Category Archives: New Release

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.


ABOUT SELENE GRACE SILVER

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.

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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!


Excerpt:

“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.


ABOUT TESSA MCFIONN

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.

Want to ask Tessa more questions? Find her on Social Meda:

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Signals from the Edge: SFR/PNR Author Dena Garson

SFRSS: Welcome to Signals from the Edge, Dena! We can’t wait to learn about your contribution to the new SFRSS anthology, Cosmic Cabaret. Thanks for stopping by to chat. So what’s the title of your story in the collection?

Dena Garson: Vordol’s Vow

SFRSS: What was the inspiration for Vordal’s Vow?

Dena Garson: Vordol’s Vow is a follow up novella to my first sci-fi romance, Rege’s Rescue. Vordol is one of Rege’s “brothers.” As soon as I saw the descriptions for Quantum and the burlesque show, I thought of my old writing mentor, Peggy Fielding. She was a spunky old broad who would have had a field day aboard Quantum. So, naturally, I put her in my story. She’s the basis for Ruby – Vordol’s client and family friend that he must guard. The rest of the story spun out from there.

SFRSS: A story inspired by a strong real world woman? We love strong women here at SFRSS, so we’re immediately interested.

Here’s the teaser blurb for Vordal’s Vow:


A long time ago Vordol Silveira learned that if he wanted to become the best bodyguard in the galaxy he needed to keep everyone except his brothers at arm’s length. That vow serves him well until he runs into the now grown-up daughter of his former mentor while working a security job aboard the LS Quantum.

Pitannah Lorento is a Quantum waitress who dreams of winning this year’s intergalactic burlesque competition in order to pay for her mother’s expensive medical treatment. Seeing Vordol again brings back years of unfulfilled desires – a distraction she doesn’t need. Yet, she’s no longer an awkward teenager and he is sexier than ever.

Vordol’s client’s safety has always come first but when Pitannah is threatened, his heart demands he make her his priority. If he somehow manages to keep them both safe through the competition, his vow may become obsolete.


SFRSS: You mention that this story comes from a world you built for Rege’s Rescue. Can you tell us a bit more about that world?

Dena Garson: Rege, from my first sci-fi, and Vordol, from this book, are brothers by choice not blood. They grew up together with six other boys in the roughest star port in four galaxies. Rege’s mother fostered them all. Each of them has become successful in various capacities and are active in the ongoing freedom fight but they always watch each other’s backs. Now they have reached an age and a place where they are finding special women to complete their lives.

SFRSS: It’s nice to see the concept of brotherhood and alpha security figures exist in futuristic settings too! Speculative fiction has grown in popularity. What do you think makes it so appealing.

Dena Garson: I think it’s that degree of possibility. People might not believe in vampires or mythical creatures but it’s easy to believe that one day we’ll have advanced technology and explore the outer reaches of space. More than once we’ve seen inventions and tools in speculative fiction that have made it to our real lives (wireless communication devices).

SFRSS: Is that why you are attracted to writing SFR?

Dena Garson: Yes. For me it’s the wide open possibilities. We don’t KNOW what the future holds and we don’t KNOW what’s out there beyond the borders of space. As authors, we can just about make it whatever we want. As a reader, I love to see what others have come up with too.

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

Dena Garson: OMG – narrowing down a favorite is impossible. I read multiple genres because my mood varies greatly. If I recall correctly, Angela Knight’s Warlord/Warfem Series was my first dip into sci-fi romance. Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series is an auto-buy for me. It’s the romance – the emotion – between the hero and heroine that draws me, but secondly I love the extraordinary within the settings that both authors bring to their books.

    

SFRSS: Wow. Angela Knight’s Jane’s Warlord was a gateway SFR book for another author in the anthology too, Selene. Must be a classic. Since you read across several genres, who are your authorial influences?

Dena Garson: I read a lot of Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens, and Sherrilyn Kenyon.

    

SFRSS: It looks like you’re a fan of historical romance too. What do you think the two sub-categories share in their appeal? Just thinking about how one is set in the past, and the other far in the future.

Dena Garson: I love reading historical. I love reading SFR. I think it’s the idea of being in a different time period, of escaping the present.

SFRSS: I’m thinking a lot of people, especially women, share in your urge to escape these days too. Do you remember what first work of science fiction turned you onto speculative fiction?

Dena Garson: I grew up on Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. My father watched them, so we did too. Hard to say which of the shows contributed the most.

 

 

 

SFRSS: Those stories have a lot of memorable male characters, both physical alphas and more cerebral betas. What’s your favorite kind of hero, alpha or beta, and why?

Dena Garson: Mostly Alpha. I respect a great deal of the alpha personality (perhaps because I’m a Libra and go back/forth before I make up my mind) but there are a few things about alphas that drive me nuts too.

SFRSS: Which literary hero (your own or another author’s) would you love to meet and why?

Dena Garson: Oooo – one literary hero I’d love to meet is Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Acheron. You know, if someone could convenience him to do it.

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?

Dena Garson: Everyone wants and needs love. It’s universal. Even the most hardened warriors need connections – that may be through family (blood or otherwise) or romantic partners or both.

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

Dena Garson: Hands down, Doctor Who.

SFRSS: It sounds like you read a lot as a writer. What’s on your speculative fiction TBR list in the coming months?

Dena Garson: My TBR list is out of control and it is full of paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance. I have a couple of Cynthia Sax’s books queued up as well as Laurann Dohner’s VLG series. But a little birdie told me Lauren Smith and Rhenna Morgan will have new paranormal romances coming before long and *hopefully* I’ll be able to beta read for them.

    

SFRSS: We have some of those authors on our lists too! So what’s next for your writing? Other upcoming publications?

Dena Garson: I’m working on a steampunk romance novella that I hope will come out as part of an anthology early next year.

SFRSS: Crossing back into multimedia, what’s the last show or movie you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?

Dena Garson: The last movie I watched was Wonder Woman. I wanted to watch it because 1) the trailer looked awesome, 2) I grew up watching the original TV show with Lynda Carter, 3) I love action/adventure movies, especially with strong female characters, and 4) I’d heard it was really good. Just so you know, it was beyond AWESOME. That was probably the best movie I have seen in years. I am a loyal Marvel Universe fan, but I admit that WW beat all of them.

SFRSS: Writers tend to love music too. Who are your favorite musicians? Do you have a play list that you listen to when you write?

Dena Garson: I am a rocker chick all the way. I still love my hair bands and classical rock but have moved on to heavier rock now. The most listed to bands on my mp3 are Five Finger Death Punch and Halestrom. I don’t have a playlist for writing but music does inspire my writing. It tends to be more of a mood-setting reaction to music though. Although – if you read the acknowledgement in Rege’s Rescue, you’ll see that FFDP’s remake of House of the Rising Sun was the inspiration for that book.

SFRSS: What’s your writing process like? 

Dena Garson: I’m mostly a plotter. But I don’t plot until after I’ve started writing. Usually get a chapter or two down then outline most or all of the book. It’s kind of like I need to get to know my characters first. I also tend to hop around when I’m writing too. May write the ending then have to fill in the middle.

SFRSS: Thanks for stopping in to talk about SFR and your new story. We’ll let you get back to writing your new speculative steam punk story. One last question. If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us to eat, if anything?

Dena Garson: LOL – Take out. I do not cook well. Just ask my kids. My 13-year-old will make me leave the kitchen and he just takes over whenever I do try. He’s a bit of a connoisseur.

SFRSS: So, I guess we’re not coming over for dinner, then, lol. At least leave us with a tantalizing taste of Vordal’s Vow!

Dena Garson: That, I can do.


Excerpt:

“Vordol! H-How are you?” Pitannah pushed a tuft of hair behind her ear. Her heart hammered against her chest so hard she thought it would burst out at any second. Seeing the object of your fantasies come to life after almost six years tended to do that to a girl. Especially when that fantasy had grown bigger, darker, and if possible, sexier.

“Well. You look good. A lot more grown up than the last time I saw you.” He glanced at her name tag. “You work for Quantam now?”

“Yes.” She clung to her serving tray like a lifeline. “I’ve been with them for almost a year. What brings you aboard?” she asked in a rush.

“Work.” He glanced at Ms. Ruby who was watching their exchange with interest now that the Maître de had seated her.

“You’re here for the talent search then?” Pitannah guessed.

“She is, so I am too.” He gestured to the table. “Are you assigned to Ruby’s table?”

“Oh, no. I was just helping one of the other girls finish setting up for lunch. I usually rotate through a couple of the other sections.”

“That’s too bad.”

“Vordol, bring your little friend over and introduce her,” Ms. Ruby suggested.

Vordol’s lips twitched even as he waved her ahead of him. “Ruby, this is Pitannah Lorento. She’s Harec’s oldest daughter.” To Pitannah he added, “Pitannah, this is the incomparable, Ms. Ruby Rose.”

Ruby extended her hand to Pitannah. “It’s lovely to meet you my dear.”

Pitannah shook Ruby’s hand and tried to not gawk. “It’s wonderful to meet you too.”

Ruby shot a questioning look at Vordol. “Harec is the Security Engineer who trained you, isn’t he?”

Vordol nodded then faced Pitannah. “How is Harec? I haven’t heard from him in quite a while.”

She grimaced. “Papa died about six months ago.”

Vordol’s expression fell. “Damn. I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”

“Oh, my dear. I’m so sorry we brought up a sad topic for you.” Ms. Ruby patted Pitannah’s hand. “Your father was a huge influence on Vordol and I for one am very grateful for it.”

“Thank you.” Pitannah bit her lip. “I don’t mean to be forward, but are you two related somehow? You seem quite close.”

Ms. Ruby smiled. “I like to think so. I’ve know this handsome young man since he and those other hoodlums he calls brothers were chasing each other with sticks and mud.”

Vordol crossed his arms over his chest. “Who are you kidding? We still chase each other with sticks and mud.”

“Yes, dear, but now you call it training,” Ruby teased.


If you’re interested in reading more of Dena’s work, click on the links below:

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ABOUT DENA GARSON

Dena Garson is an award winning author of contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance. She holds a BBA and a MBA in Business and works in the wacky world of quality and process improvement. Making up her own reality on paper is what keeps her sane.

She is the mother of two rowdy boys, two rambunctious cats (AKA the fuzzy jerks), and a loving Labrador. When she isn’t writing you can find her at her at the sewing machine or stringing beads. She is also a devoted Whovian and Dallas Cowboys fan.

Her books have won or finaled in the Passionate Plume, Reader’s Choice Award, and International Digital Award


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Signals from the Edge: SFR Author Cailin Briste

In our upcoming series of posts, SFRSS introduces readers to the authors and their stories appearing in its new anthology Cosmic Cabaret. We start our interview series with author Cailin Briste. Her Masters of Tallav series, published by Loose Id, is available at all major online book retailers, as is her indie-published It Takes a Cat Burglar.



SFRSS: Today, we’re chatting with author Cailin Briste. Her story Educated by the Master is part of the Cosmic Cabaret anthology and promises to be one of the more sexually sizzling stories in the set.  Welcome to Signals from the Edge!

Cailin Briste: Happy to be here, and to be part of the anthology.

SFRSS:  We hunted and gathered great writers with great stories for this anthology, which is how we found you. So tell us, are you more of a hunter or a gatherer? 

Cailin Briste: If you were to visit my home, it would be abundantly clear that I’m a gatherer. In the past, we’ve had up to twenty bookcases stuffed with books lining every available wall. I think we’re down to sixteen now. I’m definitely a gatherer.

SFRSS: As romance readers, we definitely understand the impulse to gather books, lol. Reading can be like having conversations with other people from across time and space.  If you could meet someone in person from history or literature, who would it be and why?

Cailin Briste: I played a mental game when I was a kid where I imagined that Ben Franklin had time traveled forward and I was the one showing him the modern world. As an adult, the choice would be hard. Do I pick a giant of history like Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill? Or what about Elizabeth I? I’m pretty sure I’d want to meet some who really lived. Although certain characters from literature would be fun. Since I can’t, I’m going to do a Scarlet O’Hara and think about that tomorrow.

SFRSS: Fiddle-dee-dee! Lol.  Okay, on to your work. What’s the blurb on this steamy novella?


Trey Johannsen’s preference is to stick to managing a private BDSM club on Beta Tau. It’s dark. It’s sexy. The cries of pleasure, the thud of a flogger, and the mingled scents of arousal and fear are evidence he’s damn good at it. So, when his boss insists Trey’s perfect for assisting a new hire to develop a BDSM cabaret, Trey is nonplussed. How the hell do you make burlesque accurate? Then he meets her, and instant attraction has him imagining peeling her clothes off, tying her to a bed, and sexually dominating her until she can take no more.

When Patsy O’Shaughnessy first lays eyes on BDSM master Trey Johannsen, everything about him impresses her. Providing him a personal tour of the on stage and behind-the-scenes workings of the Cosmic Love Cabaret isn’t a problem. Withstanding the sheer sexiness of the ultra-masculine hunk while he educates her about BDSM? That’s going to take some doing. Not that she plans to suggest hands-on training. No, the move from stage manager at the Cosmic Love Cabaret to creative director for a new venue is something she can’t blow. But if Trey Johannsen thinks experience is the best teacher, who is she to disagree?


SFRSS: We’re fanning ourselves already, and it’s not due to summer heat. You’ve already published stories with Loose Id set in the same world. In Educated by the Master, the L.S. Quantum is passing through that special world. Tell us what makes Tallav unique?

Cailin Briste: The planet Tallav is set in a cul-de-sac of the Federation, too far off the beaten trail for the L.S.Quantum to travel to. Master Trey takes a two-week hyper space flight to get to the Quantum. Tallav was purchased and settled by a group of wealthy women who wanted to create a matriarchal society. Men are restricted in many ways. The series explores how alpha males deal with growing up Tallavan. The male characters are all also involved in BDSM.

SFRSS: So SFR readers get a matriarchal society and romance and BDSM in your Tallav stories? Excellent. What was the inspiration for this current story in the SFR anthology?

Cailin Briste: When I considered the various characters inhabiting my Sons of Tallav series, Master Trey leaped out at me as the perfect candidate for a trip to the L.S. Quantum. In the process of writing the third novel for that series, Rand: Son of Tallav, I laid the foundation for Master Trey’s novel. Educated by the Master in the SFR anthology is a prequel to what will eventually be Master Trey’s full novel, the fourth in the Sons of Tallav series.

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

Cailin Briste: My favorite reading genres are science fiction and historical, either with or without romance. Both are an escape into the “not now” where daily life is significantly different from the ordinary experiences of today. I write sci-fi romance for the same reason. It allows me to play with the culture and societies of the worlds I create. Writing historical romance would be daunting, a struggle for accuracy I’m not prepared to undertake. So I’ll stick to making up future.

SFRSS: We admire historical fiction authors for that reason too. Not only do they have to know general history, they need to know accurate social customs and language use from the period. So much easier, in a way, to invent all that. And who are your authorial influences from romance?

    

Cailin Briste: There are several authors that I read when I’m struggling to put words on the page, Nora Roberts when she’s writing as J.D. Robb, Courtney Milan, and Jennifer Ashley. Reading their work is like slipping into a stream where the individual elements of good writing take concentrated effort to tease out because you’d much rather flow with the story. Sometimes I’ll analyze what I’m reading, but often just getting in that smooth current of words will carry over into my own writing.

SFRSS: And where do you get your inspiration in SF? What’s your favorite speculative book or series by another publishing author? 

Cailin Briste: The Foreigner series by C.J. Cherryh is my all-time favorite speculative fiction series. The main character, Bren Cameron, is the only human allowed to interact with the Atevi. Humans landed on the Atevi planet after a disaster separated them from human space. He’s supposed to be writing a dictionary that will allow the two species to talk effectively to one another. A difficult task because the Atevi are wired completely differently from humans. In the first book someone tries to kill him, and the entire series (20 books) is set in motion. I love his struggle to communicate, to find the words that have meaning to both humans and Atevi, to keep the delicately balanced peace between the two species.

SFRSS: What first work, either book, film, television series or comic, turned you onto speculative fiction*?

Cailin Briste: My adventure with speculative fiction began with the original Star Trek series which I watched in re-runs. In high school, my future husband introduced me to fantasy. By the time I went to college, I was devouring Anne McCaffrey, Katherine Kurtz, and Roger Zelazny.

 

    

SFRSS: Most fiction has a moral underpinning. What does this story say about the nature of humanity and science? About the nature of society? About relationships?

In Educated by the Master, Master Trey faces the problem of teaching a novice to the world of kink the nuances of the BDSM lifestyle in a short period of time so that she can present that lifestyle accurately in a new BDSM cabaret. It’s the problem of the other, the not us, that we often think of in negative terms because we lack an understanding of or knowledge about their behavior. That can be skin color, religion, or, as in this case, sexuality.

In science fiction, the other is often represented by aliens. Stereotypes often mislead, but as we get to know individuals and why they do what they do, it’s easier to discern the underlying humanity with our common problems and desires. The other becomes ET who just wants to go home.

SFRSS: Why do you think speculative fiction is popular, especially now? What does it offer readers that other fiction genres do not?

Cailin Briste: It offers hope that there is a future awaiting mankind. Even post-apocalyptic stories have mankind struggling on. There may be terrible things happening in a story, but they’re not real and most likely will never be real.

Speculative fiction also offers the good guy vs. bad guy scenario that is missing from most contemporary movies and literary fiction. There’s an emotional release to watching the good guy win when real life seems precarious.

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

Cailin Briste: I’m a real fan of Stargate: SG-1, enough so that we bought the DVDs. I love the idea of walking through the stargate to another planet. I want to do that someday.

SFRSS: It is a cool concept. Plus, Richard Dean Anderson as Lieutenant General Jack O’Neill. Happy sigh. What’s your favorite kind of hero, alpha or beta?

Cailin Briste: I love both alpha and beta heroes, but I write alpha or mostly alpha male characters. I do have one character, Maon, who is sexually submissive but alpha in every other way. Maon knows how to have fun, is a true sweetheart, and can save the day when under fire. I’d love to sit and chat with him. He is the character most like my own husband.

SFRSS: Oh–that’s so sweet! And if Hollywood came calling to turn Educated by the Master into a film, which current actors would you like to see play which characters?

Cailin Briste: I had someone in mind while writing Educated by the Master. I’ll describe him and see if you can guess who it is.

“Trey Johansson was every bit as good-looking and well-built as Patsy expected. But she hadn’t been prepared for the sheer size of the man. He towered over her. And muscles! Her fingers wouldn’t reach around his biceps.”

He’s bald with dark amber skin and piercing deep brown eyes. When he scowls, he ups his intimidation factor by ten, but he has a beautiful smile when he chooses to share it. The answer can be found on my Pinterest Educated by the Master board.

SFRSS: We peaked, and yeah, we’ll definitely be picturing him as we read. So, what’s on your speculative fiction TBR list in the coming months?

Cailin Briste: I’ve been buying and reading the sci-fi romance of authors I’ve met on Facebook. Recent purchases include a couple of Veronica Scott’s books and Xavier: An Omnes Videntes Novel by Wendie Nordgren.

    

SFRSS: Both authors are listed on our SFR Series post, of course. What’s next for your writing? Any other upcoming publications?

Cailin Briste: I’m writing Rand: Son of Tallav. His story has taken more time. I’ve had to figure out what makes him tick since he’s the owner of a BDSM club and a well-known sadist. Fit that into Tallavan society. Lots of juicy stuff to play with, but it doesn’t work if Randolph doesn’t come off as a flesh and blood man. Which he is. Oh yes! Trey: Son of Tallav is next in the series.

Ideas for the second book in the A Thief in Love suspense romance series are bubbling in the back of my mind as are possibilities for a contemporary romance that plays off a real-life love story.

SFRSS: Wonderful. We’d love to read a little excerpt, if you have it.

Cailin Briste: Hope you enjoy it.


Excerpt:

It hadn’t occurred to Trey that L.S. Quantum and Beta Tau were two sides of the same coin. Sure, L.S. Quantum was a spaceship, and Beta Tau was a planet. But he’d read the L.S. Quantum’s brochures, and in every other respect they were the same large, climate-controlled settings designed to provide trendsetting pleasure venues to paying customers and entertainment for all ages and palates, including his own kinky tastes.

The insight came when a middle-aged woman eased alongside him, brushing her shoulder against his and asking if he was headed to the L.S. Quantum and if so, where his cabin was located on the ship. Her skimpy halter, skintight slacks, and the bright pink hair she was sporting did nothing to enhance her appeal. This was Beta Tau all over. The glare he aimed at her didn’t force her to step back. Good gods! I’d be at Quantum’s shuttle service gate if Patsy O’Shaughnessy hadn’t insisted on meeting me here. He scanned the customers of the bland space station lounge. No. Still on my own.

An expert at fending off tourists on Beta Tau, he’d offer to take them to the club, tie them up, and use a bullwhip on them. Most scurried away. He handed anyone who accepted his proposition over to staff at the club. Bondage was part of his personal kink, but he preferred to use a flogger. The whip was the specialty of the Whip Hand’s owner, Randolph Meryon, Trey’s boss.

The neon-haired tourist ran a finger down his upper arm. “Maybe we could get together on board? I’ve heard bald men are really good in bed.”

When he dropped his gaze to where she’d touched him, the woman tittered. Eyes narrowed, he leveled his full focus on her. “Sure. If you’re into knife play, I might be able accommodate you. I’d have to ask my girlfriend. She’s the one who does the cutting.” He followed his words with a feral grin.

The tourist turned pale. “No thanks.” She scuttled back to her friends who’d been watching the exchange. Wide-eyed, they left the lounge, several looking back over their shoulders to get another glance at him.


ABOUT CAILIN BRISTE

Cailin Briste is an emerging author of science fiction romances. She likes to flip convention on its head, creating a universe in which each planet is a study in different what ifs. What would happen to alpha men on a matriarchal planet where the women are not Dommes in the strictest sense but certainly have the attitude down pat? How would society handle it if girls born on their new planet developed empathic senses? Cailin throws her characters into these settings, heroes and heroines whose kink is a major defining attribute of their personality.

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Cosmic Cabaret Available for Pre-Orders

SFR Shooting Stars is thrilled to reveal the gorgeous cover (courtesy of the talented Anika Willmanns) for our 2017 anthology, Cosmic Cabaret. Readers can pre-order their copies today.


Amazon        Barnes & Noble       iBooks        Kobo         GooglePlay


Where Hearts Collide in the Greatest Show in Space

*SPECIAL NEW RELEASE PRICE! $2.99

Join us aboard Blue Star Line’s crown jewel, the LS Quantum. Thirteen USA Today, Amazon best-selling, award-winning speculative fiction romance authors deliver their twists on tales set in the dance halls and clubs of this luxury starship as it travels through space and time.

Follow princes, sultans, rock stars, scientists, cirque artists, and dancers as they solve murders, track thieves, fight bullies, plan heists and fall in love.

Rated: Sensual.


We’re just weeks away from launch and we know you’ll want to get a ticket and take the journey with our new anthology. Check out the great individual stories coming your way:


Catch a Falling Star by CJ Cade

Chaz Jaguari, inter-galactic singing star, hides out until a sexy Tygress wanders into his lair and brings the jaded star roaring back to life.


Starlight by Kerry Adrienne

Astronomer Dr. Andrew Mann becomes enthralled with a performing particle shifter. Stella wants to trust the scientist, but she has a secret, and she’s scared.


Midnight at Andromeda’s by Tessa McFionn

Reluctant groom, Prince Marqaz, moonlights as a common bartender…until the surprising arrival of his like-minded affianced, Karyna.


Stars Shining Bright Above by Jayne Fury

Astra Faraday ran from a life of piracy. Dr. Zane Jones signed on to the ship to escape a former life—one that was killing him. When her mentor is murdered their pasts collide as they solve the crime and fall in love.


Star-Studded Love by Rosalie Redd

Caleb hides his disability behind his job as an exotic dancer, keeping women at arm’s length. Then he meets Adara. How much will they risk to find their dreams together?


Forbidden Alliance by Athena Grayson

It’s going to take brain surgery and rocket science to reunite a pair of long-lost, star-crossed lovers.


Razer’s Edge by Selene Grace Silver

Erotic dancer Ayanna headlines at the cabaret until a psychic thief named Razer uses her identity to pull off the plunder of a lifetime, jeopardizing everything.


A Dance of Fallen Stars by Kat Vancil

Notorious playboy Kealan Corkoran’s been branded an illegal stowaway light-years from home. His one chance to get out of this mess: working under the impassioned daemon choreographer who got him into it.


Vordol’s Vow by Dena Garson

Bodyguard Vordol Silveira vows to be the best, keeping his heart disengaged. Pitannah Lorento dreams of winning the intergalactic burlesque competition. When she’s threatened, Vordol’s vow is put to the test.


Hide and Peek by Blaire Edens

Religious zealots storm the burlesque club where Suzy headlines, forcing her run, leaving behind a precious possession. Davell hooks up with Suzy to catch the perps, her actions set off a chain of dangerous events.


Educated by the Master by Cailin Briste

Take one talkative novice to kink. Combine with a master who prefers the silence of meditation. Bake on high heat at the Cosmic Cabaret. Luscious.


Comets and Caviar by Jenna Lincoln

Smooth undercover agent Malachi Cartier’s lavish tastes include fine spirits and ladies. But he’ll need more than charm to finish his mission and win security professional Keya’s heart.


Star Searchers by Diana Rivis

Agent Sabrina Hawthorne of the Inter-Galactic Alliance thinks she’ll track a traitor with her brother. Instead, she’s partnered to his overbearing, stick-in-the-mud friend, Dayor Keitos.