Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Looks Can Be Deceiving by @SirenAllen

by Siren Allen
It’s true what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. However, sometimes it’s what you can’t see that tells the real story. When deciding what image to go with for the cover of Claimed By The Succubus, I was torn between showing the world my characters inhabit as it truly is or as it pretends to be.
Since my hero is lying to my heroine and pretending to be someone he isn’t in order to get her to his homeworld, I decided to go with an image of what the world pretends to be. Izeria thinks Shun is taking her to Earth to rescue her friends. Really, he’s taking her to the Northern Territory of planet Shyftdehn.
From the outside, Shyftdehn and its neighboring planets appear peaceful. However, the blue and green planets outsiders see are just a mirage, a façade to hide what dwells within. When you see blue, you may think of drinkable water, clear skies… life. When you see green, you think of vegetation and well, life. These colors are peaceful, welcoming.
The colors of Shun’s homeworld are meant to lure in unsuspecting travelers who’ve been thrown off course or who seek refuge. They may think they’ve found a safe place to dock. However, those familiar with Shyftdehn know that it’s far from what it seems.
There’s nothing peaceful about the world or the beings who inhabit it. Those peaceful colors hide the monsters who lurk within. Yet, what Shun doesn’t realize is that Izeria isn’t as weak and naïve as she seems. Soon he’ll witness the monster that lives behind her beautiful smile. Question is, will their monsters play nicely together? Or will they tear each other apart?
You can learn all about Izzie’s journey to Shyftdehn in, Claimed By The Succubus. It will be available April 22nd. Preorder price is only 0.99 cents.

Claimed By The Succubus
~The Half-Breed~
She is Izeria’Ahzul, the long-lost daughter of my king. She was raised away from our people and knows nothing of her heritage. Our kind are a myth to her. She doesn’t believe we exist and there’s no way she’ll believe she’s one of us.

~The Beast~
I am Shun’Uhl, the soldier ordered to return her to my king’s side so she can marry a royal and produce an heir to save our people. To get her to trust me, I shed my beastly form and take on the form of someone she knows. I choose unwisely. The form I’ve selected is a male she despises.

~The Forbidden~
The more time I spend with her, the more she comes to like me. And though I’ve tried to resist, I find myself falling for her also. Her feelings for me will change once she learns of my deception and sees how I really look. Part of me wants to complete my mission and return her to her father. Another part of me wants to remain in this form forever and spend my life with Izeria.
I have a choice to make: be honest with the female I love and risk losing her or continue lying to her for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, the choice is made for me when we come under attack and I have to release my beast to protect her.
Now it is she who has to make a choice: Me and my beast or a kingdom?


My beast is trying to take over.
Even now, as I escort Izeria to the dining hall, he’s pushing against the barrier that separates drahken from dragon. He’s clawing at the barricade that keeps him inside. Moments ago, he came close to breaking free.
Not only did I hear his growl, so did Izeria. She assumed it was my stomach growling in hunger. Luckily, she’s too naïve to think the worst of me. She senses something is wrong, yet, she doesn’t want to believe me capable of deceiving her, of hurting her.
I should feel guilty for what I’m doing. I don’t. I can’t. Too much is riding on me getting her to my territory. My beast snorts his displeasure, unhappy with our current mission. It’s funny how he can kill viciously, yet he frowns upon lying to our half-breed princess.
I can feel him pacing the recesses of my mind. In this form, he cannot speak to me. Right now, that’s a good thing. I don’t want to hear his thoughts on what is happening. He knew what we’d have to do when we found her.
He knew we’d have to lie or maybe even kidnap her to achieve our goal. His feelings for her can’t change that. Nothing can change what has to be done. The lives of our people are more important than Izeria’s opinion of us.
When we arrive in the dining hall, I step to the side so she and her rodent can enter the room before me. I’m glad I did. The look on her face as she walks into the dining hall is priceless. It’s almost like she’s never been on a spacecraft before.
“This is the biggest dining hall I’ve ever been in. Not only on a ship, but on land also.”
She turns to me and smiles. For a moment, I forget how to breathe. I sense my beast’s pleasure, or is that my own? The line between what I want and what he wants is starting to blur.

Preorder price only 0.99 cents.


US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XDHQ5YL

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XDHQ5YL

CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XDHQ5YL


~Author Links~

SIREN’S NEWSLETTER: Join to stay updated on my new releases and giveaways:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Martian Dreams by JC Hay


by JC Hay

All the excitement lately has been about those seven planets discovered in TRAPPIST-1, but thirty-nine light years is a long way to travel, and if we want to spread beyond our fragile blue-green rock, we’re going to need to look a lot closer to home. That means Mars.

I consider myself an optimist where Mars is concerned. Despite humanity’s mostly bad track record sending stuff to our nearest neighbor – we’re currently only at a 44% success rate overall – I think that the time is going to come when we establish a long-term base of operations on the Red Planet. Maybe not in my lifetime, but before the century is out.

That doesn’t mean I think it’s going to be easy – every element of Mars seems to be designed to inhibit human habitation. From the reduced sunlight (leading to a sense of perpetual exhaustion, at least for the first generation of colonists), to the superfine dust that clogs even the tightest seals, to the broader dangers of windstorms and radiation, Mars is not rolling out a welcome mat for us.

The moon wasn’t in a hurry to welcome us either, but we managed to make that trip repeatedly (not without risks, or deaths, but we did it). Mars will be the same way. In my Corporate Services books, the colony on Mars is in its infancy. Though we haven’t seen it in the books (yet), I’ve got a clear picture of how it looks – domes of 3-d printed concrete, covered with two-three feet of soil to protect the inhabitants from radiation and micro-meteors. Those, in turn, connect together to form larger structures like workshops and gardens, running of a combination of wind and reduced solar. It’s not a utopia, but it’s enough of a break from the corporate wars that high-tech thief Elise wants to head there as soon as her next job is done.

Too bad fate has other plans.

Dubai Double-Cross

From the underworld of corporate infighting…

Heavily modified and highly skilled, “acquisitions expert” Elise Briggs worked behind the scenes of the corporate world’s espionage wars. Or she had, until her most recent target turns up murdered and she’s forced to go on the run with the only person who can exonerate her, the victim’s lover and personal assistant.

…To the city’s glittering towers…

Plucked off the street to be the plaything of one of the richest women in the world, Na’im thought his life was finally complete; his obedience and the suite of cybernetic modifications he carried were a small price to pay for life at the top of society. Until his boss is murdered and his only ally is the professional thief hired to rob them.

…They can’t run from what’s inside

On the run and running short on allies, Elise and Na’im are about to discover that the murderer is closer than either of them suspect. If they plan to survive on the futuristic streets of Dubai, they need to learn how to trust each other, because when everything can be upgraded and emotions can be programmed, sometimes all that can keep you human is your heart.

Dubai Double-Cross is available now from:

Author Bio

JC Hay writes romantic science fiction and space opera, because the coolest gadgets in the world are useless without someone to share them.

In addition to Romance Writers of America, he is also a proud member of the SFR Brigade (for Science Fiction Romance), the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Romance chapter, and a member of RWA’s PAN (the published authors network).

His Corporate Services series, a set of connected cyberpunk romances, are set eighty years in our future where the limits of humanity are being stretched and tested, and our hearts are the hardest thing to keep pure.

Find JC Hay online:

Newsletter Sign-Up (get a free Corporate Services short story!): http://jchay.com/mailing-list-sign-up/
Follow my Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/jchay
Like my Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJCHay/
Follow me on Twitter @j_c_hay: https://twitter.com/j_c_hay

Thursday, March 16, 2017

SFRB Recommends 70: The Champion of Barésh by Susan Grant

Jemm Aves toils for a mining company by day, but at night she is a successful bajha player, disguised as a male to compete in the violent underworld of the colony’s fight clubs. Every win puts her one small step closer to her goal: saving enough to escape Barésh with her family. When a royal recruits her to be a star player for his team, her ruse proves to be her most perilous game yet when it puts both their lives—and her heart—at risk.

Prince Klark is eager to reverse his reputation as the black sheep of the Vedla clan. If his bajha team can win the galactic title it would go a long way toward restoring the family honor that his misdeeds tarnished. On Barésh, he tracks down an amateur who has risen to the top of the seedy world of street bajha, offering the commoner a chance of a lifetime: a way off that reeking space rock for good. But his new player comes with a scandalous secret that turns his plans and his beliefs upside down. He sets out to win a very different prize—his champion’s reluctant heart.

The world of Barésh is convincing and vivid. The bahja (which I can best describe as sensory-deprivation fencing) matches are even more intense, whether in a bar, or a training exercise, or an emotional duel. I do wish we got to experience a few more in the professional arena.

Jemm is a treat. She's driven, kind, and not cowed by Klark. Her family relationships also feel authentic, and I love her interactions with her difficult brother.

Author site: Susan Grant

This recommendation by Lee Koven.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Perseverance and A Wrinkle In Time by Libby Doyle

They told Madeleine L’Engle her book was too strange. Nevertheless, she persisted.

In the summer of my thirteenth year, my family moved to the country, away from the small town where I’d lived my whole life. Away from my little friends. Our small town was urban, right outside of Philadelphia. Our new place was in the country. Sure, it smelled wonderful, like pine trees. Sure, wild strawberries grew in the fields, but there weren’t any kids in sight. I wanted to go back to my little town, where playmates were always right outside the front door.

My mother could see I needed company. Her solution was inspired. She handed me a book, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I was already an avid reader, but I had never encountered anything so absorbing, the beginning of my obsession with science fiction and science fiction fantasy. My imagination was on fire. My mind was racing. The heroine was a 13-year-old girl just like me! I read it once, then immediately twice. This book taught me about heroism, about love. I wanted to meet the happy, gentle centaurs that populated one of the book’s fantastic planets.

Recently, I gave my step-granddaughter a copy of A Wrinkle in Time. My granddaughter is a cool kid. Climbs to the tops of mountains. Excellent at mathematics. What better book for her than the story of Meg, a brave girl close to her age, also great at math? Meg rescued her father from a planet enslaved by an evil disembodied brain with powerful telepathic abilities. The brain, known as IT, exerted hypnotic control over the inhabitants’ minds.

Meg had the help of her classmate Calvin, her brother Charles and her friendly neighbors Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, who were actually alien centaurs disguised as humans. This crew used the “tesseract,” (sound familiar?) to bend the space-time continuum and slip through a wrinkle in time to search for Meg’s long-lost father. Through all their dangerous adventures, Meg comes into her own. When Charles is in danger, Meg steps up to show how strong she’s become.

I hope my granddaughter loves this book as much as I do. I hope it helps her develop a life-long love of reading. And if she tells me she likes it, I’ll tell her the challenge faced by Madeleine L’Engle to get it published. She was rejected by 26 houses. According to a well-sourced Wikipedia article, publishers thought the book was too unusual, with too much science. They thought its stark presentation of evil was too dark for young adult fiction. In fact, several paragraphs comparing the enforced conformity of the evil brain’s planet to totalitarian regimes were cut from the final draft.

L’Engle has also explained that female protagonists were rare in science fiction at the time, making it a hard sell.

Lucky for the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, those days are over! And thank the writing gods that Madeleine L’Engle persisted. Her book went on to win the Newbery Medal and, according to Wikipedia, has been in continuous print since it was published. The book even got a shout out at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, when Chelsea Clinton mentioned it as a book that influenced her as a child. From one generation to the next. I should tell my granddaughter about Chelsea, too. 

The views expressed in this post are those of the author, Libby Doyle, and don't necessarily reflect those of the SFR Brigade.

Check out Libby Doyle's website here: http://libbydoyle.com

Books by Libby Doyle:

Monday, March 6, 2017

Meet the #Author Monday: S.B.K. Burns #scifi #romance #timetravel #interview

Please tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m a retired scientific generalist and an applied mathematician with multiple advanced degrees and journal-published research that’s been downloaded around the world. My research might be interesting to Sci-fi writers since it provides an analog for the number of planets of various sizes that might be expected to form in accretion disks orbiting distant stars (Trappist 1, for example, with its 7 Earth-sized planets).

At the moment I’m publishing my second SFR series, AGES OF INVENTION, which honors women scientists and those women who funded European royal societies of science in the past.

Tell us about your book:

My latest book, FLY LIKE AN EAGLE, a non formulaic, sci-fi, time-travel, steampunk romance introduces an alternative science history. It’s a story of forbidden love where only the lovers can stop a world-obliterating timequake by determining if Franklin’s Kite Experiment—ushering in the electronic era—is a go/nogo.

What inspired you to write this particular story?:

This is the second book in the AGES OF INVENTION series. What started me writing the first book, ENTANGLED, was the paucity of women named as great scientists of the past. I, too, like the women in the movie, HIDDEN FIGURES, had to learn and work as the only woman in my graduate courses and the world of corporate science. As I investigated the controversity about who discovered calculus, I noted that it was the royal wives who encouraged their husbands to establish the European Royal Societies of Science which funded the great scientists of the past.

Please share a favourite snippet from your book:

Just welcomed into her home, was a man she barely recognized as her father’s associate, John Vaughan… and his footman. They stood speaking with her father.
She would analyze Vaughan’s features to see how he’d aged from the younger man she’d remembered. Vaughan and his man motioned toward her father, and then in the direction of the painting.
Looks as if they’re discussing it. Well, she had her own opinion about such gifts and would not to be left out. She also wanted to alert her father about the giant bird she’d seen the hawks attacking, but then she remembered how his eyes glazed over anytime she spoke eagerly about the nesting hawks. Hard metal and angular things interested him more than the natural world.
Flowing effortlessly down the stairs like the well-brought-up lady she pretended to be, Samantha wondered about the artist who created that canvas, why anyone thought such a scandalous gift would be appreciated, let alone hung on a wall in her household.
Crossing the foyer, she approached the men. They faced away from her, gazing at the painting. Vaughan’s man stood a little behind the others, dressed all rudely informal as one of her father’s livery stablemen might.
Disturbingly tall. His exposed hands, forearms, and neck were tan. Yes, very tan indeed. He’d not bothered to tie his shoulder-length hair back, And it was black, very black, almost the blue-black of the night sky, just like the brave in the painting her father, Vaughan, and this savage were now viewing.
“I wonder who painted it?” she said aloud to no one in particular
Her father and Vaughan, closer to the painting, hadn’t heard her, but Vaughan’s man turned and she forgot to breathe. He’s the model, subject of the painting, the Indian brave surrounded by those sex-crazed maidens. He’d dressed somewhat differently this time, she admitted. Clothed. Yes, and it was strangely troubling to her that he was.
Had she just seen a twinkle in his eye and a twitch of his full and naughty lips? Yes, definitely a twitch. He bowed to her, never taking his eyes from where—she reminded herself— she’d forgotten to close her shawl and don her bodice lace. She squinted to see her appearance in the mirrors above the wainscoting and noticed her breasts were dangerously close to popping out of the scooped neck of her gown—or was that in her imagination, the effect of her disrobement by his eyes?
How rude. How could her father allow the savage to look at her that way? How could her aunt?
Her aunt’s negligence wasn’t difficult to figure out. Before Samantha descended the stairs to view the painting, the room to her guardian’s door had been opened by maids attempting to prepare for the guests. Her aunt rested on a chaise—pickled.
“Do you like the painting? Horrible. Horrific. Is it not?” the savage said. “I thought you might recognize me, and I can see from the way you’re looking at me you do. I told Davies to destroy it. Instead, he finishes the painting and sends it to my father by way of yours. I couldn’t be more embarrassed.”
He didn’t look embarrassed. Not as embarrassed as the brave in the painting being fawned over by those young women. Not as embarrassed as she, with him examining her chest.
“I’ll wait,” he said.
Wait?” What could he mean?
His eyes squinted, sparkled. “Go on up now and finish dressing.”
Was he laughing at her? Meaning to instruct me about my own business?
Samantha scrunched her face, giving him the meanest look she could muster. Wrapping her shawl around her more tightly, then clutching it, she wondered why she’d decided to leave her lace behind, her breasts open to all his scrutiny. Looking down at her slippers, because she couldn’t force herself to look up into his smug face, she stifled a retort and rushed up the stairs to her bedroom. Behind and below, she heard a confusion of men’s voices, perhaps chastising that rude man.
She hurried into her room, closed the door, and rested back against it. With uncomfortable awareness, she knew that man had been Vaughan’s half-breed son, Migizi. She vaguely remembered his visits. When we were much younger.
Opening her shawl to assess the problem, she almost expected herself to be naked. At least she felt naked, and something else, some other part of her body, down there between her thighs, beat as rapidly as her heart.
Samantha knew where the throbbing came from. She wasn’t that naïve. She’d read about it while viewing the medical illustrations in her comparative anatomy texts.

Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?:

Honestly, looks and names are not as important to me as personality. And for that, as mostly a pantser, I let my characters find themselves. Of course, I do lots of historic research of those mathematicians and scientists of the past before I give them voices.

Any tips for aspiring authors?:

Don’t worry about your first words. You have a committee in time just waiting to help you out. They’re the you of tomorrow and the next day, and the next day. All the me(s) who edited my books for me wish all the you(s) great success.

Questions for fun:

If you had the power of time travel, is there anything you would go back and change?: No.

Why/why not?: As a fluid mechanics person, I choose a real, existing, physical parameter called The Flow. My time-traveling Native American, Migizi, in FLY LIKE AN EAGLE, calls this flow by its Algonquin name—Bimijiwan. So my philosophy might be, Go with the flow.

Here’s a quote that starts off the novel, FLY LIKE AN EAGLE:

 “Faith does not need to push the river because faith is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing. We are in it.”                           Franciscan Father Richard Rohr

As you can see, I like to blend science and spirituality in my books. I believe them to be two major aspects of existance.

What super-power would you choose?: A creative mind has got to be the greatest superpower, because no matter what life brings, in some way, it can always be seen from a positive perspective.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be?: To love the universe—cubed.

What is your favourite book?: SECOND FOUNDATION (I love Arcady, and, of course, Asimov)

Favourite genre and why?: Romance, because it’s the best genre to learn about character development from both male and female points of view.

Upcoming news and plans for the future?: My critique partner, Jackie Leigh Allen, will know more about that than I would. Each year, I get so exhausted going to RWA Conferences around the States. Not to worry—Jackie has already reserved the hotel rooms for us, so I’ve got to go!

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!:
Pippa and SFR BRIGADE, You are so very much welcome.
Everyone, have fun reading and writing SFR.
SFR rocks!

SFR Brigade Bases of Operation