New Science Fiction Romance Releases for May 2017

Veronica Scott looks at the business of science fiction romance, then at some new releases.

Time to talk new and fairly recent science fiction romance releases! There’s never a shortage, fortunately.

In indie author circles we’re having a lot of discussion these days about how rapidly to publish, with many who can write well and swiftly putting out new releases every month, which is one reason some of the names may seem familiar every time I post one of these reports. But readers appear quite happy not having to wait long in between installments of their favorite series.  Another trend in some SFR circles which goes hand in hand with rapid releases, is to write shorter novels, maybe 50-75K words, versus 80K and up.

Of course, like any other strategy in self-publishing, there’s an equally opposite approach where releasing a new book every 3-4 months works well (that’s more my speed, by the time I write the story and have the various edits done). And there are some authors who still write only one or two books a year and the readers find them. M. K. Eidem and Michelle Diener are two good examples of the latter that come to mind for this year at least, with the caveat, however, that they are both well known in SFR circles and have large readerships already. A new author who only puts out one or two books a year may indeed have a hard time standing out in the crowded SFR universe. Or at least not until they’ve built up a backlist over time and done a lot of outreach and promo.

In general though, there’s a high volume of new books being released every month, and the promo algorithms at certain ebook sales sites favor those rapid releases, especially if they garner many favorable reviews. Quite a few indie authors who publish less frequently for whatever reason are feeling the pressure. Fortunately the publishing industry today is sufficiently wide open that an author can choose to pursue whatever strategy works for them and their readers. No single golden right answer for every situation!

I tend to feel that if I tell a good story, meet my readers’ expectations and put out a quality product (professionally edited) every 3-4 months, I’m doing the best I can. Would I like to release a high caliber book every month? Well of course! Is my Muse up to that? Not so far. I guess never say never.

Okay, enough shop talk and on to the new releases I wanted to mention today. The indefatigable Ruby Dixon has branched out a bit from her Ice Planet Barbarians series to now have a story involving the Prison Planet Barbarian. These newcomers are also apparently blue. And hot and sexy.

The story:  Being kidnapped by aliens is one thing.

Being kidnapped by aliens and then sent to a prison planet is something infinitely worse.

Here in Haven’s prison system, I’m stranded among strangers, enemies, and the most ruthless criminals in the galaxy. There’s no safety for a human woman here, especially not one branded as a murderer. I’m doomed to a fate worse than death.

Then…he decides I should be his. 
His name’s Jutari. He’s seven feet tall, blue, and horned. He’s an assassin and one of the most dangerous prisoners here. He’s like no one I’ve ever met before…and he might be my only chance.

Anna Hackett is another author I enjoy a great deal, and who keeps several series running seamlessly at once. Her latest book is Theron (Hell Squad Book 12). The plot: Sienna Rossi has always been a mix of contradictions. She loves ice cream, likes cooking, and is skilled at taking down aliens with her squad. Sweet and tough, soldier and woman, most people can’t seem to make sense of her…even the loving family she lost in the invasion and especially men. One man accepts her as she is, her best friend Theron. But the big, silent, muscled soldier has her firmly in the ‘friends’ zone…except that Sienna knows he wants her, and she’s determined to claim the stubborn man as hers.

Theron Wade lives to fight aliens. They killed his parents, his foster siblings, and his fellow Rangers. Now he has a new team — the tough, mostly-female Squad Nine. But one certain female haunts his dreams and stars in his darkest fantasies. Sienna is his sunshine in the darkness. He wants to her to be happy…and he knows that would never be with a man like him. A man with darker, rougher tastes that would shock her.

As Squad Nine works to track and destroy a dangerous alien device, best friends collide. Theron introduces Sienna to a world of rough, edgy passion that she craves. But as a mission goes off track, the two of them will risk everything for love, for their lives, and to save the world.

J. L. Carter is a new-to-me author and I believe The Sky Regency is her first SFR. It’s definitely a change of pace! The summary: It’s 1810, and Europe is at war as Napoleon stages his great march across the continent and the British Empire battles the threat. King George III’s illness leaves him raving about sky invasions — rants that his courtiers dismiss as the thoughts of a madman.

Margaret Swinton has her own problems; unwillingly promised to Julian Barwick, Duke of Bridgewater and a royal insider, she struggles to find feelings for him, something that her family cannot understand.

However, History will soon be transformed when strange lights start to appear over England: a new invader with a power that easily overwhelms the primitive British forces. As George III repeals the Regency Act, Margaret meets Aidar, the gorgeous and dreaded Prince of the Sky Men.

Margaret quickly finds herself trapped in a deadly, deceit-filled love triangle in a world that has changed forever. The stakes are high, and one wrong move could easily spell disaster.

Robyn Bachar’s Relaunch Mission from Carina Press has a killer tagline: Firefly meets James Bond in this action-adventure romance set in an alternate future where the Cold War never ended…

Living mission to mission on the fringes of civilized space, Captain Lindana Nyota has managed to keep her crew paid and her ship in one piece. Barely. The privateer’s life of stealing Soviet supplies for the Alliance is taking its toll on everyone. Down a crew member, she now has to take on a new intel officer and hope it’s someone she can trust.

Lieutenant Gabriel Steele knew Lindy wasn’t expecting him to walk out of the air lock and back into her life, but he didn’t think he’d get his nose broken. As an intelligence agent for the Alliance, Gabriel has spent his career in deep cover, his sense of self crushed under layers of deceit — starting with the lies he had to tell Lindy years ago when he left her. A fresh start is all he wants, but the Alliance and his secret orders have already jeopardized that.

When an infamous pirate and friend of Lindy and her crew is reported alive and in possession of knowledge of a powerful Soviet weapon, finding her before the enemy does is paramount. But Gabriel can’t do it without regaining Lindy’s trust — and hopefully rekindling what he once sacrificed in the name of duty.

I also want to highlight two ‘hard science fiction’ novels (so there’s no romance) I read recently that were excellent:

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty. I loved the way the plot unfolded, like peeling an onion and learning more information on every page that made me re-evaluate what I’d thought on the page before. The tagline: A space adventure set on a lone ship where the clones of a murdered crew must find their murderer — before they kill again.

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries) by Maggie Wells. I read this and then turned around and reread it right away because it was so well done. I crave sequels!  A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial Intelligence.

And to finish off the post today, I was excited to release three of my own Sectors stories only found previously in anthologies, none of which are currently available. I bundled them under the somewhat complicated title Star Cruise A Novella: Stowaway Plus Rescue and Token Short Stories. I was trying to be really clear about the content and that this was not a box set of novel length works.

Here are the story descriptions:

Star Cruise: Stowaway: A novella of 22K words, previously in the ‘Pets In Space’ anthology.

Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.

Star Cruise: Rescue: A short story of 9K words, previously in the ‘Romancing the Stars’ anthology.

When a shore leave excursion goes terribly wrong for Mira Gage, a member of the Nebula Zephyr’s crew, Security Officer Clint Miltan races the clock to find her before the ship leaves orbit and abandons Mira to her fate. Clint’s got more than a professional interest in Mira, but will he be able to save her from the aliens holding her prisoner?

The Golden Token: A short story of 13K words, previously in the limited edition ‘Dealer’s Choice’ paperback anthology handed out at the 2016 RT Booklovers Convention Interstellar Bar & Grille event.

Sectors Special Forces operator Charlie McBrire had a few days to kill on a layover at Space Station 47. He never expected to find himself in the middle of a miners’ rebellion, fighting to save the life of a casino dancer he just met but can’t imagine living without.

What new science fiction romances have you enjoyed recently?

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