Tag Archives: science fiction romance

Drinking with Superheroes

Steal the SkyMegan E. O’Keefe, Writer of the Future winner and author of Steal the Sky, is doing a blog series called “Drinks with Characters”.

This is the sort of prompt I love. Who wouldn’t want to speculate about what your favorite superheroes drink at the end of a long day of rescuing cats out of trees and stopping the devilish antics of their super villains.

So hop on over the Megan’s website and find out what Captain Spectacular and the rest of Blackwood family drink when they’re not patrolling Thunder City.

Click here: http://meganokeefe.com/2015/10/08/drinks-with-characters-debra-jess-is-drinking-with-superheroes/

Blood Surfer – Today is Release Day!

After ten years of writing, editing,  pitching and querying, I am excited (and nervous) to take this leap into self-publishing. Only other authors can truly understand all of the emotions that come with Release Day.

To those who have accompanied me on my journey to publication, thank you. To the new friends, fans and readers I hope to connect with by telling my stories, I hope all of you enjoy this grand adventure with me.

Here’s an excerpt from Blood Surfer to give you a taste of what’s in store for Hannah Quinn and Scott Grey- enjoy!

eBOOK---Blood-Racer

A van pulled into the parking lot of the Pier, tires crunching gravel. An entire TV camera crew spilled onto the walkway and headed right in their direction.

“Put your hood back on.” Scott capped the beer bottle. Keeping his body between Hannah and the news crew, he tucked her under the crook of his harm. He should have figured one of the news channels would have set up shop here. He’d been out of Thunder City for so long, he’d forgotten how often the media filmed the boardwalk from this angle.

Hannah’s breath tickled his neck. There was nothing they could do but wait. If the crew passed behind them and set up closer to the point of the Pier, he could get Hannah back to the car with no one the wiser.

The TV crew didn’t get his telepathic message. Instead, they set up their equipment not ten feet from where he and Hannah sat.

“Now what? Should we move further toward the end?” she whispered.

“We could be here all night if we do that.” His pulse raced with the thought. Quiet, dark, and alone with Hannah curled against him.

The bright light from the camera crew arced their way. Hannah flinched closer, her hands snaking around his waist.

“Relax,” he said. “If we stay put, they’ll ignore us. Making out on the Pier is hardly news.”

The reporter started her spiel, how the Star Haven Alts came to Thunder City before they organized and decided to fight for the right to live in Star Haven. The camera light swung their way twice as she talked, but Scott didn’t dare raise his head.

“Should we?” Hannah whispered.

“Should we what?”

“Make out.”

Good thing he’d put down his beer. “That’s a joke, right?”

She shrugged, her shoulders rubbing against his chest. “Just thought we should make it look good. I promise  —  no bloodsurfing.”

His reaction had sounded far more harsh than he had intended. “The plan is to stay off camera, not attract their attention.”

“If you insist.” She tucked her chin onto his chest.

Never let it be said impulsiveness wasn’t also a family trait.

“Hannah.”

She tilted her head back just as Scott lowered his to place the most gentle kiss he could manage on her lips.

“Oh…” She didn’t say anything further. Instead, she slipped her arm around his neck and pulled his head down toward hers. His plan to keep it slow and short flew across the Bay with the breeze. He slid his arm down from her shoulders to her waist.

“I think we should move,” he said, when she pulled back to catch her breath.

“Good idea.”

They stood up, pressed together since neither of them was willing to let go of the other. She giggled.

“Do you want me to pick you up again?” he asked.

“That would be romantic.”

He curled his left arm around her legs. In the next instant, without warning, a familiar series of staccato pops erupted. One instinct overrode another. He shoved Hannah to the ground and covered her body with his.

“Ow, Scott, not so fast…”

“Gunfire. Stay down.”

*****

An autographed edition of Blood Surfer can be order through:

Cliff’s Books

You can purchase an eBook here:

Amazon (print)
Kindle
iBooks
Kobo

 

Weird Science

SFRBCbuttonfinalHave you heard about the SFR Brigade?

No?

Well, the SFR Brigade celebrates all things Science Fiction Romance. This summer the Brigade is serving up fun with a Summer Cafe of author posts centered on food. Each week features a blog hop, plus exciting giveaways (don’t miss the Rafflecopter info at the bottom of this post!).

Last week dished up Space Opera. This week we’re serving Weird Science. Weird Science includes a hefty portion of superheroes. In my soon-to-be-released novel Blood Surfer, Hannah discovers she has to drink or she becomes too dehydrated while using her superpowers. You can learn more about Hannah in the excerpt I’ve included below.

*********************

“Over here.”

Evan waved to them from behind another door. Hannah followed Carraro into what looked like a break room, with more coffee, a refrigerator, a small table, and plastic chairs.

“The charge nurse allowed us to sit back here. It’s more private, so we don’t create a circus outside. It’s just not as comfortable,” Evan said.

Carraro pushed past Evan to sweep his wife into a deep hug.

“How is he?” Hannah asked.

Alek pulled out a chair and motioned for Hannah to sit down, but she shook her head and walked over to the refrigerator.

“Alive, last we heard,” he said. Alek didn’t ask what happened at the Pier. No one asked about Scott.

Inside the door, behind bottles of soda, was a carton of juice. She knew what she was going to do and juice was better than soda. She gulped right from the carton.

“Can you do it?” Evan asked as she drank. “Can you heal him?”

She lowered the carton so she could see the Captain. “Yes.”

The Captain pulled away from Carraro. They exchanged a silent message, the only way two people who shared everything in their lives could.

“I can’t,” the Captain said, but the catch in her voice stopped whatever she was going to say next.

“She’s already saved one son.” Carraro’s fingers brushed his wife’s bangs off her forehead. “Let her save the other.”

“How will I justify this?” She pulled away from her husband. “There are at least four other surgeries in progress as we speak. Kavanaugh is in the burn unit. How can I explain to another family that my son is more important than theirs? How can I tell them I let Hannah heal my son, but no one else’s?”

“I say we let her heal Nik and deal with the consequences later,” Evan said.

“Consequences like this could destroy everything we’ve built in Thunder City.” The Captain dropped her hands to her hips. “We have a safe zone here, but if the people of Thunder City lose faith in my objectivity, if they think I’d favor the life of an Alt over a Norm. You boys don’t remember what it used to be like. The suspicion, the hatred, the attacks.”

“We’re not talking about just any Alt, mom,” Alek said. “We’re talking about Nik.”

Silence. Absolute silence except for the hum from the refrigerator.

“You don’t get a say in this,” Hannah said, because she had to say something. Every moment they wasted made her job all the harder. “I’m not an employee of Thunder City. I’m not a member of T-CASS. I’m the only one who gets a say in who I heal and who I don’t. I lived for six months in a hospital and I healed no one because my own survival demanded I stay hidden. Then Scott fell out of the sky, I did what I had to do to keep him alive for no other reason than…” Than what? Why had she made an exception? Because she thought she could get away with it? She thought she could change his mind about Alts if she healed him? Because she wasn’t her mother and couldn’t continue to look the other way? Her throat tightened. “…than I had met him once. If that’s not the height of selfishness, I don’t know what is.”

She gulped the rest of the juice to hide her shame. Alek handed her a paper towel to mop up the mess on her chin. She couldn’t wait any longer, so she tossed the wad into the trash as she headed for the door. “I’m going to go heal Nik. If you want me to heal all the others who are in surgery tonight, including Kavenaugh, bring me more juice or water, but stay out of my way.”
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777 Challenge

777No one tagged me for the 777 challenge, but I read about it on Nicole Lisa‘s blog. Thought I would give it a try.

The rules are: Go to your work-in-progress, select page 7. Then count down 7 lines. Post the next 7 sentences. (First thing I noticed is that the rules say nothing about changing font. The rules also don’t say you have to count Onomatopoeia as a sentence – just sayin’.)

So here we are: Page 7, line 7, and 7 sentences from Blood Hunter, the sequel to my Viable Paradise submission, Blood Surfer. Enjoy!

Hannah grabbed Scott’s hand to pull him with her, giving the thug a cheery, “Thank you!”. She made it one step through the door when a sudden, vicious tug yanked Scott’s hand out of hers. She turned just as the thug slammed the door closed in her face.

Click, click. The door locked and she was stuck inside, separated from Scott.

“Ms. Quinn?”

Hannah heard the voice behind her, but didn’t turn around. What was the thug doing to Scott?

I’m tagging Jan Jackson  and Abigail Sharpe if they want to play.

 

Starlight Presents: The SFR Galaxy Awards

SFRGalaxyAwards_iconThe 3rd Annual SFR Galaxy Awards were recently announced in January, honoring multiple books and authors across a variety of categories. Launched in 2012 by bloggers Laurie A. Green of Spacefreighters Lounge and Heather Massey of The Galaxy Express, the goal of this event is to honor a variety of standout stories while helping to connect readers with books.  Learn more about these awards and the science fiction romance genre in this interview with Laurie and Heather.

Tell us a little bit about why you developed the unique concept for SFR Galaxy Awards.

Heather: The SFR Galaxy Awards was inspired by a post written by author Ursula K. Le Guin. Via a SF Signal link post, I discovered her article about Literary Bests at Book View Café. She questioned the idea of “best” in literary competitions: “Some good novels are outstandingly good. And I have my favorites, sure. All of us do. That means that they’re my best, or your best, but “the best”?”

At first, I was reading because the topic was interesting. The more I read, however, the more I realized how much her idea had relevance for sci-fi romance. In particular, one statement stood out: “I wish that, instead of picking one and dumping all the rest, we celebrated our writers continually and in droves.”

That’s when the proverbial light bulb went off. SFR is comprised of many wonderful, yet different books and is read by readers with a wide variety of tastes. Can one book truly represent such a diverse genre?

At the time of Ms. Le Guin’s post, there wasn’t a dedicated award for SFR, i.e., one that wasn’t dependent on RWA membership (like the Sapphire Awards) or other restrictions. Plus, chances were miniscule that SFR could compete in other ongoing literary competitions, not only because it’s a niche genre, but also because it has romance, sex, is largely written by women, and explores the intersection of love and technology. And yet its books are still wildly deserving of recognition.

The goal then became developing an awards event with two main priorities: 1) an inclusive approach to bestowing awards, similar to Ms. Le Guin’s idea of multiple “Best of Show” prizes; and 2) helping readers connect with sci-fi romances.

Once those ideas coalesced in my mind, I immediately contacted Laurie A. Green. She’s the blogger behind Spacefreighters Lounge and SFR Brigade, and we’d collaborated previously on other sci-fi romance events. Additionally, at the time she was an aspiring author and had a lot of experience with romance contests like RWA’s Golden Heart–especially since her books had won quite a few! So I pitched her my idea and the rest was history.

Laurie: When Heather first talked to me about the concept for the awards, I was really excited about the idea. Not every SFR book, premise or idea fits neatly into the specific category structure that most contests or awards programs utilize. The SFR Galaxy Awards allow the presenters to make their own call about what elements of the book were standout, original or exceptionally well done. This leaves the field open to spotlight the unique experience a well-told SFR story can bring to the reader.

How are winners selected?

Heather: The judges select up to five books based on a highly subjective measure–namely, the books that made the biggest impression on them that year! Judges select winners based on a story as a whole or even on one standout element. Each award is uniquely crafted and can range from serious to quirky. This approach makes them fun, meaningful, and informative for readers.

Laurie: Currently there are eight presenters, all of whom are known bloggers or reviewers within the SFR community, and several who are also published in the SFR genre. They are:

Charlee Allden
Founder/blogger at Smart Girls Love Sci-Fi & Paranormal Romance, debut SFR author Spring 2015

Donna S. Frelick
Blogger at Spacefreighters Lounge, reviewer, multiple RWA© Golden Heart Award finalist, RWA© contest judge, debut SFR author as of February

Laurie A. Green
Founder/Blogger at Spacefreighters Lounge, reviewer, multiple RWA© Golden Heart Award finalist, RWA© contest judge, founder of the SFR Brigade, debut SFR author as of February 2015

Marlene Harris
Professional librarian, book blogger/reviewer at Reading Reality, Book Pushers, and Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly

Jo Jones
Blogger/reviewer at Mixed Book Bag and SFR enthusiast

Heather Massey
Blogger at The Galaxy Express, Releases Editor and columnist for Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly, and SFR author

Anna McClain
SFR book reviewer and enthusiast

Rae Lori
Blogger, author, and SFR enthusiast

Who are some of the standout authors among the winners and why do you think they stood out?

Laurie: We truly feel they’re all standout authors, but there were several who received multiple awards for 2014 and acknowledgement from more than one presenter, so let’s take a closer look at those.

Rachel Bach
Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox Series) – Best Edge of Your Seat Mercenary Heroine presented by Laurie A. Green
Honor’s Knight (Paradox Series) – Most Outstanding Alien Conspiracy presented by Laurie A. Green
Heaven’s Queen (Paradox Series) – Most Satisfying Trilogy Conclusion presented by Laurie A. Green
The Paradox Series – Best SFR Masquerading as Space Opera presented by Marlene Harris

Sheryl Nantus
In the Black – Best Shipboard Mystery presented by Donna S. Frelick
In the Black – Most Mysterious SFR presented by Anna McClain
In the Black – Most Elegant HEA presented by Jo Jones

Lyn Brittan
Lana’s Comet – Most Persuasive Smiling Heroine presented by Heather Massey
Lana’s Comet – Best ‘Opposites Attract’ Story presented by Anna McClain

Ruby Lionsdrake
Mercenary Instinct – Most Unusual Business presented by Jo Jones
Mercenary Instinct – Best Use of a Cheesy Pen Name or Best Not-Quite-New Author presented by Marlene Harris

Heather: It’s an interesting process because the judges don’t discuss their picks with each other beforehand. Books with multiple wins might indicate some shared tastes among the judges as well as a “special something” in some of the SFR books.

You’re active in the science fiction romance community. What are some of the trends or changes that you’ve seen in the last couple of years?

Laurie: I think Science Fiction Romance has started to gain a lot more recognition in the last two years. A few breakout indie SFR novels have shaken the rafters a bit–and I’m thinking in particular of The Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith (a 2013 SFR Galaxy Award winner) and now Spark Rising by Kate Corcino (a SFR Galaxy Award winner this year). Despite SFR still being a “hard sell” to the Big 5, author Sharon Lynn Fisher, a 2013 RWA© RITA Award finalist, has published three SFR titles—Ghost Planet, The Ophelia Prophecy and newly released, Echo 8—with a predominantly SF house, Tor Books. I think the upswing is due in part to SFR authors brainstorming new ways to reach out to potential readers and expand the audience. For example, SFR has always been difficult to find in both traditional and e-book stores, so a new site developed by author C.E. Kilgore called SFR Station offers readers the advantage of one-stop shopping for a variety of SFR titles that are searchable via tags and categories. SFR authors tend to be a creative lot and I believe they’ll continue to find imaginative ways to connect with new readers to raise interest in the genre.

Heather: What Laurie said, plus the genre’s gotten boosts from folks like Veronica Scott, an author who writes Sci-Fi Encounters for the USA Today blog, and KS Augustin, an author who launched Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly, the digital magazine devoted entirely to SFR. The neighborhood has been expanding quite a lot, and it’s being built by incredibly smart and talented women!

There’s also been an exponential increase each year in published sci-fi romance books. Readers have more choices than ever before, whether they enjoy SFRs with a mild heat level or those with a “grimdark” erotic bent. Authors are exploring cyberpunk, steampunk, near-future, superhuman, and other exciting settings. It’s pretty glorious!

What advice do you have for science fiction romance authors, both published and pre-published?

Laurie: For those who haven’t yet published, whatever route you’re planning to take to publication, make your product the absolute best it can be. This is SFR, so don’t be afraid to take chances or push the boundaries. But do your research, read widely within the genre, enter contests and/or seek out talented peers to critique and beta read your work, and revise ruthlessly. If you decide to choose a path to publish independently, follow through with the quality control and have your work professionally edited as well as hiring an adept cover artist to ensure the end result is attractively packaged.

For those who are already published, my advice is to finish your next book. This business only rarely provides a quick path to success. Building your brand and your audience is going to take time, but it’s time well spent doing something you truly enjoy.

Heather: Speaking from a reader perspective, I’d encourage authors and pre-published ones to embrace more diversity. SFR can best grow its audience by offering a wide variety of characters and settings.

Readers of all skin colors, body types, and gender identities deserve to see themselves reflected in stories, and this is especially true of SFR since it explores romance in the future. Most readers can relate to love in one form or another. And yet many readers–particularly ones of color, ones with disabilities, and ones who are LGBQT+–remain perilously under-served. This is a need SFR authors are in a strong position to satisfy, especially given the genre’s speculative nature. SFR authors can broadcast the important message that diverse characters are as relatable as aliens and just as deserving of love.

________________________

lauriegreenLaurie A. Green is a three-time RWA® Golden Heart® finalist and science fiction romance enthusiast who founded the SFR Brigade community of writers, which now totals over 600 members.
Her extended family includes her husband, David, four dogs, three cats and several horses, all who reside on a ranch in beautiful New Mexico. When she’s not writing, networking, or searching out the perfect cup of Starbucks, she’s usually busy exercising her left brain as a military budget director.  Laurie released her first published work, a novelette entitled Farewell Andromeda in January, and her first full-length SFR novel, Inherit the Stars, in three parts on February 22nd and March 1st.

author_photo-284x300Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express. Additionally, she’s the Releases Editor for the Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly, blogs about SFR for Heroes and Heartbreakers, and writes a monthly steampunk romance column for Coffee Time Romance. She’s also an author in the subgenre. To learn more about her published work, visit www.heathermassey.com.