Tag Archives: Alien Love

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 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.


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.


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.

Author Website





Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 Author(s) Interview

Welcome to Signals from the Edge. We’re honored to chat with the authors of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2. Embrace the Romance releases Tuesday, October 10th and is the follow-up collection of stories to last year’s anthology Pets in Space.

Visiting with us are co-organizers and contributors Veronica Scott and Pauline Baird Jones. They’re joined by fellow contributors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Cara Bristol, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner.

SFRSS: Hello! We’re excited to hear about your new anthology, Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2! Let’s have look at the cover and blurb.
The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world!

Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

Amazon US  * Amazon AU  * Amazon UK
Amazon CA   * B&N – Nook
Kobo iBooks  *  GooglePlay

SFRSS: What a fun concept anthology and a great charity organization. How’d you come up with the idea of combining cute, cuddly pets with aliens in space? 

Pauline Baird Jones: When we released the first Pets in Space last year, we had no intention of doing another one. We thought we had a fun idea that would resonate with readers and allow all of us to have a chance to reach new readers. When it did so well—two high moments were writing that check to Hero Dogs and being chosen as Best eOriginal for 2016 by Library Journal—we decided a sequel had to happen. We mixed it up with some new authors, but we are keeping very much to our core concept of benefiting Hero Dogs and readers with well-written stories of action, adventure, romance and pets in space. The late Carrie Fisher said it last year. “We need more pets in space.” Who are we to argue with her?

SFRSS: Who indeed?! How’d you get everyone together?

Veronica Scott: For this anthology, Pauline and I came up with a list of people we’d love to work with and who we felt Sci-Fi romance readers would enjoy reading. Of course we hoped including the element of pets might invite other readers to give our genre a look!

SFRSS: Thank you, everyone for taking the time to answer a few questions and share a little about your love for SFR. So, obviously, SFRSS has  a passion for SFR, but we want to know, beyond the pets in space concept for this anthology, what attracts each of you individually to read and write in the speculative genres?

S.E. Smith: What attracts me to the different genres is the possibilities! I live for the action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Each new world opens up another and the possibilities are limited only by my imagination. Science fiction romance takes this to a new level and opens the door to countless worlds, species, and situations.

Cara Bristol: I also love the creative possibilities that science fiction romance offers. It’s a liberating experience to write “outside the box,” and to explore new ideas and concepts. People who say they don’t read science fiction just haven’t found the right subgenre because the genre is incredibly broad and diverse.

Veronica Scott: I love the endless possibilities for adventure inherent in science fiction romance too. I’m not constrained by current science or technology, and I can mix in a bit of mysticism and fantasy if the plot calls for it. I also write a paranormal series set in ancient Egypt, which has always been a fascination of mine and I’ve also begun a fantasy series.

SFRSS: What kinds of possibilities resonate specifically for some of the rest of you?

Susan Grant: I love writing speculative fiction, especially science fiction romance, because of the almost total lack of boundaries. Anything goes. I love the adventure, the “Wild West” type of frontier feel, the fantasy aspect, the strong, independent characters, even quirky characters—again, reminiscent of the frontier days of 19th century America. I travel the world in my other career as an airline pilot and am fortunate to visit “new worlds” and experience exotic and different foods and peoples. I love to bring my feelings of wonder and excitement and curiosity to the science fiction worlds I write.

Laurie A. Green: From the time I was very small, I’ve always been fascinated with space and the stars, so it’s probably no great surprise that Science Fiction Romance became my genre of choice. I love having the freedom to write stories set in the distant cosmos, on alien worlds or in other times or dimensions. Even the few Paranormal Romance stories I’ve penned have a definite slant toward science fiction.

M.K. Eidem: I like to write Sci-Fi because I get to create my own world and decide what can and can’t happen there.

Sabine Priestley: SFR is my first true love. The engineer in me gets off on all the tech elements, throw in space and I’m a goner. Now is an amazing time to be alive and an even more brilliant one for writers of any kind of Science Fiction. We are standing on a precipice of explosive growth and technology is what is taking us there. What could be more fun than building on a framework that exists here and now?

Jessica L. Subject: I love the idea of learning about new cultures, not only on our own planet, but also on distant planets. That is common in most speculative fiction. When it comes to the romance aspect, I enjoy the idea that love transcends all boundaries.

SFRSS: There is definitely the thrill of crossing boundaries in SFR—crossing space, crossing dimensions, crossing cultures and crossing species.

Pauline Baird Jones: I stumbled into writing speculative romantic fiction. No really. I thought I was writing an action adventure romance that just happened to take place in space. When readers started calling it “science fiction romance” and “space opera romance,” I was kind of freaked out. Then I realized that I’d been “writing” science fiction since high school—something my high school science teacher would heartily agree with! I don’t even pretend my science is “real.” It’s way too fun to make things up. I mean, I am a fiction author, after all.

Carol Van Natta: I was warp…er, influenced very early on by my parents, who gave me science fiction to read one summer to keep me busy. The joke was on them, because from then on, I kept begging for more science fiction and fantasy books to read. I came to romance a little later, but it’s an important part of my space opera, adventure, and romance series. Science fiction is inherently hopeful — it assumes we’ve overcome any problems we have now and are out in the galaxy — and gives me the chance to explore huge “what ifs” in storytelling. Romance is equally hopeful, on a more personal level, and affirms that love is as constant as the stars.

Alexis Glynn Latner: What I most love to read and write is speculative fiction. That term covers both science fiction and fantasy. Science fiction is actually a subset of fantasy, if you define fantasy as the whole vast body of literature not about the real world of the here and now – myths and folklore, ancient epics and modern trilogies set in invented places where magic is real, imaginary beings like elves and vampires and little green men, and all such wonderful stuff. Science fiction just has structural elements of science and technology in the makeup of the fantasy.

The speculation comes in looking at a world or place or technology or creature that exists only in the imagination, being fascinated by it, and then asking some kind of “What if?” question, or maybe a “How could it be?” or “What would happen if?” If the answer is neat little surprise or a short sharp shock, there’s probably a short story there. But sometimes the answer leads to making a whole new world. In that case it’s probably going to be a novel or even a series. Depending on what kind of world it is, whether there are likeable characters, and what the characters do besides explore their world (falling in love or lust with each other is always an interesting development), reading a story set in an invented world is one of the most enjoyable activities there is!

SFRSS: Speaking of invented worlds.  We love to share our favorite authors and series with each other. What’s your favorite speculative series by another publishing author?

M. K. Eidem: I love Laurann Dohner’s Zorn Warriors Series and Kelly Lucille’s Dragon Mage Series.

Cara Bristol: Eve Langlais’ More Than Machines cyborg series definitely inspired me. Cyborgs represent the perfect alpha hero: strong, smart, tough, but with a secret vulnerability. The sexual tension between her hero and heroine hooked me right at the start. After reading Eve’s series, I was inspired to create my own cyborg series: the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series.

Pauline Baird Jones: I have been in love with Veronica Scott’s Sectors series since she released the first book, The Wreck of the Nebula Dream. It has everything I love in a series. More books. Action. Adventure. Romance. And engaging characters.

Sabine Priestley: So many wonderful authors out there, but as with a number of my peers, I have a limited amount of time to read. I can give a shout out to G.S. Jennsen’s Aurora Rhapsody series. She’s brilliant in world building and I love her politics and science. In full disclosure, I’ve only read the 1st 2 books but can whole heartedly recommend them.

Carol Van Natta: What week is it? My answer tends to change based on my mood and what criteria I’m using. Any of Ruby Lionsdrake’s series—Mandrake, Star Guardians—are good for thrilling adventure and snarky humor, which is also what appeals to me about Eve Langlais’ Cyborgs More Than Machines series. Eve Silver’s Northern Wastes series offers strong characters and hope in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world. And if I’m feeling nostalgic, I re-read the Andre Norton classics, which are slowly being reissued in ebooks. Not all have romance, but enough do to keep me reading.

Alexis Glynn Latner: My favorite works of world-making speculative fiction include Dante’s Divine Comedy because the Italian Renaissance poet built a whole cosmos based on Aristotelian science, and populated it with all kinds of interesting people, many of them recognizable as famous or infamous contemporaries of Dante. I’ve loved Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings ever since I read it as a teenager – and promptly re-read the whole thing. Tolkien’s world isn’t just the trilogy and The Hobbit: he revealed a lot more world in The Silmarillion. And I really like Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series. This is science fiction with really strong elements of fantasy, populated by vivid and intriguing characters, quite a few of whom have colorful and endearing romances. Bujold is a terrific story-teller.

SFRSS: All beloved series and books. What about the rest of you?

Jessica L. Subject: The Host by Stephanie Meyer remains one of my favorites. In this book, the aliens thought they were doing right by the planet, while the humans weren’t ready to give up Earth to the foreign invaders. By the end, they realized they could work together to save the planet, and that love went beyond a physical attraction.

Laurie A. Green: It’s a long-standing favorite for many, but Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders series–and Dragonflight in particular–was my biggest inspiration. It first opened me up to the possibilities of science fiction romance set against the sweeping backdrop of an alien culture with a forgotten history. That’s the backbone of my fictional universe too, though my stories tend to run more in the space opera vein.

Veronica Scott: Pick pretty much any series by Nalini Singh and I’m right there with my one-click. My favorite from her is the Psy Changeling series – I especially love the Arrows, who are super capable psychic soldiers. They believe they’ve eradicated their emotions but of course let them meet the right heroine and those emotions bubble right up. Shield of Winter is my absolute favorite. Nalini has done amazing world building and her characters feel ‘real’ to me, so I can lost myself in the stories and resurface hours later.

Susan Grant: I have so little time to read these days. I read only a few books last year. So sad! Because I love reading. I have lots of favorites. A new discovery is the Brides of the Kindred books because I admire craft as well as story and Evangeline Anderson is such a good writer. I love her prose. Another favorite is Hugh Howey’s Silo Series. Such a cool concept! If it becomes a movie I hope they don’t ruin it.

S.E. Smith: I fell in love with Escape to Witch Mountain as a kid and it grew with Dune along with a little known series called America 2040. For romance, I love many of Linnea Sinclair’s stories and Monette Michaels’ Prime Obsession.

SFRSS: (Multi-tasking a little online book shopping as we speak.) What’s the title of your story in Embrace the Romance and what inspired you to write it?

Susan Grant: Mine is titled The Prince, the Pilot, and the Puppy. In last year’s Pets in Space 1 Anthology, my story Stray (now titled Star Hero) featured a frightened, starving yipwag—an alien street dog named Bang-Bang that took shelter under a wreck of a car where he met another puppy. Even though Bang-Bang was ravenous, he shared a piece of meat with the other weak and starving pup. Readers always wanted to know what happened to that puppy. Me too! And so I wrote her story—The Prince, the Pilot, and the Puppy. (Star Puppy).

Veronica Scott: My story comes from my Sectors series and is titled Star Cruise: Songbird. I always wanted to write a rock star romance because I love the genre, but anything I write skews Sci-Fi. Then I read an article about bands and singers here on Earth booking special cruises for their fans and doing performances aboard the ship. It was easy to translate the idea to my interstellar spaceliner the Nebula Zephyr. Once I knew my heroine was a rock star, the hero stepped up – ex-military, ship’s security officer, assigned as her temporary bodyguard. And he had been serving in a special military unit where they used super intelligent animals to assist in the fighting, so his telepathic eagle Valkyr became my pet for the story. And there is a songbird…

Sabine Priestley: Sensate, came from a desire to delve further into a phenomenon that occurred in one of my books, Rebellion. I don’t want to give it away, but it was a place I had to go, and one I’ll be delving into deeper in future. In short, what does it mean to be sentient?

Alexis Glynn Latner: As far as I’m concerned, though, writing world-building speculative fiction is one of the only activities more fun than reading it. My Pets in Space stories – both in last year’s anthology and this year’s – are set in my SF series, Aeon’s Legacy, which takes place in a future history that extends across five thousand years and two thousand light-years. So Mascot, my story in Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 unfolded in an already invented universe, with a colorful heroine who has existed in my imagination and notes for a long time. She is based on someone I knew once – but that’s another story. I’ve known for years that Daya had a pet hugwort too. But for PISA2, I asked questions. “What would a romance look like if an attractive but possibly inimical auditor came calling?” and “Just what is the layout of Star Corner Station?” and “If enemies attack and everything gets scary and dangerous, what could the hugwort really do?” I hope readers enjoy my answers!

S.E. Smith: In a series of events that came together, I had the beginning of Pearl’s Dragon. It started with Grandma Pearl being introduced in Choosing Riley. Readers got to know her better in Viper’s Mate, which lead to the Dragonlings’ Easter where Pearl was kidnapped by a sexy, older dragon warrior. I knew Pearl had to have her story and with the mysterious giant green eggs that were brought back in The Dragonlings’ Very Special Valentine, I knew I had her and Asim’s story – and an amazing new feathered army from Earth.

Cara Bristol: My novella is titled Rescued by the Cyborg and it’s set in my Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance Series. Cats are my go-to pet, and I like the idea of pairing opposites, so I created a big, tough secret agent cyborg who gets a little kitten as a pet.

M.K. Eidem: I always knew I was going to be a story about the Great Raptor, so this was the perfect opportunity to write A Grim Pet especially when it is for such a great cause.

Pauline Baird Jones: Time Trap is a novella set in my Project Enterprise Series. I always kind of smile when I’m asked what “inspired” me to write something. I basically commit random acts of writing that eventually turn into stories. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted the hero to be Briggs, who was a minor, but an important character, in The Key and Girl Gone Nova.

Carol Van Natta: Pet Trade comes out of my Central Galactic Concordance Series. I begged shamelessly to join the Pets in Space crew, in part because they support the Hero-Dogs.org charity. The charity raises, trains, and places service dogs with disabled veterans, free of charge, to improve their quality of life and help them regain independence. I guarantee you that when humans explore the galaxy, we’ll take our pets. They entertain us, love us, and sometimes, they save us. Both the main characters in my story end up rescuing pets, but they need the pets as much as the pets need them. I got carried away with the number of pets—17, and that doesn’t count the talking yaks and the guard geese—but I couldn’t pick just one.

Jessica L. Subject: My contribution, Gib and the Tibbar, is set in my Galactic Defenders Series I wrote about the tibbar in a previous Galactic Defenders story, and I wanted to bring the pet back again. I also wanted to tell the story of how one of the minor character’s parents met. Gib and the Tibbar is their story.

Laurie A. Green: I’d honestly have to say what inspired Courting Disaster: StarDog 2 was my story in the original Pets in Space collection, StarDog. When I was asked back to write for the second anthology, I admit to being totally stumped at first. Did I have another pet-inspired story in me? Then I realized the little surprise at the end of the original story would work perfectly paired with an idea that had been brewing in my head for quite some time–and a premise was born! I’m really happy with how the StarDog tales have added new dimensions and new characters to my Inherited Stars Series.

SFRSS: All of the stories sound intriguing and we look forward to reading them. I’m sorry we missed out on hearing from Michelle Howard. What’s her story titled and about?

Veronica Scott: Howard’s novella, Wired for Love, concerns a warrior, a heroine and a pet trying to survive an enemy.

SFRSS: SFRSS really appreciates you all taking the time to stop by to share a little about your love for SFR and speculative fiction. We have a feeling we’re going to all blow our monthly book budget now on new authors and series, including picking up a copy of Embrace the Romance, of course. Before you go, can you share teasers of the individual stories?

Veronica Scott: Of course.

Pearl’s Dragon: A Novella in the Dragon Lords of Valdier Series by S.E. Smith

Asim Kemark has lived a long, lonely life. It is only his pledge to his former king and to Mandra Reykill that keeps him, his dragon, and his symbiot from going crazy. He has given up on ever finding his true mate and devotes himself to caring for the wide assortment of creatures on Mandra and Ariel’s mountain retreat. The last thing he expects when he visits the palace is to lose control of his dragon and his symbiot when they sense their true mate. Before he knows it, he has kidnapped her!

Pearl St. Claire is enjoying a new adventure – learning to live on an alien planet. As a mature woman in her sixties, she thought she had experienced just about everything life could throw at her – only to discover she really hasn’t experienced anything yet! She is both amused and exasperated when one of the dragon-shifting aliens kidnaps her, believing she is his true mate.

Life is no longer boring or lonely as Asim courts the spirited human woman who has enchanted him, but he isn’t the only one who has noticed Pearl or the unusual animals under his care. When poachers attack, determined to steal the exotic creatures under his protection – including Pearl and a new clutch of alien eggs from Earth – he will do everything he can to protect them. Can one dragon keep the most precious creatures under his care safe, or will he lose the biggest battle of his life?

A Grim Pet: A Novella in the Tornian Series by M.K. Eidem

The Great Raptor is a fearsome and deadly creature; and while the raptor is no one’s pet, he is fiercely protective and loving of his family…

Carly and Miki have never forgotten the story that Grim told them of the Great Raptor, the symbol of their new home world Luda. Yet, it is the comparison their mother once told them of the Great Raptor to Grim that gives them the courage to help the injured bird they find in the garden.

Find out what happens when their single act of love, faith, and kindness creates far-reaching consequences that no one, including their mother and Grim, could ever have predicted.

The Prince, the Pilot, and the Puppy (“Star Puppy”) A Novella in The Star Series by Susan Grant

Trysh joined the Space Forces with the secret hope that her absentee father might notice her accomplishments and acknowledge her. At the top of her game as a starfighter pilot, the last thing she needs is a way too charming prince to get in her way. Trysh had learned at a young age what happened when a person lost their heart to someone above their social class – it led to heartache.

Prince Rornn feels fortunate he can pursue his passion both in the air and on the ground. He decides being third in line for the throne definitely has its advantages – it allowed him to join the Space Forces as a top-gun starfighter pilot. What he doesn’t expect is to find a woman there who not only competes with him – she completes him!

Everything Rornn tries appears to push Trysh further away – that is until they rescue a tiny, starving yipwag pup on the surface of an alien world. It turns out that “Puppy” is as good at sniffing out terrorists as she is at helping her two clueless humans figure out that they need each other as much as they do her.

Can Rornn convince Trysh that he is nothing like her father and that she is just the right woman for him before the terrorists discover their furry little companion?

Rescued by the Cyborg: A Novella in the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance Series by Cara Bristol

A cyborg’s haunted past and a Faria’s clouded future entwine…

Hostage and sole survivor Solia waits for death at the hands of vicious predatory aliens when Cy-Ops agent Guy Roarke disobeys orders and charges in. A former medic, he initiates emergency medical procedures before rushing her to Cybermed.

Guy is taken with Solia, but the guilt of a past mistake won’t allow him to plan for a future with the delicate, brave beauty. Life is so uncertain, he can’t even keep Mittzi, the kitten his niece gave him. What he can do is see to it Solia gets the help she needs for a full recovery. But when best intentions place her in greater danger, it’s up to a little kitten to make everything all right again.

Star Cruise: Songbird: A Novella in The Sectors SF Romance Series by Veronica Scott

Grant Barton, a Security Officer on the Nebula Zephyr, is less than thrilled with his current assignment to guard an Interstellar singing sensation while she’s on board the ship. It doesn’t help that he is also dealing with a recent inheritance – of the feathered kind! The alien bird that his great-grandfather so kindly left him was now sharing his quarters and making his life miserable. It wasn’t helping that his assignment wasn’t making his job any easier either – at least until he had to save her life.

Karissa is on her way up the charts and seemingly has it all – talent, fame, fortune and devoted fans, but behind her brave smile and upbeat lyrics she hides an aching heart. When a publicity stunt goes wrong, Karissa finds herself in the arms of the security officer assigned to protect her – and discovers a mutual attraction she can’t ignore.

Trouble continues to plague the pair, driving a wedge between them and leaving Grant certain that Karissa is in more danger than she realizes. When a deranged fan issues a death threat, Grant is determined to protect Karissa whether she wants his help or not. Can he discover the truth behind what is going on before he loses Karissa, or is there someone else plotting to keep them apart – permanently?

Time Trap: A Novella in the Project Enterprise Series by Pauline Baird Jones

Hiding in time is not as easy as you’d think…

Madison lives by the rules of a time travel rebel – never tell anyone your real name, not if you want to remain alive. On the track of a traitor, Madison and her parrot partner, Sir Rupert, time travel into a trap. Their only way out sends them back in time and into the arms of a man that ignites a fire inside her.

USAF Master Sergeant Briggs is in trouble – not the kind he’d like to be, but still in trouble. He is bored out of his mind! Ordered to recuperate on a quiet bay away from the Garradian outpost, he’s ready to mutiny and go back to his beloved engines. When his friends send him a gift from Area 51, he figures it will relieve his boredom for an hour or so – until he turns it on and he gets his second present of the day.

Madison would love to get to know Briggs better, but it is just too dangerous. Unfortunately, she might not have much choice. With a Time Service Interdiction Force on their heels, can the three craft a plan that will save a base full of geniuses and technology and discover a happy-ever-after forged through time?

Courting Disaster: StarDog 2: A Novella in the Inherited Stars Universe Series by Laurie A. Green

From monk to married…

Captain Navene Jagger’s certainty he will be promoted to command a new battleship is doused when the admiral instead assigns him on what appears to be a suicide mission. If that wasn’t bad enough, he finds his self-imposed decision to be a military monk is thrown to the far reaches of the galaxy when he is ordered to escort Ketsia Tayah and her StarDog through the treacherous, rogue-infested Bradley’s Rift in a battered derelict of a vessel – a task that also makes him have to confront his painful past.

Ketsia’s past had taught her a lot. The universe was not only a very dangerous place, it turns out that it is also a lot smaller than she would have liked! Ketsia is rattled when she discovers that she and her StarDog are to be escorted by the man she formerly had a crush on. She swears life couldn’t get any more complicated until they are thrown into jeopardy and have to pretend they are married!

Jag soon realizes there is more at stake than his pride when dangerous rogues threaten their spaceship. After he learns the ship, the mission, and the StarDog are all much more than they seem will he be able to save Ketsia, his career, and the day? Or will self-sacrifice be the only way to save those under his protection?

Sensate: A Novella in the Alien Attachments Series by Sabine Priestley

Marco Dar’s position as an Earth Protector means he spends an incredible amount of time alone in space. His only company is with the talkative com unit. It isn’t until he stops at the Galaxy Spinner restaurant that he discovers his com has become sentient – and it wants a physical form!

Dr. Zara Mancini hasn’t seen Marco Dar in over eleven years. As far as she is concerned, that still isn’t long enough. When Marco approaches her with an unusual request, she is torn between her fascination with the project, and wanting to leave him eating her space dust.

Marco is quickly falling all over again for Zara’s beautiful smile and gorgeous lips. Young and foolish, he sabotaged their relationship years ago. Now he has a second chance. Can he convince Zara to help his AI, and prove to her that he is a different man?

Gib and the Tibbar: A Novella in the Galactic Defenders Series by Jessica E. Subject

A dedicated Defender to the core, Gib is willing to go to any planet the Galactic Alliance sends him. That is, until he’s sent with his squad to Hemera for their Alorama ceremony, far from any threat of Erebus invasion and with no chance for promotion.

Vilarra has lived on Hemera all her life, working hard in the kitchens of the royal palace until she achieved lead hand. But learning of the universe beyond her world reveals her insignificance and shreds her sense of accomplishment and purpose.

With the help of a furry, little tibbar, Gib is determined to win the affection of Vilarra, prove to her how significant she is to him and the people who depend on her. But will his personal mission be cut short before he has the chance to win her heart?

Pet Trade: A Novella in the Central Galactic Concordance Series by Carol Van Natta

The vast Central Galactic Concordance strictly prohibits genetic experimentation and alteration of humans on any of its 500 member planets. Unfortunately, animals are not included in those regulations…

Veterinarian Bethnee Bakonin has made a home for herself on a frontier planet in the frozen north. Her minder talent for healing all kinds of animals would ordinarily assure her success, but her unwilling stint in the shady pet trade industry left her damaged and scared.

“Volunteered” for a black-box research project, elite forces Jumper Axur Tragon now has dangerous experimental tech in his cybernetic limbs. He escapes the project and steals a freighter, but ship damage forces him to crash-land in the northern mountains of a frontier planet. He’s surprised to discover the freighter’s cargo contains a secret shipment of designer pets. Determined to do right by them, he enlists reluctant Bethnee’s aid in caring for them—a definite challenge, considering Bethnee is terrified of him.

They will need all the help they can get from their unusual pets to save the day when ruthless mercenaries pose a threat. Can Axur and Bethnee work together to overcome their limitations, or will they lose everything they have vowed to protect – including each other?

Mascot: A Novella in the Aeon’s Legacy Series by Alexis Glynn Latner

Daya Tattujayan is the manager of a remote and nearly derelict space mining station. She has plenty of problems to deal with even before the interstellar syndicate that owns the station sends an auditor to check up on her work.

Rik Gole is a nomadic interstellar auditor with no roots to tie him down. He is ruthless when he has to be and very good at what he does, but Rik would be the first to admit that a woman like Daya and a place like this station are way outside of his previous experience.

Before Daya and Rik can decide whether they are antagonists, allies, or something more, an unexpected enemy attacks the station. To save their lives, they must dare to trust each other. And they need help from a very unconventional defender—Daya’s mysterious alien pet, the mascot of Star Corner Station.

Wired for Love by Michelle Howard

Hunter Gils has put his past in the military behind him. Now his focus is on his bar and the less than savory clientele. Life is perfect – except for a gray-eyed beauty who refuses his advances.

Narelle Bindu wasn’t immune to the tall, dark stranger working at The Zone. He wanted her – and she wanted him. The only drawback was she didn’t have room in her life for a man, not even one as tempting as Hunter.

When a deadly attack creates the perfect opening for an old enemy, the two lovers must work together to survive. What they never expect is to find an ally willing to help them – even if that help has four legs. Can their four-legged friend keep Hunter and Narelle alive long enough to find out that one night would never be enough?

Here are the buy links again:
Amazon US  * Amazon AU  * Amazon UK
Amazon CA   * B&N – Nook
Kobo iBooks  *  GooglePlay

S.E. Smith is a New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling Author who encourages readers to reach for the stars and embrace the action, adventure, family, friendship, and true love that is found in the worlds she creates. More about her books can be found on her WEBSITE.

USA Today Bestselling author, M.K. Eidem has always loved to read and writing is just a natural extension of this for her. More about her books can be found on her WEBSITE.

New York Times bestselling, RITA award-winning author Susan Grant is a USAF veteran who loves writing romantic, action-packed stories featuring gutsy woman and honorable men. More about her books can be found on her WEBSITE.

Michelle Howard is a sci-fi romance author with a love for angsty HEA’s. More about her books can be found on her WEBSITE.

USA Today bestselling author Cara Bristol writes science fiction romance with heart, heat, and humor. More about her books can be found on her WEBSITE.

Scifi romance author Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. More about her books can be found on her WEBSITE.

Pauline Baird Jones doesn’t love reality, so she writes perilously fun books mixed with romance and humor. More about her books can be found on her WEBSITE.

Laurie A. Green is a three-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist, an award-winning author, and a science fiction romance enthusiast who founded the SFR Brigade community of writers. More about her books can be found on her WEBSITE.

Sabine Priestley is a travel addict, beach-loving, stargazing disruptor. More about her books can be found on her WEBSITE.

Jessica E. Subject is the author of science fiction romance, including the Galactic Defenders series, ranging from sweet to super hot. More about her books can be found on her WEBSITE.

Carol Van Natta writes science fiction and fantasy, including the award-winning Central Galactic Concordance space opera series, and paranormal romance and retro SF comedy. More about her books can be found on her WEBSITE.

Alexis Glynn Latner writes fantasy and science fiction romantic adventure. More about her books can be found on her WEBSITE.

Find out more about Pets in Space:

Why SFR Blasts Other Romance Sub-Genre’s Tropes Out of the Sky: Part II

Following is the second part of Selene Grace Silver’s completely unscientific and statistically dubious survey of her own thoughts about the top ten dominating SFR tropes and why they function like other romance tropes, only on steroids. Click the First Part if you missed it.

Reasons #6-10 SFR Kicks Trope Butt: Sensual Setups

So we’ve covered the popular variations on archetypal heroes, let’s look at the more common variations on the archetypal romance arc.

Heroes’ and heroines’ meet-cutes tend towards the more extreme in SFR. Sure, the characters might meet in a bar and end up in a one-night stand like they do in Cara Bristol’s Trapped with a Cyborg, but it’s far more likely their meeting is more…unusual. The heroine isn’t just trapped with the hero on a road trip or during a snow storm, she’s likely been abducted in her nightie by evil aliens, who have crash-landed on an ice planet, leaving her to freeze to death until he finds her, or she’s been sentenced to a prison planet where either the extreme weather or the other residents are trying to kill them both.

Mail order brides might be big in historical westerns, but those gals only traveled half way around the world to marry their men, in SFR, the travel is more likely a thousand plus light years away across the universe with no return ticket. Our heroines will not discover ruby slippers to click together to get back home. We’re not on Earth anymore, Toto.

Whatever favorite situational tropes romance readers cherish in their contemporary, historical or paranormal books, SFR takes on the challenge of raising the stakes to their penultimate (ultimate resulting in death, as it sometimes does in hardcore SF, but never in the HEA-ending romance) potential, often serving up experiences that simply can’t be done in any other genre.

6. Calgon, Take Me Away! Alien Abductions

It might surprise those who don’t read romance just how popular the alien abduction trope is in SFR. Normally, something titled Alien Abduction would be classified under horror, not romance. In horror, the abducted usually become the victims of nightmare-inducing medical probes, or slaves on mining planets, or medium-rare steaks on some behemoth spidery creature’s dinner plate. In romance, though, alien probing and, ahem, eating ends in highly satisfying heroine orgasms. The only shock the heroine suffers from is just how quickly and powerfully her abductor brings her to climax.

When we consider that the alien abduction fear is a modern update on the whole sexual Nightmare of the Medieval period in which succubi would seduce and sex us up during our sleep, it’s not difficult to appreciate the power of this fantasy. It’s deeply rooted in our western psyches. While, paranormal romance can give us the sensual demon; SFR delivers the evolved, hunky alien version of little green men.

Why does abduction top the list of situational archetypes? Consider the drudgery of modern life: long work hours, long commutes, long lines at the grocery store. Seriously, so much of modern life is tedious and boring. Everyone fantasizes about getting away from everyday reality, but trading lines during regular life for lines in a Vegas buffet or for the rides at a theme park isn’t all that relaxing. For women, in particular, the exhaustion that results from a combination of trying to be everything to everyone, at work, at home, and even on vacation, is a condition not easily fixed with a twenty-minute bubble bath, (despite the soap advertiser’s promises). The thought of being eaten and/or probed turns readers’ minds to something other than cooking and gynecological appointments. It turns our minds to sex. (Please note, SFR readers are very sex positive.)

The idea of being taken and kept at the mercy of a large, competent and skilled lover far, far away across the galaxy where there are no reports to write nor emails to answer nor dishes to wash? The appeal is self-evident. Whether the hero ends up being the arrogant abductor, as in Eve Langlais’ Alien Abduction series, or the eager rescuer after the fact, like in Ruby Dixon’s Ice Planet Barbarian series, this trope always ends up in a happy-ever-after for the heroine.

7. Cue Mendelssohn’s Wedding March: Alien Brides/Mates

Just like the popular mail-order bride stories in the historical western romance genre, this scenario depends on the ‘thrill’ of every bride everywhere dreaming of the moment she partners with a soulmate for life. Women are raised to chart their personal lives forward to this special moment in time. But that’s not what this SFR trope usually focuses its fantasy spinning efforts on.

The alien bride archetype is often less Cinderella and more Bluebeard. The SFR trope is more about the heroine surviving the honeymoon and building equality into the dynamic of the relationship. In real life, marriage can actually be scary for women. Not to get too dark here, but most women who get murdered are actually killed by their partners. And more men cheat on their wives than women cheat on their husbands. It’s dangerous to become intimate with a man, after all. It’s risky, both physically and emotionally. Alien bride stories raise the stakes of the archetypal marriage by increasing the danger of the spouse (see the First Part of this post) and further complicating the difficulty of marital communication between not only two genders, but also between two alien races. In Laurann Dohner’s Zorn Warriors series (technically more alien abduction than mail-order bride), the heroines find themselves in sexual competition with other females for their partner’s heart even after the mating.

The reason for this trope’s popularity? If the heroine in an SFR alien bride story can form a happy marriage with a giant, furry blue male who speaks a different language, then surely human females on Earth can do the same with their similar-sized fellow human partners.

8. The More the Merrier: Alien Ménages, the Highly Logical Path

Polygamy exists on Earth, even in the modern era, but it’s too often about the guys having multiple females at their disposal. In SFR, the females get their karmic justice. Sex stops being about making babies and starts being first and foremost about having great sex . Since women have the potential to orgasm more in a night than men, it makes complete sense to invite more males per female into the sexual equation so we reach our joined-gender-maximum-orgasm-potential. And we’re not talking about equally splitting attention between everyone involved either, one of the downsides of ménages (or so I’ve heard), although that’s okay too. This SFR trope is, primarily, a female fantasy-driven experience.

The alien guys understand (unlike their human counterparts so often misunderstand) that the woman deserves to be the “precious” center of the activity. Women need lots of sensual stimulation, so it’s highly logical to increase the males-to-female ratio to even up the odds of achieving orgasm equality. It doesn’t mean the heroine can’t have the one true love experience, either. In Kate Pearce’s Planet Mail, the extra guys are there to “help” the alpha hero keep his heroine prepped and aroused. Kind of the way romance novels keep women prepped for their real husbands, right? Unlike the actual world, unfortunately, where masculine jealousies might flare up–women being transferable property and all–these SFR stories create completely new cultures, ones that don’t see women as mere property, or as disposable, so sharing one female among several hot alien guys becomes a practical and acceptable relationship structure. In SFR, it’s all about practicality.

9. Set Phasers to Stun: Alien Invasions/Post-Apocalyptic Earth

Not all SFRs happen out in the frontiers of space. They can just as easily take place here on Earth. In these post-apocalyptic stories, the heroes are generally human males, but not always. They can be violent invading aliens, like in Stephanie Snow’s Demon’s Captive, or they can be retro raiding and pillaging Vikings as in Megan Crane’s Edge books, or they can be the surviving, honorable soldiers in Anna Hackett’s Hell Squad series. The attraction of the trope is that civilized society as we know it has been stripped away and we therefore are also stripped down to our most primal selves.

Sex under life-threatening conditions boosts the battery’s charge. Invasions by another country would be scary to consider, but being taken over by an off-planet alien race guarantees life-and-death conflicts on a daily basis. Only the strongest survive, so the options for mating with the manliest of the males becomes inevitable since those are the only males that survive to mate. And when it comes to interacting with invading aliens, it seems better to be desired sexually than gutted and run over like road kill.

10. Caught the Net of Love: Trapped Together

A quick survey of titles,  series titles and book blurbs in SFR will make obvious readers’ love for this trope. Trapped. Escape from. Marooned. Imprisoned.  A favorite trope, no matter the romance sub-genre, trapped scenarios promise few pesky interruptions or distractions between the hero and his heroine, other than each other, that is, so the storytelling focus can be primarily on the developing relationship between our two lead characters. As with all these tropes, the SFR game requires the players to double down and go for broke. The hero and heroine are more likely trapped in a life-threatening situation than, say, “snowed in” at the millionaire hero’s sprawling winter retreat for the weekend, cupboards full of food and the kindling and logs stacked neatly on the wrap-around porch, ready for cozy nights before the fire.

For example, in Claire Kent’s novella Hold, the heroine, an academic, is unfairly dumped in an underground prison full of violent men. Mating isn’t a choice for her–it’s her sole survival strategy. She hooks up very willingly with the strongest contender in sight.  Fortunately, his incarceration was the results of an unfair sentence too, and he turns out to be a good guy (after lots of rough quid pro quo sex, of course). SFR effectively blends the bad boy and the good guy hero tropes under these extreme conditions, something it’s nearly impossible to do without a lot of back-bending in contemporary romances.

Cara Bristol’s Stranded with a Cyborg is another example of the harsh, deadly landscapes our characters often find themselves in–the water is deadly acid on the planet where the hero and heroine crash-land. And lots of SFRs depend on the trapped-for-long-days setting of the spaceship as well. It doesn’t take long to figure out the consequences of attractive males and females living in close quarters in the middle of nowhere, a scenario perfectly exploited by Lopita Lopez in her Grabbed series.

As with the hero archetypes, the story arc patterns in SFR spin traditional tropes into something edgy and exciting. So, go get trapped with an SFR and leave everyday Earth behind. Need some suggestions? Check out our ever-expanding list of SFR series HERE.

What popular tropes did Selene leave out? Which are your favorites? Book recommendations? Let us know.

Missed the first part of the post? Click HERE.

Book Your Passage for Fall 2017

The L.S. Quantum is preparing to set off into the great expanse of the universe–loading cargo, checking in passengers, monitoring flight conditions. Traversing through various worlds, the luxury space liner promises adventure, a little chaos and fourteen stories of tender love. Expected release date: Fall 2017.

SFR Shooting Stars is honored to announce the fine authors who’ve joined the journey and are packing everything they need into the best stories for readers right now:

Kerry Adrienne
Cailin Briste
Cathryn Cade, writing as C. J. Cade
Blaire Edens
Jayne Fury
Dena Garson
Athena Grayson
Jenna Lincoln
Tessa McFionn
Rosalie Redd
Diana Rivis
Selene Grace Silver
Kat Vancil

Check back throughout the summer for updates and sneak peeks!