Monday, December 17, 2018

Meet the Author Monday: Susan Grant

Today I'd like to introduce you to author Susan Grant, who has long been a part of the science fiction romance community and is a member of the SFR Brigade. Susan, thanks so much for joining us as our Monday Meet the Author feature today!

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

I was an astronaut wanna-be—still am! From my earliest memories, I dreamed about going into space, exploring other worlds. I was a book worm as a kid, like many of us authors were. The Sword of Shannara, Childhood’s End, Dragon Riders of Pern, and The Wind’s Four Quarters were favorites. It makes sense that I ended up writing sci-fi romance because I love science fiction and having a great romance as part of the plot.

I call myself the accidental sci-fi romance author because I did, in fact, not set out to write such a story. Back when I was first seeking publication—1997 or so—these were rare books to find. Only Justine Dare and a few others were writing them. I wrote my first sci-fi romance, The Star King, in 1998 as a book of the heart (a hero and heroine in their 40s, and he was an alien! My agent pretty much passed out, hearing of such an out-of-the-box storyline). But a publisher was interested in my first book—Once a Pirate, a time travel romance—and after winning a contest with The Star King, the prize was a face-to-face meet with that editor. I pitched The Star King, he loved the premise, and ended up buying both books in a two-book deal. He encouraged me to keep going with the Star series, and so I did. Happily, the rest is history.

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

I think I’m up to 19 or 20 by now, not counting boxed sets. They’re all listed conveniently at this link: Author Susan Grant Book List

Can you give us a quick blurb on your most recent or upcoming title?

WARLEADER just came out!

Here’s the blurb:

Admiral Brit Bandar is the Coalition's greatest starship commander. The outlaw known as the Scourge of the Borderlands taunted her in a galactic game of cat and mouse for years, but she never caught him. Now they’re supposed to make peace AND serve together on the same starship? Not so easy to do when your sworn enemy turns out to be the hottest piece you've ever seen.

Warleader Finn Rorkken doesn't care how many medals “Stone-Heart” Bandar has. He's going to show her what it's like to be pursued and caught by a master. Intergalactic peace is on the line, and if she wants his obedience, she'll have to pay his price. Challenge accepted, Admiral.

Welcome to the Borderlands, where rules are meant to be broken...

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

From Warleader… An early scene with Finn and Brit. In a gender flip of sorts, she’s invited him to her quarters for a glass of wine, and suddenly Finn realizes he doesn’t have a thing to wear! :)

Finn threw open the door to his wardrobe to find a fresh pair of skivvies. He’d been given a stack of them, brand new, along with new socks and undershirts. It hit him how little he owned, not counting his Triad-issued gear. There was his old Imperial Navy uniform, if one could call it that—a threadbare, mended collection of little more than rags and leather. Another pair of old leather pants hung next to a pair of cloth trousers, a vest, and several faded shirts. None of it would impress a woman like Brit Bandar. She was a class above him—several classes.

You own nothing but rags, Rorkken! Except, maybe, for his Cloudan tunic.

He grasped its luxurious sleeve, examining the condition of the garment. It was silver and white, shot through with threads of pure sapphire. The fitted piece allowed for the breadth of his shoulders and was entirely handmade, no advanced tech inside or out. As a pirate, he’d had no need for a uniform, but for the times he had to make an appearance—or an impression—he’d worn this, his finest article of clothing. With the Cloudan belted over his leathers, sword hanging from his belt, and polished boots, he’d been able to maintain the image of prosperity even in the lean times between raids when the coffers had run low. It was during one of those lean times, before he owned the tunic, that he’d saved the leader of a rogue encampment in the Cloudlands. In thanks, the man had gifted Finn and his crew with varied treasures, including the tunic, tailored specifically to him. Nothing lasted long in a pirate’s hands—valuable goods sold and bartered—but Finn had never let go of the Cloudan. He was too freepin’ sentimental. The day he’d received it, he was called a hero. That didn’t happen often—all right, not ever. The tunic was a way of hanging on to the memory. Aye, and he looked good in it, too.

The garb of a pirate king.

Bandar will laugh her ass off if you show up at her door dressed in that.

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

I’ve been blessed to have had my books win or be nominated for many awards. I have finaled four times in the RWA Rita contest and won once. Across from where I sit at my desk I see six gorgeous Prism awards catching sun rays on the windowsill. My books have been honored with best of the year nods by Library Journal and Booklist. I even won a Daphne DuMaurier Award for romantic suspense. The recognition is great, but knowing that readers love your stories is the best kind of award.

Do you have any other upcoming new releases?

Hunting the Warlord’s Daughter, The Borderlands Book # 2, comes out in January!

Author Bio

Susan's childhood dreams of becoming a space explorer fizzled when she found out that calculus was involved. Luckily, she didn’t need math skills to fly jets—or to create space stories in her head, first for herself, then for friends, and now for readers everywhere.

A New York Times/USA Today bestselling author and a military veteran, Susan won the prestigious RITA® Award for her book Contact, a sci-fi aviation-thriller romance.

Find Susan Grant here:

Author Website
Facebook Author Page
Linked In

Thursday, December 6, 2018

SFRB Recommends #87: Warleader by Susan Grant

Finn Rorkken is an infamous Drakken warleader.

Brit Bandar is the Coalition's greatest military commander.

Now they're forced to serve together on the same starship.

The mission: diplomacy.

The objective: keeping the peace.

Not so easy to do when your sworn enemy is living next door.

Welcome to the Borderlands, where rules are meant to be broken…

A decade ago, I read Moonstruck by Susan Grant, and the story and characters utterly captivated me, so I was very excited to see a brand new release largely based on the original story, but with an all new title and awesome new cover.

Admiral Brit “Stone-Heart” Bandar is a tough-as-nails military leader who is secretly struggling with a past tragedy. Unfortunately, her new orders from the Coalition will test her toleration to the breaking point.

Finn Rorkken is a warleader for the opposing side, once known as the Scourge of the Borderlands, but now being given an unexpected new mission--serve at the side of the very enemy he once matched wits with.

I found this enemies-to-lovers tale between two strong-willed characters with a galaxy of barriers to overcome, a compelling, action-packed and memorable read, with some well-timed gems of humor. Warleader is the first book in the Borderlands Series.

This recommendation is by Laurie A. Green
Book site: Warleader

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Motives In Science Fiction by @CorrinaLawson

by Corrina Lawson

Science fiction and mysteries have always been intertwined. And, though some who love those genres would deny it, relationships and romance have always been a large part of them.
Let’s break them down.

Science fiction is a search to explain the unknown, to peer into the unknowable future and use it to project the present. It’s the genre of possibilities.

Combine science fiction with a mystery, and the questions become explicit.

And, because the solution to those mysteries are bound up in how humans (and other intelligences) relate to one another, relationships and even romances have always been part of them too.

I grew up reading science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, and a few romances, and, naturally, I tossed all three into the pot when I set down to write my first steampunk mystery, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract.

There were several direct influences. My writing owes something to the science fiction mysteries of Isaac Asimov, particularly  Lije Bailey/R. Daneel Olivaw detective stories. Asimov, of course, was drawing on the tradition of the Holmes/Watson partnership. (Of course, I read the complete Sherlock Holmes as a young teen as well. Thank you, Arthur Conan Doyle.)

But what really cemented my love of science fiction mysteries was the discovery of the late Randall Garrett’s Lord Darcy stories. In this alternate world, where Richard Lionheart reigned far longer, an alternate timeline that also features magic spun out through the centuries, leading to the roughly Victorian-era of Lord Darcy, detective to the Duke of Normandy, and his assistant, forensic sorcerer, Sean O'Lochlainn.

 And, yes, forensic sorcerer is as cool as it sounds, basically a scientific approach to magic. The Lord Darcy books are collected in one great big volume nw, so they should be easy to find still. Garrett died before he could write more than that collection, however. :sigh: However, his stories do feature romance in a subtle way, one between Lord Darcy and a foreign spy, another, more explicit, between Darcy and a noblewoman with a penchant for mysteries.

As I’m a believer that the stories we adore in our formative years shape our fiction, it was perhaps not surprising that when I created a steampunk world, I started with my own Sherlock Holmes analog, one Gregor Sherringford. (His last name being one of Conan’s Doyle’s rejected first names for Holmes.)

The first novel in the Steampunk Detectives, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, introduced Joan Krieger, our narrator, and my own version of Watson. Joan is where I veered far outside the lines of my influences. She’s more than a simple assistant: she’s a seamstress, a dressmaker intent on remaking the world through fashion, who has a natural curiosity and drive to become more than what society says she should be. Working against her is her class, her gender, and her religion, Jewish. 

Gregor Sherringford is also a departure from Holmes, that consummate loner. He has a living mother, and noble family that he avoids. This is partially his natural reserved inclination and partially because Gregor never possessed a powerful mage gift, as his parents’ hoped.

But also it’s because Gregor’s mother is Indian and Gregor’s place in the rigid class society of the peers of the realm is uneasy.

That makes Gregor naturally empathic to those of society who are prevented from standing up for themselves because of prejudice. Gregor, being Gregor, would deny the empathy and insists that solving mysteries is the only way to feed his active mind.

As would the original Holmes.

But Doyle’s Holmes had nothing but sneers for the nobility who endanger innocent lives or take advantage of others. Original Holmes admires those who stand up for themselves, even if they need a little help doing so, like the young heiress in The Adventure of the Speckled Band or, more famously, “the late Irene Adler of dubious and questionable memory.” It’s clear in A Scandal in Bohemia where Holmes’ sympathy resides.

Doyle’s Holmes is a champion, if your cause is just, no matter the odds against you. That’s what I wanted Gregor Sherringford to be as well.

Like the original Holmes, Gregor does not like admitting he has emotions. Except, of course, where Joan Krieger is concerned.

In Curse of the Brimstone Contract, I blended science fiction and mystery in a search for those killing the clients of Joan’s dress shop via magical attack. There is a growing romance between Joan and Gregor as well. For Joan, Gregor is a person who sees her true self, who views her as worthy as any peer. For Gregor, Joan is someone immensely gifted, someone not intimidated by his reserve, someone who innately trusts him to do what’s right, even under dire circumstances.

But it’s not an easy relationship, given their differences in class and religion. To explore those, I knew the sequel had to bring in Gregor’s family, via the family estate at Lotus Hall.

And, so, science fiction, mystery, and romance entwine once again in A Hanging at Lotus Hall. The science fiction comes from the meld of steam technology with magic, producing such things as a flying carriage and automated doors. The mystery comes from a locked-room murder committed by a mage within Lotus Hall. 

The romance comes from Joan’s collision with the noble family of the Dukes of Bennington. Like many families, including her own, they are hiding secrets, sometimes, deadly ones, leading Joan not only unsure whether she belongs, but who she can trust with her life.

The external mystery had to reflect the internal problems between Joan and Gregor. Oddly, that led me to including not one but two other romantic subplots in the book, though not as fully developed as Joan and Gregor’s romance.

Add thwarted love to a desire for power, and it’s a heady combination for my ultimate villain.

Because even in science fiction, the motives are going to remain…human. 


Follow Corrina Lawson: 

Curse of the Brimstone Contract available at Amazon:

Hanging at Lotus Hall releases February 5, 2019. 

SFR Brigade Bases of Operation