Monday, January 31, 2011

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Book Launch and Giveaway!

Welcome to our Book Launch for an exciting new release!  I recently queried fellow Brigader, 2009 Golden Heart winner, and new author Darynda Jones if she’d be interested in doing an interview to talk about her debut Paranormal Romance novel FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT which will be released tomorrow, February 1st, from St. Martin's Press. She graciously agreed.

I was one of the very lucky winners of an advance readers edition from a Goodreads contest and found the novel a pure delight on so many levels. The many SFR references in the story tickled me no end, but then, as I approached the wrap in the story…*gasp* I had an epiphany!

“OMG, this book is a crossover Paranormal-SFR! I’ve got to tell the Brigade!”

And there's quite a story behind the story! The cover of FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT is pictured on the February 2011 edition of RT Book Reviews, along with an article about Darynda. Her book also received a 4-1/2 star rating (the highest from RT Book Reviews). In fact, there’s been an incessant buzz about this novel for some time. But don’t just take my word for it. If you hop onto Darynda Jone’s web site, there are some respected names who’ve had great things to say about her work, including JR Ward and Jayne Ann Krentz.

So, many congrats on your debut and welcome, Darynda!

Thank you so much, Laurie! I’m so honored you invited me.

Q. You’ve had quite a journey as a writer. Can you tell us a little about the events in your career before and after your Golden Heart win?

Ah, the journey toward publication.

While I’d been conjuring tales since before I could actually write, I didn’t know 100% I wanted to be a writer until I was in middle school. But I was a horrid speller, I had the attention span of a gnat, and I was nowhere near smart enough to pull off a novel, much less (gasp) two!

For me, the Golden Heart final changed everything. Admittedly, I’d been entering the Golden Heart for several years, and while I received some pretty good scores (and some not-so-good ones), every year I really thought I had a chance to final. Until 2009. I signed up to enter First Grave on the Right for one reason, and one reason only. I wanted to force myself to finish it. Stunned does not begin to cover how I felt when I found out I’d finaled.

Sadly, the manuscript needed tons of work, so after the final, I polished it for about two months before querying. Within a week, I had eight offers of representation from some of the most amazing agents in the business.

I know that sounds wonderful, but it was actually one of the most stressful weeks of my life. After much research and soul searching, I accepted an offer of representation from Alexandra Machinist at the Linda Chester Literary Agency. I am beyond grateful for her. She is savvy, supportive and compassionate.

The GH win garnered a lot of interest, so Alexandra began shopping First Grave that August. About a week later, Jennifer Enderlin from St. Martin’s Press made an offer for a three-book deal. Yes, THE Jennifer Enderlin. We had a couple more offers over the next 24 hours and then right before Alexandra sent it to the floor for auction, Jennifer swept in with a pre-empt we simply couldn’t refuse.

Whew! And now my life is filled with deadlines, revisions, page proofs and interviews, LOL.

Q. Let me start with that burning question most readers and writers will probably want to know. What was the inspiration for FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT? Where did the idea come from and how did it evolve?

As an aspiring writer trying to catch New York’s eye, I wanted something different, something that would grab an agent’s and editor’s attention.

Q. Your main character is Charley Davidson and she’s a private investigator who moonlights in a career that’s non-traditional for a female. OK, it’s probably non-traditional for males, too. In fact, you could say it’s non-traditional for humans in general. Can you tell us a little about that?

So probably my main inspiration to write a grim reaper was desperation. I just contemplated paranormal entities, what had been done and what hadn’t, and came up with the grim reaper. And what fun she has been! Quite frankly, I’m floored there’s not more of them out there. I mean, what is cooler than writing about death incarnate?

But I wanted my heroine to be more than just death incarnate. She had to be likable, for one thing.

I felt the PI gig was a natural progression from her childhood. She grew up helping her detective father and uncle solve crimes. Plus PIs are fun. You can get them into all kinds of trouble.

Q. Charley has a dysfunctional family, to say the least, and though most of her antics either made me LOL or gasp, there were some things about her life that touched me at a very deep emotional level and gave me new insights into who Charley was. Can you share your thoughts about that?

Charley is very well adjusted, but well adjusted doesn’t make for good fiction, so I needed her to be well adjusted despite the odds. With that in mind, I gave her an evil stepmother. I gave her an obstacle that she’s had to overcome her entire life. Add to that the fact that her father, whom she adores, does nothing to allay her stepmother’s indifference, and her sister seems to take the stepmother’s side, and you have a lonely upbringing. I believe that Charley’s sarcastic wit is a defense mechanism. It’s her way of dealing with her family.

Q. Okay, now, on to one of my favorite subjects, the hero…*fans self*…Reyes. Who or what inspired this (hot) tall, dark and (hot) semi-corporeal mystery that is so not your typical (hot) male MC. (Did I mention he’s hot?) Who is he, what is he, and just for the record, how do you pronounce his name?

LOL! While there are a couple of pronunciations for Reyes out there, here in NM we say RAY-us. And, yeah, he’s pretty hot, huh? If I had an inspiration for his physical attributes, I’d have to say he was based on actor Jason Behr. (Roswell, anyone?) Jason can be so dark and dangerous, and sexy doesn’t begin to describe that boy. And considering the fact that Reyes was literally forged in the fires of sin and is the son of…well…no spoilers. But, yeah, he’s pretty hot.  :)

Q. This novel is set in one of my favorite places on Earth—Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Hmm, wonder why that is?) Aside from the obvious reasons, is there another reason you choose this particular city as your PR/SFR heroine’s hometown?

Okay, moment of truth. Yes, I chose Albuquerque because I lived there for seven years. I love it with a fiery passion. And it’s beautiful, eclectic and an absolute gold mine of culture. But there was one more, itty-bitty reason I chose that particular location. Many movies and television series are being filmed there now. I thought that might give me an edge if it were ever, you know, considered for film production. (Not sure I’m supposed to say this yet, but apparently my evil plan worked.)

Q. The cover of FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT is so striking! Can you tell us a little about the making of the cover and/or the artist? Did you have input into the design? What were your first thoughts on seeing it? And you’ve just got to tell us more about those shoes! (Er…sandals.)

I had no input in the original design. It’s my understanding that the cover was the brainchild of my genius editor. Later, I did have some input in the color of the nail polish. LOL. But I have to say, when I saw that cover, I was shocked. I loved it so much. I knew it was different enough to garner interest and eye-catching enough to grab a passerby’s attention.

And those shoes! Yeah, they’re real. Tried to get a pair. Failed. They are uber-expensive and sold out everywhere. I still check ebay periodically.

Q. On to the SF elements. I’m guessing from the many references in the novel – not to mention you’re a member of the SFR Brigade -- that SF and SFR have had an influence in your life and work. Would you agree and if so, please tell us more? Any possible SFRs coming down the road? *sits on edge of seat*

The first manuscript I started in high school was a science fiction tale about a group of teens who bore a remarkable resemblance to the members of Van Halen and were trying to escape the tunnels of a huge government fallout facility decades after World War III had destroyed the surface of the earth. It was destined to be a classic.

I love SF and had the incredible honor of taking a class from Master Science Fiction writer and Hugo and Nebula award winner Jack Williamson before he passed away. He gave me so much encouragement and told me my character development alone would get me published some day.

Okay, back on Earth, I most definitely have several science fiction projects in the works. I love it so much and it has been probably the biggest influence on me aside from historical romance in general. So I draw from many places. I think that makes the best kinds of characters and stories.

Q. Now we need a little taste of your novel (with or without the hot sauce)! Can we see the blurb and excerpt from FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT?

From the publisher:

Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. And it's her job to convince them to "go into the light." But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (like murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely. But what does he want with Charley? And why can’t she seem to resist him? And what does she have to lose by giving in?

With scorching-hot tension and high-octane humor, FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT is your signpost to paranormal suspense of the highest order.

Here’s a quick snippet that I think is fun:

In too much pain to stretch, I let a lengthy yawn overtake me instead, winced at the soreness shooting through my jaw, then looked back at Dead Guy. He was blurry. Not because he was dead, but because it was 4:34 a.m. And I'd recently had my ass kicked.

“Hi,” he said nervously. He had a wrinkled suit, round- rimmed glasses, and mussed hair that made him look part young-wizard-we- all- know-and-love and part mad scientist. He also had two bullet holes on the side of his head with blood streaking down his right temple and cheek. None of these details were a problem. The problem resided in the fact that he was in my bedroom. In the wee hours of dawn. Standing over me like a dead Peeping Tom.

I eyed him with my infamous death stare, second only to my infamous fluster stare, and got a response immediately.

“Sorry, sorry,” he said, stumbling over his words, “didn't mean to frighten you.”

Did I look frightened? Clearly my death stare needed work.

Ignoring him, I inched out of bed. I had on a Scorpions hockey jersey I'd snatched off a goalie and a pair of plaid boxers-same team, different position. Chihuahuas, tequila, and strip poker. A night that is forever etched at the top of my Things I'll Never Do Again list.

With teeth clenched in agony, I dragged all 470 throbbing pounds toward the kitchen and, more importantly, the coffeepot. Caffeine would chisel the pounds off, and I'd be back to my normal weight in no time.

Because my apartment was roughly the size of a Cheez-It, it didn't take me long to feel my way to the kitchen in the dark. Dead Guy followed me. They always follow me. I could only pray this one would keep his mouth shut long enough for the caffeine to kick in, but alas, no such luck.
I'd barely pressed the on button when he started in.

“Um, yeah,” he said from the doorway, “it's just that I was murdered yesterday, and I was told you were the one to see.”

Q.  Love it!  :)  So what’s next? I understand there are two more novels coming in the series, SECOND GRAVE ON THE LEFT and THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD. Will the SFR elements be more or less prominent in the sequels? Can you tell us a little about the story development? What new or unique elements do you think each book offers?

In the next two, the paranormal elements come out more, especially in book two. Book two takes a heavy dive into the realm of speculative fiction and book three gets a tad hotter while offering us a glimpse into what Charley is truly capable of. And Reyes. There’s lots and lots of Reyes.  :)

Thank you so much for taking time out of a very busy schedule to share a few thoughts and insights about your work, Darynda. I wish you every success for the stellar debut of FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT and the successive Charley Davidson series of Paranormal Romance[/SFR!] novels.

Darynda’s web site
Facebook link
Links to reviews

And now for the giveaway part!  Leave your comment below for a chance to win a signed hardcover edition of FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT, courtesy of Darynda Jones! 

SFR Book Reviews by Jessica E. Subject

I recently had the chance to read two fabulous SFR books, both of which I bought myself. The first is Alien Tango by fellow SFR Brigade member Gini Koch. The other, Across the Universe is a YA SFR by Beth Revis.

Alien Tango by Gini Koch

From the back cover:
For Alien Super-Being Exterminator Katherine "Kitty" Katt, anti-alien conspiracies, threats from outer space, and a couple of killer alligators are all in a day's work. But internal alien schemes and some major "relationship" complications are about to bring a new meaning to the phrase "chaos and confusion."

It's been five months since Kitty joined Centaurion Division, working with the aliens from Alpha Centauri. She and Jeff Martini have grown closer as a couple and life looks rosy. But when an experimental spacecraft is unexpectedly returned to the Kennedy Space Center, Kitty and the rest of Alpha Team are called on to investigate and are immediately embroiled in life-or-death situations that scream "political conspiracy."

The team must survive murderous attacks, deal with a mysterious space entity that has seized control of a group of astronauts, and evade a woman who'll do anything to eliminate the competition when she develops an obsessive crush on Kitty's old high school boyfriend. And that's all before the evil masterminds decide Kitty's extermination is vital...

For my review and more information about the book, click here.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awake on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into a brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone—one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship—tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

For my review and more information about the book, click here.

Author Interview: Marva Dasef

Heehee! I get to twirl my Hercule mustache and start the interrogation of the wonderful author Marva Dasef. In particular, I'm going to being asking her about her SFR release, ULTIMATE DUTY.

So, my friends, let's work our little grey cells. Shall we?


Marva Dasef
Eternal Press PDF
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Print
Book Trailer

Thank you for joining us today. Why don't you tell everyone a bit about your book?

ULTIMATE DUTY is space opera with a bit of romance. From the cover:

Remy Belieux, a woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her ultimate duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.

Where did the concept for the book come about?
I wrote a short story titled "Pressure Drill" years ago. I got a good response from my critique group, but back then, submitting was entirely by snail mail. I didn't pursue publication. When I retired from real work, I hauled out the story, along with a few others and gave them a fresh look and rewrite. That first story, plus one more with the same main character were published. From that I expanded the story and it eventually became a novel.

How long did it take you to finish, from concept to final product?
Only thirty years in the making, but I was busy doing other things most of those years.

Are there any authors that have influenced your own writing?
Mark Twain, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov. Plain, simple stories well told.

For the full interview and to read an excerpt, click over to Adventures of a Sci-Fi Writer.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Submission Alert: Decadent Publishing Seeks SFR

Many thanks to Brigader Jessica Subject for a head's up that Decadent Publishing is looking for Sci-Fi with strong romantic elements.

A quick check of their Daily Dose of Decadent blog revealed a Submissions post addressing the question of what they are looking for, included the following: 

"I REALLY want some Sci-fiRom. Give it to me at any length." 

"End-of-the-world novellas"
"I would invite authors with back list titles they own to submit and see them published once more with a company committed to promoting."

There's your knock of opportunity, Brigaders.  Polish up those manuscripts and fire away.  Decadent's submission guidelines can be found here.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cyborg Future

The February 2011 issue of Scientific American has an article in it called Mind Out of Body by neuroscientist Miguel A.L. Nicolelis. The article is an excerpt from his new book "Beyond Boundaries: The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines - and How It Will Change Our Lives" (link to the book's Amazon page is below).

Nicolelis paints a picture of a future wherein the disabled use robotic exoskeletons which are wired directly to their brains. Via thought (the specific patterns of neurons firing), the patient will control the exoskeleton. He even envisions the end of internet based social networks with the advent of what he calls neurosocial networking - communicating brain to brain - either with a coworker in the next cubicle or to hundreds of 'followers' in a new medium he calls the 'brain net'.

Nicolelis is at the forefront of neuroprosthetic research - looking for the ways and means to handle both input and output links from the brain to a machine (like a robotic leg) and back again. He describes a day when someone with a spinal injury or a debilitating neurological disease will select a robotic suit to wear, plug in the control leads, and walk out the front door.

The article intrigued me because it sounds like cyborgs may be closer to possible than any of us had dreamed. While the Scientific American article isn't available online, Miguel Nicolelis's book is available in print or in e-format. The excerpt of the book was very readable and nontechnical (you need not be a neuroscientist to understand the concepts). The author seems very adapt at communicating very specialized science to nonscientists if you're interested in having a look at the progress Nicolelis's labs have already made in marrying mind to machine.

Image source:

Blog Hoppin'

Our very talented band of writers offers up a pool of blogs at least a hundred strong, and perusing the many articles can be both amusing and thought-provoking. Just a few are listed on the Bases of Operation on the sidebar, in order of newest to oldest post. 

Here's just a smattering of posts in the last 48 hours, a virtual sampler platter:

Barbara Elsborg blogs on The Power of Love
What makes you sigh?  What makes you cry?  What movies have summoned your deepest emotions?  This talented author shares her feelings on the most powerful force in the galaxy.

Spacefreighters Lounge blogs on The Tomboys of Romance
In my years talking to a variety of SFR writers and authors, I've noticed a definite pattern emerging.  Do you fit the profile of The Tomboys of Romance?

Shelley Munro's Taste of Kiwi blog The Case of the Mysterious Ears
The universe is a strange place with all sorts of unexplained mysteries.  This is a case in point, though it's much more cute and amusing than disturbing.  (By the way, Shelley has a warning at the top of her blog:  "An Unladylike Topic Ahead."  I'm betting Shelley just might fit the Tomboys of Romance profile.)

Misa Buckley posts Twenty Five Years On
Like many Brigaders have done since yesterday, Misa offers a tribute to the Challenger crew.

If  you're a Brigader, we'd be happy to add your blog to the Bases of Operation listing.  Just drop me an email at Lgreen2162 (at) aol (dot) com--in the usual email format--with a link to your blog and "Add to BoO". (Note: Not all blog addresses are compatible with the gadget, but we've found that most are.)

Talkin' eReaders

Hi Brigader Buddies!

Don't mind me, I'm just in a conversational mood right not. I'm doing my first guest gig over at author Stephanie Burkhart's blog, Romance Under the Moonlight, and talking Kindle. (Stop by if you have a chance.) While putting the article together, it got me wondering about the full impact of the eReader on not only reading in general but on our genre in particular.

It seems to me that both science fiction and romance (with emphasis of course on the merged child SFR) were born for the ereader. We have the wonder and curiosity of change from the science fiction parent and the passion and emotional connect of the romance parent. Then, of course, both have given SFR the bones of risk and grit to evolve in changing times.

I know the impact it has had on me. Besides given me the ability for instant reading fixes, one of the main things that I've benefit from has been the "dawn of the independent publishers". These folks have thrived in this new eReader submodel of the industry and allowed them to focus on books that the larger publishers would risk on.

What do you all think? What benefits have the eReader explosion had for you both as a reader and an author that traditional print has not?

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Fateful Day

NASA recalls darkest moments

The space shuttle Challenger STS-51L spaceflight ended in tragedy on Jan. 28, 1986, 73 seconds after liftoff. Seven astronauts died that day, when the Challenger space shuttle was destroyed.

It was NASA's first in-flight calamity, and it dealt an especially severe blow to the millions of teachers and students watching on TV to see Christa McAuliffe, a civilian high school teacher from New Hampshire, become NASA's first Teacher in Space.

Today is the 25 year anniversary of that fateful day.

The loss of Challenger was later attributed to a failed seal on one of the space shuttle's solid rocket boosters. An investigation board concluded that cold weather prevented a rubber O-ring from maintaining its seal, allowing hot gas to leak and damage the shuttle's external fuel tank and the hardware attaching the booster to the vehicle. The right solid rocket booster separated from the shuttle, and the fuel tank broke apart, causing the orbiter to be torn apart by aerodynamic stresses.

"The problem was a design flaw, complicated by the weather situation which was unrecognized at the time by the appropriate managers," Hale said. "We wished that we had the foresight to stand up collectively and say, 'Look, it's too cold a day to launch, we just ought to wait for a warmer day.' In retrospect it seems so simple; at the time, it just didn't happen."

Veteran shuttle astronaut Ron Garan, who is slated to fly to the International Space Station in March aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, said the anniversaries of Challenger and the other accidents highlight the lessons learned from those events. "It's a time to reflect and it's a time to remember those people who have sacrificed to get us where we are," Garan told "A lot of the lessons learned in this business are written in blood, and if we don't learn from them, those people died in vain."


So where were you on that day? Were you watching from a classroom like many students?

Kaye Manro
(crossed posted from my blog)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Two Short Stories release in new anthology!

While most of the short stories in this anthology are NOT SFR, one of mine IS and it's the lead short story in the anthology!

Comfort Zone 
Marrying a man she'd met once was a bad idea. When the guy was ET it was insane—even if they were anatomically compatible. He and his world weren't just outside her comfort zone, they were outside her comfort universe. And if he didn't have amazing green eyes, saving her father's career might not have been enough to get her through the wedding...

I don't write a lot of stories where someone doesn't die or have to battle someone for something, so this is a rarity. It is just a romance story. Right now, it is only available in digital, at Amazon and ARE/OmniLit, but it should show up in print soon. 

This is the last anthology (for now) that I have stuff in, but I have to say, I like having them. They fill in the gaps between books rather nicely. I'm over at The Romance Studio having a release party for this anthology. There are prizes and lots of other books, if you feel inclined to party!

Thursday Tag Party for 1/27/11!

Ye gods - I'm sitting here typing this on Wednesday night. It's sleeting out, starting to snow, and it's...thundering. The weather forecasters even have a name for this phenomenon: Thundersnow. Sounds like the name of a novel. Or a bad movie.

Weather aside, we have Tagging to get to - hooray! This week, because she asked nicely :D, we have A Lindsay Buroker Showcase!

Here's the brief lab manual of how to tag for our first-timers:
  • Go to the Amazon buy page (I've included the links below)
  • Scroll down to the Tags Customers Associate with this Product header
  • Look for these tags: SFR, Scifi Romance, SF Romance, Science Fiction Romance and Paranormal Romance - please feel free to add any extra tags you feel are appropriate to the work (i.e. Space Opera, Military SF, etc.)
  • Don't forget your SFR Brigade Tag!
  • If the tags are already there, just click on them to add your 'vote'
  • If not, type them into the 'your tags' box to add them (no need to save the page, just type and add)
For a list of past Tag Party books, come on over to the Book Launch and Tag Party Books page. Tagging is always welcome.

Take it away Lindsay!

The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker

Encrypted by Lindsay Buroker

Ice Cracker II (and other short stories) By Lindsay Buroker

As always - the Tag Party is searching for your work, old or new. If you'd like your work featured in the weekly Tag Party, or if you have a good used time machine for sale, please drop me a line at .

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Michelle De Rooy Finals!

Brigader Michelle De Rooy is a finalist with a military SFR in the RWAustralia Emerald Award

Many congratulations, Michelle!

And she's really on a roll, because she also finaled with a Fantasy Romance
in the Emerald Award and in The Emily!   

We've added Michelle's name to our SFR Finals listing on the sidebar.

Quick Vote Part Two

Is this layout better or worse?

A quick thumbs up or down, with suggestions if you have any.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quick Vote

As many of you have by now noticed our side bar is grown just a little long. (Does a quick check to make sure that sentence isn't dirty... I think it's safe. Who's giggling?) Is there anyone opposed to the idea of changing the design of the blog so that there are two side bar columns instead of one?

Would you prefer two or three?

Burnett or Blond?

Wait... NVM... that was another conversation. O:-)

The end goal of this conversion would be moving the Bases of Operation up a little so they aren't Lost in Space.

Vote and discuss, please.
-Liana Brooks

Monday, January 24, 2011

Characters-- Who Are They?

Searching for life inside your characters? Come on over to Kaye Manro's Blog and join in Character Connections an ongoing discussion about developing stellar characters-- be they alien or human. Share your own ideas, learn from other writers, and tell us the process you use to breathe life into your characters when writing a story. 

Watch for The Writers Exchange...

Coming Soon to the SFR Brigade Blog -- Join in the discussions encompassing everything from writing great dialogue, to plot, characterization, and much more. (Hosted by Kaye Manro)

What's New on the SFR Brigade Web Site?

We done a bit of remodeling on the SFR Brigade web site!

The "About Us" and "History" pages have now been moved under the Home page as subpages.  You can still see and access them by clicking on the Home page link at the top of the site where you'll see them listed as sublinks. The adjustments have helped de-clutter the top link bar.

New page!  Under the "Members" link, we've created a "Regions" page so members can see other Brigaders according to their area, what organizations they belong to, what their interests are, and what events they may be attending.  This is a work in progress, so if you haven't yet checked into the REGIONAL ROLL CALL forum thread, please add your information and we'll include you on the Regional page when we do the next update.

There are several active threads on the SFR Brigade web site forums including:

Brenda Novak Auction: An Opportunity for the Brigade?

Is Your SciFi/Fantasy Available on Kindle?

RomCon 2011 - Denver

Come join the discussions or start your own thread with a new topic.  Everyone is welcome.

On the News page, we have a Report on the Australian Disaster by Kylie Griffin

Should we also raise the subject of sponsoring a Cover Art Contest again?

Please feel free to add your comments to these news topics.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hailing On All Frequencies (for the last time?)

New Members
Welcome Aboard! to our new Brigade members:



Stephanie Priestley

If any of our new members would like to swap out their site name for a pen name on our Brigade Member roster, just email me at Lgreen2162 (at) aol (dot) com. I can also link your name to a blog or web site if you include the web address.

If I missed anyone, please let me know so I can include you in our next posting.

Blog Author Slots Open

Would you like to be a SFR Brigade blog author?  We have several slots now available for anyone who would like to post an article, interview, notice, series, (etc.) at least once a month.  Please email me at Lgreen2162 (at) aol (dot) com, in the usual email format and I'll send you an invitation through Blogspot.

Time to Spiff the Roster

Please check the Brigade Member roster on the sidebar.  If you would like your user name changed (such as to your pen name) and/or your current blog or web site linked to your name, please drop me a line.  If you're a member of the SFR Brigade web site, but aren't listed on the sidebar, please let me know and we'll get you added at FTL speed!

Understanding Twitter

Like to try Twitter but don't know the first thing about it?  Have a Twitter account and have already written a few tweets, but are still baffled by the whole concept?  Then be sure to check out this detailed article on the basics by Jamie Michele of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood (2009 Golden Heart finalists) blog, Nine Steps to Understanding Twitter.  It addresses some of the mystifying elements like hashtags, retweets and tweetstreams, and offers useful tips on how to get started or use Twitter more effectively.

Six Sentence Sunday

This will be my third week participating in a fun writing exercise, Six Sentence Sunday, the brainchild of fellow Brigader Sara Brookes.  Each participant posts six sentences from a published story or work in progress for others to read and write comments.  The submissions give each reader a sense of the writer's voice, style, conflict and/or plot, from a variety of genres and subgenres including Paranormal, Fantasy, Contemporary, Historical and Science Fiction Romance.  (Warning:  As a result of SSS, I've already added five books to my TBA and TBR list.)  Interested in participating?  Write your post and register today (there is a deadline).  Just want to read along and see what it's all about?  Pour yourself a cup of coffee Sunday morning. You can check it out here:  Six Sunday

Promotion Opportunity

Brigade member LindsayB has posted a notice that may be of interest to published members on the SFR Brigade web site forums: Is Your SciFi/Fantasy Romance Available on Kindle?  Contact her about plugging your book on the Kindle Geeks blog. Click the link to read or reply to the post.

Brenda Novak Online Auction for Diabetes Research

Would our members be interested in putting together a category of SFR books or related products to offer for the upcoming Brenda Novak auction?  This is not only a great way to donate to a wonderful worthy cause, but also to get your book and your name in front of thousands of participants.  Several members have expressed an interest, but we need more to consider sponsoring a category.  Please contact me or enter your comments on the SFR Brigade web site forum thread here:  Brenda Novak Auction

Hail and Farewell to HOAF

Sadly, we've had no member or members step forward to assume the communication officer duties and this will be the last Hailing On All Frequencies post.  (If you're interested, it's not too late!)

Three cheers to Kylie Griffin for her dedication, time and effort in creating and sponsoring the HOAF series for these past many months.

I will continue to post individual announcements, news or notices for those who do not have blog author priviledges. Please contact me if you'd like information posted on your new releases, sales, contest wins, achievements, links to articles on your blog, and any other related news or information.  The web site is also available for members to post notices on the forums.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday Tag Party for 1/20/11!

Always amazes me how out little planet keeps surprising us. Just saw this in Science Daily: Giant Crayfish Species Discovered Right Under Researchers' Noses

And in yet another dreadful Tagging Party segue, you'd be s
urprised how much wonderful SFR is right under your nose as well. ;)

Here's the brief lab manual of how to tag for our first-timers:
  • Go to the Amazon buy page (I've included the links below)
  • Scroll down to the Tags Customers Associate with this Product header
  • Look for these tags: SFR, Scifi Romance, SF Romance, Science Fiction Romance and Paranormal Romance - please feel free to add any extra tags you feel are appropriate to the work (i.e. Space Opera, Military SF, etc.)
  • Don't forget your SFR Brigade Tag!
  • If the tags are already there, just click on them to add your 'vote'
  • If not, type them into the 'your tags' box to add them (no need to save the page, just type and add)
For a list of past Tag Party books, come on over to the Book Launch and Tag Party Books page. Tagging is always welcome.

Now on to this week's Tagging discoveries!

Amethyst Flames by Selene Noreen

Erin's Rebel by Susan Macatee

As always - the Tag Party is searching for your work, old or new. If you'd like your work featured in the weekly Tag Party, or if you have Miles Vorkosigan's phone number, please drop me a line at .

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Helpful Links

Thought these writing links might come in handy. Most are my genre orientated (f/f/p romance) but there are a smattering of general sites.

Agents/Editors (for researching information)
Agent Query -
AuthorAdvance -
Literary Agent Verification -
Preditors and Editors -

Miscellaneous Sites
Time and -
Australian War Memorial:Military Organisation and Structure -
IRS:Tax Identification Numbers for the USA information -,,id=96696,00.html

Writing Related
Brenda Hiatt's Show Me the Money -
Dictionary of Sexual Terms and Expressions -
Gordian Plot:thesaurus technique for writers -
Great Source iwrite - Grammar -
The Perfect Pitch -
Publishers Weekly -
Stephanie Smith's Contest Chart for Writers -
When An Agent Offers You Representation -
Write to Done -

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America -
RWA:Fantasy/Futuristic/Paranormal Chapter -
ParaNormal Romance -
Romance Writers of America -
Romance Writers of Australia -
Romance Writers of  New Zealand -
Australian Romance Readers Association -

Submission Guidelines
Avon -
Dorchester -
e-Harlequin -
Hachette Australia -
Orbit -
Tor -

Web Design
Free Images for Websites -
Free Fantasy Design artwork for Websites -
Free Web Counters -
The Three Bears Method -

(All links are current as of 23rd Dec.2010)

NB. Author's comment - all sites listed are intended to help writers with their research or as helpful links only - not promotion of any particular site.

Monday, January 17, 2011

SFR Discussion Alert!

If you're registered on the Barnes and Noble site, please hop on to the B&N Community Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog for an article and discussion on our favorite subject (which, by the way, prominently features one Brigader's work):

Shockingly Supernova: Who Knew Science Fiction Could be so Sexy?

It still amazes me that some readers aren't aware SFR is alive and well, and a growing subgenre.

E-Publishing - Is it Right for You

Author and fellow Brigader Lindsay Buroker stops by to talk about the pros and cons of e-publishing.

Hello all! There are many paths and expectations to publishing success. One of the first things I will always stress is for every new author to research the industry and identify the best path for their writing. As such, today I have Lindsay Buroker to the blog to talk about e-publishing and particularly self-publishing in this route. I was pretty impressed with the thorough research she did in this journey.

Lindsay...take it away!


If you write in genres that aren’t on most agents’ wishlists, or--worse--you write those cross-genre stories that defy categorization, then you might have grown disgruntled by the agent hunt. I know I felt disheartened before I even started. My novel Encrypted is one that doesn’t fall into any neat categories, though I’m going with science fantasy romance (I’m probably the first to use that).

When I browsed QueryTracker, there was a dearth of agents requesting science fiction and high fantasy. And there wasn’t anybody saying, “please send us your science fantasy romances because we know they’ll be huge as soon as this vampire craze dies down...” In fact, most agents had notes that said, “We’d rather cough up hair balls than represent SF/F” (that’s not a direct quote, but it’s the vibe I got from many!). Urban fantasy and paranormal romances were an acceptation, but I grew up reading Eddings, Tolkien, and RA Salvatore, so I don’t even think of those genres as fantasy.

About the time I was debating whether to try querying those few agents who did want SF/F, I stumbled across blog posts about JA Konrath, Brian S. Pratt, and Karen McQuestion, indie authors making a good living publishing their work for the growing ebook-reader demographic.

Online booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble make it easy to upload your novels or short story collections as ebooks (you don’t even need an ISBN for those two outfits), and they pay nice royalties too (in the 70% range). This means you can list your ebook at an ultra affordable $2.99 and still take home $2 with each sale.

The more I read about e-publishing, the more excited I got. I even started a blog called Ebook Endeavors to talk about what I was learning and my own results. In December, I listed The Emperor’s Edge, a high fantasy adventure with steampunk elements (all my novels have Categorization Crisis Syndrome) for $2.99. As I write this, it’s been three weeks since the novel went live, and it’s sold about a hundred copies. That’s not exactly enough to live on (it’ll be a while before I recoup my cover art and editing expenses), but I think it’s a promising start for a no-name author. I’ve set aside the agent hunt for the time being.

E-publishing isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but in case it’s something you’re considering, I’ll break down some of the pros and cons here.

Advantages of E-publishing:

It’s a speedy process.

With traditional publishing, it’ll take months--maybe years--from the time you start looking for an agent until you see your book on a shelf (if it ever gets there at all). It took me about a month from first deciding to publish an ebook to having it go live. In that time, an editor proofread it, an artist created a cover, and an ebook formatter turned my Mac Pages file into something readable on the kindle, nook, ipad, etc. When I uploaded the files at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords (a distributor that gets your ebooks into the stores that require ISBNs), it took a maximum of two days for them to go live.

There’s a potential to make good money without being a blockbuster hit.

I’m sure very few people will get rich as indie ebook authors, but some who have great books and who have worked hard at promotion are doing quite well. Some are even in the six-figures-a-year range solely from their ebook earnings. That’s money in the bank account, not gross sales.

The 70% royalty makes it very attractive to be an indie--if you can make sales. Traditionally published authors get an advance, but their royalties are significantly lower--even for ebook sales. Go look them up. Ouch.

You have full control over all aspects of your book.

As I mentioned, I get to set the prices of my ebooks, and I can change them on a whim. This means I can experiment to figure out if I sell ten times as many books at $0.99 as I do at $2.99, or if I can raise my price to $3.99 and see if people will still buy. I’d never price my ebook at $8 or $9 (just look at all the angry reviewers on Amazon giving one star because traditionally published ebooks cost more than paperbacks), even if I was a big name author. That’s not a choice authors who publish with big houses or even small e-presses get to make.

I can also see novel sales as they’re happening, which gives me some insight into what marketing tactics are paying off and which are flopping.

As far as writing goes, there are no deadlines, and you can publish your books at your own pace. The only people you have to please are the readers. You do lose out on the editorial input of an agent/editor, so this could be a con, depending on how much you value that...

For the full article and more information on Lindsay Buroker, stop by The Adventures of a Sci-Fi Writer.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hailing On All Frequencies

Here are reports and recaps of all the latest SFR-related news. Contact me at Lgreen2162 (at) aol (dot) com (in the usual email format) with your news, releases, contest finals or wins, awards, conferences, workshops, activities, guest posts or anything of interest to fellow Brigaders.  (This may be one of our last HOAF installments.  The community is still very much in need of a new Communication Officer.  See notice below.)


T. K. Toppin's SFR novel THE LANCASTER RULE has been nominated by her publisher, Champagne Books, as Novel of the Year 2010! 

(She'll have to hold her breath until April to learn the results though.)  Congratulations on your nomination, T.K.!


Darynda Jones' debut novel FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT will be released Feburary 1 from St. Martin Press.  This much anticipated novel, winner of the RWA 2009 Golden Heart for Paranormal Romance, features subtle SFR elements. This is the first novel in a series.

Congratulations, Darynda!

In addition to her work with the Australian flood relief Book Appeal, Jess Anastasi has a new release coming on the 14th of February, SEVERANCE. This is the sequel to the novel SANCTUARY, from Noble Romance Publishing. 

Congratulations, Jess!


You can help support Senate Bill 3804, also known as the "Combating Online Fringement and Counterfeits Act." Members interested in reading the legislation can click here. RWA also has information on their web site about their efforts to support this bill.  To read their press release, click here.


We are in desperate need of a new HOAF Communication Officer or team. Thinking about it? Want to try the Communication Officer cap on for a time to see how it fits? Able to report for duty once or twice a month?  Step right up!

As I prepare to de-orbit into a serious round of revisions, I regretfully announce I won't be able to continue these regular news roundups. If we have no volunteers, I'll have to jetison the current format and return to posting individual notices in the old Incoming Transmissions format. 


If you missed Jessica Subject's article on this blog, be sure to check out the Six Sentence Sunday phenomenon--a great exercise for writers. (Six Sentence Sunday is the brainchild of fellow Brigader Sara Brookes.) Several Brigaders participated last week in what was quite a healthy turn out. Prepare a post on your blog and register with the Six Sentence Sunday site no later than Saturday.  Then grab yourself a cup of coffee on Sunday morning and sit down to read some great excerpts and enjoy the fun.


We're taking a roll call on the SFR Brigade web site and asking members to identify their respective regions in hopes we can coordinate future activities, conferences and cons by region. Please stop by the web site and let us know the force is with you. Thanks to all who have reported in so far.


A letter from Brigader Kylie Griffin discusses the devastating floods in Australia on the SFR Brigade web site News.  Kylie also forwarded an appeal for books to replace those lost in the libaries of affected communities which was posted on the main blog here.  Jess Anastasi, another Brigader, is also involved in the RWA Flooded Communities Book Appeal.  Click the links to read more and see how you can help.


Marva Dasef would like reviews of her novel, ULTIMATE DUTY, and will provide PDF's of the story to prospective reviewers. If you'd like to play amateur New York Times critic for Marva, please contact her at :


Brigader A.R. Norris announced Guest Blogging Opportunities which can include book or series reviews, author interviews, character interviews, themed articles or showcases. Please email her at


If you missed our Thursday Book Tagging Party CLICK HERE to see what novels we tagged on Amazon this past week.


The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival is underway. Members set their own goals with an objective to earn 50 points by the end of February. A special web site was introduced on January 6th that includes a chatroom, special pointers and inspiration, and swag! Good luck to all participants.


"An absolutely necessary part of a writer's equipment, almost as necessary as talent, is the ability to stand up under punishment, both the punishment the world hands out and the punishment he inflicts upon himself.

- Irwin Shaw

SFR Brigade Bases of Operation