Tag Archives: science fiction romance

An Imperial Family in Space

Lady Felicia Sorensen, a brilliant microengineering student, finds herself pressured to date Emperor Victor Sinclair, for he has fallen madly in love with her! Despite being showered with extravagant gowns and attention, she longs for a fascinating life as a scientist, instead of the stressful and dangerous destiny of an Empress The social pressures of being the Emperor’s Betrothed, from gossip and manipulation to an assassination attempt, cause her to weigh her love for him against her personal goal, to do research in her own lab someday. Will Felicia choose her Imperial lover and tough out the extreme political and social pressures with the supreme ruler of the Empire, or will she choose her goals and help thousands, millions, possibly billions of people through her intellectual achievements?

Dignity is the first of Eva Caye’s thirteen-book series “To Be Sinclair”, a romance in a science fiction setting. Everything that happens in the plot revolves around the relationship between thirty-one year old Emperor Victor Sinclair and his paramour, Felicia Sorensen. When we meet Victor, he is despairing of ever finding the woman to help him secure his dynasty.

Felicia is something of a maverick. Although of high-born status, unlike her female peers, she has no interest in pursuing a suitable mate and becoming, effectively, the manager of a household. She wants to be a scientist, and do something to improve the lot of humanity.

Introduced to Felicia, Victor finds the young woman refreshingly different. Felicia, for her part, is well aware that a relationship with the Emperor may well mean the end of her ambition to be a scientist. The story evolves as Felicia learns more about Victor, while at the same time growing to a greater understanding of how she might fit into his life as Empress, without giving up her own goals.

The juxtapostion between the essentially solitary role of a scientist and the glaringly public life of the Emperor’s fiancee is taxing. Felicia constantly struggles with her ambitions and her feelings for Victor. Increasingly, her position in Victor’s life attracts envy, duplicity and hate, emotions Felicia must learn to deal with.

The characterisation is excellent. I liked Victor and Felicia, and wanted their relationship to work, despite the trials. It was nice to see that neither was perfect, tripping and falling and making mistakes. The subsidiary cast – quite a few – were sufficiently fleshed out, with plenty of jealousy, back-biting, and plotting, as well as support from friends and family. Both main characters develop and grow, and the ending is as satisfying as one expects from a romance.

I found the world building to be an interesting mixture of high tech, low tech and no tech, ranging from space travel via wormholes, to computer systems which seem to be no better than we have at present, through to hand-written letters on exquisite paper. But then, the feel of the society smacks of Georgian Britain, with high-born ladies vying for eligible men of rank. Indeed, the author’s writing style is more reminiscent of an earlier time. There’s a formality about it. For instance, Lady Brighton, who runs the hostel for young ladies where we first meet Felicia, is frequently referred to as ‘the good lady’, and the author tends to use the word ‘for’ instead of ‘because’ or ‘since’, a rather old fashioned construction. Although we’re in (mainly) Felicia’s head, often the narrator steps in to explain something, or to summarise a discussion, telling instead of showing. That said, there’s plenty of exquisite detail to bring the scene to life. I particularly liked the descriptions of Felicia’s gowns, which she wears to various court functions. She has no interest in fashion, so Victor commissions the dresses for her, sometimes to make a point to an audience, sometimes to make a point to her. The security arrangements surrounding an Emperor and his court are detailed and totally convincing. Privacy is hard to come by in that world.

There are a number of low-key sex scenes in the book, nothing much more than suggestion. However, the author has included a short story at the end, something she calls an Easter egg. It’s fun – but it’s hot. You have been warned.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It’s leisurely reading, not a full-on, action-packed space opera. But it’s a book I kept going back to, and something with sufficient depth to make me think I might well read it again. If you like series, then after you’ve finished this one, there are eight other books as Victor and Felicia’s family grows and matures.

You can find Dignity at:  Amazon   Smashwords

A sneak peek at Ella and the Admiral – coming soon

235Here’s a few paragraphs from the current WIP, Ella and the Admiral.

Ella returned to the restaurant’s  reception desk in time to meet the last large group, five men and three women. While his companions chatted, one man approached her. He wore a high-collared jacket, the current fashion for male formal attire, not a uniform, but Ella would have bet a month’s pay this man was military. The way he stood, the air of authority, she supposed.

“Ibbotson,” he said. “Table for eight.”

“Of course, sir. Welcome to the Imperial.” She glanced over her shoulder to where the two attendants waited. “If you’ll come this way.” She hovered while he gathered his party, then led the way to the table. As usual, there was some discussion about where everyone would sit.

“The top end, Admiral,” Ibbotson said, gesturing at a chair.

The man he addressed laughed and shook his head. “It’s your birthday. You can do the honors for a change.”

Ella’s heart thudded. She knew that voice. She knew that man. Maybe not as well as she would have liked. Goran Chandler. She fought the heat coursing up her body. It was all in the past, ancient history. He didn’t even recognize her as the attendant helped him to his seat. Two of the women sat on either side of him, another opposite him. Ibbotson took the end seat, as directed, while the other men claimed the remaining chairs.

Mechanically, Ella introduced their two attendants, the new girl, Sara, and Timon, an older man with years of experience. One last smile. “Enjoy your evening. If there’s anything you need, please don’t hesitate to ask your attendants, or me.”

She walked away, her mind racing. Goran Chandler. Ten years ago he’d been a senior commander, and captain of the frigate Antelope. She had been Lieutenant Bulich then, and he’d kicked her off his ship.

New Release coming soon…

supernovae and extrasolar planetMy latest Dryden Universe story is nearly there, folks.

When fate throws Brent Walker and Tian Axmar together, it’s strictly a business arrangement. She’s an Imperial agent with a problem to solve, he’s a space jockey with an empty bank balance and a tramp freighter for hire.

Eye-of-the-Mother-ebookSomebody’s murdering Yrmaks and Humans, and leaving a mysterious calling card. Somebody wants interspecies war. Tian hires Brent to help her investigate, delving into Yrmak customs and beliefs to understand what’s going on. It’s an increasingly dangerous game, with more than just lives at stake. Before it’s over Brent and Tian will be faced with choices which will change both of them forever.

 

 

 

 

I’m busy #amwriting but I also talk about genre

Starfield shipThe title says it all, folks. I’m writing up a storm – or trying to. Writing is just like any other pastime – cooking, hockey, netball, swimming, tatting. If you stop doing it, the skills atrophy. But I’m around 6k into what will be a longish short story, and it’s all coming back to me. Like riding a bike.

Meanwhile, pop on over to this week’s post on Spacefreighters, where I talk about genre and what it means in science fiction romance.

I love spaceships

If you’ve read my bio just about everywhere, you’d know I’m a fool for spaceships. One of my all-time favourites is Darth Vader’s flagshExecutor_and_escortsip, Executor. It took over from the smaller, but still very sexy, Imperial Star Destroyers. There they are, at right. I’ll never forget that wonderful scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader is looking out of the viewscreen on the Executor‘s bridge – and it eclipses an ISD! Whoa, that’s one big ship! I fell in love there and then. I saw the movie three times in the first week and I’ve watched it a hundred times at least. I’ve even been known to skip all the Skywalker stuff to get to THAT SCENE. My heart still goes pit-a-pat.

Closer to home, Morgan’s Choice has a new cover. The old cover had a spaceship on it, too. But I found this new spaceship and fell in love. I’m a tart, I know.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody that for my Morgan’s Misfits stories I have added a very, very sexy spaceship. It was designed by Morgan, so it’s pretty special. And here it is, starring on the new cover for Kuralon Rescue. It’ll be on every cover of the Morgan’s Misfits books. If I get around to another one. Yes, you’re right, it’s a ship from DAZ, rendered by my wonderful cover designer, Rebecca Poole of Dreams2Media. But in MY books, the ship’s name is Vulsaur. It’s Admiral Ravindra’s personal yacht which was first introduced to readers in Morgan’s Return. Vulsaur comes to the rescue in Kuralon Rescue, and now it has become the Misfit’s own ship.

Ink_GvdRI expect you’d like to know how it got the name Vulsaur? Indeed, what is a Vulsaur? That’s a Vulsaur, that tattoo on young Ravindra’s shoulder. You’ll get all the answers in that short story. (Notice I’m not always obsessed with spaceships.) 🙂

Thanks for stopping by. Please share your favourite space ship stories.

Butcher meets the berzhan #sfrgtt

https://www.canstockphoto.com/golden-chinese-dragon-5632075.html

https://www.canstockphoto.com/golden-chinese-dragon-5632075.html

Hi and thanks for coming. This is a snippet from Crisis at Validor, in which Brett Butcher meets the planet’s fabled berzhani for the first time. They are not unlike the creature in the picture – although that one’s a statue.

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The chamber glowed with soft light emanating from jewels set into carvings on the walls, the eyes of berzhani. They covered the surface, a mass of interweaving creatures with multi-colored backs. Butcher had trouble suppressing the shiver. He hadn’t see a live animal at all, so far. It was time he pulled himself together and stopped behaving like a child.

Lurmask stopped. “This is Berzhan Khun, the cavern of the dragon.” Xeszno and Lena stood beside him, while the khiphra approached the far wall, all her tentacles waving rhythmically.

Movement. Butcher stiffened.

The base of the wall seemed to shift and transform, taking on a different pattern, drawing back from the rock. A column rose up in front of the high priestess. A column with glowing red eyes.

Butcher’ legs turned to jelly. The breath caught in his throat. Fuck. Oh, fuck. The bloody thing was huge, as thick as his own body and he couldn’t see the end of its tail. The great tapered head hung above the khiphra like a portent of doom.

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Picture of cover for Crisis at ValidorNewly-promoted Captain Brett Butcher is about to achieve his life-long ambition to command a battle cruiser. But before he takes up his new posting, he goes home on leave, hoping to perhaps catch a glimpse of his first love, the unattainable Lady Tarlyn.

When the queen is assassinated in a terrorist attack, Tarlyn’s life is thrown into turmoil when she, too, becomes a target. The last person she expects to rescue her is her childhood sweetheart, Brett Butcher.

As Validor’s Ptorix and human populations face off over a group of islands neither owns, the calls for war grow louder. Torn between duty and ambition, Butcher and Tarlyn struggle to prevent an inter-species conflict, while the ember of love that has smouldered for so long bursts into flame.

But with planetary peace at stake, both will be forced to choose; love or duty.

Buy the book at Amazon B&N Kobo iBooks

Introducing a one-stop-shop for SF romance books #sfrb

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SFRBrigadeLogoMost of you know I’m a practising member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, a vibrant, active community of writers of science fiction romance. One of our number has taken it upon herself to create a brand new library for readers where you can find the latest and greatest, the free and the back lists of authors writing in the genre. You can search by author, category, pair groupings (MF, MM, MFM, FF etc etc), and series. SFR Station is a great new resource and I encourage you to try it.

We have a Facebook group for readers, the Scifi Romance Group which is a discussion and fun group for lovers of the genre. It’s public, so please join and take advantage of what’s new, what’s fun, and games and giveaways.

We also have a fanpage if that’s more your thing.

If you write SFR, or you’re an SFR editor or cover designer you might like to join our very active Facebook group. We have a heap of networking opportunities which we’re more than willing to share.

 

Teaser Tuesday – The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy

This is a snippet from one of my earliest books, The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy.

If you’re on Facebook, why not join us in the Scifi Romance Group? Keep up with what’s happening, have some fun.

Cover of The Iron Admiral: ConspiracyThe Iron Admiral: Conspiracy

The galaxy teeters on the brink of inter-species war

Accused of an atrocity, ex-Admiral Chaka Saahren goes undercover to clear his name. Systems Engineer Allysha Marten, takes one last job to rid her of debts and her cheating husband. On Tisyphor, deadly secrets about the past explode, as Allysha and the undercover agent scramble to prevent the coming holocaust. When the ex-Admiral’s identity is revealed, she must come to terms with her feelings for a man she holds responsible for the death of innocent civilians, including her father. In a race against time, Saahren must convince Allysha to set aside her conflicted emotions and trust a man she barely knows to help him prevent the coming conflagration.

$.99c ebook at  Amazon B&N Kobo iBooks

In this scene, Allysha and Saahren are together in a secret garden, where they’ve found a commonly grown fruit tree. The question is – how to get at the fruit.

***************************

She eyed the fruit hanging well over her head and his. “How do we get them down?”

“I’ll help you get into the tree and I’ll catch the fruit when you throw it down.”

He made a stirrup with his hands. “Here. I’ll hoist you up to that first branch.”

Balancing herself with her fingers resting lightly on his shoulders, she put her foot into his hands and pushed down. She slipped sideways. “I don’t think this is going to work.” She leant into him and started to giggle.

The scent of her invaded his nostrils; her breast pushed against his chest and set his pulse racing. Fruit. Think about fruit. He dropped his hands and straightened up. “I think you’d better turn around.”

“Okay. How’s that?” She stood next to him on one foot, one hand on his shoulder as he made a stirrup again, her foot grasped between his hands. She shoved down, trying to use his hands as a step but she ended up staggering against him, giggling helplessly. “That’s not going to work, either.”

He sighed and knelt down next to her, leaning forward a little to hide his erection. “Sit on my shoulders.”

She hesitated. “Are you sure? It won’t be a strain for you?”

“There’s not much of you. It won’t be a strain.” And at least he wouldn’t be in such intimate contact with her.

She swung a leg around his neck and settled herself down, hooking her knees under his arms. He stood, muscles bunching under the weight. “Okay?”

“Yes. You?”

“Fine.” He wished he was. He could smell her, female and alluring, his hands on her smooth skin, her parted legs around his neck. “Climb into the tree.” Please.

She grasped the branch and scrambled onto it, lifting herself with a foot on his shoulder. She turned around awkwardly and sat on the branch looking down at him.

“Go for the deep orange ones. Throw them down to me.” He raised his hands, ready to catch.

She reached up, wrenched the nearest off and tossed it to him. The over-ripe fruit splattered as it hit his hands.

“That’s one we won’t be eating.” He shook the sticky fragments away. “Do it gently or you’ll have to suck the fruit off my fingers.”

She chuckled. “Interesting thought.”

Far too interesting. He imagined her lips around his finger, her tongue… Concentrate, Saahren.

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Don’t forget to check out what else may be out there. On Twitter, use #sfrgtt

 

Science fiction romance – caught between a rock and a hard place

Talking about what constitutes ‘romance’ seems to be a bit like climbing over the fence into the lions’ compound knowing they haven’t been fed for a while. But I have to say I find the debate a little bit perplexing when it comes to the genre I mostly write – science fiction romance.

couple on the beach silhouetteOn the one hand, the born-again romance readers insist that without a HEA (happily ever after ending, for those not in the know) or at the very least a HFN (Happy For Now) then the story doesn’t qualify as ‘romance’. On the other hand there’s more than a suggestion from the science fiction fraternity (I use the word deliberately) that all that soppy love stuff doesn’t belong in science fiction.

I’m not really a romance reader and I’d be the first to say that my stories are SF action/adventure with a strong romance arc. Mostly. I think. And we get back to the old question of genre.

Back in the very recent past we didn’t have a science fiction romance genre. You had a choice: science fiction or romance. So you took your chances. Have your book panned by the hard-line SFers who didn’t want any of the smulchy squishy stuff, or have your book panned by the romance die-hards who protested your story wasn’t a romance because it wasn’t the raison d’etre of the plot.

Let’s consider my latest effort, Crisis at Validor, because… just because.

Is it a romance?Picture of cover for Crisis at Validor

I’ve included the Romance Writers of America definition of romance.

Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.

  • A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.
  • An Emotionally Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.

Romance novels may have any tone or style, be set in any place or time, and have varying levels of sensuality—ranging from sweet to extremely hot. These settings and distinctions of plot create specific subgenres within romance fiction. Click here to better understand the subgenres within romance.

So that’s what the RWA had to say. Let’s get back to Crisis at Validor.

Is it a love story? Yes. Two people who had been in ‘love’ in their teens meet up and find the ember still glows

Is it the main plot arc? I believe you can tell this by asking the question – if you take out the romance would you still have a story? And the answer to that (IMO) is also yes. (But the romance raises the stakes for both parties)

So it’s not a romance, it just has a romantic arc with a couple of non-specific squishy scenes. I think.

Is it science fiction?

Is it SF? When we’re discussing speculative fiction (which we are) Orson Scott Card gives a very interesting definition of the difference between science fiction and fantasy. “If the story is set in a universe that follows the same rules as ours, it’s science fiction. If it’s set in a universe that doesn’t follow our rules, it’s fantasy.” “How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy” p22. On that definition Crisis at Validor certainly is SF.

Is it hard SF? No, it’s not. It’s space opera which the purists consider to be ‘soft’ SF. But it is SF, with non-humanoid aliens with their own politics and their own problems, space ships, inter-planetary travel and the like. There’s no magic, even if inter-planetary travel is pretty slick. If you want an explanation, see my post on planet hopping.

But I’m sure as hell certain that with that cover and that romance arc, it won’t be popular with the ‘straight’ SF community. I recently saw a request by a prominent SF writer (female) who is collecting data for a degree. She wanted the names of women who have published in science fiction since 2000. That’s fine – but she very specifically states that she doesn’t want straight science fiction romance.

And that, folks, sums it up for me. Pick your cliché

  • rock and a hard place
  • devil and the deep blue sea
  • out of the frying pan into the fire

The fact is, we have to pick a genre when we publish. I’ve opted for the soft and squishy SFR option – and I firmly believe that if you can classify Romeo and Juliet, Gone with the Wind and Doctor Zhivago as ‘romances’ then there’s room for romance arcs that don’t necessarily end up as HEA or HFN. I’ve said before I see the SFR genre as a continuum, and I hold to that view. There’s room for all kinds of nuances on that line.

I’d love to hear your take on this debate.