Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tag Party on Vacation

The Tag Party Nut, er, Hostess is on vacation this week with family in L.A.

We'll return next week with actual books to tag - if you have a request, please send to:

ravenesperanza@yahoo.com

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Children of Scarabaeus – release day!



Hi Brigaders. My second novel Children of Scarabaeus from Harper Voyager hits bookstores today! It's the sequel to Song of Scarabaeus, a sci-fi adventure with a touch of romance. The sequel amps up that romance as Edie and Finn, forced by a "leash" to stick together, attempt to escape the clutches of the Crib empire only to be captured and drawn back into its nefarious plans.


Head over to my blog and follow my blog tour for chances to win the book and other cool things. You can read the first few chapters of the book here.


Edie Sha'nim believes she and her bodyguard lover, Finn, could find refuge from the tyranny of the Crib empire by fleeing to the Fringe worlds. But Edie's extraordinary cypherteck ability to manipulate the ecology of evolving planets makes her far too valuable to lose. Recaptured and forced to cooperate - or else she will watch Finn die - Edie is shocked to discover the Crib's new breed of cypherteck: children. She cannot stand by while the oppressors enslave the innocent, nor can she resist the lure of Scarabaeus, the first world she tried to save, when researchers discover what appears to be an evolving intelligence.


But escape - for Edie, for Finn, and for the exploited young - will require the ultimate sacrifice... and a
shocking act of rebellion.

Fool For Love Contest Needs Entries!

For those of you preparing to hit the contest circuit this spring, the Virginia Romance Writers Fool For Love Contest deadline is coming up fast, on Friday, April 1. The contest is particularly short of entries in the Paranormal/Futuristic/Fantasy/Time Travel category (this means us), which should consist of unpublished romance manuscripts of 40,000 to 120,000 words in length. The final round judge for the P/F/F/TT category will be Amanda Barnett, Senior Editor of The Wild Rose Press. First Place winners in each category will be awarded a $50 prize; Second and Third Place winners receive a certificate good toward the contest entry fee for Fool For Love 2012. Check out the VRW website for more information. http://virginiaromancewriters.com/ Or email FoolForLove2011@gmail.com .

CRUSHED SUGAR is Released!

Good morning, Skiffy Rommers!  In the hustle and bustle, I forgot to do a few things to celebrate CRUSHED, including announcing it here.  Oops.  Well, guess what, I've released my *prequel* novella, CRUSHED SUGAR!  It is romantic, but not an official Romance with an HEA.  And there isn't much Science Fiction in this one, because it's set three months *before* SUGAR RUSH and the Heroine has no idea there are vampiric alien/hybrids around.  She is a geek though, kind of like MacGyver's kid sister.  'Course, that show was ten or so years ago, which means she'd be more like his daughter.  In any case, she's not Buffy the Vampire Slayer and this isn't Twilight either.  My teenage daughter explains it this way-.
"Buffy slays 'em, Bella kisses 'em, and Ophelia addicts 'em to Nintendo DS."
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So, if you're looking for a girl-geek heroine, please check out my Young Adult series, including Crushed, which is the first story, chronilogically in the series, although not the first released.
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You still have time to enter the Grand Prize Drawing too!
   Release of CRUSHED SUGAR by Kimber An

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Boldly Going SFR

With all the buzz lately about our Science Fiction Romance sub genre and because I've received several emails from people asking me about writing SFR, I've decided to do a post on the subject. It's up on my blog now. So if anyone is interested in stopping by, I'd love your ideas and input.



Here's the link: Boldly Going Back To Basics


Thanks!

Kaye Manro

Saturday, March 26, 2011

2011 Aurealis Awards finalist!

This week has to be the week for good news!
to Brigader Sara Creasy
- her book, SONG OF SCARABAEUS (EOS Books)
has been chosen as a finalist in the 2010 Aurealis Awards
(Australia's own huge spec.fiction contest).


Way to go, Sara!

There were 600 entries in 13 categories! Sponsored by Harper Voyager, the winners will be announced at a dinner on May 21st, 2011.

For the full list of finalists and details here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Night Owl Romance Spring Fling Web Hunt

Starting April 1 I will be participating in the Night Owl Romance Spring Fling web hunt. You just go to my website www.gailkoger.com and click on the hidden icon. Okay it's not so hidden - hint - Coming soon books. You are directed to the Night Owl site and can enter to win hundreds of prizes. Free is good in this age of $4 gasoline.

Marcella Burnard up for TWO RITAS!

Marcella Burnard's outstanding SFR debut novel, ENEMY WITHIN, has received TWO RITA nominations!

BEST FIRST BOOK
PARANORMAL ROMANCE

Congratulations, Marcella!  Outstanding!  SFR is tearing up the nominations this year.

We also have a RITA finalist!

Congratulations!!!

RWA RITA for BEST FIRST BOOK

■Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard (Berkley; Leis Pederson, editor)

Live RWA results: Laurie, Sharon, who's next?

Calls for the Golden Heart paranormal category are going out now, and our very own LAURIE GREEN has finaled with not one, but TWO SFR manuscripts!

THE OUTER PLANETS
P2PC

Congratulations, Laurie!!!

Also, in my final year of Golden Heart eligibility, I just got the call for my sci-fi/paranormal blend ECHO 8 (Sharon Lynn Fisher). I'm stunned.

Who's next? Please post in the comments if you get big news about the GH or Rita, and we'll add your name to a final list!

It's Rita and Golden Heart Day!

Today's the day. The big day when the calls go out and the finalists for the 2011 RWA Golden Heart (unpublished) and Rita (published) Awards are named.

And it's a HUGE day for writers all over the world.

You can follow the latest buzz and join in the fun at these two sites:




For those of us in the Twitter Squadron or with Twitter accounts, you can do searches on these hashtags:

#Ritagh   #GoldenHeart    #Rita     #GHRita

(Last year we had two Brigaders nominated and one winner!)


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday Tag Party for 3/24/11!

From Science News:

"April showers on Titan

A cold spring rain of methane may recently have fallen on the arid equator of Saturn’s moon Titan. Researchers base their deduction on images taken with the Cassini spacecraft, showing that the surface near Titan’s equator darkened after a cloud outburst. A large methane storm is the most likely explanation for the darkening, a team of U.S. planetary scientists says."

Huh. Does that mean May brings methane-respiratory flowers? OK, probably not, but the Cassini exploration shows us anew the wonders of discovery and how wrong our best guesses can be.

By now you all can guess where I'm going, though. This week we have our own Heather Massey (go, Heather!) and a welcome tag for new member Tracey O'Hara.

For our first time Tag-universe explorers, a brief pre-flight check:

* Go to the Amazon buy page (I've included the links below)

* Scroll down to the Tags Customers Associate with this Product header

* Look for these tags: SFR, Scifi Romance, SF Romance, Science Fiction Romance and Paranormal Romance - please feel free to add any extra tags you feel are appropriate to the work (i.e. Space Opera, Military SF, etc.)

* Don't forget your SFR Brigade Tag!

* If the tags are already there, just click o
n them to add your 'vote'

* If not, type them into the 'your tags' box to add them (no need to save the page, just type and add)

For a list of past Tag Party books, come on over to the Book Launch and Tag Party Books page. Tagging is always welcome.

On to our Tag targets for this week!




Once Upon a Time in Space by Heather Massey
















Night's Cold Kiss by Tracey O'Hara













Death's Sweet Embrace by Tracey O'Hara











As always - the Tag Party is searching for your work, old or new. I might find it if you make me work for it, but wouldn't you rather be sure? If you'd like your work featured in the weekly Tag Party, please drop me a line at ravenesperanza@yahoo.com

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Space Travel: What are Your Ideas?

We're having a great discussion over at the sfr_writers Yahoo Group. For anyone interested in joining in. Author TK Toppin brought up a great world building question, asking how we all in the group approached space travel science.

TK is looking at some Space Jumping theories and author Ciara Gold brought up a great concept called Mapped Ribbons, which uses the blackhole theory. I hope she replies to this article explaining her idea to you all. I also shared my theory, which I call quantumportation. (Not a brand new concept, since technically the scientists working on quantum conductors uses the term for their long range goal of the theory.)

I realized I hadn't actually posted about my theory here or at my blog, so decided to now. Below is the summary I shared in the Yahoo Group. In case others were curious about quantum mechanics and their potential in SF writing. I'd loved to hear your thoughts and any way you would tweak the concept. Also, we'd love to have you all join the Yahoo Group, when you get a chance.

What's Quantumportation is to My SF World:
My theory uses a concept that revolves around quantum teleportation (how ever accurate or inaccurate the science is in my story). Though, I changed it to quantumportation because it uses quantum mechanics and not radio waves…any-who…Simplified, it is quantum "mimicking"/"transferring" of trapped/set state of protons and ions to another set of nano-prepared "blank" protons and ions through a large system/processor called a Leap Jump.

The Leap Jump is a large "quantum conductor" built in space that holds up to the standard, regulation size space vessel. Activated, the conductors connect with the receiving Leap Jump using an advance infrared light communication infrastructure. The data recorded from the initiated protons and ions are transferred through this system across the network of long range communication transceivers and relayed to the receiving Leap Jump where the waiting blank protons and ions rematerialize. The initiating protons and ions are "blanked out" through the nanotechnology system and stored for future receiving vessels.

Fixing Vessels and Communications:
For short distances, the vessels do travel through a hydronic-proton hybrid drive system that gets them up to a standard kilometer per mile speed system but in the multiplication of a million. I call them space kilometers. If the vessel breaks down, I use the same theory as quantumportation but on a smaller scale and through stored information in Encrypted Ionic Networks. For communications and short distance "relays", I have different sizes of these quantum conductors that transfer anything from messages to data to supplies. These smaller ones have restrictions based on their communication distance capabilities.

If they are out of the communication infrastructure range, than there are stored data and a stored amount of blank protons and ions . The data will relay a message to the protons and ions to recreate the end result, whether it be food, parts, or medical supplies. This is only as an emergency, as the blank canisters are in limited supply and highly regulated with protocols and ethical/legal codes of conduct for what's allowed to be recreated "from scratch".

Here are a couple of my source research articles to give you more details and maybe start your research if you're interested in this theory. The quantumportation has already been successfully performed on a smaller scale with with data/information transfer in Japan.

http://www.space.com/1287-teleportation-express-lane-space-travel.html

http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/05/quantum-teleportation-achieved-over-ten-miles-of-free-space.ars

http://www.technologyreview.com/communications/24522/?a=f

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sales News: Jenna McCormick

This just in...

A big sale for Jenna McCormick, aka Brigader Jennifer L. Hart!

Jennifer reports:  "My Sci Fi Erotic Romance, No Limits has been sold to Kensington and will be published in their Aphrodisia line at the end of 2011! Since it's erotic romance it's listed under my penname, Jenna McCormick."

Congratulations, Jennifer (Jenna)!

See Jenna McCormick's blog for the full breaking story: http://authorjennamac.blogspot.com/


Welcome New Members

Please welcome our newest members to the SFR Brigade:

Lillian Grant

Kyndra Hatch

Pippa Jay

Calla Knight

Tracey O'Hara

Please give our newest members a Brigade-style welcome and be sure to check out their blogs and sites through the links to their names under the Brigade roster on the left sidebar.  Welcome to our ranks, Brigaders!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Did You See It?


Super Perigee Moon


The largest full moon in more than 18 years – a so-called "supermoon" – did not disappoint eager skywatchers.


The full moon of March was 221,565 miles away (356,575 kilometers) on Saturday, March 19 just 50 minutes after it hit its full phase, making it the biggest and brightest full moon since 1993. The "supermoon" phenomenon occurred because the moon was in its full phase and just 50 minutes past perigee – the point of its orbit that brings it closer to Earth.


NASA scientists and others dismissed the fringe lunar disaster claims as nonsense, but did admit the moon should look spectacular. Saturday's full moon appeared 14 percent larger and 30 percent bigger than the smallest full moons Earth sees.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Poetry Contest Blasts Off

Poetry Contest Blasts Off

Aliens ~ Soul Mates ~ and Sex

Today the fantastic Jacqueline Lichtenberg creator of the popular SFR Sime~Gen series is guest blogging with me. She is continuing on with the ideas presented by Heather Massey in a March 6 post on my blog called, Sci-Fi Tech Meets Hot Sex.

Stop by to see what this seasoned mentor of our SFR sub genre has to say about Alien Sexuality! 

Here's a quick link: Aliens ~ Soul Mates ~ and Sex 

Kaye Manro

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursday Tag Party for 3/17/11!


Happy St. Pat's to all the fae, the baen sidhe, the pookas, and, oh, I guess the humans, too.

This week, we're taking a Tag Party walk through some Linda Mooney titles in honor of her recent EPIC w
in (woohoo!)

Here's the brief rundown of how to tag for any Tag Party virgins out there:

* Go to the Amazon buy page (I've included the links below)

* Scroll down to the Tags Customers Associate with this Product header

* Look for these tags: SFR, Scifi Romance, SF Romance, Science Fiction Romance and Paranormal Romance - please feel free to add any extra tags you feel are appropriate to the work (i.e. Space Opera, Military SF, etc.)

* Don't forget your SFR Brigade Tag!

* If the tags are already there, just click o
n them to add your 'vote'

* If not, type them into the 'your tags' box to add them (no need to save the page, just type and add)

For a list of past Tag Party books, come on over to the Book Launch and Tag Party Books page. Tagging is always welcome.

And now for some Linda books:






Lord of Thunder by Linda Mooney














Passion of Thunder by Linda Mooney

















Wings of Thunder by Linda Mooney













As always - the Tag Party is searching for your work, old or new. If you'd like your work featured in the weekly Tag Party, or if you have a favorite restaurant in LA that won't break the bank, please drop me a line at ravenesperanza@yahoo.com .

Sunday, March 13, 2011

This Just In...


Pauline Baird Jones has won an
~~~ EPIC AWARD ~~~
for GIRL GONE NOVA
in SFR

Linda Mooney has won an
~~~ EPIC AWARD ~~~
for LORD OF THUNDER
in Erotic SFR

Many congratulations and kudos,
Pauline and Linda!

In other categories,
Robert Appleton won Historical Fiction 
with Sunset on Ramree

Congratulations, Robert!

Thanks to Pauline, Melisse Aires, Robert Appleton and The Galaxy Express for the information!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Heather Massey Interview and Book Launch

Heather, we’re so proud and pleased to have you here on the SFR Brigade blog to discuss your recently released debut novel, ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE.

So, first of all, we have to ask the burning question. From where did the core idea for your novel materialize? Research? A dream? Lightbulb moment? Did your familiarity with other SFRs influence your characters, plot or other elements in any way?

I’ve always been enamored by the romanticized stories about Christopher Columbus, albeit the greatly sanitized versions from my elementary school history books. For many years, I carried around the idea of futuristic versions of the NiƱa, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria soaring around the cosmos. Initially, I pictured my futuristic descendent of Columbus as a drunken loser, but later decided he’d be more interesting as a good-guy hero paired with a ruthless space pirate heroine.

Style-wise, my story pays homage to some of the great vintage SF I’ve enjoyed over the years in books, films, and anime. Readers will also discover a strong space western flavor in the story. I’ve been glomming western films for some time now, and was inspired by the works of directors like Sergio Leone (ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (!)) and John Ford (THE SEARCHERS).

Please give us the blurb for OUaTiS, and could you tell us a little about the process you used to come up with it?

This blurb is from my Web site,

In the sea of stars, an epic love story is about to begin...

Earth is dying. Nick Venture, the last living descendant of Christopher Columbus, embarks on a dangerous mission to find a new planet and save humanity. This places him on a collision course with Raquel Donovan, the deadliest space pirate in the galaxy.

Raquel lives for one purpose: revenge against a horrible demon from her past. When an attempt to hijack Nick’s starship backfires, Raquel becomes his protector in order to avoid capture by the tyrannical Space Defense Corps. Nick and Raquel are irresistibly drawn to one another despite the forbidden nature of their attraction. But the conflicted pirate’s deepest secret could tear the couple apart even as humanity’s time runs out….

An extended version can be found on my author page at eredsage.com.

As for process, I simply focused on presenting the key elements that kick-start the story.

What's the opening line from the novel and what sense did you want to convey to the readers right from "we have ignition"?

“Every day—no, every hour—Raquel Donovan rubbed shoulders with death.”

My opening line basically translates to: Here there be entertaining space opera romance: proceed at your peril!

Love that hook! How about whetting our appetites with a brief scene from ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE?

Sure thing! Here are the opening paragraphs:

Every day—no, every hour—Raquel Donovan rubbed shoulders with death.

She frowned as she lorded over the deck, one black-gloved hand knuckling her eye patch to alleviate a phantom itch. It was a bothersome reminder of who she was, and what she had to do. Without fail, the damned thing always struck at the most grueling moments—times when she had to take on the mantle of Atlas bearing his backbreaking planetary load.

The dull thrum of the ship’s well-oiled systems underscored her heavy thoughts. A landscape of sleek gray lines, gleaming consoles, and spacious, well-lit bridge stations surrounded her—the best in technology and design that the military dollar could buy. The revolting display stood for everything she didn’t: power and greed and suppression. She hated the smell and the look of it. The sensory assault made each passing minute increasingly suffocating.

Her good eye narrowed to a slit; a stream of warm sweat trickled down her neck. That damned itch was driving her mad. But she knew better than to pause for additional relief. She had her reputation to guard. This operation had to succeed, for her crew’s sake…and especially hers.

Whatever the outcome, it was time for her star performance to begin.
***

Tell us about your heroine. Who is she and what does she do? Any quirks, habits or deep, dark fears? Is anything holding her back from getting what she wants, and of course, that includes the hero.

Raquel Donovan is a space pirate who lives for one purpose: revenge against a horrible demon from her past. She has secrets within secrets, including one related to the black eye patch she wears. Her weapon of choice is a vintage Enfield and she wields it against anyone who stands in her way—even the hero.

Okay, let's talk about that hero. Can you give us a brief personality profile? Alpha? Beta? Omega? What drives him? What drives him wild?

Nick Venture is a simple mechanic with an extraordinary heritage: he’s the last living descendent of Christopher Columbus. Desperate to avoid the fate of an unjust death sentence, he accepts an offer from a rogue scientist to claim a newly-discovered planet in exchange for his freedom.

Nick is a good-guy hero, but even he can’t escape the seductive call of Raquel’s dark, gritty world. While Raquel may be the savvier of the two, Nick definitely has a higher emotional IQ. He uses this skill to effectively peel back Raquel’s guarded layers—and her clothes, heh heh.

Let us inside the universe where your two main characters exist. Could you share some insights or a snippet from the novel that shows us their world?

Even as I was excited to explore the fantastical concept of a futuristic Christopher Columbus in space, I was just as determined to build a dark, gritty future that featured the scenario of Earth and her people suffering as a result of environmental disasters.

In the following scene, Nick is fighting for a promotion at work, one his boss has reneged on:

Nick frowned. “You’re not making any sense. Four months ago, I asked and you said because of my excellent record I was guaranteed to make shift supervisor. What the hell changed?”

Bruce sighed, his shoulders sagging like a sack of the cheap ration granules Omnigroup International provided for meals so employees wouldn’t wander off during breaks. The image only compounded Nick’s annoyance, especially since the promotion translated to a one room apartment that made his sleeping berth seem like a rivet in comparison. He had no intention of leaving without it.

Bruce pointedly divided his attention between Nick and the bank of operation monitors before him. “Timing’s gone to shit, that’s what changed. The goddamn Feds have been cracking down like vipers ever since the Alaskan collapse. They’re stuffing so many new safety regulations down the throat of excavation companies that it’s coming out our asses, and believe me, the shit stinks.” He grunted. “What does all this mean? It means we gotta tighten our belts. Selfishness isn’t going to win you any points, Nick. Just be grateful you gotta job.”

Nick’s right hand twitched, and he stopped it just short of clenching a fist. Unfortunately, Bruce was right. When the crust covering Alaska had disintegrated about two months ago, millions of people had died. Vast numbers of mangled corpses now lay buried under rubble. Those not entombed by jagged rock were exposed to the harsh surface climate, rotting and baking in the triple digit temperatures.

Then there were the earthquakes, the deadly leaks of hot gasses, the volcanic eruptions…the dangers went on and on. Life on planet Earth had become a nightmare bordering on insanity.
***

Tell us a little about the making of the cover art. What was your first impression when you saw it?

I was thrilled! The cover was created by the talented Kanaxa. I was very lucky in that I had the opportunity to provide input about the cover elements. Kanaxa not only delivered on those elements, but also brought them to life in unexpected ways. I love that readers can discern the image and title even at thumbnail size. That’s an important factor where ebook covers are concerned.

And of course I have to mention Kanaxa is also the same talented artist who designed our decidedly cool SFR Brigade badge, too.

So tell us where can readers fly--at warp 10, not impulse power--to purchase your novel?

ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE is available for download from eredsage.com, Books on Board, Powell’s, Amazon, and All Romance Ebooks.

As far as your writing style and voice, who would you most like to be compared to by those who read ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE?

Readers who enjoy action-adventure space westerns, ensemble casts, and steamy love scenes will find much to entertain them between my book’s virtual pages. If you’re a fan of SF films and westerns, you might enjoy the story’s cinematic style. To learn more about the book’s specific elements, I invite readers to peruse 5 Reasons To Avoid Heather Massey’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE.

Aha! Now, there’s a bit of reverse psychology that’s very entertaining.


Has OUaTiS been reviewed yet, and if so where?

Initial reviews have been great and readers can peruse some at Smart Girls Love Sci-Fi & Paranormal Romance, Pearls Cast Before A McPig, and Goodreads.

Any special promotions or events lined up for ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE? Other cyber-launch parties?

Thanks for asking.

In March, I’ll be guest blogging at Dirty Sexy Books as well as at the Guide to Literary Agents blog (with giveaway). Additionally, I’ll be interviewed by author Gini Koch (ALIEN TANGO) on March 23, at which time I’ll be doing a book giveaway. Also an interview at Spacefreighters Lounge, where readers can enter for a chance to win a copy of the book is posted now.

Earlier this month, I guest blogged at the site of author Lisa Paitz Spindler (THE SPIRAL PATH) and likewise hung out at the blog of author Kaye Manro (FORBIDDEN DESTINY). Raquel Donovan was also profiled by Ms. Spindler as part of her Danger Gal series.

And yes, I just shamelessly plugged a few other science fiction romance authors. What can I say? It’s in my blood.

Readers can get future updates about my whereabouts by visiting my blog, The Galaxy Express.

Holy SpaceCows, you’ve been very busy! *suspects Heather employs a transporter room*


Any plans underway for a ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE book 2 or a related series, or will this story be a complete standalone?

ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE is a complete standalone. However, readers can visit my Web site to download Heroes Are Forever, a free near-future science fiction romance.

I will definitely blast on over to your site to check out that Near Future SFR.

Thanks so much for all your thoughts and information, and congrats again on the launch of your debut novel, Heather. 

Thanks for having me, Laurie!

Here's a direct link to the ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE giveaway on Spacefreighters Lounge.  (And while you're there, be sure to check out the 25,000 Hit Celebration with multiple prize drawing for blog followers.)

CRUSHED SUGAR Release Date is March 25th

It's far less SFR than Sugar Rush because it's a *prequel* and the Heroine hasn't begun using her geeky talents on the bad guys yet.  She's only 16 and doesn't know there are alien-human hybrids around yet.  She does use her geek-girl brilliance in other ways though, like rigging a food processor she knows a mean chick is going to steal from her.  So, when the mean chick starts it up, she gets splattered with green goo.  There's lots of empathic, telepathic, and creepy vampire-like tension-building, plus forbidden romance and unrequited love though.  It's set three months before the start of Sugar Rush.  Pop over to About CRUSHED SUGAR if you want to learn more.
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If you want to showcase CRUSHED or interview me or whatever, please let me know!   kimber.an@yahoo.com  Thanks, everyone!
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Hey, you know what?  It's kinda nice not to be a freaked-out debut author anymore.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Trading Up


As primarily and ebook author, I think about promotion items a lot. I'm not proud of it, but if you hang out in author circles, on lists, groups and at coffee clatches, the topic is going to come up. I've tried them all too. Bookmarks, stickers, postcards, pens, fridge magnets...I even took a tip from a website and spent a good month stuffing my promo items into junk mail return envelopes--until someone suggested they would single them out by weight and toss my goodies without even opening them.


Well so much for that good idea. I'd spent far too much of my own money to throw the things away. I didn't even like to think about it, and at conventions, I developed the habit of scooping up any extras on that promo table before leaving the event, just to save them from the garbage.


Then one of my friends suggested trading cards. Pretty, collectible, cards with my covers on one side and the book info on the other. She's pretty brilliant. I searched and designed and printed. I took my little assortment of cards to the next convention, and it didn't take long to see that there wouldn't be any leftovers to save at the end of the weekend. Eureka, they love those cards.


Last week I stumbled upon a group of romance authors who either have the same brilliant friend, or latched onto the idea through their own clever intellects. I suspect the latter--especially because their cards are better designed, more lovely, and very well produced. In the spirit of the great idea, they've also opened up the doors to any author of romance. Come play, we're excited, they said. SO, naturally I jumped on board. Go Here and see for yourself how cool they are.


They make my cards look so lame. Go Here and you'll see what I mean...I went with the easy peesy old school baseball card look. Sue me. It was fun. ;-)


The point is they are so excited! They are tweeting and hooting and spreading the word fast, and the best part is they're ready to share the fun.

So what do you guys think? Dive in there, definitely, but also, wouldn't it be fun to have an official SFR Brigade template to use as a card border? What about a little SFR Brigade seal for authors to pop into the corner of their cards?
I know you all can come up with better than I can. Do you want to play a game?


;-)
Frances

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday Tag Party for 3/10/11!

Just a little humor to highlight how we humans, especially we humans with a penchant for the technical, have a tendency to overcomplicated things.

Luckily (run, everyone, it's the cheesy segue!) Tagging SFR Brigaders books is easy.

Here's the brief manual of how to tag for our new lab assistants:

* Go to the Amazon buy page (I've included the links below)

* Scroll down to the Tags Customers Associate with this Product header

* Look for these tags: SFR, Scifi Romance, SF Romance, Science Fiction Romance and Paranormal Romance - please feel free to add any extra tags you feel are appropriate to the work (i.e. Space Opera, Military SF, etc.)

* Don't forget your SFR Brigade Tag!

* If the tags are already there, just click on them to add your 'vote'

* If not, type them into the 'your tags' box to add them (no need to save the page, just type and add)

For a list of past Tag Party books, come on over to the Book Launch and Tag Party Books page. Tagging is always welcome.


Onward! To our books for this week:





The Empire by Elizabeth Lang


















Hajiri's Pet with Michael Barnette















As always - the Tag Party is searching for your work, old or new. If you'd like your work featured in the weekly Tag Party, or if you've recently patented human replication, please drop me a line at ravenesperanza@yahoo.com .

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sharon Lynn Fisher Sells Ghost Planet!

Breaking news on The Galaxy Express!  One of our own, Sharon Lynn Fisher, has sold her two-time Golden Heart nominated Science Fiction Romance.  Get the scoop!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Author Strikes Back

Victorine Lieske: An Amazing Self-Published Success Story

This is an exciting time in the publishing industry when authors can literally take their careers into their own hands. Today I'm interviewing one of the biggest success stories in self-publishing, Victorine Lieske, to ask about her experiences, tips and secrets. Her novel, Not What She Seems, has sold over 70,000 copies and just hit the NY Times Bestsellers list at the end of February. Recently, in a complete twist on the usual professional journey, New York agents are now querying her asking to represent her work.

Thinking this might be something other writers would like to know more about, I asked Vicki if she'd be willing to do an interview for SFR Brigade, and she graciously agreed.

First of all, Vicki, I just want to clarify for the Brigade that Not What She Seems is not a SFR but a contemporary romantic suspense. Is this your first novel? Can you tell us a little about the plot?

Yes, this is my first novel. It's about a billionaire from NY who falls for a woman on the run, and when he uncovers her past he puts his own life in danger. There's a murder mystery, a little romance although it's totally clean, and some suspense.

Please give us some of the details about your amazing journey. Did you try the traditional publishing route? When and why did you decide to self-publish and how long did it take you to reach that decision?

After I had edited and reworked the book to the point where I felt it was done, I did send out a few query letters to agents. However, I knew the wait was long, the prospects slim, and the advances for a first novel weren't that great. So when I got my first rejection letter I was actually glad. I had decided that I didn't really want to be traditionally published. My novel then sat around on my hard drive for about a year when I stumbled upon Joe Konrath's blog. He was reporting great sales from his ebooks on the Kindle. I checked into it, and it turned out I could sell my book on the Kindle for free! I was astonished.

Is it difficult to self-publish a novel? What are the steps? Where did you learn about how to accomplish this? How did you go about getting self-published? Who created the cover, etc?

It's not very difficult to self-publish an ebook. First you sign up on the Amazon KDP website. (You can also do this on the Pubit website for B&N, the process is the same.) Just create an account, upload a cover image, type in a blurb, upload the book file, and choose a price. The hardest part of this is making sure the file you upload comes out looking good on the hand held device. But when you upload it, the website gives you a preview of what the book will look like on the device. Just click through some pages and make sure the spacing looks good, and you've got indents and such. If you need to, you can adjust your file and upload it again.

I created my own book cover, but if you don't know how to, there are artists who you can hire to do this for you. They charge anywhere from $50 to $250 depending on who you hire. You can also create your own cover, if you know a little bit about design.

Take us through the first month after Not What She Seems was listed on Amazon. How were the initital sales? What steps did you take to promote your novel and develop an online presence? How do you think word got out and why do you think it became so successful--other than being a great story, of course.

I uploaded Not What She Seems on April 17th. By the end of April I had sold seven books. That first half-month definitely seemed quite slow to me. But I had joined Kindleboards.com, and had figured out how to get my book in my signature line, and I would go on there and join in conversations, and post for a while until I would see one sale. In May I began to see two and then three sales each day. Then it grew to five. By the end of May I had sold 158 books. My biggest promotion secret is hanging out on Kindleboards and networking with the other authors. Many of them are looking for authors to interview, or feature on their blog. They'll also share tips on forums that work, and what they've done to promote. Everything I've learned has been through Kindleboards.com.

Did you set any sales goal numbers and plans to reach them, or did you just wing it? What was your first major milestone in terms of sales and how long did it take to get there?

My goals started out small and grew. I began with the goal of one sale each day. Then when that was easy, I raised the goal to three sales each day. As that became the norm, I changed it to five. My first major milestone was to sell 100 books in one month. I was lucky enough to do that in May, my first full month of selling on the Kindle.

You decided at one point to release Not What She Seems in print. Can you explain when and why you made this decision? What was the process involved in getting your novel into a print version?

I honestly didn't think I would publish my book in print. However, when customers started asking if I had a print copy, that changed my thinking. It's a lot harder to turn down sales when people are emailing and asking if you've got a paper copy. So I looked into it, and CreateSpace seemed to me to be the best deal. It wasn't too hard, the hardest part was formatting the inside to look like a standard book. I had to create page numbers and headers, and then I had to save it as a PDF.

How many print copies have sold in comparison to e-books? What are your thoughts on both mediums?

I've sold about 200 print copies, and over 70,000 ebooks. The print copies are nice because you can send them to book bloggers that don't take ebooks. You can also do giveaways on Goodreads.com, and you can't give out ebooks there. But by far, I earn the most money selling the 99 cent ebook. That's pretty easy to see why. It's a buck. The paper book is $14.95.

The latest in your success story is that now agents are querying you. Will you accept representation at this point, and why or why not?

Yes, I am going to accept representation. I have been approached by two people asking about foreign rights, and I know nothing about negotiating a foreign rights deal. I could definitely use an agent to help with that. An agent would also be needed to negotiate film and audio rights.

What are your future plans? (Any Science Fiction Romance in the works?)

Yes, my next novel is a science fiction romance! It's titled The Overtaking, and I'm hoping it will be out in a month.

What's the best advice you can give someone who's considering self-publishing?

1. Write a good book. Join a critique group and make it the best you can.
2. Have a great cover design.
3. Write a compelling blurb.
4. Price it low.
5. Network with other indie authors at Kindleboards.com 
6. Study the successful authors and mimic them.

Would you be available to answer direct questions from writers interested in pursuing self-publishing? Where can they reach you?

Yes, they can contact me through my website at http://www.victorinelieske.com/. I also publish tips on my blog, at www.victorinewrites.blogspot.com

Is there anything else you'd like people to know?

I'm incredibly grateful for the wonderful writers on critiquecircle.com who helped me shape my book into what it is today. I wouldn't be anywhere without them.


Thanks so much, Vicki, for taking time out of your schedule to share your thoughts and knowledge.  I wish you every success with the future sales of Not What She Seems as well as your next SFR novel. 
__________________________________

Best SFF Novels of the Decade!

TOR.com Readers Poll RESULTS
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/03/best-sff-novels-of-the-decade-readers-poll-results

With 10,000 votes and 1,600 nominated titles over the course of a week, the winners are...

 1.  Old Man’s War by John Scalzi - 295 votes
 2.  American Gods by Neil Gaiman - 270 votes
 3.  The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - 231 votes *
 4.  Blindsight by Peter Watts - 221 votes
 5.  Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey - 194 votes
 6.  A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin - 179 votes
 7.  Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke - 167 votes *
 8.  Anathem by Neal Stephenson - 141 votes
 9.  Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson - 125 votes
10. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville - 124 votes

* = Debut novel

And here's a fabulously entertaining follow-up article where #1 "stews" over #3

Well, I have to hardily endorse the winner. Not just because it's the only one of the list I've read, mind you, but because OLD MAN'S WAR (the whole series for that matter) is one enthralling, thought-provoking, knock your socks off piece of SF (with a tiny touch of romance, even).

I think the SFR Brigade should hold a Readers Poll of the Best SFR of the Decade. Don't you?


Space Shuttle Discovery Wake-Up Call

Good morning!   Just HAD to share this!  :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Can Techie Sci-Fi be Sexy too?

Heather Massey of The Galaxy Express just landed at My Blog. I've turned over command to her so she can clarify the science with the sex in erotic SFR. She is sharing her intirguing ideas in a most fascinating article. How about this for a title:

What If Erotic Sci-fi Romance Gave You Mind-Blowing Orgasms *and* Deep Thoughts?

Stop by for a visit today, and during this week to join in and comment on this interesting discussion.

Here's the blog title link so Brigaders can use there beaming abilities to light speed jump on over:  Sci-Fi Tech Meets Hot Sex





PS  ~ And while you are beaming around the Galaxy, don't forget to land at fellow Brigader, Melisse Aires blog for a very interesting post on the future of families in space: Here's the title and the link:  Moms In Space !!

Kaye Manro

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thursday Tag Party for 3/3/11!

Apparently, researchers have discovered that bacteria can communicate through nanotubes, exchanging information proteins and cell phone numbers. I wonder if they text? (see Bacteria Can Communicate for the whole story.)

Communication is no less vital for Brigaders and this week, Maree Anderson was nice enough to write me and ask to have her books featured for the Tag Party. You all know me. I'm easy!



Here's the brief manual of how to tag for our new lab assistants:
  • Go to the Amazon buy page (I've included the links below)
  • Scroll down to the Tags Customers Associate with this Product header
  • Look for these tags: SFR, Scifi Romance, SF Romance, Science Fiction Romance and Paranormal Romance - please feel free to add any extra tags you feel are appropriate to the work (i.e. Space Opera, Military SF, etc.)
  • Don't forget your SFR Brigade Tag!
  • If the tags are already there, just click on them to add your 'vote'
  • If not, type them into the 'your tags' box to add them (no need to save the page, just type and add)
For a list of past Tag Party books, come on over to the Book Launch and Tag Party Books page. Tagging is always welcome.

And now our Maree fest!


Even Demons Get the Blues by Maree Anderson















Let Sleeping Demons Lie by Maree Anderson














From the Ashes by Maree Anderson
















As always - the Tag Party is searching for your work, old or new. If you'd like your work featured in the weekly Tag Party, or if you have a brilliant way to get these darn stink bugs out of my study, please drop me a line at ravenesperanza@yahoo.com .

SFR Brigade Bases of Operation