NG: Today, I'm welcoming A.B. Gayle, author Initiation, the final story in Noble Romance's latest science fiction anthology, Echoes of Possibilities! Welcome, AB!
AB: Hi Nichelle. Thanks for the opportunity to talk about Initiation.
NG: Why do you think sci-fi fans will enjoy your story?
AB: There have been long-running debates on blogs such as Heather Massey's Galaxy Express about whether or not sci-fi romance as a genre trails behind others because of the lack of alpha males. Respondents pointed out that often it is sci-fi females that "save the world".
Initiation offers that element in spades. A strong female who kicks butt. In this case she's joined by a powerful male. He may not be the galaxy's best fighter, but he is no doubt the best lover around.
I first dreamed up C.E.D.R.I.C. The Sex Slave Cyborg as a sexy romp, using to me what could be come scifi's equivalent of Regency Romance's rakes and Paranormal's vampires and werewolves. A strong alpha male who has that added "something extra" that appeals to readers. Cyborgs rock.
Having done that, I had to work out who or what my hero was. The first episode in what I hope will be an ongoing saga showed how Cedric came into being. The story, Reversal, featured in Echoes of the Future another anthology published by Noble Romance Publishing along with m/m stories by Aleks Voinov, Kate Cotoner and Jude Mason.
Cedric has developed further as the blurb and excerpt will show. However his adventures aren't finished. I have fleshed out the next episode Retribution which will follow after this story ends. Each story is complete in itself as Cedric (being immortal) will outlive most of his masters and mistresses.
The first story contained a fair degree of humor. To me, sci-fi can become very heavy as so many facts and back story are needed to make the world come alive. I like to lighten the experience for a reader and use the sci-fi setting to get rid of stereotypes and restrictions placed on us by the real world.
I suspect and fear that too often readers shun sci-fi because they fear being bored. Instead I'd like them to discover the possibilities and freedom the genre offers. It really is romance without borders.
Initiation was also inspired by reading a short story by William Maltese, Anasazi Medicine Bag in which a tribe of Native American Indians use a medicine bag to turn men gay as retaliation for near genocide of their tribe. The second last paragraph of his story read: "This has me wondering if we're not all part of some elaborate Indian conspiracy that will one day soon have all white men preferring sex with medicine bags, or with other men. Only a select group of Indian studs left interested enough in sex with women to procreate?"
The great "what if" which underlies all science fiction.
I ran with the concept (with William's permission), pushed it a bit further and wrote about a time when only women were left on their planet. This gave me a delightful twist where Jen, our heroine, is considered abnormal because she prefers men to women.
I also borrowed Dock 5 from the lady who I regard as the best sci-fi romance writer of today, Linnea Sinclair, and placed Jen in contact with men from all over the galaxy.
NG: Nice! I love that, "romance without borders." That truly is why, I enjoy science fiction so much too!
A.B. Gayle's Bio:
Unlike many authors, I have not been writing stories all my life. Instead I've been living life.
My travels have taken me from the fjords of Norway to the southern tip of New Zealand. In between, I've worked in so many different towns I've lost count. I've shoveled shit in cow yards, mustered sheep, been polite to customers, traded insults with politicians. Sometimes I need to be forgiven as I get confused as to who needs what where.
Now living in Sydney, Australia, I finally have time to allow my real life experiences to morph with my fertile imagination in order to create fiction which I hope my readers will enjoy.
I got the writing bug after attending a Romance Readers Convention at the start of 2009. At that I discovered authors were approachable people who were happy to share the secrets of their craft and what's more encouraged me to start writing down the stories that had been swirling in my head all my life.
My first attempt at writing ended up as an 80,000 word novel. I submitted it to the Romance Writers Association (Australia) STALI contest which was for unpublished writers. The first four chapters made the finals and ended up sitting on a New York publishers desk for five months waiting to be judged. In the meantime, I started writing about Cedric.
I didn't win and didn't get asked to submit, so the story languishes while I work out what to do with it. It's another scifi romance about an expedition of humans on their first voyage outside the solar system. If you're interested in finding more visit my website www.abgayle.com
I've also written two m/m novellas with an Australian setting. One about Sydney's Mardi Gras and another centred around The Gap, one of our more notorious but beautiful tourist destinations. Both stories are currently at submission stage. Thanks to my query to William and subsequent emails, we are now co-writing "In Search of the Perfect Pinot Gris (OZ's Mornington Peninsula). This, believe it or not, is not a smutty m/m romance rather a tale of my recent visit to the region and will talk about wine!
I also find I have a talent for editing. My first real task was helping Aleks Voinov create a Director's Cut of Soldiers the first story in the online epic Special Forces. For those not in the know, Aleks is the Vashtan part of Marquesate and Vashtan who spent two and a half years writing what has to be some of the hottest m/m fiction out there. A million words of it.
Since then, I have joined forces with Noble Romance Publishing as a Freelance Editor. My aim is to help the author polish the diamond that is their story.
Thanks again, Nichelle for the chance to talk about sci-fi romance and Echoes of Possibilities.
NG: It was a pleasure! I look forward to reading your story and the others in this incredible collection of steamy science fiction!
Initiation by A.B. Gayle
Life has taken a dramatic turn for Cedric.
His new mistress Jen was different. She was bred to be different: taller, stronger and faster than the majority of her clan. She accepted those differences because without them she could not fulfil her role as warrior and protector. What she found difficult to accept was her inability to satisfy her sexual desires. Her fellow bounty hunters managed to build meaningful, loving relationships. Why couldn't she?
Cedric was also different, but he was constructed to be different. One of a kind. On a desperate mission to learn from the best - the feared warriors of the Anasazi clan - his decision to join their all female space-faring crew as combat cyborg should mean the secret of his unusual past would be safe. Wouldn't it?
Caution! Super Sexy Excerpt Below:
Shit. Now they were back to square one. Jen raised her glass to her lips and swallowed a huge gulp. The spirit burned her throat, but the pain would pass in a moment.
Her companions were off shopping. Shopping. Blah. Seen one food dispenser, seen them all. As long as she had food in her stomach it didn't matter what it tasted like.
Mind you, the poor excuse of a meal this bar served nearly made her barf. It was just as well she couldn't read the menu; whatever the green squiggly things had been when alive, when they were dead and cooked they tasted bloody revolting. The drinking was helping at any rate.
"Fancy a fuck, sweetie?"
Now there was an original pick-up line.
The hairy monstrosity in front of her might taste better. Maybe she should check to see if the cook would oblige before she killed him though.
The man's companion pulled at his shirt, hissing at him. "Leave her alone, Bryce. She's Anasazi. You know; those ones who've managed to eliminate men entirely from their planet."
The original speaker staggered for a second and stared at his companion in confusion. "Huh?"
"In retribution for the near-genocide of their tribe, Anasazi medicine men placed a spell on all non-Anasazi men turning them all into pansies who no longer wanted to fuck women. In desperation, the women worked out how to duplicate the medicine men's sperm to create babies. Once males were no longer needed, they just manipulated their eggs so only females were produced. That's why they all look the same. Since then, they've used genetic engineering to create women who can do all the things men used to do. Watch out for her, she'll be one mean mother-fucking fighting machine."
Well, he had most of it right. But the mother-fucking remark was a bit off. Breeders were revered.
Alcoholic fumes wafted into her nose as the man leaned closer trying to escape the clutches of his would-be rescuer. "What have you got against men, aren't we good enough for you?"
Men? It varied. If they were anything like the ugly ones in front of her, she would have agreed with him, but the memory of the cyborg's half-naked body as he worked the weights made her pause. She didn't care if they were aliens. If a human male had a body like her cyborg, she'd have gladly got as close as possible. Pity she'd had to let it go. She raised an empty bottle and swung it at the hairy face.
* * * * *
The resulting fight allowed her the perfect aggression release. When the bouncer threw her out a bit later, she regretted only that she had to leave half a bottle of the piss they called alcohol behind. Still, there were other bars on Dock 5.
At any rate, the next joint had better-looking human males, but she wasn't there to ogle men. She was there to get seriously drunk. And simply looking at them was a bit pointless, really. Only when she got aggressive did her juices flow. Like that time some idiot slave-traders had captured her when she was comatose in one of the bars on Dock 7. The feel of cuffs around her wrists and a chain around her neck had got her really stirred up. When she finally broke free, she'd been hard-pressed to remember whether she was supposed to kill them or fuck them. At least the alcohol she'd drunk in the last bar had prevented her from jumping the males during the fight.
Jen raised the glass to her lips All she had to do was work out where their next bounty was coming from. Cyn had given her a number of options, but all needed at least two competent fighters. Trouble was, no decent combat cyborg ever got sold on Dock 5.
Catcalls sounded as the lights dimmed and the music started. Wow. The place even had a floor show. Maybe she should have checked the flashing sign outside first. At least the alcohol was better here, as long as you removed the stupid plastic umbrellas and ignored the green color. Bodies pushed in front of her, trying to get a better look at the stripper. Oh well, females didn't turn her on. She grabbed another drink from a topless waitress carrying around a tray. Pity. Her companions had probably finished shopping by now. They'd let her join them in bed if she asked, but she'd been there, tried that, didn't work.
By the sounds of the audience, the performer was giving them their money's worth. "Yeah, grind those hips."
One of the patrons was rubbing his crotch and thrusting his groin forward in time with the music. Yuck, gross. She threw back another drink and concentrated on more pressing matters.
At the top of Cyn's list had been Pyllia. Money for jam. If only she could get close enough to whip off those tentacles before they got her. Whip? Fuck. Why hadn't she thought of that before letting the cyborg go? Because she was sober, that's why. She always did her best thinking when drunk.
The appreciative catcalls suddenly turned nasty. "Shit, he's a bloody cyborg."
She pushed through the crowd, advancing on the small stage. The stripper was waving around his shirt as he did a bump and grind routine. It was definitely her cyborg. Unmistakable from the large chocolate colored 'C' on his chest.
Read all four excerpts and purchase Echoes of Possibilities available now with Noble Romance Publishing here!