Cover reveal for Keir by Pippa Jay

I am beyond excited to be participating in the cover reveal for the re-issue of Keir by Pippa Jay. Keir was the first SFR I read in 2012, and I fell in love with him on the first page. He's everything I want my hero to be: tragic, wounded, and struggling to find a reason to live.

Isn't it awesome? Yes, Keir is blue.Here's the blurb.

A demon waiting to die...

An outcast reviled for his discolored skin and rumors of black magic, Keirlan de Corizi sees no hope for redemption. Imprisoned beneath the palace that was once his home, the legendary 'Blue Demon of Adalucian' waits for death to finally free him of his curse. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise.

A woman determined to save him.

Able to cross space and time with a wave of her hand, Tarquin Secker has spent eternity on a hopeless quest. Drawn by a compulsion she can't explain, she risks her apparent immortality to save Keir, and offers him sanctuary on her home-world, Lyagnius. But Quin has secrets of her own.

When Keir mistakenly unleashes the dormant alien powers within him and earns exile from Lyagnius, Quin chooses to stand by him. Can he master his newfound abilities in time to save Quin from the darkness that seeks to possess her?

Keir is Book One of the Redemption series and part of the Travellers Universe. Previously released by Lyrical Press Inc. 7th May 2012 and a SFR Galaxy Award for SciFi Romance for Best May-December Romance (2012), Aspen Gold Readers Choice Award 3rd place finalist (2013), Readers' Favorite International Book Award finalist(2012), The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book Awards Nominee for Best SciFi/Fantasy (2013).

Please add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE, or sign up HERE for my no-spam newsletter for special previews on cover reveals, new releases, the latest giveaways and discounts, and upcoming news.

Here's Pippa's bio. (And check out the rest of her stuff! She's got a great variety out right now and is one of my favorite authors, in addition to being a friend.)

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at 
Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include YA and adult stories crossing a multitude of subgenres from scifi to the paranormal, often with romance, and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), the EPIC eBook awards, and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).


The King's Mistress tour schedule

The King's Mistress is here! I am now a multi-published author, though just barely. Here's all the stops on the two tour, a mix of info about the book, a couple of interviews, and a couple of interviews.

But first, here's all the buy links. All are DRM free except iBooks and Nook. And My Name Is A'yen is on sale for $2.99 until 2/3.

Google Play
All Romance Ebooks (epub, mobi, and PDF)

1/19: Liza O'Connor interviews A'yen
1/20: Lisa Atherton's blog
1/21: Why I Wrote The King's Mistress, hosted by Pauline Baird Jones
1/21: Amber Daulton's blog
1/21: The King's Mistress excerpt, Coffee Time Romance
1/22: Love Languages and Creating Heroes, Coffee Time Romance
1/22: Why I Write SFR at Literary Escapism
1/23: Zhurrat Reviews, The King's Mistress
1/25: Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog
1/26: #SFRMonday with Jessica Subject (long excerpt from the book!)
1/26: Belinda's Bookshelf review of The King's Mistress
1/27: Ingenious Indie Promotions blog
1/29: Katrina O'Brien's blog
1/30: My Writing Space, hosted by Sheila Kell
1/31: The Healing Power of Words, Paths to Publishing series with Melissa Snark
1/31: Deal Sharing Aunt blog
2/1:  Me and Creative Hobbies, hosted by Laura Patterson
2/3:  Babu's Bookshelf review of The King's Mistress
2/3:  Hooked On Books review of The King's Mistress
2/3:  Interview with Terry Odell


The Importance of Meeting Reader Expectations

Happy New Year, everyone! This is a long post, and probably controversial. You have been warned.

I write science fiction romance. It's a genre with something for everyone and is one of the most diverse romance sub-genres you'll ever encounter. It's fun to explore. But there are a couple of problems I've noticed in my reading the last few months and they're really bugging me.

The first is reader expectation. I'm not just a romance author, I'm a romance reader. As a romance reader I have certain expectations when I pick up a book labeled as romance. The most important one is that the book centers on the hero and heroine's developing romance. They are the main characters and everything else is secondary. Including the other characters. If you remove the romance the entire story falls apart. The romance is the foundation of the novel.

I'm starting to think there's a lack of understanding within SFR about what a romance really is. The one I most recently finished was billed to me as a romance. It wasn't. It was romantic at best. When I pick up something billed as a romance I expect the focus to be on the hero and heroine, watching them fall in love, deal with their issues, and conquer the conflict keeping them apart.

When you tell me something is a romance, and yet I read it and there's no romance, the author has lied to her readers. That's a great way to turn people off on a genre. Especially when it happens several times in a row. As it did with me last month. I've maintained for two years now that in order for SFR to take off we have to get the true romance reader hooked. That's not going to happen if the romance reader's expectations aren't met.

Which brings me to my other point. When the book's description tells me a certain character is the main character, and yet that character is the one with the least POV space, you're once again lying to your potential readers. The one I most recently finished, and that set this post off, was billed to me by the book description as the thing I love best: a hero-centric romance.

That's not what I got. I didn't get a romance. I didn't get significant time in the hero's head. I didn't even get any plot resolution. It ended on a massive, massive, massive cliffhanger. One with no hope these two people who are supposedly in love ever getting back together. I don't buy their romance, because it didn't go through any of the things a romance reader expects. And there's no book two.

We read romances for the intimate moments of watching two people fall in love. It can be fast, it can be slow, it can be love at first sight, it can be soul mates, it can be star-crossed lovers. Doesn't matter. No matter how it happens, there are still things we expect to see.

I only give so many chances. When my expectations as a romance reader aren't met, I'm gone. And I'm not coming back. I'll also tell other romance readers to steer clear of a certain title.

There's nothing wrong with being an SF writer first. But there is something wrong with not taking the time to understand what truly makes a romance work. In order to have a successful SFR that gains mass appeal and hooks romance readers, you can't shortchange the romance reader's expectations.

We romance readers are the bulk of the fiction readership in the United States. For SFR to survive and thrive, you have to take us seriously and meet our expectations.

*Image courtesy of photostockFreeDigitalPhotos.net


SFR Brigade Showcase: Meet Ro

Welcome to the SFR Brigade Showcase! Click on the banner above to see the full list of participants.

Book two in A'yen's Legacy, The King's Mistress, releases on January 20th, so I thought I'd introduce you to the character who appeared in chapter two and stole my heart. His name is Da'Ro, and he goes by Ro. He is a point of view character, and plays a prominent role in #3, To Save A Life.  In fact, he's the life A'yen is dead-set on saving. No matter what.

If you've read the first one, My Name Is A'yen, you learned Lokmane men are telepathic. If you haven't read the first one, this isn't really a spoiler. There are two types, one is common and one is rare. Ro falls in the latter category.

He's known all his life he was different from everyone else, and it made life dangerous. He spent his childhood hiding what he could do and praying no one would discover him. Ones like him are used by humans as spies and various other things. Poor thing never learned how to play and can count his good memories on one hand.

Unfortunately for Ro, he was found. By Fae's father. He was sent to The Institute, where his strong telepathy and his ability to see emotions as colors, was twisted into a weapon. He's a mind-hopper, the strongest ever produced because he can get in via emotions. You'll have to read the book to find out exactly what a mind-hopper does.

Ro was also the first truly broken character I've ever created. In his own words, he's been shattered and stitched back together so many times he no longer knows who he is. He keeps to himself, doesn't make friends, doesn't talk to people, and doesn't like to be touched. No one trusts him either. He's driven by a need for revenge on the man he holds responsible for most of his torment.

He comes into the story because his field (what I call their telepathy) links with A'yen's. Which means Ro is his personal bodyguard. A'yen turns him inside out because he trusts Ro.

Here's a peek at A'yen and Ro's first one-on-one interaction.

A’yen motioned toward the kitchen. “Thirsty?”
Ro nodded again. Followed him through the hall. A’yen made another mug of tea and started more coffee for Fae. Ro looked around the kitchen and moved to stand with his back to the wall. The way he walked, the way he hugged himself, the way he didn’t take his jacket off, all screamed his fear. Fear A’yen didn’t understand. “What do you want to drink?” He paused at the cabinet holding all the glasses and mugs and removed a tall glass. “Name it and Fae probably has it stashed somewhere.”
Just water.”
A’yen quirked an eyebrow. “Do you want anything in it?”
Ro bit his lip. Released his death grip on himself. “Strawberries?”
Crushed, sliced, or whole?” A’yen moved to the cooling unit and pulled open the drawer Fae kept filled with berries of all kinds, one of her favorite snacks.
Sure.” He grabbed a handful of berries, closed the door, dropped the berries in the glass, and crushed them with a spoon. Filled it with cool water and gave it to Ro. He took it without touching A’yen’s fingers and took a long sip from it.
The corners of Ro’s mouth twitched. “Thanks.” He left the wall for the puddle of sunshine by the table, set his glass down, and removed his jacket. Long sleeves hid his markings, until he rolled them up to his elbows. Dark blue braided lines with points resembling thorns. Fitting, since they caused so much pain.
The coffee finished. A’yen pulled the carafe out to pour a cup for Fae. He’d never developed a taste for it, but the scent was nice. He twisted the lid off. A second later Ro’s glass shattered on the floor. Ro backed into the nearest corner, eyes wide and chest heaving, hands in fists and trembling from head to toe.
A’yen abandoned the carafe and went to Ro. Something about the look in his eyes said he wasn’t seeing Fae’s kitchen. He brushed his hand down Ro’s arm. Ro tensed. “Don’t touch me.” He shoved past A’yen and ran. A second later feet pounded up the stairs.

You can preorder it here:

Freedom has a cost. Can A’yen pay it without losing his soul?

Liberation of the enslaved Lokmane begins with the king. A’yen and Fae agree to visit the Hidden, a group of escaped Lokmane, to protect his identity while the Shadows make their move with emancipation acts. But he's not prepared for the prejudice rampant in the Hidden, or their lack of patience for him. And his new linked bodyguard is unstable to the point A'yen fears for the young man's sanity.

Upon returning to Titan, A'yen is kidnapped and taken to the largest breeding farm in the galaxy. This time he'll be himself even if it kills him. His resolve to unite his people grows as he wonders if he'll live long enough to do it.

With A'yen kidnapped, Fae returns to the Lokmane homeworld seeking the final pieces of what happened two thousand years ago when they were conquered and enslaved. Getting as far away from her father as possible is the only way to keep her from disappearing too.

Separated by light years, A'yen and Fae have to stand alone and fight for their right to live in freedom. No matter the cost.

Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter so you never miss anything important about the series.


SFR Brigade Showcase: My Name Is A'yen

It's time for another SFR Brigade Showcase! Make sure to visit the Showcase page and hit all the participants.

Last month I shared A'yen and Fae's first kiss. This month I'm sharing from a scene earlier in the book, where A'yen is teaching Fae how to swim. He's starting to notice her, but is still hung up on the fact she's a Breeder's daughter. This is also one of my editor's favorite scenes.

 Her lower lip disappeared between her teeth. Again, the desire to kiss her swept through him. If anyone was going to bite her lip, it ought to be him. He pressed his tongue against the back of his teeth to keep it in check. He missed necking, among other things. There were so many ways to feel loved.
“I don’t know how to swim.”
His jaw dropped. “How can you not know how to swim?”
Arms crossed, her eyes narrowed. “Desert planet. Large bodies of water don’t exist.”
“Right. But you spent ten years on Titan and still didn’t learn?”
“I didn’t have time.” One leg moved a few inches further, then the other followed.
“I’ll teach you.”
Her eyes widened, big as an ancient Earth coin he’d once seen in a museum, and filled her face with an expression of awe. “Really?”
“Of course.” He extended his hand, but she didn’t take it. Instead she chewed on her thumbnail. “Come on.”
“I’m scared.” Whispered words, almost lost in the melody of water and birdsong.
Three steps and he stood in front of her, pulled her hand away from her mouth, stared into her heart-stopping green eyes. “So am I. Do you trust me?”
“I want to.”
“I won’t let you drown.” He held his empty hand out and she filled it with hers. Slowly he backed up, leading her further into the water. Her grip tightened every time the water moved up her body, until his fingers began tingling as it reached her ribcage. She froze, body tense, hands white from the force of her grip.
“I won’t let you drown. Try to relax.” With a gentle tug, he led her further into the water until she froze again. “Relax, Farran.”
Her gaze locked on his face, her body began to obey. Except for her grip on his hands.
“As long as you stay relaxed, you won’t drown.”
She nodded, gaze never leaving his face.
“I’m going to help you float first. I have to let go of your hands, but I will not let you drown. Stay relaxed.”
A deep breath moved her chest up and she released his hands. He slipped behind her, settled his hands around her waist. It had been so long since he’d touched someone like this that his body’s reaction took him by surprise. Warm tingles flooded the ink, adding more cement to the growing bond he didn’t want.
“Let me hold your weight. Lift your feet and lean back.”
She did, and he moved his hands to cradle her back. Eyes closed, she relaxed into him. The slope of her neck begged to be tasted. He let his gaze trace it down to where her breasts moved in the water as she breathed. A one-piece swimsuit covered her stomach, but he had no trouble imagining how soft and smooth it would be under his hands.

Like it and want to read the rest? Here's all the buy links. Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords, Google Play. And you can add it to your Goodreads.

I'm in edits for book two, The King's Mistress. The December and January Showcases will feature scenes from that book.


The King's Mistress is coming!

WARNING: Spoilers ahead for My Name Is A'yen! Proceed with caution.

You have been warned. :)

I'm starting edits on The King's Mistress this next week, and I'm very excited about it. The book is going to be so much better once I'm done with them.

The book has had this title since the very beginning. I started it two days after I finished the first draft of My Name Is A'yen. The title is significant in the A'yen's Legacy universe.

At the end of the first book A'yen finds out his family line, through his father, is the long-lost royal family. It's a cosmic shift in his identity and changes the way he looks at his past. He's not quite sure he's up for it and fears losing who he is in order to be who the Lokmane need him to be.

So he's a future king. And he's owned by his wife, because the Lokmane are still enslaved when the novel opens. Fae is, literally, the king's mistress. This one explores her character a little more, though A'yen is still the one running the show. You'll learn more about her background, what her family is like, and meet her half-brothers.

In this one you also meet Da'Ro, another Me like Na'var in My Name Is A'yen. Ro borders on being an antihero and I had so much fun writing him and doing things I'd never done before. Along the way he stole my heart, and I hope he steals yours too. He's a broken man searching for a reason to live. He's lost everything and everyone who's ever cared about him, and the list was small to begin with. He's hated and feared by other Lokmane, and for good reason. He's the most dangerous kind of Me--a mind-hopper.

What is a mind-hopper? Well, to find that out you'll have to read the book when it comes out.


My Fall TV schedule

It's been two years since I added a new show to my weekly fall TV schedule. The last new one was Once Upon A Time a few weeks into season two. Thank you, Netflix!

I've been with Criminal Minds since the beginning, and The Big Bang Theory since season two. I watch NCIS: LA off and on. Never miss The Walking Dead or Doctor Who.

This year I've added THREE. Yes, three. Forever, Arrow, and The Flash.

Season one of Arrow I watched on Netflix back in the spring, recorded the re-runs of season two, and jumped in with season three. I'd been hearing good things about it since the beginning, but finally got on board when I found out John Barrowman would be a regular in season three. Since I have a major crush on him it was a no-brainer.

I love the 90's cartoon Justice League Flash, so when I found out CW was spinning him off for his own show I was all OMG! Must watch. Two episodes in and I'm enjoying it.

The final one I started watching for nothing but eye candy reasons. Forever, starring Ioan Gruffudd. My sister and I have had crushes on him since the very first A&E Horatio Hornblower movie in 1998.

There's nothing all that original about Forever. It's light science fiction mixed with crime drama. Ioan's character, Dr. Henry Morgan, died one night about 200 years ago and came back to life. Every time he dies he comes back and he's trying to figure out why. He's a medical examiner in New York City right now, but he's been every kind of medical doctor one can imagine. Including working in a tuberculosis sanitorium at the turn of the century.

What I love about the show is the sense of hope in it. And the wonderful, deep, rich characters. Every episode is infused with hope and Henry learning how to live again. He's been obsessed with death for so long, and lost so many friends, he has a tendency to only see the negative.

Another cool thing is he's been in New York City before, at least three times. In the 1880's, 1920's, and 1950's. So far in every episode there's been some kind of flashback thread to NYC in one of his previous times there. There's also a running thread with something having happened to a woman he met during WW2, married, and she seems to have disappeared at some point.

Unfortunately, I don't have high hopes of it lasting more than a season. If we're lucky to get that much. Because it's so full of hope. Which is sad, because the world we live in needs more hope.


SFR Brigade Showcase: My Name Is A'yen

Welcome to the first month of the SFR Brigade Showcase! It's going to be fun, and you may find some new authors to love. To celebrate I decided to extend my release giveaway to include this post. Make sure you visit the Showcase page and hit all the participants.

I'm going big and sharing A'yen and Fae's first kiss. Wanted to do it for awhile, and kicking off the Showcase is as good a reason as any.
An irresistible pull brought her hand to his face. She brushed her knuckles across his cheekbone, up to his hairline. He covered her hand with his as his eyes slid closed. Only for a moment. When they opened again, his soul lay open in them. She splayed her fingers across his face, and he did the same to her, his hand sliding down to cup her neck.
A drumbeat pounded in her ears. He tilted his head, leaned across the space between them, pausing centimeters from her lips. Warm breath tickled her nose. Warm lips touched hers, soft at first, almost tentative. Waiting for her to say yes.
As though her hand possessed a will of its own, it came to rest on the other side of his face. She shifted her body forward, increased the pressure of her lips to his. His arms encircled her, pressed her to his chest. Teeth and tongue teased her bottom lip and she let him take it.
Fireworks exploded in her heart. A hint of spice in the taste of him sent heat chasing through her body. His fifteen year relationship had turned him into an expert at kissing. If it were possible to freeze time, she’d do it. Right here, in this moment, with his touch bringing her to life. Thawing places she didn’t know were frozen.
Knowing this, what waited for her in his arms, how could she ever go back to living without it?
How had he survived fifteen months without feeling like this? Life coursed through him again, breaking open the places he’d sealed off, flooding his soul with sunshine. Her taste was altogether different from Master’s, but oh so addictive. Complex and sweet. It’d take years to identify all the components. Years he wanted to claim for him alone. No one else could touch her now.
The feel of her body pressed against him pulled him deeper and deeper. So soft and curvy. So much to explore. He released her mouth, followed her jaw to her ear, then down her neck. A soft moan feathered the side of his face.

One hand still on the back of her neck he pressed his forehead to hers. Their breathing, quick and heavy, meshed in a duet. No doubt now. She owned him. Completely and totally. And he didn’t want it any other way. 

Like what you see? You're in luck! My Name Is A'yen is available now at NookKobo
Google Play Smashwords, and the iBookstore.

They've taken everything from him. Except his name.

The Loks Mé have been slaves for so long, freedom is a distant myth A'yen Mesu no longer believes. A year in holding, because of his master's murder, has sucked the life from him.

Archaeologist Farran Hart buys him to protect her on an expedition to the Rim, the last unexplored quadrant. Farran believes the Loks Mé once lived on the Rim and she is determined to prove it. And win A'yen's trust. But she's a breeder's daughter and can't be trusted.

Hidden rooms, information caches and messages from a long-dead king change A'yen's mind about her importance. When she's threatened he offers himself in exchange, and lands on the Breeder's Association's radar. The truth must be told. Even if it costs him his heart.

I'm giving away an ebook of My Name Is A'yen, along with this necklace inspired by the book. a Rafflecopter giveaway