Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Member, Janet Miller

We have a whole roster of new recruits this week! Our next new member to greet is, Janet Miller. Welcome, Janet, to the Brigade. 

Please tell us a little about yourself

I am Janet Miller, who also writes as Cricket Starr. Originally the Cricket Starr name was just for my erotic books but my Cerridwen titles were all made Cricket Starr back when Ellora’s Cave decided to move books from Cerridwen to an imprint of EC called blush. So some books are Cricket and are not erotic.
Yes, it is confusing. But there we are.
I’ve been writing for about a dozen years now and have 27 titles currently listed on my website of which 11 are science fiction romance. Which means it is one of my favorite genres to write in.
My day job is a software engineer and I also have a background as a medical researcher so I know a bit about science. When I was younger I loved reading Anne McCaffrey’s books like Restoree, which I know some people have argued is the first real Science Fiction Romance book.

We’d love to hear more about your book, Promises To Keep, book 1 of the Gaian series.

Promises to Keep is my first story in the Gaian series and essentially introduced the world I’d built. This also means that is it the book where I started making this world up and getting a handle on what it was and was not, and is thus the book I use for my story bible.
My tag line for Promises To Keep is “Mars Needs Women meets the Love Boat.” The Gaian men have kidnapped a group of Earth women on their way to find husbands in the Outer Colonies in order to make them their own wives. Gaian men are impotent until they find the right woman to attach to so they are highly motivated to take wives. That’s where the Mars Needs Women story line comes in.
The action takes place on “the Promise” which is the flagship of the Gaian military fleet, so that’s why I mention the Love Boat. Besides I though it sounded funny.
The planet Gaia was a colony of Earth before it staged its fight for independence, during which a lot of young women were killed when a girls school was deliberately destroyed by the Earth military. So there are all sorts of conflicts going on in the book, particularly between Doctor Sarah Johnson, who lost her best friend in the war, and the Gaian leader General Garran Doranth, who lost his wife and child when the school was destroyed. But that doesn’t stop Garran from attaching to Sarah and wooing her while masked.
I guess I won’t be spoiling anything if I say stuff does eventually get worked out. It is a romance after all. It is also pretty inexpensive since Amazon has it in Kindle format for $2.99!
There are three other published stories in the Gaian world, starting with Beloved Enemy, about a pair of fighter pilots on opposite sides of the war getting trapped on a planet together and having to work out their differences. That book was a Romantic Times Top Pick and nominee for their Reviewers Choice Award. A third book is Beloved Traveler, which is about a Gaian woman meeting the brother of the heroine in Beloved Enemy.
Then there is A Promise Made, a novella also about a pair of doctors at the beginning of the war, who meet and fall in love. That book gets its title from the fact it takes place on The Promise, just like Promises To Keep.

Would you like to share any upcoming projects ?

I’ve recently sold a new Gaian story to Samhain Publishing called Beloved Stranger. This book is the story of a young woman from the Outer Colonies who many years earlier had been kidnapped along with her sisters and taken to a Gaian prison/mining colony for an illegal marriage meet. Sonja got away but her sisters had ended up as wives. Now Sonja is back to rescue her sisters and is willing to do anything, including marrying a Gaian prisoner to find them.
Here is the blurb: Six years ago Sonja Deems had to leave her sisters behind when slavers forced them into the illegal Gaian marriage meets at the Ares Five Prison colony. Now she’s back to retrieve them and is willing to do anything, even marry one of the prisoners to get access to them. She figures she can get in and out on her own but doesn’t count on Roan Dumas being the man who attaches and marries her, a man who can scheme even better than she can but whose honor will make it difficult for her to leave him behind.
            I plan more books in the Gaian world and hope to make Samhain my home for them.

What do you like about writing SFR?

Well, I obviously love writing romance or I wouldn’t do it so much. But I also enjoy imagining what the world will be like in 50, 100, 500 years. I expect that there will still be men and women finding each other and falling in love, but on spaceships, or strange planets instead of on Earth.

What do you find challenging about it?

The most difficult part is keeping the believability. You don’t want the reader to get thrown out of the story by something that doesn’t make any sense. For example let’s suppose our hero wants to increase the light on his planet. If the author said “Let’s move the sun closer by tying a rope around it and pulling” I would not believe that was possible. You want to describe a future that is probable, not impossible, otherwise you are writing fantasy, not science fiction.

What is your favorite SF book or movie?

I have so many favorites it is hard to pick. But if you want just one, I’ll go with Wall-e. Outstanding beginning, best use of “show don’t tell” ever in an opening, and I’m a sucker for a love story with robots.

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

Well, remember what I said about a love story with robots? Actually I did write a story about that, Partners, which has synthetic people who end up asteroid mining together, as well as a lot of other stuff.
Seriously I’d want a robot that washes dishes. I mean all dishes, not just what a dishwasher does but the fragile stuff you can’t put into a dishwasher.

BIO: During the weekday Janet Miller, sometimes better known as Cricket Starr, is a mild-mannered software engineer who writes code and design documents. But at night and on weekends she turns to the creation of offbeat stories about imaginary pasts, presents, and futures, where ladies become warriors, or go to the stars to find love, and a man really can save a struggling software company.
But no matter when the story happens, or where the hero or heroine is, there will always be adventure, humor, and meaning to the tale. 
Her writing has won her multiple awards, recommended reads, stars, unicorns, and hearts and even a couple of trophies that look really good on her bookshelf next to her printed books.
See more at her website: http://www.cricketstarr.com
Book summary:
In the distant future, with Earth near barren and men willing to commit to marriage almost non-existent, a group of young women leave to find husbands in the Outer Colonies. On their way they're hijacked by men from a rebel planet called Gaia.
Gaian men can only make love to a woman they match and Dr. Sarah Johnson turns out to be the match for the most hated Gaian of all, General Garran Doranth. To keep their promises, these two must look beyond what they think they know and learn to trust what they feel for each other.

Buy link for $2.99:



  1. Welcome aboard! Fun interview!!!

  2. Woot, Janet! Always a pleasure to hear about your worlds. (And you seem so NORMAL in person...) ::ducks and runs::

    :-) ~Linnea

  3. Welcome aboard! Those look like some fun books. I look forward to adding them to my TBR pile. :o)

  4. Yahoo! Another Gaian story is coming! I reread those stories a lot because they are fun and make me feel good. Can't wait for it!

  5. Welcome Janet! It's good to see you here at SFRB!

  6. Welcome to the Brigade, Janet. Glad to learn a little more about you. Your series sounds intriguing. I'm going to follow the link over to Amazon right now.

  7. Welcome to the Brigade and many happy sales! I've got one of your books in my virtual TBR pile right now. Must rectify that unread story very soon!


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