It’s been quiet around here lately, and there’s a reason for that. My daughter got married this past weekend, and as things led up to the wedding, life got crazy busy, and very focused.
The wedding was beautiful, and the bride and groom were absolutely lovely. Now that they’re off on their honeymoon, life can return somewhat to normal.
That being said, this post is going to address an email I received, which is something I haven’t really done on the blog before. But this keeps coming up, and I want to address it.
I’m sorry to say after reading book two, I will not be continuing your series. I loved the first book so much. It was exactly what I look for in a good scifi adventure with romance, and I adore Mercy and Reaper. However, upon reading book two it became clear that this series is headed down a path I cannot stand, reverse harem. I am so disappointed, because I was so excited to read the next book. But I just can’t get into romances that feature more than two people. Sorry you decided to jump on this trend. Also disappointed you didn’t mention this in the blurb.
A disappointed reader,
Okay, let me unpack this a bit. First of all, if a trope isn’t for you, it isn’t for you, and I don’t hold it against anyone, ever, for not continuing a series or book that didn’t work for them. I’m never going to please everyone.
What follows isn’t necessarily directed solely at Nicole; it’s directed at anyone curious about where the series as a whole is going, what to expect from my writing in particular now and in the future, and why authors make certain decisions.
I am not a trend follower. It’s just not for me. I recognize they exist, I enjoy some of them as a reader, but I don’t write fast enough to make them useful as an author, and I write…what I want to read, not what I think everyone else wants to read. I wrote the first draft of Pirate Nemesis way back in 2008. Before that, the characters existed in a tabletop RPG game, loosely based on the then-popular newly redone Battlestar Galactica TV series. We played in that very loosely inspired by SF world for more than two years, and eventually, I told my game master who is also my real like BFF “Hey, I love these characters. I love this space pirate thing you’ve done. I would LOVE to write books about it.” And she very graciously said yes. The multiple consorts thing was an in-game bit of world building, and yes, in the game Mercy had multiple consorts, which happened organically over time as we roleplayed the story and the relationships. A lot of things that exist or happen in the books have been created by me as I’ve written them. Some things in game don’t translate well to books, and some things have developed organically as I’ve written. But, consorts were a thing in the game world, and they are a thing in the books. They arguably existed way back in 2004-2006 when we were actively playing the game, WELL before any fiction book trends were taking off.
As to why I don’t mention it in the blurb – that is a proactive choice I have made. I did at one time. But I found it subverted expectations. Some RH readers who tried the series found it waaaay too SF for them, and some SF readers refused to even try it because they assumed it was all romance, all of the time. So I took the wording out. Again, this is a case of you can’t make everyone happy all of the time.
Because my series does have a reverse harem aspect, but IMO its main genre, so to speak, is space fantasy/space opera, I market it as such. When you call something “reverse harem” these days in the book world, that phrase sparks a particular kind of book in some reader minds, and in MANY cases, not even the correct type of book. The RH genre as a whole is misunderstood by many. What I DON’T want is readers who love space opera being turned away from my series thinking it is nothing but vague Science Fiction window dressing over hardcore Romance with lots of sexy times, as many people assume RH is barely one step away from erotic romance (not true; readers of the genre can tell you there are plenty of series out there with absolutely zero sexy times included, but let’s not get off track.)
So correct; I don’t mention it in the blurb. Plenty of reviews mention it, so readers who check those out get a warning ahead of time. And really…I’m hoping readers will give the series a chance regardless. Love is love, right? In my vision of a far future universe, humanity isn’t necessarily going to have the same views on things, why would Romance be any different? Why wouldn’t some cultures absolutely embrace the idea of multiple partners? We have people who do that today, in our society, even the Puritanically based US culture. Multiple partners does not mean groupings aren’t loyal and monogamous to one another. Multiple partners does not mean they don’t fiercely love one another.
But this isn’t a soap box, and I’m not here to convince you. That’s just my personal opinion. And in case anyone is wondering, yes I’m married, to one man, and that is all I would ever be interested in, and we are very happy. Fiction does not reflect the life and choices of the author, and some people can have a hard time understanding that.
Now, something to keep in mind: readers may note that SOME couples on my universe are just that: couples. Sanah and Dem will never add another partner. There will be others, in both the Swag Stories series and the main TSP series, who will ONLY be a pairing and nothing more. So, in that way this series is also unlike traditional reverse harem books. I feature multiple pairings and partnerships in my books. This includes, btw, straight heterosexual pairings, gay pairings, and multiple partner pairings. If you’ve read Pirate Festival, you know that Haggerty is gay and in a relationship. Some readers have written me asking if he and Nayla will ever get together, and the answer is no. Sexuality is not fluid in this way. Haggerty, while he loves Nayla very much, is not in love with her. And Nayla will be moving on from her girlhood crush on him. I’m sorry if that disappoints anyone, but some things in fiction do need to reflect real life for me, and this is one of them.
As to books outside of the TSP universe: I am not a reverse harem writer. I am a speculative fiction writer. I write SF and Fantasy with romance, and not every book or series will include various sexualities and pairings. For example, I’m working on a fantasy romance fairy tale retelling with my husband right now, and it features a single couple: Evie and Markos. That isn’t for any reason other than that is what that particular story dictates/needs. I’m not choosing to do that to be different from the TSP series, or to satisfy disappointed fans, or to follow trends. This is a fairy tale retelling, which means it is loosely based on a particular fairy tale, in this case Sleeping Beauty, and we are to some degree following the tenants laid out by that existing story.
So, the TL;DR sum up: yep, there is a reverse harem aspect to Telepathic Space Pirates. It is laid out pretty clearly in book one, so if you pick up book two expecting it to ignore that, I’m not sure what to say. The series has couples and pairings, not every romance featured is RH. You can decide if that means you want to read or don’t, but please stop emailing me your disappointment. I’m sorry you don’t like it; you are welcome to move on; telling me does absolutely nothing to change anything I have planned or am doing with series, and only serves to make my day a little less awesome knowing a reader who loved the first book is quitting the series. Just move on quietly and maybe give my next series a try. Thanks!