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From Afar: Recent releases of note

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Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By Veronica Scott

Special to the Daily Record

I thought this month I’d highlight a few recent releases of note in science fiction romance (SFR).

In no certain order, I’ll start with Michele Mills’s immensely popular Monsters Love Curvy Girls series. She just released book four, “His Human Organizer.” The alien hero hires a human woman to assist him in cleaning up his residence. She’s trying to break up with a guy on Earth who won’t commit and of course, the sparks fly between her new boss and herself in between the sorting and the organizing. There’s been something of a trend in SFR toward writing Big Beautiful Women (BBW) as the heroines the aliens can’t get enough of, with several of Evangeline Anderson’s novels, including “Sought,” coming to mind. There have also been L. Starfyre’s “Zoe” and “Betty” titles, as well as Tiffany Roberts’ “Claimed by the Alien Warrior,” which is a special favorite of mine. BBW romance is its own subgenre and I’ve noticed more and more authors bringing tropes from the broad “Romancelandia” set of situations into the SFR world, with enjoyable results for the readers.

Cynthia Sax released “Containing Malice,” the first book in a new series of her sizzling cyborgs. The hero is an escapee from a cruel cyborg experimentation program and the heroine is one of the doctors involved, so of course he hates her and he loves her and there’s just a lot to work out, which always makes for a good romance. Cyborgs are a perennial favorite in SFR as heroes. Also new are “Taken by the Cyborg” by Tamsin Ley and “The Scent of Memory” by Shari Elder. I have to give a special mention to Elder’s incredible use of sensory cues in her writing.

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A relatively new SFR author is S.J. Sanders — who also writes fantasy — but in either genre her specialty is dark and steamy, with strong characters, great world building and “alien” type heroes rather than humans or humanoids. Her current series is Argurma Salvager, with the most recent release being “Sands of Argurumal,” in which the heroine is in the midst of a three year pregnancy. She and her alien mate must return to his home planet and of course complications ensue. Sanders’s fans are extremely devoted to her blend of SFR and always clamoring for more. Sandra R. Neeley and Octavia Kore are two other well-reviewed SFR authors whose books fall into the dark themes/hot alien sex subgenre.

For a more classic science fiction action adventure, with a much lower heat level, there’s Pauline Baird Jones, who just re-released two books: “Time Trap” and “General’s Holiday,” both set in her Project Enterprise universe. Each story features a unique pet and both were formerly in Pets in Space anthologies, which are no longer available. No one handles the intricacies of time travel and/or plot complications as well as Jones.

For that matter, I just re-released one of my Pets in Space novels, “Star Cruise Return Voyage,” which completes my Titanic in Space trilogy, about the greatest disaster in interstellar cruise ship history, which was the subject of the first novel — without pets — “Wreck of the Nebula Dream.” I followed that book with “Star Survivor,” recounting the further adventures of a secondary couple from the first novel — also without pets — and now with this third book, I’ve revisited one of the child survivors, 20 years or so further on; and her attempt as an adult to lay the ghosts of the past to rest by sailing the stars in a sister ship. She has a service animal for her PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) attacks.

For many people and other authors, Ruby Dixon’s Ice Planet Barbarians series was their introduction to SFR and definitely left them wanting more and in some cases, wanting to write in the genre. Personally, I was inspired by SF authors Andre Norton and Anne McCaffrey, but with a whole lot more romance on the pages. I do love the Ruby Dixon series though, and its spinoff Icehome series. Ms. Dixon recently released “Barbarian’s Bride.”

Tasha Black has continued her bent toward writing SFR with babies and children involved and now has the Alien Adoption series, with the third book “Tyro” recently being released. I particularly enjoyed the plot of this one, where the heroine has gone off into the stars to be an adoptive mother to a baby with his own bodyguard. There’s a farm at stake and as Ms. Black says herself, “steamy sensual scenes.” This popular SFR author is quite prolific — she also writes paranormal romance — and has a series involving alien mail order brides, alien barbarian brides, alien space cruise brides, alien reality show brides and alien mystery brides, all under her Stargazer universe.

Dragons remain high on everyone’s list, whether they be aliens or shifters or something else. Cara Bristol recently released “Playing with Fyre,” the third in her alien dragon shifter series. The heroine in this one is the dragon, which is a nice role reversal. Miranda Martin’s Red Planet Dragons of Tajss series is going strong at 20 books, having released “Dragon’s Destiny.” An SFR reader could certainly binge read this entire series, although the books are standalone.

Steampunk is a subgenre which can be associated with SFR. Author Nita Round’s The Towers of Earth series is a well-regarded example of so-called “Gaslamp” fiction and features LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) protagonists. “Finding the Rogue” is the first book in the Sky Pirate trilogy, by Anna Applegate and Angela Sanders and is garnering good reviews. Alydia Rackham has The Bureau of Investigative Time Travel series, which is steampunk-oriented and Angela Roquet is giving us the World Clock Journals. And of course, there’s Kit Kane’s Cannonball Express series, a scifi western adventure with “200 tons of steam-powered alien super tech.” I mean, who could resist? The romance isn’t always prominent or even present in steampunk novels but the adventures sure are fun!

And if superheroes are your favorite trope, there was the recent Beneath the Mask anthology, with 10 stories about superheroes “saving the day and falling in love.”

SFR truly has something for everyone and more new books arrive every week. Happy reading!

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.

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