Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Looks Can Be Deceiving by @SirenAllen


by Siren Allen
It’s true what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. However, sometimes it’s what you can’t see that tells the real story. When deciding what image to go with for the cover of Claimed By The Succubus, I was torn between showing the world my characters inhabit as it truly is or as it pretends to be.
Since my hero is lying to my heroine and pretending to be someone he isn’t in order to get her to his homeworld, I decided to go with an image of what the world pretends to be. Izeria thinks Shun is taking her to Earth to rescue her friends. Really, he’s taking her to the Northern Territory of planet Shyftdehn.
From the outside, Shyftdehn and its neighboring planets appear peaceful. However, the blue and green planets outsiders see are just a mirage, a façade to hide what dwells within. When you see blue, you may think of drinkable water, clear skies… life. When you see green, you think of vegetation and well, life. These colors are peaceful, welcoming.
The colors of Shun’s homeworld are meant to lure in unsuspecting travelers who’ve been thrown off course or who seek refuge. They may think they’ve found a safe place to dock. However, those familiar with Shyftdehn know that it’s far from what it seems.
There’s nothing peaceful about the world or the beings who inhabit it. Those peaceful colors hide the monsters who lurk within. Yet, what Shun doesn’t realize is that Izeria isn’t as weak and naïve as she seems. Soon he’ll witness the monster that lives behind her beautiful smile. Question is, will their monsters play nicely together? Or will they tear each other apart?
You can learn all about Izzie’s journey to Shyftdehn in, Claimed By The Succubus. It will be available April 22nd. Preorder price is only 0.99 cents.



Claimed By The Succubus
~The Half-Breed~
She is Izeria’Ahzul, the long-lost daughter of my king. She was raised away from our people and knows nothing of her heritage. Our kind are a myth to her. She doesn’t believe we exist and there’s no way she’ll believe she’s one of us.

~The Beast~
I am Shun’Uhl, the soldier ordered to return her to my king’s side so she can marry a royal and produce an heir to save our people. To get her to trust me, I shed my beastly form and take on the form of someone she knows. I choose unwisely. The form I’ve selected is a male she despises.

~The Forbidden~
The more time I spend with her, the more she comes to like me. And though I’ve tried to resist, I find myself falling for her also. Her feelings for me will change once she learns of my deception and sees how I really look. Part of me wants to complete my mission and return her to her father. Another part of me wants to remain in this form forever and spend my life with Izeria.
I have a choice to make: be honest with the female I love and risk losing her or continue lying to her for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, the choice is made for me when we come under attack and I have to release my beast to protect her.
Now it is she who has to make a choice: Me and my beast or a kingdom?


Excerpt

My beast is trying to take over.
Even now, as I escort Izeria to the dining hall, he’s pushing against the barrier that separates drahken from dragon. He’s clawing at the barricade that keeps him inside. Moments ago, he came close to breaking free.
Not only did I hear his growl, so did Izeria. She assumed it was my stomach growling in hunger. Luckily, she’s too naïve to think the worst of me. She senses something is wrong, yet, she doesn’t want to believe me capable of deceiving her, of hurting her.
I should feel guilty for what I’m doing. I don’t. I can’t. Too much is riding on me getting her to my territory. My beast snorts his displeasure, unhappy with our current mission. It’s funny how he can kill viciously, yet he frowns upon lying to our half-breed princess.
I can feel him pacing the recesses of my mind. In this form, he cannot speak to me. Right now, that’s a good thing. I don’t want to hear his thoughts on what is happening. He knew what we’d have to do when we found her.
He knew we’d have to lie or maybe even kidnap her to achieve our goal. His feelings for her can’t change that. Nothing can change what has to be done. The lives of our people are more important than Izeria’s opinion of us.
When we arrive in the dining hall, I step to the side so she and her rodent can enter the room before me. I’m glad I did. The look on her face as she walks into the dining hall is priceless. It’s almost like she’s never been on a spacecraft before.
“This is the biggest dining hall I’ve ever been in. Not only on a ship, but on land also.”
She turns to me and smiles. For a moment, I forget how to breathe. I sense my beast’s pleasure, or is that my own? The line between what I want and what he wants is starting to blur.


Preorder price only 0.99 cents.

 

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XDHQ5YL

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XDHQ5YL

CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XDHQ5YL



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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Martian Dreams by JC Hay



 

by JC Hay

All the excitement lately has been about those seven planets discovered in TRAPPIST-1, but thirty-nine light years is a long way to travel, and if we want to spread beyond our fragile blue-green rock, we’re going to need to look a lot closer to home. That means Mars.

I consider myself an optimist where Mars is concerned. Despite humanity’s mostly bad track record sending stuff to our nearest neighbor – we’re currently only at a 44% success rate overall – I think that the time is going to come when we establish a long-term base of operations on the Red Planet. Maybe not in my lifetime, but before the century is out.

That doesn’t mean I think it’s going to be easy – every element of Mars seems to be designed to inhibit human habitation. From the reduced sunlight (leading to a sense of perpetual exhaustion, at least for the first generation of colonists), to the superfine dust that clogs even the tightest seals, to the broader dangers of windstorms and radiation, Mars is not rolling out a welcome mat for us.

The moon wasn’t in a hurry to welcome us either, but we managed to make that trip repeatedly (not without risks, or deaths, but we did it). Mars will be the same way. In my Corporate Services books, the colony on Mars is in its infancy. Though we haven’t seen it in the books (yet), I’ve got a clear picture of how it looks – domes of 3-d printed concrete, covered with two-three feet of soil to protect the inhabitants from radiation and micro-meteors. Those, in turn, connect together to form larger structures like workshops and gardens, running of a combination of wind and reduced solar. It’s not a utopia, but it’s enough of a break from the corporate wars that high-tech thief Elise wants to head there as soon as her next job is done.

Too bad fate has other plans.


Dubai Double-Cross

From the underworld of corporate infighting…

Heavily modified and highly skilled, “acquisitions expert” Elise Briggs worked behind the scenes of the corporate world’s espionage wars. Or she had, until her most recent target turns up murdered and she’s forced to go on the run with the only person who can exonerate her, the victim’s lover and personal assistant.

…To the city’s glittering towers…

Plucked off the street to be the plaything of one of the richest women in the world, Na’im thought his life was finally complete; his obedience and the suite of cybernetic modifications he carried were a small price to pay for life at the top of society. Until his boss is murdered and his only ally is the professional thief hired to rob them.

…They can’t run from what’s inside

On the run and running short on allies, Elise and Na’im are about to discover that the murderer is closer than either of them suspect. If they plan to survive on the futuristic streets of Dubai, they need to learn how to trust each other, because when everything can be upgraded and emotions can be programmed, sometimes all that can keep you human is your heart.

Dubai Double-Cross is available now from:


Author Bio

JC Hay writes romantic science fiction and space opera, because the coolest gadgets in the world are useless without someone to share them.

In addition to Romance Writers of America, he is also a proud member of the SFR Brigade (for Science Fiction Romance), the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Romance chapter, and a member of RWA’s PAN (the published authors network).

His Corporate Services series, a set of connected cyberpunk romances, are set eighty years in our future where the limits of humanity are being stretched and tested, and our hearts are the hardest thing to keep pure.

Find JC Hay online:

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

SFRB Recommends 70: The Champion of Barésh by Susan Grant

Jemm Aves toils for a mining company by day, but at night she is a successful bajha player, disguised as a male to compete in the violent underworld of the colony’s fight clubs. Every win puts her one small step closer to her goal: saving enough to escape Barésh with her family. When a royal recruits her to be a star player for his team, her ruse proves to be her most perilous game yet when it puts both their lives—and her heart—at risk.

Prince Klark is eager to reverse his reputation as the black sheep of the Vedla clan. If his bajha team can win the galactic title it would go a long way toward restoring the family honor that his misdeeds tarnished. On Barésh, he tracks down an amateur who has risen to the top of the seedy world of street bajha, offering the commoner a chance of a lifetime: a way off that reeking space rock for good. But his new player comes with a scandalous secret that turns his plans and his beliefs upside down. He sets out to win a very different prize—his champion’s reluctant heart.


The world of Barésh is convincing and vivid. The bahja (which I can best describe as sensory-deprivation fencing) matches are even more intense, whether in a bar, or a training exercise, or an emotional duel. I do wish we got to experience a few more in the professional arena.

Jemm is a treat. She's driven, kind, and not cowed by Klark. Her family relationships also feel authentic, and I love her interactions with her difficult brother.

Author site: Susan Grant

This recommendation by Lee Koven.

SFR Brigade Bases of Operation