Friday, 12 February 2016

Writing Update and Going AWOL #giveaway #NetGalley #amediting

From tomorrow I'm off the internet until the 21st for my usual school based holiday break from social media. But never fear! Various things will continue to run on automatic to keep you entertained (or not) while I'm gone. In the meantime, a quick update:

Zombie Girl: Dead Awakened - a YA dystopia novella set in our near future - will re-release on Monday the 15th across various online retailers. This was the last title I had contracted with the now deceased Lycaon Press, and the last I hadn't re-issued until now.

YA Zombie Dystopia Novella
Goodreads | Website
Available from...
Amazon | 
iTunes | Omnilit
Kobo | Smashwords | B&N

Imagine waking up to find the world has ended, but unfortunately you’re not alone...

For Connor Innis, awakening from a year-long coma with no memories, no ability to move, and unable to speak was bad enough. Then he learns that a bioweapon set off a zombie apocalypse—for real—while he was sleeping, and the world he can't even remember no longer exists.

Rehabilitation might be torture, but far worse awaits him outside. All too soon, the hospital Mentor declares him fit to leave with nothing to go home to except a city full of mindless, flesh-eating monsters. That is, until he forms a strange relationship with the one he nicknames 'Zombie Girl'.

Previously released by Lycaon Press, 22nd April 2015. Re-released 15th February 2016. Artwork by Danielle Fine, edits by Allie Kincheloe. WARNING: contains bad language, and moderate gore and violence.
Next, my hot space opera short story - Quickshot - is available for pre-order, releasing 31st March. This will be Amazon exclusive for the first three months from release (sorry - if you want a non-Kindle version please buy it from Amazon, send me proof of purchase, tell me the actual format you need and your email addy, and I'll send you a compatible version).

A Space Opera Short Story
Goodreads | Webpage
Amazon inc KU 

Sal, a legal carrier (just about) of whatever comes her way, puts her trust in just two things: her guns. 

Keeping out from under Imperium eyes—especially those belonging to a certain Ehi Wahu—while making a living, and trying to keep a lover who can tolerate her twitchy trigger fingers, are the extent of her ambitions.

Then a kiss from a passing stranger, and a promise of the biggest score in a long time, tempt her. Devin fulfils more than one need, but he comes with more trouble than one woman can handle. And this time it'll take more than her guns to save her. She'll have to trust a man again.

Releasing 31st March, 2016. Cover art by Danielle Fine, edits by Diane Dooley. WARNING: adult content including explicit sex, bad language, and implied extreme violence.
If you're hoping for freebies, you can still get Keir to read and review from NetGalley HERE until the end of February, and there's a Goodreads giveaway for book two - Keir's Fall - open internationally, also until the end of February. (Or check out the links to Tales from the SFR Brigade or The Bones of the Sea in the left hand side bar - both free to download from various retailers).

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Keir's Fall by Pippa Jay

Keir's Fall

by Pippa Jay

Giveaway ends February 29, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway
In other news, Reunion at Kasha-Asor - a side story in Keir's Redemption series - is in second round edits but currently still on target for release in May (psst there'll also be a special event then!). My planned June release is still awaiting my attention for first round edits. Gulp!

Have a good week!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Character Power Balance - Guest Post by Misa Buckley #amwriting

I've been thinking about this article for some time, never quite committing to writing it, but as Pippa has been generous enough to give me blog space I decided to bite the bullet.

There have been rumblings of late in the romance genre of late and I've been disturbed by what I've read. The novels in question haven't been sci fi romance, but occasionally I have seen the problem surface here. What problem? That of character power balance.

Now I love a redemptive hero. Seriously, the bad-guy-turned-good is my favourite trope ever. He doesn't need to start out badder than bad, or end up a goody two shoes, but seeing him go from self-reliant loner to a guy who's willing to share his life and heart with another makes mine grow three sizes. The problem starts when his power is greater than that of the love interest.

There are pairings that can never, ever work. A WWII story about a Nazi officer having a relationship with a Jew is so wrong that I honestly don't know where to start dissecting it. But at the heart of it there is a huge power imbalance that can't be readdressed. The woman, a Jew in a concentration camp, cannot make a choice that is wholly her own. The officer literally has her life in his hands, and she must watch every word, every look, every reaction – or face the consequences.

It's the same problem faced by the millionaire and the virgin. The kidnapper and the victim. The owner and the slave. Where all the power is with one character over the other, you cannot have a true romance.

Of course sci fi romance has plenty of alien abductions that turn into a love story. It's a trope as old as the genre. I've written a play on it myself. However, that story, along with most of the SFRs I've read touching on the trope have made sure that the heroine (because it usually is the female character) either keeps or regains her own power. She has agency in her own story, with her choices and actions not being dictated by the hero.

A character can believe there is a power imbalance. Taking the most famous sci fi romance of Han Solo and Princess Leia, Han believes Leia is a spoilt brat, while Leia thinks Han is a selfish good-for-nothing. They both think they're better than the other, but yet also aren't convinced they're good enough either. Those misconceptions don't exist outside of their heads, and this is what makes the audience buy into the relationship.

When the power imbalance exists in actually is when the problems begin. And it can be a tricky line to walk – some view Beauty and the Beast as a love story, others as a case of Stockholm Syndrome. Both points are valid. It comes down to the audience's interpretation.

Sci fi romance is a fabulous genre for independent heroines who can be both tough and gentle, who can kick ass one minute and care for someone the next, and who remain the mistresses of their fate even when that throws them a curve ball. It's up to us authors to ensure they retain this agency and that the balance of character power remains equal.

Misa Buckley grew up watching Doctor Who and Star Trek, so when she undertook NaNoWriMo in 2007, it seemed obvious to her to write science fiction. However, a teenage obsession with her sister’s Harlequin books meant she liked adding a little spice to her stories. This blend of genres continues to this day.


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Tuesday Teaser - Sikkiyn by Chris S Hayes #scifi #romance

Excerpt from Sikkiyn, Chapter One.

“Was it possible that Johan Larsen was a telepath? Could he be deliberately leaving himself unshielded in order to catch her off guard? It seemed impossible, and yet it was the most likely explanation for his obvious conviction that she was not a danger to him.
From a distance she could sense emotion, and that would have to do for now. Access to his thoughts required skin-to-skin contact. The temptation to touch him and know had been strong, but it was too much of a risk. If Larsen could, in fact, shield himself if he chose, then she was the one in danger.
He could kill me with one blow of his fist. There is little I could do to stop him if he can block my mental attacks. They are the only advantage I have over him.
The realization should have sealed his fate, but Lara felt strangely reluctant to do what she knew had to be done. It would require some preparation. She would need to gain his trust and keep her mental defenses solid. She’d have to be free of the locked cabin as well: she’d have to link to everyone aboard, a feat impossible from inside a holding cell.
Lara clenched her jaw. Sneak attacks were the sikkiyn way. There was no reason to feel as if she were doing something dishonorable. The man was just using her as a ready source of income. He hadn’t actually meant it when he’d said she could trust him. As soon as they arrived at New Geneva he was planning to hand her over to the authorities for trial and possible execution.
It was a matter of self-preservation. Unless she left the established shipping lanes and put some distance between her and her last known location she had no hope of survival. Her brother was the best tracker she knew, and family honor required that he seek her out and kill her. Once he discovered she’d been arrested she had perhaps two weeks before he made it to Nouvelle France from their home on Ararat, and the unprecedented event of an Alaran killing a contracted employer had been the lead story on the newsfeeds for at least a week already. Once Farid picked up her trail, her fate, and the fates of everyone on board this vessel if they resisted, were sealed.” 

Captain Johan Larsen is in serious financial trouble. His ship, the Valkyrie, is decades old and falling apart. In a desperate ploy to get the funds he needs, he agrees to a risky but lucrative transport contract. His cargo: an accused assassin en route to trial, to be delivered to the other side of Confederate space, cash on delivery.  His money problems will be over once he delivers her alive to her destination—provided that the killers pursuing them don’t succeed and that his passenger doesn’t murder him herself.  And then there’s the fact that he’s stupid enough to be falling in love with her.
Okay, so maybe he’s in more than financial trouble.

Author Bio:
Chris S. Hayes is a life-long reader of classic science fiction and romance. In 2005 she decided she’d rather be both a reader and a writer, and she began writing her first novel, Sikkiyn, which was published in November 2014 by Solstice Publishing. She works as a college health physician in Lafayette, Louisiana, where she lives with her wonderful husband, a very talented teenage daughter, and a skittish cat, and is writing her second novel now, at a considerably more rapid pace than the first.