April 7, 2015
Today we interview the multi-genre writing Rebecca Cohen!
Dreamspinner Press: What is the most erotic scene you’ve ever written?
In Duty to the Crown (the second of my Elizabethan historical series, The Crofton Chronicles), I have Sebastian Hewel pretending to be prostitute, hanging around the seedy backstreets of South Bank in London. He’d slipped Anthony Redbourn note and told him to meet him. Anthony arrives and is more than happy to play along with Sebastian’s game. Especially as Sebastian has procured a room for their use at a nearby tavern. They act out their roles, Anthony tying Sebastian to the bed with his hose, and promising to get his money’s worth from Sebastian. Which he certainly does.
Dreamspinenr Press: Your new novel is a science-fiction gay romance. What were some joys and challenges writing a romance set in a sci-fi world?
In Under Glass I wanted to play with the idea that for certain people true love is genetically determined. I’m a biology geek, and so I created a concept called psychogenetics to describe how Ollie and Kai, the main characters in ‘Under Glass’, are linked and how the link is mediated by a special organ called the caerellon. Only in science fiction could I get to play and run away with such ideas. Another joy was making Kai a novice planet builder. His species creates planets, one of which is where Ollie was spirited away to by his mother as a young child. New races and planets mean I get to shape the evolution of a species and create their mythology, and that is so much fun. But there are things to be mindful of and it is a challenge to keep the balance right. ‘Under Glass’ is a romance, its focus is on the relationship between Ollie and Kai so the world building and background needs to support and not overwhelm the story. I’m also very aware not to drown the reader in jargon or make them think they’ve accidentally wandered into a lecture.
Dreamspinner Press: Do you listen to music when you write? Snack? Drink tea/coffee/vodka?
I’m very fortunate that I can write pretty much wherever and don’t need specific places or rituals. I tend to curl up on the sofa so I can still be the same room as my family and don’t have to lock myself away. My hubby does provide tea on demand and the odd glass of wine when I’m writing after dinner.
Dreamspinner Press: How did you begin writing gay romance?
I didn’t set out to write gay romance. In fact, I didn’t realise it was a separate genre. I was writing a high fantasy novel and the only way the plot would work was if the two male main characters were in a romantic relationship. When I came to try and get it published I started looking around for a suitable publisher and market and discovered that gay romance was a genre in its own right. The high fantasy story was ‘Servitude’, my first published novel with Dreamspinner Press.
Dreamspinner Press: What are you working on next for readers?
One glance at my back catalogue and you’ll see I like to play in different genres. I’ve written historicals, contemporaries, fantasy and sci fi, and where I’m heading next is a contemporary novella series based around an amateur dramatics society. The series is called ‘Treading the Boards’ and the first novella, ‘Overlay Dramatic’, is already contracted to DSP (tentative release this summer). I submitted the second, ‘Summer Season’, at the end of March and I’m currently writing the final one – a Christmas story called ‘He’s Behind You’ – which I plan to submit before my summer holiday at the beginning of June. They are romantic comedies, each with a different leading couple. The first one includes a papier-mâché goat and a very bad play called ‘Whoops, Vicar. There Goes My Trousers’.
Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.
October 3, 2014
All the Devils Here by Astor Penn
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
While struggling to survive a plague, Brie and another girl must ask how they can survive the version of themselves they’ve become. All the Devils Here by Astor Penn, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.
Brie Hall, a sheltered and privileged teenager, is in her final year of boarding school in New York City when disaster strikes. A worldwide biological crisis, the origins of which are unknown, quickly decimates a large portion of the population, and there is no known cure. The threat of contamination is always present, and she cannot trust anyone she sees on the road, and as time goes on, she sees fewer travelers.
While journeying to find her family, Brie meets another wanderer, a girl with a past she can’t or won’t divulge. Circumstance force them together to escape notice of government-issued hazmat vehicles sent to deliver them to unknown conditions. With no hope of a cure, they do only what they can to survive and remain free, picking up new skills and hardening into people they never meant to become. While struggling to answer the question of how to survive a plague, they must also ask how they can survive the version of themselves they’ve become.
Length: Novel (214p.) | Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Lesbian | Release Date: October 2, 2014
August 14, 2014
Binary Boy by RJ Astruc
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
When Michel meets Benny online, Michel finds everything he’s ever wanted. But Benny isn’t what he seems. Binary Boy by RJ Astruc, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.
It’s a lonely life being an Interpol kid. With both Michel’s parents working for the international police force and always moving from country to country, it’s hard enough to make friends, let alone find a boyfriend. Then he meets Benny during an online chat, and Benny is everything Michel ever wanted and more. He looks forward to meeting his crush when his family heads to Australia on an important mission. But Benny isn’t quite what he seems, and it may have something to do with the man Michel’s parents are investigating and his relationship to an AI. In order to find out the truth, Michel will have to go to greater lengths—and face greater dangers—than he ever imagined.
Length: Novella (65p.) | Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: August 14, 2014
Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-149-9)
July 31, 2014
Harmonious Hearts – Stories from the 2104 Young Author Challenge
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Celebrate with Harmony Ink Press as we recognize the talented winners of our first annual Young Author Challenge. Harmonious Hearts – Stories from the 2014 Young Author Challenge, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.
Celebrate with Harmony Ink Press as we recognize the talented winners of our first annual Young Author Challenge. This anthology showcases the LGBTQ genre’s best up-and-coming-authors between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one.
The transition from childhood to adulthood is never easy, and growing up presents unique challenges for LGBTQ youth. Confusion, bigotry, and struggle transcend time and place, but fortunately, so does love. Travel with these exceptional young authors from country cottages to big cities, into the past and the future, from fantastic lands of magic to the recognizable landscapes of our world. Regardless of the setting, the characters in these stories, along with families, friends, lovers, and allies, fight to claim their places in life. Their identities and situations are different, but the young people in this collection share the strength and courage to succeed, sometimes against great odds, and they invite you to join them on their journeys.
Cigar, Parasol, Star by Laura Beaird
Counting Stars by L.A. Buchanan
The King of Dorkdom by Avery Burrow
Happy Endings Take Work by Morgan Cair
Tess by Becca Ehlers
Our First Anniversary by Trisha Harrington
The Dragon Princess by Eleanor Hawtin
An IRL Love Life by Rebecca Long
On Their Own Terms by D. William Pfifer
Glitterhead by Benjamin Shepherd Quiñones
City Lights Will Carry You Home by Amanda Reed
The Gift of Flame by Scotia Roth
Waiting by Annie Schoonover
Quiet Love by Gil Segev
Paranormal Honor Society by Leigh Taylor
Length: Anthology Novel (294p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Fantasy: High Fantasy, Fantasy: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy: Fairy Tales, Science Fiction, Paranormal: Other, Young Adult, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Genderfluid | Release Date: July 31, 2014
July 22, 2014
Hi all! Angel Martinez one last time – just popping in to announce the winner from yesterday’s launch party:
Our winner is Susan! (skadlec1)
Susan, please pick a backlist book of mine that looks good to you (make sure it’s not one of the free reads, ’cause you don’t need me to give you those) from my website:
(the front page has a quick guide to all the work sort of halfway down)
Email me with your choice, preferred file format (if I have it, I’ll send it) and where to send!
firstname.lastname@example.org (my email)
or PM me on Facebook
Congratulations and thank you so much to everyone who stopped by!
July 21, 2014
One more post from me – thank you to Dreamspinner for allowing me to hijack, er, borrow the blog all day!
Thank you to everyone, my wonderful readers and hopefully curious new readers, for joining me and reading all my silliness!
Thank you to Elizabeth for taking us on (me and my boys) to Erika, my incredible editor, and to Anne for the fabulous cover!
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway – it’s the post that says “Contest”
Gravitational Attraction is available in e-book and paperback at :
And in ebook at All Romance
(Amazon to follow soon!)
Will there be more? Oh, yes. Be patient with me – I have a lot of series work going on, but I’m getting back around to this one
July 21, 2014
It’s a funny thing, SF heroes. Sure, you get the same archetypes you do with any other heroes. You get your big, grunty badass:
You get your sexy, leading man types:
You get your sexy, blue alien types:
Hey…wait a minute…I don’t get those with my Regency stories…
Okay, fine. One does get a little more variety with SF heroes. I’ve messed with the human genome several times to get what I needed for different environments and situations. Heck, as a reader, one of my all-time favorite heroes is a vertically challenged, brittle-boned hyper maniac.
Who’s your favorite SF hero?
July 21, 2014
When I was little, televisions were pieces of furniture. They often came in wood and cloth consoles, reception was through antennae, and one changed the channel by (gasp!) getting up and turning the knob. There were perhaps four channels, or possibly five, depending on the signal.
The arrival of cable in our house was a cause of much excitement (on our part) and trepidation (on my mother’s.) Suddenly, there were several more choices. Cartoons! Movies! Really bad commercials! With this sudden invasion came Channel 17 out of Philadelphia and, on Saturdays, Wee Willy Webber’s show. For those of you not from back East, Mr. Webber was a radio personality and then TV host of several shows on many channels over the years – one of those voices that was soothing, friendly and entertaining all at once. The show in question was a Saturday Matinee sort of affair where he showed old Science Fiction and Horror movies – a little intro, sometimes a little serial short (Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers) – and then the MOVIE!
A friend recently asked me if classic SF movies had influenced my writing. Yes and no. Obviously, I’m interested in more advanced science than 1950’s cinema, but the fact is that these movies from childhood seeped into my brain. I know that. The images, the feel, the atmosphere all stayed with me, consciously or not. Sure I loved classic horror. The Boris Karloff Frankenstein, (“It’s alive!”) Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, adored them all. But I loved the weeks best when Mr. Webber’s movies were about space and radiation, mutants and time travel.
Early influences are inescapable, whether we acknowledge them or not. Some of the underground scenes from my novel, Gravitational Attraction, owe a great deal to Forbidden Planet, to that sense of awe and wonder I felt at finally seeing the alien underground installation. Visions of cityscapes in Vassily the Beautiful have much to do with those early futuristic city skylines in Metropolis and The Shape of Things to Come. And my need to return to cold landscapes, in the case of Sub Zero, even Arctic? Ah, there are echoes of The Thing there, not so much the terror of it but the isolation and eerie beauty.
I don’t consciously channel those old movies I love so dearly, but they’re in there, the images curled around my gray matter. And it wonderful.
July 21, 2014
Recently, I asked a group of friends to pose questions, anything at all they might want to know about my work and so on. There were some fabulous ones and some that surprised me. This is in response to the question asking if I was “into SF as a child” and what was it like growing up in a science fiction world of make believe.
That brought a flood of memories. I was interested in the universe at large when I was small, as most children are, but science subjects occupied a lot of shelf space in my room. My indulgent parents purchased a working microscope for me, bought books on stars and planets, on animals and weather, on anatomy and the moon landing. I was only five years old at the time of the first moon landing, but I think it sparked something in my imagination so fiercely, it never quite went away.
I wasn’t the only one, of course. A slew of movies and television shows built around speculation about space, both serious and silly, cropped up in my early childhood – Lost in Space, My Favorite Martian…
It’s easy to make fun of the original ST, with its low budget sets, its primitive special effects, its tendency toward over-acting, (in certain cases) and its occasional disregard for the laws of physics, despite Mr. Scott’s protestations. But it was original, the characters interesting and accessible, and the themes important ones, explored in environments that removed them from the politics and strife of Earth.
Yes, my best friend and I played Star Trek. I admit it. She was Captain Kirk and I was Mr. Spock, because that’s how our personalities fell and because Kirk and Spock were best friends, too. Of course. The question of gender never entered our minds, nor the question or Kirk and Spock’s actual relationship. We were too young and our minds were filled with aliens, distant planets, tricorders and phasers. Sometimes we tried to have other friends join in, but they never really got it and we’d end up playing dress up or something equally distasteful to us. More often than not, it was just the two of us, transforming the landscape of shelves and boxes in our parents’ basements into alien terrain and starship corridors.
Eventually, my friend outgrew her SF phase. Me? I’m old enough to be someone’s grandmother – and I never have.
Of course I ended up writing SF. How could I not?
(Don’t forget the discount code – good until end of day tomorrow! Martinez0720 *case sensitive)
July 21, 2014
I like a good Space Opera as much as the next reader. But when is a story a space op and when is it SF?
The term “space opera” first appeared in the late 40’s, early 50’s to refer to radio and movie short serials set in futuristic venues. The term, of course, referred to a soap opera in space, though the space opera was heavy on adventure and light on the romance. Think Flash Gordon and the original Buck Rogers serials. Later on, the term was applied to literature as well, to any adventure novel set in a space faring culture, light reading meant to excite and entertain.
SF, science fiction, has always been held up as the older, more serious sibling to space op. All of us who read SF know the clichés about it needing to answer a “what if” question. Not all SF is so simple, of course, but truly to be called SF, there should be an exploration of something slightly deeper than who gets to sleep with whom in the end or which military faction wins. Those of us who cut our teeth on Douglas Adams and Keith Laumer know that the “serious” part can be left by the wayside and still be SF, but the necessary core remains, either with the story exploring some aspect of human interaction with the universe or with each other.
So…Arthur C. Clarke? Isaac Asimov? Ursula Leguin? SF, hands down. Elizabeth Moon? Some of C. J. Cherryh? Space Opera, no doubts, no mystery. Not everyone fits into such nice boxes, of course. Lois McMaster Bujold, for example, writes stories that appear to be space opera, until you scratch the surface and see the cultural entanglements and the consequences of tech built into many of the plotlines. Relationships become as important as tech, the journey to self-awareness as vital as world building.
This, I believe, is where SFR comes in. As Science Fiction writers, we are free to explore the universe, our culture, and our own selves, without the constraints of a normal novel. We can reach beyond the constraints of traditional romance, unfettered by rules and convention. As Romance writers, we bring SF to a human scale, whether it is serious stuff with a purpose (I hear Carl Sagan saying ‘star stuff’ – I still miss him) or the adventure-laden fare of the space opera. The universe is limitless, both the external and the internal.
As you’ve probably realized, I enjoy both ends of the spectrum – but which do you prefer? SF or Space Opera? Or do you devour both with equal zeal?
For all my Science Fiction offerings – come on over to my SF page: