Third person or first person in #romance…pros and cons

I remember the first book I read that was written in the first person point of view: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. I was nine years old, just starting to read for pleasure. The first person POV made the story seem so real, so personal, that I wasn’t sure the book was fiction!

This is  the benefit of first person: it allows for deep, deep point of view. It eliminates distance between reader and story and between author and story. As an author, you can get so deep into your character’s head that you almost become your character. There is no barrier between you and your creation. “Showing” rather than telling comes much easier in first person than third. For me personally, when I’m in first person POV, I’m not telling a story, it’s flows naturally from my head into my fingertips and onto the computer keyboard.

(In fact, the third person POV often slips into first when thoughts are italicized and written in first person, a common, almost universal technique these days).

The downside to first person is that you can’t get into anyone else’s head. If the POV character doesn’t know it, neither can the reader. Period. The reader can guess, but he can’t be told what anyone else is thinking, what their motivations are, or what they’re doing when they’re not with the POV character. So first person can limit storytelling options. As the author, you know the other characters’ secrets, but you’re not allowed to tell the reader.

Before I started writing erotic romance, I wrote mainstream women’s fiction. The decision to write in first or third person came from the story itself, and how it spoke to me. When I could hear the character’s voice in my head, well, that was a first person story.

But romance is written in third person. It works well because you can present both the heroine and hero’s POV. The reader knows the heroine thinks the hero doesn’t love her, and knows that he really does but thinks he’s not good enough for her.

In the past few years, I’ve started seeing some romances written in first person. And, I’ve also read reviews and blogs where reviewers/readers said they didn’t like it.

I had a story knocking about in my head. I could hear the heroine’s voice. I knew if I wrote it in third person, I would strangle the story and it would take herculean effort to breathe life back into it. So I decided to go out on limb and write the story as I heard it. Alien Mate is written in the first person, but I switch between the hero and heroine, alternating first person POVs. So in Alien Mate you do get both sides of the story!

I present to you, the first chapter of Alien Mate, my next sci-fi romance (release date: April). This is unedited.

Alien Mate

By Cara Bristol

Chapter One

Starr

Truth would prevail. It had to. It had to. It had to.

The jurors filed in. I kept my face expressionless as advised by counsel and clenched my hands in my lap. The jurors avoided my eyes as they took their seats, and hope drained out, leaving me sick inside. My attorney, Maridelle, covered my hand and squeezed optimistically.

“Have you reached a verdict?” the judge asked.

“We have, your honor,” the foreman replied.

“What say you?”

“We, the members of the jury, find the defendant, Starr Elizabeth Connor, guilty of second degree murder.”

My heart seized in my chest. I wasn’t aware of leaping to my feet, but Maridelle caught my arm. “I didn’t do it! I’m innocent,” I cried. My gaze shot to the prosecution table where people’s attorney Gil Aaronson, a crony of the Carmichael family—although I couldn’t prove it— stowed his CompuBrief in its case. He didn’t look at me either, but a smug, satisfied smile rested on his face.

Electrocuffs in hand, the bailiff headed toward me.

“We’ll appeal, don’t worry. We’ll get the verdict overturned,” Maridelle whispered in my ear as the bailiff fastened the restraints. She’d believed me; but no one else had—how could that bode well for the future? If she hadn’t been able to convince the jury of my innocence the first time around, what chance would she have on appeal? The Carmichaels controlled too much. They didn’t hold political office themselves. They owned the people who did.

“Sentencing is set for one week.” The judge cracked his gavel, and the bailiff ushered me back to my cell.

* * * *

A statuesque woman plopped down next to me in the lounge. Her skin reminded me of rich, creamy milk chocolate, the kind only the wealthy could afford. Everyone else bought the synth stuff and pretended it was good. “I’m Andrea Simmons,” she said.  “Cyber hacking.” We introduced ourselves on the SS Australia by name and crime.

“Starr Connor.” I hesitated before stating my crime. “Second-degree murder.”  Miradelle had cautioned me not to discuss my case pending the appeal. Big ships have big ears and all that. So, I’d avoided my fellow passengers, keeping to my cabin, venturing to the mess hall or the gym only when I thought they would be deserted. Eventually loneliness—or maybe acceptance—nudged me out of isolation.  My conviction had less chance of reversal than I’d had for acquittal the first time around. My presence on the ship demonstrated how well the trial had gone.

Just in case the appeal was successful, I shifted the conversation back to Andrea. “You were convicted of hacking?”

“Yes. Cyber robbery actually. I was the best in the New Americas!”  Her boast confirmed her guilt. She sighed. “I hear Dakon is quite primitive. No computer technology to speak of.”

“How did you get caught?”

“Greed. I returned to a site I’d previously hacked, and they’d installed a viral tracker. Busted!” Her eyes narrowed. “Who’d you kill?”

“Nobody.  I’m innocent.” I’d continue to state that until the end of my days.

She barked out a husky laugh. “We all are. Haven’t you heard? There are no guilty people on the SS Australia.”

“She killed Jaxon Carmichael.” A brunette with a head of bouncy curls piped up with the identity of the “victim” I’d been convicted of bludgeoning to death.

Andrea whistled and eyed me with new respect. “Honey, you roll with the big boys, don’t you?”

The brunette shook her head. “How could you not recognize her from the pay-for-view gov-vids of her trial on the ‘net? She’s a celebrity.”

“As a general rule, I avoid the government sites,” Andrea said.

“Too risky?” I asked.

“No money there. Terra One World is damn near bankrupt. Why do you think we’re on a ship to Dakon? A. They save money by not having to house us in prison, and B. They make money from the illuvian minerals the Dakonians are paying for us. It’s a double dip.”

“They sold us into slavery,” I said bitterly.  Carmichael “justice” had been swift. While others languished in prison for years awaiting a court date, I’d been tried, convicted and sentenced in a mere two months. Rocket fast—a contrast to the appeals process which would be evolutionary slow. I didn’t want to sit in prison waiting for an uncertain outcome, but was this better?

“More like made us an offer we couldn’t refuse,” Andrea said.

“What do you mean?”

She lifted shoulder. “Well, you know. We could have finished our sentences on Terra. Instead we opted for immediate freedom via a one way shuttle to Dakon.”

“You had a choice?” I glanced between Andrea and the other woman.

They nodded. “The application form spelled it out,” the brunette said. “The selection process was very competitive. Ninety percent of the women who applied didn’t get accepted.”

“Application forms? I didn’t fill out any application forms.”

Andrea’s gaze narrowed. “You didn’t complete a profile? Health history, activity levels, physical description…”

“No.”  I pressed my lips together. Carmichael justice again, which was to say, no justice.  They’d wanted me as far from Terra as they could get me.

“That’s odd,” Andrea said.

Maybe becoming an alien’s mate wasn’t such a terrible fate. Millions of miles between me and the Carmichaels couldn’t hurt, and it beat spending my life in prison. If the Carmichaels could have me wrongfully convicted, they could easily block my appeal.

But how would I keep track of the status? Since Dakon wasn’t connected to the ‘net, how would Miradelle update me?

“Well, we’re all here now. It’s kind of like being a ‘net order bride,” the brunette said cheerfully. “By the way, I’m Tessa Chartreuse. I ran an escort service for an elite clientele.”

“So why are you here? Prostitution isn’t illegal,” I said.

“No, but money laundering is.” She shrugged.

Andrea laughed. “She’s an entrepreneur.”

I took a deep breath. “Any idea what the Dakonians look like?” I’d kept to myself, but I’d heard whispers that our intended “mates” were scaly blue with long tails. Only recently had Terra One World made contact with Dakon. The Dakonians had not permitted any vids. I’d been told the Dakonians “looked like us,” but I had little confidence in my government to tell the truth.

“I was able to do a little ‘net research before they transported me to the shuttle,” Andrea explained. “They’re humanoid, genetically compatible with us, but they’re taller, much more muscular and bigger.” She held her hands about a meter apart.

“Are you talking about their penises or their bodies in general?” Tessa asked.

Shit, I hoped Andrea was talking about their bodies. I eyed the span between her palms.

Andrea rolled her eyes. “Their bodies in general. I did not research their junk.”

“It would be proportionate, though, wouldn’t you think?” Tessa persisted. You could take the girl out of the escort business, but you couldn’t take the escort business out of the girl.

Andrea placed her index fingers to her forehead so they stuck up. “And they have—”

“Antenna?”  My jaw dropped.

“More like horns.”

“That’s worse!”

“Vestigial horns. Mostly hidden by their hair,” she said.

“So we’re the court-ordered brides of horned aliens who may or may not have big dicks,” I said.

“That’s the size of it.” Andrea snickered.

I got up and moved to the observation window. Without the filtering effects of a planetary atmosphere, stars in space didn’t twinkle. They appeared as solid points of light. We’d traveled far enough that none of the constellations looked familiar anymore.

“Dakon must be very far away from Terra.” We’d been on the ship for two months, and had another thirty days left to go.

“It’s hyper speed compared to the three-year round trip the first contact had taken. Thanks to the illuvian ore, we’ll do it in three months,” Andrea said. “The Dakonians have been waiting a long time for their mates. After the returning to earth, it took another year for Terra One World to set up the program and recruit the first group of women.”

Tessa giggled. “They’re going to be really horny by now. In more ways than one.”

“What happens if the Dakonians don’t like the bride they receive?” I looked Andrea. She seemed to be in the know.

“Then we’ll be sent back to Terra to serve out the remainder of our sentence,” she replied. “With credit for time served on Dakon.”

In my case, that still meant life without possibility of parole, not the usual sentence for second-degree murder, but my attacker hadn’t been the usual victim. Fortunately, despite the Carmichael’s influence, they hadn’t been able to charge me with first degree murder because security vids clearly showed Jaxon pulling out a laser pistol. But the jury hadn’t bought Maridelle’s self-defense argument. Excessive force the prosecution had argued and won. I’d expected to spend my life in prison until I’d been shuttled to the SS Australia whereupon a government agent  deactivated the electrocuffs, shoved a duffle of my possessions into my arms, and announced I’d been inducted into the Dakon-Terra Goodwill Exchange pilot program.

Or, as I thought of it, Rocks-for-Brides.

“I don’t see them rejecting any of us,” Andrea said. “Dakon has a critical shortage of women. They’re desperate.”

Tessa nodded. “The shortage was caused by an asteroid.”

“An asteroid?” I moved away from the window. “Like the one that hit Terra and killed off the dinosaurs by causing a massive winter that destroyed their food supply?”

“Just like that. The planet is still suffering the winter it triggered.”

“But how would an asteroid strike kill only females and not males?”

“They think the asteroid carried a virus to which only women were susceptible and it caused a genetic mutation,” Andrea said. “Each subsequent generation has produced fewer and fewer females. The planet is 90 percent men now. No worries, though. Everyone who got the virus died a couple hundred years ago.”

I gawked in awe. “You had time to research all that?”

She shook her head. “It was in the orientation packet.”

I frowned. “Orientation packet?”

“On the little disk,” Tessa supplied. “Everyone got one in their cabins.”

“Oh, yeah,” I said. Vaguely I remembered seeing something like that.  I’d found it when I’d boarded the ship, but tossed it into a drawer, uncaring what it was. A depressive fog had engulfed me since the verdict. What difference did anything make? My future was out of my control.

However, Andrea and Tessa had sparked my curiosity. I would pop that disk into the vid player and watch. What would the men look like? Horned? I still couldn’t get over that. Would the planet resemble Terra? An asteroid-induced winter sounded freezing. It couldn’t be that cold, could it? People lived there. Male people anyway.

Terra had the opposite problem, although not as severe. Women outnumbered men with more than 10 percent more females surviving to adulthood than males. Another reason why female convicts were expendable. “Ninety percent men, huh? That’s a lot of testosterone.”

“I know, right?” Tessa said.

“Assuming they even produce testosterone. They might have alien hormones,” Andrea said. “In fact, that’s pretty much a guarantee seeing how they are aliens.”

“But we’re still genetically compatible?”

“Theoretically, according to preliminary lab tests.  We won’t know for sure until we start producing children.”

Even though I’d been in an I-was-wrongly-convicted funk, I did recall a couple of blood draws. How could my life have come to this? Sent to planet lightyears away to become an alien’s bride. I hugged my midsection. I gave birth to an alien baby. It sounded like a story from one of those cheesy ‘net vid-zines that focused on celebrity gossip—and sensational news items like my trial.

“I can’t believe that the first time we discover intelligent life on another planet, the first thing our government does is trade its female citizens for illuvian ore.”  Space exploration had discovered alien life a couple of centuries ago in the 2400s but it was single celled jelly-like organisms and bacteria. Another planet had had heat-resistant insects, but that was about as advanced as it got.

“Technically, we’re no longer citizens. We lost citizenship rights upon conviction,” Andrea pointed out.  “And actually, Terra One World has been quite civilized compared to what happened the last time earthers wanted a particular metal ore they deemed as valuable.”

Gold. A millennium ago, monarch and church-backed explorers had decimated native populations in a rush to acquire the earth metal. I was aware of our planet’s ignominious history, even though I was nowhere near as knowledgeable as Andrea. The woman knew her business, and I suspected everyone else’s. She was sharp—which probably wouldn’t serve her well on Dakon. I predicted that having no ‘net access would be her biggest adjustment.

“You know so much,” I said. “You never ran across a single still or vid that showed what the Dakonians look like?”

“Not a good one,” she said.

“But there was one?”

“There was a still in the orientation vid.”

“You couldn’t see much because of all the fur,” Tessa piped up.

“Fur? Good mythological gods, they’re furry?” Horns and fur?

Tessa and Andrea laughed. “No, they were wearing fur garments with hoods, so you couldn’t see their faces clearly,” Tessa said. “Just a chin and a nose.”

“How did those look?”

Tessa shrugged. “Like a chin and a nose.”

“Like a Terran chin and nose?”

“Uh huh.”

Be thankful for small favors anyway. If my mate looked too alien, I could always focus on the lower half of his face.

♥ ♥ ♥

That’s all folks! I’m close to being done on the 60-K first draft of Alien Mate. Any comments or feedback are welcomed. Did the first person work for you?

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#8Sunday: From Claimed by the Cyborg…the final goodbye (kiss)–or is it?

If you’ve been following each Weekend Writing Warriors excerpt, you know that March went to Xenia to search for his former lover. When he finds her, he learns that she is engaged to be bonded to another man and she is the future empress her planet. He confronts her in her private quarters, they hash out some old hurts, and March realizes that he has to let it go,has to let her go because they have no future together. In this scene, we’re in Julietta’s POV. March has just said goodbye. She turns her back, unable to watch the love of her life walk out the door. At the last moment, she turns around to watch him leave and….

He grabbed her and yanked her against his chest. His mouth slammed down on hers, would have forced her lips to part, but she was already opening for his kiss, drowning in it.

His tongue lashed hers, but she accepted his anger as penance, craved more, incited more as she lashed back. Teeth gnashed, deliberate and accidental, drawing blood that mixed with the decadent taste of him. Taut muscle, as hard as rock, offered no give, like his kiss. He didn’t coax, he took, anger and pain evident in the crush of his mouth, the steel grip of his hands.

Scalding tears of love and despair poured from her eyes and into their mouths.

When he dropped her on her feet and thrust her away, it was like tumbling into the abyss again, like returning to Xenia all those years ago.

He wiped his lips as if to erase her touch. “Have a good life, Jules.” He left and never looked back.

How longer can I keep these two “apart?” Muwhaha…

Next week, peeps, I promise to show some forward momentum. They are lovers, after all.

Claimed by the Cyborg Description

March Fellows assumed he had all the time in the galaxy to pursue a relationship with Jules, an alien exchange student from Xenia, until she vanished without a trace. After years of searching, he finds his lost love on the eve of her arranged marriage.

The daughter of the Xenian emperor, Julietta never meant to fall in love with a Terran man while visiting Earth. Leaving to fulfill her responsibilities on her home planet opened up a hole in her heart that could never be filled. When March, now a cyborg, unexpectedly shows up just before she is to be bonded, she struggles to find the courage to turn him away a second time and follow through with her duty. Before she can act, the lovers are thrust into a political conspiracy that threatens the Xenian empire and their lives.

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Backlist to the Future: Inherit the Stars by Laurie A. Green, #ScifiRom #SFR #B2F #TBT

Backlist to the Future is a weekly Thursday feature highlighting science fiction romances from authors’ backlists.

To be notified of future Backlist to the Future posts, you can subscribe to this blog (top of the sidebar). If you’d like to submit your book for this feature, click here to get the particulars.

 

By Laurie A. Green

Inherit the Stars began with one powerful idea and no clear plot (the mark of the pantser). Themes of duty, sacrifice and righting terrible wrongs soon gelled, and a novel was born.

The manuscript won two writing competitions and was a finalist in the 2011 RWA Golden Heart Awards© under the title of P2PC. Once published as Inherit the Stars, it was named one of the “Best Books of 2015: E-Originals” by LibraryJournal.com and won the 2016 Carolyn Readers Choice Award.

More about the story…

The central characters all have unique motivations, fears and prejudices, and the friend/foe mindsets to drive them. Sair (hero), Drea (heroine) and Zjel (wildcard) move from potential enemies to uneasy comrades. (The story is not a menage’ romance, which ended up costing Zjel a spot on the cover and no mention in the blurb. I’d say “Poor Zjel”…but then I’d have to duck.)

What makes it different from other SFR stories?

Told entirely from Sair’s POV, everything and everyone is observed through his “filters.” This places a big question mark on the heroine’s motives. She has this shiny prototype starship that could make for a great get-away vehicle provided Sair has the replas (money) to pay the fee. He doesn’t. Their compromise puts Drea in a unique position of power.

It explores a very disturbing side of humanity seldom seen in SFR. The Ithian Empire was inspired by Rome—an enlightened culture that championed art, poetry, and the finer things in life, but then slaughtered people for entertainment. Though Ithis has no coliseums, their traditions are equally shocking. It makes for a very chilling side to the tale, but a tone that’s adventurous and hopeful–more Star Wars than Silence of the Lambs.

Book blurb

Inherit the Stars is a completely absorbing sf novel of the “plucky Rebels vs. the evil Empire” variety, with some fascinating twists” – Marlene Harris of LibraryJournal.com

To escape the merciless Ithian Alliance, Sair, a fugitive slave, makes a desperate deal with Drea Mennelsohn, captain of the prototype ship, Specter. But putting his life in the hands of a suspected smuggler could turn out to be the biggest mistake of his life, especially when the price on his head begins to escalate.

Drea seems to want far more from the fugitive than just payment for his passage on her ship. Though neither can deny the sizzling chemistry and growing bond between them, the truth behind Sair’s place in the galaxy and Drea’s unique existence is soon revealed. Both are vital to the success of a growing coup, but their part in ending the Ithian Alliance may come at a terrible price for Sair: the loss of the remarkable woman he has fallen in love with—and their chance to inherit the stars.

Inherit the Stars Excerpt

Sair ignored the rough-faced crewies and hangtown beggars who moved aside as he passed. At least being Rathskian offered that advantage. His subspecies’ badass reputation might get him through the streets in one piece, but he had to escape this Ithian-infested pebble of a planet before he was caught.

With each step, he checked ahead, scanning each building and alley, every corner and entryway for uniforms. A glance back confirmed no one followed.

He spied a kiosk sheltered by a battered frond umbrella huddled at the side of a street clogged with foot traffic and whining crew carts. Sair backed into the cooler shadows of an alley and watched. Several crewies paused to exchange words with the tender. None bought. He’d found what he was looking for.

He checked the street in both directions. No uniforms.

Go now.

Sair cut through the foot traffic to reach the kiosk, angled between two of the floating barstools, and parked his foot on the rail. Pressing a coin to the counter, he slid it across to the tender. “Billins, if you have it.”

“Got it raw,” the toothless man muttered in Universal. He served up a gourd with a hard, stringy shell, and a corroded pair of Billinsboks to tap it.

“Yours,” Sair said when the balding man offered him change.

The tender nodded with a slight rise of an eyebrow. “Be needin’ anythin’ else then?” The man had taken interest. Good sign, if Sair had guessed right. Disaster, if not.

Sair motioned him closer. “A ship off—preferably soon.”

“Hmpf.” The tender turned to flip a toggle and a cleaner-bot trundled over the counter, swabbing the surface with a sour-smelling chamois. “Rathskian, are ya?”

Sair bore no hideous kensmarcs on his face, but his powerful build and dark features betrayed his subspecies. No doubt the Ithians were airing his bounty notice on all the electraboards. He made note of an escape route before responding, “What of it?”

The tender shook his head. “Got nothin’ for a Rathskian. Ship leavin’ at sunset today, but the mate’ll slit your throat. Hates Rathskies.”

“What ship?”

The tender tilted his head. “Specter.”

Sair almost choked on a swallow of sour Billins. “The Mennelsohn prototype?”

“Know ships, do ya?”

“A bit.” More than a bit, in this case. A detailed model of Specter occupied a shelf in his quarters on Ithis, one of a dozen starship models he’d fashioned by hand. A hobby that had become an obsession.

“Mennelsohn built this proto a’fore he died. His brat flies it now. Ship’s a P2PC. Planet-to-Planet Courier. They fly passengers…but not you. Mate’ll skewer you on sight.”

“Where’s she hanged?”

The man looked him in the eye and rubbed his thumb across his fingertips. “Twenny-five replas.”

Sair slipped him the coins. If he didn’t find immediate passage, money wouldn’t matter.

“Bay Blue Eight.” The tender pocketed the coins and wiped his hands on his grease-stained apron. “Wouldn’t go there though, even big as y’are.”

Buy links

Amazon |  Amazon Print

Also available as a serial

Amazon ebook – Part I: Flight $0.99

Amazon ebook – Part II: The Network $1.99

Amazon ebook – Part III: Sacrifice $1.99

Laurie A. Green bio

Laurie A. Green is a three-time RWA® Golden Heart® finalist, an award-winning author and a science fiction romance enthusiast who founded the SFR Brigade community of writers, which now totals nearly 1,000 members.

Her family includes her husband, David, four dogs, three cats and several horses, all who reside on a ranch in beautiful New Mexico. A former military budget director and reserve state trooper, she now spends her time writing, networking, researching, enjoying the great Southwestern lifestyle and, naturally, stargazing and daydreaming about other worlds.

Laurie A. Green website | Spacefreighters Lounge (blog) | Facebook

Twitter @SFRLaurie  |Newsletter

 

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Fatal Obsession: a new thriller by Lori L. Robinett

By Lori L. Robinett

I am so excited to announce that Fatal Obsession, my new thriller, just launched (the paperback will be released on February 25, 2017)! All formats are available HERE.

As you may know, Fatal Obsession is a Widow’s Web novel – an thrilling series where women face challenges that threaten to destroy them, just as they begin to find the strengths within them.

Sophie grew up in the foster care system, an orphan separated from her brother after their parents are killed. After she married Blake Kendrick and gets pregnant, she’s thrilled to have a family of her own. When she learns that her husband, a brilliant cancer researcher, has experimented on their unborn child, her fairytale shatters and the nightmare begins. The powerful man her husband works for is determined to use the research within Sophie’s body to save his dying mother. Sophie runs, terrified of what might be growing within her, worried that her baby might need treatment by the very man who is hunting them. The survival skills she learned in foster care serve her well as she must discriminate between who she can trust and who she can’t, who is a real friend and who is a threat. All the while, an experiment grows within her . . . will they escape?

Want a sneak peek?

Almost in slow motion, the SUV floated across the rain-slicked blacktop, into the other lane.

“Shit,” Blake muttered. “Hang on. We’re hydroplaning.”

The tail end of the Grand Cherokee whipped around as Blake spun the steering wheel. A brief flash of craggy rocks flashed across her field of vision, trees, then blackness. The next thing she knew, the Grand Cherokee sat sideways on the narrow road, the front bumper only a few feet from a huge boulder jutting up out of the trees. The dark ribbon of river flowed behind it.

Suddenly, she remembered.

The baby!

She cradled her stomach and held her breath for a moment, waiting to feel movement. Surely she’d know if the baby was hurt. Somehow, someway, she would know, wouldn’t she? The seat belt was still tucked securely under her bump, but she ran one hand along the strap. Her shoulder hurt where the belt had grabbed her, as did her chest. She closed her eyes and imagined her baby safely ensconced in her womb. She might’ve been sloshed around a bit, but she was well protected.

She swept her hair back over her shoulders, then swiveled her head to look at Blake. His hands still gripped the steering wheel, but he was staring at her stomach. “Is the baby okay?” he demanded. His nostrils flared.

“She’s fine. I think she’s fine.” Her hands splayed over her stomach. The miracle within her had to be okay. Sophie already cared about her baby more than she’d ever imagined possible. This little girl was going to have a good life, with a loving family, a princess bed to be tucked into every night, and loads of stuffed animals, whatever she wanted. There would be no pallets on the floor for her baby, no foster parents looking for a paycheck.

“Are you sure?” He reached across and clamped his hand onto her wrist and looked at his watch.

Sophie laughed and tried to pull away. He jerked her hand back and she blinked. Long seconds ticked by before he released her.

“Pulse is a little fast, but that’s to be expected.” The clinical tone of his voice matched the chill in the air.

“I’m fine, too,” Sophie said, stung by his focus on the baby.

“Of course.” He huffed out a breath. His jaw tensed and he took two deep breaths before continuing. “Of course I want you to be okay, too. The baby might be big enough to survive without you now, but it would certainly be safer for you to carry it to term.”

Sophie blinked rapid-fire, his words cutting deep. It took her a moment, but she finally squeaked out, “Please don’t call her it.”

“It. She. Whatever. All that matters is that the baby survive. My research–” He clamped his mouth shut.

Her eyes widened as she spun to face him. Her heart raced. “What do you mean? What have you done?” Images of the calendar hanging in their kitchen flashed through her mind. The weekly appointments at the Center, all the tests that had been done, all the prenatal vitamins that had been prescribed . . . Blake tended to be distant under normal circumstances, but he’d been so attentive throughout the pregnancy.

“I never should’ve said anything.” He shook his head and held his hands up, palms out, like he was giving up. “We’ll talk about this later. Right now, we need to get out of here.”

Ready for more? Get your copy today!

To celebrate the release, I’m giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winners choice). Enter here (you can enter every day!):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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An updated Naughty Words for Nice Writers thesaurus available now

800 MORE synonyms than the first edition

A dozen new categories/sections

Amazon Buy Link

Two years ago, I published the first edition of Naughty Words for Nice Writers. The sex scene thesaurus developed out of my need for functional, usable synonyms. I wrote the book that I needed. In addition to words for sex acts, body parts, and the like, Naughty Words included some tips on how to write a sex scene. My goal was to serve the full range of eroticism: from sweet/fade to black to graphic/explicit.

Of course, as soon as Naughty Words was published, I thought of more words I could have included, and began planning for a second edition. Naughtys Word for Nice Writers (A Romance Novel Thesaurus) contains 800 more synonyms than the original, for a total of 2000+. In addition, since users indicated they also appreciated the sex scene writing tips, I added more how-to type information.

Among the new sections are: voice sounds, descriptions for muscles, sex scene locations, setting the scene with bedroom basics, sexual positions, how to remove clothing, sexual metaphors, and things you might find in a BDSM dungeon.

To see the complete table of contents, go to the book’s listing on Amazon by clicking the buy link and then click the “See Inside” feature.

Although spanking is no longer in the subtitle, the spanking section is still in the book and has been expanded with a couple of new sections.

Naughty Words is available in paperback and ebook. I strongly recommend the paperback because it is more functional. You can keep it right by your computer and won’t have to open up your Kindle or a computer file to access it.

Amazon Buy Link

Naughty Words FAQS

How can I tell what’s included in Naughty Words for Nice Writers?
Go to the book on Amazon and use the “See Inside” feature. You can see the complete Table of Contents.

What’s new in the updated version?

There are additional synonyms in most words lists, there are new words lists (such as muscles, words for naked, how to describe voices), and more how-to type information (places to have sex, how to set the mood in the bedroom, sexual metaphors). There are 800 more synonyms for a total of 2,000+ (there were 1,200 in the original) and more than a dozen new sections.

I don’t see spanking in the subtitle. Isn’t spanking in the book anymore?

The spanking section is still included in Naughty Words. It’s even been expanded a bit.  I only took spanking out of the subtitle to appeal to wider market of romance writers.

I’m torn between the paperback and the ebook. Which is better?

The paperback. Trust me. Both versions contain the same information, however, for writing purposes, it’s much easier to look things up in the paperback than in the ebook. Plus, you can make notes in the paperback and write in your own words if you think of any. Besides, if you buy the paperback first, you can get the ebook for only 99 cents through the Matchbook program. Think of the ebook as the travel companion model.

I already purchased the first edition in ebook format. Can I buy the new version in ebook?

If you already own the ebook, there’s no need to buy it again, and Amazon’s system won’t allow you to buy a book you’ve already purchased. You can get an update for free through Amazon. Instructions here. (I have asked Kindle Direct Publishing to notify previous buyers the update is available). If you purchased the paperback, you will need to buy the second edition if you want the update.

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#8Sunday: Not the friendliest of reunions…from Claimed by the Cyborg

Cyborg March has been searching for a woman from his past who literally disappeared in the middle of the night while he slept. When he finds her, years later, it is on the eve of her “bonding” to another man. (He also learns she an empress-to-be). He shows up at her private quarters to confront her. Julietta has just asked, “what are you doing here?”

He glanced up and down the corridor. “Would you like me to stand out here and tell you?”

Every second in March’s company plunged a dagger into her heart, each one a fatal wound in its own right. “Is it a long story?”

“I could make it one.” Blue eyes turned frosty.

“I never meant to hurt you. I’m sorry. I can’t speak to you.” She reached for the scanner to close the door.

Claimed by the Cyborg Description

March Fellows assumed he had all the time in the galaxy to pursue a relationship with Jules, an alien exchange student from Xenia, until she vanished without a trace. After years of searching, he finds his lost love on the eve of her arranged marriage.

The daughter of the Xenian emperor, Julietta never meant to fall in love with a Terran man while visiting Earth. Leaving to fulfill her responsibilities on her home planet opened up a hole in her heart that could never be filled. When March, now a cyborg, unexpectedly shows up just before she is to be bonded, she struggles to find the courage to turn him away a second time and follow through with her duty. Before she can act, the lovers are thrust into a political conspiracy that threatens the Xenian empire and their lives.

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A Bra – Female Undergarment or Weapon?

By Tierney James

We all wonder what the future will hold. Will everyone have a self-driving car, auto-operating systems that manage our homes, robot nannies for the kids and doctors that diagnose problems from your computer or television? It boggles the imagination at times. But what about someone from the early 1800s who suddenly appeared in this time; our world?

When I visited the Field Museum in Chicago my interests took me to the Native American exhibits, where I met my main character, Wind Dancer. Although he was a mannequin dressed as a Pawnee Indian, I couldn’t help but imagine him as a living, breathing being, that because of time and space, couldn’t communicate with me. I wanted him to enter my world and interact with ordinary people. That particular museum has a Pawnee blessed earth lodge which provided a way for Wind Dancer to cross his parallel universe into the present.

The interesting part turned out to be trying to figure out how a plains Indian would react to modern conveniences. Walking in someone’s shoes that lived two hundred years ago became more fun than I expected. If the fastest form of transportation was a horse, what should be the reaction the first time he rode in a car? Chaos? Terrified? Even if he is a battled hardened warrior there are things so unexpected he might just lose focus on his mission. When Dr. Sommers flips on the light switch, Wind Dancer thinks she possesses magic. There are other things like using a remote control to ignite the fireplace. Think about all the mysteries he would find in the bathroom? Food like pizza and ice cream might cause a physical reaction where he thought he would die. Something simple like crushing a two-liter bottle with your fingers, gives him the opinion he now has super strength.

Even though he has a working knowledge of English from his time, the way we use them today could be very confusing. For instance, Detective Marquette gets irritated at one point and says, “Ah shoot.” Wind Dancer is horrified and says he could never do this to his new friend. He also doesn’t understand some garments. When he sees Dr. Sommers in a bra he asks if it is a weapon. Microwave, television, credit cards and the list is endless of what he needs to learn to survive. Simple to us but a major problem for a Pawnee warrior.

Seeing things through your character’s eyes gives you a new perspective of how life can throw you a curve ball. I loved working on Dark Side of Morning so much I have plans to turn it into a series. Hopefully I can keep up the comedy along with the chills and thrills that creep out of a museum of natural history.

Let me introduce you to my characters of Dark Side of Morning. http://amzn.to/2ieQx6x

Dr. Cleopatra Sommers never came to terms with her father’s disappearance at the Museum of Natural History in Chicago. He had been a Native American scholar that explored avenues of unexplained spiritual paths in their cultures.  The museum had been her home and playground growing up where her father spent long hours working. She was always drawn to one display case holding a mannequin of a Pawnee Indian. There was no way she could know he watched her all those years until the night he crossed over to find her.

Detective Jacque Marquette suspected the beautiful doctor of stealing priceless artifacts from a Native American exhibit. He realized after meeting his identical twin from another time and place, Dr. Sommers might not be as crazy as he initially thought. The layers of concern for his city begin to stack up as he is caught between culture and the Pentagon. Only with the help of a Pawnee warrior from two hundred years ago, can save his city from a deadly disease brought in from a parallel universe.

Wind Dancer had loved the little girl who grew up before him for years. When he decided to cross over to prevent his enemy from finding Dr. Sommers, the bombardment of changes forced him to rely on the ways of the past to survive. Navigating the future proves to be complicated as he teams up with a grumpy detective to hunt down a common enemy. No one expected the price to be sacrificing Dr. Sommers to the Morning Star in order to avert disaster.

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Backlist to the Future: Prophecy by Lea Kirk #ScifiRom, #SFR #TBT #B2F

Backlist to the Future is a weekly Thursday feature highlighting science fiction romances from authors’ backlists.

To be notified of future Backlist to the Future posts, you can subscribe to this blog (top of the sidebar). If you’d like to submit your book for this feature, click here to get the particulars.

 

By Lea Kirk

Prophecy is a story I started writing in high school. I put it aside when my first set of twins were born and didn’t even think about it again until after my second set of twins were eleven. When it came back to me, I was sick in bed with 102 degree temperature. One scene kept playing over and over in my fevered dreams until I finally got up and typed it into the computer. The next day another scene did the same thing. By the third day I was feeling better, and excited. I just knew that after thirty years it was time to finish this story.

It took me three more years to finish and publish this book. As my “literary first-borns”, Gryf and Alex are near and dear to my heart. Breathing life into them is one of my greatest joys.

Prophecy blurb

A nightmare of galactic proportions…

One normal day turns into horror when Earth is attacked. Now ER nurse Alexandra Bock is imprisoned aboard an alien slave ship with no way out. She deems all aliens untrustworthy, including the handsome blue-skinned Matiran captain who shares her cell.

A betrayal from within…

One night of treachery leaves Senior Captain Gryf Helyg a prisoner of his enemies. Because of him, Earth’s inhabitants face extinction and his home world is threatened. But his plans for escape are complicated by his inexplicable draw to the Earth woman imprisoned with him.

A chance to save both their peoples…

One ancient prophecy holds the key to free Alexandra and Gryf’s war-ravaged worlds. Can two wounded souls who have lost everything learn to trust and forgive in order to fulfill the prophecy, and find a love that will last for eternity?

Excerpt

Alex scooted next to him, and he enveloped her in his strong arms. Tension drained from her shoulders as though sucked down an invisible drain, and their breathing synchronized. This really did help. Snuggling into him and wrapping her arms around his waist was perfectly natural. Desirable, even.

“Are you better?” Gryf asked.

“Much. So, what’s happening to me?”

“To both of us. I have suffered from a concerning lack of empathy and sound judgment this morning.”

“You too, huh?”

“It has been shameful.” One large hand stroked over her hair. “Can you deny feeling the discord within you ease now?”

“No.”

“Our souls needed proximity to each other. It is called anim loqui, soul commune.”

“Um, okay.”

“Whether we are anim tros or not, our souls need time together each day to avoid a repeat of this morning’s physical reactions.” The warmth of his breath stirred against her hair. “Alexandra, I am sorry about yesterday. Truly. I will not lie to you. Anim tros is very real, but I will not demand your compliance. It must be given willingly.”

His heartfelt apology washed through her. Since the air around them all but shimmered with honesty, then a little more from her couldn’t hurt. “Ora gave me a copy of that prophecy yesterday.”

He tensed but said nothing.

“I’ve given it a little thought, but Gryf, the whole idea scares me.” She pushed back to meet his gaze. “I mean, I’d lose everything I am. Alex Bock would cease to exist.”

He traced one finger along the side of her face. “It is not like that. Alexandra Bock and Gryf Helyg would continue to exist, but they would change. Grow. Become more than they are now. Their life goals would be shared, and they would live and die as one.”

Buy Prophecy: Amazon | B&N | iBooks |Kobo

Lea Kirk bio

Lea Kirk loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her Sci-fi Romances. In 2016, she published two full-length SFR novels, and two short stories for her Prophecy Series. She was recently named 2016 Debut Author of the Year by GravelTells Blog.

She lives in California with her wonderful hubby of twenty-six years, five kids, and a Doberman who thinks he’s a people.

Website |  Newsletter | Facebook | FB Author Page | Twitter

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#Giveaway! 45 sci-fi books PLUS a Kindle Fire! #SF #ScifiRom

I’ve teamed up with 45  fantastic science fiction and science fiction romance authors to give away a huge collection of novels, PLUS a Kindle Fire to one lucky winner.

You can win my novel Stranded with the Cyborg (Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance 1) plus books from authors like Veronica Scott and Evangeline Anderson.

Enter the giveaway by clicking here.

Good luck, and enjoy!

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An interview with Jessica Subject on sci-fi romance, zombies and It Took a Zombie Apocalypse

Jessica Subject was one of the first authors I got to know through social media, and one of the first sci-fi romance authors I read. I’ve hosted her on my blog many times, but I’ve never interviewed her! Can you believe that? She has a new release, It Takes a Zombie Apocalypse, so this is the perfect time to remedy that.

Cara Bristol: Why did you select science fiction romance as your genre? What about SFR appeals to you?

Jessica Subject: I don’t know if I selected science fiction romance, or if it selected me. I mean, I’ve always been fascinated by the unknown, especially what exists beyond our planet, and our galaxy. Though no one in my family watched sci-fi shows growing up, I tried to view Star Trek: The Next Generation and a few other shows when the television wasn’t occupied. That was easier when we had a second television.

For me, sci-fi romance embodies so many types of stories, and so many different interpretations. Now, not all tropes that fall under that umbrella appeal to me, but there are so many possibilities whether I’m getting lost in a story I’m writing, or one that I’m reading. I love to find out how other authors imagine alien beings, life in the future, and space travel.

Cara Bristol: Give us a brief history of your writing career. 

Jessica Subject: Though I’ve been writing romance stories since grade seven, I didn’t set out to write for publication until 2009. I connected with many readers through social media and wrote my heart out on a story about young superheroes. They became aliens hiding on Earth in a rewrite, and I started sharing snippets on an author hop called Six Sentence Sunday. (That’s how I first met Cara.) Another author involved in SSS told me about a sub call at her publisher and thought I could introduce my aliens to the world that way. So, I wrote Celestial Seduction and it was published in 2011. Since then, I’ve had several other stories published by Decadent Publishing, and in 2013, decided to try my hand at self-publishing. Currently, I have 27 stories published ranging from short stories to novellas. I also have 5 of my own anthologies, some of which include stories that are only available in that collection. Plus, I have stories in 7 multi-author anthologies. This year, I plan to expand my Galactic Defenders series with a couple more stories, and finish another story I started a couple of years ago.

Cara Bristol: Since you started publishing, what changes in the publishing industry have had the biggest impact on you? How has that changed what you do?

Jessica Subject: I think the biggest changes I’ve seen are how to get your book in front of readers. When I first started out, it was important for authors to do blog tours, and have a blog of their own. Then Facebook parties became the way to find new readers, especially if you invited to be a part of a multi-author party. Now, the author newsletter is big, and growing your subscriber list with multi-author promotions. All those other things still work, but not to the extent they used to. So, I try to do a bit of everything for my stories. It’s hard to do everything, but I pick a few things that work for my book and schedule, and go with them.

Cara Bristol: What is your writing process/writing work day like? 

Jessica Subject: My work day involves so many things. I have to get the hubby out the door and the kids off to school before I do anything for myself. I usually head to fitness class first and then come home to walk the dog so she’ll let me get my work done without staring me in the face. Sometimes I have a chance to get some work done earlier, but often not until just before noon. I’ll work on responding to emails, doing blog posts, and doing audio book and newsletter work for Decadent Publishing for the next couple of hours. Then I have a late lunch. After that, I get some time to work on my own stuff before I have to pick up the kids from school. It may be plotting a new story, writing, or editing a finished one. If I haven’t gotten enough done during the day, I’ll work on some stuff after the kids go to bed.

Cara Bristol: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

 Jessica Subject: When I’m not working, I’m usually doing something with the family, walking the dog, at fitness class, or reading. When I’m doing housework, I’ll often listen to an audio book, or music. Honestly, if I stop, I fall asleep. So, I keep going until I’m done for the day.

Cara Bristol: What do you think is the appeal of zombie books?

Jessica Subject: I think it’s fascinating to see how people will react in an apocalyptic situation, whether it be zombies, an EMP, or something else. In those situations, we truly see the best and the worst in people. The social aspects appeal to me, but I honestly can’t speak for anyone else.

Cara Bristol: What inspired It Took a Zombie Apocalypse?

Jessica Subject: It was a dream that I just couldn’t shake. I had other dreams about zombies after watching zombie tv shows and movies, but this one demanded to be written.

Quick five:
Somebody famous you’d like to meet: Sir Patrick Stewart

Something you couldn’t live without: My family

A favorite childhood book: Just as Long as We’re Together by Judy Blume

The last thing you did for fun was: I cannot answer. 😉

Healthy food, comfort food, or fast food: Healthy food

It Took a Zombie Apocalypse blurb:

It started with a kiss.

Then the zombies came. Now, Missy must work with the neighbor her parents hate if she wants to survive. But zombies aren’t the only threat to her life, or her heart.

Excerpt

RJ pressed on the text and read….

 Contagion arrived from Ostrander.
Spread through the hospital.
Stay in bunker.
I’m infected.
Zombies

Zombies? He dropped his phone and stared at it on the floor, expecting it to explode. Zombies didn’t exist. He was in some kind of dream. Had to be. Missy actually had come home for the summer. And kissed him. Now, zombies.

“What is it?” Missy bent down to pick up his cell then handed it back to him. “What happened back at the park?”

“Zombies.” The word came out before he had a chance to stop it. He didn’t know whether to laugh or grab Missy again and run.

A crooked smile formed dimples in her cheeks. “You’re joking, right? Trying to help me laugh off what happened.”

“I wish.” He showed her the message from his father. “My dad doesn’t have a sense of humor.”

The phone beeped, and she pushed his hand away. “I think it needs to be charged. We should call him just to be sure. Or contact somebody. Maybe he meant something else. You know how stupid autocorrect can be.”

RJ rushed to the kitchen, found his charger, and plugged in the cell. But, by then, he’d lost signal. Reception was spotty in West Vitula, but he couldn’t get anything. He peeked through the doorway, out to the living room. “Missy, can you get a signal?”

After digging into her purse, she pulled out her phone with a pink, sparkly case. Not at all what he expected from her. Had he missed that girly side, or had someone given it to her, and she didn’t want to hurt their feelings? That he could understand.

She held the cell up and moved around the room. “I got nothing. What’s going on?”

“I don’t know. Maybe we should try outside?” Though he doubted it would make a difference.

Missy stepped over to window and shoved the curtains aside. “Um, there are people coming. And they don’t…look right.”

RJ glanced outside. Neighbors walked down the middle of the street, their bodies twitching. And no one stopped to talk to one another. They just kept marching along to some unknown destination. As they came closer, he noticed their tattered clothing, their disheveled hair, and limbs connected at odd angles to the rest of their body, as if they’d been trampled. And now they were up and walking.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jessica E. Subject is the author of science fiction romance, mostly alien romances, ranging from sweet to super hot. Sometimes she dabbles in paranormal and contemporary as well, bringing to life a wide variety of characters. In her stories, you could not only meet a sexy alien or two, but also clones and androids. You may be transported to a dystopian world where rebels are fighting to live and love, or to another planet for a romantic rendezvous.

When Jessica is not reading, writing, or doing dreaded housework, she likes to go to fitness class and walk her Great Pyrenees/Retriever her family adopted from the local animal shelter.

Jessica lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and two energetic children. And she loves to hear from her readers. You can find her at jessicasubject.com.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website |  Newsletter |  Twitter |  Facebook page | Facebook Reader Group

Pinterest |  Instagram |  Google Plus |  Amazon Author Page | Goodreads  |Authorgraph

 

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