Note: This post first appeared in the Roswell Daily Record…
I thought I’d talk about some new happenings in the scifi romance world, including a couple of new books.
First, I know I’ve mentioned Ruby Dixon in this space before, as the author of the Ice Planet Barbarian series, featuring blue aliens, human women stranded on their planet and all the steamy goings-on. I happen to love the series myself because quite aside from the “hot times on the cold planet” scenes, Ms. Dixon creates compelling characters a reader cares about and keeps the events of the series fresh. This past summer readers on the social media app Tiktok discovered the books and created a genuine sensation. They couldn’t get enough of the stories, started doing fan art and other viral promotion and next thing the world knew, Ms. Dixon had all the top slots on various ebook best seller lists with books that date back to 2015. She was interviewed by mainstream media and now has received a contract from Penguin for several paperback special editions. Never discount the power of social media!
Most of us in scifi romance are very excited for both author Dixon and for our genre, which sometimes gets overshadowed by paranormal, with its witches and shifters, and by fantasy and ‘hard’ science fiction. It’s lovely to see “one of us” getting all the attention and big sales, and we’re finding as these new-to-SFR readers work their way through the Ice Planet series, they’re quite often branching out to read other books in the genre.
Also as a side effect of the phenomenon, a number of authors have gone onto Tiktok, not to replicate Ruby Dixon’s success, because that was a genuinely viral occurrence created by the Booktokkers (the name for readers who use the hashtag #booktok) themselves, but rather to try to make ourselves known to this new and very large audience of potential readers.
Yes, I include myself. I joined in June and got to 1000 followers pretty rapidly. I have yet to see any of my little videos go viral but I’m having so much fun. You can get quite creative with these quick videos and I’ve been doing a mix of book trailers (like a mini movie in 60 seconds or less), my comments and thoughts on various writing related topics, author challenges “show us your prettiest cover in green” for example), etc. I also do videos of items from my collection of ancient Egyptian related statues, books and other memorabilia because I have a smaller series of paranormal romances set in 1550 BCE along the Nile. The general advice for authors is to stick to one thing or genre and not confuse the algorithm, which is the secret process Tiktok (or any other social media platform) uses to schedule who gets to see your videos and when. I decided I don’t care. It’s creative, it’s fun and I do see a positive impact on book sales so I’m going to please myself. I even did one video set to a trending song I enjoyed, which is pretty hilarious if I do say so.
I talked to a white-hat hacker friend of mine because there are always concerns raised about Tiktok and the fact it’s owned by the Chinese, and potential dating harvesting issues. He basically shrugged and said since I was already on the platform I might as well continue. So I have!
Leaving social media, there are a few new books to mention. First would be Alien Embrace, an anthology by 42 of the top names in scifi romance, which just hit the USA Today Best Selling list. It’s an excellent cross section of current SFR for anyone interested in trying out other authors besides Ruby Dixon. As the blurb says: Aliens move among us—warriors, soldiers, explorers, and more—testing fate and finding love with their true mates. And they’ll do whatever it takes to ensure their human mates remain forever caught in their Alien Embrace.
Cosmic Boom by Pauline B. Jones is the more classic action and adventure with romance style novel. She writes at a much lower steam level than the authors in the anthology and she always delivers an intricate plot and characters the reader cares about. Here’s just part of the story: USAF Captain Hedy Quinton joined Project Enterprise so she could travel to a distant galaxy. Excited about her first command, she never expected the headaches that would go with it. She’s dealing with a lonely AI in her ship’s systems, a really cute deck officer who used to be a robot, a disgruntled ally who wants to be in command, and a passel of possibly dubious scientists.
The husband and wife duo who comprise the pen name Tiffany Roberts continue to blaze the trail in writing ‘alien’ aliens who somehow manage to capture the reader’s heart along the way with their Spider’s Mate series. Ensnared was the first and will be out soon. Yes, the hero is an alien spider. No, I never thought I could care so much about a hero who was a spider but this author has such a talent for making their unusual protagonists seem real that I’m always caught by the web of the book, so to speak and can’t put it down until I’ve read the whole thing. This is the top level plot summary but there is so much more, including fantastic world building: Ketahn did not want a mate. Fate has a different plan for him. When the queen he despises declares her intention to claim him, he retreats into the jungle. What he finds there changes his world. Small, delicate, and pale skinned, Ivy Foster is nothing like the females Ketahn has known. She’s not of his kind at all. Yet the moment he sees her, he knows the truth in his soul—she is his heartsthread. And now that he has her, he won’t let anything take her away. Not the jungle, not the gods, not the queen and her warriors. Whether Ivy agrees or not, their webs are entangled. No one will ever sever those threads. (NOTE: Enthralled has now been released.)
And lastly, yours truly had a new release, Tratus: A Badari Warriors Scifi Romance, with a hero who is humanoid but has alien reptilian predator DNA woven into the fiber of his being and a number of dire ethical dilemmas to solve, as well as the need to rescue the woman who could be his mate from deadly alien scientists. If I tell you I watched a video of two gigantic Komodo dragons fighting as part of my research for this novel, you can get a taste for the sort of research I do!
Wishing you many hours of happy reading.