Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Why My Characters Don't Say I Love You by @karalockharte

by Kara Lockharte  
In my books, I often avoid having my characters say “I Love You.”
Because “I love you,” can take on many different meanings and forms.
A man can say “I love you,” to his sister (though if you’re my brother, you’re more likely to say something like, “you actually know what you’re talking about for once!”) and then turn around and say the same words to his girlfriend.
Most likely (at least in my books!) those words will mean completely different things.
Instead, I’d rather have the actions of my characters speak for themselves.
In the first Space Shifters novel, WANTED BY THE WEREWOLF PRINCE, when Prince Ral is trying to win back fighter pilot Captain Skye, does he send her flowers?
Instead, he sends her an envelope. With blueprints for the next generation of deep space fighter jets.
With her name on them.
Because Ral knows fighter pilot Skye, knows precisely how to target her deepest desires.
And by sending her those blueprints, he’s saying to her:
-I don’t care how much it costs (because honestly deep space fighter jets are pretty damn expensive).
-I know who you are, who you truly are.
-I’m going to make a place for you in my life.
It’s also a challenge.
As far as Skye knows, only the Coalition makes those fighter jets.
So if foreign Prince Ral has them, does that mean he stole them?
It’s a conundrum that Skye’s morality won’t let him get away with.
And that’s precisely what Ral’s counting on to bring her back to him.
That’s the kind of gesture that says, I KNOW YOU.
Which for Ral, means I LOVE YOU.

Author Bio:
Kara Lockharte is the author of the Space Shifter Chronicles. She loves writing romances featuring smart heroines and sexy alpha shifters in space.
She lives on Planet Earth. Her next release is a sexy dragonshifter PNR, BETROTHED TO THE DRAGON dropping June 12th.

Author Social Media:
Website: karalockharte.com
Facebook Page: facebook.com/karalockharte
Twitter: @karalockharte

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Talking Story Prompts by @vscotttheauthor

by Veronica Scott 

One of the things I love most about writing is how you can give a group of authors the same story prompt – whether it’s one word, a phrase, a concept or a few common elements – and you’ll get as many different stories as there are people in the group. 

Sometimes in the various author groups I’ll see a new person posting something angsty about their totally unique story idea and their fear someone will steal it, so how can they have beta readers, critique partners, be edited, submit to publishers…I just want to say “bless your heart” (which is an old Southern saying – I lived in north Alabama for quite a few years), take a deep breath and relax. 

MAYBE you do indeed have the most revolutionary idea since sliced bread but most likely you have a variation on something that’s been done by many people, many times. What you have is your unique take on the concept, to be written in your voice, which will be cool and hopefully attract readers, but other people have no need to ‘steal’ the fundamental idea.

Now plagiarism and outright book pirating of course are always despicable, deplorable and illegal and a genuine concern for every published author. I pay the Blasty service a nice round sum yearly to ferret out pirates and ‘blast’ them. We all have to be vigilant as a community for these issues and thank goodness for readers who catch plagiarists and notify us.

But usually the novice author is worrying needlessly.

Although in fairness, I do have to say I’ve heard of two cases where someone alleged another author heard their concept, rushed to write a novel with the exact same concept and published first. I can’t speak to whether this actually occurred as the first author perceived it as happening, but even if it did, two cases out of the thousands of books published annually is pretty insignificant odds.

I’m in a group right now that’s voting on what the common elements will be for possibly 100 books!!! And I’m willing to bet all 100 will be very different stories.

We’ve done two Pets In Space anthologies and are on the third one now (for October release) and have had an amazing range of fun novellas based on pets, space and scifi romance.

The Great Space Race group, the Cosmic Cabaret authors and the Valos of Sonhadra novelists all generated totally different scifi romance adventures, working with their central concept. (If you haven’t read any of these, what are you waiting for???)

I profess to hate flash fiction, yet when a group blog I belong to decides to create FF, it’s always amazing to me that the words inspire me to write something completely out of my normal genres. I don’t know why but the last two times we did it, I wrote a contemporary fantasy and a Wild West romance. (Looks around the room) Who wrote THAT?! Couldn’t have been me! I think my Muse likes the palate clearing effects of FF, no matter how much she protests initially. (I should probably add they were 500-1000 word vignettes, not entire books, but I was tempted to keep going.)

So my latest series is based on a genetically engineered race of super soldiers. Hello,  Lora Leigh’s Breeds, Laurann Dohner’s New Species, the whole ‘ferals’ genre (which wow, those are some steamy stories – way off the chart for my sort of midrange steam factor as an author – I might read one every now and then but I can’t write them), Christine Feehan’s Ghostwalkers…the list goes on and on. (Psst, tell me your favorites if I’ve missed them here – always looking for new-to-me authors!)

My Badari warriors are created by aliens, in the far future, I’m having a blast writing them and playing with concepts…but they’re my take on the whole ‘genetically engineered’ plot device, written in my established Sectors scifi universe, in my voice, and hence unique to me.

The third book, JADRIAN, will be out at the end of May. I just finished the first draft of book four, DARIK. Starting GABE, book 5, today. In the meantime, here’s the blurb for AYDARR, the first book in the series.

The story: Jill Garrison, a maintenance tech at the Sectors Amarcae 7 colony, goes to sleep one night as usual only to wake up in her nightgown stranded in the middle of a forest on an unknown world. There’s no time to think as she’s stalked by carnivorous predators and rescued by genetically engineered warriors calling themselves the Badari. Turns out they and she, along with her whole colony, are now prisoners of the Khagrish, a ruthless race of alien scientists. Working for enemies of the Sectors, the Khagrish have created the Badari to be super soldiers.

Aydarr, the Badari alpha, isn’t sure he can trust Jill but his attraction to her is undeniable. He impulsively claims her as his mate to prevent her death at the hands of the Khagrish.

Can he continue to protect her from the experiments already underway? Will his claiming her put his pack in jeopardy from their alien masters?

As Jill searches for a way to rescue her fellow humans and get them all to safety, she finds herself falling for Aydarr, despite the secrets he’s keeping. She has a few of her own.

The situation becomes dire when Aydarr and his pack are sent offplanet on a mission, leaving Jill unprotected, prey for the senior scientist. Can she escape the experiments he has in mind for her? Will she be able to thwart the Khagrish plans and liberate humans and Badari alike? How will she and Aydarr reunite?

Amazon      B&N  Google   Kobo     iBooks

Author Bio and Links:

USA Today Best Selling Author

“SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog

Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!

She was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”

Monday, May 7, 2018

Monday Meet the Author: Susan Hayes

Hi, my name is Susan Hayes and I love SFR. I’m an unapologetic geek who could flash the Vulcan hand gesture before I could walk, played Dungeons and Dragons all through university, and my phone’s alarm is David Tennant as Doctor Who yelling “Don’t Blink.”

Why did you start writing SFR?

I was raised on sci-fi. I’m pretty sure my mother had me watching the original Star Trek before I could sit up on my own. I loved Buck Rogers, Battlestar Galactica, and Star Trek, and I devoured sci-fi books, even though I always wanted more romance in them. Once I started writing romances of my own, it was inevitable that I would end up writing the stories I wanted to read when I was growing up.

How many SFR books have you published and what are the titles?

I’ve got sixteen science-fiction romance books to my credit, and the goal is to have that up to twenty by the end of the year. I have four SFR series. 3013, The Drift, Star-Crossed Alien Mail Order Brides, and Nova Force. My newest, No Limit, Drift #5, comes out on May 15th.

Blurb for No Limit

Three hearts. Two worlds. No limits.

Tyran Varosa and Braxon Torr are on a mission. Find an inhabitable planet. Start a new colony. Escape the archaic rules and traditions of the Vardarian homeworld. They never expected to find their mate along the way, and they never imagined she’d be a diminutive human female with pink hair and a warrior’s spirit.

Phaedra Kari has been called a lot of things in her life: trouble, cyber-jockey, lunatic, hacker, but never someone’s mate - not until an alien prince and his best friend arrive at the Drift. She’s got plans of her own, and they don’t include mating anyone, not even a pair of gorgeous aliens whose every touch tempts her to say yes.

When corporate backstabbing progresses to real-life murder, these three will need to come together to ensure the survival of their plans, their friends, and each other.

Where's your favorite place to write? Do you have a dedicated writer's cave?

I have a full-time job with an incredibly supportive boss. She has no problem with me writing at work when it’s quiet. This is great, but it also means that I split my time between writing at work and writing at my home office. Writing at work comes with plenty of challenges – phones, questions, workload, and the possible presence of three kids (It’s a family run company) who are much, much, much too young to read what I write, but are terribly curious about it (and can be very stealthy!)

My writer’s cave is my home office, which is decorated in swords (real ones!) and movie memorabilia. I have a replica of Bilbo’s sword, Sting, Lucille, Negan’s baseball bat from Walking Dead, a crown from Xena: Warrior Princess, and a chainmail shirt worn by Tyr Anazi in Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda. Ruling over all of this is my cat, Daisy-Mae, who likes to supervise when I write.

What are your favourite SF/R movies or television series and why?

At the moment, my favourite sci-fi television show is Killjoys. It’s got it all. A kickass heroine, sexy and smart heroes, great humour, and strong writing. I’m also a fan of The Expanse. The details and scientific accuracy are amazing. I am still a Trekkie, which means I watch any and all Star Trek movies and tv shows, from the best to the worst.

About the Author  

Susan lives on Vancouver Island, off the Canadian west coast where the waters are patrolled by orcas, and the sighting of snowflakes leads to citywide panic. She’s jumped out of perfectly good airplanes on purpose and accidentally swum with sharks on the Great Barrier Reef.

If the world ends, she plans to survive as the spunky, comedic sidekick to the heroes of the new world, because she’s too short and out of shape to make it on her own for long.

Website   |   Facebook   |   Facebook Readers Group   |   Twitter   |   Newsletter

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

SFR Authors Supporting ALS Research

Happy May Day!

This month, a group of Science Fiction Romance and Paranormal Romance authors have banded together to support the ALSA and ALS research by forming the Blue Book Cover Brigade.

Between May 1-31, they will donate a minimum of 25% of the sales of listed blue cover books to the organization in connection with the 2018 Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS and Walk to support the research in finding a cure for this devastating disease.


- Go to the Blue Book Cover Brigade website and buy the books that appeal to you.

- Make a personal donation by credit card, either on our ALSA Team Page, or directly to any of our authors' pages (see Team Member links listed on the right sidebar of the ALSA Team Page).

- Make a donation by check. Scroll down to the bottom of the introduction on any team member's page and find the link to download a form to enclose with payment.

- Share this with your friends, on Facebook and Twitter!

Why are these authors getting involved?

They each have special reasons for wanting to help this very worthy cause, but this video explains why Team Member Laurie A. Green wanted to get involved with the Blue Book Cover Brigade project.

Thank you for helping us help the ALSA!
And #ThinkBlue4ALS!


Thursday, April 26, 2018

SFRB Recommends #80: The Spiral Path by Lisa Paitz Spindler

After defecting from the Star Union eleven years ago, Starship Captain Lara Soto is now the leader of the free Chimerans. Her only regret is the intense young officer she left behind. When Terra's S.U.S. Interlace goes missing with her brother Rafael on board, she has to push aside the pain of her betrayal and team up with her old love once again.
Commodore Mitch Yoshida has never stopped thinking about the woman who deserted him. He's also witnessed firsthand the Terran discrimination Lara foretold, from sequestering Chimerans on starships to enforcing indentured military service.
With Rafael and the Interlace crew held prisoner, Lara and Mitch must travel to a whole new dimension to secure their release. Will they be able to resist their long-denied attraction and complete their rescue mission?

This story has several fascinating concepts in it. Lara has to live between worlds and doesn't really belong in either. It's a fresh take on being a mix of peoples. The physics concepts aren't run-of-the mill for science fiction: dimensional attunement and space travel are explored in an original manner. 
Mitch and Lara are both likable, competent characters. It's easy to root for them (and for Lara's brother). There's a also super spooky villain who is still sympathetic.

Author/book site: Lisa Paitz Spindler
This recommendation by Lee Koven.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

From @LibbyDoyle9: Want to get to know your favorite writer? You already do.

By Libby Doyle

In Stephen King’s great series The Dark Tower, he famously introduced himself into the story, showing up in book six as an author telling the Gunslinger’s story, whom the Crimson King had marked for death.
Most don’t go to that extreme, of course, but I’m guessing few readers would be surprised to learn that writers put a lot of themselves into their characters. This is often true even if the story is light years from autobiographical, as the story must be in science fiction romance. After all, we’re not cavorting with hot alien warriors, as much as we may wish we were.
Inserting oneself into a character may not be intentional. Good writing reaches deep into the imagination and pulls out things the writer didn’t know were there. If you asked your favorite authors, I bet many would describe flowing into a mental space while they’re writing in which they don’t make conscious choices. The words come unbidden, and when they’re finished they think, “Oh, that’s good. Did that come out of me?”
Maybe the subconscious takes over. If so, the characters have to be serving up the writer’s own psychology. Can it be any other way?
Right now I’m reading 1984 by George Orwell. Yes, believe it or not, I’ve never read it. Early in the book, the protagonist performs the subversive act of making his first entry in a diary. Were anyone to discover he was keeping a diary, he would be “vaporized,” because it’s a “thoughtcrime,” as the world of 1984 puts it. Who else but a writer would have the first bold move towards freedom be putting pen to paper? If a soldier or a law enforcement officer was asked to think up some small act of rebellion, it might involve protecting someone from the authorities. A nurse might help an injured person. A teacher might give a lecture on a forbidden subject. But when telling stories is what you do, you believe in the power of stories.
As we should! Stories can elevate us, heal us, and teach us. They entertain us. Entertainment is more important than I think a lot of people give it credit for. Life is hard, right? People need to reduce their stress. The thing is, I don’t think writers will entertain anyone unless they entertain themselves. Writers won’t affect anyone emotionally unless they affect themselves. That’s why they have to draw from their own experiences to give their characters an authentic voice, even if the stories are sheer fantasy.
The experiences might be sliced and diced through the creative process until they’re barely recognizable. For example, the female protagonist of the Covalent Series, my epic science fantasy, isn’t me. Zan O’Gara is more who I wish I was: a badass FBI agent, strong and beautiful, who can play the guitar, has a great sense of humor and a killer left jab. She’s my notion of the ideal woman. But she’s got a ton of flaws and insecurities, as well. I didn’t know what they were when I started. To discover them I wrote scenes in which she reacted to events. Lo and behold, she’s got a bad temper. She second guesses herself. She holds onto a grudge like a pit bull onto a rawhide toy. She’s my ideal, but when the story calls for her to react in difficult situations, she messes up like I would mess up. I draw on my own emotional memory.
Of course, when she’s heroic, that’s not me. I’m a privileged person who’s never been called on to be heroic in my comfy life. So where does that come from? I suppose I rely on stories others have told me with so much skill I felt the emotions of the characters as my own. And it comes from real life in the larger sense, of course. On any given day the news is filled with enough drama to power a thousand stories.
All these tales, facts, emotions and eventualities go into my brain blender and out pours a story. Writers I know have described similar processes. We’re an odd bunch, but we sure do like to entertain.

Libby Doyle is the author of The Covalent Series, a sexy science fantasy in five parts. To learn more, visit libbydoyle.com. Be sure to check out her free short fiction.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Meet the Author: Greta van der Rol

This week, we have long-time SFR Brigade member and administrator, Greta van der Rol, here from Down Under to share a little about herself and her latest release, which just launched a few days ago on April 6, 2018. Congratulations on publishing another novel...and welcome to Meet the Author Monday, Greta.

How or why did you first start writing SFR? Any particular inspirations?

I'm a well-known Star Wars tragic. Yes, I know it's not 'good' science fiction – I read the hard stuff, too. The thing about Star Wars is that it's fun. That's my lasting memory of watching Star Wars (before it became A New Hope) at the pictures. I loved the hint of romance between Leia and Han that occurred in The Empire Strikes Back, but I confess I felt it needed more. So I decided to write a space opera with a bit of romance. That led to my first book, The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy.

How many SFR books have you published and what are the titles? Can you give us a quick blurb on your most recent or upcoming title?

I've written ten novels and five shorter SFR titles. You can find them at my website. My latest book, Rescuing Romila, has just been released. It's a Morgan's Misfits adventure, which is a spin-off from my Morgan Selwood series. The Misfits are three women you don't quite fit into their stratified, paternalistic society. Helped by Morgan herself when needed, they carried out a daring rescue in Kuralon Rescue. This second book is stand-alone, but it always helps to know some of the backstory.

Here's the blurb:

Rescuing Romila

The Misfits are off on another planet-hopping adventure.

When Jirra and Toreni rescue Romila from a raid on her antiques business the Misfits start off on a mission to uncover a drug-smuggling operation. A new, very potent drug is on the market, hidden in statues of ice warriors carved on a remote world.

But all’s not well within the team. Toreni and Chet have fallen out, Toreni has received an offer that might be too good to refuse, and Jirra has doubts about her future. When the drug-smuggling operation morphs into something even more dangerous, the Misfits must resolve their differences. If they don’t act together, and quickly, many lives will be at risk. Including their own.

Action and adventure, with a little bit of romance.

You can find Rescuing Romila at these sites:

iBooks     |     Amazon     |     Kobo     |     B&N Nook

Give us a brief snippet of a favorite scene or passage from your work.

This is from Rescuing Romila. Toreni's out on a date with an ex-colleague.

*   *   *

The server came and cleared their plates and asked if they wanted dessert.

"Not straight away." Alric gestured at the dance floor where two couples swayed to music provided by a trio of performers. "Come and dance."

Dance? The nerves flared again. Not that she couldn't dance. Where she was raised dancing came with growing up. Music played, you danced. Oh, why not? She was here for a good time. Alric took her hand and led her the four steps to the dance floor. His hand was warm and strong, but gentle. He slipped his arm around her waist and drew her against him, not too close. She gazed into his eyes. They were yellow, like hers, but with flecks of amber.

"Do you know the steps?" she asked.

"No. Doesn't matter, does it? It's a slow pace. We can just walk around in time to the music."

She giggled. "We can do that."

It was nice. The music floated around her, an easy two-part rhythm that she could follow without thinking. The man holding her guided her and soon it was just her, and him, alone in a sensual mist of their own making.

She floated back to reality when the music stopped.

"A pity," Alric murmured. "I enjoyed that." He hadn't let her go.

"So did I."

He leaned in closer to whisper, his breath warm on her ear. "Fancy dessert at my place?"

She gazed up into eyes dark with heat. Dessert wasn't going to be cake and cream. The little voice insisting it was too early and she wasn't ready was shoved aside by another woman shouting that tomorrow might never happen, seize the moment while you can.

*   *   *

Have any of your books received any special recognition? What and where?

I was privileged to receive a SFR Galaxy Award last year for my novel, For the Greater Good. I was right chuffed.

How long have you been a member of the SFR Brigade and do you serve any special roles within the community?

I've been a member of the SFR Brigade for quite a few years and I'm a group admin. It's a great bunch of people, willing to help their peers in the choppy waters of publishing. If you're a writer of SFR, or aspiring to be one, come and join us.

About the Author

Greta van der Rol loves writing action-packed adventures with a side salad of romance. Most of her work is space opera, but she has written paranormal and historical fiction.

She lives not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoys photography and cooking when she isn't bent over the computer. She has a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping her in her writing endeavors. Find out more about Greta and her books at her website.

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