Smugglivus Smugglivus Guest Blogger

Smugglivus 2010 Guest Blogger: Heather Massey of The Galaxy Express

Welcome to Smugglivus 2010: Day 26

Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors, bloggers and publishers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2010, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2011.

Who: The lovely Heather Massey, the force behind The Galaxy Express, home to all things science fiction romance.

Here to talk about her year and the upcoming SFR Blitz (a truly awesome giveaway), please give it up for Heather!

2010: A Science Fiction Romance Year in Review

In the classic Rankin/Bass holiday show FROSTY THE SNOWMAN, the magician in the story utters a particularly memorable line: “I’ve got to get busy writing – busy, busy, busy!” (Here’s a handy audio clip to refresh your memory.) Well, that quote about sums up the year for science fiction romance: Busy, busy, busy!

A lot of swell stuff – great books, great news, great events – happened in the subgenre in 2010. In case you missed any of it, allow me to entertain you with a science fiction romance year in review:

Kicking off the party, Samhain Publishing rocked the house with a series of science fiction romance anthology releases. Current anthologies include space opera: IMPULSE POWER; MEN IN SPACE; and steampunk romance: SILK, STEEL, AND STEAM. Readers can also look forward to Samhain’s forthcoming cyberpunk anthology (August 2011) and the recently announced END OF DAYS post-apocalyptic themed anthology.


The launch of Carina Press in June 2010 also boded well for science fiction romance, particularly since Angela James joined Harlequin’s digital-first publishing arm. See, she’s not just the Executive Editor, she’s also a fan. Right from the start, Carina Press released a number of science fiction romances, including IN ENEMY HANDS by KS Augustin, HUNTERS by Michelle Marquis & Lindsay Bayer, and ALIEN REVEALED by Lilly Cain. Happy happy joy joy!

One thing that romance publishers agreed about in 2010 was steampunk romance. This subgenre became the hot item to acquire this past year, and if the buzz around Meljean Brook’s THE IRON DUKE is any indication, demand is only growing stronger.

Other 2010 steampunk romance releases include:

FULL STEAM AHEAD by Nathalie Gray,
STEAMED by Katie MacAlister
TANGLED IN TIME by Pauline B. Jones
ISLAND OF ICARUS by Christine Danse
SKY-RAT by Angelia Sparrow
Samhain Publishing’s SILK, STEEL, AND STEAM Anthology


Math-wise, compared to 2009, the above list represents an increase in number of releases of about – well, let’s say 1000% and call it even.

Two authors had their science fiction romance books debut this year: Gini Koch’s TOUCHED BY AN ALIEN and Marcella Burnard’s ENEMY WITHIN. With so few debut mainstream print authors in the subgenre, their achievements (including great stories) are reasons to celebrate. But let’s not forget romantic SF! Sara Creasy’s SONG OF SCARABEAUS is SF with romantic elements, a combination many readers found buzz-worthy.


2010 had another unexpected surprise in store for science fiction romance: A number of authors sold their SFR titles to Germany (thanks in huge part to LoveLetter romance magazine and its intrepid founder and Editor Kris Alice Hohls). The lucky authors are Eve Kenin, Ann Aguirre, Linnea Sinclair, and Gini Koch. These sales are significant because it means that German publishers are beginning to take risks on the subgenre.

One trend that has impacted the growth of science fiction romance this past year is the exploding market for ebooks. While the publishing industry is still undergoing a series of painful adjustments to this new phenomenon, readers are benefiting from the increased number of digital book choices as well as rapidly decreasing prices for e-readers. Now, if we can just get a science fiction romance title bundled with every device that shipsÖ

The growing ebook market opened up opportunities for authors as well. Not only have some of them released their backlists on the Kindle and/or Smashwords (hello, Ellen Fisher’s fab NEVER LOVE A STRANGER!), but also many others are taking advantage of this new frontier for their debuts (hello, Diane Dooley (BLUE GALAXY) and Lisa Paitz Spindler (THE SPIRAL PATH)! Both of these authors are with – you guessed it – Carina Press).


2010 also witnessed the launch of the SFR Brigade. The brain child of blogger Laurie Green (Spacefreighters Lounge), the Brigade is a consortium of authors who have banded together to help catapult science fiction romance to the next level.

Science fiction romance received a nudge – okay, a nudge of epic proportions – with the release of James Cameron’s AVATAR. Though billed as a sci-fi action film, AVATAR featured a romance that was integral to the story. Oh, and at 2.7 billion, it’s only the highest grossing film of all time! How do you like dem apples?

Will AVATAR jump start a science fiction romance trend in film? Only time will tell. But in the meantime, fans can look forward to the forthcoming THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (March 2011). Notably, this film is being billed specifically as a ìscience fiction romance.î

At The Galaxy Express and elsewhere, there were many great discussions about science fiction romance in 2010, from covers to zoomorphism to the taboo nature of romance in SF to steampunk romance and even more steampunk romance. My personal favorite is the passionate discussion generated by my post THE HUNGER GAMES Vs. BATTLE ROYALE. Folks are still dropping by to comment nearly a year later. All of which tells me that once you start talking about science fiction romance, it’s nigh impossible to stop. 🙂

One other development was afoot in 2010. In addition to blogging about science fiction romance and writing about it for Germany’s LoveLetter magazine, I expanded my resume to become an author of the subgenre. ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE (think: Christopher Columbus in space – with a romance!) will debut from Red Sage Publishing in March 2011.


But that’s not all I have for you today. In order to share the science fiction romance love, The Galaxy Express is hosting the SFR Holiday Blitz. 33 authors and 15 bloggers joined forces so you could enter for a chance to win a selection of over 50 books! Entering is easy – just leave a comment at any of the participating blogs. The contest ends tonight at midnight EST, so hurry over to The Galaxy Express to start your hunt.

Thanks for coming aboard. Whether I’m blogging about science fiction romance or telling you one of its stories, I look forward to entertaining you in 2011 – and beyond.

Thank you, Heather!

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  • Jody W.
    December 26, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I have a lot of reading to catch up on…:)

  • Charlie
    December 26, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Great sum up of the year, Heather. So much to be encouraged about for the coming year.

    Congrats to you on your sale! Can’t wait to put it on my virtual book shelf.

  • Pauline Baird Jones
    December 26, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Great summary, Heather and a great year for us all!

  • Shiori
    December 26, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful summary, Heather. 2010 really has been a busy year for SFR – here’s hoping 2011 is equally exciting for readers and authors alike. (I know I’m totally holding out for that Samhain cyberpunk anthology!)

  • Evan
    December 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Looks like 2010 was a great year for SFR. Thanks Heather.

  • Heather Massey
    December 26, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    @Jody I’ve got about three SFR books going at any one time, myself.

    @Charlie Thanks!

    @Pauline 2010 really started heating up with releases and announcements for forthcoming books the more the year went on. My DVD collection is starting to feel neglected.

    @Shiori I read two cyberpunk romances in the past 8 months and agree, will be nice to have more.

    Evan, thanks for reading!

  • Diane Dooley
    December 26, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    2010 was a hell of a year. Bring on 2011!

  • Rebecca Baumann
    December 26, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Holy smokes Heather! I didn’t know that you have an upcoming SFR release! I can’t believe you managed to write a novel on top of everything you do, and frankly, I feel like a major underachiever right now. I can’t wait to read it (love the title).

  • Erica Anderson
    December 27, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Thanks for a great post, Heather. Looking forward to reading Once Upon a Time.

  • Kaye Manro
    December 27, 2010 at 11:45 am

    This is a fantastic SFR roundup, Heather.

    Congrats on your upcoming SFR from Red Sage! It’s about time– was wondering when you were going to publish! Now I can’t wait to read it.

  • vvb
    December 27, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    ooo, congrats on your latest project – i’m looking forward to Once Upon a Time in Space!

  • Heather Massey
    December 27, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    @Diane Don’t forget the gargleblasters!

    @Rebecca Woman, you are the farthest thing from an underachiever. I am in awe of your ability to manage both a flourishing blog as well as facilitating your book club discussions each month. At any rate, thanks for your kind words.

    @Erica Thanks for reading!

    @Kaye Arigato!

    @Vvb Gracias!

  • Gini Koch
    December 31, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Great interview! Thanks, Heather, for all you do for the SFR community, thanks for the many shout outs throughout the year, and congrats again on your upcoming release! Onward through the galaxy!

  • Amber Scott
    January 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Wonderful post! I am in total love with Gini Koch’s Alien series.

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