Mother Nature didn’t make 2010 an easy year to love.
We started the year here on the East Coast buried under a couple of feet of snow, and we’re ending it in the deep freeze. In the intervening months, a devastating earthquake in Haiti, unprecedented floods in Nashville and torrential monsoons in Pakistan and Bangladesh took lives and wiped out livelihoods on an incomprehensible scale. There are few remaining skeptics at this year’s conference on global warming in Cancun (though agreement on what to do about it seems unlikelier than ever).
History may well record 2010 as the last year of the U.S. manned space program, as the shuttle program has ended and no new programs are in the works to put Americans in space. In my opinion there is no way to put a happy face on that bald fact.
Even Hollywood has offered science fiction romance fans precious little to cheer about in 2010, expecting us to be happy with the confusing INCEPTION, the disappointing HEREAFTER, the clichéd THE EVENT and the cancellation of CAPRICA. **sigh**
But all is not lost, SFR fans! For readers and writers of science fiction romance, 2010 was a stellar year, filled with exciting advances on a number of fronts. Not only were there more books published than ever in our little subgenre, but more readers and more ways to get our books to those readers.
The best trend of 2010 has been the growth of e-publishers and small presses friendly to SFR. Carina Press recently won the Science Fiction Romance Brigade member poll for most SFR-friendly e-publisher and has been actively seeking SF and SFR manuscripts of all types since it was established a little over a year ago.
But Carina is only the most visible among the new kids on the block that include Desert Breeze, Samhain, Liquid Silver and a host of others eagerly snapping up SFR stories for both digital and trade paperback distribution. Such publishers and editors like Carina’s Angela James are creating a new market for SFR beyond the traditional New York houses we’re all familiar with.
A big part of this new market is the interactive network that exists between readers and writers at all stages of their careers. The Science Fiction Romance Brigade, an organization and online community dedicated to advancing the interests of the subgenre, began 2010 as a gleam in the eye of founding member Laurie A. Green. Laurie, her unsuspecting co-bloggers, Sharon Lynn Fisher and myself, Heather Massey of The Galaxy Express, and authors DL Jackson, Arlene Webb and Barbara Elsborg formed a charter group for the new community and proudly launched the new SFR Brigade blog/website to coincide with the March, 2010, announcements of the Golden Heart nominees. Within weeks, the Brigade had nearly a hundred members. Membership stands at 140 members now, with a goal of 200 by the end of, ulp, next week!
Though the SFR Brigade has taken on a major life of its own—as it was intended to do—Laurie deserves HUGE kudos for this, one of the best highlights of 2010, for all of us who write and read SFR in any form.
Oh, yes, and did I mention something about the Golden Heart awards? Both the RITA’s and the Golden Hearts recognized SFR in 2010, with nominations in our subgenre. Two SFR Brigaders—Sharon Lynn Fisher and Kylie Griffin—were nominated for the Golden Heart. Kylie’s manuscript, Bloodborn: Book One in the Light Blade Series won the coveted award. Alexis Morgan’s SFR novel Darkness Unknown was a nominee for the RITA, although Kresley Cole walked away with the award for the latest in her demon-oriented series.
The best recovery of 2010 was the RWA conference itself, triumphing despite a last-minute scramble to re-organize at Disney World in Orlando after spring floods destroyed the original venue at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. The conference was impeccably organized, the workshops were helpful, the events were fun and those of us who were lucky enough to attend had a great time.
Last, but not least, it’s never a bad year when both Linnea Sinclair and Susan Grant have great new novels out. If you haven’t read Linnea’s Rebels and Lovers or Susan’s Sureblood, you better make sure Santa has them on his list for you! Need more recommendations? Check out the SFR Brigade blog for the latest from our members. Santa could get really busy!
Merry Christmas and Happy 2011!