Monday, February 28, 2011

New Member: Ren Thompson

Another big welcome for a new member! :-)

Please tell us a little about yourself

I am unpublished writer at the moment. I live and work in Canada, in administration with plans to break out of my cubicle as soon as possible. I love a good glass of wine, food, movies and of course reading.

We’d love to hear more about your book,

I am currently working on a series of stories under the mantle of The Gideon Chronicles. The bulk of them center around the planet Gideon in the Asleha star system in 2766 C.E. The Council Ameris is the controlling government of Gideon, and its four colonies (as yet unnamed)

Would you like to share any upcoming projects ?

I do a little bit of warbling on my blog. My Tuesday serial is about to end: Onja Bounty Agent: not Romance. Its just me getting toes wet so far :)

What do you like about writing SFR?

Its very challenging, completely different from werewolves and vampires, that's for sure. I'm just writing it out as it comes to me, then going back to do some research.

What do you find challenging about it?

Making it read and sound as authentic as possible. I admit that I have a lot of work to do in that area. I'm in complete awe with authors who can do that.

What is your favorite SF book or movie?

I loved Galaxy Quest. Its not completely sci/fi but it was hilarious. I loved the Star Trek reboot. I can quote lines from the Matrix, most of the Alien movies, Star Wars, all of them. I'm on the hunt for Blade Runner. I keep missing it on tv (boo)Also, Angela Knight's Sci/fi Romances, and anything by Tonya Moore

If you could have a robot that did one chore/task and only one, what would you choose?

I've got a list of things but I would have to take grocery shopping on Saturdays. I hate that the most.

Favorite mode of fictional travel?

Dang it, Elizabeth nailed it before me :)I would love to travel in the Tardis.

Thank you so much for this :)Ren

SFR Brigade Welcomes (and shines big light on) Elizabeth Lang!

Welcome aboard, Elizabeth and thanks for stopping by to answer some questions!

Please tell us a little about yourself
I'm a fairly new writer, just over 3 years. I started out with fanfiction though I made the foray into original fiction about a year ago. One of the results of was a novel, a scifi thriller called The Empire. I never intended to publish it but one thing led to another...well that's another story.
I've been in the IT industry for many years, in the insurance software industry. I live in Canada when I'm not working overseas. I love writing, travelling and delicious foods.
We’d love to hear more about your book, (fill in here please)
The Empire is the first of a three book series which explores what it's like to live inside a society that is well on its way to becoming totalitarian. The situation is dire. Humanity is under siege by invaders from the Andromeda galaxy. They barely survived the first wave over a century ago by joining forces and learning to work together. Over the years this force has become a massive Empire whose sole purpose is to protect this galaxy and to that end, they've made increasingly tough compromises.
The story centers on a brilliant scientist, Adrian Stannis, whose greatest wish is to be left alone. Unfortunately, the higher ups decide that his skills and knowledge are essential to winning the war and demand his services, whether he is willing to help them or not. It is this personal struggle that brings out the issues that face this society. In the middle of it all is the relationship between Adrian and Kali, a psi-enabled human who is determined to help him, despite his desire to handle everything alone. Through his journey, Adrian learns to accept her help and to understand his own feelings for her.
Would you like to share any upcoming projects (and links) 
I am currently working on The Rebels, which is the sequeal to The Empire. This follows Adrian and Kali's journey, and the exploration of this galaxy in turmoil, but from the perspective of the rebels who oppose the Empire.
What do you like about writing SFR?
To be honest, I've never been a fan of strictly romance novels. I prefer my romance mixed with mystery and was not aware of the scifi romance genre before. When I started writing, I didn't start out to write a just happened.
What do you find challenging about it?
At the moment I'm just winging it. It's fascinating to explore a romantic relationship without focussing on the romance, and just having it flow from the characters.
What is your favorite SF book or movie?
My favourite scifi books are the Foundation series. the Honor Harrington books, and the Dorsai series (particularly Spirit of the Dorsai).
Choose one or more of these:
If you could have a robot that did one chore/task and only one, what would you choose?
I would have one that does the laundry and preferably all the ironing.
What SFR book would you most like to be stranded in and with whom?
Being new to SFR, I don't have any preferences yet but am looking forward to learning more.
Favorite mode of fictional travel?

Back of book summary:
Humanity is in danger of annihilation as a centuries old war with the Andromedans heats up again. The Empire, an increasingly totalitarian society, is the only force that stands in the gap.
Thrust into this chaos of alien invasion, rebellion, and political intrigue, Lieutenant Adrian Stannis is caught between the ends and the means. No one knows why this brilliant scientist chooses to hide himself in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, doing research on an insignificant science vessel. His days of anonymity may soon be coming to an end, whether he wants it to or not.
Adrian's freedom, and his very survival may depend on friends he's afraid of having. Kali, a psi-enabled humanoid who is the only person he gets along with, just barely, and Bryce, his personal assistant and one-time conman and thief, may be his only hopes, if he doesn't push them away, not to mention a mystery surrounding him that may explode in their faces.
Everyone wants to know the truth, but will it set them free?

thanks again and Welcome!

Chrystalla Thoma: Satyrs, Silenes and Other Forces of Nature

Today I am SUPER excited to have Chrystalla Thoma on my blog, Adventures of a Sci-Fi Writer, to talk about Greek mythology. Here's a snippet, for the whole post stop by.

Hi dear Amber! Thank you for hosting me today.

Greeks have a love-and-hate relation with their history and mythology. Lucky for me, I am a lover of such things, so I had a happy time at school learning about ancient history and Homer.

Therefore it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I like writing about Greek myths and legends. My upcoming novella, to be released by MuseItUp Publishing next month, is called Dioscuri. It is a retelling of the ancient myth of the twin brothers Kastor and Polydeukes, Zeus’ sons with Leda, one of whom is mortal and the other immortal. The story is set in modern-day Athens where the ancient gods have woken again, and there is war. The two brothers fight against the monsters. When the mortal brother, Kastor, dies in battle, his immortal sibling Polydeukes takes things in his own hands and makes a dark deal with the Underworld. A deal Zeus will sooner or later discover and all hell will break loose.

In this war against the monsters crawling out of the underground passages and the construction sites, and the complicated games of the higher gods of Olympus, certain lesser immortals take the mortals’ side: nature sprites, the satyrs, silenes, nymphs and the griffins, aid Kastor and Polydeukes not only in hand to hand battle, but also in figuring out the mystery of Kastor’s return to life and the deal his brother made with Hades.

In my post for Six Sentence Sunday (a project where each Sunday authors post on their blogs six sentence from a published or unpublished story they wrote), I have an excerpt with the Satyr of the Temple. He is an authoritative figure in the story, and demands to know of Kastor what the heck is going on:

“Listen, Satyr, I appreciate the time you’re taking for me, but I’ve got to meet
someone, I—”

“Because it cannot be someone playing games with the Underworld, can it?” The Satyr leaned closer, his long, flat face driving fear like a dagger into Kast, nailing him to his seat, driving his breath out.
“That would cause the wrath of the higher immortals; call them down to punish us all. One doesn’t toy with the boundaries between the dead and the living.”

Kast drew back, the hairs on the back of his neck rising.

Much has been said about the Greek gods’ anthropomorphism, which simply means that their gods look and behave just like us mere mortals. Oh they do have powers, but their human appearance and petty quarrels don’t differ much from ours. This is taken to be an advance on, say, the grotesque gods of other ancient cultures like the Babylonian and the Egyptian, composites of men and animals. The Greek gods left behind their animalistic side.

But did they, really?

Among ancient Greek findings, we encounter statuettes of bird-headed goddesses and horse-bodied men (perhaps centaurs, i.e. impressions of the first appearance of men riding horses in Greece). But then what happened?...

Stop by for the rest of the post and to learn more about Chrystalla, click here.

Welcome New Members

Please join me in giving our newest members to the SFR Brigade a hearty hail and welcome.

Elizabeth Lang

Gareth Torrence

Ren Thompson

Sunday, February 27, 2011

SFR Brigade & Six Sentence Sunday

Several SFR Brigade members are taking place in a huge giveaway during Six Sentence Sunday this week in celebration of the 1st anniversary of the site. Entering is as easy as commenting on any of the participants posts. You can find all the information you need at:

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Techie Monologue

Hi Brigader Buddies!

I'm over at fellow SFRer Stephanie Burkhart's blog talking about my opinions of the techie monologue in SF works.

Please stop by if you have a chance and tell me how you really feel...

New Member Gareth Torrence

Please join me in welcoming our newest member, Gareth Torrence. :-)

A Little About Me:

Well, I guess I should start by saying I've never been good at these questions. Anyway, I'm a recently married man who is addicted to Science Fiction and Fantasy. I've been short stories since I was about 6 years old, all of them set in one of three galaxies I created. I also love video games, to be honest, and draw a lot of inspiration from them when writing.

My general day consists of getting up, going to work, writing during my lunch break, going home, watching tv with my wife, writing and then going to sleep. Except on weekends when I actually do something outside of the home/office.

Something About My Book:

I'm currently working on a series, rather than one book, but obviously I am starting with just one. The series follows four different groups of people in the galaxy, spread over 700 years. Each book deals with a different part of humanities struggle to do two things: 1) Find their place in the galaxy, and 2) survive against the corrupting forces of the Undying. Each book will also detail the thoughts, feelings and emotional attachments of the characters.

To start with, I am writing a short story (which I will publish on Smashwords when finished) that acts as a prequel to the first book I am writting. The short story follows the main character on his first mission as part of a group called the Order of Terra, leading in to his role in book and the events that transpire. Below is a brief summary of the actually book:
Abel is a soldier in the Order of Terra, a group dedicated to taking away the power of the Asuri Empire, which is currently merging with the Kersian Collective. The Order feels that the Empire is taking away the rights, lives and power of humanity and putting the power in the hands of xenos. Waging a war against the Empire, Abel is drawn into a web of mystery and gunfire. He and his team gain a young recruit named Alice who appears to be a Psyker, who knows more about what is happening than she lets on. He takes her under his wing as he fights against the Empire in a battle that will bring humanity to the brink of destruction.
Would you like to share any upcoming projects?

Currently any and all information about my projects, including any novel updates, or world building information I share, can be found at

What do you like about writing SFR?

I enjoy being able to watch as my characters grow and change in the world around them, and how they interact with one another. The addition of, in my case, military science fantasy into the mix gives an even broader scope in which they can develop.

What do you find challenging about it?

To be honest, I think working out plausible ways for events to happen. There are only so many mass-genocide weapons or orbital space stations that one can take when reading sciene fiction in general, so you need to have something different, and the challenge is waiting until that something comes into your head and the story builds around it.

What is your favorite SF book or movie?

Just one? That's difficult because I actually don't watch things like Star Trek... I loved Firefly and Battlestar Galactica, and although it wasn't very good, I like Space:Above and Beyond when I was a kid. Star Wars is another thing I like... As for books, I love the Mass Effect books, because I love the world and the story the game creators made.

If you could have a robot that did one chore/task and only one, what would you choose?

I would have one that could pick up any mess that accumulated around me, such as cigarette ash, dust or incense.

Favorite mode of fictional travel?

Airships. I love airships. You could put an X-Wing, the Enterprise, Galactica and Serenity in front of me and I would still choose the Highwind from Final Fantasy VII. I just love them. For example, if you ever played Final Fantasy 9, I adore that game just because of the scene when entering Lindblum and you see a city full of airships. But FF7 and 8 did it best with the steampunk/science fiction airships the Highwind and the Ragnarok. If I could, I would take the dragon-clawed Ragnarok to work and back every day just for the sake of being in it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Tag Party for 2/24/11!

I can't resist a good math joke. Or a bad math joke, depending on your sense of humor and tolerance for such things.

What does this have to do with the Tag Party this week?, nothing. But I do have a couple of sweet titles for us to Tag - one shiny new and one from the backlist.

Here's the brief rundown 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.

On to our lovely Tagging targets:

Sanctuary by Jess Anastasi

Starlight Child
by Nancy Cane (Nancy Cohen)

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 know a buyer for some Alderaan real estate I picked up cheap, please drop me a line at .

Monday, February 21, 2011

Brain Cravings

I'm thinking a lot about why people become interested in things, not just novels but also food, music, and games. Children who have autism tend to be come rigid in their interests, playing the same game or eating the same foods over and over again. As a teacher's assistant working with such children, I often struggle to get one kid to name the letters instead of lining them up by color, or to get another to recognize whole words instead of just repeating the names of letters. Hopefully these kids will someday enjoy reading whole stories.

And then I go home and write fiction for adults. I'm facing the same sort of problem. Some readers insist on the same story and type of story told repeatedly. I work at enticing readers into something new.

Here is what I think is happening. Brains are prediction machines, having evolved over time to analyze patterns and predict what will happen next. They are driven to find out what happens next. Brains which are good at predicting pass on the ability, producing babies with similar brains.

This prediction isn't conscious analysis, but an instinctive drive. Our brains crave patterns and prediction of patterns the same way we crave food, or sleep, or affection. If these patterns aren't available, we create them. Brains with neurological problems blocking their development go after whatever patterns are accessible. The results are often amazing. People missing huge parts of their brains can still adapt and function well. I stand in awe of the brain, particularly the brain of a child, and what it can do.

I believe that a baby playing with a rattle and an adult reading a novel are both engaged in pattern prediction and for the same reasons; brains crave a combination of expectation and surprise.

The baby shaking the rattle doesn't know exactly what will happen, but she has an idea of what will happen and the result delights her. As she goes through the sequence of muscle movement, visual effect, and sound, her brain adapts, rewiring itself to better-coordinated hearing, movement, and vision. It's fun and feels good because it's what the brain needs. When the child gets older, she loses interest in rattles or her interest in them changes. She might move on to exploring rhythm. At this time, her brain has already made the changes and no longer craves the simple pattern of rattle-shaking.

Young brains crave easily predicted patterns. Children are usually picky eaters, liking foods with simple textures and flavors. A baby may like basic rice-cereal but, as a toddler, moves on to various dry cereals or to plain pasta. Children are generally interested in basic flavors--sweet or salty--and like predictable shapes and textures. Good luck trying to convince a toddler that a broken cheese-flavored cracker tastes the same as a whole cheese-flavored cracker.
Children generally dislike complex textures such the texture of broccoli. The buds on broccoli make for texture which is difficult for a developing brain to decode. The texture doesn't make sense.

As a child I preferred my spaghetti sauce to be served separately from my noodles, "next to" not "on top of." The meat as it browned smelled delicious, but when the ingredients were put together, I couldn't taste either the meat or the noodles. Hash still tastes this way to me. I also pulled appart sandwiches, eating baloney separate from bread. I'd lick the frosting off cupcakes before eating the cake. These preparations simplify the flavors of food. Now we call this type of preparation food "deconstruction." Apparently it's the hot new trend in cooking, but children have done it since time immemorial.

As an adult I detest plain noodles. They're just too boring. I don't eat cake unless it's got something unusual-- fresh fruit, mocha filling--or I'm hungry and it's the only food available. I want something interesting on top of my noodles maybe some anchovies or some capers. Definitely some garlic. Maybe fresh garlic sautéed in olive oil until it just starts to caramelize. My brain already knows the taste of noodles. There is nothing else to be learned from eating bland pasta. It wants combinations of flavors and textures: bitter and sweet with smooth. Salty and sour with crunchy.

For the brain to make sense of sensations--hmm similar words--it has to encounter the same pattern repeatedly. The brain will seek to repeat the pattern until the activity becomes boring. How often it needs to encounter a pattern varies from individual to individual. A person who has autism needs to encounter the same pattern many more times than does a person with a typical brain. But whose brain is typical anyway?

I only read one Nancy Drew mystery before I became bored with it. Yet I'm still fascinated by Rudyard Kipling's Elephant's Child. The line "The great gray-green greasy Limpopo River all set about with fever-trees," still tastes good to my brain.

In writing novels I'm attempting to feed the brain a really tasty pattern. I've got to get the mix between expectation and surprise just right. If it's too unusual the story tastes like hash. If it's too predictable it's boring. The same mix won't work for every reader because of variation in individual brains.

Enjoyment of food and of novels isn't entirely alike. Food must feed both the body and the brain. If nothing else is available I'll eat plain noodles, eat them without complaining. But if a novel fails to fulfill the cravings of my brain, I will stop reading.

As a writer, I have a dilemma. Should I limit my writing to simple easily understandable patterns, the equivalent of plain noodles, or should I write patterns which take more sophistication to understand? The blockbuster model of publishing says write plain noodles, make the story understandable to nearly everyone. But that leaves an entire range of readers starving. Simplistic writing isn't adequate to their needs. It's not adequate for my needs as a writer.

I believe if I trying to write plain noodles I should do it with pride, but when I'm driven to write pasta with puttanesca sauce I shouldn't forego the anchovies and capers.

There are those who insist that fiction must follow similar restrictive and arbitrary rules, similar to saying spaghetti can only have marinara sauce. These rules are basically codified personal taste, similar to an autistic toddler announcing that broccoli is yucky and throwing it across the room. Many adults also dislike broccoli, but it's not the fault of the farmer who raised the broccoli, the cook who prepared it, or even of Mother Nature who packed it with vitamins, nutrition, fiber, color, and all that. Broccoli isn't inherently yucky. It's a matter of personal taste, meaning it’s a matter if neurological development.

What can I say to them when they gag on my offering? Yes, people do gag when they expect one flavor and get another. This doesn't indicate that, for example, puttanesca sauce is poorly made. It merely has been tasted by a diner has never encountered red spaghetti sauce other than marinara, and that diner's brain isn't yet ready for that pattern of sensation.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Solar Flares, CME and Me

Lately I've been deep in research on solar flare activity and CMEs for a story I'm writing. Interestingly enough, on Valentine's Day the sun let loose its most powerful eruption in more than four years disrupting radio communications and generating concern around the world.

Wow! That's what I said upon hearing this news. When I decided to ask the question 'what if' for my third and final Forbidden story, AN ALIEN PRESENCE I wanted to know what would happen if the sun did go crazy and CME flare activity increased to the point of causing real harm to humans and other systems on a planet...

Stop by My Blog to read the entire post on my solar research. I'd love to hear your ideas  on this subject. I've also included a short excerpt from this latest Forbidden story, which is set on a orbiting space station.

Kaye Manro

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pelinas by our own Sandra Stixrude!


I just wanted to let everyone know that Anchorage book 4,  Pelinas - The Enemy Within was released on February 10 by Red Rose Publishing. This series is written by our very own Sandra Stixrude, that famed woman behind all the SFR tag parties here on the Brigade!

Now how'd we miss this?

Anyway I'm here to sing her praises and share her latest release with you. This is a fantastic series and I wouldn't want you to miss this latest book.

Here is the blurb for Pelinas - The Enemy Within

Starved and ill, Pelinas finds himself at the gates of Arhanna, the city of his father's enemies. He has no recollection of how he came there, though he recalls vividly his father disowning and exiling him. He finds a place to stand, he hopes, with the kind-hearted General Devar, who refuses to judge him by his family.

Roya Intalva, the only birth child of the formidable General Roke, returns from the Academy up north to take her rightful place in the Ktar's regiments only to find that all is not well at home. Her friend, Romenel, has taken on a new aide whom she does not trust, the troops are succumbing to a mysterious illness and her own father allows her to be assigned to the lowly infantry as their new Cadet.

Intrigue piles upon intrigue and when Duke Semis is kidnapped by the walking dead, it falls to a group of green Cadets, a prickly young Lieutenant and the haunted, guilt-ridden Pelinas to ride to the rescue and to unravel the dark secrets locked in Pelinas' mind.

Congratulations Sandra!
Bragaders be sure to check out  Pelinas as well as all the other fabulous books by Sandra Stixrude on her Website and at Red Rose Publishing.

Woohoo! Firefly News!

From Inside TV:

'Firefly' returning to cable; Fillion says he'll play Mal again--EXCLUSIVE

From BigShinyRobot:

Firefly Changes Owners; New Episodes Possible?

It's not quite the squeeable news the title suggests, but very exciting all the same.  Firely will be returning to the Science channel on March 6 in high definition with two episodes, followed by all the episodes--in the order they were intended--on following Sundays. Plus some "new material" including commentary by Dr. Michio Kaku on the science of Firefly. 

And be sure to read the article for Nathan Fillion's answers to questions posed by Inside TV.  (Yes!  He says "Yes.")

There have been many articles written in the past how Firefly got it right.  Using the premise that Earth was abandoned in the not-too-distant future for a nearby (relatively speaking) solar system with many planets and hundreds of moons, it avoided the common theoretical problems of "galloping around the universe" popular in most other SF fims and TV shows.  The characters speak a combination of English, Chinese (the other superpower of the age--totally within the realm of believability in our current society), with futuristic slang phrasing that's both entertaining and fresh.  (i.e. "You're starting to damage my calm.") The ships in the series also moved through space realistically--without sound and without aerodynamic effects such as banking and executing intricate maneuvers in a vacuum without the use of retros.

If you're one of the handful who missed it the first time (or via DVD), I highly recommend Firefly as a study for any SFR writer!

Come on, Brigaders.  Let's celebrate!  Ante up in the comments with your favorite Firefly scene, phrase, character or element.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday Tag Party for 2/17/11!

The Tag Party hangs its head in shame - or at least I do. I've been rather lax about the weekly Tagging soiree. No excuses.

So - some requests that came in over the last couple of w
eeks need to be honored (sorry, ladies, that it took so long!)

Here's the brief rundown 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.

On to our lovely Tagging targets:

The Tales of Abu Nuwas by Marva Dasef

Romance of My Dreams 2 featuring Pauline Baird Jones

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, please drop me a line at .

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Interesting market listings!

Cindi Myer's Market News. Actually some decent paying markets this week, one looking for SF. Though the short stories for apps looking interesting, too.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day and a Hearty Woot!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s a lucky day for my hubby. I woke up to some good news, so even if he forgets to get me a Valentine, he’s good.

First off, GIRL GONE NOVA won a Reviewer’s Choice Award here:

OUT OF TIME is up for Best Book of 2010 here: (if you feel inclined hop over and give me a vote so I won't look too lame!)

If you like FREE stuff, I’ve got five free shorts at All Romance eBooks.

And print editions of my LONESOME LAWMEN have released on Amazon and B&N! The best price is, of course, the digital bundle THE LONESOME LAWMEN TRILOGY and if you buy, be sure to pop over to and enter the contest to win a great prize bundle, including a Kindle! And speaking of Lonesome Lawmen, I’m having a release party here: with more prizes on the line! (2/14 only!)

I see my lonesome guys released on Fictionwise!

And I launched another contest at AuthorIsland:

Here’s hoping your Valentine’s is wonderful!

A Featured Guest We All Know

Today on my blog I'm featuring ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE an SFR novel by Heather Massey. The book is at Red Sage Publishing on early release now.

We all know Heather as the host and trusty leader of The Galaxy Express. And she is also a Brigade member.

Stop by My Blog to say hello and send Heather congrats and well wishes.

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Kaye Manro

Sunday, February 13, 2011

An Auspicious day...

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

And in keeping with the romantic theme of this auspicious day, I have a romance writer visiting my blog, well, actually, an erotic romance author!

She been there before, and she's one of our own SFRBrigaders - please come say hi to Maree Anderson (there's a very special give-away!)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Babes With Blades? Sounds like us! (Sort of!)

The feminist theatre company that celebrates women in fighting
roles is seeking scripts for production in Spring, 2012. Winner
receives $1,000. Seeking full-length (75-120 minutes) scripts
that include a depiction of the image "Erinyes" by artist
Victoria Szilagyi. Both all-female and mixed-gender casts will
be considered, but women must be in most/all primary roles and
most/all of the combat scenes. Electronic submissions strongly
preferred, but postal mail submissions will be considered.
Deadline: February 28, 2011.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Been a Bloggy Week Here!

I also blogged, but about adding humor to your writing at the Immortyl Revolution Blog. Here's the link.

I blogged world building info for my SFR series

I don't have a title for this series yet and plan to start the submission process soon. If you get an idea for the series title I'd sure like to hear it!

Melisse Aires

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Possible SFR Market

Crescent Moon Press publishes ebook and print editions of all sub-genres of paranormal and fantasy romance. The editors are open to submissions of urban fantasy, futuristic, steam-punk, science fiction, space opera, time travel — any kind of speculative romance, in both novel and novella lenths. Novels should be complete at 60,000 to 120,000 words, and novellas should be 20,000 to 40,000 words.  Acquistions Editor Heather Howland is also accepting submissions of young adult books in these same genres, with strong characters and compelling romances, for a new line to launch this year. Find the submissions guidelines here. And check out the interview with Ms. Howland here.  

What does Bond & SFR have in common?

Two great interviews! That's what!

The first involves a live, hot cover model and the other introduces us to one of our own SFRB members.

SFRBrigader Maree Anderson discovered the man on the cover of her latest release, FROM THE ASHES, wasn't a digitally created model but a real live guy.

She interviews Sam Bond, best known for his role as "Atlas" from the UK TV series Gladiators and what a fantastic read! Check it out - Interview with Sam Bond!

Who's That Girl? interview - A lady after my own heart drops in today.

She writes action-adventure SFR (dare I say her work reminds a little of me of Linnea Sinclair!), enjoys reading JRWard and loves going to conferences. She's published with Noble Romance.

Please come on over and say hi to Jess Anastasi.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Midnight's Shadow - Sara Brookes

Hey Brigaders! Just wanted to say that my new SF Romance just released from Liquid Silver Books and pass along the details. It's the second book in the Star Runner Saga and if you like lots of action, adventure, and general sci-fi goodness in a love story, this is the one for you.

Midnight's Shadow

It’s been months since the traumatic and life-altering events on Sulis. Wallace hasn’t been the same and Taran has spent her nights in an empty bed. When a stranger offers her the opportunity to pilot the extraordinary Spyridon—Taran refuses. There’s too much emotional turmoil in her life right now and the less complications, the better.

But Wallace has other ideas and seizes the opportunity without her knowledge. He deliberately sacrifices the one thing Taran loves unconditionally—Eidolon.

Now Taran finds herself captain of a starship that legend paints as haunted. Nothing is as it seems on a ship that appears to have a mind of its own. Forced to accept the consequences before her, Taran will have to put her faith in a man she doesn’t trust as she tries to win back the love of the man she does.

Midnight's Shadow is available for purchase here:

But, if you'd like to read a snippet from the first chapter, I've posted it below. Want to read the first chapter in its entirety? You can fly over to my site where I have it posted:

Chapter One
If Wallace didn’t kill us, I’d kill him myself.
Bright laser lights streaked across the screen and the ship rocked from the impact. I swore and tapped the helm controls in front of me before I grabbed the side of it as another blast shook the deck-plates beneath my feet. At this rate, we were going to either die in a hail of gunfire or shake to death.
Personally, I didn’t like either option as I’d done the whole at-death’s-doorstep bit already. Twice. Death didn’t suit me.
“Dammit, Wallace,” I said through gritted teeth. At this rate, someone would need to go check for any breaches in the hull. “Do something.”
The volume and ferocity of his swears matched, then surpassed mine as he fought with the main helm wheel. “I need more power.”
“I haven’t got any to give you.” Even as I said it, I started to bypass less critical systems and tried to find another tactic to use because I refused to crack into life support. The bridge lights flickered twice and we both made automatic adjustments to counter the power surge. “You’ve got three wicked pixies and four regular missiles, not to mention one fighter hot on your tail.”
“We’re going to go vertical on these sons o’ bitches,” he barked out. “See if we can’t loop around and take out the lone fighter first. Then we’ll deal with the rest.”
The choice of flight pattern was wrong and I gritted my teeth to keep from correcting him. The group of three was easier to deal with. If you were a good shot, you could get more than one fighter at a time and conserve any dwindling weapon supply. In a fight, that was always a good thing. To shoot wildly at a lone fighter was a waste of time, energy and resources–all things we already had in short supply.
Despite my reservations, I made the changes he requested and waited for further instructions. I wasn’t here to fly, only to teach and offer assistance, nothing more. Whatever I was supposed to do–it was damn hard to keep doing it.
As expected, the fighters adjusted accordingly for Wallace’s maneuver and we now had even bigger problems. “Enemy is making course corrections and firing weapons. Three fighters are incoming, port side, screaming like a virgin having her first orgasm.”
“Hang on.” Wallace jerked the controls to the right and I wrapped my hand around the left side of my control panel to keep myself in the seat as the ship tilted. The fighters made the same corrections and continued to arrow for us with deadly accuracy.
Wallace’s focus held firm on the helm in front of him. I seized the opportunity and quickly tapped a sequence into the computer with my thumb as discretely as I could. An alarm blared in response and I overrode it with a quick key combination to shut it down. Shit, I’d hoped to make the correction without setting off the alarm.
My cheeks heated as Wallace cut his eyes to me and his lips bowed down into a deep frown. “I don’t need your help. Change it back.”
I reversed the combination even before he finished his demand because I realized my mistake. He wanted to do this on his own, but I could only stand to watch him struggle for so long. Wallace was out to prove himself and my covert piloting flew in the face of that.
My fingers hovered over the panel in front of me and I studied the reports that quickly scrolled past. “I can divert forty percent of the gravity control system for you but that’s all I can manage. Anymore and I’ll start cutting into the life support. I don’t know about you, but I’m particularly fond of breathing.”
“What about the recirculation systems? Can you bypass it and re-route the life support that way?”
At his request, I studied the systems in front of me and felt the motion of the ship change as he made a course correction. We continued to barrel forward with the small IGP fighters still tailing us. “Some, but I don’t know how much it will help.”
“Do it,” he ordered firmly.
I nodded and started to make the changes, hopeful they’d make a difference. Midway through, the computer in front of me shut down completely and I slammed my hand down on it in frustration. The screen flickered once then went completely dead.
Harness straps clanked loudly against the back of the seat as I threw them off and pushed away from the dead console in order to sprint around Wallace to the starboard controls. I plopped down into the seat, ignored the restraints at the side as I keyed up the sequence he ordered. Within thirty seconds, it was entered and my finger hovered over the control in wait.
“Initiate it.”
The ship shook violently as he pulled back on the helm control to shoot vertical. Panic caused me to scramble to get the harness locked around my waist as I cursed myself for not engaging it earlier. The controls in front of me displayed the gravity of our situation.
“They’re still hot on our tail. Engines holding steady for the moment. I imagine not for long though,” I added through clenched teeth. I had my suspicions about what would happen next.
Something hit us on the port side and I examined the panel in front of me to see what happened as the ship bucked from the force. Another Calibur class fighter that hadn’t shown up on my scans hit the aft engines–which were on the brink of failure. I scowled and immediately started to re-route the systems in order to compensate but it didn’t seem to help. While I had a very skilled touch, it was geared more toward flying than efficiently compensating for damage.
Everything stilled around us, which was a bad sign. While it meant the impact had finished shuddering through the hull, the cessation of sound also meant the engines were completely gone.
“At least the shaking stopped,” I said wryly as my body went limp in defeat and my head came to rest on the controls. I’d gotten to be a real pro at the whole ‘crash a spaceship’ deal. Honestly, it was not something to excel in. You’d think I’d learn to avoid it by now, but that didn’t seem likely given my history and the current situation.
Wallace let loose a string of violent words that caused me to flinch and as I lifted my head, my eyes cut to the narrow opening just above the large screen in front of us. His tirade ceased and he shouted my name a few times in order to gain my attention.
I glanced his way and saw the tight set of his mouth and the shake in his shoulders as he tried to muscle the controls into submission. “Taran, some help would be nice.”
My hands lifted in defeat. Even I would have performed horribly under these same conditions. I didn’t have Wallace’s enhanced strength, but he didn’t have my ace flying skills.
I didn’t bother to keep the annoyance from my voice. “Your aft engines are damaged and gone. All you have are the two starboard thrusters and they’ll only spin us around in circles. There is nothing I can do. It’s all on you now.”
He growled in frustration and keyed in sequences with one hand while he continued to struggle with steering. Every combination was met with a low beep to indicate failure and I was fairly certain his teeth ground together in annoyance. I could have told him it was futile, but he obviously needed to figure it out on his own.
“Can you override these controls?”
“Wallace, this isn’t Eidolon.” Never had I missed my former ship so much. I knew her controls better than I knew myself. Thisunderused, underpowered piece of shit was not high in my knowledge base and despite the fact it looked like Eidolon, the two couldn’t be further apart. “The safety controls are still engaged and there’s nothing either you or I can do to override them.” I folded my arms across my chest as the screen turned a garish red color–the sign of a thorough kill.
Wallace threw the helm control forward as he pushed himself away from it. In contrast, I pushed away from the station I’d been sitting at as gently as possible, stood and slid my hands into the pocket of my pants. If nothing else, it would keep me from finding someone to throttle.
Wallace folded his hands behind his neck and blew out a heavy breath as he stared up at the overhead. My eyes cut to the small opening over the screen again and gave a slight nod because we were as good as dead. There was no need to rub salt in the wound. The dull red glow of the screen was enough. The replica of the bridge we stood on slowly faded and we now stood in a vast, empty room as the simulation program ended.
Wallace dropped his head forward and sighed heavily in frustration. From the set of his shoulders, it was easy to see that he was disappointed in himself. It was a feeling I understood all too well as I felt the same about myself.
Maybe I pushed too hard or maybe even not enough. To find the balance between backing off and encouragement was harder than I thought. As I watched the troubled man I loved, I began to second-guess my own abilities as a pilot.
The last thing he needed to hear was how I doubted myself. What he needed was some form of support in his abilities despite his recent failure.
“Wallace, it’s okay.” I walked around behind him and started to fold my hand over his shoulder. “Even I would have–” I stopped as he stepped away from my touch and walked out of the room without a glance in my direction.
The doors slid closed and I swore softly into the emptiness. My gaze fell on the high window that was the only solid feature of the room. With no flight training simulation programmed to run, I looked through the glass to the lone occupant of the room.

SFR Brigade Bases of Operation