One of the reasons I love reading and writing romance is falling in love with hero even as he chases down a criminal, fights his internal demons and of course … falls in love with the heroine.
But my sexy romantic suspense sci-fi A Touch of Lilly has TWO heroes to love! Dallas, a human FBI agent and his sexy humanoid partner, Thaegan aren’t expecting the human bounty hunter they interrogate will become their willing partner …
Dallas swigged the last of his Regent’s ale. Anyone who’d been watching would believe the human’s alcohol consumption would have him waxing the floor with his face. The fact he staggered away from the bar barely caused a ripple of interest. But when he bumped into the Braugtot alien disguised as a human female on the dance floor and made a rather lewd body motion—several aliens took notice.
“Baby! How about you dump this loser Ka’al and come home with me?” The words slurred from Dallas’ mouth as he wrapped himself around the Braugtot’s body. From the smell he even wondered if it was really female. But whatever the sex, the jealous Ka’al reacted just the way he’d hoped.
“Rrracht narctch, rraollk.” She’s with me, asshole. Beefy hands grabbed his shirt and flung him through the air. Dallas landed unceremoniously on the nearest table, breaking up a quiet conversation between two Xericks.
Sometimes he hated this part of the job. Dallas came up swinging. A left hook to one head and a right uppercut to the second and the male Xerick went down, taking out several unsuspecting Drikspa dancers. Dallas ducked as a chair flew.
Alcohol, male hormones and boredom created the diversion they’d hoped for. The fight spread like a virus through the tavern. Dallas avoided a tussle between two Ka’als, took down another Ickbata and made his way toward his partner, hoping Thaegan had managed to stop Lilly before she got through the door with their man. A very unladylike scream from the front of the bar confirmed that the alien had things under control in that area.
Dallas pushed his way to the door, watching Grebetz slip out onto the street, a Xerick close at his heels. “Gamma Team. Phase two. Znedu loose. Track him and report.” It was all he got out before meeting up with Thaegan and Lilly.
“Roger that,” echoed in his ear.
“I’ll let you up if you stop fighting me.” Thaegan had the woman face down on the floor, her arms behind her back. The Ka’al was more than twice her size, still Lilly kicked and bucked, trying to work herself free. As the fight around them escalated, Lilly’s body stilled, but not her mouth. Dallas didn’t know many dialects, but it was clear Lilly knew the word asshole in all thirty-two common languages of the Nebulae Galaxy and several more he’d never even heard of. He had no doubt the words she strung with it would have gotten him several weeks detention from the nuns at St. Christopher’s Academy back home.
He bent low and met her eyes. “Lilly, we have no intention of hurting you.”
The fear in her eyes softened to confusion and immediately hardened to anger.
Well, didn’t this just suck? Lilly had no idea how’d she’d gone from mentally counting her reward to a face plant on the sticky floor of the tavern. No amount of maneuvering had budged the three-hundred-pound Ka’al holding her down. And now the man who would star in her nightly fantasies for the next month stared at her with an amused expression.
Though Lilly knew fighting wasn’t going to get her anywhere, she screamed her frustration and kicked out, trying to dislodge the monster holding her down. She only managed to slam her foot into a table leg, which just pissed her off all the more. Dallas didn’t do a very good job of hiding his amusement.
“If you know the asshole doing chiropractic on my spine, could you kindly ask him to let me up?” she asked, her tone dripping with sweetness.
Dallas nodded and the Ka’al stood, hauling Lilly to her feet in one effortless move. The alien’s mahogany skin glistened with the coppery sheen of a man under stress. His muscular chest, barely covered by the deeply V’d tank top, heaved. Holding her down had taken no effort, but the energy she’d tried to use on the Znedu was still high and the Ka’al was paying the price of touching her.
Lilly’s body pulsed and throbbed. Her nipples were oversensitive and her sex tingled. There was no way in hell these two guys weren’t also feeling the effects of the current snapping in the air. If the residual energy she’d pulsed through the Znedu hadn’t done it, then her anger at being stopped at the door would be enough to have these males dropping to their knees. If only the Ka’al would let go of one of her hands, she might be able to do a little more work up close and personal.
Lilly leaned toward Dallas and yelled over the confusion, “I didn’t need saving this time either, but thank you again.”
Lilly D’Angelo could have been walking into any of the seedier establishments lining Forty-fifth and Wester on Chicago’s south side. Except for the clientele, the tavern’s owner had managed to replicate nearly every detail right down to the blue haze and the soft crooning of a jazz band on the corner stage. The acrid stench and gruff hum of a Friday night crowd tripped Lilly down memory lane-—a place she had no desire to travel at the moment.
Lilly pushed the sour thoughts of home out of her mind and focused her energy on the patrons at the bar. Morphing her features into her sexiest vixen pout, she moved gracefully toward the long bar on the other side of the room. The eyes watching her ass sashay around the battered tables were clustered on various life forms-—none of them human.
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I’ve only been in the publishing world for six years this month (oh, happy anniversary to me!). Though it’s a relatively short time in the grand scheme of things, I think the past five years, heck, the last two even, have seen the publishing world change exponentially.
One of the things I find interesting is the discussions of genre. I’m not sure if it’s because more genres are popping up or if authors, looking to break into a highly competitive market, are mashing genres together and therefore defying a genre definition.
Let me first start by saying. I read romance. I write romance. I didn’t know that books (other than non-fiction) didn’t fall into that category. I know some readers who are surprised to find the book they’re reading is considered romance when it was shelved in the science fiction section. The fact is, romance is no longer just sweet contemporary and historical love stories. And there in lies the confusion.
This blog post was sparked by a discussion of what constitutes science fiction. In my opinion (which is what this blog is all about), science fiction stories deal with some imagined technology and its impact on the characters. These stories often, but not always, take place in the future, which means they can also be considered futuristic romances. Though for me, when defining my books, I tend to think of futuristic as specific to an alternate future, like Healer’s Garden. Whereas A Touch of Lilly, which also takes place in the future, but in another galaxy, I would consider science fiction.
Steampunk is a specific type of science fiction that is an alternate history rather than future. The stories involve a period in time when steampower was used. The science fiction is the fantastical weapons and machines powered by steam that the author creates. Think Wild, Wild West with Will Smith (*sigh*) and Kevin Kline.
Another umbrella term for genre especially popular today is the Paranormal category. Stories in this genre often blend and can easily be defined as one sub-genre or another. For me, the easily defined paranormal stories are those that involve vampires, zombies or shifters. My Shifting Bonds series falls into this category.
But … if a story includes faeries, gnomes or magic, then it’s defined as Fantasy romance. This sub-genre is further delineated by the term Urban Fantasy. These stories often are written in first person and take place in an urban setting, though it can be contemporary, historical or future time setting, the defining factor is the world created has magic and mysticism as part of the every day landscape. Urban fantasies however involve human characters with the powers rather than mystical creatures, though shifters, vampires and angels also play a role.
Of course once authors start blurring the lines between genres, mixing and matching as plots, settings and characters develop, more and more authors are having a hard time pigeon-holing their stories. This of course leaves the marketing departments of publishing houses with the difficulty of figuring out how best to market a book and where to shelve it in the bookstores. Which in turn, sometimes leaves readers stumbling around the bookstore trying to figure out how exactly to find their favorite author’s new book.
So, what do you think, did I hit the nail on the head or am I completely off the mark with my definitions? Leave me a comment. I’d like to know how you see this new genre confusion.
What’s in a name? Everything I say. I can’t start on a book until I have figured out the perfect name for my characters. Never mind that I know very little about the story or about where I’m going save for a very vague map of where I’ll end up.
I have to have names.
I’ve been getting a lot of feedback about my science fiction story “A Touch of Lilly”. People love the story. What they’re not enjoying are the odd descriptions of aliens and names of planets and such. Interesting. It never occurred to me that I could drive people crazy by reading weird names.
Kind of silly that I didn’t think of that since I’m one of those readers that actually “says” every word I read in my head. I have a hard time enjoying a story if I can’t decipher the pronounciation of every character. But here’s the thing I think that makes wrirting different. I created the characters/places/aliens. They’re logical in my head. Silly I know. But there it is.
Here are some of the aliens and names in “A Touch of Lilly” …
That’s most of them. I’m sure there are more. What do you think? Difficult to pronounce? Would they drive you crazy as you stumble through them in a romance?
What’s really interesting is that I pride myself on finding new and inventive words when I’m creating a new world. My intention is not to create a stumbling block–just the opposite in fact. I just want to create a something new and different that the readers can fall in love with. But now I’m wondering if I’ve gone a bit far. What do you think? Have you put down a book because you couldn’t get past the names the author chose?
Lilly wanted to laugh at the ridiculous interpretation the translator had made of the Ickbata’s come-on line clicking and popping in her ear. In her relaxed state, her energy had filled the air. Just as well, she could use a little distraction and the televid certainly wasn’t providing it.
She smiled over at the Ickbata’s hopeful expression as he slithered onto the stool beside her. They weren’t bad little aliens if one didn’t mind the smell of leather. “Kal auct ral tsk, pa?” Buy me a drink, stranger? It was a question she could ask in the twelve most common languages.
“Several. If that’s your wish,” the Ickbata clicked, moving closer. One of his scaly appendages snaked along her thigh-high boot. “If your body was sexy, press me against it?” It was the contact males craved when they were near her. The energy was power and power meant control.
Lazily, Lilly trailed a finger down his arm. The flesh rippled and she watched with satisfaction as the Ickbata’s jade eyes glazed in a sexual fog.