Launching Romance into the stars.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year! Today on Backward Momentum we have a guest author visiting. I interviewed her about her writing and her new book in her Road to Hell series. So pull up a chair, get a cup of coffee and find out what all the talk is about. At the end of this post is a chance to win some of the great prize packages Gracen has up for grabs, so don't go away.

Please tell the readers about yourself and the books you write?
Gracen: I’m a mother of two very active boys. I stay busy taxi my children from basketball, football and guitar, to helping with homework, and watching Supernatural and The Walking Dead with them. I’ve been married for 21 years to my personal hero and I wouldn’t trade my life for nothing in the world. I write what I call horromance—a combination of horror and romance—and paranormal erotica.

Tell us about your latest book.  Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us about it? 
Gracen: My newest release is the third book in the Road to Hell series. It’s the conclusion to the love triangle that was started in Pandora’s Box. I’m working on edits to Taboo Kisses, a paranormal ménage. I’m also writing the next books in the Road to Hell series—books 3.5 and 4—while writing another paranormal ménage titled Demon Spelled.

What was your inspiration behind your latest release?
Gracen: The inspiration behind the Road to Hell series was spawned from a nightmare. Basically, a demon was gunning for my children and when I woke, it got me to wondering ‘what if’ that happened in real life to a woman who didn’t believe in the supernatural? That one ‘what if’ spawned a whole lot of ‘what ifs’ and the story came to life. To read more in-depth about that nightmare click the following link:

Do you have a particular writing style and how would you describe it?
Gracen: I’d call my writing style as “sitting in the hot seat”. I love my muse—who is named Dom because he’s such a Dom in the truest sense of the word!—but with him in charge, rarely does the storyline turn out the way I originally envisioned. I have a vague beginning, middle and end, but what emerges is rarely how I intended and oftentimes something totally different, with an entirely altered ending.

Have you ever had your characters take over while writing a book? If so, tell us about it.
Gracen: Ha! All the time! LOL How I planned to end the love triangle in the Road to Hell series—with my villain dying and Madison living happily ever after with Nix…even though you can’t see me, I’m dying of laughter here. That original plan went out the door by book 2, Hell’s Phoenix. I spent days and hours arguing with my Muse and my BFF about the ending to the love triangle because I knew from page one of the final book that my original plan was no longer the ending for the series. Convincing my BFF that the new plan was in the best interest of the series was freakin difficult! lol

What are the hardest scenes for you to write?
Gracen: Sex scenes because I want the reader to feel every single moment as if they have swapped places with the heroine—or hero. The reader should be aroused when they finish reading a sex scene! Making sure all limbs and digits haven’t increased in numbers or that the same words don’t become repetitive can be challenging. I mean, the characters can only gasp, sigh or moan, so many times before it become tedious. I’ll revamp a sex scene at least a dozen times before I’m satisfied with it.

The easiest?
Gracen: Sounds creepy and maybe a bit psychotic, but the torture, death or fighting scenes flow really quickly and easily for me.

 What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
Gracen: That even when a publisher or editor thinks I’m going too far with my characters, those tend to be the scenes the readers love the most. I follow my gut instinct now. If the scene bothers me, I’ll trash it, but I won’t trash it based solely off the “expert” opinion. Publishers, agents and fellow authors also told me there wasn’t a market for the Road to Hell series because it was too graphic, horror ridden and erotic, which equated to “no market”. I’ve proven them all wrong, which indicates even those who supposedly know what the readers want aren’t always correct.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Gracen: Don’t give up on writing that book. Write what you love, not what you think readers will love. Challenge yourself to do the unthinkable and listen to respectful criticism—I’m not talking about those who trash you for fun, but those who give honest to goodness criticism. That’ll help you improve your weak points. Writing takes lots of hard work and dedication to get the story written. Most of all, don’t ever let anyone kill your dreams of being a writer! Your dreams are as important and as realistic as Joe-Schmoo who wants to be a lawyer. People tend to disqualify the dreams of a writer as inconsequential, so chin-up, square your shoulders and say ‘screw them, my dreams are important, too’. Nothing agitates me more than family and friends who aren’t supportive.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
Gracen: I’ve known since sixth grade I was a writer, I just didn’t think of becoming an author until sometime in High School.

Boxers or Briefs?
Gracen: I prefer boxer-briefs on my husband. Mmm…sooooo sexy.

Beta or Alpha?
Gracen: I’m definitely the beta, with brief moments of alphaness when my husband is acting like an idiot.

Do blondes have more fun?
Gracen: LOL I’ve been every color of the hair spectrum, blonde, redhead and brunette. Blondes and redheads get more attention, but some of my most fun years were as a brunette.

Where you can stalk me—not really!—but I would love to meet and interact with you:

Thanks for allowing me to join you!




Barnes and Noble:


 Decadent Publishing:

Noble Romance Publishing:

Great fun, Gracen. Thanks for visiting today, and I've got your books, just need to dig into the leaning tower of TBR. Good luck with your tour and happy sales, to you.... Now enter the Rafflecopter for your chances to snag some of the goodies up for grabs.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

No Aliens - Guest Post by Author Cathy Pegau

Three Reasons I Don’t Write Aliens
And Three Reasons Maybe I Should

Guest Post by Cathy Pegau

At this point, I haven’t written alien species as the main characters or hero/heroine in my science fiction romance. Not that I have anything against them. Some of my best friends are from space. No wait, that’s spacey. Never mind. Anyway, all of the inhabitants of my worlds are plain ol’ human beings. Here are some reasons why I stick to the species I know best (even if the men make me shake my head in wonder at times : ) And reasons why maybe I should give the green guys a try ; )

1.      Known biology. For the most part, I know how humans function. By using them, I don’t have to worry about all that messy science : P Kidding. I love biology. Creating a new species has its appeal; I just haven’t had the inspiration to do so.

On the other hand….There are GOBS of configurations of body parts and subsequent positionings that could make a story…um…interesting. Create your own species? Hmm. Give them sensitive areas or erogenous zones that aren’t typical or expected? Hmmm…

2.      What are the chances of humanoid life out there? I’m guessing pretty low. For the sake of my novels, the species we’ve encountered aren’t more intelligent than animals, let alone candidates for potential mates.

On the other hand…The point of speculative fiction is to, in fact, speculate! What if there are species just waiting for us to reach a certain maturity? Or on their way and we have yet to invent the technology to detect them? There are many reasons why we haven’t bumped into aliens at this point, but that doesn’t mean we won’t. Just because we’re barely out of our own cosmic backyard doesn’t mean we’re alone in the neighborhood.

3.      The Human Condition. I’m no expert in this field (or any other, for that matter) but like most writers I’m fascinated by human interaction. Why are these two people attracted to each other? What is it about the other person that makes them rail and shake their fists while wanting to kiss them? How can the characters get over their differences (some of which are so opposing they’re often enemies in the beginning of romances) to come together (heheh. “come together” heheh. Sorry. Carry on…)

On the other hand…What better way to explore our humanity than through the eyes (or whatever ocular mechanism) of an alien species? And if there is a way for two characters to be any more different and possibly at odds than by being different species, I’d like to know what it is.

So I guess there’s no real reason for me NOT to take a stab at an alien romance. But I’ll tell you right now, I think I will be drawing the line at anything that includes tentacles. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.


Cathy Pegau can’t seem to write anything that doesn’t include some sort of foray into a different reality. Her debut novel, Rulebreaker, came out in August 2011. Her second novel from Carina Press, Caught in Amber, releases January 28, 2013. The third book set on the mining colony of Nevarro, Deep Deception, comes out in May 2013.

Find Cathy at her website.
Or drop her a note on Twitter or Facebook

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Sci-Fi Romance TBR pile

I like books. And I'm a book hoarder. I admit it. Thankfully, most of the books I own are eBooks. Otherwise, they would be all over the place in my house. Recently, I was going through the books I have on my e-Reader, and jotting down those I really want to read. There must be more than 50 on the list. So, I thought I'd share with you five of the science fiction romance titles that are on the list. Trust me, there are many more. Check them out if you get the chance.

How to Date an Alien by Magan Vernon

MechMan by LJ Garland

Switched by Diane Burton

Blue Galaxy by Diane Dooley

So, what's #1 on your to-be-read list?


Jessica Subject started writing to encourage her daughter to read. Now she writes to keep herself grounded. Although she reads many genres, she enjoys writing Science Fiction Romance the most and believes everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after. She lives Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids and loves to hear from her readers.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Next Best Thing, Finding Mercy

Oh, here I am, on The Next Best Thing, blog hop. Nose to the grindstone here, and though I tried to find other authors whom I could twist an arm or two, alas, they all beat me to this blog hop. So, I'll just post a little bit about some authors I think are fabulous and talk a little about my upcoming title, Finding Mercy.
I was tagged by J.M. Madden, a fabulous writer, who is penning a series to help wounded vets. What’s not to love? You can learn more about her books here:

Barbara Elsborg is the first author on my list you need to check out. She's been a good friend for many years, was there when I started my writing journey. Her title Strangers is one of my all time favorite contemporary romances. This book will take you on a roller coaster ride of ups and down. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry, and you’ll walk away with a new to you author that you’ll have to have more from.

Arlene Webb is my next author. Her voice is one of the most unique I’ve read in years. Her stories are thought provoking and deep. If you want a book that will give you more than an escape, and challenge you intellectually, she’s the author for you.
Sharon Fisher has just published her science fiction romance, Ghost Planet. The twists in this tale, the plot and setup are intriguing. If you’ve never tried science fiction romance, this is a good planet-based tale to cut your teeth on. You don’t get lost in the science, merely immersed in a world where it feels natural, not textbook. She does a brilliant job blending the science and fiction into a romantic tale of courage, human grit and sacrifice.

This blog hop includes ten questions to help you learn more about an author’s current work in progress, so here’s a little info about my current project:

1: What is the working title of your book? Finding Mercy

2: Where did the idea come from for the book? My publisher suggested they’d like to see a series on people who prepare for disasters, a.k.a. Preppers. When I get an idea seeded, like a burr under a saddle, it doesn’t go away. It digs at me until I do something about it, and I firmly believe that was my publishers intent when she told me about her idea. She knows me well. From there I went back to my roots and my home town of Alliance, Nebraska, which has the unique distinction of having a bomb shelter under it. In the 1940s the United States Army installed the shelter when they built the Airfield to train fighter pilots just outside the town. Its existence is a little known fact to most of the population of the United States. From there, I went to my what ifs? What if a town was flattened by tornadoes and those that decided to stay, decide they will prepare for the future to prevent the loss of life from happening again.

3: What genre does your book fall under? Contemporary/military romance.

4: Which actors/actresses would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Scarlett Johannson is an easy one for Mercy. As for Sargent Justin Redway, a little harder, but probably Taylor Kitsch. The right age, the right look. Taylor looked great as John on Mars.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? You’ll die in three minutes without oxygen, three hours without shelter, three days without water, and three weeks without food, but can you live a lifetime with a broken heart?
6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Published by Decadent, but I’m not represented by an agent at this time. I’m considering looking for one. This will be my 18th published story and it’s getting hard to keep up with the requests rolling my way.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? One month. That burr was really digging. LOL

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I don’t know of any other Prepper stories at this time. I’m sure there are, but I haven’t read them.

9: Who or What inspired you to write this book? Preppers inspired me, along with the people of my hometown, and the bug my publisher put in my ear. I’d say it was a joint effort.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Finding Mercy is part of a multi-author series. Two other “Evans Point”stories will be released the day after Doomsday along with Finding Mercy. They are, The Princess and the Prepper by Barbara Elsborg and Falling For Water by Arlene Webb. These two authors are amazing and I'm so thrilled they joined me in this series.

Please check out my website:

Thanks for stopping by,

 D L Jackson


Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Decadent Give a Reader a Reader, Blog Hop.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Twelve Preppers prepping (Coming December 22nd)

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Eleven Aliens shifting  (This Endris Night)

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Ten Rebels fighting (Rebel Souls)

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Nine Courtesans training  (Courtesan Boot Camp)

On the Eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Eight Patriots fighting (Seducing Liberty)

On the Seventh Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Seven trumpet players playing (My Boogie Woogie Bugle Guy)

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Six Succubus plotting (Carnal Attraction)

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Five Marines in combat boots (Cinderella Wore Combat Boots)

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Four Incubus stalking prey (Carnal Desires)

On the Third day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Three demon hunters tending bar (Carnal Denial)

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,

An e-Reader loaded with 45 stories. (Click her for additional entries)

What are you waiting for? Want to enter? Leave a comment here, and then go to the link above, and leave a comment, and enter the rafflecopter to get additional chances to win the fantastic give-away by Decadent Publishing. You might be able to give your love some romantic Christmas cheer loaded on a Nook. And while you’re at it, check out some of the books I listed. Click on the link in the song to purchase any of the stories above, or go to my website
Plus, one lucky commenter on this blog will win a signed tote with my Decadent covers on it. I’ll announce the winner of the tote on Sunday, December 16th.

Happy Holidays!

D L Jackson


Friday, December 14, 2012

Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop with Jessica E. Subject

Hello, and welcome to the Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop! For those who don't know me, I'm Jessica Subject, and I write science fiction and contemporary romance, ranging from sweet to erotic. I have 10 ebooks published with Decadent Publishing, and a print book that contains my five 1Night Stand stories.

My most recent release is Alien Lover, a short sci-fi erotica story. Here's the blurb:

Unconvinced of her fiancé’s demise, Molly combs the galaxy to search for him. As her supplies run low, she is forced to turn around and set a course for Earth, alone. But, a Moloxian Starcruiser halts her retreat, and the single passenger transports onto her ship without permission. Taser in hand to defend herself, she is startled as the form remolds into her fiancé. Has Diego found her or is her tired mind playing tricks?

Available From:

And an excerpt:

“Incoming message,” the computer chimed. “Source located one nautical mile away, starboard.”

She brushed her hands across the console and brought the video feed from the ship’s right hand side onscreen. The image quivered, and she groaned when it finally became clear. A Moloxian starcruiser.

Shit! I just want to go home. During her search, the crews of the few Moloxian scavenger ships she’d come across had been willing to let her pass if she traded with them. But she had nothing left, only enough food and fuel to reach Earth, and even then she’d be hungry during the last leg of her journey.

“Play.” She decided to listen to their demands, give them what they wanted, and move on. She had no other choice. Starvation was a better alternative than providing the sexual services they’d always hinted at. The Moloxians, though humanoid, had scale-covered bodies. So incompatible with her own. She wouldn’t survive unscathed and didn’t sleep around anyway.

“Prepare to be boarded.” The deep computerized voice shook her. No slur, and therefore not Moloxian. 
Who the hell was he?

She didn’t have time to contemplate. Her blood boiling, she gripped the arms of her chair. The creature, whatever species he happened to be, planned to come onto her ship. No one boarded without her permission, which she would not grant. At the sound of her transporter, like the pitter-patter of rain on Earth, she leaped from her seat and spun around. She grasped her bolt stunner and pointed it at the figure materializing into solid form before her eyes.

With a huge outline, the male boarding her ship would only bring her trouble. If his strength matched his size, she had one option: to kill him. She took in his bare, broad chest, sculpted abs, and muscled arms. His tanned skin shone with brilliance, as if the sun rested behind him. She gazed up at his dark hair and warm brown eyes. He studied her with an intense stare while his soft lips curved into a smile.

She gasped. “Diego?”

Okay, time for the giveaways!!

For your chance to WIN a $5 e-gift certificate and a PDF copy of my erotica story, Last Minute Customers, enter the rafflecopter draw below. You can enter by logging in with Facebook, or just by using your email address.

And for your chance to WIN the Grand Prize draw of a Kindle Fire loaded with ebooks, go here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don't forget to follow along with the Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop. There are many more chances to WIN! Here's a list of all of the participating authors.

Jessica Subject started writing to encourage her daughter to read. Now she writes to keep herself grounded. Although she reads many genres, she enjoys writing Science Fiction Romance the most and believes everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after. She lives Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids and loves to hear from anyone who has enjoyed her stories.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Catching up...

Hello! How is your December going? Mine is a bit rushed, but I'm still here. My Christmas shopping is pretty much done. I have some baking still to do, and Christmas cards are all sent out. I'm ahead of the game there.

In terms of my books, well, I have two blog tours going on right now, am participating in a bunch of blog hops (some ending today & tomorrow, and others starting tomorrow), and am taking a grammar workshop with MM Pollard. I've already learned so much.

Last month, my 1Night Stand anthology, Intergalactic Heat, released in print. Alien Lover, a short sci-fi erotica story released last Friday from Decadent Publishing. And, I learned my military sci-fi romance, Made For Her will release January 15, 2013.

Plus, I've signed two contracts recently. The first was for Accidental Romance. It's not sci-fi, but part of Decadent Publishing's upcoming Challenge series. And fresh off the printer is a contract for Another Night, Another Planet, which is a hybrid story, combining the 1Night Stand series at Decadent with the erotic sci-fi romance series, Elatia.

I'm still working on Alien Adoration, but I'm hoping to finish it by the end of the year. I have another 1Night Stand, and many other stories rattling around in my mind for next year.

Anyway, be sure to drop by tomorrow for the Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop. You can WIN the Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire loaded with ebooks, plus many other prizes from each of the participating authors. What will I be giving away? Well, you'll have to come by tomorrow to find out. ;)

Jessica Subject started writing to encourage her daughter to read. Now she writes to keep herself grounded. Although she reads many genres, she enjoys writing Science Fiction Romance the most and believes everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after. She lives Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids and loves to hear from anyone who has enjoyed her stories.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Building An Avatar - Guest Post by Pippa Jay

Say avatar to most people these days, and they either think of the little images we now use on social media sites such as Twitter, or perhaps the James Cameron film with the big blue aliens. But it has an older meaning...

[av-uh-tahr, av-uh-tahr] 
1.Hindu Mythology - the descent of a deity to the earth in an incarnate form or some manifest shape; the incarnation of a god. embodiment or personification, as of a principle, attitude, or view of life.

In Terms & Conditions Apply, the main avatar is Ganesa - the physical manifestation of the AI aboard space station Venus Ascendant. Ganesa considers herself the incarnation of Venus - the Roman Goddess of Love. Combined with her omniprescient abilities as the station’s AI and the principle that VA is actually meant as a place for lovers to fulfil their dreams, she comes close to matching the original definition. 

For my story I gave her some sub-avatars - artificial constructs just like Ganesa, but linked to her and working in a subsidiary fashion, helping to ensure the smooth running of the station and the happiness of her visiting clientele. They’re replicas of a real human, with that human's persona and memories imprinted into the copy. So my male MC - Soren - isn't a digital image or a human/alien hybrid powered by a genetically compatible human mind. He's a mechanical construct, designed to be as close to his human original as possible, and with all his memories of the human life he lived before. And while he's linked to the AI, he's still capable of autonomy. Despite being contracted to work on the space station and bound in return for his maintenance, he's allowed a certain freedom of choice. He chooses Marie - even if she isn't particularly flattered at the start. But being as close to his original humanity with all the emotions and complexities of human nature comes with a price.


“Look, no offence, but your only purpose on this station is to please the clients, and while you’re doing a pretty good job of making me feel a little better, I just got dumped by the love of my life and I’m not up for some construct trying to have sex with me.” The words spilled out in a torrent, and she bit her lip as she finished.

“I see.” The easy smile that had graced his perfect lips faded for the first time. “You are one of those who believe that the AI’s sub-avatars are no more than programmed pleasure machines, solely for sex. That we have no personality—no feelings.”

His comment sparked a sudden pang of guilt. “You mean you’re not just a machine?”

He gazed at her, as if considering the question. “We are artificial constructs, built to serve the AI, to be an extension of it and to ensure that everyone on Venus Ascendant is happy. But that doesn’t make us mere ciphers. Each of us carries memories from a real person, one who either chose this existence in preference to the many kinds of death they were facing, or as penance for a crime.”

“Some of you are criminals?” she squeaked. That wasn’t in the station’s blurb!

 “Oh, not the dangerous ones. We are incapable of harm.” A smile lifted the corner of his mouth, and he leaned forward to run a finger up the inside of her wrist. The tiny gesture sent tingles skittering over her skin and she caught her breath. “Unless harm is our client’s preference, of course.”

“What was your crime?”

He snatched his hand back. “I never said I was a criminal.”

“Then what were you?”

To find that out you’ll have to read the whole story. <evil grin>

Buy it in all digital formats from
Also available from Amazon US, Amazon UK and Kobo
Coming soon to B&N

There’s also a chance to win a copy in the digital format of your choice, plus a super shiny star keyring, available internationally. Just enter the rafflecopter form for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. Between torturing her characters, she spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 19 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Twitter:  @pippajaygreen 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Attention 1NightStand addicts.

Looking for a different kind of Christmas tale?
Haven't read science fiction romance, but love paranormal? Been wondering what all the fuss is about? Then I've got just the story for you to pop your science fiction romance cherry, on.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to cross genres. Paranormal and science fiction, you betcha. Futuristic with military, but of course. One of my favorite stories I've penned for Decadent's 1NightStand series, This Endris Night offers a little bit of everything, from the rugged landscape of Alaska, to an alien mystery frozen inside a glacier and hidden within the genes of an indigenous population. So come visit my world, where a dangerous game of cat and mouse comes to a head.
 One night. One party of a lifetime. One secret a century old which could end it all.

Shiya, a Yupik supermodel, travels to Alaska in pretense of attending a party where she’ll find the man of her dreams. But her real intent is to lure the man of her nightmares to where she can finally end a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Gunnar is on Earth for one reason—to recover the wreckage of a Doppelganger crash that is scattered for miles, throughout an Alaskan resort and human settlements. In order to get closer to the ship’s debris, he agrees to a date and finds himself face to face with a Terran woman who doesn’t know her genetics are from his world, or that she’s being tracked by someone whose duty is to eliminate all threats to their secret. Shiya’s heritage has placed her at the top of the killer’s list.

Now the only way to save her, is to claim her, and Shiya isn’t about to make it easy.

For more about my books and upcoming releases, check out my website at www.authordljackson
Unusual Worlds You Will Want to Get Lost In.

Buy Links:

Barnes and Noble 
Direct from Publisher 
Madam Eve's 1NightStand Holiday Anthology (Print) 

Have a great Weekend.

D L Jackson


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Guest Post: What Makes a Great SFR story by Jenna Bennett, author of Fortune's Hero

Sometime last year, I was asked if I’d care to give a quote about “the duality of Science Fiction and Romance that make SFR such a great mixed genre,” for an article the wonderful Heidi Ruby Miller – herself a science fiction romance author – was writing.

There are a lot of great quotes from a lot of great authors, most of them a lot more eloquent than me. My quote – “space guys are hot” – makes me sound rather more shallow than I like to think I am, to be honest.

I actually had some pretty deep thoughts on the matter.

The way I see it, science fiction has traditionally been a male genre, with more male writers and more male readers. Please note that I’m not saying “only,” because there are certainly some fantastic female science fiction writers out there, and quite a few female science fiction readers too. One of my favorite authors in the entire universe, who just happens to write some excellent science fiction, is Lois McMaster Bujold. She’s female, and I’d venture to call her one of the great SF writers of our – or any – time. Those five Hugo awards speak for themselves, I think, along with the additional six nominations. So do the three Nebulas (and five nominations) not to mention the three Locus awards.

If I can grow up to write half as well as she does, I’ll be a happy camper.

But Lois notwithstanding, and others like her (Ursula LeGuin, Anne McCaffrey and Andre Norton – who, yes, was female), I think the genre is more heavily weighed toward men, possibly because of the science aspect. And the weapons. Boys like their weapons.

In that respect, science fiction is a lot like the old-fashioned western, only with spaceships instead of horses and with laser blasters instead of six cylinder Colt .45s. 

(And don’t get me going on the phallic-shaped spaceships thrusting through the blackness of space. Just... don’t.) 

In both westerns and SF you have the traditional outlaw hero, larger than life, gun on his hip, chasing down the bad guys and restoring order to lawless territory. But in science fiction, the scope is so much bigger: it isn’t about saving the ranch, or even the town, hell, not even the country—the hero can save whole worlds!

So what makes a great SFR story?

There’s the hot space guy, of course.

I mean, Han Solo? We’ve all been in love with him for so long we don’t even realize how much he’s done to shape romance heroes over the past thirty years, just by being himself.

There’s the kickass space girl.

Not that she always has to be kickass, but she can be, and that’s nice. It’s the future, after all, and women don’t have to abide by 19th century rules for proper behavior. Not like the old damsel in distress tied to the railroad tracks. In SFR, a damsel in distress can rescue herself – and her guy, while she’s at it.

Having a bad guy – or guys – help. Someone to juxtapose the hero and heroine. Something to overcome.

Throw in a few otherworldly critters – flesh-burrowing worms, spider-scorpions, poisonous water-snakes, and lizards that make you blister when they touch you – and you’re golden.

It’s like anything else, you know. Boy meets girl, boy looses girl, boy saves the world and gets girl back.

Amid phallic-shaped spaceships thrusting through the blackness of space. 

So what about you? What do you think makes a good story, in science fiction romance or elsewhere?


Excerpt from Fortune's Hero:

Quinn Conlan was bleeding to death.

Slowly, steadily, one drop at a time. One big-ass drop. He could feel the mechanism at his wrist working, opening and closing the artery to let the blood ebb and flow. At this rate, he calculated, it would take him about an hour to bleed out.

Down on the floor, a few of the drops turned into a trickle, and he watched as it made its slow way to the big drain in the middle of the room. And down it went, soon to be followed by others. Many others.

He put his head back and closed his eyes.

It wasn’t a bad way to go. It wouldn’t be quick, but it was mostly painless. A slight burn in his wrist every time the mechanism opened to let another few minutes of his life hit the floor. But compared to the other things that had been done to him in this room, it was nothing. The med tech had made sure of that. They weren’t trying to hurt him. Not this time. By now, they must have realized that pain wouldn’t make him talk. Been there, done that. Kept his mouth shut. So they’d decided to let him sit here instead, perfectly still, perfectly conscious, perfectly unable to move, as he watched his life drain away, drop by drop by drop. An hour from now, when his limbs were weak and darkness started to descend over his eyes, they’d expect him to call for help. That he’d start babbling, and tell them what they wanted to know.

Fat chance.

They’d brought him within a hairsbreadth of death before and revived him each time. Always their choice, never his. And this time would be no different. He wouldn’t call for help, and they’d wait until it was almost too late to save him—almost, but not quite—and then they’d bring him back. Again.

Damn Rhenians. Never satisfied.

Quinn never thought there’d come a day when he’d welcome death. Always figured he’d fight to the bitter end. Beat death, or die trying. But when it came down to it, it hadn’t taken long. Just a few months in the prison camp on Marica-3, and weekly sessions with the camp’s medical team—the best in the galaxy, both when it came to bringing a prisoner to death’s door and to making sure he didn’t walk through it—and here he was, ready and willing to die.

Hell, scratch ready and willing. Try eager. He’d die now, this hour, this very minute, if he could cheat them out of being able to revive him again. If he could will himself stone dead right now, he’d do it.

A sound at the door brought his head up. The exsanguination must be happening more quickly than he thought, because it was already a little harder to move, and a little more difficult to make his eyes focus.

“Good afternoon, Captain Conlan.”

A woman. They’d sent him a fucking woman.

And not just any woman. He recognized this one. She’d been at his earlier sessions, standing in the background taking notes while the doctor injected him with something that made him feel like he was being boiled alive. She’d watched out of those cool, green eyes as he writhed in pain and screamed until his voice was gone. Writing on her goddamn clipboard. With not a flicker of emotion on that perfect alabaster face.

Ice bitch.

Quinn wet his lips and cajoled his rusty vocal chords into cooperating. “Come to watch the big finish, sweetheart?”

Her eyes flicked to his, the clear green of glacier ice under brows the shape of bird wings. “It doesn’t have to end this way.”

Her voice was lovely, as cool and clear as those eyes. And as devoid of emotion. If he’d had the strength, Quinn would have laughed. As it was, all he could manage was a smile, and a weak one at that. “Sure it does.”

She monitored the progress of the blood flow from his wrist between glances at his face. “You could tell them what they want to know.”

Them. Like she wasn’t part of the same unholy alliance.

Quinn shook his head. “Sorry, sweetheart. Not gonna happen.”

One of those exquisite eyebrows raised. “You would rather take the whereabouts of the rebels to the grave with you? I’m not so sure they would return the favor. Are you certain you aren’t sacrificing yourself for nothing?”

It would be almost laughable if he wasn’t twenty minutes from bleeding to death.

“I think we both know that ain’t gonna happen, sweetheart. Ten minutes from now, just when I think it might be too late to revive me, someone’s gonna run in here and pump me full of synthetic blood. And next week I’ll be back in this room with high and mighty Doctor Sterling and his toys again. We both know it, so let’s just stop pretending.”

He looked away. Down to the floor in time to see another sizable trickle of blood head down the drain.

For a second, nothing happened. Then he heard her heels click on the floor, a quick, angry rhythm. At the door, she turned for a final salvo. “You think you’re so smart, Captain Conlan. But we’re smarter. You’ll see.”

The door opened and shut with a slam.

“Yeah, yeah,” Quinn said, and closed his eyes again to wait for the darkness. With any luck, he’d be unconscious for a day or two before he woke up and realized he was back in hell.



Fortune's Hero by Jenna Bennett: 

To ensure their survival on a hostile planet, an escaped prisoner and his hostage must forge a partnership that changes them from enemies to reluctant allies and – eventually – to lovers.

Last year, space smuggler Quinn Conlan was on top of the world. He had everything a man could want: a fast ship, a great crew, a gorgeous girlfriend, lots of money, and adventure and excitement around every corner.

That all changed when he agreed to ferry a shipload of weapons to the beleaguered planet Marica, currently under siege by Rhenian forces. Now he’s stuck in a prison camp on the moon Marica-3, subjected to weekly sessions with the camp’s “medical team,” and praying for a quick death before he breaks under the torture and spills everything he knows about the Marican resistance.

When the opportunity presents itself, Quinn takes a Rhenian med tech hostage and heads into the inhospitable interior of the small moon. There, he has to keep himself and Doctor Elsa Brandeis safe from the deadly flora and fauna, as well as hidden from the prison guards searching for them, all while formulating a plan for getting his crew out of prison, his ship out of impound, and everyone out of orbit.

But when Elsa professes her love, can Quinn take the beautiful doctor at her word, or will trusting her—and his heart—condemn him and his crew to an eternity on Marica-3? 


Author Bio 

New York Times bestselling author Jennie Bentley/Jenna Bennett writes the Do It Yourself home renovation mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and the Cutthroat Business mysteries for her own gratification. For Entangled Publishing, she writes a variety of romance, from contemporary to futuristic and from paranormal to romantic suspense. Her most recent release is Fortune’s Hero, first in the Soldiers of Fortune series of science fiction romantic suspense novels. For more information about the Fortune series or any of her other books, please visit her website,