Friday, 30 September 2011

Welcome Zoe Archer!

As our final guest of honour to this week's party, I'm thrilled to welcome the talented and versatile Zoe Archer - welcome, Zoe!


Some might think it an odd fit that an author of historical paranormal romance also writes science fiction romance.  They don’t have anything in common, do they?

Let’s see…

  • Adventure?  Check.
  • Action?  Check.
  • Fun world building?  Check.
  • Sexy heroes?  Check.
  • Kick-ass heroines?  Check.
  • Hot, hot love scenes?  Check, and check!

My voice changes a little bit when I’m writing sci-fi romance.  I can use more colloquial language, and also I get to make up metaphors, similes and references (ex.  He’d seen the blatant interest in her eyes.  The way she looked at him as if he was the last drop of water in the Gephel Sand Wastes.)  My sci-fi heroes and heroines use plasma blasters for weapons rather than rifles and swords, and they fly spaceships instead of riding on horseback, but doesn’t really matter if they happen to be in England, Mongolia or a distant galaxy.  My constant is that I write about daring men and women having adventures and falling in love (oh, and having hot, hot sex).

Here’s my question for you, readers: what are the constants that you look for in a romance (aside from the happily ever after)?  Do you love adventure?  Do you crave intense turmoil between the hero and the heroine?  Or do you look for humor and witty dialogue? 

One lucky responder will win not only a copy of my sci-fi romance COLLISION COURSE, they’ll also win a copy of PUSHED TO THE LIMIT, a sci-fi romance written by Nico Rosso (who also happens to be my husband)! 

And be on the lookout for CHAIN REACTION, my next sci-fi romance, out January 6 from Carina Press, and THE LIMIT OF DESIRE, Nico’s next sci-fi romance from Liquid Silver books, available in November.




Excerpt: COLLISION COURSE BY ZOE ARCHER

In Mara’s quarters, Kell quickly shucked off his uniform, his movements mechanical though his mind and gut churned.

Why he was so angry? It shouldn’t matter if the clothes belonged to her one-night stands. It shouldn’t matter to him that she even had one-night stands. 

But it did. It mattered. 

He stared at Mara’s unmade bed. It was definitely wide enough for two. Had she brought them here, those men? Did she get these sheets twisted by writhing around with some brash space privateer? The image of her, sweaty and wild and sleek on the bed, came all too quickly into his mind, but it was him he pictured with her, not a swaggering pirate. 

As he stepped into his civilian pants, he felt the strange urge to find those random men and beat them into cosmic powder. For fuck’s sake, get a hold of yourself. He didn’t even feel jealousy about the women he did take to bed, let alone a smuggler he had no intention of bedding. A smuggler with creamy hair and taunting eyes. 
This is about the mission, he reminded himself. Nothing else.

Still, after picking the one shirt that wasn’t either transparent or cut down to the navel, Kell took a grim satisfaction in using his regulation blade to shred the rest of the men’s clothing. He threw the remains into a waste compartment.

Brilliant. Why don’t you just piss on them while you’re at it? 

He finished dressing, and was glad there wasn’t a mirror in her quarters. He didn’t want to know what he looked like. 

If the expression on Mara’s face was any indicator, he looked damn good. He ambled back to the galley, dressed in his closest approximation of a smuggler. She sat in the cockpit with her seat swiveled around to face him. Her eyes went wide, and he waited for her to laugh. Instead, a flush crept across her cheeks and she slowly licked her lips.

“That’ll…work."

He glanced down. His pants were standard black cargos, and he’d strapped his blaster back onto his thigh. The shirt was also black, sleeveless, and cut for a smaller man. It fit Kell a little snugly, revealing every ridge and contour of muscle. Judging by Mara’s glazed eyes, she didn’t mind at all. 


Today, Zoe is giving away two books to one lucky commenter: her own Collision Course, and Nico Rosso's Pushed to the Limit. To enter the draw, answer Zoe's question above: what are the constants that you look for in a romance (aside from the happily ever after)? The contest will close at midnight tonight, and the winner will be announced tomorrow morning on this thread.


Thursday, 29 September 2011

Scottish Sci-Fi. Sort of...

Well, it's Friday, the last day of our Sci-Fi Party! But look on the bright side, the very wonderful Zoe Archer will be joining us shortly! Until then, I've got two pieces of Scottish science fiction to entertain you with.

Firstly from a Scottish comedy sketch show called Chewin' the Fat, meet the Taysiders in Space. Not exactly Star Trek :).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLxLmFhROqY.

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.


MAGIC MAN
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.”

    “Who?”

    She lifted her eyes to his shadowed face. “My husband.”


Don't panic - he's really an ex-husband :).
Marie

Welcome Misa Buckley!

Today's guest of honour is new author, Misa Buckley, who has just released her first novel, IRONHAVEN. Welcome, Misa!


Love at the End of Time by Misa Buckley

My first publishing credit was a love story set on a dying Earth, which might seem like an odd choice and honestly, IRONHAVEN was written for a submission call, but why wouldn’t people fall in love at the end of time? At what point does it become too late for love?

I don’t believe it ever is. How often have we heard tales of a couple in their twilight years falling in love? Or a young couple marrying even though one is dying? Love is timeless and precious. It should be grasped and held, even if that it for just a little while.

People might wonder what the point of being with another when time is against them, but my question is “why not”? What is there to lose? Carpe diem. We only have one life, whether we die young or old. That is the time given to us and we should grab it, live it to the full. Celebrate life and love and happiness.

In IRONHAVEN, the love isn’t just a last moment of happiness. The story is about two people separated by lies and manipulations. When they accidentally meet again five years later, there is a huge gulf between them. What follows is a story about forgiveness, redemption and acceptance – things that could not happen without love.

About IRONHAVEN

Earth is dying, and Lucian Hoyt is going to die with it thanks to his parents cancelling his pass aboard the last shuttle off the planet. There is hope, though – a brilliant inventor has come up with a plan to build a ship to evacuate those who’ve been left behind.

That inventor turns out to be Genevieve Scott, Lucian’s bitter ex-fiancĂ©e. If they’re going to work together to get off this planet, they need to put their past aside, but even melting the ice between them can’t erase all the scars.

http://www.decadentpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=314

Excerpt:

The run-down laboratory on Fifth Avenue didn’t so much sit next to the building beside it as lean against it for support.

Lucian stared at the corrugated iron roof and the boarded-up windows in some disgust. He’d not expected this when Drew had explained about the female inventor who, with the government gone and her usual work dried up, now repaired heaters in between designing a starship that ran on alternative fuels. He couldn’t imagine how she did anything in the hovel in front of him.

I wouldn’t house a dog in such a place. He walked over to the ill-fitting door. His knock echoed hollowly. He waited…and waited.

Did he have the right address, or was the woman just was not awake? It was early morning, but not so much that anyone should still be in bed. At least, not in his opinion, but he supposed the inventor might have a different one. He knocked again with as little result. He sighed and glanced around. A passing couple spared him a quick look but didn’t say anything. Still he felt oddly conspicuous, as if he was doing something he shouldn’t be.

He tried the handle. It turned easily. Okay, then. Pulling it open, and wincing at the screech of the hinges, Lucian poked his head through the gap. “Hello? Is anyone home?”

A faint shout came from somewhere within the tangle of machinery and littered benches. Taking it as an invitation, Lucian stepped in out of the cold and wandered around the laboratory. Most of the benches groaned under the weight of a variety of heaters, all in various stages of assembly or disassembly—Lucian wasn’t sure which—but there was one given over to an intricate, clockwork-driven device that he could not make head nor tail of. He picked up a roll of paper and unwound it to find a blueprint. That made no sense either.

He shook his head: he’d been to university and had education in every science and theory going, but the level of intelligence indicated by the blueprint was still far beyond him.

Putting the roll down, he called again. “Hello?”

“One moment.”

Her voice was husky; mid-range feminine with a hint of smoke. It also carried a note that Lucian thought he recognised yet couldn’t quite place. A shadow shifted on the opposite wall, shortening as she came into the laboratory, nose buried in a thick book.

She wore leather trousers spotted with burn marks and grease, and a tightly-fitted blouse under a heavy apron. Her hair was swept up and gathered into a loose bun atop of her head, and the hands that held the book wore gauntlets. She looked up and her mouth dropped open, her eyes widening in shocked recognition.

“Lucian?” she said, her voice barely more than a whisper.

He could only stare. It had been so very long since he’d last seen this woman. Long enough that it had taken seeing her face to recognise her fully. Five years too long.



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

Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies

What are your favourites?

Here are some of mine. Dark City, which I've talked about before on this blog! So atmospheric and brilliant - and Rufus Sewell doesn't do it any harm either :).

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.

  
Alien has to be the ultimate in SciFi horror.


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 :)

Marie

Welcome Elisabeth Naughton!

Today, our guest of honour at the party is the very talented paranormal fantasy author Elisabeth Naughton. Welcome, Elisabeth!



Elisabeth Naughton, Author of Tempted

Thanks so much to Marie for inviting me to stop by during her Sci Fi & Fantasy Theme Party! For those who don’t know me, I write a paranormal fantasy series based on Greek mythology. TEMPTED is the third book in my Eternal Guardians series, which just hit store shelves on September 6, 2011. The Eternal Guardians are seven warriors descended from the seven greatest heroes in all of Ancient Greece who protect the mortal realm from threats of the Underworld.

I’ve loved Greek mythology since I was a kid and knew I wanted to write a series related somehow to the ancient mythos. Technically my books are considered romance. There’s a strong romantic element in every book fueling each story, and they do end with a satisfying result to that romantic relationship. But the entire world is deeply rooted in mythology, and I try to stay as true to that as I can. I love taking new twists on ancient stories and linking my modern day characters with their forefathers’ sins of the past. I’ve heard from numerous readers who tell me they aren’t romance fans but love the series. I especially love hearing from men who picked up the books because they were fascinated with the mythology and then fell in love with both the fantasy and characters. Someone earlier in the week mentioned cross-over appeal. The Eternal Guardians have that in spades.



In TEMPTED, readers meet Demetrius & Isadora. When Isadora—the princess of the Argolean realm—goes missing, Demetrius, a descendent of the famed hero Jason, and the other Guardians are sent to find her. Demetrius has no use for Isadora and has made no secret over the fact he doesn’t think she’s qualified to rule when her father eventually passes, but when the rescue goes wrong and he and Isadora are banished to an island inhabited by ancient monsters no one thinks exists anymore, they’re forced to rely on each other to stay alive. Through trials and tribulations neither expects, each comes to discover…the other is not what they thought at all. And even as Demetrius guards a dark and deadly secret that could lead to the end of the world, Isadora grows stronger. Until finally she’s the only one who can save him from a destiny he’s tried to avoid his whole life.

Here’s a short excerpt from TEMPTED:



Isadora’s hands cupped her cheeks. As she stared at Saphira’s lifeless body, she couldn’t help but think of the thousands of times she’d looked at that face and trusted she was her friend. The energy that only moments before had propelled Isadora forward rushed out of her on a wave. She took a step back just as her knees went out from under her.

“I’ve got you.”

Strong arms closed around her. Still reeling, she looked up to find Demetrius holding her tight against him once again.

Demetrius?

Yeah. Demetrius.

She focused on his face to keep the panic at bay. On the bloody and bruised skin streaked with dirt. On the faint lines fanning out from the corners of his eyes, that hard mouth, the slight dimple in his chin. On the strong cheekbones and his intense gaze, which seemed to be looking all the way through her, right into her soul. This was the same Argonaut she’d seen in her dream. The same one she’d cowered from so many times she couldn’t count. Only this time something felt…different.

He pushed her hands away from her face, focused on her burn, and muttered, “Bitches.” Gently he blew on the tender skin, and his breath, cooling against the sting of the burn, heated other places inside her she definitely shouldn’t be aware of right now.

Her body reacted, shifted deeper into his arms. Even though some small place in her mind screamed, What the hell do you think you’re doing?


To celebrate the release of TEMPTED, Sourcebooks is giving away two copies of TEMPTED (US/Canada shipping only). To be entered into the drawings simply tell me the name of your favorite fantasy movie, book, or series.

TEMPTED BY ELISABETH NAUGHTON – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2011

DEMETRIUS—He’s the hulking, brooding warrior even his fellow Guardians avoid. Too dark. Too damaged. And given his heritage, he knows it’s best to keep everyone at arm’s length.

Isadora is missing. The words pound through his head like a frantic drumbeat. For her own protection, Demetrius did all he could to avoid the fragile princess, his soul mate. And now she’s gone—kidnapped. To get her back, he’ll have to go to the black place in his soul he’s always shunned.

As daemons ravage the human realm and his loyalty to the Guardians is put to the ultimate test, Demetrius realizes that Isadora is stronger than anyone thought.

And finally letting her into his heart may be the only way to save them both.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A former junior high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton traded in her red pen and test-tube set for a laptop and research books. She now writes sexy romantic adventure and paranormal novels full-time from her home in western Oregon, where she lives with her husband and three children. Her work has been nominated for numerous awards, including the prestigious RITA Awards of Romance Writers of America, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, the Golden Leaf, and the Golden Heart. When not writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ball park, or dreaming up new and exciting adventures. Visit her at www.elisabethnaughton.com to learn more about her and her books. Her next book in the Eternal Guardians series, Enraptured, will be in stores in April 2012.


Today Elisabeth's publisher is kindly giving away two copies of TEMPTED. To enter the draw, comment on Elisabeth's post with the 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.  

Ruined Worlds

Apologies for being so late with my usual "minor post" of the day! Normally I post it with my morning coffee before I get up, but I slept in this morning and have been chasing my tail ever since! Especially since my husband is off work with a bad back (needs massage) and my elder son is off school sick and I've been trying to get him a doctor's appointment!

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.

CITY OF THE DAMNED (Ebook Collection)
BY MARIE TREANOR

 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.”


:) Marie

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Welcome Isabella Jordan!

Today, I'm delighted to welcome an old friend to the party! We share a publisher in Changeling Press :). Isabella Jordan writes a beguiling mixture of erotic romance and highly imaginative fiction, not least her new Dusty Mile series. Welcome, Isy!


Zombies? Really? By Isabella Jordan

When I first came up with the idea for my Dusty Mile series, I presented the idea to a friend of mine – one of my six fans – and she shook her head the second I uttered the word “zombie”. I realized that I lost her. I stopped.

“What?” I asked.

“Zombies? Really?”

“Yeah…?” I didn’t see why she was balking here. At first. So I asked, “Why not?”

“Eww,” she said. “So either your hero or heroine is going to be an ugly, dead, rotting, flesh-eating zombie? I would not want to read that.”

Ah. Never considered that someone would assume that’s what I’m talking about.  Still, I had to point out, “Vampires are dead.”

“Vampires aren’t rotting and disgusting and ugly,” she retorted.

Now I shook my head.

“What?” she asked.

“Vampires can be rotting and disgusting and ugly,” I replied. “It depends on what you’re reading or watching. Right?”

She conceded. And hey. Not all vampires are sexy like those glittery boys from Twilight or those handsome Salvatore brothers from The Vampire Diaries.  Anyone ever seen 30 Days of Night? The vampires in that film are about as appealing as the zombies.

So as a reader, do you get to the word zombie and shut down? How can that possibly be romantic? Well, I’m here to make you feel better about zombies in romance. First of all, at least in my Dusty Mile Series at Changeling Press, there are no zombie heroes or heroines. (Note: I have seen a couple of books where the author pulled this off to be fair, but still…). There. Feel better now? I thought so.

Now, I can still see a flicker of hesitation. So let me tell you a little about my series, Dusty Mile. Like my latest television addiction, The Walking Dead,  my series follows a group of characters surviving in a world where the zombie apocalypse has just landed and turned most of the population into mindless, flesh-eating monsters. But the monsters aren’t the focus. The survivors are. It’s a human story.

How would you survive in a world where you are the prey and most of the people you knew and loved are dead, eaten? Where would you get food when everything in the grocery stores rots or expires? Where would you get gas for your car once the power goes out? How are you at risk in a world without laws?

Oh, it gets more dramatic. I know those of you who grew up on the George A. Romero zombie films like me are sitting there thinking, “yeah, been there, done that.” Try this on. How would interactions change between survivors who came fresh from a society that is heavy on impersonal electronic connections and low on personal human connections? See what I mean?

One thing that does bother me from film to film on most zombie films is the lack of continuity and as a fan of the romance genre, I need that. Each film had a group of survivors and at the end, all you can do is hope they made it. You never see them again, never learn their fate. No, I wanted a connection.

So I decided on a family. Uncle Larry, for this series, is my anchor. He came from a big family whose home was on Dusty Mile road. Once he and his sisters grew up and started their own families, they came back every summer. Well, Larry didn’t start a family. He went into the military and retired back at his family’s home. Once his parents died, he claimed the house and the family came each summer for him. Each summer he showed his many nephews survival skills, cryptically warning them that they would need them some day – like he knew the apocalypse was coming. The series is about those nephews, grown, sexy young men who realize as soon as the world goes to hell that they have only one place to go – to a man they are sure has survived and will know what to do. That’s right. Uncle Larry.

And of course they meet some wonderful women on the way.

The first is Dusty Mile: Charmer and it came out earlier this year:

In a world where humans are prey, new rules for sex and love are still evolving...

Caroline McGrath is thrilled to find another survivor of the zombie apocalypse -- until she realizes he's Robbie Huston, the only guy she ever had a one-night stand with.

Now they're depending on each other for their very survival, and the sparks fly. Still, she has to wonder if Robbie would want her if she wasn't just about the only woman left on Earth? After all, he walked away once.

When they find Tyler, another survivor, everything gets more complicated. Caroline discovers she likes being watched, but while Tyler has no problem indulging her voyeuristic fantasies, and even joining their sensual play, Caroline's now got twice as much to lose. Will she be able to hold on to both her men once they reach Robbie's uncle at Dusty Mile?

Dusty Mile: Charmer
Isabella Jordan
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2011 Isabella Jordan



"Caroline," he began, keeping his voice calm. "We can't stay here. You have a Jeep. I have guns and some ammo. Let's get out of here."

Caroline met his gaze then. 

"I know we don't know each other that well," he spoke her thought aloud, thankfully not referencing the night they'd spent together. "But we're both the survivor type to have made it this far. Right?" 

"I guess." He was right. They couldn't stay there in the building. Not without starving anyway. Or going absolutely crazy. 

She had transportation. He had... "Why do you have guns?" she asked. 

"That apartment I picked my way into," Robbie explained. "Guy had a gun safe in there and the key was stuck to the back in one of those magnetic boxes. Three handguns and an assault rifle that I'm pretty sure isn't legal. There's enough ammo to get us started. We can find more on the way. We'll need it with those things." 

"And you know how to use guns?" She wanted to make sure before she agreed to anything. 

Robbie nodded. "I'm from Texas originally. My dad was a card-carrying member of the NRA. Thought every man should know how to be a decent marksman." 

He said the last with a heavy accent and she guessed doing an impersonation of his father. She almost smiled and then thought better of it. "Your parents...?" 

Robbie's gaze didn't waver. "Dad's been gone for a while. Long before this. And Mom..." His eyes slid closed and she considered her question answered. 

"How about you? Do you have... anyone?" he asked carefully. 

"My parents have been gone for a long time. I didn't have brothers or sisters. And the family I did have left, well, I couldn't reach any of them..." 

"Anyone else? You know..." 

Her cheeks warmed when she realized now he was wondering if she'd lost a boyfriend or a husband. He hadn't seemed worried about that the one night they'd spent together. But in his defense, he'd been drunk too. 

Caroline chuckled. "Well, there's an ex-boyfriend I wouldn't miss much if he got eaten. But other than that, no." 

Robbie grinned now. He really had a great smile. "Yeah, I had one of those exes. Doesn't really matter now, does it?" 

His gaze moved over her face in a way that brought more heat to her cheeks. Such intensity in those deep green eyes... Why was he looking at her like that? Did he realize her heart had just gone from ten to sixty in her chest? 

Caroline looked away first, ending the moment, and stepped back. She had to remember it had probably been a while since he'd gotten laid. Maybe not since the world as they knew it ended. That was likely the only reason he was looking at her like that. 

For that matter, it had been a long time for her too. The last time she'd had sex had been the night with him. He was good in bed, she'd give him that. 

"So what are we going to do?" Caroline asked. "How do I know you won't take my keys and leave me here?" You've left me before. "You're... armed..." 

Robbie nodded but his expression remained patient, calm. "I'm not going to leave you, Caroline. You're just going to have to trust me." 

Trust him? 

"Don't give me that look." Now his infectious grin was back. "You have every right to feel that way. I'll just have to earn your trust somehow. And you could have done worse even though you might not agree with me right now." 

Okay, he was earning points for at least alluding to the fact that he was an asshole. 

"I guess we need a plan here, right?" Caroline tried to focus on their situation now. "I tried it without a plan yesterday and you see how well that turned out." 

Robbie laughed with her. "We'll come up with a plan. I have an idea about where we could go. And it would probably be a good idea to get a solid night's sleep before we try this. It's almost dark now..." 

Caroline nodded her agreement. They should absolutely use any advantages they had, daylight being one of them. 

"Can I take your couch?" He tipped his head in the direction of her living room furniture which was covered by blankets, old magazines... 

"Sure." At least he wasn't making assumptions about how things would go between them. "Wait, don't you have to go back and get your guns and stuff?" 

"Oh, shit," he muttered, dashing for her door. "I left them in the hall." 

"Why?" 

"I needed your trust and I wasn't sure marching in like the Terminator with my assault rifle was the way to go." 

While Caroline watched, he pulled a handgun from the waistband of his jeans at his back. He flipped a switch at the top of the handle, the safety she guessed. Then with the gun at the ready, he worked the deadbolt and lock of her door and darted out just long enough to grab an enormous duffle bag and an acoustic guitar. He worked furiously to secure the door again before tucking the gun back into his waistband and dropping the bag carefully to the floor by the door. 

"Did you see that... thing?" 

Robbie shook his head. "No." 

"Those are the guns?" 

He nodded. "That and a few travel items. Just in case you said yes." His mouth curved up into a cute half smile. "Traveling light. You'll need to pack too." 

Pack. It was a daunting thought. She'd be leaving her apartment, her home, behind. The shock of it must have showed on her face because his expression softened. "I know. It seems crazy to have to just pick up and take off. Leave everything familiar." 

One huge question echoed in her mind. "But where are we going, Robbie?" 

"South to Virginia." 

"Who or what's in Virginia?" 

"A crazy uncle who's been predicting some shit like this would hit for years. If anyone's still out there, he is." 

Caroline nodded, hoping they would find his relative. But she didn't state the obvious. The odds were against it. 

"And if that doesn't pan out, wherever there's food and shelter and whatever else we need to stay alive. That's the main goal now." 

Staying alive. 

It was one hell of a big change from the daily goals she used to have. Now the thought of what she'd eat and what she'd watch on television before she went to sleep alone seemed so trivial and unimportant. And it really was. 

She'd have given anything to have that world back.




Next up is Dusty Mile 2: Soldier. I hope to have it out either later this year or early next year:

(This is the story of Robbie's cousin Owen.)

Owen finished his time in the Army and put aside the soldier to have an ordinary life. He had an ordinary job that he lost to the economy, an ordinary wife who left him for his best friend. And just before he could lose his home, the zombie apocalypse happened. Putting the soldier back on, he plans to blaze a trail to Uncle Larry's. Until one amazing woman crosses his path.

Dana has had anything but an ordinary life. Forced into prostitution as a teen, her heart aches for the baby she had to give up during those dark days. With the rejects of hell roaming the earth, and law and order no longer existent, no court can now stop her from finding her lost daughter -- or finding out what happened to her.

The resurrected soldier in Owen requires a woman who can match his skill and bravery. Dana needs a man who can let her shine -- and snap a bone when she needs him to. Will they find her daughter? Will they find Uncle Larry? Will they survive and find love in a world gone crazy?

Oh, I also have a series of shorts that goes along with this series called Dusty Mile Survival Guide.  The first one, Fun in the Garden, is available in October.

It’s not necessary to read this series of shorts to understand the main series. But it’s some extra sexy time with the characters and I hope you’ll like them.

Dusty Mile Survival Guide 1: Fun in the Garden - October 14th!

Against all odds, Caroline and Robbie have made it safely to Uncle Larry's Dusty Mile Camp. Survival is their top priority in a world where they're what's on the menu!

Uncle Larry wants his new camp members to start a garden in an effort to re-establish a food supply, but Caroline can kill a plant looking at it. Robbie decides Caroline's just not properly motivated. Some plowing of a different kind might be just the thing to get this project growing!


What else? I can promise you emotional sexy stories where zombie gore is implied but not graphically played out for you. It is a romance. I hope you’ll give this series a try and that you enjoy it.  You can check out the first chapter of Dusty Mile: Charmer here: http://isabellajordan.com/excerpts/dustymilechapterone.pdf

My stuff aside, what’s your favorite zombie book or movie?

Thank you!

Isabella Jordan


(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

Television Sci-Fi

Some of my favourite television shows have been on the SciFi channel, or at least classified as Science Fiction. From Star Trek in all its incarnations to Warehouse 13, they often have a depth of imagination and character that seems to be lacking elsewhere.

So what are some of your favourites? Apart from the above-mentioned, I have to go with the long-established Dr. Who. Who hasn't hidden behind the sofa from Dr. Who monsters as a child? And now I get to see my daughter doing it :). I really like the new episodes, from Christopher Eccleston onward - you see more of the doctor's character and his true, tragic loneliness. And the stories are excellent.

Firefly - how can there be so few episodes??? It had such wit and imagination, to say nothing of action and character! Despite the excellent movie Serenity, the series could have gone so much further - and I know I'm far from the only person who thinks so :)

Flash Forward - another one that could have had gone further in my opinion - I loved the concept that whatever they did, there were some things they just couldn't change, and some things about their own futures, they misunderstood because they didn't and couldn't have all the facts.

The Lost Room. I discovered this little gem by accident. Clever and funny, it followed a policeman's efforts to find his daughter after she disappeared into a room which could be opened through any door in the world as long as you had The Key. There were lots of other fun and bizarre objects discovered on the way, including a bus ticket that threw you onto a dusty road outside a motel :).


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!

Marie

Welcome Sara Creasy!

Please welcome our first guest of honour to the party, the wonderfully talented Sara Creasy, whose Scarabaeus books have been taking the world of sci fi romance by storm. Welcome, Sara!


A small admission: I don’t write romance.

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).
 



* * *
Excerpt from Children of Scarabaeus:


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…



Find out more about Sara and her books on her website: http://www.saracreasy.com/.


Sara is giving away a set of both books, together with a signed bookmark, to one lucky winner who answers her question: Who is your favorite science fiction couple (from books, movies or TV)? This contest will close at midnight tonight, and the winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Welcome to the SciFi Romance Party!

Welcome everyone! Park your space ship outside, and let the robots take your coat and fetch you a drink while you enjoy some of the finest romantic science fiction and fantasy in the book world.

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

Science Fiction Romance Party - Stunning Guests!

It's only a week until the Science Fiction Romance party starts, and I'm thrilled to tell you we have some wonderful guests of honour to entertain you with the finest in romantic sci-fi and fantasy!

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!

Marie