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).

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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 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