Interview With TRAPPED Author Alison Aimes

Galaxy Express 2.0 welcomes author Alison Aimes, author of the prison planet sci-fi romance TRAPPED. This book (available both digitally and in print) is hot off the press and the blurb alone promises a steamy ride in an otherworldly adventure:

Cadet Bella West has one simple objective when she joins the scientific mission to Dragath25, the notorious prison planet housing Earth’s condemned. Earn the credits necessary to save her family from starvation. But when her shuttle crashes and the majority of her crew perish, her simple mission becomes complicated fast. Now, to stay alive she’ll have to depend on one of Dragath’s own. But such protection doesn’t come free.

Convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, 673 has become more beast than man after eight grueling years on an unforgiving, hazardous planet of dirt and rock—and even more treacherous inhabitants. He doesn’t look out for anyone but himself and he certainly never grows attached. So when the bold female offers him pleasure in return for protection, he takes the deal without hesitation. He never expects how her touch will alter him. Or the growing realization that saving her may be the key to his own salvation.

But as dangers mount and their ‘simple’ deal unravels will he prove to be her surprise savior or her ultimate downfall? Because caring for someone on Dragath25 may prove the greatest hazard of all.

***

And now for my interview with Alison Aimes!

Galaxy Express: What sparked the idea for TRAPPED?

Alison Aimes: I know it sounds cliché, but the idea came to me in a dream. I woke up with images of a hostile prison planet and a trapped woman floating around in my brain. (Let’s not look too deeply into my psyche on this one, ok? J) From those images, the story just took off and the ‘what if’s’ kept coming. What if a woman crashed on a hostile planet? What if that planet was filled with ruthless criminals? What if her only hope for survival was one of the convicts, a hardened man with a questionable past? What would she be willing to do to save herself? What would he be prepared to take? The answers ended up being action-packed and scorching hot and so much fun to write. Thank goodness for dreams!

GE: What kind of world can readers expect to find in this story?

AA: Trapped is set hundreds of years in the future on Dragath25, a harsh environment filled with violent criminals, hungry predators and endless rust-colored rock. Yeah, I know. That doesn’t sound very sexy, but it’s that ruthless environment that brings the hero and heroine together. And what’s more? There are secret caves on Dragath25, tiny oases drenched in lush, colorful plants and warm turquoise springs. Fragile places made all the more romantic in contrast to the harshness elsewhere.

GE: Please provide five tags to describe TRAPPED.

AA: Scorching, action-packed, romantic, hot-prison-planet read, thrilling

GE: What kinds of heroes and heroines do you enjoy writing about?

AA: I think the first aspect that pulls me to a character is a tortured past and a secret. Once I know what my heroine and hero are wrestling to overcome, I can see how they might be able to help one another, make each other stronger, and fall in love. No matter what, though, my heroes and heroines are strong, determined, courageous—and hot as heck!

GE: How would you rate the heat level for TRAPPED?

AA: It’s definitely on the HOT side. I’ve been told my sex scenes are ‘off the charts’ which makes me very happy.

GE: Your blurb indicates TRAPPED is “action-packed.” Funny how the myth that women don’t like action-adventure elements persists, and yet romance authors keep delivering it. What’s your take on that issue?

AA: Uh-oh, the historian in me really wants to take this question and run, but I’ll control myself and make only a quick reference to the nineteenth century and the way in which during that era femininity was securely linked to domesticity, family, and home and set in contrast to war and public life. Since then, stereotypes like the one you mentioned have continued to prevail. But whether you were raised on Charlie’s Angels or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, most women and men like a little action mixed with their romance. How a person acts under pressure or what he or she is willing to sacrifice to protect those they love reveals so much.

GE: Tell us about which sci-fi romance book/film you can’t live without.

AA: That’s a hard one as there are so many terrific sci-fi romance books and films out there, but the first that comes to mind is Susan Kearney’s The Challenge. It was one of the first sci-fi romances I ever read. Have you read it? It’s terrific. Romantic, clever, action-packed, and super sexy. I loved it as a reader, but it also inspired me as a writer.

GE: If you could have any type of job in a futuristic society, what would it be?

AA: Tough choice. I can’t decide between the Earth liaison for alien life forms or the time traveler who polices past, present, and future to ensure continuity in our space/time paradigm. Either way, I’m hoping my future self is a lot more bad-ass and gets a cool uniform. Present-day me spends way too much time sitting around in her pajamas.

GE: Can you tell us more about the Condemned series and what to expect?

AA: Well, I’m super excited because I’m writing book two in the series right now. TAKEN takes place in the depths of Dragath25 in a secret labor camp, a sweltering maze of caves overrun by brutal prisoners-turned-slaves. Believe me, it’s hot, hot, hot! The story reveals what happens to Cadet Ava Davies who vanishes without a trace in TRAPPED. After that, I’ve got plans—big plans—for Book 3 and 4. I can’t wait.

GE: Where can readers find you?

AA: Trapped is available at http://amzn.to/1Qex8hU

You can connect with me at:

Connect with Alison: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Or come find me at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/alisonaimes

Thank you so much for having me here today. Happy reading!

About the Author

© 2015 | Kristina Sherk Photography | www.Kristinasherk.com
© 2015 | Kristina Sherk Photography | www.Kristinasherk.com

Alison Aimes is the award-winning author of the sexy sci fi romance series the Condemned as well as the sizzling contemporary romance Billionaires’ Revenge series. A sci fi fanatic with a PhD in Modern History, she’s an all over the map kind of woman whose always had a love for dramatic stories and great books, no matter the era. Now, she’s creating her own stories full of intrigue and passion, but always with a happy-ever-after ending. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two kids, and her dog. When not in front of the computer, she can be found hanging with family and friends, hiking, trying to turn herself into a pretzel through yoga, listening to a fabulous TED talk, or, last but not least, sitting on the couch imagining her characters’ next great adventures.

Alison can be found on line at www.alisonaimes.com

Kickstarter Alert: THE INVENTION OF E.J. WHITAKER (Steampunk!)

This Kickstarter comic book project looks super exciting and I’m crossing my fingers hard for its success:

THE INVENTION OF E.J. WHITAKER

Conceived by indie comic book and animation sister-team, Shawnee´and Shawnelle Gibbs, “The Invention of E.J. Whitaker” is a 24-page comic book tale mixing elements of Adventure, Romance, Historical Fiction and Steampunk to tell the story of one heroine’s epic journey through the cultural and gender land mines of the early 20th century to become a bonafide inventor.

Imagine a time in which your week might include being assaulted by patent-jackers, a surprise run-in with Nikola Tesla and catching up on “the tea” through actual tea time with Madame CJ Walker….with no Instagram to capture it all…

Welcome to the world of Ada Turner and her secret life as EJ Whitaker.

The Kickstarter campaign starts February 25, 2016. Click here for more information.

For more information about the creators, read Black Women in Comcs: The Gibbs Sisters via Black Girl Nerds.

Guest Post: Who’s Afraid of the Little Gray Alien? by Donna S. Frelick

Please welcome TROUBLE IN MIND author Donna S. Frelick! Her latest Interstellar Rescue sci-fi romance releases this month and she’s here with an insightful essay about the alien abduction trope and its connection with society and pop culture over the years.

Who’s Afraid of the Little Gray Alien?

by Donna S. Frelick

Not so long ago the fear of “alien abduction” was a real and visceral thing in human consciousness. We had eyewitness accounts of our fellow humans being “beamed aboard” alien spaceships, of “experimentation,” of repeated abductions for nefarious purposes. Even now, an estimated one-third of Americans believes UFOs are real and a much higher percentage believes intelligent life exists somewhere else in our galaxy. One of our most prominent scientists, Dr. Stephen Hawking, believes we better hope there’s no one else out there, because we’d be at their mercy.

It’s no surprise, then, that alien abduction and its companion, interstellar slavery, are common tropes in science fiction and SFR. Granted, not a few of the titles which claim those tags tend to use the abduction as prelude to a sexual encounter (or twelve). But we can put those in a separate category for purposes of this discussion—“Sexual Fantasy”, certainly, “The Upside of Abduction,” maybe.

I’m here to talk about the dark side of alien abduction for the purposes of slave labor and the nightmarish fear we humans may have of it. The first sign of this fear came just after the Second World War, with the first flush of UFO sightings, the Roswell crash and its aftermath, and the B-movie sci-fi craze of the Fifties. This coincided with the final years of the Golden Age of science fiction (Thirties to Fifties), which was dominated by stories of evil aliens on Earth and spaceships to distant planets.

Our real sources of angst, of course, were not to be found in the skies, unless you count the time we spent looking up for those missiles from the USSR that would be carrying the A-bombs to wipe us out. Then there were the Commies who were supposedly infiltrating everything. Those real fears were reflected not in the cheesy MARS NEEDS WOMEN, but in the truly scary THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951-based on a short story by John Campbell), the creepy INVASION OF THE BODY-SNATCHERS (1956) and the stellar THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951).

By the time the Seventies rolled around, however, no one believed in the Commie under the bed and we’d stopped digging fallout shelters. Our thoughts about aliens had fallen into two camps: those who believed their coming would bring a wonderful new day to this tired old Earth, and those who thought they knew better. Even those who supposedly had had “interaction” with the little Gray aliens in their UFOs were split on the matter. Some said they’d had a great time on the ships; some relived their experiences in horror.

Stephen Spielberg captured this push-pull perfectly with CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977). Most of the movie was enough to give anyone nightmares: a little boy is pulled out of his screaming mother’s arms into a blinding light, a man goes more than a little crazy trying to re-create a compelling vision in a plate of mashed potatoes. But in the end, the boy is returned unharmed and the man happily volunteers to venture off into the galaxy with his new-found alien friends. Let’s just hope there’s not a labor camp waiting for him at the end of his journey.

Spielberg’s optimistic vision reflected a relatively optimistic period. America had not yet seen its embassy staff taken hostage in Iran, interest rates hit 12 percent with almost ten percent unemployment in the early Eighties (how quickly we forget), or either Iraq war. Oh, and the Russians were mired in Afghanistan in those days.

With the Nineties and early 2000s our fears had begun to return. Chris Carter’s THE X-FILES was a perfect example, with FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder trying desperately to find the truth behind the abduction of his young sister. He wants to believe aliens took her and seeks proof. His partner, skeptic Dana Scully, wouldn’t believe if a little Gray alien hit her over the head.

The cynicism of its audience was well reflected in the dark conspiracies of THE X-FILES. Mulder and Scully could trust no one but each other as they navigated their world of skulking monsters and government smoke and mirrors. The new X-FILES show, which debuted January 25 on Fox Television, brings these conspiracies even more to the fore. Now it’s not the aliens that are the real enemy; it’s our own government.

Unchained MemoryThis idea of a world hidden beneath the world we’re familiar with is a core element of my Interstellar Rescue series, too. In my first book, Unchained Memory, my heroine, Asia Burdette, only learns of her abduction by aliens and internment in an alien labor camp as she is on the run from government black ops kidnappers who want access to what she knows. In the second book, Trouble in Mind, launching February 16, that black ops group succeeds in kidnapping Asia and her son Jack, who is the key to an interstellar power play. Lana Matheson, an FBI agent every bit as skeptical as Scully, must join forces with a half-alien tracker, Gabriel Cruz, to find the boy and his mother.

The action in Trouble in Mind revolves around the question of how far those in power will go to protect their secrets and/or the foundations of their system. We know, of course, that this black ops group will do almost anything to get at the knowledge of other worlds that Asia has. What would they do with the psi talent that Jack has? The alien government minister who is also searching for Jack wants to use him in a bold move to take over the Minertsan Consortium—and ensure the continuance of slave labor as the basis of the empire’s economy. What will he do to get at Jack?

In this day of media manipulation, general cynicism, economic uncertainty, partisan politics and distrust of government, our science fiction view of aliens as threat has morphed from UFOs taking us as individuals to aliens invading us en masse. Either those aliens want to destroy us outright (PACIFIC RIM, the upcoming INDEPENDENCE DAY II) or they want to colonize us, forcing us to resist or collaborate (FALLING SKIES, COLONY). Again, it’s no surprise that our screens and SF/SFR stories are filled with Mulder’s paranoia writ large—post-Apocalyptic tales, dystopias, unseen aliens with human collaborators (one of my favorite themes).

It’s becoming clear we no longer fear merely being Taken and enslaved. We fear being conquered and enslaved. And that speaks volumes about what we really fear.

About the author

donna_photoA number of years ago, as an aspiring science fiction writer, I took a workshop from noted SF writer Ann C. Crispin. She took one look at my SF short story and said, “You have a talent for writing romance.”

“Romance” in those days meant “historical”  or maybe “contemporary”. There was no “paranormal” and certainly no “science fiction” romance. So I wasn’t sure how to take that comment. Then I realized that much of the kind of science fiction I loved was full of romantic elements–Classic STAR TREK, X-FILES, AVATAR, even many New Age SF authors like Ursula K. Leguin, Zenna Henderson and Theodore Sturgeon.Thankfully, the world has turned, these and other wonderful pioneers have laid the groundwork  and now I can finally take Ann’s advice and follow my true calling.

Along the way to my science fiction suspense career I’ve been married to a wonderful guy since just out of college, been a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa, raised a family (two girls, two grandkids), tried organic farming, worked as a freelance journalist and editor, been a community activist, earned black belts in two different styles of martial arts and written four STAR TREK fanfic novels (and a number of short stories) for “underground” publication. (Ask me sometime about STAR TREK cons!)

In 2012, my first two SFR novels finaled in the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® contest. Shortly thereafter, I found a literary home with the fabulous Michelle Johnson, founder of Inklings Literary Agency and INK’d Press. Unchained Memorywas released in February, 2015 from INK’d Press. Trouble in Mind will follow in February, 2016.

I’m a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Chapter of RWA, the Golden Network (of past and current Golden Heart finalists) and the Firebirds (2012 Golden Heart finalists).

I live on 44 beautiful mountain acres in Marshall, NC, with my husband and two talkative cats.

Follow Donna S. Frelick on Twitter: @DonnaSFrelick

Trouble in MindShe couldn’t get him out of her mind—and that’s when the trouble started.

FBI Special Agent Alana Matheson is good at her job, despite a past that would make even a seasoned agent cringe. She has no time for the outside help the victim’s family has brought in on a kidnapping case, no matter how good-looking he is.

But galactic tracker Gabriel Cruz is no ordinary private investigator, and the skills he brings to the job will save both their lives.Because Lana and Gabriel are not the only ones seeking an unusual little boy and his mother.Their rivals in the chase are not of this world, and only an alliance built on the bonds of love can ensure that Lana and Gabriel beat the alien hunters to their prey.

SFR Galaxy Awards Coverage

At USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog, Veronica Scott has a roundtable with 2015 SFR Galaxy Award-winning authors who weighed in on the future of sci-fi romance! So many insightful observations, so don’t miss it!

Author Cassandra Chandler (GRAY CARD) blogs about her book winning an SFR Galaxy Award!

And now for some SFR eye candy. Sharon Lynn Fisher, whose book ECHO 8 also won a Galaxy Award, alerted me about the German cover for ECHO 8. Check it out!

GermanEcho8

Guest Post & Giveaway by Daco, Author of ELECTROMANCER

Whenever I hear about a new sci-fi romance, I want to know more! Naturally, I then want to share the news with as many SFR readers as possible. Hence, I’m delighted to welcome author Daco aboard Galaxy Express 2.0 so we can learn more about her new superhero romance ELECTROMANCER!

Daco kindly wrote up a snazzy post about five non-spoiler elements readers can expect from her action-adventure, which features costumed crusaders of the SFR kind. She also has two digital copies of the book to give away! Details follow her post. Enjoy!

Five Groovy Facts about Electromancer by Daco

Groovy Fact #1: Electromancer is a superhero with the power to wield electricity (that’s the “Electro” part of her name), and she can fly at the speed of light. Who doesn’t long to fly? The closest any of us ever comes to flying is in bed with our eyes closed or buckled up in an uncomfortable seat in an airplane or for the more adventurous of us, hang gliding or parasailing. Imagine traveling at the speed of light—you’d never be late again. Well, you might if, like Electromancer, every time you went flying around, you burned every stitch of clothing off your body.

Groovy Fact #2: But wait! Every superhero must have a costume to wear, right? To solve her wardrobe malfunction dilemma and to avoid the necessity of stopping to shop when she’s pursing evildoers, Electromancer wears a form-fitting body suit, gloves, and boots made of Electroweave. What’s Electroweave? You won’t find it at Sacks or Bloomingdales. It’s a byproduct of a newly discovered element called Electromite, which just happened to fall to her planet like any other meteorite. Unlike any other meteorite, however, Electromite contains an unfathomable amount of energy.

Groovy Fact #3: Electromancer wasn’t always a superhero. Just like you and me, she was an ordinary human being (and sometimes still is.) It was only after she was absorbed by a hydroelectric generator during a meltdown that she became the one-and-only Electromancer. On the verge of death did a new superhero emerge! It took her some time to master it, but she’s capable of changing back and forth between her human and superhero form. Like many superheroes, she conceals her identity, especially since her arch nemesis, the ultra-evil Momo, is out to get her so he can reach his goal of world domination.

Groovy Fact #4: Did you ask about sidekicks? Well, Electromancer loves animals and has a white, fuzzy cat named Miss Marbletop. There’s a story there, because Miss Marbletop is no ordinary cat. But her true sidekick is Blue Arrow. He’s also her heartthrob. They have a lot in common, most prominently that he’s a superhero as well. He transforms into an intoxicating blue cloud-like vapor and can elongate his form into that of a blue arrow. He’s lethal with the bow. Together, they fight evil. In the end, will they both survive? With the responsibility of saving the world on their shoulders, is it possible for two superheroes to find love?

Groovy Fact #5: Last but not least, Electromancer lives in Britannia. No, not Britain, England, or the UK. Just as Superman lives in Metropolis and Batman in Gotham, Electromancer is from a fictional time and place. Her world parallels our Earth. Maybe it is our Earth in some future time or dimension. And that’s the thing about Electromancer—she’d crash through the time-space continuum for love!

Giveaway Details

Leave a comment about your favorite superhero and/or superhero power for a chance to win an e-copy of Daco’s ELECTROMANCER!

Two winners will be picked at random. The deadline to enter is 12 midnight EST on 2/5/16. Check back here to see if you’ve won!

About the author

Daco_photoWhat is the question asked most when introduced? Is Daco a family name?

When given the opportunity to name his second child, Daco’s father, a physicist who spent every day of his life pondering the Special and General Theories of Relativity, jumped at the chance of formulating her name. From conception to birth, she is both name and formula. Pronounced with a soft “a” and long “o”, the name sounds a little French, but is scientifically based in a physics formula:

The derivative (D) of acceleration (A) at the speed of light in cm per second (C) is equal to zero (O), where C is same in E = mC2.

My father had a sense of humor; there is no change in acceleration at the speed of light, the speed of light is the fastest rate of speed we know of, now at least, so I guess that makes me the speed of light!

Born at the Naval hospital in Bethesda, Maryland and raised in Wernher von Braun’s Rocket City of Huntsville, Alabama, Daco holds a B.A. and M.A.S. from The University of Alabama in Huntsville and a J.D. from the Cumberland School of Law. She is a member of the Author’s Guild, International Thriller Writers, and Romance Writers of America. When not practicing law, she spends her time raising two children and writing novels.