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New at Heather Massey’s Steampunk Cafe: Caitlin Like’s MAIDEN OF THE MACHINE

Do you enjoy webcomics? Spunky heroines? Airships? Lady pirates? Dapper gents and mystery galore? Then look no further: at Coffee Time Romance’s Steampunk site, I’m blogging about artist Caitlin Like’s MAIDEN OF THE MACHINE.

I read all of what’s available so far of this gothic adventure and while I can’t speak to an HEA, it has strong appeal for sci-fi romance and steampunk/steampunk romance readers. Head on over to to my post to discover if MAIDEN OF THE MACHINE is an airship you want to fly on!

Announcing PETS IN SPACE, a Sci-Fi Romance Anthology

Pet lovers, rejoice! On October 11, 2016, you can enjoy a furrylicious new sci-fi romance anthology featuring sci-fi romance, pets, and space adventures called PETS IN SPACE. Below are all kinds of informational treats so you can learn all about it.

Anthology description

Even an alien needs a pet…

Join the adventure as nine pet loving sci-fi romance authors take you out of this world and pull you into their action-packed stories filled with suspense, laughter, and romance. The alien pets have an agenda that will capture the hearts of those they touch. Follow along as they work side by side to help stop a genetically-engineered creature from destroying the Earth to finding a lost dragon; life is never the same after their pets decide to get involved. Can the animals win the day or will the stars shine just a little less brightly?

New York Times, USA TODAY, Award Winning, and Best selling authors have nine original, never-released stories that will capture your imagination and help a worthy charity. Come join us as we take you on nine amazing adventures that will change the way you look at your pet!

10% of the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

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Story blurbs

A MATE FOR MATRIX: CYBORG PROTECTION UNIT

By S.E. Smith (New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling Author)

Matrix Roma is a member of the elite Zion military Cyborg Protection Unit. Matrix gets more than he bargains for when his cyborg partner, a hybrid Wolfhound named K-Nine, goes missing and ends up finding a mate for Matrix in the middle of a deadly mission on an unknown planet called Earth.

Website

Facebook

Twitter: @SESmithFL

STRAY

By Susan Grant (New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling, and RITA Award Winning Author)

Interplanetary Marine Lt. Lukas Frank has a lot in common with a street dog named Bang-Bang; they both started off as scrappy orphans fighting to survive—and beat the odds. Things change when Bang-Bang leads Lukas to starpilot Capt. Carlynn Riga. The tough war hero learns what it means to surrender — his heart. Lukas’s struggles with PTSD threaten to tear the three of them apart, but nothing threatens them more than when Carlynn goes missing on a mission. Can a scarred marine and his unlikely canine partner find Carlynn and bring her home, or will he lose everything he’s finally found worth fighting for?

Website:

Facebook:

FB Handle: @Author.Susan.Grant

Twitter: @flyerdreamer

SPARK OF ATTRACTION

By Cara Bristol (USA TODAY Bestselling Author)

Memory: intact. Cognitive function: enhanced. Emotion: erased. After becoming a cyborg, Captain Dante Stone didn’t think he’d ever feel again, until a traumatized young woman and a ball of synthetic fur named Sparky helped him to love.

Website

Facebook

Twitter: @CaraBristol

THE REAL DRAGON

By Pauline Baird Jones

Emma Standish didn’t think her day could get any worse. Her dad is marrying his boss, her dragon suddenly came back talking and typing, and it’s her fault the Earth, or at least ten square miles of Texas, is going to be destroyed. That’s what happens when you forget something very, very important. Luckily for her, she’s got the love of her life that she can’t remember and her dragon by her side. Who needs to worry when you’re having a day like this?

Website

Facebook

FB Handle: @AuthorPaulineBairdJones

Twitter: @PaulineBJones

STAR CRUISE: STOWAWAY

By Veronica Scott

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.

Website

Facebook

FB Handle: @VeronicaScottAuthor

Twitter: @VScottTheAuthor

STARDOG

By Laurie A. Green

Navigator Taro Shall has a mission no one wants – find a way to eradicate snakes on a starship. He never expects to find the answer to his problem in a charming street vendor named Adini. His already unusual mission becomes more complicated when he suddenly acquires an adorable StarDog that soon sweeps him and Adini into the maw of a brewing insurrection.

Website

Facebook

Twitter: @SFRLaurie

SPIKE

By Alexis Glynn Latner

Young Roboticist Ten Jaxdown has to deploy, and possibly sacrifice, the swarm of investigative robots that he has invented and cares about more than anything else in the star system. It may be the only hope for those depending on him and his robots to save them. Yet, even as frantic preparations for the unprecedented deep-space rescue mission are set in motion, it could all be threatened by sabotage.

Anastasia Steed is an intrepid young mission designer. She steps forward with an idea that can improve the odds of the mission. Neither she nor Ten expect the assistance they receive from a very unusual pet. A pet that will bring together two alienated human beings who didn’t realize they needed each other. Can Ten and Anastasia discover who is behind the sabotage, save the mission, and discover what is evolving between them? With a little bit of unusual help, anything is possible.

Website

SPACE RANGER

By Lea Kirk

Graig Roble is the Senior Commander of security for the Guardian Fleet. His expertise as a weapons specialist and combat master is his world, what he was born to do – or so he thought until he finds his resolve and focus inexplicably wavering. Even returning to his position aboard the Atlantis can’t save him; if anything, it has left him questioning his own motives. He never thought that could happen until he met Simone Campbell.

Simone’s focus is on her home world – Earth. She thought her life was full with her research as a botanist. After all, she always believed that helping the people of her world become self-sufficient should take all of her concentration – except it doesn’t. There is one man that keeps pulling her attention, and her heart, away from her job.

Graig’s gift of a puppy to keep her company does more than that, it keeps him in her dreams. How can such a simple gift bring her comfort and make her long for more? Graig and Simone are about to find out that sometimes love can blossom from the smallest, furriest ties.

Website

Facebook

FB Handle: @ProphecySeriesFunPage

Twitter: @LeaKirkWrites

ESCAPE RUN

By Carysa Locke

Teegan’s job as a hunter is to track down the Talented, those driven insane by their gifts. She and Ember, her psychically gifted fox, have tracked dozens of people for Cole, the man who works to rehabilitate and recover these troubled souls. When one of Cole’s most dangerous patients escapes, Teegan and Ember are on a hunt that could prove fatal if she doesn’t keep her focus on her mission. Unfortunately, Cole is proving one distraction that might make this her last hunt if she can’t do that.

Can Teegan keep her heart and mind in the game long enough to save an entire planet’s population, or will her distraction lead to heartache – and possibly death for everyone?

Website

Facebook

FB Handle: @carysalocke

Twitter: @carysalocke

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Want to learn more? Watch the PETS IN SPACE book trailer on YouTube.

Twitter hashtags: #PetsInSpace #cyborgpets

Happy reading!

Sci-Fi Romance Link Roundup

Check out author Donna S. Frelick’s FOOLS RUSH IN cover reveal!

Author Veronica Scott rounds up the New Releases in SciFi And Fantasy Romance for August 10.

Josh Trujillo’s LOVE MACHINES comic looks highly intriguing. Mayhaps the stories offer HEAs? After I have a chance to check it out, I’ll report back. If you can’t wait that long, the series is available at ComiXology!

Meet Some Adorable Authors’ Pets, a post in the spirit of the forthcoming October 2016 release of PETS IN SPACE, a sci-fi romance anthology (more news coming soon, so stay tuned!).

Mills & Boon’s Escape Sci-Fi Romance – a handy reference page for a few sci-fi romances by Australian authors.

Coming soon from Red Sage Publishing: THE INVENTOR’S WIFE, the third installment in my Clockpunk Trilogy! Here’s the blurb for this erotic sci-fi romance:

Elena Harrington’s widowed father rules her life with an iron fist. Even worse, he intends to force her into a loveless marriage in order to expand his business empire. An innocent bird trapped in a gilded cage, she can do naught but daydream about an adventurous life forever out of reach.

Elena resigns herself to a doomed existence until the day she meets her father’s dashing new employee. Daniel Miller is a brilliant inventor who crafts extraordinary devices. His astonishing machines fill her with delight. What else might this mysterious inventor have in store?

Determined to find out, Elena begins visiting Daniel’s workshop in secret. One hot, sultry night, he awakens her passion with all manner of sensual clockwork devices. Elena is certain she’s discovered her soul mate. Then an unexpected danger threatens to derail not only their burgeoning romance, but also their very lives.

THE INVENTOR’S WIFE can stand alone, but if you’d like to start from the beginning, the trilogy begins with The Watchmaker’s Lady and continues in The Blacksmith’s Lover.

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Hey, authors! Got a sci-fi romance release coming out in July, August, and/or September? Let me know via Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly so we can spotlight it in the Releases feature in issue #12! Submission information here.

Lastly, a heads up: my next Coffee Time Romance steampunk romance column will appear on August 15. I started a story with interesting promise and will share the highlights with you!

Sci-Fi Romance Re-release News: THE OPHELIA PROPHECY by Sharon Lynn Fisher

File this under good sci-fi romance bargain news: Sharon Lynn Fisher’s THE OPHELIA PROPHECY has a brand new cover, is available to Kindle Unlimited subscribers, and has a lower ebook price!

If you’re new to THE OPHELIA PROPHECY, here’s the description:

Sci-fi romance from the author of RWA RITA-nominated Ghost Planet…

Sworn enemies. Dark secrets. One last hope for peace.

Asha and Pax — strangers and enemies — find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city, neither with a memory of how they got there.

Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource — information — viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society.

Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check.

Neither of them is really what they seem, and what humanity believes about the Manti is a lie.

With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other’s secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past.

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Cover design by Danielle Fine

For more information about THE OPHELIA PROPHECY, visit Sharon Lynn Fisher’s web site, follow her on Twitter: @sharonfisher, and subscribe to her newsletter.

Re(tro)view: Saturn 3 #SFR #film #movie

If I ever wanted to make some easy money by extorting a famous actor, I think the best way would be to walk up to Harvey Keitel in a crowded room and whisper, “Give me a million bucks or I tell everyone you were in Saturn 3.”

This 1980 SF(R) thriller was obviously made to cash in on the incredible popularity of Star Wars (1977), but ended up resembling something with post-production values of a newish Dr. Who episode; that is, appalling. This was probably because all the sets and effects were created and supervised by the British, this being a joint UK-US production. And it shows.

The writer, Martin Amis, wrote the screenplay from a story by John Barry, who had the best of intentions:

In Saturn 3 the science considerations are all responsible. People don’t do anything that isn’t possible. It’s very much about real people. It’s a love story, a story about contemporary relationships set two centuries ahead.

Martin Amis might not be such a well-known name now but, from the mid-70s through to the 90s, he was a Big Cheese, twice listed for the prestigious Booker Prize, winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and, according to the British newspaper The Times, named as one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. Later, he described his credit on Saturn 3 as a “debit”: “You get paid a whack but you earn it over and over in work and humiliation,” is what he said, according to The Independent. Despite this (or maybe to glean more humiliation), Amis went on to make more money off the film by writing “Money”, a 1984 novel that’s based on his experience writing the Saturn 3 scipt. According to Wikipedia:

The actors…all have some kind of emotional issue[s]… the strict Christian Spunk Davis (whose name is intentionally unfortunate) is asked to play a drugs pusher; the ageing hardman Lorne Guyland has to be physically assaulted; the motherly Caduta Massi, who is insecure about her body, is asked to appear in a sex scene with Lorne, whom she detests…The character of Lorne Guyland was based on the star of the film, Kirk Douglas.

Doesn’t that give you the urge to go out and hunt down a second-hand copy of Money? It does me. Much more exciting than the actual movie and we’re still only on the writer credits! But let’s move onto the stars.

Farrah Fawcett is another name that has slowly sunk into the ocean of time. In 1980, she already had Charlie’s Angels under her belt, sporting a blonde “blown back” look that all the teenage girls at the time tried to copy. (Not me, I’ve always had short hair, but I certainly noticed it among my peers.) In watching an old interview with her on the Johnny Carson Show, I’m dismayed to note that the irritating breathy way she spoke on Saturn 3 is actually her natural voice, but what she said about the film is interesting:saturn-3-alt-poster

The title of [the movie] before we finished… was “The Helper”. And it was very interesting. It was about a…manufactured robot who fell in love because he felt the emotions of the man who had made him… It was very interesting, the script, before we started, and then I don’t know what happened.

You can watch the entire clip here.

Kirk Douglas was the main lead, playing the role of…well, I don’t quite know. Cranky Old Man Who Thinks He’s In A Western, I suppose. And, of course, he must have a young woman to “mentor”; someone who can’t see anyone but him; a youthful prop to a body visibly aged. (One of the reasons that I wrote Her Scandalous Affair was as a flip to this older man/young woman trope.) But I misspoke. Kirk Douglas wasn’t just “older”. At the time of filming, he was sixty-four! (“Will you still need me/Will you still feed me/…”)

If everyone at the time knew who Farrah Fawcett and Kirk Douglas were, the same couldn’t be said of Harvey Keitel. He had an amazing sixteen film credits before Saturn 3, but was still only well-known among his native New York actor circles. (He continued roughly in this fashion until his break-out role as “Mr. White” in Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs twelve years later (1992). So if you’re a struggling mid-list author, hang in there!)

Even from the early days, Keitel never liked passive roles, one reason he was swapped out of Apocalypse Now and replaced with Martin Sheen. He was more of a “Doing Things” kind of actor, who liked “Doing Things” kinda characters. And so we come to Saturn 3.

But what’s the film about, you ask? Here’s IMDb’s succinct abstract:

Two lovers stationed at a remote base in the asteroid fields of Saturn are intruded upon by a retentive technocrat from Earth and his charge: a malevolent 8-ft robot.

And the rest of the movie consists of either sex scenes between Douglas and Fawcett, stilted robotic dialogue from Keitel, and a robot (Hector) that either moves at a snail’s pace or Usain Bolt speed.

The Saturn 3 base is supposed to be growing food for an overcrowded Earth, but no work actually appears to occur. Lots of bonking, but no actual raising-crops-for-feeding-the-masses. Adam (Douglas) is obviously trying to recapture lost youth (a direct mirror of Douglas himself at this point in his career, from what I’ve read), and Alex (Fawcett) is little more than a wind-up doll, unable to even flee down a corridor without a male holding her hand.

Benson (Keitel), the commander in charge of the robot, was initially grounded due to mental instability, but he disregards orders to stand down, conveniently kills a colleague (doesn’t every accommodation unit contain a single door opening out onto the vacuum of space?), and hightails it to Saturn 3 on his dead colleague’s mission. As a disobedient, mentally imbalanced murderer, why doesn’t he run away instead? Who the hell knows!

Once on the Saturn 3 base, he (of course) falls in lust with Alex, and the plot devolves to two dogs snarling over a bone, with the novel addition of a robot that also slavers over Alex because it has been imprinted with Benson’s thoughts and, therefore, Benson’s lust for Alex. Loose the testosterone and let the carnage begin!

In the end, everyone (even the dog…yes, there’s a scruffy little terrier in it) dies, leaving Alex on a space cruiser heading for Earth.

This film is every bit as bad as you think. Maybe if it had been released before Star Wars, it may have stood a chance. After all, it did have an 8-foot robot, some nice tunnel shots, unintentional comedy and a 2001: A Space Odyssey-derivative soundtrack. But, next to Lucas’ trailblazing gem (and, whatever we may think of George Lucas’ directorial talents now, Star Wars was a solar flare of innovative energy back then), Saturn 3 was lucky to splutter before dying out completely.

Yep, the Poles know how to do movie posters all right!
Yep, the Poles know how to do movie posters all right!

In fact, as I’ve discovered when digging into this film, the backstory is a magnitude more interesting and dramatic than the film itself.

As an SFR, Saturn 3 fails in everything except for one concept: the imprinting of a human’s strong emotions on an almost-indestructible AI robot. Unfortunately, the chance is lost to make more of this as the film devolves into the usual yawn-inducing clichés.

For an entertaining read into the backstory of the film (including why Keitel sounds so robotic), go to Greg Moss’ excellent site Saturn3MakingOf. Without him, this review would have been little more than a shell.

Saturn 3:

Sets – 3 / 5
Robot – 3 / 5
Plot – 2 / 5 (and I’m only giving the extra point because of the robot)
Acting – 1 / 5
Sexism – 5 / 5

Because of what might have been, a reboot might be in order—and I’d watch it!—although judging by the thin cloth that masquerades as the plot of a more recent SFR film, Jupiter, Ascending, I could be wishing for too much.