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From Afar: Holidays in the science-fiction and paranormal romance way

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USA Today bestselling author Veronica Scott.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By Veronica Scott

Special to the Daily Record

One might think science-fiction romance (SFR) would offer little to no possibility for writing Christmas or winter holiday tales, but I’m here to tell you SFR authors are very creative and there are indeed selections available this season.

A group of nine well-known SFR authors kicked things off on Dec. 1, with an anthology entitled “A Very Alien Christmas,” with this enticing description: “Get ready to set your holiday thrusters to hot! If you love alien romances, you’ll adore this brand-new collection of steamy alien novellas and short stories by New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling authors.” The stories are quick reads for the most part, ranging from mild to steamy. A good cross section of how the SFR genre handles this type of tale.

A number of SFR authors have picked up on the concept of Krampus, which Wikipedia says is: “A horned, anthropomorphic figure in central European and eastern Alps folklore, described as ‘half-goat, half-demon,’ who during the Christmas season, scares children who have misbehaved, assists Saint Nicholas … who rewards the well-behaved on Dec. 5 at night with modest gifts (oranges, walnuts and chocolate) and bad ones with birch rod only.” In SFR, Krampus is more often an alien being who finds love with an Earth woman.

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There’s “The Snowmaiden, A Bride for Krampus” by Jeanette Lynn, whose heroine is snarky and not in a holiday mood when she’s whisked off to an alien “winter wonderland.”

“Krampus and the Crone” by Honey Phillips has a different take on things and tries to stick a little more closely to the source material. Here’s part of the story blurb: “Jaelle is lonely. Ostracized by the village, like her mother and grandmother before her, she poses as an old witch in order to eke out a meager living selling herbal remedies to people who don’t want to admit they need her help. When children start disappearing from the village, she is determined to find an answer to the riddle. She doesn’t expect to find a massive, horned alien — one who sees through all her disguises. Since crash-landing on K.R.S Three, Commander Krampusarian D’Marchandar spends his time working on his ship and secretly observing the other inhabitants. During his explorations, he discovers a strange, beautiful female. It is an impossible attraction — but when he sees her treatment at the hands of the other villagers, he decides she is his to protect. A sweet and steamy holiday tale featuring two precocious orphans, a determined heroine, an unexpected hero, and, of course, a very happy ending!”

“Married to Krampus (My Holiday Tails)” by Marina Simcoe who begins the story description this way: “My husband has horns, hooves, fur and a tail. His Krampus-like appearance didn’t scare me away from marrying him. Forever an optimist, I eagerly agreed to be the first bride shipped under the new liaison program to Voran, a country on the newly discovered planet Neron. The Colonel also has two little boys — a huge plus for me since I adore children. My down-to-earth sister says I live with my head in the clouds. And maybe I naively hoped for an out-of-this-world romance. What I didn’t expect was an out-of-this-world brute.”

But of course this is a romance so there will be a happy ever after (HEA) for everyone.

“In A Not So Lonely Christmas (Galactic Order)” by Erin Raegan, the single mother’s only wish is for a Christmas tree. Stranded on an alien planet, in danger of starvation and/or freezing, she has an unseen alien guardian coming to her rescue, who provides the HEA she needs.

“Alien for Christmas: In the Stars Romance (Empaths of Lyria)” by USA Today bestselling author Regine Abel takes a self-described plain Jane spinster working through the holidays on a space station and adds in a “drool-worthy alien hellbent on fulfilling her every desire” to achieve a holiday HEA in the stars.

The paranormal romance genre finds it a bit easier to handle holiday stories since Santa is known to be a “jolly old Elf.” Here are three of this year’s many offerings:

Zoe Chant has two new books on this theme, “A Hippogriff for Christmas.” The blurb is as follows: “Hippogriff shifter Beau can’t wait to take a break from the Shifter Patrol Corps to celebrate Christmas with his family. But when he runs into a beautiful baker in trouble, his first instinct is to rescue her. His second is to bet her that in three days, he can convince her to love Christmas,” and “Christmas Griffin,” which is described as the following: “A blizzard and a car crash force this griffin shifter who experiences physical pain if someone tells a lie in his presence and a woman whose entire life is a lie to spend the holidays together and achieve their HEA.”

USA Today bestselling author Ariana Hawkes gives us “Bear My Holiday Hero.” The author’s description is: “On his way back from a search and rescue mission, bear shifter Bruin Michaels happens to spot a lone red light at the bottom of a ravine. But when he fights his way down there and finds a badly injured human, he knows that fate has brought them together.”

My personal favorite holiday fantasy tale is actually from 2019, by Kim Fielding and is entitled “Christmas Present.” It’s a charming spin on part of the Scrooge legend. Lewis, the hero, picked up the job of being the ghost of Christmas present by responding to an online help-wanted ad. He now gets sent here, there and everywhere each December by his unseen and presumably otherworldly employer as part of the ritual of the spirits and ghosts who warn Scrooge-types to reform or else. Sammy is a pro bono lawyer working part-time in his family’s Korean restaurant and a target of the spirits. Or is he? Lewis and Sammy get their HEA and it just makes me happy. I re-read this one when I need a warm little seasonal pick-me-up.

Happy holiday reading to you!

USA Today bestselling author Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library at its heart. Her father loved science-fiction, her mother loved ancient history and Scott thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories. Seven-time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Scott is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances. One of her favorite achievements is that she read the part of “Star Trek Crew Member” in the official audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s, “The City On the Edge of Forever.” For more information, visit her blog at veronicascott.wordpress.com or find her on social media such as Twitter, @vscottheauthor, or Facebook, @VeronicaScottAuthor.