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!
email@example.com (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:
July 21, 2014
Romeo opines (while pining and whining) that names shouldn’t matter. Changing the name of a rose, he insists in far more poetic language than we’ll use here, will not change the properties of the rose.
Fair enough. So why do we take such great and often agonized pains over picking names in fiction?
Someone asked recently how I choose names of characters and planets for Science Fiction pieces. The how is certainly important, but I think it’s backed by a why. Names in fiction, especially genre fiction like SF and Fantasy, give the readers immediate clues regarding the nature and origin of things. Often, this is done in a purposeful, even tongue in cheek way—exaggeration so no one could possibly mistake the sort of thing involved. Who could ever mistake the name Malificent for someone benign? Who could believe that the planet Pandora, even before we reached it, was a safe place for humans?
Most language cues in SF are slightly more subtle. Lois Bujold named her all-male planet Athos after the mountain and peninsula in Greece (somewhat isolated, independent, and home to an ancient monastery.) Immediately, the cultural cues are there, whether we consciously recognize them or not. Orson Card nicknamed his hero Ender to create a pun on the phrase “endgame.” (While the name means “one in a million” in Turkish, Card didn’t know that at the time.) Ender, the name, also gives the reader feelings of foreboding as we anticipate endings before we’ve even begun.
My naming decisions are often an odd recipe of the personal, the cultural clue, and the type indicator. Isaac Ozawa, from Gravitational Attraction, sprung from the Eurasian heritage of the Altairian Empire, has a name that immediately gives the present-day reader ancestral clues. He’s also named in honor of my son, Ian, who really likes the name Isaac and has, on more than one occasion, dubbed it “the world’s coolest name.”
The names in Vassily the Beautiful follow the cultural heritage of the original Russian fairytale, Vassilisa the Beautiful, on which the story is based. The horrid, amoral stepfather has the name Boris, since that still has echoes in the American mind of not-so-ethical characters. Baba Yaga’s sons have as names the Russian words for the times of day they represent in the original tale: Rassvet for dawn, Poldien for noon, and Sumerki for evening.
For Sub Zero, I wanted to delve into a language and people who understand cold, so I turned to Tibetan and a single Hindu place name. Dras, the town in Kargil, is one of the coldest inhabited places on Earth, hence Drass became the name for my ice planet. The Tibetan language provided the perfect sound and feel for dangpo names and words. A language full of soft consonants, the words feel right for a people unfamiliar with the concept of war.
Names may not change the substance of the thing, but they can certainly change the perception, and in fiction, perception is sometimes all we have.
(From the scene where Turk first speaks to Isaac)
“You have a name?” The voice rivaled the face in beauty, soft and warm, caressing his exhausted mind. “All right, we’ll start with mine. I’m Isaac Ozawa. And I guess I could just call you the Marduk Rescuee or maybe Ishmael—”
“Ishmael?” The word caught in his dry throat, barely a rasp.
“Yeah, you know, the sole survivor? And I alone survived to tell the tale? Oh, never mind. But it would be nicer to have a name.”
He swallowed against the rawness, trying for more of a voice. “Turk.”
“That’s your name? Turk?”
He nodded and watched in fascination as Isaac shook his head, dark hair fanning his cheeks.
“Of course it is. No soft sibilants or lingual sounds for you. Oh no. Nothing but hard, strong sounds. You probably have a last name that would hurt to say.”
July 21, 2014
The GEM drive (gravito-electromagnetic drive) was, as I’ve said, a joint project. While I realize it’s not feasible using current electromagnetic theory, the assumption we started with was that science does not stand still:
In the year 2072,after five-years of seclusion and mathematical research, Dr. Umberto Mondal publishes his theory of gravito-electromagnetic unification. This theory shows that these three fundamental forces are all directly connected, analogous, and interdependent. A tech revolution swiftly follows over the next hundred years.
The monstrous forces involved did not become useful for interstellar travel until the discovery of lumanium, of course, a radical isotope of lead, devoid of any neutrons, and therefore, under Mondal’s theorems, incapable of transferring gravitational forces.
There were a lot of stops and starts along the way, along with the destruction of Earth’s Moon (oops) but eventually, GEM drives became the norm for space travel.
And now – so that you may all fall out of your chairs laughing (please do not take a sip of coffee before viewing the photo) – my exceptionally poorly drawn rendition of the Hermes preparing for GEM drive flight.
Please keep in mind that this was my quick and dirty sketch when Ian and I were discussing drive and shield placement. But, yes, I really am that terrible an artist, thank you.