- Adventure? Check.
- Action? Check.
- Fun world building? Check.
- Sexy heroes? Check.
- Kick-ass heroines? Check.
- Hot, hot love scenes? Check, and check!
Friday, 30 September 2011
Thursday, 29 September 2011
Firstly from a Scottish comedy sketch show called Chewin' the Fat, meet the Taysiders in Space. Not exactly Star Trek :).
And the second is from the first science fiction I ever wrote: Magic Man. Set in a very different Edinburgh to the one you may know, after a deadly virus has decimated the population of the UK and isolated the city.
By MARIE TREANOR
Available Now from The Wilder Rose Press
Ebook and Print
A future world, devastated by a deadly virus…a dangerous attraction that defies the laws of segregation.
In the forbidden zone of Edinburgh’s old town, Catriona Whithorn, a privileged lawyer escaping her dull life and a depressing divorce, becomes Cat, a blues singer in a sleazy bar. When she encounters Magic, a mysterious and sexy street magician, Catriona is drawn deeper into his world, where living for the moment leads to uninhibited pleasure--and a deadly struggle for freedom. For nothing is as it seems.
No stranger to illusion, Magic’s carefree exterior hides a man ruthless enough to do whatever it takes to protect the only family he knows—the people of the old town. When Cat enlists his help to find her missing ex-husband, Magic takes her into his care and into his bed. But he isn't fool enough to believe she wants more than a rough tumble and won't soon return to the comfort and security of the safe zone.
Yet as they uncover layers of abuse, corruption and an undeniable conspiracy of oppression--with Cat's own family at its core--she and Magic must face impossible choices that threaten to divide them forever.
“Make it two, George,” the Magician said, and George poured another. Rather to her surprise, the Magician stood back and let her pay. Then he carried both glasses to an empty table at the back of the room and sat down, shoving a third stool away with his feet, no doubt to discourage company.
Catriona sat down opposite him and grabbed the glass he pushed toward her. She sipped from it while she tried to re-gather her thoughts, to remember why it was she had been looking for him in the first place.
The Magician let her drink, watching her unblinkingly as she lowered the glass from her lips and regarded him wide-eyed.
“Talisker Scotch whisky,” she observed in clear astonishment. Hardly a common Old Town beverage.
The Magician only smiled, twitching one eyebrow and stretching the tattooed fish. She took another sip, savoring it. “I think he under-charged me.”
“No. He didn’t pay for it either.”
“Did you?” she asked frowning.
The Magician smiled. “No.”
So it was stolen. And the Magician no doubt the thief. Which brought something else to mind. “They were afraid of you.”
“Who were?” the Magician asked without interest. His gaze shifted around the bar.
“The lads who attacked me. Did you really have three knives?”
“Four.” He brought his gaze back to her. His eyes were as hard as when she had first met him, his face veiled and cold. Though it detracted nothing from his lean beauty, it forced her to realize afresh the huge gulf between them. Her heart beat and beat, and despite everything, she was still fighting the memory of last night’s dance.
“Would you have used them?” she asked.
“No point in having them otherwise.”
“Is that why they were afraid?”
“In my profession, I have to be fast and accurate. To survive around here, a reputation helps.” He sounded impatient. His words sent shivers of ice down her privileged spine, and as if sensing it, he negligently raised the glass in front of him to his lips and drank.
But Catriona, not a lawyer for nothing, refused to let it lie. “A reputation has to be earned.”
“Has it? Shall we talk about yours?”
Her eyes widened. “Do I have one?”
“You tell me.” He put the glass down and sat back so that his face was in the shadows. “Why were you looking for me?”
She swallowed, again trying to gather the right words. “D-Dot thought you might be able to help me. H-how did you find me?”
His lips twisted. “Cat, you leave a trail as clear as a warning bell. I trust you never have to hide from anyone. How could I possibly help you?”
Licking her dry lips, she twisted the glass between her fingers, staring into the smoky liquor. “I—I need to find somebody who’s missing.”
She lifted her eyes to his shadowed face. “My husband.”
Don't panic - he's really an ex-husband :).
Today, Misa is giving away a downlaod of IRONHAVEN to one lucky reader who answers the question: Is there anything you couldn't forgive, even at the end of time? Or who comments on Misa's post in some other way. The contest will end at midnight tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
The first Matrix I really liked - very stylish!
Gattica's another thant made a big impression among a sea of largely average and terrible sci films borrowed from the local video shop some years ago! I found it very moving.
Blade Runner is another classic in my book. Serenity, which I already mentioend in connection with Firefly.
And on the Fantasy side of things, the Lord of the Rings trilogy has to stand out for sheer scale, beauty, adventure, romance - it has everything, and all done brilliantly too!
Which makes me think of The Princess Bride, one of my favourite films of all time, whatever genre. It has everything too, with added humour :).
Over to you :)
Today Elisabeth's publisher is kindly giving away two copies of TEMPTED. To enter the draw, comment on Elisabeth's post withthe name of your favorite fantasy movie, book, or series. The contest will close at midnight tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.
But less wingeing and more sci-fi from me is now the order of the day!
One of the things I like about science fiction romance, especially of the post-apocalyptic variety such as Isy showed us yesterday, is the vivid contrast that can be achieved between the bleakness and violence of a ruined world, and the softer romantic elements.
I have tried this in my own fiction, for example the City of the Damned trilogy, which has elements of science fiction, fantasy and paranormal romance. I should confess here that although I enjoy science fiction, I'm not a scientist, and only my husband's knowledge has saved me from a couple of whopping great howlers as far as the science elements go! But I do like my science as well as my speculation to be believable, at least to the majority of lay-people :). What about you? How much science is good in science fiction romance?
Anyway, here's an example of a feisty heroine in a violent, ruined world - from the first part of City of the Damned, Loving the Wolf.
In the depths of nuclear winter a self-sufficient cop leaves the safety of her Dome City and travels north in search of her missing brother. In the City of the Damned, where radiation poisoning has created new mutant species, April sets off a chain of events and deceptions destined to change the life of all the city’s inhabitants.
For Max, who has felt little but blood thirst for many years, the blinding sexual pleasure he experiences with April becomes an obsession. When wolf and vampire collide, one will be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice, for the survival of their world.
Like wolves, the lupi mate for life. As for vampires… they mate for something more…
Lara walked down what had once been a road, and was now little more than a churned up track full of loose stones, ripped tarmac and rubbish. Her eyes scanned continuously to left and right while her ringing ears tried to adjust to the silence. Relative silence. But the noises of the city night were even less comforting than the blaring music of the club. Barking dogs, sudden crashes and shouts, burst of laughter, the odd scream. Children crying -- or adults, it was hard to tell. The only light came from fires glowing in nearby yards and alleys, each with their share of wretched people huddling around them for warmth. By their dim illumination, Lara could make out the ruined and crumbling buildings on either side, some open to the elements, roofless and windowless and largely wall-less, others just deserted. These were scarier, because of the human noises that occasionally came from inside them.
Lara warily crossed the road to avoid the more intact buildings. Up the next side street, several pairs of eyes around a fire regarded her without curiosity. They had a dog lying beside them. It whimpered but didn’t bark. Beyond them, what was left of a building burned desultorily, almost as if it couldn’t be bothered. Without doubt, this was the most depressing place Lara had ever seen.
She found herself wondering what it had been like before the war, with the buildings standing tall and proud, the streets clean and smooth, full of bustling people going about their normal business, cars and buses running in between. There would have been gardens, neat and tended, with green trees and colorful, sweet-scented flowers. Above, the sky would have been light and blue. There would have been sun, a warmth you could see and feel, not just vaguely sense was out there when the darkness wasn’t too intense. Once, it was probably a nicer place to be than the Dome.
Now it was just downright dangerous. If she had forgotten, she was reminded forcefully as two shadows detached themselves from the ruin on the left, moving purposefully toward her. She let them come, until one moved behind her and her every sense prickled, tensing her whole body. The one in front kept walking toward her, as if to distract her. The other ran up behind her.
Lara took him out easily with her left elbow. She heard it connect with his nose, the sickening cracking sound before the grunt of pain and the dull thud as he landed on the road behind her. She didn’t wait to look. Already she grasped the knife in her right hand, facing her other assailant.
He, however, merely lifted both hands in the universal gesture of surrender.
“No trouble, lady. Only looking for some food…”
Lara held on to the knife as she drew level with him. At her significant gesture, made with the knife hand, he backed off several paces. She drew her left hand out of her coat pocket and threw a small packet on the ground.
“Next time, say please.”
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
(Today, Isabella is giving away three PDF copies of Dusty Mile: Charmer. To enter the draw, answer her question above:what’s your favorite zombie book or movie? Isabella's contest will close at midnight tonight and the winners will be announced tomorrow on this thread.)
Monday, 26 September 2011
I suppose I have to mention Star Trek again! Which incarantion is your favourite or least favourite? The original series? The Next Generation? Deep Space Nine? Voyager? Enterprise? I know which had the worst theme tune :). I really liked all of them when they started up, but looking back, I think The Next Generation probably had the most class. I thought Voyager had huge potential, especially in characterization, but sadly much of this never happened. And I really didn't like the ending!
OK, over to you! Talk to me about tv sci-fi!
I read romance. I read a lot of other stuff, too. But I don’t write romance. Officially I write “fast-paced, action-packed books of science fiction with a strong romance thread.” That’s the wording from my contract for my first two books – Song of Scarabaeus and Children of Scarabaeus. I know from reader feedback that romance readers are enjoying my books, as are sci-fi readers who aren’t necessarily looking for romance. Crossover appeal! That’s got to be a good thing.
So, the Scarabaeus books are driven by a futuristic plot – highly trained hacker Edie is kidnapped by space pirates for her skills in terraforming alien worlds, and, in the second book, falls back into the hands of the evil bureaucracy that taught her everything she knows – but I’ve never written a story that didn’t also have a romantic relationship. In this case, Edie is assigned a bodyguard, Finn, one-time freedom fighter and now a slave, who will die if she strays from his side.
The relationship I wrote for Edie and Finn is my favorite kind – the initial intensely personal connection, the tentative baby steps toward understanding, the bonds forged in adversity that will outlive lust-at-first-sight because here are two people who are learning to truly trust and respect and like each other.
Enjoy this short excerpt from Children of Scarabaeus (out now from HarperVoyager) – where it looks like Edie and Finn finally get the chance to turn up the heat.
GIVEAWAY: One reader will win a set of both books, along with a spiffy autographed Children of Scarabaeus bookmark. Just comment on this post to enter the draw, and tell me your favorite science fiction couple (from books, movies or TV).
Finn had moved toward her, a few casual paces that she’d somehow failed to notice. Edie’s fingers closed around a nearby strut and she backed up a step, half hiding behind the rack. She’d been closer to him on more than one occasion but this was different. There was a look of determination in his eyes that only added to her ambivalence. If she stayed behind… if she had the courage to stay behind, was it fair to let him believe this was the start of something when it was really the end?
“You look beautiful.”
She soaked up his words for a few seconds. “There were supposed to be shoes…”
“The boots make you look like you.”
“We made a deal once, remember? You comb your hair, I wear a dress.”
He made a small grunt of apology and came to her. “I didn’t comb my hair.”
Edie pushed her fingers through his dark curls, still too short to really need a comb anyway. She urged his head lower—not that he needed encouragement—and then lost her nerve at the last moment, nose-to-nose with him and frozen with her lips parted. She breathed in time with him, allowing herself to feel the tension building between them, for the first time not needing to clamp down on it. He kissed her instead, his hands sliding around her, pulling her close.
Something was wrong. He was tense.
“What is it?” she asked.
He shook his head slowly. “Feels strange… not having you in my head.”
“That’s good, right?”
“Yeah.” He slowly rolled his head from side to side. “I don’t know. I got used to you.”
“It wasn’t me, not really. Just static interference from a malfunction in the receiver—”
“I got used to you,” he repeated. He cupped her face between his hands and tilted it upward. His thumbs lay across her cheekbones, warm points of pressure, and he kissed her again.
Lacing her fingers behind his neck, she responded aggressively, welcoming the groan from deep in his throat that signaled his surprise and pleasure. His hands were all over her skin and the racks clattered when he backed her up against them. It wasn’t until he cupped her bottom to lift her onto the front rail of the racks, pressing between her thighs to show her where this was going, that she remembered a moment ago she’d been considering letting him go. She had to let him go.
Yet she was desperate for him…
Sunday, 25 September 2011
In a little while, we'll be joined by Sara Creasy; on Tuesday Isabella Jordan joins the party; on Wednesday, Elisabeth Naughton; on Thursday Misa Buckley; and on Friday Zoe Archer. Together these writers cover a broad swathe of speculative and futuristic fiction, and it's fun to see how genres can cross over and include elements of the paranormal and horror as well as fantasy. Our guests of honour will be chatting about science fiction and fantasy romance in general and their own books in particular, and each will be offering a fantastic prize.
Let me start the party by asking you if you're already a fan of sci-fi romance? If you are, what draws you most to the genre? If you're dipping your toe into sci-fi waters for the first time, what springs immediately to mind when you read, or hear, the words "science fiction"?
Monday, 19 September 2011
The party will run from Monday 26th Sept until Friday 30th Sept, with Zoe Archer, Misa Buckley, Sara Creasy, Isabella Jordan and Elisabeth Naughton dropping in with articles and chat, excerpts and prizes! Please don't miss it! Bring your friends, join in and celebrate this most imaginative of genres with us!