Thursday, June 26, 2014

Starry Nights Winners Announcement

So the Starry Nights blog hop is over, and I hope you all had fun. Firstly a huge, huge thank you to all the participants, especially to those who donated to the grand prizes - how awesome were they?! I hope you all had fun and found it a worthwhile event. Also a big thank you to everyone who visited and entered the rafflecopter - I hope you found some new books for your TBR pile with all the awesome snippets on offer. But now, the important part. Our grand prize winners were...*drum roll*...

1st - Meri Bee
2nd Sierra McBride
3rd Alan Saxon, Melissa Weeks, Blair Smyth

Huge congrats to the winners, and we hope you enjoy your prizes.

We'll be back to do it all again next year!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The SFR Brigade 3rd Midsummer Blog Hop - Starry Nights

Want to win some stellar prizes and out-of-this-world stories? To enter, simply fill in the rafflecopter below. All prizes are available internationally (there are no cash or other alternatives - if you can't accept those on offer, please do not enter).

1st  $100 Amazon or B&N gift card plus 41 ebooks - Tales from the SFR Brigade, Heart of Stone, Her Cyborg Awakes, Anja's Star, Silver Strife, Corwint Series 4 Book Gift Pack, Earth's Requiem, Alien Blood, Starwoman's Sanctuary, one book from Jessica E Subject's SFR backlist (ONE ebook title out of the following: Alien Adoration, Alien Admirer, Alien Lover, An Unexpected Return, Another Night Another Planet, Celestial Seduction, Crash Landing, Hey Santa, His Alien Virgin, Made For Her, Never Gonna Let You Go, Never Gonna Desert You, Never Gonna Say Goodbye, Satin Sheets in Space, Sudden Breakaway, or Unknown Futures), LodeStar Series Books 1-3 (Stark Pleasure, Creed of Pleasure and Captive of Pleasure), Reunion trilogy, Terms & Conditions Apply, Wreck of the Nebula Dream, Starheart, Kuralon Rescue, A Matter of Trust, Earth's Blood, Roman's Gold, Wolf Born, The Marann, Nightfall, Unrequited, Butterman Time Travel Inc., Legend Beyond the Stars, Hathor's Legacy: Outcast, Removed, Midwinter Crisis, Shlyer: Finding Home, Boyfriend's Brother, Surviving the Trap, Captive, Tower in the Woods, Catching Red.

2nd $50 Amazon or B&N gift card plus 28 ebooks - Tales from the SFR Brigade, Heart of Stone, Her Cyborg Awakes, Anja's Star, Silver Strife, Corwint Series 4 Book Gift Pack, Earth's Requiem, Alien Blood, Starwoman's Sanctuary, Tangled In Time, Terms & Conditions Apply, Escape from Zulaire, Lana's Comet, Heart's Bounty, Glad Hands, Nikolai, The Trial of Tompa Lee, The Tribulations of Tompa Lee, The Midas Rush, Prime Obsession, Daughters of Suralia, Morning Star, Hey Santa, Tower in the Woods, Catching Red. 

3rd  3 separate winners each receive $25 Amazon or B&N gift card plus 11 ebooks - Tales from the SFR Brigade, Heart of Stone, Her Cyborg Awakes, Anja's Star, Corwint Series 4 Book Gift Pack, Hey Santa, Tower in the Woods, Catching Red. 

How awesome is that lot?!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Do You Recognize This Book? Plz RT

Kat Zara asked:

"This is so off-topic but i'm desperate. Anyway, I was going through R. Lee Smith's blog and I stumbled upon her describing a book she read years ago: "I read a book once in which the alien hero kept his reproductive apparatus in the palms of his hands. As a priest sworn to celibacy, he went gloved throughout the story, but it was obvious he was falling in love with the human heroine. At the end of the book, as she stood on the landing dock with her ship behind her, ready to fly away forever, she looked him in the eye and held out her hand. He took his glove off and shook it. It was sex; he knew it; she knew it; no one else knew it, but it wasn’t anyone else’s business." Unfortunately, she doesn't remember the book. I apologize for this but I really want to know and since you have an extensive list of sci-fi authors and books, I thought you guys could help. Thanks in advance."

Do you recognize this description? Know this book? Are you the author? Perhaps you belong to a book club or group or website where you might be able to pass on this question and find out? Please let us know!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Worldbuilding with P.I. Barrington

Think about some of your favorite science fiction romance books. What exactly brought that story to life for you? Characters, plotline, and motives all play major parts in any novel or story but without a world for them all to exist within none can work. Worldbuilding is an exciting aspect of writing science fiction romance. This is where you can mix and match geography, civilizations, social, legal and cultural mores to create an entirely new world or just enhance the one we live in now or will live in shortly. You can create an alternate Earth and set it in any past or current time you desire.
When I started The Brede Chronicles I decided there would be only two main settings: 2107 Earth and the planet of Amphidia. This is where the thinking comes in. Because I love Egypt and the Middle East I decided that one of the main plots of this story would take place in Egypt one hundred years from now. What has remained over the millennia and what has been removed? How has the environment changed? What is still considered wealth and what is considered poverty?
I wanted it split level: the rich stayed in megalithic, one thousand plus storied buildings so huge each one held at least one if not two or three docking bays for interstellar and local flying vehicles—sort of parking structures; the poor however lived at street level, in cities (that actually exist today) comprised of mountains of garbage and discarded items which the residents sifted through to recycle anything they could find for money. But I also wanted the atmosphere of ancient Egypt so I kept the souks (bazaars & marketplaces) that also to this day sell livestock, food and cloth material. That stayed.
Opposite of that was Amphidia where Alekzander Brede was born. That planet had to be different—vastly different than New Cairo, Earth. It had rivers that dwarfed the biggest on Earth and grew trees twenty stories tall. Physical power and prowess constituted wealth not gold or money as on Earth.
But now to you, the author: you didn’t think I’d leave you without tools did you? Of course not! Unless you’re Colleen McCullough who can research ancient history like nobody’s business, you might need a slight…assist…in developing your world. Prompts are great but many times don’t really help in creating an entirely new world or worlds so I’ve compiled a few of my favorite old and new world building generator sites and their links.
From the looks of it they’ve revamped the home page with uber instructions on how to use generators and they now list all the other major or great generator sites as well. Seventh Sanctum generates names, planets, races, powers or abilities, and technology—a must for any serious science fiction author.
Chaotic Shiny is amazing! You can generate anything from monetary terms and values to laws, languages, gods, motives, superstitions, places (i.e. arenas), plots, and even accessories!
About P.I. Barrington:
After an extended detour through the entertainment industry, P.I. Barrington has returned to fiction author. Among her experience are journalism, radio air talent and the music industry. She lives in Southern California.
Her work includes:
Future Imperfect Trilogy (Crucifying Angel, Miraculous Deception, Final Deceit) Desert Breeze Publishing
Inamorata Crossing/Borealis 1: A Space Opera, Desert Breeze Publishing
Isadora DayStar (self-published)
The Button Hollow Chronicles: The Leaf Peeper Murders, Mainly Murder Press
Free stories on &
She can be contacted via email: or .
New Release!

Brede Chronicles Back Cover Blurb FRP
Half-human Alekzander Brede is a law unto himself…or so he thinks. Elektra Tate, the street orphan who loves him has other ideas. When she betrays him for no apparent reason, he vows to punish her one way or another. Taking the one thing she treasures most—their son—begins a cat and mouse relationship spanning two planets and costing possibly his life. Elektra will stop at nothing to save her son but can she overcome Brede’s twisted idea of vengeance?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Meet the #Author Monday - Michelle Brown

Please tell us a bit about yourself:

Carbon-based life form. Lives on tea, shiny things, and playful spite. Fond of boyfriend, cat, subgenre sci fi, and useful opinions. Dislikes the inevitability of mortality, fake balconies, and reading Lord of the Rings knock-offs.

Tell us about After the Garden:

After the Garden is a very special project. It’s the second thing I ever wrote, and it was the story that convinced me that maybe, just maybe, this writing thing would have to get more serious. It’s set approximately two hundred years from now and focuses on a group of Bearers, people who retain little snippets of memory from their previous lives. They live to safeguard their knowledge. Unfortunately, their strange powers have attracted the attention of a fanatical cult, and The City where all of this takes place is about to be the battleground of a deadly and decisive conflict.

What inspired you to write this particular story?:

I was driving around Calgary with my family one day and thought, “what would it look like if all of this was gone?” I started imagining buildings broken down and covered with vines, trying to figure out what the city would look like empty of people at some point in the far future. I wanted to examine a story focused around a ‘second chance’ for humanity, particularly because in the mid-oughties, it really seemed like everything was going to hell in a handbasket.

Please share a favourite snippet from your book:

Callaghn trudged away, and Kerrick read his lips as he rehearsed his questions. Have you seen a girl, pretty strange eyes, very thin? I’m herher cousin, yes, and I’d heard she was around here.
He turned and pointed at the plains separating the satellite town from The City . Kerrick noticed the movement, and grabbed the binoculars under the seat. A small figure in clothes that blended into the prairie was encountering two others in earthen robes. No wonder he hadn’t seen them at first—city camouflage was his area, not open lands. Callaghn saw them, those garments the same shade as his own eyes, and slowly walked towards the flier.
Kerrick opened the door and hauled him in bodily.
“Look closer, you idiot!” Hamza seized Callaghn’s head and turned it towards the tableaux. They were talking. Then, the women had seized her firmly. The girl was armed, but going quietly.
“I don’t see—”
“This is bad!”
“Hamza, what’s going on?” Eva, silent, her legs crossed and mouth tight, had finally spoken. “Those women in brown—”
“Those are Purifiers!” Hamza hissed. “We’re too late!”
“Drive,” said Kerrick. “Drive, goddamnit.”
Hamza revved the engine, speeded towards a close-by dip in the plains, a declivity that would shield them. They were more than twice as far as Ember was from the camp, but that wasn’t saying much.
As they sped towards them, they could see the fortress camouflaged by hills and rocks, the wire fence surrounding the tents and courtyard, the stage-like podium where Ezeriah delivered sermons. It was all built to be moved in an instant, if necessary. Kerrick saw the look on Hamza’s face—memories, not Fragments but memories, were bubbling up. He took his friend’s hand, and he relaxed a little.
“Time to hunt,” growled Kerrick. Hamza dropped down. Kerrick thought furiously about options. They were risking a lot, even having the vehicle so close to the camp, but there was no choice. Charging in through the gates was impossible—they were outnumbered and even Eva’s shield wouldn’t be enough. And Ezeriah himself…well. Out of the question. Slowly, painfully, they crept out to watch.
The girl was being taken towards the camp. Callaghn twitched, his restless legs drumming quietly.
“Don’t move,” Kerrick commanded him. “Just wait and watch. We’re safe down here, at least for the moment.”
“It’s hopeless,” Callaghn muttered. “If they’ve got her, she’s as good as dead. You know what the Order is like.”
“Wait and watch,” Kerrick said, “and shut up, too.”
“Why the hell don’t we charge in, then?”
“Because frontal assaults are stupid and don’t actually work. Shut up.”
He glanced back at Eva, who crouched near the flier. She looked frightened, but also very determined; Kerrick was having second thoughts about having her along. Her talent was terribly useful, it was true, but she was young for this. Their stories weren’t so dissimilar, and he remembered what it was like, being hired muscle.
The little part in the back of his mind that calculated everything too coldly said that even if she was too young for it, it could save their skins. And with Eva there, Hamza and the others would be more protective; with Hamza there, Callaghn would try extra hard to impress him. Kerrick smiled grimly at the thought that Callaghn probably wouldn’t be trying as hard to catch and drop arrows if it was just him, Kerrick, to defend.
He settled quietly, and watched the scene, trying to plan for every possible event. He felt Eva activate a thin shield; although it was large, it was not very thick, just dense enough to keep arrows out. She’d be able to maintain it for some time, but would it be enough?
They hadn’t killed her yet…yet. He could hope. In horrified fascination, he watched the two Magdalenes bring the girl forward.

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

Definitely personality. I tend to “see” snippets of a story in my head as though the characters are in a film or on stage, particularly the latter. Names tend to come second or third. I try not to focus on a character’s looks too much because it can be rather annoying to read about lengthy descriptions of dresses every five pages.

Any tips for aspiring authors?:

Stop aspiring. Start writing. Writers, write. You are allowed to suck at first. Just write.

Questions for fun:

If you had the power of time travel, is there anything you would go back and change?

Well, technically, if you go by quantum multiverse theory, I might already *have* done. I admit to nothing.

Why/why not?:

Hey, do you see any mutant Wagner-playing zombie octo-chickens running around? How do you know I haven’t already changed things? Yeah, you’re welcome, by the way.

What super-power would you choose?:

Definitely flight—controlled flight. Preferably something that doesn’t involve extremely light bones or being turned into a bird, though there are worse drawbacks to a superpower that I can think of.

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

1.    All violent war would be converted into paintball matches.  2. Politicians worldwide would clue in about the whole global warming bit. 3. That the warp drive NASA is currently experimenting on will actually do the trick, and that we’ll get to see the furthest reaches of the galaxy in my lifetime.

Coffee, tea or wine?: Tea, obviously. Preferably black. Green is okay too. Roiboos can GTFO.

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

*futile sobbing* Every time, with this question! How about my favorites this year? Ocean at the End of the Lane, Looking for Alaska/The Fault in Our Stars (tied), and Rags & Bones. But the Miriam Black trilogy and Banksters were also amazing. D—n it! That’s eight books..e.r…

Favourite genre and why?:

Definitely spec fic. I say spec fic as a whole because I love the weird subgenres of sci fi, I love weird fiction (in the Lovecraftian sense), and I really like certain kinds of fantasy, especially urban fantasy. Speculative fiction means that you can not only do anything, you get to think about the complications.

Favourite colour?:

Indigo, the kind that’s so deep and bright it almost looks purple.

Upcoming news and plans for the future?:

Silly erotica short story! The third book in the Meaning Wars series! After the Garden! Monsters and Fools, book two of the Nightmare Cycle! Euphoria/Dysphoria, a collab with Nic Wilson! Much more! Release dates TBA.

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


Memories of another life and lover guide her, but are they even hers? She is a Bearer—keeper of past lifetimes and gifted with strange talents. Ember must find her answers away from safe Longquan Village, snared instead in the sensuality and dangers of The City. Hidden among fishermen and slaves, prostitutes and weavers, a nest of people like her are waiting.

A powerful man outside The City raises his forces, determined to hunt down the ‘demons’ who could taint his followers. Threatened from without and within, can the Bearers even trust each other? 

Powers will rise and alliances will be forged in a dark new world. The Memory Bearers are coming.

Where to find me:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Starry Nights are coming! #SFR Brigade 3rd Midsummer Blog Hop

Midsummer is fast approaching, and boy do we have a celebration for you! The SFR Brigade's 3rd annual blog hop will take place in just one week, on the 21st to the 25th June. What's in it for you? Well, 46 participants offering stellar excerpts and posts on the chosen theme of Starry Nights. Want more? How about the FIVE grand prizes on offer?

1st  $100 Amazon or B&N gift card plus 41 ebooks - Tales from the SFR Brigade, Heart of Stone, Her Cyborg Awakes, Anja's Star, Silver Strife, Corwint Series 4 Book Gift Pack, Earth's Requiem, Alien Blood, Starwoman's Sanctuary, one book from Jessica E Subject's SFR backlist (ONE ebook title out of the following: Alien Adoration, Alien Admirer, Alien Lover, An Unexpected Return, Another Night Another Planet, Celestial Seduction, Crash Landing, Hey Santa, His Alien Virgin, Made For Her, Never Gonna Let You Go, Never Gonna Desert You, Never Gonna Say Goodbye, Satin Sheets in Space, Sudden Breakaway, or Unknown Futures), LodeStar Series Books 1-3 (Stark Pleasure, Creed of Pleasure and Captive of Pleasure), Reunion trilogy, Terms & Conditions Apply, Wreck of the Nebula Dream, Starheart, Kuralon Rescue, A Matter of Trust, Earth's Blood, Roman's Gold, Wolf Born, The Marann, Nightfall, Unrequited, Butterman Time Travel Inc., Legend Beyond the Stars, Hathor's Legacy: Outcast, Removed, Midwinter Crisis, Shlyer: Finding Home, Boyfriend's Brother, Surviving the Trap, Captive, Tower in the Woods, Catching Red. 

2nd $50 Amazon or B&N gift card plus 28 ebooks - Tales from the SFR Brigade, Heart of Stone, Her Cyborg Awakes, Anja's Star, Silver Strife, Corwint Series 4 Book Gift Pack, Earth's Requiem, Alien Blood, Starwoman's Sanctuary, Tangled In Time, Terms & Conditions Apply, Escape from Zulaire, Lana's Comet, Heart's Bounty, Glad Hands, Nikolai, The Trial of Tompa Lee, The Tribulations of Tompa Lee, The Midas Rush, Prime Obsession, Daughters of Suralia, Morning Star, Hey Santa, Tower in the Woods, Catching Red. 

3rd  3 separate winners each receive $25 Amazon or B&N gift card plus 11 ebooks - Tales from the SFR Brigade, Heart of Stone, Her Cyborg Awakes, Anja's Star, Corwint Series 4 Book Gift Pack, Hey Santa, Tower in the Woods, Catching Red.

So mark your calendars for the 21st June, follow @sfrbrigade on Twitter, and get ready to hop along and join the fun!

Friday, June 13, 2014

#Cover #reveal - TETHERED #scifi #romance

A Science Fiction Romance novella
Coming from Breathless Press 25th July.

She can kill with a kiss. But can assassin Tyree also heal one man's grief, and bring peace to a galaxy threatened by war?

For Tyree of the Su, being an assassin isn’t simply something she was trained for. It's the sole reason for her existence. A genetically enhanced clone—one of many in Refuge—she's about to learn her secluded lifestyle, and that of all her kind, is under threat by a race capable of neutralizing their special talents to leave them defenseless.

For Zander D'joren, being a diplomat has not only cost him his appearance, but also the love of his life. Scarred, grieving, he must nonetheless continue in his role as co-delegate to the fearsome Tier-vane or risk a conflict that could only end one way.

Now both of them need to keep each other alive and maintain a perilous deception long enough to renegotiate the treaty with the Tier-vane, or throw their people into a war that could wipe out Terrans and Inc-Su alike. But there's more at stake than humanity, whether true or modified. Can the love growing between them save them both? Or merely hasten their destruction?

Add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE.
Sign up to my no-spam newsletter HERE to get early sneak peeks at covers, and news of the latest releases, giveaways and contest.

A thrill of excitement shivered down her spine as she backed away a few steps with Zander following. He shrugged off his formal outer robes, and for the first time she could appreciate the broad expanse of his chest, the close-fitting fabric stretched over well-defined muscles. It appeared he hadn't allowed his physique to slacken, despite leaving the Galactic Commission.

"Are you ready?" she asked.

Zander spread his hands in an open gesture to say that he was.

So why is he just standing there like a defunct Manikin instead of poised to fight?

Tyree took her combat position and Zander matched her, just as the Manikin had done. She'd never fought a human in combat practice before. This should be interesting.

She sprang forward and aimed two rapid punches at his face. Zander evaded both with a speed and grace totally out of proportion to his bulk. Her third he blocked with little effort, and she stepped back to reassess her strategy. But only for an instant.

A quick step forward and she lashed upward with her foot, snapping his head back. Zander staggered but didn't fall. Her second kick failed as he grabbed her ankle and jerked her off balance. She twisted as she dropped and caught him hard in the knee. Zander collapsed. Both rolled aside, and then jumped up to face each other again.

Not bad.

Tyree bit back a laugh as they exchanged blows, each faster than the last. Zander blocked or evaded most, but not all. His skill almost matched hers, yet his defenses were just a fraction too slow. Each move she made tested his reach, his reflexes and his stamina until she could sense him struggling a little.

Time for the kill.

She floored him with a kick to the chest, the full weight of her augmented density behind it, but as she moved in to finish the fight he dove into her. Tyree landed on her back hard enough to drive the breath from her lungs.

Zander had her pinned to the ground. She bucked but couldn't shift him. The triumphant smile on his face sent rage blazing through her gut. With hardly a whisper, she Misted out and went through him. Golden warmth filled her for a second before she pulled free. Zander pushed to his feet and spun to meet her, but she cranked up her molecular density and punched him hard in the chest. He collapsed, gasping and coughing. In one fluid movement she sat astride him at full density, and the air whumphed out of his lungs. She pinioned his arms with her hands, her face hovering mere centimeters above his.

As her breathing slowed to normal, a huge grin split her face. She'd made a vow to herself to jump him, and she'd done it. Perhaps it was childish, but it warmed her heart.

" well deserved," he gasped.

"You're not so bad yourself," she complimented him. He'd fought well, but perhaps not quite with the determination—and certainly not the desperation—of most opponents she'd faced. "For a human."

"Thank you. Perhaps we could try this again tomorrow?"

Tyree laughed. As much as he could irritate the hell out of her, he was equally amusing. "If you want to spend most of your morning on the floor..."

He gazed up at her with that easy smile, making no effort to struggle. Most humans, without the influence of her pheromones and the distraction of her naked body writhing above theirs, would not have been so trusting. So compliant. She found herself staring at his mouth. What would it be like to kiss him, without the use of her talents? Would it be as satisfying? As sensual? The warmth of him, the firmness of his body beneath hers, sent heat spiraling through her abdomen.

"Perhaps you could let me up now?" His words jerked her from such musings. What the hell was she thinking?

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 21 years and three 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 a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), two self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply and The Bones of the Sea), 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), 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.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Science fiction romance and the RT convention

The Romantic Times book convention was in New Orleans last month. It just so happens I live three hours from New Orleans. Originally I had planned to attend the full thing with my bestest writing friend, but it didn't work out and I resigned myself to staying home.

Until I saw Nalini Singh was coming. I'm a huge Psy-Changeling fan, and she lives in New Zealand. Once in a lifetime chance to meet her and get her autograph. Off I went! She's a lovely lady, and she did a chat with fans at the end of the day. Which of course I stayed for, cuz once in a lifetime chance.

While waiting to get into the room I listened to the chatter of other fans as we sat in line and waited. And I giggled to myself as someone started complaining about the length of the line. I've been in line to see Matt Smith. Thirty people does not a line make.

One lady was talking about what all kinds of romance she reads, and ended with "but I don't read science fiction ones." If we'd been next to each other I would have pursued some questions about her statement and why she claimed so loudly she didn't read it. But we weren't, so I didn't. If you haven't read Psy-Changeling you may not know this, but Psy-Changeling is equal parts paranormal and science fiction.

During the chat someone asked Nalini about when she started writing. She was in her teens, like many of us writers, and started out writing science fiction. Then as she grew up she realized she missed romance and wanted both. When it came time to create Psy-Changeling she pulled on her SF roots and combined it with her desire to create a new kind of paranormal shapeshifter.

Still another lady asked her for book recommendations. Know what she recommended? SFR! Pern and the Liaden series to be specific. She also encouraged every person in the room to not get hung up on genre labels. Read for the story, regardless of genre label.

It was so refreshing to hear a New York Times bestselling author talk with such love and passion about the genre we all love. And to encourage her fans to read anything.

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, June 9, 2014

Meet the #Author Monday - Sheryl Nantus

Please tell us a bit about yourself:

I'm Canadian, raised in Toronto Canada and emigrated to the United States in 2000 to marry a sweet-talking man who met me originally through my X-Files fanfiction!
Tell us about In the Black:

In the Black is the first book in the Tales from the Edge series, dealing with a Mercy ship—the Bonnie Belle.

The Bonnie Belle is a Mercy ship carrying courtesans from mining base to mining base, providing services for whoever can pay for them. Not necessarily sex – there are Charity ships for that. The Belle's crew are made up of courtesans with a variety of skills who can help you improve your chess game, your self-defense skills… and yes, great sex if you want it.

Sam Keller is the captain of the Bonnie Belle and on her first tour. When one of her women is found dead in her cabin suspects include an entire base of miners along with her own crew. She has to rely on Marshal Daniel LeClair for help to find the killer and maybe, just maybe a bit of loving along the way…
What inspired you to write this particular story?:

I've always loved science fiction and science fiction romance so I wanted to write something in that vein. I loved the character of "Inara" from "Firefly" and the concept of courtesans in that world and decided to take that idea and work with it. So I came up with the idea of the Guild, shuttling courtesans from mining base to mining base to meet the needs of lonely men and women out on the edge. It's not necessarily only about sex—it's about offering comfort and aid to those who need it.

And of course, I needed a good story. Enter Sam Keller, a military vet with her own secret and now captain of the Bonnie Belle. Hiding on the Belle might be her plan but she's suddenly faced with the murder of one of her courtesans and the need to find the killer. Which is where Marshal Daniel LeClair comes in and I figure we can all guess where that goes, eh?

Please share a favourite snippet from your book:

“Sam,” Daniel whispered, “Kiss me. Please.” There was a trace of whine and want in the words, a combination of curiosity and need.

“Why?” Her heart hammered in her chest.

“Because you want it. I want it. We’re two consenting adults and I know I won’t be able to walk straight for the rest of this trip unless I get a taste of you.” He paused. “Consider it a trial run for when we finish this job up. You know what’s going to happen when this is all over.”

The harsh honesty shocked her into silence.

“Would it be easier if I ordered you to?” he said.

“What?” She felt lightheaded.

“You’re a soldier. You know how to take orders.” He ran a finger along his lower lip. “Kiss me,” he demanded.

She blinked, unable to form a coherent thought.

“Afraid?” Daniel chuckled. “Surely a big, strong woman like yourself can handle a little kiss.” He
smacked his lips together in a mockery of the act.

A mixture of anger and heat pushed her into a decision.

A single kiss and she’d find out if there was any compatibility or if this was a disaster waiting to happen. She’d still sleep with him but it’d be better if there was a spark, some sort of connection there.

She drew a staggered breath, seeing the longing in his face and wondering if he saw the same looking at her.

What harm could it do?
Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?:

I always think of a character's personality – what brought them to this place in their lives, what decisions put them where they are. For example, Sam Keller is a military vet with a dark past that has pushed her to take on captaining the Belle for a five-year tour. What makes her tick, what made her choose this penance. And what would be enough for her to try and leave?

Any tips for aspiring authors?:

Read. Write. Read more. Write more. And to quote Chuck Wendig, Write HARDER.
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 probably go back and tell my younger self that it does get better. I was bullied when I was young and had a horrible time in high school. It'd be nice to know then that I'd find happiness in the future.

What super-power would you choose?:

Strangely enough I wrote a superhero romance – my "Blaze of Glory" trilogy with Samhain Publishing! I decided to give Jo Tanis, my heroine, the ability to manipulate electromagnetic waves – so she can fly and shock people. I think that'd be pretty cool.

Or I'd be Wonder Woman. She totally rocks…

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

Ooh… toughie. Probably perfect health, world peace and an ability to eat as much chocolate as I want without gaining weight.
Coffee, tea or wine?:

Tea. Tea tea tea tea tea. And a cuppa white wine to top it off!

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

I *heart* The Jungle Book by Kipling. Not the cartoon, the book. Rikki-tikki-tavi, Toomai of the Elephants… so many good stories there. So much goodness…

Favourite genre and why?:

I sort of bounce around all genres when I'm reading. One day I'll be reading Keegan's History of the Civil War, the next a historical romance by Tessa Dare and the next a graphic novel. Variety is the spice of life…

Favourite colour?:
Plaid. No, wait… red. Blue?

Upcoming news and plans for the future?:

Book Two of Tales from the Edge, In the Void comes out in October from Carina Press!  This will be Sean's story… but there's room for so many more tales!

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

Thank you for having me visit!!!

Book one of Tales from the Edge

When Sam Keller left the military, she ran to the far end of the galaxy. Now she captains the Bonnie Belle, a spaceship full of courtesans who bring a little pleasure to hard-up men on mining colonies. When one of her girls turns up dead, it's Sam's job to find out who killed her, fast.

Marshal Daniel LeClair is as tough as steel and quick on the draw. But when his vacation gets replaced by an assignment to help find the killer, he can't help angling for a little action with the saucy, hard-charging Sam. She's got brains, attitude and a body he wouldn't mind investigating.

Sam, six months lonely, might just indulge him. But the Guild that owns the Belle wants the case closed yesterday. With pressure coming from all quadrants, Sam and her marshal clash over false leads and who's on top. But when the killer threatens the Belle again, romance will have to wait. It's a captain's job to save her crew, no matter the cost.



My personal info:

Twitter link
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In the Black on Goodreads

Friday, June 6, 2014

USA Today - #interviews with Linnea Sinclair & Ilona Andrews

Brigader Scott's SciFi Encounters at USA Today/HEA has Linnea Sinclair, Ilona Andrews and a shout-out for Tales From the SFR Brigade! Check it out HERE.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

SFRB Recomends #17: Sovran's Pawn by JC Cassels #scifi #romance #spaceopera

Convicted of treason and sentenced to be executed, Bo Barron is the last person who should be infiltrating a Sub-socia weapons auction. But when her father is kidnapped and the ransom demand is the schematics to an experimental weapon, she has no choice but to go under cover with her uncle to get it.

Nobody counted on former-government-agent-turned-holofeature-hero Blade Devon’s infatuation with her. A botched assassination under the guise of a bar brawl leaves Bo blind and Blade wondering if there isn’t more to this job than he was led to believe. 

Never able to resist playing the hero, Blade tends her injuries and delves deeper into the intrigue only to find this mission isn’t about a weapon at all. It’s about two Sovrans’ maneuvering for control, with Bo and Blade as their pawns. 

All Bo and Blade have to do is figure out how to survive the game they didn’t know they were playing.

The catch is, no one and nothing are what they seem…

I'd had this on my Kindle for quite a while before I got around to reading it. I have to say I've regretted putting it off for so long a LOT. This has to be one of the most flawless and captivating pieces of space opera I think I've ever read. Did I mention it was SELF PUBLISHED? The author has gone all out to make sure this is a high quality piece of fiction, with none of the errors that plague some SP works. I didn't find a single mistake in the whole thing, and certainly no plot holes, inconsistencies, repetitions, head hopping - my pet peeves.

As to the story, think Firefly/Farscape/original Battlestar Galactica. Traditional space opera. Good sexual tension without any explicit scenes, excellent three dimensional characters with amazing depth, immense and detailed world building. Even though the hero is not the type of guy I would go for, his confidence doesn't come across as arrogance, and the banter between hero and heroine will put a smile on your face. I especially loved the scene where Bo and Blade first meet. While some may be disappointed in the lack of bedroom scenes or intimacy beyond some required nakedness and a kiss or two, I recommend this to any fan of scifi romance, and especially those just starting out and intending to self publish. This book is a standard you should definitely aspire to.

Find it on Goodreads HERE.
Find it on Amazon US HERE.

Author site: JC Cassels

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Technowank vs. Character Drama: Which One is King?

Hello hello!

So, along with the massive inequality issues heating up the field, a new subgenre of sci fi has emerged to stir the pot further. Meet science fiction romance, or sci-fi romance: it's exactly what it sounds like. And honestly, it's the only kind of romance I can read, on the rare occasions that I do read romance.

 If you think about it, it was a natural progression. It's not like we haven't had a history of romance in sci fi before. Ursula Le Guin, Orwell, and Zamyetin all had romance in their books. In We, the first dystopian book, the romance drives the plot--as it does in 1984. And do we need to mention the frequent romances in television?  Movies aren't short on it either. "I love you. I know." Of course, Farscape has a fantastic romance--more than one of them--and Doctor Who has, too. The Trek was never short on romances either. So why are people compulsively vomiting and complaining about icky girl germs with sci-fi romance?

I don't like romance.

Well, okay, that's not entirely true. I like love stories a lot. I like a bit of bittersweetness or tragedy in there, too, because I think it's more interesting, but there's no getting away from the fact that I didn't cry my way though The Fault in Our Stars just because of kids with cancer. And I edit a lot of romances, and sometimes, I do really enjoy them. A good human story is always appealing, and that's where the hook comes from, for me at least. Other people like the escapism and the heady feelings and the 'happily ever after' thing, and I can't complain about those, really. But for some reason, female-coded escapism (romance, etc, etc) is seen as 'worse' or 'icky' compared to male-coded escapism, such as technowank and space ships and that sort of thing.

A brief digression on technowank

I also don't have a ton of patience for books where the author inserts a technical manual in the middle of the action. I've ranted and raved about exposition dumps on many occasions, and so I'll try to keep this short.
As much as I like sci fi, the hard stuff can turn into a very technical description of nuts and bolts and can actually lose sight of the plot. Some people love it when authors get carried away, others fall asleep.

Robots are awesome, but what makes them interesting is all the transhumanist arguments and the 'where does humanity lie', ghost in the machine stuff. It's not about the titano-carboridium alloys. We don't like C-3P0 because of his blank expression or the six thousand known languages in his database, we like him because he flies off the handle and acts as straight man to R2D2. Moya is a great ship, but as much fun as it is to run around her corridors with Dutch-angled camera work, it's the stuff that happens on her and to her that keeps our attention.

Shiny is good. 

I think visual formats do have an easier time of it because they can get away with just showing, rather than telling us too much--the 'show/tell' thing can be a bit tricky when it comes to the description end of things. We do need to know what things look like and have some idea of how they work, but finding the balance can be hard. And there is room for those lovely sweeping descriptions of xeno panoramas, big shiny ships, and all that good stuff. And, yeah, I rarely tire of reading about a well-written, gritty spaceport and the delicious food in it. One of the things I loved about the short Star Wars anthologies that came out was that they described Tatooine and the new Jedi Academy in fine detail. It was nice to hear about the little things and the students' person effects and the bacta tanks and 'shimmersilk' robes of dignitaries. The 'shiny' stuff and the worldbuilding are fun for both readers and writers.

Why do we need to fuss about characters?

Now that you know I'm not an opponent of worldbuilding or lyrical digressions, listen carefully when I say: it's all worthless with crappy characters. I've seen it mentioned in a few writing guides, and it's true--characters are what a reader remembers. Sure, Giger is amazing and the alien is gorgeous, but we remember Ripley and Ash and even that cat. That's why Prometheus sucked compared to Alien (s). It's also why many fans bemoan the Dune sequels and Star Wars prequels--all the king's gorgeous visuals and all the king's men couldn't make up for weird, constrained acting from most of the performers and characters that most of us just didn't like. (Phantom Menace, apart from the horrible racist caricatures, was the strongest of the three because it had the best portrayals of the characters, and I will fight you on that.)  The classics of sci fi have endured because they have fantastic human stories, not because of their settings alone. Sure, settings spark the imagination, but it's the people we relate to, cheer for, scream at, and develop messy childish crushes on that keep us going.

So, what does this have to do with sci fi romance again?

Well, sci-fi romance is ultimately only as strong as its characters. It's why diversity is so important in media, and it's why those of us defending that get pretty up in arms about it. Some sci fi romance is probably not that well-written, but the same is true of the 'old-fashioned', 'traditional' technowank stuff that relies on shiny bits rather than character development. Ultimately, one or two or even ten bad books do not merit discarding an entire genre. Sci-fi romance needs a little more time to grow up and branch out, sure, but it's a very new subgenre. Ultimately, the potential of more explicitly character-driven sci-fi is really exciting. We can take the settings and the shiny stuff for granted, because sci-fi is established as a genre. It knows what its doing now.We don't have to set up and describe every damn space ship because readers know what they are. That means we can push some boundaries. And ultimately, pushing boundaries while we envision the future is the heart of gold that drives this genre forward.

Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr, and find her work on Amazon. Check back on the blog to see when one of the irregular posts has careened onto your feed. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

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