Thursday, July 19, 2018

SFRB Recommends 83: The Lamplighter's Love by Delphine Dryden

Mary has trained for years to become the next Lamplighter of London. When her chance comes, however, she realizes the massive difference engines of the Lampworkers' guild would be a cold substitute indeed for the passion she's begun to explore with the current Lamplighter, Nicholas.
But Fate, it seems, is determined to separate them. A rival threatens to upset all Mary's hopes and dreams within the guild, and with her newfound love. Even as snow blankets London in readiness for Christmas, intrigue blazes in the secret labyrinths of the Lampworkers’ guild below.
Through bitter deception and scorching erotic discovery, Mary and Nicholas must find a way to shine a light on a new future—one they can spend together.


Nicholas and Mary are both unusual heroes: their skill is that they are excellent at abstraction, logistics, and running systems. Today's they'd probably be math professors or highly paid software engineers. The system they use is an imaginative take on a steampunk computer. They are well-matched and their romance tender.

This story has so many original world ideas. I'd love to spend more time in said world. Nicholas, starved for human companionship and the outside world, delights in the bits he does experience, and his joy and wonder are infectious.

And yes, it's a Christmas story that I'm recommending in July. Enjoy!


Book site: Delphine Dryden - The Lamplighter's Love
This recommendation by Lee Koven.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What Makes Me Write a Series Instead of a Standalone Book? by @CarmenWBuxton

by Carmen Webster Buxton


Many readers love books that occur in a series. For some genres, it’s almost required. For mystery writers, it makes a lot of sense to create a detective—either a pro or an amateur—and then write each book about a different crime, but with the same protagonist. The detective can travel, so setting can vary, and other characters can be added as needed. With other genres, it’s not nearly as common to have the same protagonist in every book. 

I created my own universe with my ThreeCon books, but those books are a series only in the sense that the rules of my made-up history of Earth and the galaxy apply to all the books. Specific galactic-level events are referenced in several books, but no character appears in more than one book. 

Previously, the only series I had published where the same characters appeared was the two Haven books, The Sixth Discipline and No Safe Haven. Both books are set on the planet Haven, with a nine-year gap between the end of Book 1 and the start of Book 2; both stories have many of the same characters in common. The reason there are two Haven books is because when Ran-Del’s story started in my head, it spread to encompass other story lines. When I was done writing the first draft, the page count was much too big for one book, so I split the story in two. I could do that because there was a logical breaking point, with enough resolution to end that book, but one big outstanding question remaining for Book 2.

But now I’m publishing Book 2 of what will be a 3-book science fiction romance series, all three books set (mostly) on the planet Wakanreo, and all three involving the same characters.  As with the Haven books, these books weren’t conceived as a series. It’s merely that once the characters existed in my head, they kept doing stuff, so I kept writing it all down.  I actually had a very rough draft of both Alien Vows (Book 2) and Alien Skies (Book 3) finished before I published Alien Bonds (Book 1). I had to do a substantial rewrite of Alien Vows because of the changes I had made when rewriting the first draft of Alien Bonds. Once Alien Vows is out, I’ll be doing the same kind of rewrite on Alien Skies.



Some romance writers create a series where the books share a theme, like a common setting, or all being tied to one occupation (such as Mindy Klasky’s baseball-themed Diamond Brides series). Others might be family-oriented, with brothers as the protagonists (brotherhood seems to be the most common family relationship on which to base a romance series; a search on Amazon for “romance series brothers” yields many surnames including: Hunter, Bradford, Beckett, McGavin, Cocker, Cynfell, Stone, and Darcy).

Romance is tricky to write with the same characters in a series, because the plot is focused so much on the development of the relationship between the two main characters. If the relationship already exists when the story starts, can you still call it a romance? I think so, but the relationship still needs to be each story’s focus, and it needs to develop or change in some way.  Certainly, Diana Gabaldon manages to keep the relationship front and center in her Outlander series, in spite of the ground (and time) her characters cover.

My readers sometimes express in reviews their hope that the book they are reviewing will be the first in a series, that those characters’ stories will continue. Usually, I have to tell them no, because if the story is over in my head, then it’s over. But with the Wakanreo books, I can finally say yes, the story will continue! 



Bio:  Carmen Webster Buxton spent her youth reading every book published by Ursula LeGuin, Robert Heinlein, and Georgette Heyer. This combination of far-future worlds, alien cultures, and old-fashioned courting customs influenced her writing and that shows in most of her books


Links:
Carmen's blog/website: http://carmenspage.blogspot.com/


Carmen on ​Twitter:​ ​ https://twitter.com/CarmenWBuxton 


Buy link for ALIEN BONDS, my latest release   ​: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07959BHM4



Monday, June 25, 2018

Monday Meet the Author - Michelle M. Pillow


Today, we're introducing new SFR Brigade member and very prolific SFR author Michelle M. Pillow. Michelle has several SFR series in the works! Read more about her work and achievements below. Welcome, Michelle.


How or why did you first start writing SFR? Any particular inspirations?

I honestly thought I would only write historical romances. It’s how I started, and as a historian, it’s what I loved to do. After my first book, a Regency ghost story romance, published (back in 2004), the editors contacted me needing authors to fill out their Sci Fi Romance list. I agreed with the idea I’d go back to historical “my true passion.”

I laugh at younger me now. Historicals are no longer my passion. Those first Sci Fi books, Dragon Lords, a futuristic dragonshifter series, grew into the Quirlixen World collection with 34 books within 7 series installments and growing.


How many SFR books have you published and what are the titles? Can you give us a quick blurb on your most recent or upcoming title?

I was recently recognized by RWA for having published a 100 romance titles. The majority of those would fall into the Sci Fi category—alternate reality romances, futuristic, sci fi, space opera.

His Earth Maiden: A Qurilixen World Novel (Space Lords Book 4)
Released: May 15, 2018

Former elite Federation soldier, now turned space pirate, Jackson Burke has done his best to turn his life around—for the better. He isn't prepared when fate leaves a woman's safety totally in his hands. Since heroes don't leave a damsel in distress—and despite being outlaw pirates, the crew considers themselves the good guys—Jackson assumes responsibility for the beauty. It’s enough that his ship is held together by rust and sheer will, now he's got to keep this good guy thing straight and not give into the urges the sassy female brings out in him. Raisa is everything a man could want and for some reason she seems to like him, rough edges and all, but he's on the Federation's wanted list and they aren't known to back down.
Website       Amazon       Nook        Kobo        iBooks


When writing, which usually comes first for you -- the romance or the other elements of the story?

I find both to be equally important. If any element—scifi, romance, intimate scenes—can be lifted out of the story and it doesn’t really make a difference to the overall book, it doesn’t need to be there.


Have any of your books received any special recognition? What and where?

I’m a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author and just received recognition from Romance Writers of America for publishing over 100 romances.

2015 Virginia Romance Writers HOLT Medallion Award of Merit recipient for outstanding literary fiction in Paranormal, Warlocks MacGregor: Love Potions

2011 Romantic Times BOOKreviews Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award Nominee

Winner 2006 Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Award for the historical romance Maiden and the Monster

2007 Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Award Nominee for the futuristic romance Lords of the Var: The Bound Prince


Where's your favorite place to write? Do you have a dedicated writer's cave?

I’ve learned to write anywhere and everywhere. There have been many deadlines met while riding in a car, airports, hotels, parking lots, coffee shops, waiting rooms, my couch… Strangely, I’m rarely in my office. Really, if I can bring a laptop I’m probably working.


What are your favorite SF/R movies or television series and why?

This is a tough one since I tend to love anything paranormal or scifi. I loved the quirkier dialog in Serenity. Stargate, Star Trek (I was a Next Generation fan, as that’s what was on when I was becoming a somewhat adult), Eureka, Black Mirror, Dr. Who (Tennant), the original Star Wars, Terminator…I should probably stop, or I’ll spend the entire time with a list of awesome.


About the Author

NYT & USAT Bestselling Author Michelle M. Pillow is an award-winning romance writer with over 100 published books over the course of her nearly 15-year career. She is best known for her Quirlixen World including the series: Dragon Lords, Space Lords, Lords of the Var, Galaxy Alien Mail Order Brides, and more.

Michelle is always up for a new adventure or challenge, whether it's a paranormal investigation of an old Vaudeville Theatre or climbing Mayan temples in Belize. She was a refugee extra on SyFy's Z Nation (2016).

You can find Michelle M. Pillow at these sites:

Website      Facebook      Twitter      Instagram  
    Goodreads      Bookbub


Upcoming/Newest Release:
Better Haunts and Garden Gnomes
(Un)Lucky Valley Book 1
Cozy Mystery Paranormal Romantic Comedy
June 26, 2018

Sci Fi Works:

Quirlixen World Collection
The Qurilixen World is an extensive collection of science fiction and futuristic romance novels by award-winning author, Michelle M. Pillow. It all started nearly 15 years ago with the original Dragon Lords series and has since grown into a massive collection. Check out each series within this bestselling world. Note: Each book in each series is a standalone story.

And More!

Friday, June 22, 2018

SFRB Recommends #82: Escape From Zulaire by Veronica Scott

Andi Markriss hasn’t exactly enjoyed being the houseguest of the planetary high-lord, but her company sent her to represent them at a political wedding. When hotshot Sectors Special Forces Captain Tom Deverane barges in on the night of the biggest social event of the summer, Andi isn’t about to offend her high-ranking host on Deverane’s say-so—no matter how sexy he is, or how much he believes they need to leave now.

Deverane was thinking about how to spend his retirement bonus when HQ assigned him one last mission: rescue a civilian woman stranded on a planet on the verge of civil war. Someone has pulled some serious strings to get her plucked out of the hot zone. Deverane’s never met anyone so hard-headed—or so appealing. Suddenly his mission to protect this one woman has become more than just mere orders.

I shortened this excerpt, because I think the events are fun enough to discover on their own.

This novel takes place over a very short period of time, and the world of Zulaire springs to life quickly. Rich sensory detail makes the environments vivid. Scott sets up several intriguing cultures and factions that left me wanting to spend more time in Zulaire. 

The action and chase scenes are clear and well-paced. The baddies are creepy. The blend of action movie and intriguing worldbuilding is not one I find often.

This recommendation by Lee Koven.
Author/book site: Escape from Zulaire - Veronica Scott

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