Friday, May 25, 2018

SFRB Recommends #81: Driven by Eve Silver

In the harsh Northern Waste where human life is worth little, ice trucker Raina Bowen has learned to keep her eyes open and her knife close at hand. She's spent her life on the run, one step ahead of the megalomaniac who hunts her. All she wants is to stay out of trouble and haul her load of grain to Gladow Station--but trouble finds her in the form of a sexy stranger called Wizard. He has the trucking pass she needs, and she has to drag him out of a brawl with the very people she's trying to hide from in order to get it. She may have rescued him, but Raina's not foolish enough to see Wizard as anything close to helpless. He's hard and honed and full of secrets--secrets that may destroy them both. As they race across the Waste, trying to outrun rival truckers, ice pirates, and the powerful man bent on their destruction, Raina's forced to admit that trouble's found her. And this time, there's nowhere left to run. 

This book was previously published with the author's name as Eve Kenin.

There are plenty of parallels to Mad Max, especially with various vehicles all the time. Only this desert's made of ice, full of its own perils.

The attraction between Raina and Wizard may be instant, but their other feelings take a while to grow and don't feel rushed. Their emotional pasts are complicated, and that makes the way they interact more interesting. The secondary characters are all intriguing and I want to read more about them.

The world Silver builds in Driven is one I want to explore more: it's believable and fascinating. Environmental and cultural details blend in an immersive experience. I read it in one day. 

Author's book site: https://www.evesilver.net/books

This recommendation by Lee Koven.

Here's an older cover you might see on paperbacks: 


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Using Classic Sci-fi To Influence New Stories in the Hikoboshi Series by @spajonas

by S.J. Pajonas 

My mom was the first person to hand over a science fiction book to me. I remember that moment when she produced CHILDHOOD’S END by Arthur C. Clarke and said, “I think you’ll enjoy this.” I was already a Star Trek and Star Wars fan, so she knew what I was into. She understood my need to dream amongst the stars. And that book? It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Growing up a child in the 80s and 90s, I spent a lot of time in the library. I can still see in my head our two local libraries, the two places I spent the most time pouring over every book in the science fiction section and hoping for something new to pop out at me. No science fiction book was safe! I read the blurbs on the back cover, and I paged through the first chapter. Each trip, I took home at least three or four books and was back in a week for more. I even joined the Science Fiction Book Club and looked forward to each book sent to me. My appetite was insatiable. 


So it came as no surprise to anyone when I started writing my own science fiction series, The Nogiku Series and The Hikoboshi Series. The advice for most authors is to write what you want to read, and I wanted more adventures in space, preferably with women at the helm. Because you know what all those stories I read as a kid lacked? Women. I rarely saw a three-dimensional woman, someone I could look up to. Yet, those stories still grabbed me, despite the lack of role models. Since deciding to write my own series, I have focused on women while still paying homage to the great authors who came before me.



The series I’m writing now references two of my favorite science fiction stories from my childhood: Phillip K Dick’s BLADE RUNNER/DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? and Isaac Asimov’s Robot Series, THE CAVES OF STEEL THE NAKED SUN, and THE ROBOTS OF DAWN. With androids on the loose in the Hikoboshi Series, it seemed proper to access the classics and use them to guide me. But I thought, “What if my worlds had never read those books? What kinds of things would they do the same? What would they do differently?” 

So I took two paths and made Blade Runner my “positive” guide and The Robot Series my “negative” guide. With lifelike androids who were so human they needed to be tested, the Blade Runner model pushed the story along for my heroine, Yumi. She could never tell who was human, who was android. And her Blade Runner hero, Rin, would devote his career to figuring out the difference. Choosing the opposite of The Robot Series model, the Hikoboshi androids would have no rules or laws that they operated by. It would lead to chaos and upheaval… until the two models could be reversed and go in the opposite directions at the mid-point of the series. 

As someone who loves a good plot twist, this model has been a lot of fun to work with! And I’m sure I’m leaving readers with lots of questions and looking for answers that I look forward to answering as the series progresses. And of course, I’m enjoying referencing my favorite stories from my childhood.

What are your favorite sci-fi classics? Have they influenced your choices of current science fiction to read? Tell me all about them in the comments.



S. J. Pajonas is the author of the Nogiku Series and the Hikoboshi Series, both Japan-inspired fiction. She’s a writer, knitter, amateur astrologer, Capricorn, and Japanophile. She loves foxes, owls, sushi, yoga pants, Evernote, and black tea. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing or spending time outside, unless it’s winter. She hates winter. Someday she’ll own a house in both hemispheres so she can avoid the season entirely. She’s a mom to two great kids and lives with her husband and family outside NYC. They have no pets. Yet. When it comes to her work, expect the unexpected. She doesn’t write anything typical. Find her online at http://www.spajonas.com




FUKUSHA MODEL EIGHT, the third book of the Hikoboshi Series, is now on sale! You can find the first book of the series, CRASH LAND ON KURAI, at https://www.spajonas.com/crash-land-on-kurai/

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.”
Why?
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?
Nope.
Candy?
Nope.
Jewelry.
Nope.
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.”







SFR Brigade Bases of Operation