All posts by Selene Grace Silver

Athena Grayson Receives SFR Galaxy Award

The unique and wonderful 2017 Science Fiction Romance Galaxy award winners were announced this week on January 31st.  Especially exciting: one of our own anthology authors, Athena Grayson, picked up an award for her book Scions of the the Star Empire – Scandal.

Congratulations, Athena!

You might need to budget extra reading time and book money for all the great titles awarded.  At the very least,  you’ll need to  add this list  to your TBR pile, or tag them on Goodreads as Want to Read.

Other notable authors who picked up an award include Robyn Bachar, Vivien Jackson, Jess Anastasi, Ruby Lionsdrake, Nina Croft, Edward Hoornaert, Greta van der Rol, Pippa Jay, Pauline Baird Jones, Anna Hackett and Michele Mills, among others.  To see the complete list of award winners, check out SFR Galaxy Awards.

Signals from the Edge: Alien Alphas and Blood Courtesans

Need some great stories to fill your dark winter evenings? We’ve got you covered into spring.
SFRSS’s 2017 Anthology, Cosmic Cabaret is now available in Kindle Unlimited. Borrow it for some great writing and fun SFR tales, set on a giant, luxury space ship.

Already read Cosmic Cabaret? SFR Shooting Stars is also excited about two new SFR  and PNR anthologies releasing this week!
First up, the sexy Alien Alphas

Available January 16, 2018

Fierce warriors. Savage barbarians. Powerful warlords.
All ready to claim their mates.

Alien Alphas is a collection of panty-melting sci-fi romances featuring dominant alien heroes, penned by New York TimesUSA Today, and international bestselling authors. This decadently naughty box set includes twenty-three ALL-NEW, stand-alone novellas full of hot alien alpha males, breathless passion, and reluctant surrender. Take an exhilarating trip beyond the stars with this limited time only bundle that’s sure to leave you turning the pages late into the night.

Featured authors: Cari Silverwood, Cynthia Sax, Renee Rose, Lee Savino, Addison Cain, Kallista Dane, Maren Smith, Ava Sinclair, Sue Lyndon, Emily Tilton, Ashe Barker, Korey Mae Johnson, Grace Goodwin, Ivy Barrett, Jane Henry, Jaye Peaches, Katie Douglas, Lili Zander, Loki Renard, Maria Monroe, Megan Michaels, Myra Danvers, Sara Fields, and Sophie Kisker.

Looking for something with even more bite? Check out Blood Courtesans! It has a story in it written by our very own Rosalie Redd.

Available January 17, 2018

Indulge in a darkly decadent and sinfully sensual world. 

A world where vampires are real, rich and hungry, a world where Blood Courtesans satisfy all their needs.

Come, let fangs slip into your throat and awaken you to a whole new life.  Blood Courtesans is a boxed set of BRAND NEW stories in this popular series.

Warning: This isn’t your momma’s vampire romance. It’s not Twilight or the Shade, either. It’s Blood Courtesans: Luxury, fast cars, adventure, whirlwind romance and cold, hard fangs. Got blood?

Featured Authors: Michelle Fox,‎ Gwen Knight,‎ Julia Mills,‎ Jennifer James,‎ Kristen Strassel,‎ Rosalie Redd,‎ Susan Griscom,‎ Tami Lund,‎ Ever Coming,‎ Skye Jones,‎ TL Reeve,‎ and Rebecca Rivard.

Signals from the Edge: SFR/PNR Author Kat Vancil

In our Cosmic Cabaret series of posts, SFRSS introduces readers to the authors and their stories appearing in its new anthology. We continue here with author Kat Vancil, author of the Urban Fantasy trilogy The Marked Ones.

SFRSS: Today, we’re pleased to be chatting with author Kat Vancil. Her story A Dance of Fallen Stars is part of the Cosmic Cabaret anthology.  Welcome to Signals from the Edge!

Kat Vancil: Thanks for inviting me.

SFRSS: What attracts you, Kat, to read and write in the genres you do?

Kat Vancil: In any form of fiction you are creating things, characters, situations etc. but not to the same degree as you are in speculative fiction. Contemporary fiction shines a light on what is. Speculative fiction—especially science fiction—shows us what could be. What could be achievable if we only dared to dream—to believe. Writing—creating worlds—is like performing magic. You are literally creating whole worlds and people out of nothing but thought. And the lure of that sort of magic is just too tempting for me to resist.

SFRSS: We understand you draw from a lot of sources for your writing. What or who inspires you, outside the realm of books and literature?

Kat Vancil: Everything, lol. Manga and music, dance and the folklore and mythology of other cultures. Historical costumes and fantasy illustrations, TV shows and emerging science.

SFRSS: Let’s start with books. We assume you like to read SF as well as write it. What’s your favorite speculative book or series by another publishing author?

Kat Vancil: Hands down The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. It’s a wildly original take on a little known Celtic legend, and fantastically written. The Scorpio Races is set against the backdrop of a deadly beach race every November on dangerous, blood-thirsty water horses, kelpies, and focuses on the people daring or desperate enough to participate in the race. On top of crafting a thrilling story, and monstrous water horses that were creepy as hell, Maggie makes you root equally for both main characters, and yet you know from the beginning that only one of them can win.

SFRSS: She’s a wonderful writer. Her Shiver, Raven and Wolves of Mercy series are worth reading. In addition to Stiefvater, who are your authorial influences?

Kat Vancil: Rick Riordan, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Tite Kubo, Hiromu Arakawa.

SFRSS: We love to know people’s gateway stories into SFR. What first work turned you onto speculative fiction?

Kat Vancil: I have always enjoyed speculative fiction as long as I can remember. But my earliest memory is watching The Princess Bride. I was so captivated by it I named our first family pet Princess Buttercup. Which was hilarious really, because she was a fat little female silver tabby like Pusheen. Even almost thirty years later, The Princess Bride has remained one of my top 10 favorite films of all time, and was the first DVD I owned back in 2000.

SFRSS: The Princess Bride is a classic must-see film, and the book, awesome. Let’s transition here into your own writing. What was the inspiration for A Dance of Fallen Stars?

Kat Vancil: For my contribution to Cosmic Cabaret I was inspired by my background in musical theater and dance. I’ve been performing on a stage since I was 4. Also, the movies Moulin Rouge, The Fifth Element, and The Maltese Falcon, the award-winning musical Once on this Island, the beautiful dancers and vivid costumes of Polynesia and Cirque du Soleil, Star-Lord from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the glamour and exclusive secrecy of 1920’s era speakeasies. These elements joined with the Greek/Japanese/Hindi mix I previously established for my Daemons of Karalia story world. I know it’s a lot of unusual juxtapositions, but that’s just how my brain works—one big melting pot of ideas from media and cultures around the world.

SFRSS: Those are a lot of rich landscapes to draw from, and they make your story sound like it’s going to be truly colorful! So, for the anthology, the L.S. Quantum is passing through your special world. Briefly describe the Daemons of Karalia world—what makes it unique?

Kat Vancil: Centuries into the future, three vast dome cities glitter across the surface of Earth’s moon sheltering three of the most powerful Kalodaemon regions in Galactic Coalition of Planets. The pale moon—Awai Sashai—became the refuge of thousands of daemons after Monotheists carried out a bio-terrorist genocide against them, igniting the Great Emergence. But the Monotheist attack had an unintended effect—a new subspecies of daemon. Their mutated genes gives rise to powerful new abilities, but forever makes them outsiders among their own people.

Now several centuries later, there is still no accord between the Monotheists and the citizens of the GCP, forcing all traffic into and throughout the moon cities to be monitored. And though GCP citizenship may have many benefits—free education, health care, and basic amenities as well as religious and cultural protections—class prejudice runs rampant. And no place is that more evident than in the gleaming moon cities of Awai Sashai, where the privileged, socially elite live close to the stars, far from those who walk the city streets. It’s a place where an under city cabaret dancer and a daemon prince could never hope to meet. That is, until LS Quantum’s shuttles dock at Port Luna station.

SFRSS: The world sounds fascinating, as does this daemon prince.  What’s your favorite kind of hero, alpha or beta, and why? 

Kat Vancil: I’m going to have to be a little different and say bidanshi or bishōnen, hero archetypes that are most popular throughout Asian cinema, comics, music, pop culture, and geek culture. For those who don’t know, bishōnen are beautiful men with martial arts abilities, a comedic flare, fantastic fashion sense, and who are highly intelligent. The archetype itself dates back to The Tale of Genji in 1000 CE, a text widely considered to be the world’s first novel.

SFRSS: Do you have an ideal ‘bishōnen’ in your books?

Kat Vancil: I’d love to meet my character Travis Centrina from my Marked Ones Trilogy. I first created him back in 2010 and he’s remained my favorite character of those I’ve ever written. Travis is a fantastic dancer, a lover of nightcore music, a brilliant inventor, an uber geek, a wounded soul, fierce friend, and passionate lover. He overcomes all the travesties of his life to become a true selfless hero during the course of the trilogy, and I included more than a little of him in Kealan Corkoran, the main character in my anthology contribution.

SFRSS: For our readers, nightcore music is described as music with an accelerated melody, extremely fast rhythm and high pitch. We assume you love it too. If you were reborn into your fictional world, who or what would you be? 

Kat Vancil: I’d be a daemon performer at the Shadowdust in the Sashaivarian moon city for sure. I mean, a Moulin Rouge-esque speakeasy performance hall on the moon? Yes, please!

SFRSS: Would you know your characters?

Kat Vancil: Totally, but it would be a spoiler to tell you how *wink.*

SFRSS: What do your speculative stories say about the nature of humanity and science, the nature of society, relationships?

Kat Vancil: A lot of my stories deal with the conflict between wanting to belong and wanting to be seen as a unique individual. The story for this anthology also deals with that. However, this story deals more with society’s need to classify and label individuals and then make assumptions and judgments based on that label instead of based on our own personal experience with that individual.

We often present relationships as a power struggle or battle between two individuals instead of as a partnership. I was raised to see my significant other as a teammate, not an adversary. And to me there’s no better way to showcase that than with the trust and mutual respect required for partner dancing or, as the French say, pas de deux.

SFRSS: It appears the dancing elements in your story are going to be based on lots of personal experience. Why do you think speculative fiction is popular, especially now? 

Kat Vancil: Contemporary fiction shines a light on what is. Speculative fiction— especially science fiction—shows us what can be. What can be achieved if we only dare to dream—to believe. Sometimes that dream is a nightmare as with dystopian and post-apocalyptic, or a daydream as with fantasy. But it’s still a spell you the author, and the reader are creating together. And that suspension of disbelief is powerful and hard to resist.

SFRSS: Let’s hear the blurb and read a little excerpt from the story.

Kat Vancil: Okay.

A Dance of Fallen Stars

Kealan thought his charm could get him out of anything…he was wrong.

Notorious playboy Kealan Corkoran’s in a serious bind. He’s been branded an illegal stowaway after waking up light-years from home in the cargo hold of LS Quantum. With no money, no ID, and no way to contact home, he’s left with only one chance to get out of this mess: working under the impassioned daemon choreographer who got him into it.

Concealing his true identity, Kealan scrambles to please the one woman standing between him and a fate that makes his daemon blood run cold—getting jettisoned in a space pod. But as he’s pulled deeper into the alluring glitz and glamour of the Cosmic Cabaret by his unlikely savior, Kealan may be forced to confront more than his inconvenient attraction to her.


“You,” the guy says accusingly.

I squint at him, trying to place his face. Warm honey colored skin, black wavy chin-length hair framing a wide square-jawed face. Cobalt-blue almond-shaped eyes that at the moment are staring furiously back at me, and temptingly kissable lips.

With a start I realize who it is. Kealan Mishra, Sashai Var’s most notorious daemon playboy. I was caught up by his charm when I ran into him in Club 2020, and almost made the most colossal mistake of my life. But I didn’t, so why is he here?

Mishra’s Henley tee is ripped across his abs, and not is a fashionable way either. And there’s an ugly bruise across his jaw like he took one bloody good punch to it. The tell-tale signs of an altercation.

Dread churns in my stomach. Please, let this not be because of Tris.

Joaquim’s eyes volley between the two of us for a moment before settling on me. “This illegal stowaway is looking for a job on ship. You wouldn’t have need of him would you?” he asks with as little enthusiasm as humanly possible. Like he has to ask, but would literally rather do anything else.

“Illegal stowaway?” I repeat, my eyebrows raising slightly. “And here I thought you were just another entitled trust fund kid.”
“Wait you know him?” Joaquim asks in disbelief.

I lean back on my hands. “Well I wouldn’t say know per se, but I did invite him back to the ship, so I guess his being here is my fault.”

“I’ll say,” Mishra snorts, folding his arms across his broad chest.

I arch an eyebrow at him nervously before turning my attention back to Joaquim. “So what’s this about him being an illegal stowaway?”

“We found him without an IdentiBand in the cargo hold after leaving Port Luna.”

“You don’t say.” On second thought maybe this isn’t a Tris-related incident after all. My curiosity stirs. “Well as it happens, my new PA failed to show up, so his job’s currently vacant—”

“Absolutely not,” Mishra states firmly.

Me and Joaquim turn toward him. “Pardon?”

“There is no fekkin’ way I’m working for you.”

“Look asshat,” Joaquim snaps as he shoves his finger into Mishra’s chest. “This is our last stop. So it’s between working for her, and me dumping you in a PolicePod and jettisoning you out into space to become a Galactic Authority problem.”

Mishra’s mouth drops open. “You must be joking?”

“Not a bit. It’s normal procedure for illegal stowaways. You just got lucky because for some reason I can’t fathom, the commander felt like taking pity on you.”

Mishra swallows hard, and looks toward me. And I can literally see him calculating which would be worse, the PolicePod or working for me. But something in his expression tells me exactly what he’ll inevitably pick.

A mischievous smile spreads across my lips. “So what’s it going to be, Moon Boy, me or the pod?”

SFRSS: Looks like you’ve put Kealan in a tough spot, lol. Let’s get back to some of your other influences. Many writers are avid movie and television watchers. What’s your favorite SF film or television series?

Kat Vancil: The Fifth Element. It’s one of those films I can watch a million times and never get tired of.

SFRSS: What’s the last show or movie you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?

Kat Vancil: Outlander, season two. I first learned of Outlander when I came across the beautiful dress Claire wears for her wedding while doing costuming research for Bride of the Harvest Wolf. I don’t have the channel Starz myself, so when I was recently dog sitting for someone who did, I took the opportunity to watch it.

SFRSS: Another wonderful speculative story, one dependent on time travel. The costumes for season two were particularly stunning, especially that daring, gorgeous red dress Claire wears to court.

SFRSS: We’re huge music listeners here at SFRSS–even if we had to look up what nightcore music was. Who are your favorite musicians? Do you have a playlist that you listen to when you write? 

Kat Vancil: My top five at the moment are: The Airborne Toxic Event, The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Ed Sheeran, and Imagine Dragons. Because of my dyslexia, I find it difficult to write to music with lyrics so I have two Pandora stations filled with instrumental soundtrack music, one for fantasy and one for sci-fi. That being said, music is hugely important to my process, and I have playlists for every single book or project including this one.

SFRSS: What’s on your TBR list in the coming months?

Kat Vancil: The next five books on my TBR list are: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan; A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas; Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two: The Official Playscript by J.K Rowling and John Tiffany; and House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones.    

SFRSS: Lots of YA authors on your list. What’s next for your writing? 

Kat Vancil: Currently, I’m working on a Kindle Worlds story, though at the moment I can’t say more than that. After that’s wrapped up and sent off, I’m going to be finishing up the remaining seven episodes of my Bride of the Harvest Wolf series.

SFRSS: It’s been so great getting to know you a bit. What are you known for among your friends and family, outside of writing?

Kat Vancil: Aside from my artwork–I’m also a professional illustrator and designer by trade–according to my best friend I am known for being a positive, creative person, a lover of cats and other kawaii fuzzy creatures, even rats, and having a complete intolerance for bullying in any form.

SFRSS: Writing stories that promote tolerance is a great way to fight bullying actually, right? Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and share a bit about your writing. If our readers want to experience your intriguing Daemons of Karalia world, they’ll need to pick up Cosmic Cabaret, which is available now, and on sale through October 24, 2017.

About Kat Vancil

A valiant crusader for inclusive fiction, Kat Vancil forges diverse story elements into adventures that amuse, embolden & leave her readers spellbound. She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, their kitty studio-mates Crash the Stampede & Akimi & eight overfull bookcases. And when not crafting fantastical tales of daemon royalty, super-tech & shifter deities, she can usually be found frolicking in general geekiness.

Kat’s Website

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Signals from the Edge: SFR/PNR Author Selene Grace Silver

SFRSS: Today, we’re interviewing one of our managing authors, Selene Grace Silver. Welcome and thanks for stopping by to talk about SFR, your writing in general, and your story in Cosmic Cabaret.

Selene Grace Silver: Thanks for having me.

SFRSS: What first turned you onto writing speculative fiction?

Selene Grace Silver: Years ago, when I started dating my SF reading and comic-book collecting  partner, he had the personal pleasure of introducing me to shows like Buffy, Angel, Supernatural, Firefly, Star Trek, Stargate, Babylon 5, Farscape, and Battlestar Galactica (I hadn’t been watching much television prior, obviously). We also started watching True Blood, and after the first season finished,  I read most of the Sookie Stackhouse books to stave off serious withdrawals. Since the SF shows were more space opera than hardcore SF, which I’d always found sort of dry and dark, the setting of space as adventurous and aliens as well-rounded characters hooked me. Suffice it to say, our evening entertainment played a galactic-sized role in my attraction to seeking out and reading PNR and SFR. Also, around that time, a fellow teacher convinced me to read the Twilight series, which I enjoyed. It wasn’t long before I gave up sleep to read Kresley Cole and Linnea Sinclair stories late into the night instead.

SFRSS: What was the inspiration for this current new release in the SFR anthology?

Selene Grace Silver: Razer’s Edge is set in my StarDaemon world. The hero is a long-lost half-brother and cousin of other heroes  in my series. He’s a psychic, horned Robin Hood figure who works to acquire the financial resources for the others in his extended family who run an operation rescuing human slaves. It’s also inspired by the Cosmic Cabaret setting on the L.S. Quantum, which led me to the heroine, a dancer who’s had to turn her artistic talents to the erotic in order to raise money for her family back on her home planet.

SFRSS: Let’s check out the blurb.

Razer is determined to pull off the plunder of a lifetime. A treasury of jewels and untraceable credits are reportedly hidden in L.S. Quantum’s cabaret owner’s safe, meaning a single successful heist could fund his family’s anti-slave raids for a long time. He’ll be in and out before anyone even notices him. He’s a powerful psychic after all—no one has ever outwitted or outmaneuvered him—and he’s not getting distracted from his purpose now, not even by a dazzling dancer determined to thwart his plans.

After a career-ending scandal on her home planet, Ayanna has rebuilt her life and reputation traveling and dancing on L.S. Quantum’ cabaret club. One of the most popular and sensual acts, she draws the crowds and earns an enviable salary by Alliance standards. Unfortunately, everything she earns goes to cover her father’s exorbitant medical expenses. When a cocky stranger steals her identity and security bracelet to rob her boss thus jeopardizing all she’s worked for, she’ll do anything to stop him.

SFRSS: Heists are always fun! The L.S. Quantum is passing through your special world—what makes that world unique?

Selene Grace Silver: The Q’Tran Alliance governs a coalition of  planets spread 200 light years across a small corner of the Milky Way. The world can be navigated either through long-distance flight travel, through large worm holes, or through a secret, mysterious walking path that only individuals on foot can pass through. Politically, twelve powerful planets hold the official power in a UN-type organization. The Alliance stability is in jeopardy because some planets insist on allowing legal slavery, while others have outlawed it. The only gate into this universe from Earth is via the mysterious walking path, and only a few slave traders know about the planet. That’s how my humans end up here—most have been brought over in small numbers to be sex slaves due to their compatibility with many of the Q’Tran’s diverse species.

SFRSS: What attracts you to read and write in the genres you do?

Selene Grace Silver: I read and write across several genres. My educational background is literary fiction, for which I studied and earned a BA and MA in creative writing.  I’m currently an English teacher, you know, the kind of person who gets all worked up over Shakespeare, beautiful metaphors and grammar rules, lol.

As a reader, I was drawn to romance early on my own, I’d argue, through heroines with their own agency. Back in middle school, I discovered these old series, Cherry Ames, Nurse and Vicki Barr, Air Stewardess. I had read everything else on the book mobile (including Bradbury and H.G. Wells) and even though these musty old books about early career women were decades old, I ate them up. They always had a hint of romance as part of the heroine’s adventures, if I remember right. During high school, then, I got hooked on Barbara Cartland’s historical romances, and, for school, I read Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice. Star Wars came out around that time and I think I saw it in the theater a dozen times, some viewings back-to-back. I just sucked stuff up. I guess it all coalesced into a passion for love stories with strong heroines and either dangerous, brooding Heathcliff-type or honorable, responsible and equally brooding Mr. Darcy-type heroes. I also read literary SF writers like Ursula Le Guin and Margaret Atwood early in college, but it took marrying a Scotsman with his physics degree and a passion for SF that hooked me completely into science fiction. My current writing life reflects a love of romance + space opera.


SFRSS: What’s your favorite speculative book or series by another SFR/PNR publishing author?

Selene Grace Silver: Can I name more than one? I read so much that I end up loving. I stumbled into SFR via Linnea Sinclair’s Dock Five Series, CL Barry’s Unforgettable books, and Angela Knight’s novel Jane’s Warlord. I highly recommend all of them. The first two books in Sinclair’s series, Gabriel’s Ghost and Shades of Dark are SFR classics and must reads. Sully is the perfect hero, in my opinion. I also love PNR, and I reread Kresley Cole’s Immortals after Dark series occasionally.


SFRSS: Who are your authorial influences?

Selene Grace Silver: Everything I read. My favorite writing professor at university said all writing proceeds from language. Essentially, everything I read influences what I write. But who do I wish to emulate when writing speculative romance? I’d say that Kresley Cole features at the top of my list. She’s able to create that balance between humor and darkness that I admire and envy so much. I also appreciate historical romance, so writers like Sabrina Jeffries, Elizabeth Hoyt and Tessa Dare are writing goddesses. Their characterization is extraordinary. In contemporary romance, I admire so many authors but a few top the list: Joanna Wylde, Victoria Dahl, Marie Harte, Julie James, Jeffe Kennedy, Sophie Jordan, Christina Lauren, Cara McKenna and Anne Calhoun.


Literary fiction and SF author Margaret Atwood definitely influenced my first foray into SFR, though. My first romance novel I wrote back in 2011 was space opera, a book I’m finally editing for release later this year; it begins with America’s government being overtaken by religious fanatics following a social breakdown from post-apocalyptic environmental conditions. The Handmaid’s Tale has had a long-reaching influence on my views on fiction, politics and women’s rights for decades. It was a natural place to start my SFR series StarDaemon. When I challenged myself to write popular romance, I started with a heroine wanting to escape a world that had reduced her to breeding stock. I guess it’s a deep-seated fear of mine as a woman, especially so when I was younger, lol. We’re watching the new series based on the book with Elizabeth Moss playing Offred. It’s brilliant.

SFRSS: Do you have a play list that you listen to when you write? Who are your favorite musicians?

Selene Grace Silver: Music gets me through the day. I literally play it every moment I can. Just like in my reading choices, I listen to a wide style of music, pop to dance to rock to country to classical. My favorite though is probably alternative indie rock. I saw Garbage in concert this summer and I love their most recent album, Strange Little Birds.  I still buy “old school” CDs and transfer them onto my computer to make playlists. When I’m writing, I listen to whole albums, but during the day, at the day job, I listen to mixed playlists at passing period, lunch and while I grade or prep. My playlists are mostly filled with dance, electronica and pop music, to keep my mood up.

SFRSS: If Hollywood came calling to turn Razer’s Edge into a film, which current actors would you like to see play which characters?

Selene Grace Silver: I would love to see Garrett Hedlund playing Razer, and without question, Emma Stone playing Ayanna. Emma Stone is sexy, smart and scrappy, the ideal heroine.

SFRSS: I can see the appeal of Hedlund paired with Stone. What’s your favorite kind of hero, alpha or beta, and why?

Selene Grace Silver: In fiction, I’m honestly torn between the two archetypes. But in real life, I think I’m happily resolved and settled on the beta hero who only goes into alpha mode when it comes to protecting me against physical danger. I like tenderhearted men. Alpha or beta, it’s what’s on the inside of that chiseled chest.

SFRSS: Which literary hero would you love to meet and why?

Selene Grace Silver: Just to meet and chat over coffee with, or…to do other things? Lol. I like my romances a bit on the torrid end. There are quite a few heroes I’d like to meet in my fantasies, you know, since I’m married and my favorite book heroes have all found their soulmates too. #nocheating

SFRSS: Most fiction has a moral underpinning. What do your stories say about the nature of humanity and science? About the nature of society? About relationships?

Selene Grace Silver:  My characters often begin their stories in a place of loss, either physical or emotional, and we watch them find themselves and their purpose through their relationships–it may end up in a traditional role, or it may be more unusual. I guess in the end, I want stories to resolve themselves in love and acceptance—of both the pain and the joy, of the good and the bad, the mundane and the divine, of our whole journey as social creatures. I want my stories to show that regardless of time, place, or situation, the human connection to other living beings is what sustains us and makes the struggle worthwhile. Science and advanced technology don’t change the human condition that much. They improve our physical lives, but they don’t fulfill our spirits.

SFRSS: What does SFR offer readers that other romance fiction genres do not?

Selene Grace Silver: Besides the cool other world settings and situations? Lots of ways to answer this, but for those who love to fantasize about politically-incorrect alpha males who are pushy, SFR and historical romance are the only settings in which genuinely forced and/or coerced sex is palatable, really. In historical, it’s accepted by the reader because of the conditions of the time, and in speculative, it’s accepted by the reader because of the foreignness of the “other” culture. Readers, modern women, who are the primary consumers of SFR, are overwhelmed with having it all—demanding careers, children, marriages, properties requiring upkeep, financial retirement portfolios, etc.  I think women crave the fantasy of just being submissive for a moment, being “taken” by an attractive lover…so long as it results in a stress-relieving orgasm, lol.

For the fantasy to work, of course, even in the most extreme SFR setting, the lover has to be desired. Generally, in romance, the heroine is not resisting sex with the male because of who he is, but rather because of who she is—someone who’s been told she’s not supposed to enjoy physical pleasure. Hence the fantasy versus something darker and more akin to rape. A couple of contemporary romance authors who have written this fantasy into fiction effectively are Lilah Pace and Cara McKenna.

I think, on average, the readers of SFR and historical romance are highly educated,  intelligent, and more often than not, productive and successful women in the real world.  We can be like those high-powered business men who seek out dominatrices after hours. It’s the same appeal of the ‘D’ in BDSM romances. It’s also why SFR generally leans towards the erotic. This is pure escapist fiction. Its readers are tired and just want the fantasy of someone taking care of their physical needs without them having to ask for it. Alternately, SFR can give women power that they lack in the real world by inventing matriarchal societies or gender equal societies, or by enhancing women’s physical power through cybernetics, for example.

Also, I just want to tack on that SFR is progressive in its definition of gender and race. Two humanoids from different races, different worlds, different appearances can overcome all that “difference” with love. Underneath the superficial, everyone is the same in the most important ways. SFR has the potential to tell those love stories.

SFRSS: What’s your favorite speculative fiction film or television series?

Selene Grace Silver: I think my favorite, the one I’d watch all over again, is Stargate Universe. I have a HUGE crush on Dr. Nicholas Rush. He’s Scottish and brainy. I guess that answers the question about which fictional hero I’d like to meet. Though, I’m not sure he’d be called a hero…

SFRSS: What’s on your SFR/PNR TBR list?

Selene Grace Silver: A ton of stuff, really. I’m continuing to read Megan Crane’s excellent post-apocalyptic Edge series. She writes dark alpha Viking heroes with very rough social edges. My husband and I watched Vikings and I loved it.  I’m a few titles into both Anna Hackett’s Hell Squad and Phoenix Adventure series…just the tip of the iceberg. I’m one of those people who reads a couple of books a week and my TBR list is like 2000 books deep, lol. I read one book on my list, add two more. I really need a supernatural’s lifespan to get through everything.  I’m keen to read Sharie Kohler’s Moon Chasers series because that’s been on the pile for awhile. My Goodreads page is a great place to see what I’m reading. Friend me there!


SFRSS: What’s next for your writing? Any other upcoming publications?

Selene Grace Silver: I’m working on getting my first couple of StarDaemon books revised and edited for 2018 publication. I’m writing a second novella right now that immediately follows Razer’s Edge. It tells the love story between Max and Luxia, Ayanna’s body guard and her little sister. Like many writers, I have a day job–teacher–so my writing time is limited at the moment. Also, I’ve got the 3rd book in my Witches and Warlocks of Los Angeles series partially written. I’d love to get that out in 2018. I’m so behind!

SFRSS: Let’s close with a couple of silly questions. Where and during what century would you travel to in a time machine, if it existed?

Selene Grace Silver: I love to travel! But I like my comfortable modern life with air conditioning and motorized transportation, so it would have to be a short round trip journey into the past.  I’d like to visit the American plains pre-1700, I think. I lived the first 25 years of my life in ND, so I’d like to visit the native population living pre-Lewis and Clark in the Mandan and Hidatsa Villages. The Mandan people had developed a vibrant society at that time, before it was devastated by small pox (fortunately, I’m inoculated!) and European immigration. I’d need a summer itinerary though. Too cold to visit in the winter, especially without electrical heating.

SFRSS: Finally, if we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us to eat, if anything?

Selene Grace Silver: Well, I’m a foodie with a huge fetish for cookbooks. What’s your favorite meal and I’ll cook it for you! Seriously, though, my husband entered my life fully addicted to Indian food (he’s from the UK) so I’ve learned to make quite a few–mostly inauthentic (think restaurant style)–Indian dishes. I’d probably serve you one of our favorites, the westernized Indian dish called Murgh Makhani or Butter Chicken with saffron-infused basmati rice. Spicy and buttery and creamy tomato-y decadence. Dessert would definitely be homemade caramel ice cream.

SFRSS: Now we’re hungry for more than romance. Let’s read an excerpt from Razer’s Edge.

Razer finished his drink and signaled the Sagoran for another. She swung by, dropping off his drink with a flutter of eye lashes even as she rushed away. He admired her well-shaped backside imagining what it’d look like bare under his hands as he took her from behind. Someone jostled his chair. The club was getting overcrowded now, especially near the stage. A set of male dancers entered above and proceeded to entertain the swelling crowd with a wild, thumping and humping act that had the female members of the audience screaming and hooting. Razer grinned. He’d be doing a little thumping and humping himself shortly. Exactly what he needed to shake the dis-ease lingering in his system.

Working a job on Kadis, his father’s home planet, had been too risky in hindsight. Just as Razer was taking off with the prize in his grasp—a cache of rare medicines needed to counteract the hypnotic drugs used by the slavers—a government agent, another psychic, detected him. Razer had only escaped by drawing on his more practical skills with the laser gun, leaving that agent dead.

Razer took a large gulp from his glass, letting the harsh liquor burn down his throat. He wasn’t used to death, even though it wasn’t uncommon around the kind of work they were doing. Either kill or be killed. Though he liked the intellectual aspect of scamming and conning people, and sticking it to the Alliance, after a year of this work, he still hadn’t learned to shut off the emotional feedback on the violence that sometimes accompanied a mission. A little meaningless sex with the server and a few drinks would take care of that pesky thing called emotions. Then he’d be as cold and ruthless as he needed to be again.

A crescendo of trumpets signaled the end of the male revue. Darkness shrouded the stage, the music shifted into a slow, seductive tempo and a single beam of light shone onto the center of the platform. The crowded room hushed in anticipation of the upcoming act. Razer scanned the electronic show card propped on his table. After the male revue, a female stripper named Butterfly was scheduled. A good one, apparently from the rapt regard of the other customers.

He turned his attention forward and watched a figure step into the center of the single spotlight. She was covered shoulders to toes by a long red cape; and a large feathered masked hid the entire upper portion of her face, leaving only her lush lips and curved chin exposed. Her hair looked dark, curly and hung down in luxurious, shiny waves over her shoulders, falling nearly to her waist. The music ebbed away.

Even though he couldn’t see any details about her face or body, Razer felt his heart kick up a beat and he unconsciously sat up straight in his chair. Something in him awoke on the cellular level.

Slowly, the dancer reached up, and pulling on the strings tied at her neck, loosened the cape. The fabric parted and she shrugged it off her shoulders where it disappeared behind into the darkness. Then she stepped into the center of the light as it widened and the music started up again, a haunting delicate melody over a pulsing beat that triggered a further corresponding reaction in his body, and the deep intuitive suspicion that she belonged with him.


Want to escape? Selene Grace Silver writes contemporary, paranormal and science fiction romances that follow extraordinary characters on the path to love. 

Her science fiction series StarDaemon explores the love lives of a group of hybrid humanoids and humans rebelling against institutional slavery during an intergalactic political collapse. Her speculative paranormal series Witches and Warlocks of Los Angeles shadows modern day sorcerers who must master their powers to shift dimensional reality and find their soul mates, in order to defeat a centuries-old enemy. Finally, her contemporary romances follow lovers traipsing across the geographical and geological boundaries of the Western Hemisphere, from the sunny coasts of Southern California to the rainy Highlands of Scotland, to the frozen plains of the Upper Midwest to the cobblestone streets of Europe. No matter where Selene’s characters go, their journeys end in love.

Selene has an MA in creative writing and is a member of the Romance Writers of America. She believes in two true things: love and the power of stories. Everything else is up for debate.



Twitter @SGSilverAuthor


Amazon Author Page


Signals from the Edge: SFR/PNR Author Tessa McFionn

This week, SFRSS interviews author Tessa McFionn. She’s published three books in The Guardians series with Etopia Press, and her short SFR, Midnight at Andromeda’s, appears in the new SFRSS anthology, Cosmic Cabaret.


SFRSS: Wecome, Tessa McFionn! SFRSS is excited to include your contribution in the second anthology Cosmic Cabaret, and to chat with you today about your story, and on the reading and writing of SFR.

Tessa McFionn: Thanks for inviting me.

SFRSS: We’re going to open with a silly “if” question.  If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?

Tessa McFionn: DRAGON! Well, I am a firm believer that they exist somewhere in the world. If it has to be an animal currently dwelling in this realm, I would go with a cat. I’ve always been a cat person. I love their independence and grace. It would be a toss-up between a black panther or a Maine Coon house cat.

SFRSS: Who doesn’t love dragons? Especially shifting ones, lol. I’m sure a lot of  SFR readers can relate because they also have a special place in their hearts for mythical and dangerous creatures who can fly. And cats. What are you known for among your friends and family, outside of writing?

Tessa McFionn: I am a huge nerd! I collect comic books and have since I was in elementary school. I played D&D in high school and as an adult, I have a collection of Minions, rubber ducks, and sock monkeys. I love Disneyland and will go at the drop of a hat. I’ve also been a dancer for the whole of my life and have even performed Off-Broadway.

SFRSS: Wow! You’ve have an interesting background, which includes dance, and therefore, we assume, a love of music, especially since your PNR series has the word “song” in the titles. Who are your favorite musicians? 

Tessa McFionn: Since I’ve been a dancer, I love a wide variety of music. As to my favorites, I’m a rocker chick at heart. My favorite bands are Disturbed, Queensryche, Lacuna Coil and Rush.


SFRSS: Do you have a play list that you listen to when you write? 

Tessa McFionn: When I’m writing, it all depends on the genre and the kind of scene I’m working on. If it’s a sensual love scene, I lean toward ballads or instrumental works, while fight scenes are all about the beat. I have about twenty Pandora and Spotify stations that I can quickly click to when the spirit moves me.

SFRSS: Who are your authorial influences?

Tessa McFionn: Wow. Since I’ve been a reader my whole life, I would say those influences range from Tolkien to Terry Brooks. As to the romantic aspects, I would credit lots to Sherrilyn Kenyon, Christine Feehan, and JR Ward. There have been so many books I’ve read and from each story, I take something new and try to bring it into my own words.


SFRSS: What’s your favorite speculative book or series by another publishing author?

Tessa McFionn: I love Sherrilyn Kenyon’s League series. In fact, it was her Dark Hunter’s series that got me hooked on the idea of paranormal romance in the first place. I love the incredible world building she does in all her stories and the in-depth characters she creates. For straight sci-fi, it’s gotta be Heinlein, Bradbury, and Gaiman. I love the sense of “what if” that lives in the science fiction.


SFRSS: Is that what attracts you to read and write in the genres you do?

Tessa McFionn: I have been a fan of sci-fi/fantasy for as long as I can remember. One of the first books I remember reading was Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. On the first page, I had to look up the word “xenomorph” and the rest as they say is history. I discovered romance in college and the two merged together naturally for me.

What’s the title of your story?

Tessa McFionn: Midnight at Andromeda’s

SFRSS: Let’s read the blurb:

Karyna Cyrnavolk had spent her life trying to get her father, Chancellor General Bantal of the Wyldren Kindred, to see her as something more than just a girl. When she overhears her father’s plans to hand her, unseen, to their sworn enemy, the Lavourne Dynasty, to cement a peace treaty, she escapes her fate and stows away on board the Blue Star pleasure luxury line, LS Quantum. Without a dime to her name, she stumbles into a dark, secluded bar, hoping to hide from the unwanted marriage.

Settling down was definitely not in the cards as far as Marqaz, Highprince of the Lavourne Dynasty, was concerned. Yet he was granted a reprieve before he would be shackled for the rest of his days to his enemy’s daughter and he found entertainment in any variety working as a bartender on board LS Quantum. But nothing could have prepared him for the appearance of his affianced in his off-the-beaten-path club.

Unable to resist the sensual connection, Karyna takes a chance on a night with the handsome bartender. Will the stars align for a happily ever after, or will a hidden truth shatter forever?

SFRSS: That sounds sexy. And it’s always fun to watch what happens plot-wise when one lover keeps secrets from the other. Developing trust is key to getting to the happy-ever-after, right? The best fictional characters, like people, have strong morals.

Tessa McFionn: Ah, looking for the moral of the story. Actually, I think there are a couple of them, but mostly, true love requires honesty and trust. Far too often, people are wrapped up in their own heads, focusing on their plans and we don’t realize how our actions can make both a positive and a negative impact on those closest to us. And best of all, I believe that love can conquer all.

SFRSS: Thinking about characters who deserve love, what’s your favorite kind of hero, alpha or beta, and why? 

Tessa McFionn: Ooh. For me, it’s all about the alpha, that strong hero who sails in to save the day. He doesn’t have to be the broken, bad boy either. In fact, I prefer a good guy with all his flaws.

SFRSS: Which literary hero would you love to meet?

Tessa McFionn: Far too many!!! LOL! I think I would have to start with Acheron, Remi Peltier and the entire Sentella from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books, then I wouldn’t object to spending some time with the Warden’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. Purely for research purposes, I assure you. 

SFRSS: Research, exactly. Writers are all about research. And influences.  What other works turned you onto speculative fiction*?

Tessa McFionn: That’s a tough call. It would have to be between Doctor Who, Star Trek reruns, or Star Wars. I remember standing in line when it first came out and I’ve been hooked ever since. I still have some of the original comics as well. I consider myself to be a nerd since birth.

SFRSS: What’s your favorite speculative fiction film or television series?

Tessa McFionn: I’m old school. For me, it’s all about Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. I keep searching for something new, but haven’t had much luck just yet.


SFRSS: SF is almost as popular as romance. Why do you think speculative fiction is also popular as a sub-genre in romance, especially now? What does it offer readers that other romance genres do not?

Tessa McFionn: With the current political and social environments, I believe people are looking to find something pure and hopeful. Even the dystopian world has some kind of happy ending. Also, it’s the hope that the future will be better than today.

SFRSS: What was the inspiration for Midnight at Andromeda’s?

Tessa McFionn: Since the idea of “what if’s” has always intrigued me, I wondered what if a fairy tale got flipped on its head. Say Cinderella’s prince played the pauper and hid within the common folk? What would happen when our damsel discovers his duplicitous nature? That was the basis for Midnight at Andromeda’s, with a couple of intergalactic twists along the way.

SFRSS: What or who inspires your writing, outside the realm of books and literature?

Tessa McFionn: I feel grateful to be surrounded by inspiring people. In my day job, I teach at a performing arts high school and have had opportunities to work with some amazing students. Plus, I have friends who have overcome incredible hardships and still find reasons to smile. I choose to seek out inspiration in all aspects of life.

SFRSS: And put it into our fiction. We think that’s why they warn people not to be friends with writers, lol. They find themselves used as fodder for fiction. Fortunately, SFR is “mostly” fantasy. The L.S. Quantum is passing through your special world. What makes it a unique world within this anthology?

Tessa McFionn: Well, I actually have a sci-fi about to release in early 2018. But my currently published series is a dark paranormal romance set in the modern-day world of the Guardian Warriors. Heroes plucked from ancient battlefields sworn to protect humanity against agents of chaos and destruction, the nefarious Rogue Warriors. Each side armed with magical skills and abilities to control mind, body and emotions, readers are drawn into the stories of each Guardian as he discovers the one person who can ground him once again in the moral realm, his spiritmate. To me, I think what makes my stories unique is the simple fact that paranormal can be written without vampires or shifters. I love magic and the belief that it can exist.

SFRSS: At SFRSS, we always want to know what’s on a writer’s TBR list in the coming months. What’s on yours?

Tessa McFionn: Well, I have fallen behind in so many series. But Christine Feehan has a series I have been itching to read, her Ghosthunters books. Plus, I’m always waiting for the next book in Sherrilyn’s League series.

SFRSS: What’s next for your writing? Any other upcoming publications?

Tessa McFionn: As I stated earlier, I actually have a sci-fi trilogy with the first book set to release in early 2018. To Discover a Divine, Book One in the Rise of the Stria is a labor of love for me. The story I pitched as The Wizard of Oz meets Star Wars was picked up by a publisher in 2016 who sadly closed their doors on New Year’s Eve 2016. So, back to the drawing, and to the pitching, board I went. But fortune smiled on me and it was picked up again. I’m also working on the fourth book in my Guardians series and will be pitching a completely new light paranormal idea at RWA Nationals in Orlando.

SFRSS: One last question and we’ll let you go back to your writing and reading. What’s the last show or movie you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?

Tessa McFionn: LOL! Ugh. I’m one of those horrible people that needs a constant distraction going in order to function. Most of the time, I try to find something I’ve already seen so many times I can recite it verbatim while I work. In fact, I just finished half-watching reruns of Star Trek: Voyager. Sadly, I only watched it because it was on.

SFRSS: I’m pretty sure we’ll be reading your story with more excitement than that. Can you share an excerpt?

Tessa McFionn: Absolutely!


“I hoped you hadn’t disappeared on me.” Marqaz crossed his ankles, hoping the lazy stance would hide his obvious hard-on.

Karyna chuckled and shook her head. “I don’t really have a place to disappear to.”

His eyebrows tugged together. “You haven’t checked in yet?” He snuck a deep inhale, reading more into her enigmatic reply. He forced his face to remain neutral as he discovered her surprising secret. She was a stowaway. Her father had more money than all the gods and he let her go as a pauper on the most luxurious space liner?

No. He didn’t know she was here. The realization hit him like an anvil. She was running away. Running away from him. Should he continue with the charade?

She bit her bottom lip and he coughed, covering up his needy whine. “Ummm. Well?”

“Then you haven’t eaten yet? Why didn’t you say so?” The more time he could spend with her, the better. Never had he looked so forward to a dinner date. He told himself he wasn’t using her; he was simply getting to know her. Over and over the phrase tumbled in his mind. His chivalrous side peeked out, encouraging him to do the good thing. Even if it was for once in his life.

With a coy gesture, she swept the stray locks that slipped from her thick braid behind her ear and gave him a timid smile. “I guess I wasn’t thinking about food when I got here.”

The opportunity was too tempting and he needed to measure her sense of humor. “Really? Was there something…else holding your attention?”

She blinked slowly, mulling over his words. The moment a delightful pink hit her cheeks, he knew his innuendo has hit its mark. He chuckled and ducked his chin sheepishly.

“Sorry. I couldn’t resist.” Daring, he leaned in, standing so close he felt the heat from her blush on his skin. “Well, that’s not entirely true. I could have, but I didn’t want to.”

Karyna lifted her gaze, her green eyes dazzling. At this scant distance, he stared, entranced at the myriad of shades housed within her shining orbs. Gods, he wanted to kiss her. Needed it more than he was ready to believe. She was the daughter of the highest-ranking officer in his enemy’s armored forces, and his betrothed to boot.

Yet at this moment, she was just a woman on board the universe’s most popular pleasure cruise. And he was more than happy to ensure she got the most out of all the amenities.


Tessa McFionn is a very native Californian and has called Southern California home for most of her life, growing up in San Diego and attending college in Northern California and Orange County, only to return to San Diego to work as a teacher. Insatiably curious and imaginative, she loves to learn and discover, making her wicked knowledge of trivial facts an unwelcomed guest at many Trivial Pursuit boards.

When not writing, she can be found at the movies or at Disneyland with her husband, as well as family, friends or anyone who wants to play at the Happiest Place on Earth. She also finds her artistic soul fed through her passions for theatre, dance and music.

A proud parent of far too many high school seniors and two still living house plants, she also enjoys hockey, reading and playing Words With Friends to keep her vocabulary sharp. She is currently the treasurer of the San Diego chapter of Romance Writers of America and loves spending time working with such amazingly intelligent and creative writers.

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