Start Your Jump Drives!
Yesterday saw the culmination of almost a year-long effort between myself and five other writers, all luminaries of science-fiction romance. I’ve got to say - Collaboration is a crazy drug.
We started the series with a singular vision – what if you took a movie like 1965’s The Great Race, or a TV show like The Amazing Race, and gave it that wonderful SFR twist? And what if we made it more like a reality TV show? That was the birth of The Great Space Race.
Each of us sat down to plot our own teams, charted out our planets and went to work figuring out where we could cross over with each other to make the race feel “lived-in.” It was every bit as wonderful as it sounds. Writing is such a solitary profession for much of the time, so it was incredible to sit around the virtual table with people whose work I already knew and enjoyed, and just brainstorm together.
Even better was the way our ideas fed each other – we enjoyed a sort of easy harmony where each idea caused a cascade of similar ones, like scree in a landslide.
For my part, it culminated in Flare, the story of Team Corona. The back grew out of an early comment by series originator CJ Cade – that pirates and brigands were likely to attack the well-known raceways. I immediately wondered what would happen if one of those pirates got roped into competing in the race. Since we were writing space opera, I cast the pirate-heroine as from a race of aliens I’d been working on in some side stories (my strangely honor-bound, devilish looking Malebranki), and paired her with her polar opposite – a shiftless, cowardly grifter named Ax.
As I’d hoped, it created a lot of tension between them, but it also gave them plenty of room to grow towards and with each other. That’s something they’ll need, since Octiron – the company that sponsors the race – isn’t in the business of giving away shares of the prize money. So they’ll stop at nothing to make sure as few contestants finish as possible!
They could go all the way, if they don’t go straight to hell.
All Kayana wants is respect. Jilted by her fiancée, turned out by her family, and rejected by her crew – esteem is in short supply. When she hears about the cash prize for winning the Great Space Race, she realizes it’s more than enough money to get her old life back. Or buy herself an asteroid someplace where she won’t care what people think.
Ax Turner just needs to hide, and the Race gives him the best opportunity to do so. In plain sight. Surely the thugs and criminals he’s ripped off won’t come after him while cameras are rolling on the galaxy’s most popular reality game show. And if they do, well, having a partner who’s able to fight and looks like a devil seems like a win.
They’re on the run – from the past, from the lethal challenges of the Great Race, from their feelings, and straight into each other. They’ve got more than their share of problems, and those secrets could drive them apart, or be the key to winning the biggest prize of all: each other.
Buy Link: https://www.books2read.com/u/mZ50J2
Want to learn about the other Great Space Race Books? Go to http://gspacerace.com to read about the other books and download a free preview of the series!
Excerpt from Flare: Team Corona
The woman with the scarlet skin stepped the rest of the way through the door and pointed the pepper-box muzzle of the pistol at him. As she spoke, the universal translator in Ax’s comm unit immediately converted her speech to Galactic Common. “I am Kayana, Daughter of House Frissyn, Banner-bearer for House Garryk of the Nine. Surrender or die.”
Ax appreciated the easy choices. He slowly put his hands up, careful not to set himself tumbling through zero-g. “I’ll take surrender, thanks.”
The pistol didn’t waver as she reached out to snag his ankle with her free hand. She dragged him to the deck and pinned him in place with one magnetic boot. “Where is the rest of the crew?”
“You’re looking at it, devil-girl. The only other guy is dead upstairs.” Technically true, since the camera crew wasn’t going to help run the ship.
The woman snorted and lifted him to her face. Up close, and without the flames to distract him, Ax could get a good look at the pirate for the first time. Her eyes were black, the white so small as to be nonexistent. Wavy dark hair tumbled over her shoulders and into her face in a cloud that bordered on unruly. In the dim light, he could just make out the edges of the tiny scales that chased the high bones of her cheeks and the point of her chin. In another situation, he’d consider her damned attractive. So long as she wasn’t threatening him. And she didn’t smile. Smiling showed off the sharp points on her canine teeth and made her a lot scarier.
She leaned into his face, giving him a full view of her vicious dentition. “Turn on the gravity.”
Fortunately, he was used to terrifying women. He shrugged. “I’d love to help you with that, but no can do, Kay.”
“Kayana,” she spat. “And you will do it, or I’ll kill you.”
“You’re big on that threat. Problem is, the ship’s all biometric controls. Once you kill me, you’ll be locked out of the system completely. I’m the only the person you’ve got.” He gave her his most charming smile, the one Gobby had buckled for.
It didn’t work.
“All I need is your hand.” She reached for a blade at her hip. “You don’t need to be attached.”
“Actually, I do. It’s a pretty sophisticated system they’ve got in place, and a dead hand is no better than the wrong hand. But you’ve got bigger problems than the security.” He took a deep breath, hoping he had put enough bait on the hook to keep her from killing him. Or cutting off his hands. He was especially attached to his hands.
She rolled her eyes. “Such as?”
“Well, the AI is a complete pain in the ass, for starters.” Ax chuckled at the understatement.
Kayana knotted her fingers in his collar and began to drag him up the steps to the main deck. “An AI is just one of the ship’s systems. It does what it’s told.”
“Yeah, and this one’s been told to be completely unmanageable.” He scrambled his feet before realizing it was easier to let her drag him in micro-gravity than to fight against it. “I assume it’s be-cause Octiron gets some kind of sick thrill out of making everything as difficult as possible.”
She tugged him back up to eye level, and Ax found himself staring into eyes like the black emptiness between the stars, and just as warm. “Or you could be stalling, looking for an excuse while you try to figure out a way to render me unconscious.”
Ax donned his best grin. “I’m a lover, not a fighter.”
Her nostrils flared, and she snorted. “Said every man who was lousy at both.”
About JC Hay
JC Hay writes romantic science fiction and space opera, because the coolest gadgets in the world are useless without someone to share them.
In addition to Romance Writers of America, he is also a proud member of the SFR Brigade (for Science Fiction Romance), the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Romance chapter, and a proud member of RWA’s PAN (the published authors network).
In addition to piracy in high space, JC writes the Corporate Services series, a set of connected cyberpunk romances set eighty years in our future where the limits of humanity are being stretched and tested.
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