Under Strain, the second standalone romance in my Rebel Cyborgs series, is set on Rohini 9, a dinosaur planet. The main predators on Rohini 9 are theropods, velociraptor-like dinosaurs. They’re intelligent, deadly hunters, and the arriving cyborg warriors have fun dealing with them.
I LOVE dinosaurs. As a kid, I had dinosaur toys and I read every book I could find on them. I’ve been on touristy dinosaur digs. I am glued to the TV whenever any of the Jurassic Park/World movies are shown. Once there’s a dinosaur featured, I’m captured.
My favorite dinosaur, when I was young, was the Brontosaurus. I was fascinated by their size and I always viewed them, even before watching Jurassic Park, as gentle giants. Riding a Brontosaurus was a childhood goal.
If that goal is ever achieved, something has gone terribly wrong in the space-time continuum. And there are no Brontosauruses mentioned in Under Strain but there ARE some awesome dinosaur riding scenes.
The velociraptors in the Jurassic Park world, however, excited me. They are intelligent and they communicate with each other, as many pack predators do. They are also slender enough to navigate between trees. Their prey couldn’t easily escape them.
I knew it was merely a matter of time until I found the perfect story in which to feature them. And I suspected that story would be a SciFi Romance.
It is plausible to me that somewhere in our vast universe, there’s a world inhabited by dinosaurs. They existed here on Earth. They could exist elsewhere.
Under Strain is my set-on-a-dinosaur-planet story.
Kamyelle, the heroine, has been the sole human on her planet for many solar cycles (years). The theropods view her kind as nice, light snacks. She has skillfully avoided being eaten by living in the trees.
Strain, the cyborg hero, and his brethren have a very different approach to dealing with the theropods. They plan to have some fun with the predators.
What is your favorite dinosaur? Would you like to live on a dinosaur planet?
A damaged cyborg warrior is hunted by a peace-loving human female.
Strain is severely malfunctioning. The D Model cyborg was the sole survivor after a horrific decision was made by his cruel manufacturers. He hates all humans, and when he attacks one who is under his cyborg leader’s protection, he is reprimanded, stripped of his weapons, and told to watch and not actively participate in the next mission.
That mission takes place on a small remote planet. Its lush terrain should only be inhabited by the cyborgs they were sent to rescue, but Strain senses another presence on the surface. She is watching him, tracking him, hunting him.
A fully operational cyborg would end her lifespan.
Strain wants to claim her. Forever.
Kamyelle is the only one left of her kind. Warriors have killed the other nonviolent human inhabitants of her planet. She survived…barely…by hiding in the trees, observing her enemies, and covering herself with lifeform scan-concealing mud.
When a handsome, gray-skinned, brilliant-blue-eyed male arrives, surrounded by weapon-carrying warriors, she has to save him. Warriors harm and they kill. That is what they do.
She won’t allow them to hurt Strain.
Under Strain is a STANDALONE Cyborg SciFi Romance set in a dark, gritty, sometimes-violent universe.
It features a broken warrior, a human female who thinks he’s perfect, and velociraptor-like dinosaurs who view them both as light, tasty snacks.
I’m currently writing, Tin Toy, the second book in the Silver Cyborg Series, about a cybernetic librarian who looks like a pin-up model, kisses like an angel, and fights like a trained assassin. I thought it would be fun to make her a huge fan of Romance, and associate common Romance tropes with various situations she’s in. Like May-December romances, secret baby, and bad boy billionaire, just to name a few.
And, as is common when I write, my characters often hijack the story. Recently, librarian Betty did just that during a conversation with her love interest, Everett Dean. While I hadn’t planned it, she took that opportunity to explain why she loves Romance novels.
And it occurred to me that we might all have our different reasons for reading Romance. For me, it’s the escapism and the HEA/HFN. Stories without an emotionally satisfying ending leave a bad taste in my mouth. Movie example: hubby and I rented La La Land a few months ago, and I walked away in tears and vibrating with anger. Spoiler alert – the two characters don’t end up together! I loved the singing and dancing and piano playing and even the rest of the story, and yes, it’s more true to real life that people can love each other and still part ways. But, I WANT MY HEA!
So, I’m here today to pose the question to you: Assuming you read Romance, why? What is it that draws you to the Romance genre?I’ll select a random commenter for a $5 Amazon gift card.
Excerpt from Tin Toy, Betty’s response to the question…
“So, is that what women really want in a man?”
Her face screwed up in a frown as she considered her answer. She glanced around the aisle and clasped the book in her hands. “I don’t think you can take romance books as a literal guide. There’s too much diversity in personal tastes in the genre to land on any one thing in common where that’s concerned. Instead, I think they are written permission for women to embrace their own polarizing desires.”
“Desires? I assume you’re not just talking about what they want in bed.”
“I can’t deny that’s one aspect.” She shrugged. When she continued, her words were hesitant and measured as if she pulled them from a deep, unfamiliar well. “But it’s so much more. I think many women like the idea of having a man who can take care of them, even if she is perfectly capable of taking care of herself. That a man can be as imperfect as we so often feel we are, and it neither diminishes his masculinity nor mocks our femininity. That a man can accept our love and cherish it for the precious gift it is and not use it as leverage or sully it with selfishness. That love is not restricted by trivial things such as money, geography, social status, or physical attributes. That, for each woman, there is at least one person who finds us beautiful, desirable, and—above all—worthy.”
She stared at the floor and tapped her fingers against the holo-book in her hand, her voice soft, almost wistful. “At least… that’s my theory.”
About the Author
Ava Cuvay is an award-winning bestselling author of Sci-fi Romance featuring sassy heroines, gutsy heroes, passion, and adventure… often set in a galaxy far, far away. She resides in central Indiana with her own scruffy-looking nerfherder and kiddos who remind her daily she’s not nearly as cool and hip as she thinks. She believes life is too short to bother with negative people, everything is better with Champagne, and Han Solo shot first. When not writing, Ava is thinking about writing. Or wine. And she’s always thinking about bacon.
When I inserted Testing Truth into my schedule two years ago, I had quite a few concerns about this story.
My cyborg series (both the first section and the cyborg space exploration section) is quite dark. It is set during war. Beings die (they ARE Romances and I believe in Happily EVER After so core couples and more are always safe). Bad things happen.
Truth, however, is a fun-loving cyborg warrior. He deals with darkness by making jokes and causing chaos. He has known loss and torture and horror but he chooses to focus on the good, the fun, the laughs.
This means any story featuring Truth won’t be overly dark in tone. He simply won’t allow that to happen. He’ll crack a joke and the tone will become light again.
I worried, two years ago, reading buddies wouldn’t embrace this lighter story.
Then the Great Pause happened.
I know I can’t deal with super dark-toned stories at the moment. The world is dark enough.
I’ve been reading lighter stories. And I suspect many reading buddies have been doing the same.
Testing Truth is definitely a lighter story. There is still a high death count. Bad things DO happen. But Truth’s reactions to these events keep the tone light, the jokes flowing and the chaos happening. His heroine is a princess. Her entourage is…unusual. There’s even a mini-dragon in this story. (grins)
And, of course, Testing Truth IS a romance. There are sexy times and love and those delicious aww… moments I adore in romances. Romance is all about love and hope and optimism, something everyone would benefit from having more of today.
I believe Testing Truth is the perfect Cynthia Sax story for this time. It is the story I was meant to write and the story reading buddies were meant to read. I hope you enjoy it!
Question:Have YOUR reading habits changed during the Great Pause? Are you reading shorter stories, longer stories, lighter stories, darker stories, re-reading more, reading more new-to-you writers, etc?
A fun-loving cyborg gets serious about love.
Truth lives each moment as though it were his last. The cyborg warrior rushes into danger, teases beings he shouldn’t provoke, accepts every call of adventure he encounters.
When a prissy little human princess floats into the Rebel structure Truth is occupying, seeking a mercenary to assist her and her unusual entourage, he volunteers to be her warrior. She claims their assignment is dangerous, warns him he might not survive the task.
That is exactly the type of fun he has been seeking.
Princess Nanette of the planet Royaume must rescue her estranged brother from an enemy prison ship. That is her duty, and she has been trained to always place the needs of her planet and her subjects before her own. Nancy doesn’t have the freedom to indulge her passions for a certain dark-haired, gray-skinned cyborg. Not permanently and not publicly.
But she is unable to resist the warrior. Truth, with his laughing eyes, smiling lips, and rough hands, tempts her as no one else ever has. He could be her one fleeting act of rebellion before she’s matched with the powerful ruler her planet requires.
If they survive their current mission.
Their love is doomed. Their lifespans are at risk. This cyborg and his princess will need the help of every ally they have if they wish to see another sunrise.
USA Today bestselling author Cynthia Sax writes steamy Cyborg, Alien and Contemporary Romances. Her stories have been featured in Star Magazine, Real Time With Bill Maher, and numerous best of top ten lists.
Sign up for her dirty-joke-filled monthly newsletter and visit her on the web at www.CynthiaSax.com
Doc, the hero of Doc’s Orders, my most recent cyborg romance release, is a medic.
Medic isn’t the first role most readers mention when they are asked about heroes or heroines in SciFi Romances. We often think of warriors or spaceship captains or rulers of alien worlds. Many of my cyborg or alien romances feature awesome heroes and heroines like that.
But I’ve also written quite a few equally awesome medic characters. Why? Because every ship, every team, every settlement usually has at least one medic. It is an essential role. Warriors often become injured and require healing. Beings might visit a settlement for the sole purpose of seeing a medic. If a ship crashes, a medic is likely to be one of the first beings arriving at the site.
Medics in SciFi Romances see plenty of action. They are part of away teams, as Star Trek would call those groups of beings. Medics are consulted before ships land on newly ‘discovered’ planets. They are positioned on battle fields. And they are also often the difference between a character living or dying.
It is logical that they’d be heroes and heroines in their own romance stories.
Doc, my hero, is an unlikely character to be a medic. He’s a cyborg, and cyborgs tend to self-heal. Why would they require a medic? Well, severed limbs don’t re-attach themselves. (grins) The healing nanocybotics aren’t THAT advanced. Doc performed more extreme ‘repairs’ while on the battlefield.
Now, he’s the medic on a ship operated by cyborgs and those cyborgs’ human females. The mission of the crew is to explore the planets in the cyborg-controlled sector. Doc studies the air quality and other factors to determine if these planets are safe for cyborgs and/or humans. And he heals beings who become injured during the exploration of these planets.
His role is essential, especially as the crew plans to investigate Khambalia 5 next. EVERYTHING on that planet, including the planet itself, wants to kill them.
Who are some of your favorite medic-in-space heroes/heroines? What books/TV shows do they appear in?
She wants both sides of her cyborg—the medic AND the beast.
A fully functional cyborg is balanced. His machine half and his organic half work together to produce the perfect warrior.
Doc isn’t fully functional.
The G Model operates at the two extremes. When his machine is in complete control, he’s the logic-driven medic, saving lifespans. Once his organics take charge, he becomes the savage beast…and beings die.
Both sides of Doc want to be the first to claim his female.
Allinen is one of the few beings in her small settlement who wasn’t born with a fated mate. Determined to belong somewhere, she has crafted a plan to leave the planet.
That plan doesn’t involve a huge stormy-eyed male who alternates between cool seduction and out-of-control ravishment. Doc isn’t her fated mate. Allinen knows that. But his dual nature and forbidden embraces tempt her to forget forever and indulge in more immediate delights.
Neither side of Doc views their relationship as being temporary. Her conflicted cyborg is prepared to battle her family, her planet and death itself to keep her.
USA Today bestselling author Cynthia Sax writes contemporary, SciFi and paranormal erotic romances. Her stories have been featured in Star Magazine, Real Time With Bill Maher, and numerous best of erotic romance top ten lists.