Most Fascinating Hero Award – Mako's Bounty by Diane Dooley
It isn't often that a SFR can surprise me in such a good way, but this one boldly ventured into rarely explored territory with a bad boy hero who comes complete with unique twist--he's a man of faith. When confronted with a feisty heroine who's hot on his trail and after his head, Vin 'The Saint' Sainte resorts not to emotional manipulation but...prayer? And it works beautifully! I found this a fascinating character facet seldom seen in SFR (or most Romance genres, for that matter) and it made for a refreshing, endearing--and sometimes humorous--leading man. Mako's Bounty was published by Decadent Publishing, 1NS Series, March 11, 2012. 38 pages.
Best New Arrival From Another Genre Award – Dragonfly by Erica Hayes
I'm always on the lookout for new writers to add to my Favorites in SFR list. This author has been publishing Urban Fantasy and Paranormal, so when her first SFR debuted on December 1, 2012, I had to check it out. Eureka! The heroine is a counter-terrorist agent with a deadly grudge, out to entrap Dragonfly, the notorious thief who killed her close friend—or did he? This story offers plenty of action and intrigue, with authentic lingo and cutting-edge tech (perhaps a benefit of the author being a former air force officer), shiny world-building, multi-faceted characters, an edgy romance and page-turning plot. Dragonfly was published by Momentum, 340 pages in length.
Most Entertaining Sidekick Award – Kicking Ashe by Pauline Baird Jones
There are plenty of reasons to bestow a rain of sparkly kudos on this novel. It's intelligent, fun, and infused with imagination and humor. It opens with the heroine getting swept up in a time tsunami and dumped on a dying planet to face Vidor Shan, a man—or at least a version of him—that she knew from another time. The paradox alone makes for a great story, but the high tech sidekick was a real standout for me. Though, technically, he's not a sidekick, he's a mindkick. Lurch is a nanite that exists inside the head of the heroine--Time Service Agent Ashe--and delivers an ongoing dialogue that's clever and at times painfully observant. For the heroine, it must be like having a big brother in her head. Or maybe a snarky Siamese twin. Lurch's presence sometimes gives the hero reason to ponder what's really going on inside the enigmatic heroine's head. (He doesn't want to know.) Kicking Ashe was published by L&L Dreamspell, Project Enterprise series, released February 19, 2012. 214 pages.
About Laurie A. Green
Laurie A. Green is a three-time RWA® Golden Heart® finalist and science fiction romance enthusiast who founded the SFR Brigade community of writers, which now totals over 300 members. Her extended family includes her husband, David, four dogs, three cats and several horses, all who reside on a ranch in beautiful New Mexico. When she's not writing, networking, or searching out the perfect cup of Starbucks, she's usually busy exercising her left brain as a military budget director.