Cover art: Stellarnet Prince by J.L. Hilton

I finally received the cover for my next book, Stellarnet Prince, which is coming out in November. Not that the art was late or anything, I was just impatient to see it! I’m so excited about this next installment in the Stellarnet Series. I think I’m starting to feel like a “real” author now that I have a sequel.

Carina Press is categorizing it as cyberpunk, science-fiction, romance, and sci-fi-romance. The first book, Stellarnet Rebel, was classified as cyberpunk, science-fiction, and thriller. There was a romantic plot in Rebel — as there is a romantic plot in Prince. Prince also has some twists and turns, like the thriller plot in Rebel.

I don’t think Prince is any more or less romantic or thrilling than Rebel, so I don’t know why they changed the classification. But it’s all good. Like many of my fellow Carina Press SF/SFR authors, my books mix genres. I focus as much on plot and world-building as I do on character development and romance.

With Stellarnet Prince, you get a story about the relationship between human blogger J’ni O’Riordan and her alien lovers, who are followed via the Net by millions of fans – a relationship which also incites vicious anti-alien attacks. There are kidnappers, sex traffickers and the threat of environmental exploitation upon the Glin home world. Duin and Belloc must keep secrets that could spark another rebellion amidst their battered and embittered people. There’s high-tech gadgetry and simulated persons.

And, as you can see, there’s raging hawt extraterrestrial abs. Woot!

In case you missed it, you can read the prologue here.

Official cover blurb:

An otherworldly love. Human blogger Genny O’Riordan shares two alien lovers: Duin, a leader of the Uprising, and Belloc, the only surviving member of the reviled Glin royal family. Their relationship has inspired millions of followers–and incited vicious anti-alien attacks.

A planet at risk. A Stellarnet obsessed with all things alien brings kidnappers, sex traffickers and environmental exploitation to Glin. Without weapons or communications technology, the planet cannot be defended. Glin will be ravaged and raided until nothing remains.

A struggle for truth. On Earth, Duin discovers a secret that could spur another rebellion, while on Glin, Belloc’s true identity could endanger their family and everything they’ve fought for. Have the Glin found true allies in humanity, or an even more deadly foe?

94,000 words

J.L. Hilton is the author of the Stellarnet Series cyberpunk romantic thrillers, published by Carina Press. Her original jewelry designs are featured in the books “Steampunk Style Jewelry” and “1000 Steampunk Creations.”

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6 comments

  1. This does sound like a good sequel to Rebel, which was excellent.

    I’m not too sure what criteria qualifies a book for the romance label at Carina. They classed Prehistoric Clock as a romance, which surprised me as it only has romantic elements. Stellarnet Rebel, to me, is SFR.

    1. Thanks, Robert!

      Before I was published or knew anything about the “official” RWA definition of romance, I thought of a “romance” as a book where the love story was the plot and everything else was setting. The bulk of a “romance” book was all about sexual tension and/or sex, lots of “Does he love me? I’m just not sure…” and how one couple eventually reaches HEA.

      By that definition, I wouldn’t call Prehistoric Clock a romance (or Sparks in Cosmic Dust, or say, Ella Drake’s Desert Blade or Jaq’s Harp, either). To me, that’s like calling Firefly, Star Trek or Babylon 5 “romances.” They have love stories, sure, but there are also great plots, complex secondary characters, and epic world-building — as if the worlds could go on just fine without the lovers at all. But love is there because love and sex, like death or taxes, is part of the human condition, and it should be there.

      When I wrote Stellarnet Rebel, I didn’t think of it as a romance. I thought of it as science fiction. Thus, the world-building. Many tales could be told in that world, about Hax, Eb, Colonel Villanueva, the Tikati, etc. The two main characters get together pretty early on, and their relationship doesn’t follow the typical romance-novel trajectory. Some reviewers liked that, others didn’t.

      In some ways, Stellarnet Prince is more romantic than the first book — for instance, I devote more description to the sex scenes than in book one. But in some ways, it’s even less of a “romance” — the plot thickens and grows more complex, several new characters are introduced, and there are chapters written from the perspective of Tikati and Glin characters who have nothing to do with the romantic relationship between the main protagonists.

      But I think I’ve grown to embrace the SFR label. I don’t know what your line of thinking might be, but for me, the love between the main characters in the Stellarnet Series is such an integral part of what makes the stories compelling. And there’s definitely a sense of the classic medieval “knight and fair lady and fighting for justice” type of romance, too.

      1. “Romance” seems to be a specific kind of love story–the characters meet early, encounter obstacles on their way to a HEA, but reach a HEA nonetheless. The romantic tension has to drive the plot; if it were removed, there’d be little story left. That’s my impression anyway.

        The relationship between Genny and Duin is the heart of Stellarnet Rebel for me. And Beloc becomes important too. If you took the love story out, you’d still have strong worldbuilding, but the refugee/rebellion plot wouldn’t have that heart. It’s a tricky one. The romance and the sci-fi should be inextricably bound in SFR, which is why I’d give it that label.

        Prehistoric Clock, on the other hand, would still tick along without the love story. My editor and I worked hard to make it sweet and believable, and the book would be lesser without it, yes, but even I admit it’s not the central driving force of the plot.

        It’s debatable where the line should be drawn between “Romance” and “Romantic elements” in a lot of SFR books. I’ve read some interesting discussion on The Galaxy Express blog.

    2. Maybe use of the “romance” label has to more do with managing reader expectations and less with actual content? Which is a challenge when books mix genres.

      I had one reviewer from a romance website flat out say “This isn’t a romance novel” about Stellarnet Rebel. But then, as you note, the relationships are the heart and soul of the story, so what else would it be?

      The question for me becomes whether romance readers are more tolerant of the world-building, technology and plot, than “hard” sci-fi readers are tolerant of the emotional and romantic elements. That’s what finally brought me to embracing the “romance” label. Because, in my experience, the romance audience is much more forgiving, open and amiable to their romances having a metastory than the “hard” sci-fi readers are forgiving of their metastory having a romance.

  2. So is that Duin or Belloc on the cover?

    1. I think it’s supposed to be Belloc, with the sapphire blue color scheme. 🙂

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