Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Dark Secrets of Logan Stark – Anti-Heroes in SFR

by Cathryn Cade

Everyone loves a secret—especially when it comes to heroes.

The moment I learn a romance hero has a dark past, I want to know what tortures him. Especially if it's damaged him in some way. What molded him, twisted him into the man he is? And how can I (the heroine) save him??

If he has become an anti-hero (read alpha-hole) because of his past, I want to know why. And it had better be good! ‘Cause if he’s just a jerk … there’s no cure for that.

Luckily for us, there are so many ways to turn a sci fi hero dark and yet sympathetic.

Roarke in J.D. Robb’s IN DEATH series, rose from the absolute bottom of the gutter, to become the clandestine ruler of the underbelly of a futuristic NY City. Only his love for a stubborn cop might convince him to go straight.

Assassin Eril Morav in Jessa Slade’s SHEERSPACE series. This man has been brainwashed into believing he exists only to destroy rebels. Will he kill cyborg warrior Shaxi, or save her?

Rees in Allyson James’ TALES OF THE SHAREEM. Created to be an enhanced gigolo on a planet of women, this incredible male is willing to kill to escape—until he meets his heroine and decides he’d rather please her and then murder her.

Whoa, these men all have very good reason for their dark ways, and they’ll take us on a hard chase before we discover whether they have that essential spark of nobility deep inside.

Logan Stark, the hero of my LodeStar smexy sci fi futuristic romance series, is an anti-hero. He's a wealthy man, with employees at his beck and call across the galaxy. He owns factories, a fleet of new space cruise ships, and interests in exploratory industry on the new planet of Frontiera, including a mine full of precious irridium ore. He has people who do what it takes with savvy, experience and the latest tech.

He's also secretive, emotionally closed off, and manipulative, moving people around like holovid chess pieces. And when he feels betrayed, watch out! He does not forget or forgive easily.

How did Stark come to be this way? Why is he so obsessive with providing his two younger brothers with everything they need for happiness, while remaining aloof himself? Can he extend this protection and care to a woman? Or will she become just another acquisition, another mark that he’s a success?

Find out in Stark Pleasure; the Space Magnate’s Mistress, Book 1 of The LodeStar Series, FREE on all online sales outlets!

And I KNOW you have a favorite dark SFR hero of your own! Who is he, and why do you love him so? Let us all know, won’t you?

Cathryn Cade

Best-selling author of sci fi romance

RT 4.5 Stars and Night Owl Reviews TOP PICK

... it's hot in space, red hot!

And sign up for My Newsletter for a chance to win goodies!


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

World Building – the Pantser Way

by Diane Burton

In any genre, the world our characters inhabit add a richness to our stories. In contemporary stories, we can visit the world, or perhaps we live in a similar village, town, or city. In science fiction, we have all kinds of possibilities. We can decide everything about our world. The type of government that rules, religion, vehicles, food, creatures, climate, employment, day-to-day activities. The galaxy is our playground.

Our methods of determining our worlds are as diverse as our writing methods. Those writers who are plotters will set up their world first. Just as they outline their plot and do detailed analyses of their characters, they will write out all aspects of their world before ever writing a word of their story.

Pantsers have a different way of setting up their worlds. Since I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, I determine my world as I go. As with any details, I must keep track, especially if I’m writing a series. As the series progresses, my imaginary world expands. I may start out with a vague idea of the culture, but I’ll keep adding details as the story demands. I’m sure to a dyed-in-the-wool plotter my methods seem haphazard or random. But it works for me.

Whether your world evolves along with your characters or is fully fleshed out before you write “Chapter One,” make sure you are consistent. Decide the rules. Make sure your characters abide by those rules or have a darn good reason for breaking them.

In my upcoming science fiction romance, The Protector, I already established the culture in two previous books—a central government with representatives from several planets and that area beyond the reach of that government, the Outer Rim. I modeled my world after the frontier in 19th century America. The colonies are still pretty wild with people who want to get away from the “civilized” world and want to be left alone. Then I threw in a gangster who capitalizes on the lack of law enforcement. The conflict possibilities are endless. In each of my Outer Rim novels, a strong woman foils the gangster’s plot to rule the galaxy.

Here’s the blurb for The Protector:

After tavern owner Rissa Dix rescues two girls from a slave ship, she must rally the townsfolk to prevent traffickers from raiding the frontier colony. She’s met with apathy and disbelief. Because she lost her own baby to traffickers, she’s determined that no other mother will suffer the same heartache. Industrialist heir Dillan Rusteran aids her in rescuing more children. Little do they know they’re about to tangle with a trafficking ring that puts Rissa in danger. Dillan’s loved her for ten years despite her claim she’s too old for him. As they fight the traffickers, will she finally see him in a new light?

The Protector will be released this summer.


Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and The Case of the Bygone Brother, a PI mystery. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

Connect with Diane Burton online

Sign up for Diane’s new release alert: http://eepurl.com/bdHtYf

Note: The views expressed are solely those of the author, Diane Burton, and not the SFR Brigade.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Smart Girls Love Scifi Romance are having a party to celebrate their 5th anniversary, with featured authors and giveaways. Pop along and join the fun!

From Charlee Allden: This event will be more than just the raffles, there will also be interactive posts where readers can participate. The biggest one will be an opportunity for readers to nominate and then vote on their favorite SFR Hero. Nominations will happen on the blog’s facebook page starting now through the weekend and the poll will go up on Monday so they can vote.  The Facebook Page:https://www.facebook.com/SMGLSFRblog 

Author Feature Dates

July 16 - Catherine Spangler
July  17 - Veronica Scott & Jackie Rhoades
July 18 - Pauline Baird Jones & Heather Massey
July 19 - Pippa Jay & Lyn Brittan
July 20 - KS 'Kaz' Augustin  & Corrina Lawson
July 21 - Laurie Green & Misa Buckly
July 22 - Donna Frelick & JA Kenny
July 23 - Melisse Aires


Raffle info

All books are ebooks and all times are Eastern Time Zone.

Raffle A: Now and Later Pack

6 books, $5 Amazon gift card, and  a SGL SFR mug!
Closes Thursday, July 23 10PM
Announced Friday, July 24 8AM  
Charlee Allden: Now: $20 GC to Amazon Later: SGL SFR Coffee Mug
Jackie Rhoades: Roark by Jacqueline Rhoades
Catherine Spangler: Choice of any one book by Catherine Spangler
Laurie Green: Inherit the Stars by Laurie Green
Donna Frelick: Unchained Memory by Donna Frelick plus $5 GC to Amazon
Melisse Aires: Alien Blood, by Melisse Aires

Raffle B: SFR Variety Pack

6 books that span the genre + 10 Gift Card to either Amazon or B&N!
Closes Tuesday, July 21 Midnight
Announced Wednesday, July 22 8AM  
Jackie Rhoades: Roark by Jacqueline Rhoades
KS 'Kaz' Augustin: RESTORATION by KS Augustin
Catherine Spangler: Choice of any one book by Catherine Spangler
Lyn Brittan: The Clocks of London
Corrina Lawson: The Curse of the Brimstone Contract by Corrina Lawson and a $10 GC to Amazon or B&N. 
Melisse Aires:   Alien Blood by Melisse Aires

Raffle C – SFR Smorgasbord Pack

Includes 10 books by 8 authors!
Closes Sunday, July 19 Midnight
Announced Wednesday, July 20 8AM  
Jackie Rhoades: Roark by Jacqueline Rhoades
Veronica Scott: Star Cruise: Marooned + Mission to Mahjundar by Veronica Scott
Catherine Spangler:  Choice of any one book by Catherine Spangler
Pauline Baird Jones: Core Punch and Sucker Punch (July 20th) by Pauline Baird Jones
Lyn Brittan: Anja’s Star by Lyn Brittan
Laurie Green: Inherit the Stars by Laurie Green
Pippa Jay: Keir by Pippa Jay
Melisse Aires: Alien Blood by Melisse Aires

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Future of Time

by Wendy Lynn Clark

Captain’s log - Stardate 1507.14
By Cormullion (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
If you are a world traveler, there’s nothing worse than accidentally calling up your loved ones in the middle of the night. They just can’t be as interested in your weird lunch of barbecued octopus eyeballs at 3am. Faster-than-light travel amongst the stars will only compound this problem. If you are trying to coordinate an attack on a death star, how do you make sure everyone shows up before the attack and not a week after?
Science fiction has dealt with this problem for some time. The main character of recent sf best-seller The Martian experienced a day, week, and year of a different length on Mars, and had to calculate the difference. He essentially had one clock set to Earth time and one clock set to Martian time.

For calculation purposes, our current system of time measurement isn’t very intuitive. Called sexagesimal because it is based on the number 60, it originated with the Sumerians almost five thousand years ago. Others have proposed we move to metric time. Used by Joan and Vernor Vinge (among others) in their sf novels, it is a form of decimal time based on the number ten. The metric system divides a day into seconds, and you talk about the hours in terms of killaseconds and gigaseconds. (The “seconds” designation is arbitrary and you could label your unit of time anything . See some fun units of measure such as the “Kardashian” or the “MegaFonzie” on this humorous units of measure Wikipedia page.)

The advantage of a decimal time system is that if you know it is 5 o’clock, the day is 50% over. It’s easy to understand and convert. Some have suggested the Star Trek stardate is a form of decimal time.

After you have an agreed unit of measure, how do you determine the length of a day? After all, a “day” on Jupiter is only 9 hours long, while a “day” on Mercury is 58 days. (And technically, a sidereal “day” on Earth is only 23 hours and 56 minutes, but the sun moves in relation to us during the same period, so we use a solar day of 24 hours.)

In the science fiction future, which planet’s clock will become our “Greenwich Mean Time”? Or will we use a planet at all?

Every author must come up with their own solution.

In my android assassin novel Liberation’s Kiss, I use three kinds of clocks: local time, an “Old Empire” time on which extra-planetary commerce and communications were based, and a new corporate time that the conquerors are flooding across the universe. This is much the way that conquering languages and customs take over now.
From Liberation’s Kiss ~

Cressida passed the rest of the day enclosed in her own thoughts. True to his word, Xan remained out of sight. By the time the second half of a Liberation VI “day” — the hours of tangerine sun plus more hours of intense green planetshine from the gas giant and its three largest moons — faded into true darkness, she had a taste of the future she had predicted to Xan.

It tasted like a single meal, consumed alone at a bar, while the solitary night wind howled past.

She put away her utensils, climbed the stairs to the second floor, and stood in the terrace doorway, staring out into the darkness.

In the glassed cities, the starlight was allowed to filter through naturally to create a twenty-three-and-a-half-hour local day. Soon the Nar would rewire all of the cities to the twenty-five-hour New Empire standard, and no one would see these views but tourists.

But tonight, the vast star-spatter looked just that. Not poetic, the way her calligraphy described it. But vast and frighteningly empty.

Well, readers, what time systems to you enjoy in your science fiction? If the International Telecommunications Union asked you to define a unit of time (ex. a New York Minute, a Jiffy) what would you call it?

What would you think about a future with decimal time?

About the Author

Wendy Lynn Clark is an award-winning author of contemporary and science fiction romance. Find out more by visiting her online home at http://wendylynnclark.com.

Note: The views expressed are solely those of the author, Wendy Lynn Clark, and not the SFR Brigade.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The SFR Brigade Summer Cafe - Space Opera 2 winner

The final week of the SFR Brigade Summer Cafe has ended, and we have our winner. The Space Opera 2 bundle was won by:

Eva Millien

Congrats and enjoy your prize!

And that's the end of the Summer Cafe. We hope you all enjoyed our serving of SciFi romance, and thank you for joining us.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What Is the Question?

I read an interesting statistic recently – that children ask an average of 144 questions a day. That sounds about right, since many times with a young child especially, the first Q&A only brings on more questions.

To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science. Albert Einstein

We authors might not be young children (any prodigies out there in the Brigade?) or Einstein, but I bet all of us ask more questions than the average adult. If we didn’t, there’d be a severe shortage of science fiction romance to enjoy! I’m not in any way a structured writer – I use no tools, not even a spreadsheet, I don’t outline, I don’t work with Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat system of plotting – but I do ask questions. I know some people go very VERY indepth when getting ready to write a novel, ‘asking’ their characters all kinds of questions from his/her childhood pet’s name to what’s their favorite color, create elaborate bios…I sincerely applaud you if that’s one of your tools. I figure out the hair color and the eye color and then I’m off, seat-of-the-pantsing. All things about my hero and heroine come to me as I write. In my latest, Star Cruise: Marooned, I discovered my heroine had brothers and they’d abandoned her in the woods one day when playing hide-n-seek. I didn’t know this until the plot called for the hero (and me) to have an explanation for why she’s terrified of storms at night in the forest.

Dreams are today's answers to tomorrow's questions. Edgar Cayce

Getting back to questions though, my novels usually start with me asking one (or two) big questions, usually “What if…” What if the Titanic was an event in outer space? What if my heroine was caught in an uprising like the 1857 Sepoy Rebellion but on an alien planet in the far future? What if a luxury cruise liner puts its passengers ashore on a nature reserve planet for four hours of fun but then the crew abandons them? What if indeed…

A good book always keeps you asking questions, and makes you keep turning pages so you can find out the answers. Rick Riordan

The answers you get from literature depend on the questions you pose. Margaret Atwood

I am just a child who has never grown up. I still keep asking these 'how' and 'why' questions. Occasionally, I find an answer. Stephen Hawking

So, what questions do you ask when you start plotting a new book?

Meg Antille works long hours on the charter cruise ship Far Horizon so she can send credits home to her family. Working hard to earn a promotion to a better post (and better pay), Meg has no time for romance.

Former Special Forces soldier Red Thomsill only took the berth on the Far Horizon in hopes of getting to know Meg better, but so far she’s kept him at a polite distance. A scheduled stopover on the idyllic beach of a nature preserve planet may be his last chance to impress the girl.

But when one of the passengers is attacked by a wild animal it becomes clear that conditions on the lushly forested Dantaralon aren’t as advertised – the ranger station is deserted, the defensive perimeter is down…and then the Far Horizon’s shuttle abruptly leaves without any of them.

Marooned on the dangerous outback world, romance is the least of their concerns, and yet Meg and Red cannot help being drawn to each other once they see how well they work together. But can they survive long enough to see their romance through? Or will the wild alien planet defeat them, ending their romance and their lives before anything can really begin?

Amazon     iBooks     Kobo     Barnes & Noble

Amazon best-seller Veronica Scott is a three-time recipient of the SFR Galaxy Award, is the USA Today/HEA SciFi Encounters columnist, and has written a number of science-fiction and fantasy romances. You can find out more about her and her books at https://veronicascott.wordpress.com/

Monday, July 6, 2015

The SFR Brigade Summer Cafe - Space Opera 2 #spaceopera #scifirom #giveaway

It's Week Six of the SFR Brigade Summer Cafe and our last, and we're serving up the second menu of Space Opera for your enjoyment! In the menu card you'll find our first servings of SFR: starters are shorter length stories, the main courses provide something more substantial, and desserts give you a sweeter finish. You'll also find this week's prize bundle listed under extras, and all the prizes on offer are to the same theme of space opera. One winner will be chosen by rafflecopter at the end of the week (and the rafflecopter only appears on the participating blogs).

To visit the participants in the Space Opera 2 menu, simply click on one of the blogs below and show your appreciation at each with a little comment love if you could. Who knows, it might win you some extra goodies too!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Hot Off The Press: Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly #7

Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly #7 is now out! Here's a sampling of what you can discover among this stuffed-to-the-gills bumper issue--a whopping 98 pages of SFR fun!

"SFR and the Hugo Awards" by guest columnist Cora Buhlert

* Free sci-fi romance short: "Old School Sensibilities" by Christine Tang-Bernas

* "Are Alien Abduction Trope Mash-ups on the Rise?" by Charlee Allden

* "On "Kick-Ass" Heroines" by KS Augustin

* "On Being an SFR Prospector" by Heather Massey (that's me!)

* book reviews, Ian Sales' Mistressworks, sneak peaks, and more!

Head on over to our sparkly new site and download your free copy of Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly #7!

Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly is brought to you by KS Augustin, Diane Dooley, and Heather Massey. Happy reading!

The SFR Brigade Summer Cafe - Supernova winner

The fifth week of the SFR Brigade Summer Cafe has ended, and we have our winner. The Supernova Hot bundle was won by:

Mary Preston

Congrats and enjoy your prize! Tomorrow sees the start of week six, and our final serving - Space Opera 2!

SFR Brigade Bases of Operation