Have Some Readers Been Resisting Sci-Fi Romance Because of Its Diverse Content?

Since I began blogging about sci-fi romance in 2008, I’ve speculated about why more readers haven’t flocked to this genre. Why has it never reached the heights of paranormal romance? Why do some readers seem so hesitant to give it a try? Why have traditional print publishers released so few books in the genre?

The reasons behind the low interest in SFR have been discussed on this blog and elsewhere in the SFR community. The main ones include the following: Continue reading “Have Some Readers Been Resisting Sci-Fi Romance Because of Its Diverse Content?”

Interview with LOSING HOLD Author Kellie Doherty

You know that feeling when, as a sci-fi romance reader, you’re craving a new story from a new-to-you author, and also a space opera adventure with a variety of worlds, and also an “opposites attract” romance, and also awesome lesbians in space? Well, author Kellie Doherty might be the one for you. She’s released a duology of science fiction romance stories and the second book, LOSING HOLD (Desert Palm Press), just came out!

Here are the blurbs for both books:


Mia Foley is running away from the attack that changed her life. She’s captain of a new spaceship when the Acedians find her and try blasting her peaceful crew from the black. She must sever her bonds in order to run, again. But she’s grown fond of this crew, particularly Cassidy Gates. Staying with them will jeopardize their safety, and they have much closer fears than the Acedian hunters. Mia’s time is running out. She’s becoming one of them.


In the sequel to Finding Hekate, after escaping Donavin’s grasp, Mia Foley and her crew crash on a prison planet and need to deal with its inhabitants, beast and criminals alike. Mia hears Donavin in her mind once again and knows the transformation into one of his drones isn’t far off. Trapped in her own body, lashing against Donavin each chance she gets, and fearful that she’ll lose it all, Mia has to rely on her crew—on Cassidy—to save her. But she’s not the only one transforming in her little group, and things never go as smoothly as they could out in the black.


Nice! It still amazes me how sci-fi romance authors always know how to hit the sweet spots.

I invited Kellie Doherty aboard to pick her brain about her adventures in sci-fi romance. Read on to learn more about her work and geekful experiences!

Galaxy Express: What drew you to the world of writing?

Kellie Doherty: So. Many. Things. Television shows and books both contributed to drawing me in to the word of writing, though the first thing that initially caught my attention was the fanfiction of my favorite childhood show, Digimon. I loved watching Digimon when I was a kid, gobbled up everything I could on the subject, and eventually found my way to the fanfiction sphere. That’s where I originally started my writing career, creating in the worlds of others. It was an amazing jumping off point to where I am today. As for moving into the fiction realm, I always credit JK Rowling and Harry Potter, because it was really her books that made me realize I wanted to create novels, too.

GE: If there was a travel brochure about the world you created for FINDING HEKATE and LOSING HOLD, what would be a few of the things we would learn?

KD: Well, first off, it would have a huge Vespa symbol on it (a simple orange flame design surrounding a gray V), because that’s the government that rules the solar systems. You’d also learn about their tech—ColdAir coils, water jellies, shifters—because they’re pretty proud of their gear, and their military, too. There would be a tiny section at the bottom corner warning about the Acedians, but nothing too graphic or detailed.

There would also be a section for their more popular planets—Paradous if you like the sun, Pargon if you’re into the elite lifestyle, Skadi if you’re more into snow—but mostly you’d learn about the spaceships you could procure. There’d be an intense focus on one named Eclipse, a smaller transport shuttle owned by the Across the Stars trading company. On the back of a brochure, a small pair of gray eyes would stare at you from the corner.

GE: What’s the best part about writing heroine couples like Mia Foley and Cassidy Gates?

KD: The best part is portraying strong women who can kick ass and get stuff done but can also be soft and kind. To portray different versions of stubbornness, because both Mia and Cassidy are stubborn in their own ways.

It was also an opportunity to portray the lesbian lifestyle that wasn’t front-and-center, rather simply a facet of their lives. Sometimes the fact that the MC is a lesbian (or gay or trans or fluid, etc) is put on the center pole, and while those stories are needed, I wanted to change that focus, shift the attention away from their queerness and onto the action, the fear of being hunted and the choices they had to make because of it.

There is romance, of course, so the fact that these two women are lesbians is a factor, but it’s not the main crux of the story. The push and pull of their relationship vs. the danger is something I’ll always enjoy. Plus, I loved how different the two are. Mia is stoic and calm and withdrawn, whereas Cassidy is outgoing and cheerful and bubbly. Putting them together on a cramped spaceship and then inserting a huge dangerous secret on Mia’s end was endlessly fun to write.

GE: Finish this sentence: FINDING HEKATE will appeal to readers who enjoy…

KD: …the thrill of a good fight scene, a budding romance between two women, and the intense choice of having to decide between good and evil and the grayness that lies in between.

GE: Describe a few of the elements that attract you to writing/reading science fiction romance stories.

KD: Oh my goodness, on the reading side of things, the technology that folks create is amazing! I’m not really a hard science type of girl, so as long as the tech follows the rules in their world, I’m into it. On the writing side, creating technology is fun, too, figuring out new ways to do things by using tech. I also enjoy crafting alien species. While my Cicatrix Duology doesn’t have aliens in it, some of my shorter scifi stories do and it’s such a fun experience. As for the romance aspect, I always enjoy a good love story, and what better place to fall in love than on a spaceship traveling across the stars?

GE: Your bio states that you’re a Netflix fan. What’s your current favorite Netflix show, and/or the last favorite film you streamed there?

KD: I recently started watching The Flash. It dwells on some serious topics but doesn’t take itself too seriously. The characters are also super quirky!

Ge: What was your favorite geek discovery so far in 2017?

KD: I love that Zelda: Breath of the Wild came out! While I don’t have a platform for it, I’ve always been a HUGE Zelda nerd and I live vicariously through the YouTubers playing it.

GE: Tell us about the last book that kept you reading past your bedtime.

KD: I recently bought The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers from Powell’s here in Portland, and it’s been a fabulous read! I highly recommend it.

GE: What can readers look forward to from you?

KD: Well, Losing Hold is my most recent project that was just launched last April 2017.

Currently, I’m working on a five-book fantasy series, with the first four featuring a different queer main character and the fifth bringing them all together. I just finished the first draft of the first book and am working on going through it. It’ll be a bit before that comes out, though, as I don’t have a publisher for it yet and there are SO MANY THINGS that need to be done to make it sing for my readers. I’m pretty psyched about it, though. It’s about a Vagari Moon Knight who got a never-before-seen Blood pendant attached to her skin and she has to deal with the (sometimes deadly) consequences. Aside from that, I’m always submitting short stories and flashes to journals so if I land anything I’ll be sure to announce it!

GE: Where can readers find you?

KD: Readers can find me online on my website, Facebook (KellieDoherty89), and Twitter (Kellie_Doherty). Stop by and connect with me anytime. I’d love to chat!


Ms. Doherty, thanks so much for your time, and for your art!

About the author

Living in Alaska for a good portion of my life gave me an appreciation for nature, a hankering for a good cup of tea (or cider), and a passion for all things below zero. During those dark, winter nights, I kept myself busy by writing stories and creating characters. After spending time in already created universes writing fanfiction, I decided to build my own. I’ve crafted many different worlds since then, and I still write fanfic under the name SerenityQuill. In my free time, I like to read, go for hikes, and watch more Netflix than I probably should.

My debut novel Finding Hekate was published by Desert Palm Press in April 2016 and it’s sequel Losing Hold was published in April 2017. Check out my Books section for more information! I’ve also been involved with some other writing projects, like anthologies and zine publications, which you can check out by clicking the Other Writing Projects section. My work has also been featured in 49 Writers Alaska Shorts, Pathos Literary Magazine, the Chugiak Eagle River Star, F Magazine, and Alaska Women Speak. Additionally, I was a winner of the 2013 Sledgehammer award for “A  Chance Encounter” and got an honorary mention for “Frosted” from the Radical Arts for Women 2011 Nicole Blizzard Short Story Contest.

Sci-Fi Romance Alert: FINDING HEKATE by Kellie Doherty

Author Kellie Doherty‘s FINDING HEKATE: Cicatrix Duology #1 (Desert Palm Press) is the first book of her space opera adventure. The story continues in LOSING HOLD, which just released in April 2017. The best part is these books feature a lesbian romance! Those babies are like unicorns so I wanted to share this news as soon as I learned about the author and her work.

Below are the blurbs and more information about Kellie Doherty. Happy reading!


Mia Foley is running away from the attack that changed her life. She’s captain of a new spaceship when the Acedians find her and try blasting her peaceful crew from the black. She must sever her bonds in order to run, again. But she’s grown fond of this crew, particularly Cassidy Gates. Staying with them will jeopardize their safety, and they have much closer fears than the Acedian hunters. Mia’s time is running out. She’s becoming one of them.


In the sequel to Finding Hekate, after escaping Donavin’s grasp, Mia Foley and her crew crash on a prison planet and need to deal with its inhabitants, beast and criminals alike. Mia hears Donavin in her mind once again and knows the transformation into one of his drones isn’t far off. Trapped in her own body, lashing against Donavin each chance she gets, and fearful that she’ll lose it all, Mia has to rely on her crew—on Cassidy—to save her. But she’s not the only one transforming in her little group, and things never go as smoothly as they could out in the black.

Connect with Kellie Doherty:

Web site

Twitter: @Kellie_Doherty

Desert Palm Press (book page & buy links)

Amazon book page for FINDING HEKATE and LOSING HOLD

Female Scientists Had Sex, Too, So Where Are Their Biopics?

A recent Deadline article shared the news about a forthcoming television show: Albert Einstein “Warts and All”: Ron Howard On His NatGeo Series ‘Genius’ – Contenders Emmys. The article begins by describing director Ron Howard’s search for, what was to him, a satisfying depiction of Albert Einstein for a visual medium:

Over the years when filmmaker Ron Howard read treatments on Albert Einstein, he never felt the character was reflected completely for a two-hour movie.

As I read the article, a number of statements jumped out at me. Taken together, they imply that one of the main reasons screenwriter Noah Pink’s approach possibly appealed to Howard was its depiction of Einstein as some sort of sex god:

* “said Howard in that it portrayed the burgeoning scientist and his younger libido.”

* “he was free thinking, a Bohemian”

* “He loved women”

* “earned his doctorate while pursuing women”

Wow, that’s a lot of focus on Einstein’s sex life. Ooh, how salacious! How naughty! How very innovative to put Einstein, his cock, and sex in the same story!

“What was the most enticing was diving into aspects of the Einstein you didn’t know,” said Howard

Hmm, I thought Einstein’s active sex life was a pretty well known fact? Frankly, I’m surprised no one thought about including it in an Einstein biopic before now. Funny how that detail was what nabbed Ron Howard’s attention—as well as his time and company’s money.

I’m all for a “warts and all” approach to historical figures like Einstein and sure, throw in some sex because scientists are human, too (a fact about which many sci-fi romance authors are well aware, heh), but this particular interpretation of Albert Einstein’s life reeks of exploitation of the story’s female characters. The article seems to promise them as young, nubile receptacles for Einstein’s penis. So, um, yay for the show’s cishet male audience? Are female viewers supposed to, I don’t know, view Einstein as this virile lover with super genius semen? Are we supposed to fantasize about him making love to us? Or were we as an audience even considered at all in the story’s development phase?

Given that the article (and, I’m guessing, Ron Howard) took pains to point out that part of the story focuses squarely on Einstein’s “libido” I have zero expectations that Einstein’s sexual adventures will be treated with much nuance or that his lovers will have any kind of agency in the story. In fact, there seems to be a heavy implication that they’ll be reduced to their sex appeal because gosh darn it, a brilliant man like him has insatiable carnal needs. Naturally, this aspect of his life demands star treatment amirite?!

One of the promotional trailers even has a montage of Einstein having sex: “Albert Einstein was many things, but monogamous was not one of them.”

If a similar approach (a big “if”) was taken for a non-monogamous female scientist, would there be an equivalent strong sense of interest and celebration behind it? Even if such a story refrained from shaming her for being sexually active, would viewers?

Even if it’s true that Einstein rogered like a rabbit, the problem isn’t with this particular movie. The problem is the overall pattern it helps perpetuate about whose stories get to be told as well as which ones are given the vast marketing support of major Hollywood corporate entities.

For one thing, we rarely get movies or shows about the lives of historical female scientists, especially from powerhouse companies like Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment. For another, even if such stories were filmed on a regular basis, it’s highly unlikely said female scientist characters would be portrayed as having active, robust sex lives. Given who currently holds the reins of power in Hollywood, I can’t imagine a similar movie made about, say, Marie Curie.

Or about scientist Gabrielle-Emilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil (pictured at the top of this post). Check out this little nugget about her life:

…the daughter of the French court’s chief of protocol, [she] married the marquis du Chatelet in 1725. She lived the life of a courtier and bore three children. But at age 27, she began studying mathematics seriously and then branched into physics. This interest intensified as she began an affair with the philosopher Voltaire, who also had a love of science.

A forbidden romance and a hot, lusty affair?! That’s a movie waiting to happen if there ever was one. I would love to see her life portrayed in a movie (especially by an all-female filmmaker team and told through the female gaze). Sex sells, so why hasn’t anyone given this project the green light?

Marie Maynard Daly
Marie Maynard Daly

Or how about a biopic covering the life of Marie Maynard Daly? She was the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry. Or Patricia Bath, the “the first African-American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical purpose.” Both women married and it would be incredibly easy to spice up their biopics with lots of romance and the hot sex both woman undoubtedly had while achieving scientific greatness right and left.

I can hear some of you now, wanting to point out that none of the above women are as famous as Einstein. Correct, but we all know why: history routinely glosses over the existence of female scientists, so they rarely have a chance to become famous. So that’s another problem on top of many others when it comes to the representation of female scientists in film and television. Hollywood only wants to focus on famous historical figures, and if our culture doesn’t boost others up through various means, then they don’t receive the movies and television treatments. The cycle perpetuates itself.

Regardless, there’s absolutely no inherent reason that more TV shows and films can’t focus on “warts and all” portrayals of female scientists, including their horny sides. If there are going to be movies about scientists having sex, I want ones that not only feature female scientists front and center, but also ones wherein they take charge of their sex lives and enjoy making love. Those are the films that will get this female viewer’s money and time. And I’ll wait for them as long as it takes.

Interview with S.B.K. Burns, Author of ENTANGLED

Please welcome author S.B.K. Burns to Galaxy Express 2.0! S.B.K. Burns’ sci-fi romances blend “science and spirituality” and “explore different kinds of consciousness.” It struck me that her angle is one I haven’t often encountered in this genre and therefore was interested in learning more about it. I love it when SFR authors find new ways to surprise us!

Her books also feature time travel, diverse characters (including ones with disabilities) and all kinds of scientific fun. S.B.K. Burns joined me for an interview so I could help share the news of her work, in particular her newest releases ENTANGLED and FLY LIKE AN EAGLE.

First, here’s the cover and blurb for FLY LIKE AN EAGLE:

It’s 1824 Philadelphia at the opening of the Franklin Institute of Science, and one of its founders, Samantha’s father, wants her to marry his business partner, a much older man, to keep their war industry dealings secret.

Looking for a way out of the arranged marriage, tomboy Sam finds it in Eagle, the half Native American son of the man she is to marry.

Eagle brings Samantha into his spiritual world, his bimijiwan, in order that she might stop their father’s preparations for an ironclad Civil War at sea. To do this, Sam might have to convince Benjamin Franklin to abandon his kite experiment.

And now for my interview with author S.B.K. Burns!

Galaxy Express: There are bunches of genres authors can choose from. Why did you decide to write science fiction romance?

S.B.K. Burns: From an early age, I read plays from both my parent’s Theatre Arts Magazines and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. That led to writing and composing romantic plays and musicals in high school. I went on to study science in college, but it wasn’t until I became serious about character development and joined RWA in San Diego that I started novel writing. And what better topic for a multi-degreed scientific generalist than science fiction romance.

Galaxy Express: What is the least readers need to know about your time travel series Ages of Invention?

S.B.K. Burns: The novels feature forbidden romances (think ROMEO AND JULIET). Electress Sophia of the House of Hanover (18th century ancestor to all British royalty) saves the great scientists of history from a time quake in her Crystal Quantum Computer (the C-Q). In the 21st century a Stephen Hawking character designs an Electronic Quantum Computer (the E-Q) that is in competition with an entourage of college misfits who enter their past life bodies through meditation to stop him from messing up the timeline. Newton and Franklin make guest appearances.

Galaxy Express: Tell us a bit about the couples from your newest releases, ENTANGLED and FLY LIKE AN EAGLE.

S.B.K. Burns: In ENTANGLED (science history of 1717), the lovers are from different sides of the track. Dawn is a Hume’n spy, she believes in the David Hume philosophy that love is not just a word but a deep experience that goes to the very center of her being. She’s undercover for the Hume’n Hacker Underground championed by CEO, Marrick, an anti-establishment Wolfram type. Taylor Stephenson is the Olympic weightlifting brother to the Hawking-type physics prof who invents the E-Q. Taylor suspects that he’s not like his brother, a rational, upper class Cartesian, but more like Dawn, an emotional lower-class Hume’n.

In FLY LIKE AN EAGLE (science history of 1824), the heroine, Samantha, is a tomboy and a bookworm who loves nature, but her father, an industrialist and one of the founders of the Philadelphia Franklin Institute of Science wants her to marry his business partner, a much older man. Fortunately for her, the man she is to marry has a half Native American son, Migizi (Eagle) who designs hanggliders and knows all about the other secret Victorian world of Electress Sophia. Samantha discovers a way to ride Eagle’s bimijiwan, his flow, that takes them into alternate realities of the future. To counter damage done by the E-Q, and their fathers’ preparation for an ironclad ship civil war, they must determine if Franklin’s kite experiment is a go/no-go.

Galaxy Express: Which scientific/technological element(s) in your books do you think will turn readers on the most?

S.B.K. Burns: In ENTANGLED, the warring factions use focused brainwave technology to spirit themselves into their past lives: 1) a past-life-regression lab in Marrick’s secret bunker versus 2) the science lab E-Q, fashioned like a submarine control room.

In FLY LIKE AN EAGLE, the lovers take a ride together on the plummet of a giant swinging pendulum, and, also, they fly over a river valley together in the faring of Eagle’s delta wing glider. Dirigibles races abound in Victorian Piscatawnia, New London. And Bertie, H.G. Wells, makes an appearance.

Galaxy Express: How would you rate the heat level in your books?

S.B.K. Burns: Not erotic, but medium rare. Love scenes are part of the flow and the disruption of travel in time. Sexual relations tastefully follow the inner emotions of the lovers.

Galaxy Express: What makes you geek out more than anything else?

S.B.K. Burns: Romance writers who don’t spend enough time looking up at the night sky to, at least, notice the phases of the moon to accurately insert them into their stories.

Galaxy Express: Do the Ages of Invention books stand alone or should they be read in order? Where do you plan on taking the series?

S.B.K. Burns: ENTANGLED and FLY LIKE AN EAGLE can be read alone, but the back history is developed more in ENTANGLED. The next book in the series will probably be about the time traveling pilot of the C-Q, Naomi, and her relationship with the very special “schizophrenic” brother of the heroine, Dawn. Most of the action takes place with an entourage of college misfits from ENTANGLED’S 21st century hacker underground.

My WIP is a stand-alone space-opera romance between an alien woman held captive by the President of the North American States and one of his elite aerospace-plane test pilots.

Galaxy Express: Do you have a favorite science fiction/sci-fi romance movie? What do you enjoy about it?

S.B.K. Burns: The movie of a play was from a little know TV series and titled Murder And The Android, it starred Suzanne Pleshette and Rip Torn.

Rip Torn plays an android that falls for a real human. The android becomes self-aware and gets in trouble with the law and is to be terminated. Pleshette, the daughter of his designer, fakes Torn’s death, and I suppose they live happily ever after.

My sci-fi, light-urban-fantasy romance, LOVE ME, BITE ME, involves a love between a psychic vampire and a spacefaring android.

I always seem to put threads of forbidden romance and diversity through my work, probably because, as a creative person, I’ve felt the sting of being different.

Galaxy Express: Where can readers find you?

My Author Site

My Philosophy Site







Ms. Burns, thank you for coming aboard Galaxy Express 2.0 and for your SFR art!

Event News

Authors S.B.K. Burns and Marie Andreas (of RWA San Diego) will be making an appearance at CondorCon (March 3-5, 2017). Visit the Mysterious Galaxy table where you can meet the authors and nab copies of their books. S.B.K. Burns will be featuring her LEGENDS OF THE GOLDENS sci-fi light urban fantasy series, which includes spacefaring vampires, androids, and shapeshifting flying saucers.

Introducing Author Vikki Romano

Vikki Romano is an author of sci-fi romance. Having recently discovered her, I put together a post so we could all learn more about her work. The more SFR authors we know about, the more reading choices we have amirite?!

What she writes

Sci-fi thrillers with romance. Especially good for fans of cyberpunk, military SF, suspense and films like WARGAMES and TRON.

Books of interest

Vikki Romano’s Alpha Core Trilogy launched with EDGE OF DARKNESS (2015), continues with BREAKING POINT (2016), and culminates in SYNAPSE CONTINUUM, which released this month. So she’s been busy writing SFR for a while!

Here’s the blurb for EDGE OF DARKNESS:

In 2065, corporate sponsored governments jockey for supremacy in the biotechnical arena. Bullets and missiles take a back seat to cyber-enhanced soldiers and pulse weapons. In this extreme environment, only the most hardened body and mind can survive. Calder McKenna was a failed experiment in the military’s push for power. Now a special agent for the metro task force, he lives day by day trying to forget the ones that were lost… the ones that he could have saved. When technology and humanity collide, Calder is forced to make desperate decisions, but how do you destroy the monster without becoming one yourself?


Learn more about the inspiration behind EDGE OF DARKNESS by visiting the author’s To Chase Ideas page.

About Vikki Romano

(from the author’s bio page)

I know it sounds cliché, but I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, in every capacity that I can manage. From newsletters to yearbooks, journals to hard cover books. It’s not seeing my name on a cover or any kind of admiration that does it to me, it’s getting it out. It’s a strange phenomenon that most writers have, of having stories continually running through your mind and the nearly painful urge to get them all out before you forget them. Not sure what the phenomenon is called, but there are days I hate that I have it. It’s a blessing and a curse. A double edged sword.

My love for sci-fi goes way back to my childhood. I mean, who didn’t love movies like Tron and Terminator when they were a kid? Or great oldies like WarGames. I grew up in the advent of technology and rode the wave of the dot com lifestyle in my 20s. It was a wonderful time to be alive, to see where tech could go. Being involved in the field as a database admin and then later as a hardware tech and web designer, I had my fingers in all of it and I loved what it was all about.

In college, I was a true cyberpunk and gloried over works by Gibson and Dick. I reveled in the hackers manifesto like a warrior and actually prayed for a world like BladeRunner. They were very cool, hyper-energized times we were in and it gave me scores of ideas and hands-on experience to dump into my work.

Now I am putting my thoughts to paper… or to screen, as it were. Dumping my neurons onto the page, letting out the stories that have been hovering there for so many years. My Alpha Core series is just the first of many. I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them!

Where to find Vikki Romano

Web site

Twitter: @VikkiRomano

Happy reading!