Saturday, September 29, 2012

Author Quiz: Eva Caye, author of the To Be Sinclair series

Author Quiz: Eva Caye, author of the To Be Sinclair series: Eva Caye is the author of Dignity, a science fiction romance and book one in the To Be Sinclair series.  Dignity is available for Kindle ...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Science Fiction Romance, The Ultimate Fusion


If science fiction is supposed to be uber-macho, and romance ultra-feminine, then would you not say they make a perfect couple? 

“Male and female created He them.”  The Bible gave us this duality.  Yet must the world forever run with gender as definitive, me vs. you, extremes of the genetic spectrum, as if there will never be viewpoints upon which we can agree?  Or are we, indeed, two separate species?  

I believe this is why so many publishers and readers fail to see the power available in the fusion of the science fiction and romance genres.  We are not two species; we are one species with two flavors.  Literature should reflect that, and how better than to put some chocolate syrup on your vanilla ice cream?  God says, “Let there be light!”, whereas I say, “Let there be FUSION!”

In his book The Power of Silence, Carlos Castaneda quotes his mentor, the nagual Don Juan Matus, as saying, “Words are tremendously powerful and important and are the magical property of whoever has them.”  In Don Juan’s realm of mysterious ‘men of knowledge’, there are two ends to the spectrum of human perception, and they have nothing to do with gender.  One represents our modern era, when men began using language, and the other end is the quasi-mystical era of antiquity, when humans lived and acted upon ‘silent knowledge’. 

“Silent knowledge is something that all of us have…. Something that has complete mastery, complete knowledge of everything.  But it cannot think, therefore, it cannot speak of what it knows….   This silent knowledge, which you cannot describe, is, of course, intent – the spirit, the abstract….  Man gave up silent knowledge for the world of reason.”  P. 76

Yet with few exceptions (autism springs to mind), each and every person perceives both ends of the spectrum.  At times we talk incessantly, and sometimes we are made speechless by an emotion or insight we cannot describe right away.

The world of reason means language as communication.  Science represents the world of reason.  Whereas the abstract world, the world of symbolism and feelings and ‘silent knowledge’, is perfectly represented by romance.  Yet science fiction is not a grim realm of exclusively intellectual pursuits by spiritless, logical men and women; in any fiction, humans are somehow present, and actions performed by human beings are based on emotions.  Perhaps the overall emotion is an obsession, or perhaps it is a love of war or a hatred of conflict.  Science fiction writers attend to the emotional lacks and needs of their characters as much as romance writers do!

Why do we read and write books, anyway?  We use reams of words to convey the vast plethora of emotional states in which our characters are immersed.  Between reason and silent knowledge, literature is automatically a fusion.  Let’s take it a step further….

In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the base of the pyramid is exclusively physiological.  Readers are not living in a persistent vegetative state, so automatically their needs are at a higher level of the pyramid.  The second step is about safety, and the majority of readers live in what might be considered ‘safe’ surroundings.  Things such as the family and employment are considered basic needs.  After all, homeless, starving people don't tend to read books.  As a result, any character an author describes that is not in a coma has emotions they will express. 

I would say a huge amount of science fiction deals with this step.  The invasion tears apart the family, the hero or heroine feels strongly about being employed as a physician, soldier, or physicist, humanity is being killed off by a plague, or the planet is being destroyed for scarce resources.  What is happening to their emotions?  What does it do to their love lives?

The third step of the pyramid is love and belonging, coming before the final two steps of esteem and self-actualization.  So how can science fiction characters express confidence in their achievements, use extensive problem-solving abilities, and expect the respect of others if they have no sense of loving or belonging to a community?

On the pyramid, as well as in real life, sexual intimacy is firmly established in the center.  The ‘tradition’ in literature seems to be that men want sex for relief of stress, and women want sex for a sense of belonging.  I am overwhelmingly grateful that these mores are changing, in both real life and the literature that reflects it!  Admit it, gentlemen, you want to be adored by the ladies!  Ladies, you must admit that sexual intimacy boosts your self-esteem and inspires you to make the most out of yourself – you took how long to get ready for the day? 

As a result, science fiction romance is the perfect fusion of so-called opposites.  I am reminded of a presentation by Dr. Bill Breuer at a convention.  Space Science Consultant and instructor at Bellarmine University and Adjunct Curator-Space Sciences at the Louisville Museum of History and Science, the amazing Dr. Bill gave a number of presentations about the space program, typically bringing artifacts he had collected.  One was a sample of glass used in space shuttles.  

Once upon a time, NASA accepted bids from a number of companies for glass that could withstand the vacuum of space as well as the temperature extremes involved, from the cold of outer space to the heat of re-entry.  All those companies presented extremely expensive bids to research and test such a product, until someone finally realized, “Why don’t we have this strong glass we already use simply coated with heat-resistant glass?”  Looking at the edge of the thick glass sample, the area where the two glasses blended was clearly visible.  Even then I felt it was a powerful symbolic lesson: the fusion of unique qualities could withstand extremes of pressure and heat.

The fusion of science fiction and romance does, too.  Do you love to read about how people resolve their lives when under extreme pressure?  There’s your science fiction.  Do you love to read about how people decide with whom to share their lives, or even just hot sex?  There’s your romance.  The fusion of the two makes for superlative entertainment.

ANNOUNCEMENT:  The Science Fiction Romance Brigade, an online community featuring SFR authors, feels so strongly about this issue that we are contributing stories toward a FREE anthology, Tales of the SFR Brigade, to promote the genre.  Our deadline is January 1st, 2013, and we anticipate a release date in late spring. 

You can visit the SFR Brigade at http://sfrcontests.blogspot.com/
You must be a Brigade member to submit your work for the anthology!  Please email Sfrpreview@gmail.com only AFTER you read the submission guidelines.
If you are an author wishing to try your hand at science fiction romance, come join our Facebook group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/130939813657941/

E-book Sales: Copyright Laws Must Change!


I just read about an article that says Amazon stands to make a fortune offering out-of-print books.  One of the most appealing reasons for indie authors to publish e-books is that they will be offered forever.  No out-of-prints; Amazon’s policy is that, if you buy a book from them, they will always have a copy available for you to download.

So, if copyright laws are for the life of the owner plus fifty years, and Amazon and other e-book retailers must provide copies of them forever, and 49 years after an author’s death, their books suddenly become branded as ‘important literary works’ by history or literature professors for studying our era, and the sales dramatically spike of that author’s books, and those new readers are in their 20’s, with a potential lifespan in their 100’s….  Can you say, “cash cow”?  How about, “windfall of astonishing proportions”?

And WHO gets that money?  The digital provider, who spends mere pennies sending you an e-book, would get it all.  Not the descendents of the author.

What can we do?
  • a.      Change copyright laws for e-book rights to belong to their assignees ‘in perpetuity’, and let the heirs fight it out
  • b.      Register our books’ copyright under a business name/corporation, and let whoever runs the corporation decide where the royalties go


What I would prefer is:
  • c.      Create a corporation just for e-book copyrights – the executor of the estate of the author’s family signs up their e-books, the CEO guarantees a huge chunk of sales (95% minimum) will go to the designee of the family as determined by the executor, and the corporation uses its profits to maintain the database.

Now is the time to make these decisions!  Look at how long copyright laws have been in effect!
Although many people laugh when referred to Wikipedia as a source, the minimum we should do is read their article on copyrights:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright

So, who can we indies trust to establish the standards?



Monday, September 24, 2012

Geeking Out on the Thesaurus

Frustrated with the lack of rating standards in the publishing industry, specifically for how to determine if a book can be marketed as Y/A, I began working up a six-part post to be called PASSIONATE PROSE.  I have been looking at romance websites and blogs for quite a while, and the variety of rating systems for romance alone, differing from one website to another, boggled my mind.  What about people like me, writing in the sub-genre of science fiction romance?  Science fiction 'fen' do not have the same standards for 'heat' levels as romance readers do.  There appears to be no universal rating system, like movies, music, and TV.  Glaring at all the descriptions, I wondered about the language used in romance.  Naturally, I headed to thesaurus.com and looked up the word passionate....

Folks, there were NINE PAGES to the entry.  The editor-in-my-brain attacked the entries with OCD-like ferocity.  To begin my analysis of the entries properly, I copied them into a Word document, re-deranged them like crazy using the awesome tools in that program, and spent a shameful amount of time entering them into an Excel spreadsheet.  I left each main entry up and included its one or two word description, but deleted the synonyms of the 'negative'-sounding ones, as well as all antonyms.  I sorted them A-Z, and then sorted them by frequency.

When I do have time to analyze the list, it will be the fourth segment of my six-part post.  But for now, I look at all the excellent words mentioned only once in relation to the word passionate, and wonder how our society can stand to think of passion without more  loyal,  chivalrous  men,  determined  and  committed  to  the  breathless  ladies with whom they are  aspiring  to share their  extravagant,  soulful,  rapturous  passion?  After all, what else does it mean to be  in love?  I want  never-failing  romance!

For your viewing pleasure, here is the list I ended up with:


Word frequency:
passionate (31) (although there were a total of *snicker* 69 entries for the word!),  ardent (20),   fervent (18),  enthusiastic (15),  impassioned  (14),  zealous (14),  excited (13),  fervid (11),  hot  (11),  intense (11),  eager (10),  earnest (9),  erotic (9)

Other word frequencies:

Eight mentions:  burning,  loving,  romantic,  tender,  warm

Seven mentions:  amorous,  avid,  desirous,  devoted,  keen,  sentimental,  vehement

Six mentions:  animated,  blazing,  fanatical,  fiery,  heated  hot-blooded,  lustful,  spirited,  wholehearted

Five mentions:  affectionate,  emotional,  lively,  lovey-dovey,  red-hot,  sincere

Four mentions:  angry,  anxious,  deep,  demonstrative,  effusive,  fierce,  fired up,  flaming,  fond,  glowing,  gung ho,  heartfelt,  hearty,  mushy,  sensual,  sexy,  tear-jerking,  touching,  violent

Three mentions:  amatory,  aroused,  carnal,  concupiscent,  corny,  dedicated,  devout,  doting,  dreamy,  dying to,  ecstatic,  excitable,  expressive,  genuine,  gushing,  idealistic,  inspired,  languishing,  lascivious,  libidinous,  maudlin,  moving,  nostalgic,  overemotional,  pathetic,  prurient,  rash,  responsive,  serious,  sloppy,  steamy,  stirring,  sultry,  syrupy,  turned-on,  unfeigned,  visionary,  voluptuous,  wanton,  warmhearted,  white-hot

Two mentions:  admiring,  adoring,  affected,  affecting,  agog,  aphrodisiac,  athirst,  attached,  attracted,  bathetic,  concerned,  cordial,  covetous,  dewy-eyed,  ebullient,  enamored,  energetic,  enthused,  exciting,  exuberant,  faithful,  feeling,  feverish,  frank,  friendly,  generous,  gotta have,  grasping,  greedy,  gushy,  heavy,  horny,  hungry,  hysterical,  impetuous,  impressionable,  impulsive,  inane,  infatuated,  insipid,  irascible,  itchy,  jejune,  keyed up,  lovesick,  moonstruck,  nutty,  obsessed,  overacted,  perfervid,  pious,  poignant,  profound,  rabid,  ravenous,  real,  religious,  reverent,  rhapsodic,  rosewater,  saccharine,  salacious,  sappy,  schmaltzy,  sensuous,  silly,  simpering,  slushy,  soapy,  softhearted,  starry-eyed,  stimulated,  stirred,  stormy,  sugary,  sweet,  tearful,  temperamental,  thirsty,  thrilled,  torrid,  unqualified,  unreserved,  upset,  vapid,  very enthusiastic,  vigorous,  vivacious,  vivid,  weepy,  wild,  willing,  yearning

One mention:  abiding,  ablaze,  acquisitive,  adherent,  adulatory,  adventurous,  affable,  afire,  aggressive,  agitated,  amative,  ambitious,  amiable,  animal,  animalistic,  antsy,  appreciative,  aspiring,  attentive,  authentic,  avaricious,  back-slapping,  banzai,  benevolent,  bestial,  bona fide,  bound up,  boy crazy,  breathless,  bright,  bugged,  candid,  can-do,  caring,  charming,  cheerful,  cheery,  chimerical,  chivalrous,  coarse,  colorful,  coming on strong,  committed,  complete,  complimentary,  compulsive,  confused,  considerate,  crabby,  craving,  crazy about,  daring,  dear,  debauched,  deepest,  deep-felt,  desirable  desiring,  destructive,  determined,  disturbed,  driving,  emotive,  emphatic,  enchanting,  enduring,  epicurean,  eulogistic,  exhilarated,  exotic,  extravagant,  fairy-tale,  falling apart,  fanatical,  fanatic,  fanciful,  fantastic,  fascinated,  fascinating,  fast,  fevered,  fickle,  fireball,  fleshly,  forceful,  frenetic,  frenzied,  furious,  gaga,  gay,  generative,  genial,  genital,  genitive,  girl crazy,  glad,  glamorous,  godly,  gone on,  goody two-shoes,  goody-goody,  happy,  have a crush on,  heart-and-soul,  heartwarming,  hedonic,  hedonistic,  histrionic,  holy,  honest,  hopeful,  hopped up,  hot and heavy,  hot for,  hot-headed,  hotshot and heavy,  idolatrous,  idyllic,  ill-considered,  impatient,  impractical,  impure,  in love,  incontinent,  inflamed,  insatiable,  intent,  interested,  intimate,  irrational,  irritable,  jolly,  jovial,  kind,  laudatory,  lecherous,  lewd,  libertine,  liking,  longing,  loose,  loyal,  lurid,  lusty,  mawkish,  meaningful,  melodramatic,  menacing,  moody,  mysterious,  neighborly,  nervous,  never-failing,  obscene,  obsessive,  orthodox,  overenthusiastic,  overwrought,  painful,  panegyrical,  peppery,  picturesque,  pietistic,  pleased,  pleasure-seeking,  poetic,  possessed,  powerful,  prayerful,  precipitant,  prehensile,  proactive,  procreative,  profuse,  provocative,  psyched,  pumped,  pushy,  quick-tempered,  quixotic,  raging,  rapacious,  rapturous,  ready,  reproductive,  respecting,  revealing,  reverential,  revering,  ripe,  roused,  rousing,  sarcastic,  satiric,  scintillating,  seductive,  self-starting,  sensitive,  sensualistic,  sentient,  sexual,  sexually excited,  sharing,  sincerely believing,  sobby,  soft,  solicitous,  soppy,  sot,  soulful,  spontaneous,  steadfast,  steady,  steamed up,  sure,  susceptible,  sweet for,  sweet on,  sybaritic,  take-charge,  tantalized,  telling,  tempestuous,  thoughtful,  thrilling,  titillated,  tumultuous,  unchaste,  unconsidered,  unfaltering,  unquestioning,  unrealistic,  unrestrained,  unstinting,  unwavering,  utopian,  valuing,  venerating,  venereal,  very angry,  very excited,  vixens,  voluptuary,  voracious,  wacky,  whimsical,  wicked,  wild about,  wild-eyed,  wishful,  wishing,  wistful,  wooing,  worked up,  worshipful,  worshiping,  X-rated