Those that think there isn’t enough action in paranormal romance or SFR should to take a serious look at Once Upon in Space. The clue is in the title to Heather’s novel which is an homage to film director Sergio Leone’s Once a Time in the West, a peerless spaghetti western. Heather discusses sex and violence and pushing boundaries in today’s guest post.
As part of todays appearance, Heather is offering a free copy of Once Upon a Time in Space to a random commenter.
Heather wants to know about a boundary-pushing book you’ve read—any genre, any medium—so readers seeking fresh territory to conquer can discover some new titles.Complete details at the end of the post.
One of the most controversial comic book series of all time is Preacher (1996), a darkly subversive paranormal action thriller from writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon. In fact, Preacher was so controversial that HBO even abandoned its planned film adaptation. The move was a surprising case of cold feet for the boundary-pushing network that brought us The Sopranos and other daring shows. Frankly, that kind of reaction just made me want to read the Preacher even more.
Here’s the premise, courtesy of publisher Vertigo:
“One of the most celebrated comics titles of the late 1990s, PREACHER is a modern American epic of life, death, love and redemption also packed with sex, booze, blood and bullets - not to mention angels, demons, God, vampires and deviants of all stripes.Preacher is a wild card not only because of its religious themes, but also its extreme violence, graphic sex, profanity, irreverent humor…the list goes on and on. Executed in a classic western style, Preacher definitely pushed, shattered, and destroyed boundaries. At times, it seemed as though the creators did so intentionally—and gleefully. Incest? Check. Sick, twisted fetishes? Double-check.
At first glance, the Reverend Jesse Custer doesn't look like anyone special-just another small-town minister slowly losing his flock and his faith. But he's about to come face-to-face with proof that God does indeed exist. Merging with a bizarre spiritual force called Genesis, Jesse now possesses the power of "the Word," an ability to make people do whatever he utters. He begins a violent and riotous journey across the country in search of answers from the elusive deity.”
For readers who like a little bit of romance with their blood & gore & religious controversy, the story also follows the relationship between Jesse and his long-lost girlfriend, Tulip. Tulip is as kick-butt as they come (and being the lusty gal that she is, she also, erm, comes quite a bit!).
Preacher is a genre mashup of mind-boggling proportions, and if you’re interested in taking a tour of Ennis & Dillon’s mad, mad, mad, mad world then I highly recommend it. If you’re a jaded horror/paranormal/urban fantasy fan, then this series is guaranteed to rejuvenate you faster than a vampire can suck your blood.
All of which goes to say that pushing boundaries is important. Mining new territory and prompting readers to question previously held assumptions lead to variety and innovation.
While I’m not out to push as many boundaries as Garth Ennis or Steve Dillon, I ended up pushing my fair share when I wrote my erotic sci-fi romance Once Upon a Time in Space (Red Sage Publishing). When it came to the action, conflict, characters, and sex scenes in this high-octane space opera romance, I didn’t hold back one iota. The first scene, in fact, features my space pirate heroine torturing a rather unfortunate soul.
Want to see for yourself? Download the first three chapters for free at my Web site. (Multiple formats available.)
I took a lot of risks with Once Upon a Time in Space even for science fiction romance, a decidedly niche subgenre. Some of the other risks I took with the story include—but aren’t limited to—the following:
High concept premise: Hero Nick Venture, the last living descendant of Christopher Columbus, embarks on a desperate quest to find a new world. Frankly, this premise will either excite you or prompt you to utter, “WTF?” Both reactions are valid.
Subversive heroine: Raquel Donovan, a.k.a. The Siren, is a ruthless space pirate with a mysterious past. As the ultimate anti-heroine, she isn’t about to let Nick just waltz right past her on his way to the new world. As I stated in my blog post 5 Reasons To Avoid Heather Massey’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPACE, Raquel “doesn’t just talk or reflect about doing bad, dangerous things. She actually does them. Her path to redemption is a fierce one.”
Beta hero: Nick’s journey is that of the reluctant hero. With Earth dying, he simply wants a decent home and a loving partner to share it with. Yes, he can pack a mean punch, but his true strength comes from both his courage and high emotional IQ.
Sex and violence: Nick and Raquel are hot, hot, hot for each other and aren’t afraid to let the reader know it. And despite the story’s fantastical elements, the scenes involving violence are rendered with an intense touch. Whenever a reference is made to a character with a gun, you can bet your sweet bippy he or she uses it. Also, western genre fans will be happy to know that there are at least eight face-offs in the story. Long live Sergio Leone!
So when it comes to pushing boundaries, there’s no contest: Go read Preacher if you dare! But if you’re interested in boundary-pushing of a different kind, I’m giving away a PDF copy of Once Upon a Time in Space to one winner.
To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment for this post. While you’re at it, tell me about a boundary-pushing book you’ve read—any genre, any medium—so readers seeking fresh territory to conquer can discover some new titles.
About the Author:
Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for science fiction romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express.
And for European readers, she covers the subgenre for Germany’s premier romance magazine, LoveLetter.
When she’s not reading, she’s watching cult films and enjoying time with her husband and daughter.