Posts Tagged ‘Science Fiction’

Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: Kasia Bacon’s THE POISON WITHIN

The Poison Within Kasia Bacon

Happy Post-St. Patrick’s Day! You’ve survived the work week and (hopefully) some partying. If you’re anything like us, you might be in desperate need of a chaser. Thankfully, we’ve got another gift from the lovely Kasia Bacon. Don’t miss this exclusive excerpt of The Poison Within, out today!

I checked my reflection in passing. A typical peasant—blue-eyed, fair-haired, rugged and brawny—looked back. I never understood what Elly saw in me. I rubbed the stubble on my jaw and did my best to slick down my spiky crop.

I was fully clothed by the time he’d managed to put on his breeches and boots. Granted, his elaborate attire involved more complexity than my stark Inspector’s garb.

I came up to him as he struggled to fasten about two dozen buttons adorning the opening of his shirt. At first glance, they looked like pearls—and probably were. The damned garment must’ve cost more than my horse.

I took the front folds of his shirt out of his hands and started doing up the buttons myself. He rolled his eyes, but patiently stood there, watching me in silence with his chin raised, one side of his lip curled. However clumsy my thick fingers might’ve looked, a childhood spent in the forge repairing intricate chains and hinges had left them surprisingly nimble.

I enjoyed dressing him almost as much as I loved peeling the clothes off him. My fixation appeared to amuse and exasperate him in equal measures. But for whatever reason, he indulged me.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “The World’s Gone Crazy and Here are the Tropes I Want to See in 2017” by Patricia Eimer

His Fake Alien Fiancee Patricia Eimer

No matter what side of the aisle you sit on politically – and I really really don’t care FYI—I think we can all agree that 2016 was a bloody dumpster fire of a year. David Bowie set the tone by dying and leaving us with the album Dark Star (that he recorded knowing it was his final love letter to the world) at the beginning of the year; Carrie Fisher died and left us with a final image of her in Rogue One at the end of the year; and in between, a whole raft of talented people left the world a darker place with their passing. The election seemed like it was never going to end. The weather was crazy. People were shot in churches and nightclubs and medical facilities and schools. A politician was stabbed on the street in England. A child was killed by an alligator at Disney World. The papers were filled with pictures of Syria. Freaky clowns kept appearing in playgrounds because we aren’t all scarred enough by clowns already. 2016 was literally a highlight reel of tragedy porn.

But I’m lucky, because I had people that I could go to who looked at the dumpster fire that was 2016 and could make me laugh about it. My girlfriends and I have a tradition, we always try to get together in January. Some years we all fly to the same place and spend a long weekend together. Sometimes we do a large conference call kvetch. This year we were all feeling pretty battered and bruised so we actually decided that it was worth it to spend the money and get together in person—away from our families. And every one of us made the comment that we didn’t go out New Year’s Eve. Partly because we’ve gotten old enough that being drunk young people puking on our feet just isn’t fun anymore, but the other part was that we were all essentially hunkered down, waiting for the dumpster fire that was 2016 to finally end. We didn’t want to risk setting foot outside until it was over.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “Otome Games, Toxic Masculinity, and Non-Traditional Masculinity in M/M” by Xen Sanders

From The Ashes Xen Sanders

I have a very sheepish confession to make:

I play otome games.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, “otome” means “maiden,” and they’re called “maiden games” because they’re targeted toward throngs of eager young female players who want their own pretty bishounen (beautiful boy) paper doll to dress up, chat with, and…pretend he’s knocking boots with the other boys in the game, not the girls they’re actually supposed to be dating?

Yep. Even though it’s basically Neko Atsume with boys, while the original goal was a story-style hetero dating game, what otome games attract the most are M/M fans who love their pretty men and love it even more when they dress up in appealingly flamboyant, stylish outfits…and then kiss. (You may have heard of the term “fujoshi.” I’ve seen some Westerners wear it proudly, even though fujoshi, like otaku, is actually an embarrassing label in Japan.) I can see why; many of these games originate in Japan and Korea, and it shows. In both countries, masculinity standards are different; there’s no one uniform for it, but things like sensitivity and grace can be praised rather than derided. Men pursue hobbies and passions that Westerners consider traditionally feminine, and it’s normal; what matters is the dedication to perfecting a craft. Men know how to take care of themselves without being babied by a spouse or parent (well, for the most part, let’s not get into hikikomori or the fact that sometimes some people are just slobs regardless of gender or culture.) It’s not embarrassing for men to care about their appearance as much as women, and some (very heterosexual) men in Korea even use skin care products and makeup, while the rise of KPop has created an entirely new era of men’s fashion that flatters men’s figures in ways that, in the West, might seem effeminate. You can see the same in JPop; both are subcultures that represent less the culture of a country and more a media-sensationalized ideal, but what they do is serve to normalize and even cater to ideas of masculinity outside what we’re used to in ways that blend into everyday society over time.

You can imagine why that would be popular and make such a huge transition from East to West in the form of games, manga, anime, J-Drama, K-Drama, music. In the West, in the United States in particular, we have such a culture of toxic masculinity that men are taught to repress our feelings because anything else makes us feminine and gay, and both those things are painted as negatives instead of positives. “Metrosexual” is used as a mocking insult. We’re taught to do this constant dance of making sure our every action is manly enough. Where women can call their female friends “girlfriend” without it being a thing, if we call our male friends “boyfriend” we’ll get punched in the face. The hetero quadrant of our demo will riot over the inclusion of a gay and/or trans character in their favorite game, because how dare something have 1% of content not catered exclusively to them. We live in a constipated snit of hair-trigger male egos and desperate attempts to prove our status as a manly-man worthy of dragging someone back to our cave by the hair and mating with them. At best, it makes it entirely frustrating to deal with our bull-headed and entirely fragile male egos. At worst it leads to misogynistic behavior that can express itself in sexual harassment, violence, assault. Basically men in the West are an unstable, unpredictable powder keg, and when women come together to share stories of the things they deal with every day from men, it’s really not surprising.

So is it surprising, too, that women (and some queer guys) flock to this imported subculture that creates a safe environment for exploration of other, less rigid forms of masculinity?

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “Top Five Romantic First Dates That Are Problematical” by Jess Anastasi

Diffraction Jess Anastasi

Ah romance. It’s that magical thing we live to experience. Relationships are made and broken over it, some people will do anything for it, and lives are changed by it. It’s why we read romance novels, right? We want to experience the blissfully rosy glow of finding new love and getting to know that special someone.

But life isn’t often a romance novel, which we all know well. So, think about it. Some of those scenes out of your favorite romantic book or movie, how would they have really gone down if they’d happened in real life? Well, luckily I’m here to burst your romantic bubble with a smack-down of reality.

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Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn

Q&A: Jus Accardo of INFINITY

Infinity Jus Accardo

Jus Accardo hasn’t just given us a great science fiction romance in Infinity and an amazing Q&A. She’s also made us Google “cake pie”. It is a real thing and it is beautiful. Your day is better now!

What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?

Kate and Leopold

10 Things I Hate About You

Never Been Kissed

Grosse Pointe Blank


Describe your favorite scene from each one (you can include a Youtube clip if you want as well).

When Kate goes to Leopold in the 19th century swoon

When Patrick ‘apologises’ to Kat by singing to her during practice. sigh

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Guest Post

Guest Post: Best Ever Sci-Fi Romance Tropes from Nina Croft

Unthinkable Nina Croft

Unthinkable, book One in my Beyond Human series, is a mixture of contemporary sci-fi and romance. While it’s heavy on the contemporary and light on the sci-fi, it still manages to contain some of my favorite sci-fi tropes. I won’t go into details as it might give away the story, but here are a few of the sci-fi tropes I love…that may or may not appear in my Beyond Human series.

  1. Time travel. My favorite TV program growing up was Doctor Who. I wanted to be the Doctor’s assistant (actually, I wanted to be the Doctor, but I was trying to keep my dreams attainable). I’ve been obsessed with time travel ever since. And there are so many ways to travel through time, whether it’s by a time machine, like the Doctor, or a genetic mutation as in The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Or through some sort of mystic tear in the fabric of time as in Outlander by Diana Gabalden or Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series. And my particular favorite—wormholes in space.
  2. The idea of telepathy fascinates me. How the human race would be different if we couldn’t hide our motivations, our thoughts, our nefarious plotting and planning. What if there was no need for torture, if the secrets of the mind could be found as easily as looking into someone’s eyes…? Some of my recent telepathy favorites are the TV series, Sense8, which follows a group of eight people from around the world who are all linked telepathically, and In Your Eyes, a film by Joss Whedon, where two seemingly unconnected people form a telepathic bond which allows them to share each other’s experiences.
  3. Space pirates. So if Doctor Who was my favourite TV program growing up, then Firefly is my favourite as an adult. Firefly was my inspiration for my Dark Desires series. I love the idea of a close knit crew having to do some shady things just to survive. I wrote Break Out, book 1, after watching Firefly for the first time. I wanted to write a space opera with space pirates and…vampires (My editor refers to the book as vamps in space)
  4. Genetic Modification. Scary and probably happening right now. Genetically modified heroes pop up in sci-fi romance all the time. I’ve even written a few. It’s an excellent way to get a larger than life, super hero and still be believable. A great example is Christine Feehan’s Ghostwalker series.
  5. Alien and human love matches. Who doesn’t want to fall in love with a stunningly gorgeous (usually) larger than life (especially certain parts of their anatomy) alien. And learn their weird mating rituals and strange customs… I love Ruby Dixon’s aliens in her Ice Planet Barbarians series—they are pretty gorgeous and easy to fall in love with. But what if the Aliens are not quite so attractive?  I recently read Cottonwood by R. Lee Smith. Absolutely loved it. Her aliens looked a lot like cockroaches, and she still managed to write a totally convincing romance—that is seriously impressive.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: Jody Wallace’s Biggest Sci-Fi Crushes

Prodigal Jody Wallace

My first fan-crush was Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, whom I apparently referred to as Wondee Woman while spinning in front of the TV until I fell over. While Ms. Diana Prince’s supernatural qualities weren’t related to science, my love for all things fantastical then led me to be absolutely obsessed with Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars movie.

Yes, EverAfter friends, I’m one of those. Team Luke instead of Team Han. Had the 12 inch Luke Skywalker action figure, too, who was ALWAYS my doll’s boyfriend when we played Barbie Explores Lost Treasure Island or Captain Barbie Versus the Ravening Stuffed Animal Space Horde. Maybe it was that rope Luke used to swing himself and Princess Leia to safety in the Death Star—reminded me a bit of the golden lasso of truth. Not to mention the kiss that the princess gave Luke for luck right before the Big Swing was about as much sexuality as my 9 year old brain was equipped to contemplate.

Han was funny, sure, and did the right thing in the end, but I admired Luke for doing the right thing, or trying to, from the beginning. To me it spoke of his innate goodness. Also I admired how cute he was, and that 9 year old brain which couldn’t contemplate anything stronger than a peck on the cheek didn’t register Luke’s naiveté and teenaged angst as annoying.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “My Top Five OTPs on TV” by Jess Anastasi

Quantum Jess Anastasi

When it comes to screen time, I’m not a huge movie person. I don’t mind going to see the occasional blockbuster or book I’ve read turned into film, but movies generally aren’t my thing. TV shows, however, well that’s a different story. I have a serious obsession with a number of TV shows, and like many fans, I tune in week after week to see how my favorite couple are going. In the interest of relevance, I’ve decided that today’s top five will only feature couples in current TV shows… if I included series that have finished or were cancelled, we could be here all week!

This post will contain spoilers, so if you see a series mentioned and you’re not up to date, you might want to skip ahead.

So, without further ado and in no particular order…

Clarke and Bellamy — The 100

I have been a devoted Bellarke shipper from almost episode one. I didn’t read the books until I was waiting for season 2 to start and desperate for a fix, so I had no idea that in the books, Clarke and Bellamy are actually a couple. A quick browse through tumblr will show you that the Clexa (Clarke and Lexa) shippers and Bellarke shippers have had quite a rivalry going. For a while, the Clexa shippers were claiming victory because Clarke and Lexa spent some of season 3 very much together. But with Lexa’s death, the Bellarke warcry got louder, and now many rabid fans are waiting for Clarke and Bellamy to finally get together in season 4.

But all that aside, Clarke and Bellamy are an interesting couple. At first, they didn’t like each other. Bellamy thought Clarke was a stuck-up do-gooder, and mockingly called her Princess (which has now become an endearment, though I think it’s been a while since he called her that) and Clarke thought Bellamy was an egotistical jerk. They were undoubtedly both leadership material for the 100 teens sent to the ground, which was why the animosity came up, because they had different ideas of how things should be done. But as things got harder, the ground became more dangerous and they got to know one another, they soon realized how strong they could be together and forged a deep connection, which is obvious when they share long, lingering looks and brief but meaningful touches… the kind of stuff that shippers live for and then spend weeks and months dissecting.

Clarke & Bellamy-The 100


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Steals & Deals

Deal Alert: Kennedy Layne, Melinda Leigh, and D’Elen McClain

We are so close to the weekend we can taste it, so how about a celebratory Deal Alert? Don’t miss these amazing titles from Kennedy Layne, Melinda Leigh, and D’Elen McClain!

Red Starr Box Set: Vol 1 by Kennedy Layne

From USA Today Bestselling Author Kennedy Layne comes a thrilling hostage rescue series that will lead you down perilous paths of passion, intrigue and suspense…

Starr’s Awakening (Red Starr, The Prequel)

Catori Starr has been lost in a crippling grief since losing her husband, Red. Since learning he went MIA on a rescue mission abroad, she has existed more than lived. She’s a shell of who she used to be. Restarting Red Starr HRT is a last-ditch opportunity to overcome her pain–and keep her husband’s legacy alive. With a team of cherry-picked men, she must now decide if she’s willing to set aside a years-old grief to begin a new life filled with the potential of fated dreams…or deadly peril.

Hearths of Fire (Red Starr, Book One)

Neal Bauer tried returning home once before and he found that some things aren’t meant to be. When a local cult invades the town of Hearth and draws a family friend into their way of life, he has no choice but to try again. He hadn’t expected the dormant fires of a past love to resurface, but is it possible to rekindle their smoldering passion when it could all be taken away by a sinister faction who has other plans for their future?

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Q&A: Patricia Eimer of OUT OF THIS WORLD

Out of This World Patricia Eimer

We’re here with the brilliant Patricia Eimer, author of Out of This World, out now! We’re not just geeking out over such a great sci-fi Romance author, we’re mentally high-fiving because we discovered Romance the exact. Same. Way. (And it took us nearly as long to come back to it).

Curious? Check out the Q&A below and don’t miss Out of This World!



What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?

 Just so you know I do completely realize what a cliché I am with these.

  • Pride and Prejudice (and if you’re watching at my house there is just 1 version and that is the Colin Firth version ‘kay? We take our Darcy seriously here.)
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary
  • Shakespeare in Love
  • Love, Actually (Are you sensing I have a thing for Colin Firth? Because I have a serious thing for Colin Firth).
  • North and South (it’s television but Richard Armitage in a cravat is worth letting the medium slide because this man could seriously unseat my Colin Firth Darcy love with the way he smolders in a cravat).

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