And the day has finally arrived! Pack your swimsuits, lingerie and shiniest evening attire for a lunar vacation you'll never forget. Sloane Taylor and I are proud to present our erotic sci-fi mystery CLAIRE DE LUNE, our first co-written novel at Amber Quill Press (Amber Heat).
BUY LINK (eBook available now, paperback coming mid-December)
You are invited to the galaxy’s most prestigious beauty pageant. Clothing optional. Romance and danger...fully provided...
Cocky young detectives Gerry Rappeneau and Sebastian Thorpe-Campbell arrive at the premier lunar resort expecting a week of eye candy and long massages. With a half-billion-credit purse up for grabs, this year’s pageant is the focus of a hundred worlds. And beauty isn’t the only thing in the eye of the beholder.
One contestant, Evelyn Lyons, is attacked and her assailant killed. Surely a simple case of a stalker gone mad, as nothing bad ever happens at the Selene contest. So the brochure says.
The closer Gerry gets to Evelyn, the more he is convinced she’s hiding something. His meticulous character sparks with her wild, sassy nature, and they embark on a torrid affair. Their forbidden romance isn’t the only thing set to ignite in Pont de Reves.
Sebastian’s infatuation with demure Claire Villiers, another contestant, threatens to put all four of them in harm’s way.
A deadly trail of corporate conspiracy, monstrous assassins and hot bikini wax is more than anyone bargained for in this incendiary erotic mystery. Get ready for some serious heat on the dark side of the moon.
The story's epic two-year journey from initial outline to finalized book is a pretty fascinating one. Over the next several weeks, we're going to share it with you at various chats and romance/sci-fi blogs, where we'll also post excerpts and talk about our other book releases (including another joint effort!). Check back soon for detailed schedule info, and don't forget to visit Sloane's fabulous website here. She's a master of sexy romance.
Carina Press artist Frauke Spanuth hit the steampunk vibe dead centre with this corker of a cover for The Mysterious Lady Law. The mystery, attitude and retro-science are all here in spades--I couldn't have asked for a more fitting piece of artwork.
Thank you, Frauke!
Lady Law will make her debut on January 31, 2011, in digital format from Carina Press. Here's the official blurb:
In a time of grand airships and steam-powered cars, the death of a penniless young maid will hardly make the front page. But part-time airship waitress and music hall dancer Julia Bairstow is shattered by her sister's murder. When Lady Law, the most notorious private detective in Britain, offers to investigate the case pro bono, Julia jumps at the chance—even against the advice of Constable Al Grant, who takes her protection surprisingly to heart.
Lady Law puts Scotland Yard to shame. She's apprehended Jack the Ripper and solved countless other cold-case crimes. No one knows how she does it, but it's brought her fortune, renown and even a title. But is she really what she claims to be—a genius at deducting? Or is Al right and she is not be trusted?
Julia is determined to find out the truth, even if it means turning sleuth herself—and turning the tables on Lady Law...
This is by far the most hectic Nov/Dec I’ve had as a writer! Exciting but hectic. Anyone have a spare DeLorean with a flux capacitor handy...
I watched the Back to the Future trilogy on Blu-Ray the other day and it’s aged extremely well. The stories are so good and Marty and Doc are such a great quirky double-act, I never get tired of rewatching. It might be my favourite movie trilogy of all, and those nail-biting finales to parts 1 & 3—never bettered.
Sloane Taylor and I are gearing up for our blog/chat/interview tour for Claire de Lune, the erotic sci-fi mystery novel we co-wrote at Amber Quill Press (Amber Heat). It’s been such a unique project right from the start (both on and off the page), we’ve got plenty of material to share with you—male/female perspectives, blending genres, spicing up a romantic novel, the lunar beauty pageant, creating a sci-fi world. The release date for the eBook is Nov 28, and the paperback will follow some time in December.
And we’re so pleased with the book, Sloane and I are collaborating on a new erotic sci-fi romance novella, titled Dark Side of the Moon. It’s a prequel of sorts featuring one of the secondary characters from Claire de Lune. The outline already has us plotting like crazy. Check out Sloane’s website to sample her phenomenal writing style—now imagine that in a wild sci-fi setting! I have to think at beyond light-speed to keep up with her.
December 7 sees the paperback release of Impulse Power, Samhain’s space opera romance anthology featuring The Mythmakers by yours truly. My co-authors, Nathalie Gray (Metal Reign) and J.C. Hay (Hearts and Minds), are frighteningly good in this genre, and I remember being floored when my story was chosen last year. Apparently there were tons of submissions. Look out for Impulse Power, available from Samhain, Amazon, and all good bookstores, soon.
Edits are completed on my steampunk mystery at Carina Press. The Mysterious Lady Law (new title) went through several drafts before my lovely editor, Alyssa Davis and I perfected the story arc. It’s a tricky mystery, part Sherlock Holmes, part retro science fiction, and a lot of fun. I’m still waiting for the cover art, but I have a release date to announce... January 31, 2011. :doffs hat to Alyssa:
I submitted my latest romantic sci-fi novel to Samhain a few weeks ago and should be hearing back before too long. Sparks in Cosmic Dust is a huge, treasure-seeking adventure featuring five down-on-their-luck characters on a dangerous prospecting dig beyond the farthest deep space outpost. It’s loosely inspired by The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (the 1948 Bogart classic), and was a bitch to write. At 89,000 words, it’s by far the longest story I’ve written. I’ve absolutely no idea how it’s going to be received. I do know it showcases some of my best writing, for what that’s worth. Let’s hope I’m not the only one who thinks so!
For all you science fiction romance fans, here's a small article I wrote for the Parallel Universe series on The Galaxy Express a few months back. For some reason, I forgot to mention it on this blog, so here you go:
Sci, Meet Fi
What if...? is the ultimate science fiction question.
The hazy space between hard science and fantasy is a SF writer’s playground. That stellar place where conjecture meets the impossible and everything is somehow exciting and plausible. A place that renders cynicism impotent. A cosmic cloud in which nothing and no one can “get to you” if you don’t want it to.
It’s the Mutara Nebula!
For every Rendezvous with Rama(Arthur C. Clarke), we have a John Carter of Mars(Edgar Rice Burroughs). The two couldn’t be more different—plausible SF and space swashbuckler—yet both have inspired generations of scientists, and command a preternatural excitement in readers to this day.
Romantic elements have existed in SF since the early pulp adventures. It’s an easy pairing—romance provides the human face for what can at times be a cold and sterile genre. There’s something inherently romantic and grandiose about trekking through the stars anyway. As a reader, the further we go from what we know, the more comforting the romance becomes. Why not just go one step further and give it a name—SFR.
For me, one of the great things about science fiction romance is its versatility. Fringe stories that may lean further toward one genre are embraced by SFR readers precisely because a balance between the two genres is so difficult to achieve. But this inclusivity is also a factor in SFR’s identity crisis; those fringe stories are automatically absorbed by either Romance or SF, or other misleading labels such as paranormal romance, in terms of cover art, genre classification, promotion, etc. SFR therefore becomes a cherished sub-genre without ever convincing “outsiders” it isn’t having its cake and eating it.
Is it cold, hard science with a splash of romance? Or lovey-dovey shenanigans in a starry setting?
But Science Fiction Romance is one of the most cutting edge genres in fiction precisely because it has the potential to depolarize two traditionally opposite readerships without compromising either of its component parts.
In The Promise of Kierna’Rhoan, Isabo Kelly blends action, politics, xenophobia, espionage, and a human love triangle, and the effect is seamless. Her unique world-building, particularly with the alien “shifters”, is proof that romance need not soften SF; and vice-versa, as Kira Farseaker’s passionate affair with David Cario is never diluted by the technology and out-of-this-world elements.
It’s a tricky balance to strike, though. Many writers are skilled at SF or Romance but not both (I’m still working at the latter), and a great many fringe stories don’t necessarily require equal footing be given both genres. The plausibility of the “science”, however, is as variable and subject to taste as it ever was, with equally successful SFR being written in everything from solid, speculative science (Manda Benson’s Dark Tempest) to giddy, Star Wars type space opera.
No one can say warp drives won’t be invented, or that humans won’t evolve with all sorts of outlandish traits (ESP, two heads, brotherly love, maybe all three at the same time!). And what was silly science way back when—walking on the moon, the micro-world, evolution—is now taught in schools. Anyone who states categorically that a SF concept will never become reality because it doesn’t fit with what we know has misunderstood science fiction.
“As I gazed at it on that far-gone night it seemed to call across the unthinkable void, to lure me to it, draw me as the lodestone attracts a particle of iron.” – A Princess of Mars
First comes the dream, then its capture.
Romance, too, need not preclude the highly unlikely—alien species being humanoid—any more than a good old-fashioned human love triangle. If the story is working and the characters compelling, SFR has an infinite canvas.
Personally, I dislike a HEA or HFN requirement in any science fiction. It strikes at the speculative heart of the genre. But I also understand why romance readers insist on them—that comfort is one of their primary reading joys. And at the end of the day, what if...? applies equally to any kind of ending.
Robert Appleton is an award-winning author of science fiction, steampunk, and historical fiction. Based in Lancashire, England, he writes for various publishers. In his spare time he hikes, kayaks, and reads as many Victorian adventure novels as he can get his hands on. His mind is somewhat mercurial. His inspiration is the night sky.