Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Creating Cover Art

I've been interested in graphics ever since I first got a PC. That was back when MSN still had their groups and I joined one that taught Paintshop Pro and also HTML. Yeah, I'm old.

I stumbled into professional cover design by the simple process of making mock covers for my own work – being able to see the “finished” product was a huge incentive for me. When I signed ELEANOR'S HEART over to Champagne Books, I had one such cover and enquired as to whether I could use it. Not only did boss Ellen Smith say 'yes', but she asked it I wanted to create more covers.

It seems that a lot of self-published authors don't think about covers, which strikes me as odd. What is the first anyone is going to see about your book? Cover. What's the best way of advertising it? Cover. And yet some people scrimp on this vital part.

Creating a decent cover requires a graphics program which lets you manipulate pictures, a vision of what you want, and an understanding of typography. The cover has to capture a snapshot of the book – indicating genre and theme. So a sci fi romance ought to have something spacey (technical description) and a couple. Avoid clichés and cluttering, and keep it simple.

Remember that most purchase sites will reduce your cover to a thumbnail – check how it looks as a reduced size and ensure it's still legible.

It you're buying stock images there are two important things to remember. First, check the license and ensure it's one that covers everything you want – don't forget that you're not only going to be using it for the cover, but for all the promotional material. Secondly, the minimum resolution you want is 300px, even if you're just publishing electronically. Again, when it comes to physical promotion – such as bookmarks – you want quality to avoid “fuzzing”.

Lastly, if you can't do it yourself, then there are artists who don't charge an absolute fortune. Shameless self-promotion – I'm one of them. I've done covers, Twitter and Facebook headers, and blog banners. My rates are on my website and I have a portfolio of previous work.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Meet the #Author - Nina Croft

Please tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m actually English, but I now live on an almond farm in the mountains of southern Spain. I share the farm with my husband and a whole load of animals (four dogs, two cats, a horse, four chickens, two goats, and a three-legged Vietnamese pot-bellied pig called Piggles!) and I spend my time, reading, writing and picking the occasional almond.

I write across a number of genres, science fiction, paranormal, thrillers, contemporary, but usually with a big dose of romance.

Tell us about the Blood Hunter Series:

My Blood Hunter series follows the adventures, romantic and otherwise, of the crew of the space cruiser, El Cazador de la Sangre (or The Blood Hunter). The books are set in the future where man has fled to the stars and there discovered the secret of immortality. In book 1, Break Out, a mysterious woman employs the crew to break her brother out of a maximum-security prison. The results are rather different than anticipated.

The books in the series follow on from each other, but each one is a stand-alone romance.

What inspired you to write this particular story?:

I think it was watching Firefly for about the third time. I had the urge to write a space opera and I wanted pirates and aliens and spaceships. But I also wanted…vampires. And so my hero emerged. Rico, the hero of Break Out, is a fifteen hundred year old vampire who escaped the destruction of Earth and is now owner and pilot of El Cazador.

Please share a favourite snippet from your book:

Skylar stalked over to him. Rico swiveled in his chair and rose to his feet. “Hey, sweetheart—did you miss me?”
At the endearment, her fury rose again. She drew back her fist and punched him in the mouth.
“Ow,” she muttered, shaking her hand.
She glanced into Rico’s face and took a step back. A glint of ruby gleamed from behind his half-closed lashes. A drop of blood beaded on his lower lip. He licked it slowly with his tongue then rose to his feet to tower over her. His lips peeled back in a snarl to reveal razor sharp fangs.
The sight just made her madder. Those damn fangs had gotten her into this mess in the first place, and it was about time he learned to keep them to himself. Skylar’s hand went to the laser pistol at her hip, and his gaze dropped to follow the movement. Taking a deep calming breath, she kicked out with her booted foot. She connected with his thigh and swept his legs from under him so he crashed to the floor. Drawing the laser pistol in one fluid move, she stood over him, the pistol aimed at his heart.
He stared up at her for long moments before the tension oozed from his body. He reached up and stroked his finger over his mouth where her fist had connected.
“Hey, I promised to come back.”
“Did you plan that?” Her eyes narrowed on him, and her finger tightened on the trigger.
“To get me intoxicated and…” She became aware of the rest of the crew listening avidly.
He looked at the gun and back at her face. “No, it was a spur of the moment thing, but you were hardly fighting me off. And that gun won’t stop me, but it will hurt, so I suggest you think twice before you piss me off any more than you have already.”

Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?:

Personality, then looks, then name. I often struggle with names.

Any tips for aspiring authors?:

Write the sort of things you love to read. It will be what keeps you going when things get tough—which they probably will.

Questions for fun:
If you had the power of time travel, is there anything you would go back and change? Why/why not?:

I’d love to time travel but probably not to change things. I think once you got started you might never stop… that sixth lottery number, telling your mother to go for a check-up, not getting out of bed on the morning you… So maybe it’s best not to start.

What super-power would you choose?:

Actually, time travel!

If you could have three wishes, what would they be?:

Health, happiness and world peace!

Coffee, tea or wine?:

Wine…no coffee…no wine…

What is your favourite book? (aside from one of your own!):

The Lord of the Rings or Dune or…

Favourite genre and why?:

Science fiction and fantasy, because absolutely anything can happen

Favourite colour?:


Upcoming news and plans for the future?:

Book 3 in the Blood Hunter series, Death Defying, comes out in December this year and book 4, Temporal Shift, in January 2014.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!

Break Out – Blurb

The year is 3048, Earth is no longer habitable, and man has fled to the stars where they’ve discovered the secret of immortality—Meridian. Unfortunately, the radioactive mineral is exorbitantly expensive and only available to a select few. A new class comprised of the super rich and immortal soon evolves. The Collective, as they’re called, rule the universe.

Two-thousand-year-old Ricardo Sanchez, vampire and rogue pilot of the space cruiser, El Cazador, can’t resist two things: gorgeous women and impossible jobs. When beautiful Skylar Rossaria approaches him to break a prisoner out of the Collective’s maximum security prison on Trakis One, Rico jumps at the chance. Being hunted by the Collective has never been so dangerous–or so fun!

Buy Links:

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia, which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain.
Nina writes all sorts of romance often mixing in elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Find me at:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

SFRB Recommends #4 #amwriting

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble

The kids are screaming. You've had a tough day at work. You're just getting over a cold and want to die quietly in bed. But you've got just a thirty minute slot in your real life responsibilities to write that all important scene between your characters, even though it's the last thing you want to do.

This book has some practical, common sense ideas of how to shut out all those interruptions and demands, and focus on coming up with the perfect sexy scenario for your characters. The book title pretty much says it all. From ideas on how to set the mood, to excerpts on how to create the same atmosphere for your characters, this book can help you. These ladies know how it is to be a working girl or full time mum and having to fit your writing life around everything else.

Author sites: Em Petrova / Suzanne Rock

Recommendation from Pippa Jay, author of Keir, Gethyon, Terms & Conditions Apply and The Bones of the Sea.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Meet the #Author - Cara Bristol

Please tell us a bit about yourself:
First, thank you for having me today. I’ve been writing erotic romance since 2009 and have published ten stand-alone titles and two anthologies. I am best known for the Rod and Cane Society domestic discipline series about a secret organization of men who spank their wives. I’ve also written a couple of paranormals (one vampire, one reincarnation). Breeder is my first science fiction romance, the first of a series.

Tell us about Breeder:
Breeder is about an alien world so androcentric and male dominated that men partner with each other for sex and companionship. To consort with a woman for pleasure is to debase one’s self. Hero Dak, one of the highest rulers of his planet and the living embodiment of the law deeming women worthless, purchases a “breeder” to produce his progeny. Mating is supposed to be a dispassionate, perfunctory act, but he falls in love with his breeder. His love for her jeopardizes their lives, his rule, and the political stability of the planet.

What inspired you to write this particular story?:

Breeder evolved from an idea in which the law decreed women to be slaves. Obviously, a contemporary setting would not work. There were things I wanted to do and say that could only be handled on another planet.

Please share a favourite snippet from your book:

“I am Parseon’s ambassador to Terra,” he answered without boast. Though the High Council found it expedient to maintain diplomatic relations with the planet, the other Alphas considered its culture and traditions revolting. His willingness to deal with the alien race made him the natural choice.
“What are the Terrans like? Is it true they resemble us?”
“Our genomes are not dissimilar, and we share some of the same DNA, since the Epic Radiation Flare damaged ours and we spliced in one of their genes to repair the deformities,” he explained. Females lacked the mental capacity for education, so she would not have learned the history of their race. “So yes, they look a lot like us, although there are some physical differences.”
“Like what?”
“They are smaller than we are, although you would be about average for a Terran female. Both sexes have body hair, although the females tend to have less.”
“Terran breeders have body hair?” She wrinkled her nose.

Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?: Probably personality. A character has an essential core trait around which I build a complete person. Dak, the Alpha warrior of Breeder, is one of the most powerful men on his planet, but by virtue of his position, he is intensely lonely as well.

Any tips for aspiring authors?: Get connected to social media and build your infrastructure and your support system before you get published. But if you’re reading this, chances are you already have.

Questions for fun:
If you had the power of time travel, is there anything you would go back and change? Why/why not?: You mean besides buying stock and real estate at the right time? LOL. No. Anything I would do would be intensely personal, like warning a friend who died of cancer to seek medical attention before she even suspected she was sick. But as far as world events go, no. It’s the old step-on-butterfly-change-the-world fear. Who knows what repercussions or ripple effect would be caused by erasing some event, even one that was horrific.

What super-power would you choose?: I would like to fly.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be?:
Continued good health for myself and my family
A mega best seller
An end to terrorism

Coffee, tea or wine?: Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon, wine in the evening.
What is your favourite book? (aside from one of your own!): Oh lots, but I’m writing science fiction romance now, so I’ll make an SFR selection: The Krinar Chronicles series by Anna Zaires.
Favourite genre and why?: If I HAD to pick one, and only one, it would be contemporary erotic romance. Because I exist in the present.
Favourite colour?: Blue
Upcoming news and plans for the future?: I plan to write the rest of the Breeder sci-fi romance series. I’m also working on the fifth Rod and Cane Society domestic discipline story, and I have two other spanking fiction projects under contract.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us! Thank you for having me!

Breeder Blurb
To secure his legacy, Commander Dak, a ruling Alpha of planet Parseon, purchases Omra, a breeder slave. He intends to impregnate her, produce a son, and hand her off to his anointed beta partner. As Dak and Omra discover a sexual bliss banned by law, he begins to question Protocol-sanctioned male domination, causing him to jeopardize his command and endanger the life of the woman he has come to love.
Breeder explores the concepts of gender roles and social prohibitions against deviant behavior. It includes graphic M/F and some M/M sexual content and domestic discipline.
Twitter  @CaraBristol

Friday, November 15, 2013

Download Your Free Copy of Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly #1

The *new* Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly delivers all sorts of SFR news and entertainment in one handy, downloadable package! Get your free copy of issue #1 now--click here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Naming Aliens

Naming Aliens

I stumbled into writing SFR by accident. Well, through a dream to be honest. This humanoid alien was walking through a forest, saying one word over and over and over. Turned out he was saying his name, and his story was all about him refusing to be what others wanted him to be, and to be worthy of the name he was given.

If A'yen was human, he'd look like this guy.
Tom Weston-Jones. From my Pinterest.
His name? A’yen. I have no idea where it came from. As I was playing the dream in my head he revealed to me his species name. Loks Mé. Yes, the accent mark is pronounced like it would be in French. I live in Louisiana and have a historical romance with a French Creole character. I was still very much immersed in French vocabulary and language rules when A’yen walked into my head.

My space opera series is called A’yen’s Legacy. It’s all about his name, and a very important discovery that their last king—who made the decision to surrender to the humans—was also named A’yen.

As the world expanded, and more Loks Mé showed up, I realized I needed naming rules and to decide what types of names I wanted to use. Clearly names with apostrophes were common among my alien species. I also discovered very quickly the meaning of names is important to them.

You see, they’re slaves. Forbidden to read human languages, and they’ve fought to retain their own. Their names have become the only identifying mark they have, and even names are taken from them sometimes.

I knew I wanted my names pronounceable without a lot of thinking about it. One complaint I have about some fictional aliens is that, while the name may look cool on paper, it’s damn near impossible to say. Since I read out loud in my head I “hear” the words as I’m reading. Stumbling over pronunciation breaks my enjoyment of the story. (Thank you, Sherrilyn Kenyon, for the pronunciation on the character pages of your website!)

The apostrophes are seen mostly in male names. Most women have names that end in “a”. In Russian and other Slavic languages female names always end in “a”. And, uhm, I have this thing for Russia . . . It’s kind of all-consuming and never fails to set my imagination on fire. But Russian names are very recognizable so I consciously decided not to use them.

When I started on the second book in my space opera series I ended up with a ton of new Loks Mé characters. I began figuring out there were naming conventions for siblings too. The main secondary character in the second book is named Da’Ro. He’s the youngest of three, and his siblings names are Da’Rhys and Da’Renna.

In the third book we meet Taran. Come to find out he has a twin named Ta’reel. From there I discovered twins always start with the same letter, and the older twin always has an apostrophe name. Still don’t know why, but it’s pretty cool to me.

About this time I was also inhaling Torchwood, and reading a historical set in 9th century Wales. I’m also a longtime fan of Ioan Griffudd, and yes I know how to say it right. When the third book came out and I had even more characters to name I started looking at lists of Welsh names.

And wouldn’t you know it, they fit! They have the slightly exotic sound I’m after, and have the benefit of not being names most people are familiar with. With a little tweaking, and an apostrophe here and there, I have dozens of names to choose from, and lists to chew over to come up with new ones.

Creating my naming rules has led me to beautiful names (in my opinion) like A’yen, Na’var, Kynan, Sa’nar, and Arrin. These are all men, and they’re important in the story. Some of the important women are Mara, Tala, Yanna, Senna, and Meenta. Kynan, Mara, Yanna, and Senna are real names used on planet Earth. But they’re not common and have the sound I was going for.

Alien names don’t have to be off-putting, or impossible to pronounce. I think this is an important point, especially for authors like me who are trying to pull romance readers in, as opposed to science fiction readers. Unpronounceable alien names are a barrier easily removed, without sacrificing any imagination or exotic sounds.

Rachel Leigh Smith is a romance writer, a geek, and a Southern belle. She lives in Louisiana with a half-crazed calico named Zoe. When not adding words to an SFR novel she’s reading paranormal romance or crafting while watching some type of SF on TV. She’s still unpublished, but hopefully not for long. She also blogs sporadically at and hangs out on Facebook.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Meet the #Author Monday - Sally Ember

Please tell us a bit about yourself:
Fascinated by physics, multiple timelines/multiverse concepts, alien life and psi phenomena, family relationships, world affairs and the environment, and unrequited/requited love, I have incorporated all of these themes and topics into my sci-fi novels.

I am a practicing Buddhist meditator, feminist, swimmer, singer/pianist, feminist, dreamer, and mother/ sister/ aunt/ daughter/ cousin/ friend. I have an adult son who lives in New Hampshire.

I am a published, nonfiction author (ACTING OUT裕HE WORKBOOK: A Guide to the Development and Presentation of Issue-Oriented, Audience-Interactive, Improvisational Theatre, co-written with Mario Cossa, Jennifer Russell and Lauren Glass) and a produced playwright (children's theatre, Crystal Dreams, part of "The Atlantis Project," co-developed with Mario Cossa and Grading System, a full-length adult-audience play). I have also published and presented educational research, some short stories and articles and other nonfiction short pieces related to my work. I have co-written, edited, and proofread many nonfiction books and worked for a couple of magazines. I also write unrecorded songs, corny lyrics, and mediocre poetry.

In my "other" professional life, I have worked as an educator and upper-level, nonprofit manager in colleges, universities and private nonprofits for over thirty-five years in New England (every state), New Mexico and the Bay Area (where I now live). I have a BA, master's and doctorate in education (Ed.D.). 

My website,, has the first fourteen chapters of Volume I, as do and I also posted excerpts on my series' Facebook page,  Follow and please Tweet about this book and series!   I am also on LinkedIn as Sally Ember, Ed.D.

I blog many times per week, sharing stories about my Buddhist  meditation practice retreats, personal philosophies, science topics, writing tips and whatever else strikes me as interesting:

My Pinterest boards ( are mostly devoted to The Spanners Series and to help readers get to know me. I would love to get readers following me there or on Facebook and commenting there or back on my website or tweeting me about their experiences. 

Tell us about This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series:
I talk about TCE like this:
            After several millennia of mostly secret visits and contact with Earthers, members of the Many Worlds Collective (MWC) Council decide that a liaison, dubbed the Chief Communicator (CC) must be contacted and that this contact must be made public in order to avert multiple types of disasters on Earth. The visiting members of the MWC come in hologram form to the selected CC (Clara Branon, 58, living in northern California) for the first time on December 21, 2012. Clara is closely modeled on me, so I know how she thinks and feels very well!
            As a Spanner, Branon is one of millions of Baby Boomers who survive across two centuries and bridge the divide (hence, Spanners) between nonpublic and public contact with the MWC and many other major changes that occur during these decades.
            Because most Earthers are not prepared to accept this type of reporting or storytelling as nonfiction, this first and some other volumes of the series are of the realistic fiction/science fiction/fantasy genres. Many of the characters, events and locations are actual; some are not, or havent happened (yet) at the time of first publication.
            In This Changes Everything are: a love story, spanning about 35 years; dialogue and scenes of the relationships among the CC and her mother and siblings; communications between the CC and her adult son; dialogue between the CC and some friends; info about the selection and identity of the chosen media contact for the CC, with excerpts from her journal; news stories about the CC and the MWC events from Earth media as well as MWC media; background about the CC and the reasons for her being selected; excepts from minutes of meetings of the InterGalactic Council of the MWC; and much more.
            In the novel, after the MWC educational resources and information become widely available, in 2013, all time is now known to be simultaneous. Writing from any point in time and timeline is means that the love story and other aspects are depicted in multiple versions. Readers will have to decide: do Branon and her Future or Fictional Husband get to be together? Which Re-set of the Transition After Public Contact prevails?
            The tone is humorous/serious; the mode is utopian. I really dislike reading the endless stream of dystopian futuristic sci fi. I decided to write the books I want to be reading!

            The narrative is unique in that it includes history, poetry, literature, music/lyrics, science and technological advances, paranormal skills, law and government, Buddhism and other religions, meditation, social-emotional intelligence, time and space travel, interspecies communication, and social/futuristic depictions of the Earth, post-MWC public contact.
            This Changes Everything is the first of The Spanners series, which chronicles the public contact between the CC and the MWC and the impact of these contacts on Earthers and the MWC over the over 30 years that Branon is the CC. Chapters are written from several perspectives. Some Volumes in series are purported to be nonfiction or have nonfiction sections, as Volume I does. Even-numbered Volumes are narrated and written from the perspectives of young adults, teens, and new adults exclusively; odd-numbered Volumes are mostly written from Clara's and other adults' perspectives.
            I place these novels in the sci-fi romance/speculative fiction genres, targeting adult, YA, New Adult  audiences.  

What inspired you to write this particular story?:
I'm not sure exactly what "inspired" me to write this series. One night in February, 2012, I was awakened by a very clear voice that said: WRITE. I went to the computer, hearing sentences and seeing scenes in my mind. Five hours later, most of the first Chapter, all of the summaries for all the Volumes, and the Chapter outline for Volume I were drafted. I kept going from there and finished the first draft of Volume I, over 80,000 words, in 8 weeks.

TCE went through 19 other drafts via my own ideas, consults with friends and family, and letting it "sit," over an 18-month period to reach the final version. During that time I started Volumes II, IV, and V and sketched out parts of the others as well.

I feel very driven. Part of the reason is that I identify a lot with Clara. The line between fiction and nonfiction is very blurred in these Volumes, intentionally, and my life seems that way sometimes as well. I'm curious as to what the readers will decide is "real."

I also strongly believe that Earth is in serious trouble, politically, economically, environmentally, socially: in every way. I do wish we could be rescued by stronger, more intelligent, compassionate, capable beings!

Please share a favourite snippet from your book:

From Chapter One,  This Changes Everything, Volume I,  The Spanners Series,in which Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., first meets the visitors from the Many World Collective:
my mind is racing through possibilities. They are aliens! I am feeling excited and intensely interested. I assume that if they meant to harm me, Id be harmed, already, so I am rapidly becoming less scared. Brimming with questions and curiosity, I go right over to them.
My upbringing kicks in, maybe because they are around my dining table, and I ask them kind of automatically,"Would you like some tea or something cold to drink? Are you hungry? Then, I laugh, and they make some noises that must be their ways of showing amusement; they arent here; they are holograms. They cant eat or drink anything. Duh.
I sit down in my chair which they seem to know is mine because it isnt blocked or occupied. I look towards them, expectantly, and realize I dont know where to look. Only one of them has anything resembling eyes, and the other four do not even really have anything I would call a face. Still, reflexively, I guess, I keep my focus on their upper bodies uppermost sections and on the zeppelins middle.
I ask, How may I be of service? Why have you come to see me?

Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?:

Probably a combination of personality and function come first for me. My story needs characters, and it doesn't exist without them. How they look or what they are named definitely comes later because these are not as important to the plot, usually, as the function and personality.

Any tips for aspiring authors?:

I still consider myself an "aspiring author," I suppose! The tips I provide and use myself are usually having to do with the types of perspectives I bring to first drafts vs. subsequent drafts and revision, and each requires a different point of view, in my opinion. 

Being wide open, allowing it all to flow and not self-censoring for first drafts work best for me. Except for typos or wrong words, I just write and do not revise. Then, I usually let is sit for a little while and write other things before returning to it for a first look at the first draft from a revision point of view.

My drafts go through many revisions,as I said,but some are very minor. Some are major. At several points, I re-arranged almost all the chapters: working with multiple narrators, timelines and topics allows me to do that. 

I tend to write backwards a lot, meaning, the best or most importart of a sentence or section, or even the book, are not written first or initially placed at the beginning. I am now in the habit of "flipping" sentence pieces, chapter sections, entire chapters, until I find the right sequence.

 Another tip: if you know your grammar, sentence structure and/or spelling are not up to professional standards, you HAVE to get a professional editor. I can't tell you how many uploaded excerpts, even titles and blurbs, I stop reading because of typos, poor grammar and just bad writing, even though I enjoy or think I would like the topic, plot or characters. 

Important: Don't use sexist, racist or outdated language: there is no excuse for "kike," "nigger," "mankind," "mailman," or "girl" (for a woman 18 and older), and other exclusive, pejorative terminology in 2013, IMHO.

What is your favourite book? (aside from one of your own!):

Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land was pivotal in my life as a reader and a writer. Read it when I was 15; re-read a few times since. Not knowing that, one of my reviewers, Alexander Crommich, compared TCE to that and just about made me fall off my chair in delight!

Favourite genre and why?:

I love well-written, uplifting, inspiring sci fi, sci-fi/romance, and speculative fiction veering into fantasy (but without a lot of techno-speak, gnomes, elves, and dragons and definitely not a lot of battles). I like to visit other worlds, other versions of this world, and other universes that are written so well as to be captivating, seemingly "right here" in my life.

Thanks to every author who has that gift, which I strongly aspire to acquire.

Upcoming news and plans for the future?:

Volume I, The Changes Everything, has been uploaded in e-book format via Smashwords and is available there and on iBooks, nook and Kobo for pre-orders 11/5- 12/19 at half-price ($1.99). Release date at full price ($3.99), to all retailers, is 12/20/13. Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, narrated by young adults and new adults exclusively, is in the final revision stages and set to release Spring, 2014. Volumes III - X are in various draft stages.

I change my books based on readers' suggestions! Also, I would be delighted to visit your Book Club or class if you are using one or more of the books in The Spanners Series. Ask me to co-develop curricula, projects and activities for your group/class members!

I am experimenting with CROWDCREATING sections or entire upcoming Volumes of The Spanners Series. If you'd like to participate, please email and tell me a little about what Volume or portion you'd like to help create! Put "CROWDCREATOR" in the subject line.

I'm being interviewed LIVE on BlogTalkRadio's SciFi station, by Will Wilson, 11 AM EDT, 12/27/13, and available in the archives after that:

Please write a review and give This Changes Everything a rating on SMASHWORDS, iBooks, Kobo, nook, whatever retailer you use for ebooks, as well as many other sites that bring readers to this book:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

SFRB recommends #3 #science

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble

How Do You Go To The Bathroom In Space?

by William R. Pogue
Forward by John Glen

While doing research for an upcoming story, I learned about this book and thought it would be useful in helping me to understand what astronauts experience when they land back on Earth. That’s where my story starts. I found out that information and more in How Do You Go To The Bathroom In Space?
Want to know if an astronaut bleeds in space? How about what happens if someone floats away on a spacewalk? This book is filled with questions like that and more. William R. Pogue, selected to be an astronaut in the space program back in 1966, answers questions he has been asked since visiting Skylab.
This book was located in the adult non-fiction section of my local library, but I found it to be aimed toward students because the resources in the back are for K-12 students and teachers to use. Mind you, I did find a lot of useful information for the story I'm writing. Plus, there were a lot of links to find more info as well. 
Although this book has already been updated once, as is indicated in the preface, I'm sure it could be again. So much has happened since the publishing of this book, like the commercialization of space flight, and planned missions to Mars. But you can still get a great understanding of the astronaut experience. After all, it is part of space history.

If you are looking for information about what astronauts experience in space, I highly recommend this book.

Author/Astronaut site: William Pogue

Recommendation from Jessica E. Subject, author of Made For Her, Satin Sheets in Space, and other Science Fiction Romance titles.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Paid Market Opportunity For Your Short Story: Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly Call For Submissions

Greetings, authors! I'm cross-posting this Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly call for submissions from The Galaxy Express:

Dearest authors, you know how much I enjoy science fiction romance. If this is your first time visiting The Galaxy Express, then I'm here to tell you how much I love reading sci-fi romance!
For the sake of my voracious reading appetite as well as that of all SFR fans, please consider submitting a sci-fi romance short story to the Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly.  
I, along with K.S. Augustin and Diane Dooley, have teamed together to deliver science fiction romance news and entertainment in a brand new format. This free digital magazine will include a short story in each issue. The first installment launches November 15, 2013.
Here are some of the advantages of publishing a short with us:  
* Gain new readers
* The Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly is a paid market
* Author-friendly contract
* We help promote your story for free
* Your cross-promotion efforts help raise the visibility of SFR
* It's a fun collaboration!
* I get to read more science fiction romance :) 
There are no guarantees of acceptance, but there's a definite bright side. Even if the Quarterly passes on your story, you can still self-publish it or offer it as a freebie to your readers. Then you tell me about it and I share the news on The Galaxy Express! 
For submission guidelines and other relevant information, contact Diane Dooley: fiction "at" scifiromancequarterly dot org
Follow Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly on Twitter: SciFiRomance 
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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Writing Workshop - Choosing Your Storyteller

Points of View in Writing, by C.E. Kilgore

So, you have your story plotted out, your character sheets prepped and your universe building on its way. Looks like you are just about ready to start writing a great SFR! 

Hold on a sec – I hate the stop you when you're about to get started, but there is still an important decision to make. Which of your fantastic characters is going to tell this story you have rolling around in your head?

Who you decide to tell your story can make a huge difference in how your story unfolds and how your readers are able to connect to it. For example, you may have a group of space rebels fighting against a tyrannical overlord. If you choose to tell the tale through the overlord’s perspective, well – that would certainly create a different tale than if you had chosen the captain of the rebel space cruiser, right?

Ah! You say you are writing in the third, so you can give an objective point of view? It’s true that when you write in third objective, you can head-hop around from point of view to point of view, but you need to still choose a focus. In SFR, this is typically the two protagonists. If you try to give too many points of view, you  risk muddling your story and exhausting the reader. You also need to choose a main point of view. This will give your story impact, allow the reader to create an emotional connection to the story and pick a team to root for.

When you are writing in the first person, choosing your point of view becomes a critical decision. A common tactic in romance is to perspective-hop in a see-saw fashion, alternating the chapters from one perspective to the other. So, if your love interests are a space captain for the rebel alliance and a commander for the imperial fleet, you would have one chapter in the captain’s perspective and the next chapter in the commander’s perspective – and then repeat this alternation every chapter.

If, however, you want to tell your first-person story without alternating, then you have to really think about which character you want your audience to connect with. Do you want to tell the story of the captain fighting for her beliefs while she falls heads over heels for a stubborn commander? Or, would you rather tell the story of a powerful commander who has to question his own imperial system as his heart begins beating for the beautifully strong rebel captain?

Hint – there is no wrong answer. 

It’s a personal choice, but you should consider who is best to tell the story. Are there certain goals or ideals you want the reader to understand? Is your chosen point of view unique, or has it been done a million times? Is your chosen point of view something that the reader will be able to relate to and connect with?  

With my own series, I use third person, but each book chooses two main points of focus. I do include side chapters that give the story from an alternate perspective, but I keep the focus of the story on the two main characters. This wasn't always easy, as my series are character-driven stories. 

Choosing who gets to have their say and who has to remain on the sidelines is never easy, but it's important to keep your story tight and let your main characters shine.  

To see how I chose to handle my storytelling points of view, you can download a free copy of Ghost In The Machine (Click Here) 


C.E. Kilgore is a self-published author of Space Opera and Contemporary Romance. Check her out on her website,, Facebook or Twitter. She is always open to questions about writing and self-publishing. For self-publishing help, check our her blog,

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meet the #Author Monday - Veronica Scott

Please tell us a bit about yourself:
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library full of books as its heart, and when she ran out of things to read, she started writing her own stories. Married young to her high school sweetheart then widowed, Veronica has two grown daughters, one young grandson and cats Keanu and Jake.
Veronica’s life has taken many twists and turns, but she always makes time to keep reading and writing. Everything is good source material for the next novel or the one after that anyway, right? She’s been through earthquakes, tornadoes and near death experiences, although nothing is as stressful as meeting a book deadline. Always more stories to tell, new adventures to experience—Veronica’s personal motto is, “Never boring.”
Received a 2013 SFR Galaxy Award for her novel WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM.
Proud recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal but must hasten to add the honor was not for her romantic fiction!

Tell us about Escape from Zulaire:
ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE is set on a planet in the Sectors, my far future universe, where WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM also took place, although there’s no direct connection between the two stories. The events in ZULAIRE are loosely inspired by the 1857 Sepoy Rebellion in India, where many British women and children were caught in the middle of a horrific war and people they expected to protect them turned out to be enemies in many cases. I’ve always wondered what I would do if I were caught in a similar situation. So as the book opens, my heroine is a guest of the planetary ruler’s family, in a very isolated locale and she knows things aren’t quite right…well, you’ll see when we get to the book’s blurb below!

The story:
Andi Markriss hasn’t exactly enjoyed being the houseguest of the planetary high-lord, but her company sent her to represent them at a political wedding. When hotshot Sectors Special Forces Captain Tom Deverane barges in on the night of the biggest social event of the summer, Andi isn’t about to offend her high-ranking host on Deverane’s say-so—no matter how sexy he is, or how much he believes they need to leave now.
Deverane was thinking about how to spend his retirement bonus when HQ assigned him one last mission: rescue a civilian woman stranded on a planet on the verge of civil war. Someone has pulled some serious strings to get her plucked out of the hot zone. Deverane’s never met anyone so hard-headed—or so appealing. Suddenly his mission to protect this one woman has become more than just mere orders.
That mission proves more dangerous than he expected when rebel fighters attack the village and raze it to the ground. Deverane escapes with Andi, and on their hazardous journey through the wilderness, Andi finds herself fighting her uncomfortable attraction to the gallant and courageous captain. But Deverane’s not the type to settle down, and running for one’s life doesn’t leave much time to explore a romance.
Then Andi is captured by the rebel fighters, but Deverane has discovered that Zulaire’s so-called civil war is part of a terrifying alien race’s attempt to subjugate the entire Sector. If he pushes on to the capitol Andi will die. Deverane must decide whether to save the woman he loves, or sacrifice her to save Zulaire.

Please share a favourite snippet from your book:
I’m assuming a “snippet” is fairly short so here’s the point where the trouble really begins:
The lights along the path and beside the benches flickered and went out, plunging them into darkness.
            Glancing around, Deverane frowned in the moonlight. He released her, keeping one hand around her wrist and putting the other on the butt of his blaster. “Is that normal?”
            “The generators have been known to be troublesome in the summer. Probably nothing.” The moment was gone, the spell she’d been under broken. Am I disappointed? Relieved? Things had been moving way too fast between them for people who had just met. “Fortunately, we still have enough moonlight to see the path.” Andi took a step toward the clubhouse.
He tightened his grip on her wrist, forcing her to stop. “Wait.”
            Yelling broke out in the large building on the rise behind them. Glaring, spora­dic flashes burst from the general direction of the parking area and from the main wing of the celebration hall itself. Making the forest brighter than day, a sizable explosion obliterated the light of the two moons for a moment. Clapping her hands to her ears at the concussion, Andi ducked, crowding into the reassuringly hard-muscled captain.
In one fluid motion, he had his blaster in hand. Still keeping his grasp on her wrist, he drew Andi farther away from the path, taking cover behind a wide, multiple-trunked tree. Placing himself between her and the build­ing, he leaned out, reconnoitering the pathway. The screams and shouts were increasing in intensity and number.
Andi huddled against the tree, rough bark scraping her arm. He was right, this sounds like the beginning of war. Trembling, she had to lock her jaw to keep her teeth from chattering as one piercing shriek rose above the rest of the general uproar.
“I’m afraid we missed our deadline for a clean escape.”
Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?: Always the personality! Although the name arrives shortly thereafter.

Any tips for aspiring authors?: Keep writing! Get words on the page every day – you can always go back and make them better words later.

Questions for fun: 
Coffee, tea or wine?: Hot tea with three teaspoons of sugar and a dollop of milk, in a bone china tea cup, stirred with a silver teaspoon that’s been in the family over 200 years. (Alas the one teaspoon is the only family heirloom we still have!)

What is your favourite book? (aside from one of your own!): It depends on my mood but Anne McCaffrey’s All the Dragons of Pern is a favorite. I also love pretty much anything by Nalini Singh.

Favourite genre and why?: Again, it depends on my mood but my kindle is jam packed with science fiction romance, paranormal romance, Regency romance, research books regarding ancient Egypt, nonfiction memoirs by Navy SEALs and other military-related books, all kinds of books to do with the Titanic (which was the inspiration for WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM), a small amount of contemporary romance…so apparently I gravitate to romance in almost any era or genre!

Favourite colour?: Purple. And have I mentioned I love things that sparkle? And long dangly earrings?

Upcoming news and plans for the future?:
My next book set in Ancient Egypt is coming out in January. I’m planning to do an audiobook of ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE in Spring 2014, with the wonderful actor who narrated the WRECK audiobook. I have a paranormal shifter novel and a science fiction romance both underway….always writing!

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!


Available on AMAZON for kindle and as POD paperback   Nook  Kobo All Romance eBooks   and iTunes      Smashwords

You can find Veronica here:
I also blog weekly at Word Whores, on the 13th of the month at Paranormal Romantics, occasionally at Here Be Magic and regularly participate in the Science Fiction Brigade Presents and Weekend Writing Warriors excerpt blog hops.

SFR Brigade Bases of Operation