Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The End of the World Concept

by Diane Dooley

Hi, Diane Dooley here. I’m pleased to announce a new release.

Blue Yonder is a short, action-packed novella set on the eve of the end of the world. I’ve long been fascinated with the whole concept of the end of the world. I was brought up in a Christian sect that truly believed the end of the world as we know it would be in our lifetime, so that’s probably where the interest started. Later I was drawn to apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction (which I still read) and I studied ancient and modern millenarian groups from around the world while pursuing a degree in history. Of late, my fascination has been channeled into my own apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction. I’m hoping this story will be the first of a series of explorations of romantic love at the end of the world.

In Blue Yonder, everyone could see the apocalypse coming. It did not happen rapidly. Earth has experienced a huge population die-off due to disease, famine, and natural disasters. Environmental degradation has caused massive changes in climate, with fresh water supplies drying up, sea levels rising, and devastating weather events wreaking havoc on helpless people. Earth will soon be uninhabitable, and a mass evacuation to far-flung star colonies is underway. But time is running out, and it’s becoming clear that some will be left behind: the oldest, the sickest, the poorest, the most unwanted, the least prepared.

The meek will inherit the Earth -- but it is the bold and audacious who will escape out into the big blue yonder.


Earth is drowning, but Isabel Visconti won’t be going down with the planet. Her earnings as a factory drone and prostitute will soon fund her escape to the stars. All she’ll leave behind is her late husband’s best friend, Daniel Morneau, who has disappeared into the underbelly of the city’s criminal gangs. Until he shows up, pleading for Isabel’s help.

It’s the old Daniel, the kind, gentle one. The man who bought medicine for her dying husband then helped her through the grief. It’s the Daniel she couldn’t possibly refuse to help. But Isabel has already been given a choice by Daniel’s psychopath boss. Betray Daniel—or spend months travelling to a far-off colony, servicing a violent criminal gang along the way.

When Daniel is abducted, Isabel is his only hope. He may die without her, but is there time enough for love on the eve of the end of the world?

Add it on Goodreads. Contact me for a review copy.

Buy links:

Decadent Publishing | All Romance | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Google Play | iTunes

* * *

Diane Dooley was born in the Channel Islands, grew up in Scotland, and now resides in the United States. She lives with her best friend/husband and two obstreperous boy children in a falling-down farmhouse in the sticks.

She writes short stories and novellas in several genres and has been published in a variety of online and print publications, as well as by several digital-first publishing houses.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and her blog.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

SFRB Recommends 42: At Star's End by Anna Hackett #scifi #sfrom #romance #ebook #novella #book

This week's recommendation comes to you from Rachel L. Smith.

Dr. Eos Rai has spent a lifetime dedicated to her mother's dream of finding the long-lost Mona Lisa. When Eos uncovers tantalizing evidence of Star's End--the last known location of the masterpiece--she's shocked when her employer, the Galactic Institute of Historic Preservation, refuses to back her expedition. Left with no choice, Eos must trust the most notorious treasure hunter in the galaxy, a man she finds infuriating, annoying and far too tempting.

Dathan Phoenix can sniff out relics at a stellar mile. With his brothers by his side, he takes the adventures that suit him and refuses to become a lazy, bitter failure like their father. When the gorgeous Eos Rai comes looking to hire him, he knows she's trouble, but he's lured into a hunt that turns into a wild and dangerous adventure. As Eos and Dathan are pushed to their limits, they discover treasure isn't the only thing they're drawn to...but how will their desire survive when Dathan demands the Mona Lisa as his payment?

Great introduction to a fascinating world. I'm in love with the Phoenix brothers already. The action was almost non-stop, so if that's what you look for you definitely need to read Anna Hackett.

The romance arc did fall a little flat, due to the book being so short. It's hard to put a satisfying romance into a 40,000 word novel, especially when you need to devote so much of it to worldbuilding. So long as a romance-first reader goes in with the proper expectations, it's all good.

Author site: Anna Hackett | Action Romance | Science Fiction Romance

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Victorian Restraint and Modern Sexuality Romance in Steampunk

by AR DeClerck

The Victorian Era stretched from 1837 to 1901, during the reign of Queen Victoria of England. Many readers know the characteristics that define the Victorian Era; prudish snobbery in the high and upper-middle classes and a conviction that the British Empire was, and always would be, the foremost power in the world. There was a sharp divide in the classes during this historical period, with the poor usually being very poor while the middle class was growing in both number and power. The British Empire was increasing its reach and wealth all over the world and the British “lifestyle” found its way into homes on every continent.

There is much to say about the truth of the Victorian world. It was a time of invention and the beginning of many social and economic changes for British people. However, we’re not here to discuss the truth of Victorian times, but to talk about the fiction. Steampunk is traditionally set in or around this era and describes the world if the industrial revolution had gone in a very different direction. Steam, rather than combustion engines powered by coal or electricity, would have been the mechanical genius of the day. Steampunk authors give us a peek into a world where human ingenuity extends into the realm of steam mechanics and alternate forms of energy.

Alternate history in terms of science would have, believe it or not, a direct impact on everyday life. I like to focus, in particular, on how steampunk authors incorporate ideas of modern sexuality into their books. Gail Carriger, for example, threw out the book in terms of what a “proper” British female might be like in order to create her feisty heroine Alexia Tarabotti. Alexia is a member of the high-brow upper middle class gentry and yet her father was “a foreigner”. It’s very interesting how this perceived difference in Alexia’s parentage creates in her an ability to shrug off the disdain of her peers and be exactly the woman she chooses to be. This strong will vexes Alexia’s love interest, and makes me laugh every time I read the stories. Carriger has women dressed in men’s clothing and a rather flamboyant male character with no worry that it goes outside the boundaries of societal acceptance. The disdain of society is there, but her characters simply don’t care that they are different.

When I sat down to write The Alchemist’s Kiss I decided to keep the very strict societal boundaries that most of the higher classes lived by in Victorian England. I did this, to be honest, because it created more obstacles for my hero and my heroine to overcome. A brash American (gasp) heroine from Civil War-torn Virginia not only traveling with, but living with, a single man would have been unheard of in 1869 London. However, as was true with society at that time, power buys acceptance. Icarus’ appointment as the Warden of London creates in the story an ability for him to flaunt the normal rules. This does not, however, erase the way he was raised. When he figures out (finally) that he is in love with Cora he decides that he cannot offer her the proper life a lady of her caliber deserves. This antiquated ideal mixes with the modern one that Cora is a woman of her own mind, and once she decides to make Icarus her own there is no stopping her.

I thoroughly enjoy the way steampunk authors choose to approach the ideas about sexuality in their novels. As with any alternate history genre there is no right or wrong answer to any of these questions. The author has complete power to change or erase any characteristics about the world that clash with their overall vision. Romance in Victorian times was usually a stiff and formal affair, with scheduled interludes and arranged marriages. This takes all the fun out of a good romantic romp, so steampunk authors are challenged with bringing together two characters without sacrificing the world building and overall feel of the genre itself.

The genre of steampunk is a wide-open one with possibilities around every corner. Authors should not be afraid to think outside the proverbial box when it comes to writing steampunk because anything is possible. This is especially true when writing romance into steampunk. Victorian men and women were still, essentially, men and women. They had sex and they fell in love, just like men and women do today. The most difficult obstacle for the steampunk author is figuring out how to bring the two together and still remain true to the period. I would urge steampunk authors who add romance into the mix to experiment with the same issues of sexuality that we experience today. Build your world so that the hows and whys of their behavior and reactions seem normal and a seamless romance full of modern sexuality can come to life.


Author Bio:

AR DeClerck is a wife and mother of 2 daughters. She lives in the Quad Cities, IL and works as a dialysis technician. She grew up in the mountains of NC and has always been an avid reader. She started writing in high school and never stopped.

AR writes adventure romance novels in many sub genres. She publishes through Nevermore Press and currently has 5 novels available with a few more in the works and thousands more in her head. She credits her love of reading and writing to her mother who always has a book handy.


Book Link:


Monday, September 21, 2015

SFR Brigade Library Update!

All Hands On Deck!

You know the drill, Brigaders. You've been busy writing new space adventures for us to read and that means we need to get the library organized to show off your best work. We love to have our authors listed, and we love to share the library with new SFR readers who don't know where to start. So help us out and send your titles in today! 

If you are already in the library: check the library and review your links. Make sure nothing is broken and nothing leads back to an old website. If you would like a book removed or a link changed please send Liana the title and genre where it is shelved. 

If you have a new title for the library: Send Liana an email with the following information...

Genre: Action/Adventure, Anthology, Comedy, Cyberpunk/Speculative, Military, Near Future, Paranormal, Simply Romance, Space Opera, or Not Romance
Heat Rating: Sweet (fade to black), Hot (sex on screen), Erotic
Author Name: 
Buy Link: a link to your website or some other page featuring the book
Release Date: For new books or any books coming out between now and January 1st, 2016

liana . brooks1 at gmail dot com

If you send an email and don't get a response you can track Liana down on Twitter. Look for @LianaBrooks and tell her to check her spam folder.

Title: Convergence Point
Genre: Action/Adventure
Heat Rating: Sweet
Author Name: Liana Brooks
Buy Link: http://www.lianabrooks.com/2001/01/janes-shadow_1.html (my book page has links to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, ect ect ect)
Release Date: November 24

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tropes Can Be Your Friend or Your Enemy

Tropes can be your enemy, plotwise, or your friend, especially if you can bend them somehow to be fresh again in your story.

One of my favorite sites is TV Tropes, where this is part of their mission statement:
The wiki is called "TV Tropes" because TV is where we started. Over the course of a few years, our scope has crept out to include other media. Tropes transcend television. They reflect life. Since a lot of art, especially the popular arts, does its best to reflect life, tropes are likely to show up everywhere.

I like to click on the Speculative Fiction genre link because there are so many choices, including the “Grand List of Overused Science Fiction Cliches”.  Feel free to use them or not, do whatever is right for your story. It’s good to have the awareness, however, that the tropes do exist, in any genre. Personally, I don't mind a plot based on a trope, if the story is well written and I'm engaged with the characters.

So, selected from the TV Tropes site, with my comments after the italics:
Discussions, ending with a joke, about how bureaucracies are the same everywhere in the galaxy: OK, I was coasting along pretty well in the movie “Jupiter Rising” until they made their pit stop at the intergalactic DMV or whatever that bureaucratic version of hell was supposed to be. It was kinda amusing but went on for too long AND didn’t feel like it fit into the otherwise serious movie with populations of whole planets dying…so if you're going to do this one, don't get carried away with it.

It was all just a dream/game/simulation: Some people do this very well, as with the “Matrix” or “Inception.” And then of course there’s “Running Man,” where the whole thing is a deadly game and everyone knew it, which was kinda cool.  Or “Tron”. I didn’t think the remake of “Total Recall” went so well. I believe if you’re going to spring this surprise on your readers or viewers, you have to have amazing worldbuilding, and subtle clues they can go back and ferret out later, so it’s obvious that you the Author knew what you were doing all along. The readers can rest assured they were in good hands and the author didn't just throw in a trick ending when they ran out of inspiration and the deadline loomed. No! See, there was a clue and there was another clue and....

Time travellers go back in time to prevent some Bad Thing from happening and in the process actually cause the Bad Thing to happen and its corollary Time travellers go back in time to prevent some Bad Thing from happening; they succeed, but cause something worse to happen: I suspect this is so prevalent because what is the point of time traveling if you can’t meddle? See all the “Back to the Future” movies. The underrated movie “Grand Tour in Time” is a really good use of this trope. I loved the old Jean Claude van Damme movie “Time Cop”, where there was a whole bureaucracy (oops, see above) set up to deal with the issues.  And of course, the other trope is that the people go back in time, to the sinking of Titanic perhaps and find they can’t prevent the disaster. Rod Serling got good mileage out of that for “Twilight Zone.”

Humans have a special quality that makes us unique, so that even superbeings can learn something from us: Excuse me? We ARE intergalactically unique in all ways, what are they talking about here??? Moving on…

A pet survives the disaster, and is discovered at the end of the story: I’m not arguing with this trope! Any pet animal in my stories will survive. This is so well accepted that people often get upset when the dog does die. A nice spin on this trope was Groot in "Guardians of the Galaxy," who (SPOILER) created a "cutting" or baby version of himself. Awww....

The gang of cute and/or misfit kids rescue the universe, where a large group of competent, organized and well-armed adults failed: Well but this one is SUCH a good trope that it can be spun many many ways, especially in scifi.  Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze, “Super 8”…."Goonies" (hey, it has fantasy elements...)

A high-ranking matriarch, in a society that oppresses men, falls for the Hero's rugged charms: OK, but we write romance so of course this is going to happen on occasion in our books, right fellow Authors? We’ll just write it SO well, no one will complain about the tropery.

Veronica Scott square photoVeronica Scott is the USA Today Happily Ever After blog’s SciFi Encounters columnist and a three-time recipient of the SFR Galaxy Award. She’s written a number of best-selling science-fiction and fantasy romances. Her latest release is Star Cruise: Marooned. Veronica grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories. She made the jump to fulltime author this past March.
All views expressed are solely my own and not those of the SFR Brigade!

 You can find out more about Veronica at https://veronicascott.wordpress.com/ or on twitter @vscotttheauthor or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Veronica-Scott/177217415659637

Thursday, September 10, 2015

SFRB Recommends 41: The Corwint Central Agent Files Series by CE Kilgore #spaceopera #scifi #romance

Series blurb:
About The Series: Corwint Central Agent Files
Corwint Central Agent Files is set in a galaxy far, far away. Various planetary systems and alien species, some human-like and others very unique, offer a backdrop to the adventures, struggles for power, character development and romance. As a space opera, character development and world building are the key ingredients. As a romance, ideals of love and relationship development are what drive the stories forward.

The Corwint universe is a constantly growing, changing and evolving universe. From space stations to newly discovered planets, each story in the series adds to a universe rich with life, struggling with conflict, and evolving its own sense of existence.

Love is the key theme in the series. Each book explores different aspects of love; from 'love at first sight' to unrequited love, from 'friends to lovers' to 'opposites attract', and everything in between. It also explores both sides of love - the good and beauty that can come from it, as well as the destructive force it can unleash when love turns to obsession.

Everything, and everyone, in the Corwint Universe has a past, present and future. Nothing is stagnant or an island. Every action, or inaction, has the potential to cast stones across the universe, creating ripple effects that may not be realized until years later. Fate mingles with choice, and consequences follow every decision.

What I liked:

When I read a science fiction romance, I'm after four things. A romance that makes me cry, some great world building with an emphasis on the scifi, good tension and at least a bit of action. This series provides them all. The varying cultures, both human and alien, have real depth and individuality. There's a sense of the mystical woven through them by the ethereal Vesparians. There are Mechatronic Automatons fighting for their rights to be recognized as something more than just machines. Multiple cultures, and multiple romantic threads weave throughout the four main series books and their associated side stories, including mixed race, mixed gender, and organic/android relationships. The science fictional elements aren't so heavy that they should put off even the SF-phobic romance reader while satisfying a reader like myself who leans more to the SF than the R in SFR. The sex scenes vary between the sweet and the outright carnal but are not overly explicit (which I prefer), and occur naturally throughout.
There is something in each book to satisfy the die-hard SFR lover, whatever trope or gender pairing you prefer (but always couples). The tension and intrigue build over the four current books, and have a satisfactory conclusion in book four with a huge, huge revelation, while leaving the series open for yet more books (which I can't wait for!).
While I would recommend not reading the side stories between the main books (mainly because it can interfere with the complexity of the overall story arc and multiple POVs and minor storylines in the main books, leading to confusion), they do help build on the universe and provide much of the back story for the series without weighing it all down, so definitely worth going back to read. I've only read those between book one and two because I found they distracted me too much from the central story, but fully intend to go back to the others now I've finished the main books. Recommended for those who love SFR and space opera along the lines of Farscape/Star Trek, and even for those curious to see what the genre is all about but aren't sure where to start. Highly recommended!

Reading order:

Main books -      
Ghost in the Machine
Whispers in Exile
Tracing the Stars
Breathe Into Existence

Side stories -
(Between one and two)
To Even Have Dreams
According to Plan
(Between two and three)
Awake My Soul
Unbound Instinct
(Between three and four)
Violet Haze
Terms for Surrender

Author site: C.E. Kilgore | An Author Without Genre

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Hero by Any Other Name

by Debra Jess

Disclaimer: All views expressed in this post are the views of the author and not the views of the SFR Brigade.

Names are important. They can empower or diminish the individual who possesses them. Bestowing a name on your hero can add mystery, describe their physique, or paint a picture of their personality from the moment they walk onto the page. Not all heroes are what their name implies. Some heroes have more than one name.

J.R.R. Tolkien was a master of giving his heroes names. In THE LORD OF THE RINGS, the hero, Aragorn, used many names during his long life: Elessar, Estel, Longshanks, Strider, Thorongil, and Wingfoot. These names sound powerful and hopeful, as they are meant to be, for someone who will fight for the heart and soul of Middle Earth.

The same can be said for modern day characters. Heroes with a dark past might change their names to avoid being found, such as Angel (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER/ANGEL). A hero might go undercover and take on a new identity to avoid capture, like CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS (DOCTOR WHO/TORCHWOOD). The names they choose might not seem to fit them in their attempt to deflect attention from themselves, like Dean and Sam Winchester (SUPERNATURAL).

Sometimes, outsiders decide your hero's name. You will find characters in comic books possessing names not of their own choosing. An infant found by a couple in rural Kansas grows up with the perfectly common name of Clark Kent, given to him by his adoptive parents. Later, he discovers he's from another planet and his biological parents gave him the name, Kal-El. The public, however, decides to call him SUPERMAN or the MAN OF STEEL after he devotes his life to rescuing people in jeopardy.

In my debut novel, BLOOD SURFER, my heroes have multiple names because, like Superman, they are superheroes. Scott Grey has a mysterious past and a complicated family. He chose his own identity. No one, not even his best friend, knows what his real name is. Even when the heroine, whom he's sworn to protect, makes an educated guess at his real name, she gets it wrong despite the pure logic on which she relies. She's quite shocked when she discovers what his real name is and from where he draws his power.

My heroine, on the other hand, believes her name is Hannah Quinn. Her mother gave her that name and she has no reason to question it. Hannah also calls herself "Blood Surfer" because it describes her extraordinary ability to surf through the bloodstream of another human being and cure whatever ails them from the inside. What Hannah doesn't know about herself, her name, and her past, can kill her.

BLOOD SURFER is a Golden Pen award winning story. It can be pre-ordered as an eBook from:

Nook: Coming soon

Print version can be pre-ordered at:

Amazon: Coming soon

Autographed copies will be available through:

You can learn more about Debra Jess's future releases (including more stories from the Thunder City series this fall) by signing up for her newsletter at: http://debrajess.com

You can follow her at:







A Connecticut Yankee transplanted to Central Florida, Debra Jess writes science fiction, romance, urban fantasy, and superheroes. She began writing in 2006, combining her love of fairy tales and Star Wars to craft original stories of ordinary people in extraordinary adventures and fantastical creatures in out-of-this world escapades. Her manuscripts have won the Golden Pen Award (Paranormal category) and the Golden Palm award (Paranormal/Sci-Fi/Fantasy category).

Debra is a graduate of Viable Paradise and is a member of Codex. She’s also a member of the Romance Writers of America and RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal chapter, the First Coast Romance Writers and she’s the Vice President of the Volusia County Romance Writers.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fictional Female Scientists: Do reader expectations meet reality?

by Catherine Haustein

If you ask readers what they require from a fictional scientist they’ll say she should first of all be a problem solver, bursting with intelligence and curiosity. What does it take to craft a multidimensional, realistic female scientist?

I surveyed female scientists about their defining traits and two rose to the top: passion and curiosity. They had these suggestions as well.

  1. Passion runs more deeply than just for science. She’s likely to be multidimensional. The scientist will most likely be passionate about life in general so give her a side interest. Many scientists like the arts, enjoy working with their hands, and find similarities between the lab and the studio. Others enjoy sports and fitness. She likes to defy expectations.
  2. Scientists combine passion and compassion. They see science as being a not just fascinating but a benefit to society.
  3. Balancing career and family is an important aspect of a female scientist’s life. Scientists would love to see more fictional characters who have kid and to an extent, so would readers. Don’t be afraid to make her life way more complicated by adding family to the mix. Studies have shown that motherhood enhances problem solving ability.
  4. Readers are correct--problem solving is essential to scientists, but keep in mind that a scientist today will be highly specialized. She won’t know everything. She’s more likely to work as part of a team, too.
  5. She’s overcome a lot to get where she is. Prejudice, harassment, exclusion-- these women are tenacious and they do overcome, often by cultivating a healthy sense of humor.
  6. Yes, she was a good student. Intelligence is a common trait among scientists. But it takes more than smarts to be a scientist. She probably had something driving her--the need to please a parent, to prove herself, or to overcome poverty or prejudice.
  7. She might have her favorite jargon and readers expect it. Scientists have their words. It’s part of being in the club. But there’s an even better reason for science speak—it’s precise. Why say carbohydrate when you can say maltodextrin?
  8. Yes, it’s true. Scientists fix things with duct tape and paper clips or a twist of copper wire. Scientists don’t mind improvising. And they like their scientific equipment.
  9. Power suit? It’s a lab coat. Studies have shown that those white coats make people perform better and make fewer errors.
  10. Under scrutiny. Peer review means that her work is critiqued by other scientists—a humbling experience and one that will keep her honest.
  11. Yes, she will be curious and find wonder in the natural world. Isaac Newton said that being a scientist is like picking up pebbles and shells on a beach beside the “vast ocean of truth”. Your scientist should be always questioning, always curious, with one foot in the future, her eyes on the stars or peeking through a microscope, and her passionate heart here on earth.

A version of this post first appeared here.

Catherine Haustein is the author of Natural Attraction, a Victorian Scifi Romance.

All views expressed in this post are those of the author, Catherine Haustein, and don't necessarily reflect that of the Brigade.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Congrats to our Brigaders - #winners & #finalists

It's been a good show for Brigade members in contests this year. So with huge thanks to Lea Kirk who compiled the details, here's a comprehensive lists of our latest winners and finalists. To the winners, congrats! To the finalists, congrats and good luck in the finals!

The Maggie

*Janet Halpin Finalist in Paranormal

The Molly

* Kathrine Matzen Finalist in Para/TT/Futuristic

Pages From the Heart

* Colleen Myers Finalist in Published Paranormal

* Lea Kirk Finalist, 2 entries in Unpublished Paranormal

LERA's Rebecca Contest

* Pippa Jay & Lea Kirk Finalists Paranormal/Speculative/Urban Fantasy Romance (announced 9/1)


* Rosalie Redd, Finalist Paranormal. Results not up yet. (announced 9/2)

Indiana Golden Opportunity

* Janet Halpin Finalist in YA. Results not up yet. (announced 9/3)

PRISM (ended)

* Anna Hackett co-Winner with Cheryl Brooks in Futuristic

* Nina Croft 3rd place Futuristic

* Misa Buckley Winner in Novella

On the Far Side (ended)

* Janet Halpin won first in Romantic Elements, and first in TT/Steampunk with Paranormal Elements.

* Lea Kirk 2nd place Romantic Elements

* Evelyn Berry 3rd place in Hard SF/SF/Futuristic

* Rosalie Redd 2nd place in Dark/Light/General Paranormal. (aliens on Earth.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Writing Romance: the Past and the Future

by Carmen Webster Buxton

Disclaimer: This post is my own opinion, and in no way represents the views of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade.

I write science fiction and fantasy, and all my books have at least a love story subplot, and some are as much romance as they are science fiction. But when it comes to reading, I also enjoy historical romance. To me, there's a lot in common between historical and science fiction romance.

What appeals to me in reading historical romance is that the characters act in an unfamiliar framework. Regency England and 16th century Scotland and colonial America had very different rules of behavior when compared to modern times, especially for women. Of course, a plucky heroine may well break those rules, but a good historical romance makes it clear what the rules are when the heroine breaks them. Georgette Heyer is my all time favorite author for historicals, and she was a master at making characters fit their time period, but still keep them relatable for modern readers. In Faro's Daughter, for example, the heroine works in a gaming house to help support her family, and it's made plain this puts her beyond the pale in society.

The appeal for me, in writing science fiction romance, is that I get to make the actual rules! In my novel Shades of Empire, one of the characters is a merchant ship captain who sleeps her way through the crew. Clearly, the pale has moved in my version of the far future.

In other books, I set the story on a world that was colonized by prisoners (Tribes) and by patriarchal religious fanatics (Saronna's Gift). And in each world, I create a society with its own set of rules that exists nowhere except in my book.

Creating societies also means I can play around with gender roles, or the lack of them, and have characters from very different backgrounds and cultures interacting. In Tribes, I wrote a "slave and warrior story," but the man is the slave and the woman is the warrior. That kind of gender switch is a lot harder to do in historical romance. Even Georgette Heyer settled for cross-dressing disguises of necessity, as in The Masqueraders.

And of course, when attraction happens across cultures, that's when the fun begins. Think about how hard dating is when the couple shares values and backgrounds; then think what it would be like for two people who can't even tell whether the other person likes them or not. And this assumes their cultures both allow dating. What if one does and the other doesn't?

I suppose someday I might try my hand at writing a historical, but it would be difficult for me to give up the freedom that writing in a far-future setting offers. Luckily, there is no law that says I have to read only the genre I write.


Carmen Webster Buxton was born in Honolulu and experienced a childhood on the move, as her father was in the US Navy. She has been a librarian, a teacher, a project manager, a wife, and a mother, although not in that order.  She now lives in Maryland with her husband and a buff-colored cat with the unlikely name of Carbomb. 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carmenwebster.buxton


Latest release: Saronna's Gift

US Kindle store (also available at other Kindle stores) and Amazon paperback
Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook book)

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