texas, and tweets a lot.






Monday, November 6, 2017

Veterans Day: Last Hurrah for Hero Dogs!

The authors of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 would like to sincerely thank all the wonderful SFR Brigade members and readers for supporting this unique SFR collection and helping the book become a USA TODAY bestseller! It has now received over 100 glowing reviews on Amazon.

But this blog isn't focused on the success of the anthology. November 11th is Veterans Day, and that's really what this post is all about. Our veterans. Those who served.

Many of the authors of Pets in Space 2 have close ties to military vets or are veterans themselves. Each will be posting this week about their involvement or connection with the military, and why this cause is so important to them. This moving, must-read tribute by Pauline Baird Jones, one of the authors and organizers, to her veteran father is just one of the heartfelt statements of why we feel compelled to support our veterans.


To honor our vets, we're donating 10% of the profits from all preorders and sales through Veterans Day to Hero Dogs. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs for US Veterans to make a difference in their lives. If you'd like to know more about what they do, please watch this video about their program narrated by veterans and staff.





This is our Last Hurrah for Hero Dogs!

We're in the final window for our Hero Dogs donation period. Last year we were able to donate over $2,000 to the organization, and this year we hope to do even more for them...but we aren't there yet. We need your help to reach our goal.

If you haven't yet purchased a copy of this collection, please consider doing so before November 11th. For the price of a cup of coffee you can help change veteran's lives.

If you've bought a copy of the anthology, thank you so much! You've already done something wonderful for this cause and we hope you loved all the stories from the twelve best selling and award winning science fiction romance authors as a bonus.

Know someone who'd also love to read it? Consider gifting a copy of the book via Amazon's gifting feature. Just look for the "Give as a Gift" button on the right side of the sales page.

An e-book or print copy could also make someone a great holiday gift this year!

Here's the universal link to find it on the bookseller site of your choice:


In closing, we'd like to take this opportunity to thank the entire science fiction romance community for helping us to help veterans. And hip, hip, hurrah for Hero Dogs!

More on Veterans, Authors and Pets:

Monday - Authors Susan Grant, Michelle Howard and Sabine Priestley (in a video) explain their connection to the military or why they signed up for Pets in Space 2. Click here.




Thursday, November 2, 2017

SFRB Recommends 77: Willing Skin by Ella Drake

Sylla Viola has never put down roots. When she's forced to abandon her life, she leaves everything behind. Nothing to miss. Nothing to regret. Not even the loss of her body. Using a DNA mod that changes her into a male half-human Scoriah, she's poised to get away from the hunter on her trail. Until she runs into the one man who can see through her disguise. 

Docked at Station Viesel, Echtei Bronson helps a lost male Scoriah. One minute in his company threatens Echtei's control. One glimpse of the woman inside and he can't keep his hands off. One heated touch and he gives in to the need to wreak havoc on anyone who touches Sylla--a woman who could never stay with a man forever tied to family and home. 

But even Echtei can't defeat what's chasing Sylla--a ruthless cyborg hunter who has shown that a Scoriah is no match for him. Echtei won’t give Sylla up without a fight. It's face the impossible or die trying, even if survival means war. 


Willing Skin asks some excellent questions about desire and bodies. The tech that Sylla uses makes her need to adjust to a body she wasn't born with. In many romantic commitments, we attest that we will love a person even though they will change through the years. In Sylla's case, she changes bodies fast. Luckily, Echthei wants her with whatever body she's got, even if she appears male to him.

I also enjoyed the family dynamics in this book. The reader gets to know Echthei's clutch-mates and understand the special not-quite-human bonds that. I hadn't read any previous books in the series, but the characters who were the heroes of other stories were vivid enough that I'll have to go back and read from the start. Bonus: hot and chilling cyborg whose workings made me say both "ooooh" and "ewwww."

 Book page- Willing Skin (with buy links and excerpt)


This recommendation by Lee Koven.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Launch Day - Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2

We have Lift Off!

It's October 10th and that means the Pets are Back! And we invite you to join our mission! Read on.

Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2

Twelve New York Times, USA TODAY, award-winning and SFR Brigade authors have all joined forces:
  • S.E. Smith
  • M.K. Eidem
  • Susan Grant
  • Michelle Howard
  • Cara Bristol
  • Veronica Scott
  • Pauline Baird Jones
  • Laurie A. Green
  • Sabine Priestley
  • Jessica E. Subject
  • Carol Van Natta
  • Alexis Glynn Latner
We're on a mission to help out Hero-Dogs, a charity that supports our veterans, and to introduce more readers to science fiction romance!

10% of all preorders and the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.




This massive collection packs a punch for readers, featuring twelve original, never before released science fiction romance *plus pets* novellas, many of them in favorite SFR series.

PEARL’S DRAGON
A Novella in the Dragon Lords of Valdier Series
By S.E. Smith (New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling Author)
An old dragon warrior unexpectedly finds love with a human mate who is as creative and clever as she is dangerous - a perfect combination when poachers attack.

A GRIM PET
A Novella in the Tornian Series
By M.K. Eidem (USA TODAY Bestselling Author)
Grim’s two young daughters discover an injured raptor and their love, faith, and kindness creates far-reaching consequences no one expects.

THE PRINCE, THE PILOT, AND THE PUPPY
(“Star Puppy”)
A Novella in The Star Series
By Susan Grant (New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling, and RITA Award Winning Author)
A talented starfighter pilot and a handsome prince rescue a starving puppy only to discover they are the ones that need saving.

WIRED FOR LOVE
By Michelle Howard
When a young woman is reluctantly drawn into a scarred soldier's past, they soon find themselves working against an enemy with an old grudge.

RESCUED BY THE CYBORG
A Novella in the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance Series
By Cara Bristol (USA TODAY Bestselling Author)
A hostage waits for death at the hands of predatory aliens when a cyborg agent disobeys orders.

STAR CRUISE: SONGBIRD
A Novella in The Sectors SF Romance Series
By Veronica Scott
A security officer aboard a spaceship finds his job complicated by his attraction to the interstellar singer he is assigned to protect and the bird he has inherited.

TIME TRAP
A Novella in the Project Enterprise Series
By Pauline Baird Jones
An unusual birthday gift creates more trouble than a USAF Engineer expects when he finds a time traveling rebel and her parrot partner in his arms.

COURTING DISASTER: STARDOG 2
A Novella in the Inherited Stars Series
By Laurie A. Green
A commander of a spaceship faces the toughest decision of his life when he vows to protect the woman and her StarDog that he is escorting through a dangerous section of space.

SENSATE
A Novella in the Alien Attachments Series
By Sabine Priestley
A scientist must decide if she can trust the man who once betrayed her if she is to help his sentient com unit gain a physical form.

GIB AND THE TIBBAR
A Novella in the Galactic Defenders Series
By Jessica E. Subject
A young woman fights to come to terms with her place in the universe with a little help from the sexy alien warrior befriended by her furry pet.

PET TRADE
A Novella in the Central Galactic Concordance Series
By Carol Van Natta
An elite forces veteran crash lands on a frontier planet with a cargo full of designer pets and must seek the help of a talented, but damaged veterinarian to help him save them.

MASCOT
A Novella in the Aeon's Legacy Series
By Alexis Glynn Latner
A space station manager and an interstellar auditor must work through their antagonism and attraction to each other while the station comes under attack. Then the station mascot enters the fray!

If you're already a fan of one or more of these series, this is your chance to catch up on the latest release. But if you're not, each story works as a stand-alone romantic adventure.

The original Pets in Space collection (no longer available) was wildly popular with readers and named one of the "Best Books of 2015: E-Originals Fiction" by LibraryJournal.com as well as winning two SFR Galaxy Awards.

This second volume promises to be even better, and offers three more stories than the original. The print version is a whopping 826 pages or almost 289,000 words!

Get your copy today at any of these vendors:

 
 

 
Plus Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 is also being offered in a PRINT VERSION!

Early reviews are looking fantastic!



The first thirty days after launch are critical to mission success!

Want to know how you can assist with the mission to get the word out to help Hero Dogs and introduce more readers to science fiction romance?

If you've already purchased your copy, just click on one of the share buttons below this post to send a transmission to readers on Facebook, Twitter, G+ or a number of other social media universes. Or you can also click the title of this blog and copy the link to your social media sites.

We thank you for joining our task force.

The Authors of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2


Thursday, September 28, 2017

SFRB Recommends 76: Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott

Anne Lamott returns to offer us a new gift: a step-by-step guide on how to write and on how to manage the writer's life. From "Getting Started,' with "Short Assignments," through "Shitty First Drafts," "Character," "Plot," "Dialogue." all the way from "False Starts" to "How Do You Know When You're Done?" Lamott encourages, instructs, and inspires. She discusses "Writers Block," "Writing Groups," and "Publication."
If you have ever wondered what it takes to be a writer, what it means to be a writer, what the contents of your school lunches said about what your parents were really like, this book is for you. From faith, love, and grace to pain, jealousy, and fear, Lamott insists that you keep your eyes open, and then shows you how to survive. And always, from the life of the artist she turns to the art of life.

This book doesn't shy away from the frustration and drudgery that's part of the writing craft. It's as if you have a writer friend to bellyache and sympathize with who's got a twisted sense of humor. She'll talk you through the hard parts, when you just want to burn everything and hide in a corner.

Lamott says it's okay to be neurotic about your writing, it's okay to despair over setbacks. These happen and are normal. The advice is grounded and sometimes harsh, so may not be for everyone. I disagree with a bunch of the metaphors she makes later in the book, but I still laughed and felt reassured.

The core of the advice, though, is about how to crank out the first draft: just write it and don't worry that it's awful. This has since been popularized by Nanowrimo (Bird by Bird was published 1995). The sections on publishing are out of date, so are more interesting as a historical note.

This recommendation by Lee Koven.

Monday, August 21, 2017

SFRB Recommends 75: Relaunch Mission by Robyn Bachar #sfr

Living mission to mission on the fringes of civilized space, Captain Lindana Nyota has managed to keep her crew paid and her ship in one piece. Barely. The privateer's life of stealing Soviet supplies for the Alliance is taking its toll on everyone. Down a crew member, she now has to take on a new intel officer and hope it's someone she can trust. 

Lieutenant Gabriel Steele knew Lindy wasn't expecting him to walk out of the air lock and back into her life, but he didn't think he'd get his nose broken. As an intelligence agent for the Alliance, Gabriel has spent his career in deep cover, his sense of self crushed under layers of deceit—starting with the lies he had to tell Lindy years ago when he left her. A fresh start is all he wants, but the Alliance and his secret orders have already jeopardized that. 

When an infamous pirate and friend of Lindy and her crew is reported alive and in possession of knowledge of a powerful Soviet weapon, finding her before the enemy does is paramount. But Gabriel can't do it without regaining Lindy's trust—and hopefully rekindling what he once sacrificed in the name of duty.


Gabriel and Lindy get a second chance at love, although he has some proving to do before she'll accept it. He's got some groveling to do, and his feelings for Lindy are complicated by his current mission and several revelations about the hidden agendas of both of their bosses.

Factional politics play a big role in the story. The alternate history and future presented are well articulated and though-provoking. In this universe, the Cold War didn't end, and the space race only ramped up. Some of the technology showcases Soviet aesthetics: I was reminded of the Soviet specimens in the Museum of Flight.

Bachar keeps raising the stakes for our heroes, and the tension is punctuated and amplified by action scenes that flow well: the fights are meaty and intense. The crew of the Mombasa is fully fleshed out, with vivid characters: the rivalry between engineering and the captain's brother always entertains!

Book page: Robyn Bachar - Books

This recommendation by Lee Koven.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

#Workshop: Why #Worldbuilding is the Secret Ingredient


Thanks to SFR Brigade for letting me jump on their blog for a hot minute! Y’all are the absolute best!
One of my favorite aspects of writing is worldbuilding. I am that girl who will sit for hours researching some of the most random stuff because “Wouldn’t it be cool if—?” and “How does this work?” are my two most common settings when it comes to planning a story. I am the girl who spent three months building a religion for a book I haven’t written yet.
I am the girl who builds worlds.
And I love every second of it.
But I’ve realized that a lot of writers…don’t. They have the basis of their world (a planet somewhere, a generic fantasy realm, a bland magic system, a universe with some kind of shifter that is like every other shifter), but they focus much more on the story and characters. That might sound normal, but a fleshed out world is just as important as fleshed out characters and plot.
Some writers just don’t know how to worldbuild. And that’s where I come in.
When I was writing Gemini, my science fiction romance fairytail retelling (say THAT three times fast!), I had an idea of how I wanted my world to operate. I’m an avid gamer, and I also spend entirely too much time on Pinterest, which for me, is filled with writing ideas people have pinned from Tumblr. As a result, I have consumed a lot of interesting detail, and one of the things I wanted to play around with was that basically every alien thinks humans are Chuck Norris. If you’re not familiar with Chuck Norris facts, please do so. I’ll wait.
I also started daydreaming about the way humans use the internet and the running joke about how it’s basically just for cat videos, which led to that gag on Futurama with the Omicronians and their obsession with Single Female Lawyer, a rip-off of Aly McBeal. THAT led to the fact that media from decades ago is likely still pinging around somewhere in space and possibly being viewed by aliens right now
All of that resulted in the fahir, a race of highly intelligent cat-creatures, who are primarily used as bounty hunters and hired muscle; and also some plans for the sequels, including but not limited to a cult dedicated to Prince.
And some terrible cat puns (I’m sorry, guys).
All of the above formed the basis for Gemini’s world. One in which humans are feared because they come from a planet where everything wants to kill you, AKA space Australia, so they must be practically indestructible. One in which humans are one of the dominant species, so they have a place on the council (suck it, Mass Effect!), and they’re one of only five species it’s illegal to enslave. Of course, that restriction just makes them more sought out. This background shaped the main characters—Uri, a former slave, and Shadi, a current slave at the beginning of the book—and their relationships to each other and the ragtag bunch who becomes their crew. Without any of those elements, Gemini would be a completely different book.
 Every little world detail snowballs into a world that jumps off the page and can become just as memorable as the characters who inhabit it.
Why Worldbuilding (is the Secret Ingredient) is a 5-week online course, hosted through my website, that is essentially an intro to worldbuilding. We’ll cover what worldbuilding is, how it affects every aspect of your story, what to consider when designing your world, and how to weave those elements into your narrative. Using examples from some of science fiction and fantasy's best known worlds from books, tv, movies, and video games, you'll gain the tools and insight you need to create your own. Why Worldbuilding runs as follows:
Oct 16-20 – Intro to Worldbuilding: What is it? And why should I do it?
Oct 23-27 – The Basics: What you need to know and why you need to know it.
Oct 30-Nov 3 – Playing God, pt 1: The Building Blocks of Civilization
Nov 6-10 – Playing God, pt. 2: Constructing Your World
Nov 13-17 – Weaving the Tapestry: How does it all come together?

Registration starts August 15th. Each week is $30, or you can complete the set for $130 (save $20!)
Put on your apron, grab your chef’s hat, and join me in October!

Author Bio:
Catherine Peace has been telling stories for as long as she could remember. She often blames two things for her forays into speculative fiction—Syfy (when it was SciFi) channel Sundays with her dad and The Island of Dr. Moreau by HG Wells. She graduated in 2008 from Northern Kentucky University with a degree in English and is still chasing the dream of being super rich and famous, mostly so she can sit around in her PJs all day and write stories. As it is, she's content to spend half the day in her PJs and write stories.
When not being a slave to the people in her head, she’s a slave to two adorable dogs.
​Find her at: 


Thursday, July 20, 2017

SFRB Recommends 74: Wanted and Wired by Vivien Jackson #sfr #cyberpunk

Now that Texas has seceded and the world is spiraling into chaos, good guys come in unlikely packages and love sprouts in the most inconvenient places...
Heron Farad should be dead. But technology has made him the man he is today. Now he heads a crew of uniquely skilled outsiders who fight to salvage what's left of humanity: art, artifacts, books, ideas-sometimes even people. People like Mari Vallejo.
Mari has been lusting after her mysterious handler for months. But when a by-the-book hit goes horribly sideways, she and Heron land on the universal most wanted list. Someone set them up. Desperate and on the run, they must trust each other to survive, while hiding devastating secrets. As their explosive chemistry heats up, it's the perfect storm...


Wanted and Wired combines original concepts, witty prose, and enthralling characters for a place on my keeper shelf. Mari's always got something funny to say, Heron's convictions and behavior make him lovable, and the villains are convincing and complex. 
The argot gives the book a unique feel/setting that feels immersive. The plot explores excellent philosophical questions about identity and control.  Plus, the way Heron uses his technology in the love scenes is inventive and spicy. I haven't read any other books quite like it!


Author site: Vivien Jackson
This recommendation by Lee Koven.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Geektastic Books #Free SciFi Promotion @geektasticbooks


Welcome to the Geektastic Books July promotion! GeektasticBooks.com is a brand new website that showcases science fiction and fantasy books. Science fiction romance is heavily represented and we are very excited about that! For the July promotion, there are over 40 fantastic free scifi and fantasy books, with science fiction romance from SFR Brigade members Aurora Springer, S.M. Schmitz, Athena Grayson, Kyndra Hatch, Arcadia Shield, and C.S. Wilde.

All of the books are free and you can download them from here: http://geektasticbooks.com/free/

Also, check out the author interviews from Geektastic Books on their new website here: http://geektasticbooks.com/read/category/author-interviews/ There is even a giveaway where you could win an all-new Fire HD 8 and a $100 Amazon gift card to fill it full of books!

Happy reading!


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

SFR, PNR, and Fantasy Romance Sale! @sharyn_schmitz ‏#Free #99cents #sfrb


Welcome to the SFR, PNR, and Fantasy Romance Sale! There are over 40 books by your favorite authors, including some that are members of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade. So many wonderful books and all are either FREE or 99cents. Grab some summer reading!

Follow this link to get to the sale, which runs from June 28-30th: http://smschmitz.com/promo .

Happy reading!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

SFRB Recommends 73: Atrophy by Jess Anastasi



Twelve years on the prison planet Erebus makes a man long for death. The worst part for Tannin Everette is that he was framed for murder. He's innocent. When the ship Imojenna lands for emergency repairs, Tannin risks everything to escape...only to find himself face to face with the captain's undeniably gorgeous sister.

Zahli Sherron isn't planning on turning Tannin in. In fact, she actually believes him. Sure, he's sexy as every kind of sin, but he's no criminal—so she hides him. But no one escapes from Erebus and lives to tell about it. With every day that passes, Zahli further risks the lives of the entire crew...even as she falls in love with a man she can never have for herself.
 


Atrophy focuses on one ship, the Imojenna, which has an amazing crew with memorable characters. Zahli's brother Rian has a tendency to steal the show, and he involves Tannin in his berserk quest to destroy an enemy most people don't believe exists. I've a soft spot for computer hacker heroes, and Tannin gets to use his skills in many interesting ways.

The universe is rich and believable, and the antagonists are original and creepy. The plot kept me guessing, and the scenes are well-balanced and flow together smoothly. 

Author site: Jess Anastasi

This recommendation by Lee Koven.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Last Day: Solstice #99cents #Scifi #Romance Sale

It's the last day for you to grab 9 out of this world titles for just 99 cents each. Click on the banner or HERE to be transported to the home base and select your preferred retailer. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Solstice #Scifi #Romance #99cents #Sale #sfrb 16th-19th June

Find romance and adventure in a galaxy far, far away with 9 out of this world titles for just 99 cents each. Click on the banner or HERE to be transported to the home base and select your preferred retailer. And hurry, before they catch the next wormhole out of here!

Friday, May 19, 2017

#Alien #Scifi #Romance #Instafreebie Promotion 18th-21st May

If you're still scouring the skies for more scifi romance goodness to fill up that e-reader, then you don't have to go to a galaxy far, far away to find it. Check out the latest giveaway via InstaFreebie for more scifi romance titles than you can shake a lightsaber at by clicking HERE or the banner above. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Keir: 5th Anniversary #Giveaway #scifi #romance

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay - author of scifi and supernatural stories with a romantic soul. This May I'm celebrating my fifth anniversary as a published author with my debut novel Keir - a scifi romance crossing time and space. And I'm doing a special giveaway to celebrate: a pair of custom-made crocheted dragonscale gloves in Keir blue, created by Hoot and Luna. This is open internationally but PLEASE BE AWARE - any import/shipping taxes will be the responsibility of the recipient as these cannot be paid in advance by the sender.

A Science Fiction Romance Novel
Goodreads | Webpage
Available from...
iBooks | Nook | Kobo
Amazon | Smashwords
Print available from...
CreateSpace | B&N | Amazon
The Book Depository
Blurb:
A demon waiting to die...

An outcast reviled for his discolored skin and rumors of black magic, Keirlan de Corizi sees no hope for redemption. Imprisoned beneath the palace that was once his home, the legendary ‘Blue Demon of Adalucien’ waits for death to finally free him of his curse. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise.
                   
A woman determined to save him.

Able to cross space and time with a wave of her hand, Tarquin Secker has spent eternity on a hopeless quest. Drawn by a compulsion she can’t explain, she risks her apparent immortality to save Keir, and offers him sanctuary on her home-world, Lyagnius. But Quin has secrets of her own.

When Keir mistakenly unleashes the dormant alien powers within him and earns exile from Lyagnius, Quin chooses to stand by him. Can he master his newfound abilities in time to save Quin from the darkness that seeks to possess her?

Book One of the Redemption series and part of the Travellers Universe. A science fiction romance novel previously released by Lyrical Press Inc. 7th May 2012, Keir is a Readers Favorite Contest Awards Finalist 2012​, HOD RWA Aspen Gold finalist (3rd place), The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards semi-finalist, and a 2012 SFR Galaxy Award Best May to December Romance winner. Book Two - Keir’s Fall - released in December 2015, with a companion side story - Reunion at Kasha-Asor - releasing 2017.

About the Author:

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 24 years and three not-so-little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include YA and adult stories crossing a multitude of subgenres from scifi to the paranormal, often with romance, and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), the 2015 EPIC eBook awards, the 2015 RWA LERA Rebecca (2nd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

You can stalk her at her website, or at her blog, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

Blogs –
Adventures in Scifi - http://www.pippajay.blogspot.co.uk
Spacefreighters Lounge - http://www.spacefreighters.blogspot.com

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Mass Effect Effect and #Scifi #Romance by @RwJoliemason



by Jolie Mason

Gaming is a huge influence on everything I write. Specifically, the Mass Effect franchise. For those who are not yet “Woke” to the gaming world, ME comes in two hero flavors. The first trilogy featured Commander Shepherd and the Reapers. The most recent release is Mass Effect Andromeda. They are essentially a scifi romance story wrapped in an interactive game environment, as well as my own personal demon to overcome.

Novels and video games have completely different needs in world building, but they have the same goals in storytelling. In ME, the story of mankind’s journey begins with their FTL, the mass effect drive, and the ever excellent story device they call the omni-tool.

Need a door opened? Well, that’s what the Omni-tool is there to do for the player. It’s tech driven by biotic implants, not unlike the worlds of many of our cyborg authors. It’s a computer interface, used to hack our way through barriers and move us around the world with ease.  It’s their cell phone, if we use a modern day comparison.

Mass effect relays were built by a long extinct race, and they have ushered in for humankind an accelerated age of growth and technology upon their discovery. Using element zero, a universe specific substance that powers the drive core of their ships, humans have peopled other worlds, only to find a whole host of life out there just waiting for them to catch up.

Video games need devices with which a player can interface and move the game forward. It’s just not that different from what we do, minus the coding and cool factor with our kids. Most SFR worlds have a technology pushing them forward. For mine, it’s mechs, massive machines of war that have pilots and explosives to spare.

The ability to turn humans into machines or Psi operatives or mutants lies at the heart of scifi stories. They are plot devices on the surface, but the themes that lie underneath have been there since the early days of scifi. Cyborgs question what it is that makes us human. Psychic and biotic powers make us look seriously at the question of absolute power. Technology that can potentially destroy the world forces us to think about the cost/benefit of our consumptive selves, and question our place in the universe.

Something’s changed...

This brings me to the bestest element of the ME franchise, THE ROMANCE.  You are a lover and a fighter in this game, and it is glorious.

For the same reasons we adore the addition of the romance element to our scifi themes, ME explores the relationships of each character and gives them the ability to progress almost anywhere. Isn’t that just what SFR authors do?

The added layer of the relationship a novel is working through takes the big themes someplace deeper, makes those questions more intimate in nature. So that, the cyborg is worried, not just about his humanity, but his ability to give and receive love. The alien race determined to destroy us isn’t just a representation of the evil we face in ourselves, it’s also a threat to all that is dear.

Most of us have been scifi fans practically from birth. The romance factor in our writing brings the themes we love home to us in a different way, and that’s why we love it. It’s why we’re fans before we’re authors. We are the audience.

There’s a real change in the way the next generation looks at science fiction that has given rise to our genre, both in books and in games. It’s no longer about the science and tech exclusively, but about the people and relationships. I, personally, find the demand for games like Mass Effect a good sign for those of us who have more SFR stories to tell.

This post is all the opinion of the author and in no way reflects the opinions of the SFRB.

Jolie Mason is an author of SFR novels and novellas in a universe teeming with corruption, mechs and splosions. You find out more about her work at her blog, Future Fairytales.



  

 For more about Riding Redemption, visit Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Riding-Redemption-47th-Lancers-novella-ebook/dp/B014NF1CMM


 

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