Science fiction is a genre chock-full of stereotypes. Doesn’t take much imagination to throw in an alien monster or launch a barrage of special effects through images or words about explosions, fires, and destruction.
Then there are the few thoughtful works that hold a mirror up to us and show us the real horror we are or could become. Such is the case with Parable of the Talents, the second book in Octavia Butler’s duet of the near-future. The time is about 2035, the society is ours, gone slowly and terribly astray, like TS Elliott’s vision in The Hollow Men. “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.”
Published in 1996, the book comes sooooo close to many happenings today. Slaughters in Africa and the Middle East; hidden concentration camps of low-income workers and their families tacitly approved by governments; discrimination against the poor like we have in our country; pronouncements by rich or powerful individuals blaming the powerless for their own situations; disappearances of people that challenge the system; arming of the citizenry; ambitious individuals who bend the truth, even lie, as they set up tar-babies as objects for hatred, using politics or religion as the excuse; brutality against women and helpless. While all these evils don’t occur in any one location, they are present in the world today.
Protagonist Lauren Olamina has moved, escaped, from LA with her doctor-lover, to establish a tiny community in northern California. There they struggle to raise crops, build homes and businesses, and occasionally fight bad guys and rescue a few from the huddled masses. But they can’t escape the evil of authoritarian—or greedy?—do-gooders who want to wipe them out. Lauren’s husband, friends, and neighbors are killed, her infant daughter snatched from her.
Fortunately, steeped as the novel is in religious ideas of one sort or another, one holds some promise. Lauren’s vision of spirituality is a philosophy called Earthseed. It preaches acceptance, tolerance, and community purpose. Despite a vision of the future so close we could turn the corner and be living it, optimism is possible.
Butler, an African-American woman who won numerous awards, including a MacArthur “genius” grant, was unusual in the scifi field. Unfortunately she died in 2006. Although she’d planned additions to the series, none were published, as far as I can tell. I keep thinking, wondering, what she would have thought about Obama’s election, about the mouthings of politicians who think (or at least claim) they have all the answers, the attacks of some against public education and tolerance. Equally, what would she have thought about wave after wave of extremist, violent terrorism launched in the name of God, regardless of the affiliation or country of origin of proponents.
I’m sure she would have laughed about the popularity of zombies, vampires, robots, and other easy-to-sketch villains. She knew that the real horrors of the future lie within humans themselves, and she warned us as best she could while she encouraged us to think about the consequences of our actions. . .and inactions.
JOINING TOGETHER WITH AUTHORS FROM COLORADO ROMANCE WRITERS TO kick off of the super serious shopping season with Black Friday.
Whether you’re shopping for presents for your book club or you need some escape time from the holiday hustle and bustle, we have the books for you.
Seven of my fellow authors and I have gotten together to offer you a whole slew of romance books on sale for the next four days.
No matter the genre of romance you love, we’ve got something for everyone, from paranormal, to mystery, erotic to sweet, novella to anthology to full-length, and they’re all only 99 cents each!
Here’s our Black Friday offering especially for you. We hope you enjoy each and everyone of them, but remember, the sale only goes to Cyber Monday.
Ghosts of Christmas Past: A Haunted Holidays Novel by Jessica Aspen
Jen MacNamara flees the Christmas wedding of her best friend and cheating fiancé and runs to the country to spend the holiday alone. It’s the perfect plan, until her unexpectedly sexy neighbor and landlord, Nate Pierce, insists on bringing the holiday to her—complete with a Christmas tree, hot chocolate, and an unexpected kiss. And that’s not Jen’s only problem.
The cozy country farmhouse is already occupied by something evil. Now Jen’s nights are spent wrapped in sensual dreams of a past life, and her days growing closer to Nate as they solve the mystery of the malevolent ghost that haunts not only the house, but also wants Jen dead. Click a link below to get it now!
Curvy Temptation: Curvy Love Book One by Aidy Award
Curvy girls deserve a happy ever after too. Vanessa hasn’t let her curvylicious plus-size body keep her from having a solid career, great friends and a crappy love life. Oh, wait – yeah, her sex life blows, and not in the fun way. A string of unsatisfying relationships and a best friend who drags her to a BDSM club help her step full swing into her dirty thirties.
Cade the stoic Dom, always in control but never in love, is drawn to Vanessa’s size 20 submissive streak. He can’t keep his hands (or his tongue or any other part of his body) off this voluptuous new sub. But Cade’s the one person everyone has told her not to develop feelings for. This Alpha male drops his subs the moment they express deeper feelings for him. What’s a girl to do? She’ll have to dump his ass before he discovers how she feels or be the curvy temptation he can’t resist.
If you like curvy girl BBW romance, a hot alpha hero, and some BDSM power exhange between a sexy Dominant and a new submissive, you’ll love this book! Click a link below to get it now!
The Christmas Gift by Leslee Breene
An Ebook short story for the holidays! In 1883, Miriam Cole travels to Denver at Christmas to deliver her orphaned baby nephew to her married sister. The sweetness of his touch upon her cheek makes her heart tighten. When the time comes, how will she ever let him go?
“With both verve and delicacy, Ms. Breene reminds us that miracles are indeed possible.” ~ Jane Choate, RWA author of Keeping Watch – Harlequin Love Inspired. Click the link below to get it now!
A Vampire’s Fallen Christmas Star by ML Guida
It’s the week before Christmas but the last thing Jayden Kye wants to do is celebrate. He blames himself for his twin brother’s death. He hikes up to Rainbow Lake to make peace with him, but Jayden slips down a snowy embankment and impales himself on a tree. He is dying.
Eleanor Baines has been a vampire for over a hundred years but she’s never been tempted to turn a human before. Now, facing the sexy rock star, she has a choice, let him die or let him live. She finds herself with a head-strong rock singer who breaks all the rules.
Jayden discovers everything he thought he knew is wrong. His best friend and lead guitarist are legendary vampire killers bent on killing him and Eleanor. He must learn to trust Eleanor, a total stranger, to survive. When his manager kidnaps Jayden’s mother and threatens to kill her, Jayden is forced to kill his best friend, or hand over the woman he loves. Click a link below to get it now!
The Butterfly Connection by Sandra S Kerns
Murder, encryption, and corporate espionage bring two strangers together to break codes and years of silence to solve a very personal case.
Wanted for the murder of her stepbrother, Emma Simms is on the run. She has to convince her brother’s reclusive partner in the FBI to help her find the real killer. If she can’t, she’ll end up in prison for killing the one person who ever believed in her. Her car breaks down just short of her goal and then a car tries to run her over. If not for the blaring of a driver’s horn, she’d be dead before she even gets a chance to talk to Artemis Jones.
The minute he pulls to the side of the road Artemis knows he’s in trouble. The woman is obviously out of her element. If he didn’t miss his guess, the car he scared off was aiming to run her down. He doesn’t need the trouble of helping a woman in distress, but he can’t turn his back on someone in need. It doesn’t take long to learn she’s not so much in distress as spitting mad and loaded for bear. Unfortunately, the bear she’s hunting is him.
Can the two of them put aside their distrust of others and themselves long enough to find the real murderer? Can the passion they discover survive the truths they find along the way? Click a link below to get it now!
Heart-Strong by Bonnie McCune
Headstrong. Rachel Kinsey fits the description perfectly. The divorced soccer mom may be ditzy and as sympathetic to losers as a charity, but she knows what she wants. A man completely different from her unreliable ex-husband and the outrageous characters she’s usually doomed to attract.
Enter Jim Landers, the ideal candidate. An accidental encounter introduces her to the tall, dark attorney who loves soccer and kids. The only problem? He’s not prepared for a ready-made family and a woman as comfortable as a beloved sweater rather than a beauty queen. A woman whose kindness, enthusiasm for life, and unguarded honesty may disturb a man who values order, perfection, and serenity.
She should show him how much he means to her, but rejection from an absent father and a capricious ex-husband may have ruined Rachel’s ability to connect to Jim. Will she risk herself, her son and their future by revealing how much Jim means to her? A touching, tender tale full of gentle humor, about thinking too much and feeling too little. Rachel must learn to be heart-strong in order to find her soul mate. Click the link below to get it now!
The Boy and his Wolf by Sean Thomas
Do Tanner and Dash have a second chance or has his werewolf made his heart as impenetrable as his body? With an all-out battle raging, Tanner must find his place in the new Amber Pines or be shut out forever. If you’re looking for Teen Wolf meets Queer As Folk, you’ll love this book. Click the link below to get it now!
Three Strikes in the Let It Snow Anthology By Holley Trent
The one woman the “Dark Dom” Max Fletcher wants is the one who doesn’t want him back. But magic has been known to happen during the Den of Sin’s Winterball. There, if he can warm his sometime-submissive Giselle’s heart for the night, he may be able to win her for good.
Read this sexy story and five more steamy holiday romances, including offerings by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors, will keep you warm through winter’s coldest nights, so Let it Snow. Including Suzan Butler, Emily Ryan-Davis, Cari Quinn, Vivienne Westlake, Sadi Hallar, and Holley Trent. Click a link below to get it now!
Are you a cowboy? A spy? A sexy lover? A child at heart? Somewhat intellectual? If so, you probably read in a genre like children’s books, westerns, mystery, romance, or literary. Publishing is defined by specialized categories of book, which also identify readers by age, gender, interest, locale. These seem to become more targeted by the week. The process helps greatly in marketing books to try to insure readership.
No longer are these groups simple and innocuous. Sub-genre succeeds sub-genre. I’m not sure I even know what some of these mean. For example, urban romance fantasy. Is this several dragons who live in a large city off-world and become enamored of one another, or an historical period piece in which Cleopatra and her lover Marie Antoinette battle the evils of Czar Peter the Great in St. Petersburg? Or both?
My publications are classified as clean or sweet romance. Devoid of overt sex, this category can incorporate a great deal of passion, depending upon author, plot, and publisher. I prefer to think of them as “women’s fiction,” a bit closer to my approach, because the journey of the main characters is to succeed in meeting life’s challenges, not simply discover love. Of course, being a writer and always ready to split hairs or argue until I’m blue in the face, I don’t like to assign labels at all.
Which brings me to authors who defy categorization and leap-frog genres: Michael Chabon, Margaret Atwood, Doris Lessing, P.D. James, among others. I’m sure their publishers would prefer they didn’t. It makes marketing their work more difficult. But these are big names, and they can do as they please. Successfully.
A challenge for newbies, especially in more structured, dare I say rigid?, genres. Publishers, bloggers, book sellers want to know the type in a 30-second elevator speech. For example, when I sent my first novel to an online reviewer, she declined it despite its HEA ending because she felt it was chick lit.