Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Time and Again... why time travel intrigues us

It's fitting that the day CONVERGENCE POINT released noted physicist Dr. Michio Kaku shared a video about déjà vu and the multiverse. He talks about multiverses being in phase... convergence points of time. Even science can't let go of the theory that there could be more than one reality, more than one iteration of time.

And, if there are other timelines, wouldn't the most natural thing in the world be the quest to cross between them?

Human beings are explorers. We can't look at a sea without wanting cross it. We can't see a star and not reach for it. It's not in our genes to sit still.

Part of this quest for time travel is driven by doubt. We want to believe we did the right thing, made the best choice, and here is the multiverse whispering seductively, "Come and see what would have happened if..."

We've hundreds of books, and dozens of movies all focused on this idea. WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF YOU MADE A DIFFERENT CHOICE?

Time travel is terrifying for the exactly the same reason. What if a different choice would have been better? Sometimes we just want to pretend that our choices are meaningless - everything is fate - because it means we aren't responsible for what happened.

We were innocent bystanders. Flotsam in the stream of time. Victims of circumstance... It's a thought process that makes dealing with choices so much easier.

That's why we can't stop poking at the idea. We all want to know what would happen IF. We all want that sneak peek, or a chance to right a wrong, or the chance to "make everything right" even though no one can agree on what RIGHT is.

In CONVERGENCE POINT I play with the idea of three intersecting timelines that cross, warping each other and change their futures in the process. The main character has to struggle with what to do when she finds a killer who has traveled back in time to before he makes his first kill.

What would you do? 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

SFRB Recommends 46: On Writing by Stephen King #writing #craft #memoir

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

The first section of this book is a memoir that recounts King's early life and experiences with books, and how they shaped his work. The rest of it is common-sense craft and encouragement. King's 'pantsing' approach may not work for everybody, but the rest of the advice applies to a broad audience. I haven't read much King myself, and you don't need to have done so to get a lot out of this book.

The most eye-opening part for me is a first draft he shares with us and how he revises it. He shares his reasons for the changes, unafraid to show us that even an experienced writer's first draft needs plenty of work.

If you're leery of investing in yet another book about writing, On Writing is widely available at libraries. King has done PSAs about using your library, so I think he'd approve!

Author site: Welcome to

Recommendation by Lee Koven.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fun ways to Weave Sci fi into your Paranormal Tales

by Sam Cheever

One of the best things about the birth and explosion of Indie Publishing is the ability to gender mash. I’m the queen of gender mashing. So much so that I probably never would have gotten traditionally published if I’d continued to try. And one of my very favorite mashes is the combination of adventure, sci fi (futuristic and space opera-ish), romance and paranormal fiction. To my way of thinking, this particular mix has it all and it’s as much fun to write as it is to read. So how in the world (or out of it) does one accomplish this meshing of paranormal and sci-fi? Here’s how I’ve done it:

In the gay Bloodhound bounty hunter series I write as Declan Sands, the main characters are all shifters that originated from other planets and other galaxies. These characters aren’t simply magical creatures of the Earth. They’re magical creatures whose magic is borne of differences between their planets and ours. My main characters (Bloodhound shifters) are from the planet Eninac, which is a planet of dog shifters. Secondary characters include a snake shifter (he’s a ton of fun!) a Hell-hound shifter, and an Earth Fairy. The books are a mix of battles fought on Earth and in outer space, which gives me a wide range of fun world building opportunities.

In my Apocalyptic series, written as Sam Cheever, I’ve meshed time travel, a post-apocalyptic world with zombies, witches and warlocks, adventure, romance and sci fi (yeah, that would go over well in New York. LOL) The main characters themselves are mostly not alien, but they’re able to time travel to the future and utilize tech that allows them to travel between planets and galaxies.

My Sangui: Alphas of the Blood series is based on a race of vampires from another planet/galaxy, who relocate to Earth because their planet is dying. While most of the first book in the series is based on Earth, with the vamps trying to learn their way around in a world that is amusingly confusing to them, the second book took them back to their home planet in a rescue operation.

My recently re-released, Bedeviled & Beyond series incorporates other planets and their inhabitants as secondary characters, each planetary representative having different personalities, physical attributes and cultural oddities. It’s a fun way to flesh out your character list while creating a deep, richly detailed world that is unending in its surprises and delights.

These are just a few ways to intermingle paranormal and sci fi into one great story. I’m sure many of you have used others. However, if you’re a purist and have never mixed any other sub-genre with your sci fi, you might want to tuck the idea away in the back of your brain. In case you get a wild hair someday and yearn to branch out!

The views expressed in this blog post are solely those of Sam Cheever and not the SFR Brigade.  

She’s on the side of good in the war between good and evil, but there’s this one bad guy…

Astra Q Phelps is on the side of the good guys in the war between good and evil. Unfortunately for her, the bad guys have been making inroads on her soul. And when a particularly dark and sexy dark worlder fixes his heated gaze on Astra, the lighter side of her nature quickly finds itself kicked to the curb by her slut-monkey side. But Astra doesn't have time to deal with her love life. She's in the middle of a war between two dark factions...a war that just might mean the end of the human population...and it seems the fate of the world rests uneasily on her shoulders. It's a lot of pressure to put on one feisty halfling...but Astra Q Phelps is definitely...erm...certainly...ahh...possibly up to the challenge.

Currently on sale for only $0.99 – FREE if you’re on Kindle Unlimited!

Website page with excerpt:

Author Bio


USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy/sci fi and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

If you haven't already connected, Sam would love it if you Liked/Followed her wherever you enjoy hanging out online. Here are her online haunts:

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Creating The City State of Velli

by Shona Husk

Desire to Fall takes place in the city state of Velli on an alien world. There is nothing quite like a shiny new planet to build on. But I don’t build first and plot second. I plot and build and make the characters all at the same time during my pre-writing phase. I like to call it organic world building. Others might not be so kind if they saw my note books…yeah I plot and build with pen and paper. I then have to stick tabs on the side of the pages so that I can find important details fast.

When I started planning this book I knew 2 things:
The women had wings and the men didn’t.
Ménages were biologically necessary.

Those two things would direct my world building as I had to answer why and how those things worked. How did men and women get together if they didn’t occupy the same habitat (I might have gone a bit overboard and delved into the pre-history of my aliens back to when they were hunter gatherers). If the women have wings they aren’t even occupying the same evolutionary niche as the men.

Is my science background showing? Maybe just a little

So my tribes of women would swoop down and grab a man…the men in return would hunt down a women…but women are dangerous and conception needs blood (something in the blood triggers ovulation). No sensible man would get with a woman on his own.

Biology and back ground established my next big decision was how advanced do I make my people?

The story I wanted to tell was about the upheaval surrounding a major engineering project (oh dear now my engineering background is showing.) So I gave them a level of technology about the same us….only different because they wouldn’t have invented everything that we have because their biology is different.

Why invent cars, when half your population flies?

Gun powder never happened so there are no guns.

With a population that is fairly stable (given the complexity of breeding) their world is very different.

When world building it’s also important to look at what the taboos and crimes are. How have they effected civilization? Wing clipping became very important, as did the flip side of the trafficking in male blood.

While I did give them a religion it doesn’t play a huge part in the story. A bigger issue the way they form breeding bonds and marry. There are rules in place for what is acceptable. Of course my characters went the unconventional way.

The world I created for Desire to Fall has become my biggest world to date. Everything from sports games to fad foods to music. The things we enjoy in our lives they also had to have.

I never realized when I started how big it would get—and as with most world building I have pages and pages while the reader gets just a taste—but without putting in the effort to really know my world the story wouldn’t have been nearly as exciting.

***Views expressed are solely those of Shona Husk and not the SFR Brigade***

Desire to Fall

Kya Hawl is an architect on the Precinct One redevelopment, a prestigious and contentious project in the city-state of Velli. While she is happy with her part-time female lover, Judge Elmi Chadee, she wants more. She wants a family and children, for that she needs two men willing to put their life on the line to breed.

Tref Xant and his partner Dru Macon seem like the right guys; however, Tref has secrets and Dru is about to deploy to Precinct One, one of the roughest precincts in Velli. The redevelopment can’t come soon enough. Tref would like to see the place burned to the ground. But even that wouldn’t be able to erase his memories of growing up there.

With Dru away Tref finds himself falling for Kya. Jealousy sparks between the men. A triad can never form as Dru wants Elmi and she has sworn off unions after her sister ran away to join the Terrin Sect.

As riots erupt and the redevelopment is threatened Dru realizes he has to fight for what he wants--something Tref learned long time ago. A four-way union--while unusual--would work. But will the women agree when they learn of Tref’s past?

About the author:

SHONA HUSK is the author of the Shadowlands, Court of Annwyn and the Face the Music series. You can find out more information about Shona at or follow her on Twitter @ShonaHusk, Facebook or join her newsletter:

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Moons, Alien Invasions, and Blue Men #fullmoonblogtour #SFRAlienInvasion #giveaway

There are a couple of fun SFR events being held this weekend, and another finishing that you might like to take a look at.

Firstly it's the last day of the Broad Universe's Full Moon Blog Tour. There are three main prizes of gift cards, and the book bundle include SF and SFR titles. #fullmoonblogtour

Secondly, there's a fun scifi romance event being held at Allie Ritch's blog this weekend - the aliens are invading! Go HERE to read snippets from a range of SFR titles featuring a variety of different aliens for your pleasure. #SFRAlienInvasion

And lastly, Liza O'Connor is running an Earth Girls Love Blue Men giveaway event at her blog HERE from tomorrow. There will be a 'guess which quote belongs to which title' contest, and all the books featured have blue heroes. (Please note, this starts on the 8th).


Friday, November 6, 2015


She couldn’t get him out of her mind—
and that’s when the trouble started.

FBI Special Agent Alana Matheson is good at her job, despite a past that would make even a seasoned agent cringe. She has no time for the outside help the victim’s family has brought in on a kidnapping case, no matter how good looking he is.

But galactic tracker Gabriel Cruz is no ordinary private investigator, and the skills he brings to the job will save both their lives. Because Lana and Gabriel are not the only ones seeking an unusual little boy and his mother. Their rivals in the chase are not of this world, and only an alliance built on the bonds of love can ensure that Lana and Gabriel beat the alien hunters to their prey.

The second in Donna S. Frelick's Interstellar Rescue series, Trouble in Mind, launches February 16, 2016. The science fiction suspense romance is a sexy, romantic thriller full of alien bad guys and unexpected allies. You can pre-order your copy from Amazon starting November 17. But if you can't wait that long, COMMENT below or on Donna's Facebook page for a chance to win an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of the book!


The teacher turned to him, a glint in his gray eyes.  “I say we owe the galaxy a civilized Thrane to make up for the butcher that is his father.  What is your name, boy?”

“Gabriel Cruz, sir.  And I am human, not Thrane.”

Lana sat bolt upright in the unmoving vehicle, her eyes seeking light, her lungs gasping for breath in the airless void of night.  The child that Gabriel had been had stood up for the part of him that was human, but Lana saw what the others that day had seen—part of him was not of this Earth.  His father was Thrane, his brothers were Thrane, and his memories in her mind showed her everything that meant—the cruelty, the conquests, the centuries of war.  The bloodlines, the psi talents, the laws that held them in check.

Then, more proof, if any had been necessary:  the image she had first seen when she’d touched his scars, of the fight on the dark side of Azreeni VI.  Just one of so many fights on so many exotic planets, the creature dying beneath him just one of so many other unimaginable, inhuman creatures he had seen in his lifetime.  Image after image, place after place, memory after memory flooded her consciousness until she was shaking and weak.  Was she crazy or was he?  Aliens?  Other planets?

And . . . holy mother of God, she had . . .

She clawed open the car door and stumbled out of the vehicle.  It was all she could do to keep her feet—and the contents of her stomach—as she gulped in huge breaths of cold desert air.  They were pulled just off a secondary road onto a flat stretch of hardpan, and she was alone.  Stars wheeled overhead.  God, it was quiet!  Her heart was like thunder in her chest.

A flashlight winked a few paces away and began to bob in her direction.  “Lana?”

Oh, Jesus!  She wanted to run.  She wanted to fight.  She wanted to do anything but talk to Gabriel Cruz.  Who wasn’t human.

Donna S. Frelick is a charter member of the SFR Brigade. The first book in her Interstellar Rescue series, Unchained Memory, was published in February, 2015. She lives on 44 beautiful mountain acres in Marshall NC, with her husband and two talkative cats.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

SFRB Recommends 45: Overload Flux by Carol Van Natta #scifi #sfrom #romance #ebook

The Central Galactic Concordance has been stable for two centuries, but trouble is brewing. As a pandemic sweeps across hundreds of civilized planets, someone is stealing the vaccine...

Brilliant investigator Luka Foxe's hidden mental talent is out of control, making him barely able to function in the aftermath of violence and a rising body count. The convoluted trail leads to a corrupt pharma industry and the possibility of an illegal, planet-sized laboratory. In the face of increasing threats, he must rely on an enigmatic, lethal woman he just met, but she has secrets of her own.

Mairwen Morganthur hides extraordinary skills under the guise of a dull night-shift guard. The last thing she wants is to provide personal security for a hot-shot investigator, or to be plunged into a murky case involving sabotage, treachery, and the military covert operations division that would love to discover she's still alive.

Two more deaths won't bother their enemies one bit. Their only hope for survival is revealing their dark secrets and learning to trust one another.

What do you do when your talent, the one that lets you excel at your job, is killing you? That's a fascinating question at the heart of the story, one I keep pondering in relation to workaholic environments, financial struggles, and burnout. In Van Natta's future, humanity's mental talents get them into new kinds of trouble that highlight questions we confront in our present.

Mairwen and Luka are fully-fleshed out characters, adults who learn to rely on each other without becoming codependent. Watching them connect and forge a relationship was a fulfilling treat. There's a bit of mystery to intrigue the reader, too!

Author site: Carol Van Natta - SF Author and Playwright

Recommendation by Lee Koven.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Of Fangirls and Heroines

By Caryssa Locke

Princess Leia was the first heroine I ever aspired to. I was four years old the first time I saw Star Wars, and I loved her. She carried a blaster pistol, stood up for herself and her galaxy, and didn’t back down, not even against Darth Vader.

But when we played Star Wars as a kid, I wanted to be Luke Skywalker. I wanted to be the Jedi with the cool lightsaber. Little did I know at the time, that someday Princess Leia would have her own lightsaber and be trained (we assume) as a Jedi. That didn’t come to light until many years later, with Return of the Jedi.

In the 1970’s, it would have been inconceivable for the kick butt main character to be a woman. Too often, women were relegated to the damsel in distress, or at worst, the reward for the hero. Particularly in genres like Fantasy and Science Fiction. Princess Leia broke that mold. She led the rebellion! Even though she didn’t wield a lightsaber, she still fought for the galaxy, and she was the one who rescued Han Solo, not the other way around. Now, with heroines like Buffy, Ripley, Sarah Connor, Katniss, and the rise of urban fantasy as a genre, we see kick butt women as main characters all of the time. It has become something normal and accepted.

I think SFR is a reflection of that. Science fiction has more female fans than ever before. Women don’t watch shows like Battlestar Galactica or Game of Thrones because their husbands or boyfriends like it. We watch them because we are fangirls. Because we love Kara Thrace, and Daenerys Targaryen.

I think most of us who read and write SFR started out as fans. While I loved books like Dune and Ender’s Game growing up (and still do), these were not books written with the female fan in mind. As a reader, I started exploring SFR to find books that blended two of my favorite things: science fiction, and romance, with a strong female heroine. As a writer, it was natural for me to move in that direction as well. I think SFR exists as a genre, and has grown in recent years to meet a need that exists. Female fans want more. We want more kick butt heroines. We want more science fiction that is written with us in mind.

According to RWA and Nielsen, in 2014, 82% of romance book buyers were women. It’s difficult to find similar statistics for SF/F fans. However, it is clear that more women read than men. In 2012, 56% of women in the United States read at least one fiction book, with only 37% of men reading at least one fiction book. More and more women are appearing at events that cater to SF/F fans, for example, San Diego Comic-Con has seen a huge rise in the number of female attendees.

What do all of these numbers mean? Well, I think it shows a pattern. More women like fantasy and science fiction than ever before. Women also like romance, and more women read than men. Our “niche” genre is here to stay, and the heroine is going to have a huge part in growing it larger.

SFR Brigade Bases of Operation