Out of this World: Nicole Murphy

To celebrate Star Wars Day, we asked some of our science fiction authors to tell us what Star Wars means to them. Then, to support science fiction readers everywhere, we dropped the prices on their books…
Nicole Murphy
I can still remember how it felt as a seven-year-old, seeing A New Hope for the first time. I walked out of the cinema feeling like my head was going to burst open, unable to hold my mind as it expanded to take in the scope of what I had just seen. I wasn’t new to SF – I was a veteran Dr Who watcher at that age – but Star Wars expanded my vision in a way nothing ever had before. The opening scene alone, with the famous sliding shot showing the size of the Imperial Star Destroyer, was the most incredible thing and then consider the scope of the Death Star alone to a seven-year-old – a space station the size of a moon that could blow up whole planets. That was just the beginning.
Since then, every Star Wars picture has continued to expand my mind (yes, even those that shall not be named) with the size of the story, the world, the characters, the stakes. And I’ve never let my mind get small. I can honestly say that Star Wars played a huge part in the person I am today and I will be forever grateful for it’s place in my life. May the Force be with you – always.

21764From Escape’s fresh, exhilarating science fiction romance catalogue comes a story of corporate espionage, betrayal, sex, and bodyguards. Just another day in the colonies.

Cassandra Wiltmore is the heir to the throne of Rica, but it’s unlikely she’ll be stepping up any time soon. So she spends her days managing and building the Rican Balcite Mining Company. The company has made her family wealthy beyond imagination, but that kind of power needs careful control, and Cassandra is just the Wiltmore to control it.

When a new bid for the mining license is announced, Cassandra is determined to squash it. Then the thefts and threats begin, and every step she takes seems to be wrong. Taking on a new protector seems like an indulgence Cass can’t afford, but she equally cannot afford to be caught off-guard. If only the best man for the job wasn’t also the best-looking man she’s ever seen.

Kernan Radaton has ambition, and as protector to Cassandra Wiltmore, he’s well placed to reach all his long-held goals. If only his new all-business boss didn’t make him think of only pleasure. With the company, the heir and the family under attack, the last thing anyone needs is a distraction. But once everything is safe again, Kernan is developing new ambitions — ones that involve a lot of very personal time spent getting to know his boss on a very personal level.

 

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I’m lucky I grew up with Leia

by Nicole Murphy

Great role models for girls and young women is a topic that rises time and again and it’s no surprise. It’s easy for men to find role models – everywhere they look, there are politicians and business men and actors and sports stars. A plethora of choices, all laid out for you. Find one that matches, and off you go.

Girls have a far smaller pool to choose from, and sometimes it can be hard to find someone to admire and emulate. There are remarkable women out there, but the media often doesn’t give them the exposure they deserve and, unless you go looking, you might never find someone who proves you can do whatever you want.

Movies offer one of the few places where you can, from time to time, see women as clearly as men. When a woman appears that is right up there with the guys, they are instantly grabbed hold of by girls and young women desperate for someone to look up to.

Recently it’s been characters like Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy, and of course the actress that plays her, Jennifer Lawrence, who is herself a fabulous woman to look up to. Jessica Jones is also proving to be one of these longed for characters. But there are also times when as a young woman, particular one who loves science fiction and fantasy, the media isn’t offering up a lot of options for you.

Which is why I consider myself really lucky that I grew up during the first Star Wars era – 1977-1983. That’s because I got to have Princess Leia as my role model.

Leia with gun

I was seven when I saw the first Star Wars film – ripe to have my first female role model. There wasn’t a lot on television. I remember Sarah Jane from Doctor Who, and Miss Jane from Mr Squiggle, but neither of them were women that spoke to my heart. Certainly all the newsreaders and most of the actors you saw were men.

Then there was Leia. Smart enough to get the plans for the Death Star off the ship before Darth Vader took her captive. Strong enough to withstand torture and not reveal the whereabouts of the rebel bases.

The moment I truly fell in love with Leia was when Luke burst into her cell to rescue her. Leia, lying on her bed, raises herself on one elbow and says in a sarcastic tone, “Aren’t you a little short to be a Stormtrooper?”

Ah, Leia. Facing probable death and still not willing to go down without showing how much she hates the Empire.

Then of course, the big strong men that rescued her get caught up, and she has to rescue them, grabbing a blaster and shooting out a vent so they can crawl into the ship innards and escape their pursuers. The fact they ended up in a rubbish compacter and almost crushed to death is NOT Leia’s fault.

For the next two films, Leia continued to be fabulous. Strong. Determined. Willing to jump in and do what had to be done. I loved watching her race the speeders around the forest of Endor, and every time she grabbed a blaster and started shooting, I almost danced with glee. This wasn’t a woman that hid out of the way when the fighting started. She was right there, side by side with the men, taking the risk because she was going to fight as hard for what they believed in as they did.

Even though Leia disappeared from the big screen in 1983, she didn’t leave us. She’s been in books. She’s been in cartoons. Best of all, it turned out Carrie Fisher (the actress who played Leia) was every bit as sensational as the woman she embodied. Smart. Funny. Strong in a way that actually makes Leia look like a pussy.

Carrie Fisher

So I not only got Leia, I got Carrie Fisher too to be my role model. The woman who taught me that even when I’m afraid, I need to just get on and do it anyway.

Today, Star Wars – The Force Awakens opens. I’m finding it hard to contain my excitement because, finally, 32 years after she was last on the big screen, Leia is back. And 32 years later, I’m ready to see my role model as the mature version, leading me into my own maturity.

Leia in Force Awakens

If Leia doesn’t grab a blaster and start shooting the crap out of some baddies, I will be having words with JJ Abrams. You better believe it. Even us old girls need to get out and fight for what we believe in.


 

Nicole writes her own feisty, strong, SF romance stories. Check out her Jorda Trilogy, which kicks off with Loving the Prince.

21764

From Escape’s fresh, exhilarating science fiction romance catalogue comes a story of corporate espionage, betrayal, sex, and bodyguards. Just another day in the colonies.

6 Reasons why Science Fiction is the new Paranormal

by Kate

Think SF is too hardcore? Too bogged down in details? Not sexy enough for a paranormal reader like you? We beg to differ…

  1. Worlds – same, same, but different
    Just as in paranormals, much in a science fiction world is quite familiar, but with a few key changes. Whether it’s set on a space ship, a distant planet, or a dystopian Earth, there is enough that is familiar to ease your way into the world, but enough different to add a bit of spice and excitement.

    stargate-the-movie-e

    Stargate – the movie

     

  2. Sexy heroes – the galaxy is your oyster
    Whether it’s the strong warrior, the diplomatic politician, or the unflappable scientist, the universe is populated with gorgeous new heroes, just waiting for you to find them.

    the warrior hero - Chris Pine as Captain Kirk

    the warrior hero – Chris Pine as Captain Kirk

    The moral outlaw - Nathan Fillion as Captain Mal Reynolds

    The moral outlaw – Nathan Fillion as Captain Mal Reynolds

    Logic has never been sexier - Zachary Quinto as Spock

    Logic has never been sexier – Zachary Quinto as Spock

    Humour and strength - Will Smith in Independence Day

    Humour and strength – Will Smith in Independence Day

    The unlikely hero - Bruce Willis in The 5th Element

    The unlikely hero – Bruce Willis in The 5th Element

     

  3. Strong heroines – kicking alien butt
    Kick-ass, anti-, or just complex, three-dimensional heroines, Science Fiction features an array of women taking care of business in an array of situations, from facing down alien abductors or setting up planetary governments, to kicking some inter-galactic ass. Looking for strong female characters? You’ll find them in SF.

    Jean Grey - the most powerful of the X-warriors. Sure she almost kills everyone, but everyone has off days.

    Jean Grey – the most powerful of the X-warriors. Sure she almost kills everyone, but everyone has off days.

    Dana Scully - the smart, sceptical scientist that holds the X-files together

    Dana Scully – the smart, sceptical scientist that holds the X-files together

     

    Ellen Ripley - the warrior heroine of the Alien series

    Ellen Ripley – the warrior heroine of the Alien series

    Sarah Manning in Orphan Black - an anti-heroine chasing down answers behind an apparent cloning - hers.

    Sarah Manning in Orphan Black – an anti-heroine chasing down answers behind an apparent cloning – hers.

     

  4. High stakes
    Whether it’s planet-wide destruction, a chilling villain, or war on a galactic scale, something is always going on in SF that drives the relationship stakes into the atmosphere.

    Luke - I disapprove of your girlfriend...

    Luke – I disapprove of your girlfriend…

     

  5. Favourite tropes, with a twist
    Bodyguards, arranged marriages, damsels who can save themselves from their own distress (but get a little help along the way), friends-to-lovers, even billionaire playboys – just throw the word ‘space’ in front of them, and you’ve got an SF plot, just waiting to be written or read!

    Or, in this case, superhero genius inventor boss hero meets capable, intelligent, organised assistant/secretary heroine

    Or, in this case, superhero genius inventor boss hero meets capable, intelligent, organised assistant/secretary heroine

     

  6. Happy ever after ending guaranteed
    fifth-elementStar Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)giphy-facebook_s.jpgRikerTroiwedding

Who’s your SF OTP? Let us know below (pictures optional, but wholly encouraged!) for a chance to win a selection of books and upcoming ARCs from our science fiction catalogue!


Whetted your appetite for some sexy SF? Check out some Escape titles below!

21764

From Escape’s fresh, exhilarating science fiction romance catalogue comes a story of corporate espionage, betrayal, sex, and bodyguards. Just another day in the colonies.


19729

What if your only chance at survival was to seduce the man who broke your heart?


 

8867The first book in SE Gilchrist’s bestselling erotic Sci-Fi series about a dark and delicious alien race on a desperate quest for survival — and the human women who can cure their years-long curse.


20382For fans of The Walking Dead and The Hunger Games comes a YA novel about freedom, choice and family — and the terrifying disease that makes them mutually exclusive.

 

Alluring August Additions from our Amazing Authors

Sure to set your TBR pile groaning. Many of our authors will be attending the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in Sydney this month, and participating in the Australian Romance Readers Association Book Signing. If you’re there – come say hi!

Now, to the good stuff:

21764From Escape’s fresh, exhilarating science fiction romance catalogue comes a story of corporate espionage, betrayal, sex, and bodyguards. Just another day in the colonies.


21769New Australian romantic suspense follows the R*BY Nominated Under the Hood, about a Western Australian drug gang, the teenagers they recruit, and the cop who wants to bring them down.


21763From fantasy writer Lara Morgan comes the second in her engrossing, enchanting, exciting Twins of Saranthium trilogy, perfect for curbing Game of Thrones withdrawals.


21770The sequel to the critically acclaimed Red Moon, about a playboy werewolf, his shy room mate, the ties that bind and a battle for true love.


21768What happens when fairy tales get the romantic suspense treatment? A cross-genre mash-up with enchanting results!


21767One building, two would-be owners and a family feud that spans several generations: all relationships have their problems.


21765She mixes more than flour and sugar into her cake batter, and he’s about to find out if a little bit of magic is to his taste…


21766From bestselling, groundbreaking author Ainslie Paton comes a groovy romance about changing times, growing up, breaking out and second chances. Set in Sydney in 1975, when pants and collars were wide, hair was big, eyelids were blue and neighbours shared each other’s lives.