Thursday, September 5, 2019

Announcing the End of the SFR Galaxy Awards

Alas, the SFR Galaxy Awards will be no more. This annual event launched in 2013 and was managed by bloggers Heather Massey and Laurie A. Green. A group of sci-fi romance-loving judges rounded out the team.

It's been a blast highlighting various sci-fi romances using a fun, quirky awards lens. Like all good things, it must come to and end. Here's why:

1. I (Heather) am no longer able to give the awards the nurturing it needs because of family and work matters. I held off as long as possible regarding canceling the awards to see how things would go, but Life Stuff had to take priority.

2. Over the past several years, there's been heightened attention given to the grievous lack of diversity and inclusion in romance awards. The situation has been so dire that Romance Writers of America (RWA) hired consultants to address "diversity, equality and inclusion issues in RWA." This issue has also prompted much-needed discussion in the SFR community regarding the same flaws present in the SFR Galaxy Awards.

The SFR Galaxy Awards has its own racial and gender biases. Even a cursory glance at the numbers reveals the award outcomes are not as diverse as they should be. Though Laurie has been my co-partner in this endeavor, the idea for the awards originated with me. Since I didn't bake diversity and inclusion into the SFR Galaxy Awards as thoroughly as I could have, it wouldn't be ethical to continue the event without rebuilding it from the ground up.

I intended for the SFR Galaxy Awards to be inclusive and diverse regarding race, gender, sexual orientation, and #ownvoices across its various parts, but my actions didn't always match my intent. I apologize to anyone who was harmed by my lack of foresight.

If we're lucky to have an SFR-specific award event in the future, my hope is that it's designed to be diverse and inclusive so everyone involved feels welcome, celebrated, and safe. Furthermore, if I have the opportunity to create SFR events in the future, I pledge to make them a safe space for authors and readers of all kinds.

***

I deeply appreciate the company of everyone who came along with me on the SFR Galaxy Awards adventure.

Big thanks to Laurie Green for her hard work, generosity, and intrepid support for this event.

A hearty thanks to the judges past and present for their incredible work and enthusiasm. It's been an honor to know and work with them. Thanks so very much to the winning authors for helping to promote the event as well as their wonderful SFR adventures.

And finally, thanks to the readers who participated, visited the awards site, and helped spread the word. SFR is nothing without its faithful readers.

All the best,
Heather


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

They're Back: Pets in Space® Returns! #PetsInSpace #amreading

The authors of Pets in Space® 4 have been keeping a secret these last few days, and now it's time to tell the whole wide world universe!

Pets in Space® 4 is now available on pre-order! The anthology has already shot up as high as #49 on Amazon Hot New Releases list before the announcement was even made.

We have a lot to share today, so let's start off with this...

Pets in Space® 4
Cover Reveal!



Now, for a closer look at what's inside.

Pets in Space® 4 features thirteen stories by award-winning, bestselling authors and some of the hottest names in SFR. Not only that, but most are connected to popular ongoing SFR series, though each story stands on its own. Here's just a taste of what you'll get in this amazing collection in video form.



Once again, this Pets in Space® offering will support its favorite cause--Hero-Dogs! Ten percent of the first month's profits will once again go to this amazing organization that raises, trains and places service dogs with those who have served their country and community--namely disabled US veterans and first responders.

To date, Pets in Space® authors have contributed a total of $7,100 in donations to this wonderful organization. We hope you'll help us make 2019 a banner year.

You can help by purchasing a copy of Pets in Space® 4 on pre-order now or, if pre-orders aren't your thing, by buying a copy when it is newly released on October 8, 2019. For your convenience, here's a link to a list of all available preorder sites:


Want to get the scoop on all the stories in written form? Here's a brief description of all thirteen works in the Pets in Space® 4 collection.

MADAS' FALLING STAR 
Lords of Kassis Series 
by S.E. Smith 
Even an incredibly skillful warrior Princess needs help sometimes. Can Madas trust the strange warrior who fell from the sky with her life… and with her heart?

DARK GUARD
Galactic Gladiators: House of Rone Series
By Anna Hackett
A cyborg who's vowed to keep his emotions and lethal powers leashed, discovers the one woman who can bring him to his knees.

ENTWINED FATES
The Infinite City Series
By Tiffany Roberts
Being separated by time and distance does not lessen the love Volcair has for the woman who captured his heart.

STAR CRUISE: IDOL’S CURSE
The Sectors SF Romance Series
By Veronica Scott
Two crew members of an interstellar luxury liner must join forces with a retired military canine to find a missing relic before the curse brings disaster for everyone.

CYBORG'S REVENGE
Project Enterprise Series
By Pauline Baird Jones
Can two almost human geeks find love while they fight against their old Master?

SPYDOG 
The Inherited Stars Series
By Laurie A. Green
An agent must decide if he can trust the savvy female Rathskian warrior that crosses his path or if he should deliver her to his superiors.

NOTHING REMOTELY FAMILIAR
My Crazy Alien Romance Series
By Donna McDonald
Nothing is normal when Topper finds herself expecting again.

DOOM
Xian Warriors Series
By Regine Abel
A genetically engineered war machine finds love with the human doctor who may be his only chance of survival.

WINTER'S PRINCE
Starways Series
By Alexis Glynn
A scientist looking for a genetically engineered unicorn and a historian seeking the right question find each other in an interstellar amusement park full of dangerous games.

HEART OF THE SPIDER'S WEB
TriSystems: Smugglers Series
By JC Hay
The last thing Sheri needs is a brooding, brawny smuggler watching her every move, but his help is all that stands between her and a crime lord's wrath.

THE PRINCESS AND HER BODYGUARD
Alien Animal Rescues Series
By E.D. Walker
A kidnapped princess and her bird companion must rely on the exiled guard who loves her to help them.

INTERRUPTING STARLIGHT
After The Fall Series
By Kyndra Hatch
The human composed a song in his heart, a pull he couldn’t ignore, a draw that demanded further exploration.

IMPORT QUARANTINE
The Department of Homeworld Security Series
By Cassandra Chandler
A simple house call to care for a sick animal turns a young woman’s life upside down when she discovers the ‘house’ is really a spaceship!

As you can probably tell, you're going to be in for many, many hours of great reading!

Pets in Space® 4 is nearly 1,500 pages of science fiction romance entertainment! That's equivalent to the size of FIVE full-length novels. And it's all for $5.99 -- the price of a single cup of coffee -- plus you'll be helping the amazing Hero-Dogs to boot.

This anthology wouldn't be what it is without its adorable, imaginative, unique pets as only science fiction romance can deliver them, so here's a first look at the "all-star pet cast" of  Pets in Space® 4. 




Can't wait to read it? 



Then be sure to grab your #FREE Pets in Space® 4 Sampler in the meantime. It's #FREE and features stories, excerpts, teasers and original artwork from the authors. But hurry! It's only available for a limited time!

(Only available until October 7th)

Want to know more about this year's release? You can follow all the news about Pets in Space® 4 in the Pets in Space® Readers Group on Facebook or by signing up for the newletter. The authors would love to have you aboard!

Edited 11:50 AM 8/2019 to add:

THANK YOU, READERS 
for helping to give Pets in Space® 4 such an 
amazingly successful pre-order launch. 
We're over the moon! 

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #805 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

HOT NEW RELEASES  IN SCIENCE FICTION ROMANCE



Monday, June 3, 2019

Context Changes: The most powerful ally of science fiction and fantasy – ever. By Immortal Angel



By Immortal Angel

Would you take the red pill, or the blue pill?

If you would take the red pill, you would definitely experience a context change.

A context change is a revelation which literally tips the world on its axis, and neither the character nor (hopefully) the reader will ever see their reality in the same way again. Taking the red pill thrusts Neo into the ‘real’ world, which is completely different than his former illusory world in the Matrix.

Classic science fiction and fantasy stories take advantage of these context changes in ways that are unique because they typically open up a new world that is completely different than the mundane, ordinary world we inhabit on a daily basis. Some great context changes:

When Marty gets out of the De Lorean and finds out he’s gone back in time. [Back to the Future]
When Dorothy exits her house and realizes the world is in color. [Wizard of Oz]
When Lucy goes through the back of the wardrobe to Narnia. [The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe]

This type of context change alters the external world, and that is usually to dazzle the reader. Throwing readers into the world of color, magic, or outer space gives them the enchantment they are looking for when they pick up a science fiction or fantasy book.

There is another type of context change, where you change only the character’s world, which leads to internal character growth. Examples of this:

“Luke, I am your father.” [If you don’t know this it will just be my secret.]
“You’re a wizard, Harry.” [Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone]
In The Neverending Story, when Bastian realizes that the Childlike Empress is actually talking directly to him.

When I first started writing, I intuitively threw in context changes, but probably not to the extent that I should have. The best science fiction and fantasy stories have a mixture of several external and internal context changes, so the author can dazzle the reader with their amazing world, and the characters can grow through different revelations.

In The Matrix, there are several context changes:

1.       When Neo takes the red pill.
2.       When Neo learns that he can control aspects of the Matrix, so he becomes more powerful.
3.       When Neo learns about viruses that hunt them, so the Matrix becomes more dangerous.
4.       When Neo is told he is The One.
5.       When the Oracle tells him that he isn’t The One.
6.       When he realizes he is The One at the end.

His context is continually changing and shifting in a way that is exciting and keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. It’s even better because it’s his decision and belief in himself at the end that paves the way for his final context change of becoming The One.

If you look at the most powerful science fiction and fantasy stories today, they take advantage of multiple context changes. If you have a series, there should be context changes from book to book. In my series of eight books about elves and cyborgs, there are context changes for each of the main characters within books. But in the overall series arc, there are context changes for elves which happen in books 1, 4, 6, 7, and 8. There are also context changes for cyborgs which happen in books 1, 2, 5, 7, and 8. Book 3 changes the timeline, and Books 4 and 8 have the largest context changes for the understanding of the villains.

So how do we think of context changes for our stories? This is where brainstorming comes in, and you can really let your creativity run wild. I usually sit down with my husband and a cup of coffee and we ask each other: What is the craziest thing you can think of to happen in this story?

For external context changes, you go through your world and ask what could change that would alter reality. Perhaps the characters enter another dimension or place. Perhaps they find some hidden knowledge. Perhaps a new technology is revealed. Perhaps the enemies morph into something different altogether. I still love it when a vampire turns into a bat. Seriously, that trick never gets old.

For internal context changes, you can go through your characters systematically and start asking how you can shake them up. How can we change the hero’s world? How can we change the villain’s world? How can we change two characters’ relationships  to each other? How can we add to the back story in a way that would change their reality?

Once you have your context changes, take some time to make sure that they haven’t been done before. You know how I check? My chiropractor. He loves science fiction and fantasy, and he’s read, watched, or played just about everything out there. If I tell him my idea and he says, “That’s just like. . .” followed by a movie or book and a detailed explanation, I know I have to go back to the drawing board.

Whatever you do, you can be sure that context changes are worth the time and effort it takes to plan them. They serve the same function as plot twists in action and mystery stories, and will add the extra sparkle to your science fiction or fantasy story that will keep readers coming back for more!

Do you have some great examples of context changes? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

All the best and happy writing!

Immortal Angel




About the Author
Immortal Angel’s first true love was Han Solo – of course, that was before she realized she wasn’t really a princess. But from that heartbreaking realization came a lifetime love of reading and watching science fiction, fantasy and romance. Once she began to write, those translated into epic adventures that cross time and space, with a little romance thrown in for good measure!

Immortal Angel loves to hear from her readers, and of course, she wants to hear from you! Feel free to contact her by any of the methods below:

E-mail: immortalangelwrites@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/immortalangelwrites/
Website: http://www.immortal-angel.com

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