Sunday, January 4, 2015

Ringing in 2015

Wow. Can you believe it's 2015! It sounds so science fictiony, doesn't it? Love that!

Well, I'm starting off the year with all thrusters on full.

To recap, I'm nose deep in preparation for my upcoming releases and all the fun chores that come with a publishing debut, I just finished a superb SFR trilogy, and I made a big YES or NO decision this past week. So a little more about all that...

My Science Fiction Romance novelette delivers a surprising romantic twist--the kind that makes SFR such a fun read!

Here's the blurb:

Fresh off a painful jilting, the last thing deep space pilot Tiharra Bell needs is another romantic entanglement. Certainly not with the galaxy’s most famous astronomer-who also happens to be single, inconveniently handsome, and a resident of the remote Andromeda Station. But Tiharra soon discovers two terrible truths about Dr. Dante “Donner” Dane, 1) he’s not the man he appears to be, and 2) he doesn’t have long to live. Before her fourteen day layover is complete, she’ll put her life and career on the line to protect his heartbreaking secret.

FAREWELL ANDROMEDA promises more than just a great, high stakes love story, it also delivers an introduction to the Inherited Stars universe. It takes place 200 years after the era depicted in my first novel (set to debut about a month later), and offers an intriguing glimpse back at what came before without dropping any major spoilers.

It really can claim the title of a Far Out Romance. It takes place at the very edge of the Milky Way Galaxy. Tijarra and Donner can't wait to share their story.


Back on December 8th I posted this glowing review of the first book in this fabulous Science Fiction Romance series, Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Grant.

I continued on with the next two books in the series in rapid succession, Honor's Knight and Heaven's Queen (which had just been named a top 2014 SFR read by Goodreads members). To say the series didn't disappoint would be a huge understatement. Each book earns the "couldn't put it down" stamp of approval. I blazed through all three in less than a month--and considering my schedule, that's huge.

So what did I like about the series? Where do I start?

Main Characters
Tough, skilled (and then some), no-nonsense mercenary Paradoxian heroine, Devianna Morris. She's very good at putting foes and macho-chauvinist co-workers in their place. Intriguing genetically-altered Terran hero, Rupert Charkov. (Also extremely good at what he does, and I don't mean whipping up a great meal).

Extraordinary. This goes beyond a friends to foes to lovers scenario. *spoiler alert (mouse over to read)* At one point Rupert shoots Devi in the head. Yeah, time to cancel the wedding invitations. But I suppose he gets his comeuppance when she nearly beheads him. *end spoiler alert*

Story Elements
Devi's challenges just keep getting bigger and scopier, her situation keeps going from bad to worse to OMG!, and the stakes and mysteries keep ramping up as the trilogy progresses.

The aliens are truly alien--and there's quite a cast of them--in thinking, physiology, social definitions and goals. Some of are quite literally untouchable, at least for mere mortals. Some are friendlies--or at least semi-friendlies--and some are downright nightmarishly horrible. There are a couple of huge twists. (I love Hyrek!) And one of the greatest lines evah comes from the pilot--who happens to be an aviary alien--"It's not like I'm crossdressing!" Take my word for it, you'll just have to read the series to see it in context.

Plot Twist
The heroine (as well as many of the other characters, especially the hero) often gets beaten, battered and bloodied despite the advanced technology and protection of her custom armored mech suit (the hero...uh...doesn't need one. *g*), which she has affectionately named Lady Gray. This suit gives her superhuman capabilities, the ability to see 360 degrees and survive in the vacuum of space or underwater, and comes with its own arsenal of fine weaponry--which she has dubbed Mia, Sasha and Phoebe....and later Elsie (after her grandmother). But even Lady Gray and her superior firepower can't protect Devi from everything. *spoiler alert* Like being infected by a killer virus which gives new meaning to the phrase "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." At least, until it does kill her. *end spoiler alert*

Who would love this series? Anyone who enjoys action-packed SFR with a kickass heroine and a hero who turns out to be her equal, but sometimes her enemy. If you like things that blow up, crash and burn, and crunch and shatter galore you'll love these books. If you like a non-stop adrenaline pusher, this is the series for you. It also has a pretty nifty romance interwoven into all that POW and ZAP!

Who might not care for this series? If you like your romances not so subtle and more central to the plot, this may not be the series for you. The focus is Devi's struggle with the various obstacles that try to stop her and entities that want to kill or use her. There's not a lot of pause for tender moments (though there are a couple of nice, poignant scenes) and not a lot of heated sexual tension or explicitness. There's a definite, deep connection between Devi and Rupert, but it sometimes takes a backseat to the quest to survive and, quite literally, save the universe.


So I had to make a pretty tough decision on one of those last chance scenarios by Friday. I had this little voice in my head that kept saying, "Think hard. At the end of your life, you'll regret most the things you didn't do, rather than the things you did."

My quandary? Should I enter the RWA Golden Heart for my last and final time...or not?

Right up until the Friday deadline, I still hadn't made a firm decision. I was totally waffling. According to the rules, I only have two novels that would be eligible, and after next month's debut I will no longer be able to enter in future years. So this was it. Last hurrah, if I decided to go for it!

Then reality set in. With three Golden Heart finals already under my belt, the whole point of entering in 2015 would be to go for the gold and hope for a win. Okay, so let's give that a hard look. A win with a SFR is, unfortunately, a bit of a pipe dream so the absolute best case scenario would potentially be two more finals, if I was extremely lucky. And the truth is there really isn't a whole lot of difference between three finals and five finals. And even less between three and four.

So after deliberating for months, my final decision go.

Right now, my priority has to be a focus on my releases and promotion in the upcoming months, and I didn't feel I really had the time to jump aboard the Golden Heart Crazy Train (and believe me, that's the perfect name for it) for yet another wild ride, should I be so blessed as to grab that golden ring once again. So's a pass. The deadline has now come and gone. I'm a little sad about my decision. Was it an opportunity missed? A final shot at the big dream? I may never know.

That's okay. I can live with it. And I don't think I'll ever look back with too much regret. Sometimes we have to weigh all the factors and make the tough but practical decisions.

So my Golden Heart quest is behind me now. That chapter is closed. I'll never forget the giddy high of being a finalist and the friends and peers I met as a result. I'll never again have the great fortune to share being a finalist with Sharon in one year, and Donna the next. But I had the experience, and that's what matters. Besides, I'll always be a Firebird and a Starcatcher. That never goes away.

My very best wishes go out to all who entered the 2015 RWA Golden Heart. I'll be rooting for you come that magic day in March.

Have a great week!


1 comment:

  1. I think you probably made the right decision - with your releases this year you really will need to focus on those and promoting them. As you say, you already have the three previous finals under your belt. And there are other contests! With RWA's changing rules on the romance in any story, I'm going to focus on contests aimed more at SFR specifically, like the EPIC and the PRISM (even though the PRISM is run by a chapter of RWA, it's a chapter focussed on speculative romance rather than the whole spectrum).
    So much excitement!


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