Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Why Sci-Fi Romance?

by Cathryn Cade

When people find out I’m an author, they ask what kind of stories I create.

When I say Sci Fi Romance, I receive a certain look. The listener blinks, then tips their head to one side and views me with narrowed eyes, like an art patron viewing a modern art piece and trying to figure out what the heck it’s supposed to mean.

They’re seeing a casual-classically dressed woman of a certain age with the lines of a happy outdoor life on her face and minimal jewelry, no tattoos, living in North Idaho with a DH, golden retriever, and SUV … and they’re struggling for context.

I used to attempt to explain the wonders of SFR, the incredible depth and breadth of the genre, and the many uber-talented writers. But anymore, I usually just stick with the short answer: Cowboys!

My SFR began with the ‘horse operas’ I watched as a young child, so called because the movie cowboys and gals would break into song as they rode along on their horses. In the 60’s and into the early 70’s, westerns ruled American TV.

My dad was a cowboy, mom was a cowgirl, and so were their parents. My great-grand-parents were settlers in Montana who built themselves a huge ranch and a town around it. Since these were my heroes and heroines, it seemed only natural to me that the history of the US West comprised so many of the popular TV shows.

Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, The Lone Ranger, Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Big Valley, Death Valley Days, Rin Tin Tin, The Rifleman, The Real McCoys … and the list went on. And yes, now we realize the cultural stereotypes rampant in historical productions of those days, but it was fabulous stuff for a kid to dream on.

The American West is no longer the wide-open frontier it was then, and we as Americans have realized the native cultures were treated extremely badly by many settlers (happy to say Gr-Grandad & Gr-mom were not among them) and by the early military. Such is the history of human civilization, sadly. But modern day North Americans now work together to right wrongs and celebrate native cultures, so although we now view our past through a clearer perspective, we can still enjoy the ‘High, Wide and Handsome’ possibilities of the frontier days.

And now we have a new frontier to dream in … space. My Cade-iverse is as wide and deep as my imagination, peopled by beings as wild as the cowboys, cowgirls and native tribes of my family’s past … okay, wilder—my beings have extra powers. But they all spring from the Old West.

Tyger and Dragolin shifters? Coyote, Raven and Fox are all Native American tales.

Dealing with space critters? Mountain lions + wild mustangs = catamount ponies.

Scary humanoid aliens such as Gorglons and Ingoes? Check out Pacific NorthWest Native American story-telling masks, brrr!

The LodeStar Corporation? Hudson Bay Fur Traders, the big cattle companies, the railroads

Planetary exploration with the TerraCon Expedition ? Lewis & Clark & Sacajawea

The InterGalactic Space Forces? The US Cavalry

Cyborgs? … okay, that one I can’t correlate. Cyborgs are just plain fun, so look for them in my next SFR!

Thanks for riding along with me. Join me in the Cade-iverse for some rollicking space opera … and you just may recognize a favorite historical character or two.

Start with LodeStar Series #1, STARK PLEASURE; the Space Magnate’s Mistress. FREE on all sales outlets!

Can she survive the perils of the galaxy on her wits … or will she have to use her body?

Kiri te Nawa will do anything to escape the perilous streets of New Seattle, Earth II and find the treasure for which she searches the galaxy, even become the mistress of space magnate Logan Stark. But is he her savior, or simply the man who wants to own her?

Just when she is ready to trust her heart to this powerful, magnetic man, she's kidnapped and thrown into her worst nightmare. Will he search for her, or believe she's betrayed him with an old lover?

Set in the futuristic galaxy of The Orion Series.

I’ll see you there!

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!

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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!

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!
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0145TLCN0/?tag=wwwsamcheever-20

Amazon.ca: http://www.amazon.ca/Bedeviled-Beguiled-Beyond-Book-ebook/dp/B0145TLCN0/?tag=wwwsamcheev0d-20

Amazon.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bedeviled-Beguiled-Beyond-Book-ebook/dp/B0145TLCN0/?tag=wwwsamcheever-21

Amazon.au: http://www.amazon.com.au/Bedeviled-Beguiled-Beyond-Book-ebook/dp/B0145TLCN0

Website page with excerpt: http://www.samcheever.com/bedeviled&beguiled.html

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 www.shonahusk.com or follow her on Twitter @ShonaHusk, Facebook www.facebook.com/shonahusk or join her newsletter: http://mad.ly/signups/119074/join

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).


SFR Brigade Bases of Operation