Jane expected six months undercover to be hard; she expected it to be lonely and bleak. She didn’t expect to find love.
Jane Butler, a CIA operative, is assigned the task of infiltrating the Xanthians and determining if they’re a threat to humanity. Going undercover as a Xanthian mate, she boards the transport ship and meets Usnavi—her new mate. After spending six days traveling through space, Jane is ecstatic to explore the Xanthian station and soon sets out to complete her mission. The only problem? Usnavi—and the feelings she is quickly developing.
Fumbling their way through varying sexual expectations, cooking catastrophes, and cultural differences, they soon discover life together is never boring. As Jane and Usnavi careen into a relationship neither of them expected, Jane uncovers dark secrets about the Xanthians and realizes she may no longer be safe. When it becomes clear she’s on her own, Jane is forced to trust and rely on Usnavi. Simultaneously struggling with her mission, her feelings for Usnavi, and homesickness, Jane faces questions she never imagined she would have to answer.
~ Pride Promotions
Worldbuilding: The whole infertile alien race idea was interesting, the Xanthians had an interesting society and values, and certainly a curious history. I liked the world, though I wouldn’t say it was focused on hardcore, it was interesting and had me curious.
Characters: Jane was interesting, and so was Usnavi. I also liked them together, and there was some really fun chemistry there. I can’t say I felt either of them was particularly charismatic, though they were fun and kept me interested in the story, their romance and future. Something about them together didn’t click all the way through for me, the romance part particularly, though the sex did. I felt their lust, I can’t say I felt the romance, more like the beginning of falling for someone maybe, but not going further. Couple-wise, there’s a lot that happens in this story with them, from meeting, to falling, to having a baby and getting their HEA. While I loved that, I can’t say I was 100% into it emotionally, parts felt somehow rushed, tense relationship moments went by a bit too quickly.
The whole Xanthian gender thing was very interesting, and the either/or at any moment aspect of it, choosing according to mood or will, I loved that. It’s interesting to contemplate a world of that kind, I find the concept very appealing, the freedom of it somehow, the lack of barriers and difficulties. It also made for an interesting couple concept 😀 Come on, being a gender-shifter? That’s awesome!
Plot: Aside the hot romance tangent, there’s also a story concerning the Xanthians, their plans and what becomes of them. While I was interested in this part of the story, I can’t say it got my heart pumping. I can’t say I felt there was much action, despite things happening. The most focus was on the sex, I felt, and that was very hot and plentiful 😀 Had the same enthusiasm been applied to say some suspenseful&action scenes, and they could have easily been part of the story, this would have been even more fun to read.
Writing: Third person, past tense narrative, from Jane’s POV and a few times from Usnavi’s POV, though not in separate chapters, and it’s mostly from Jane’s POV.
Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb. I confess it’s the bisexual aspect that got my attention.
All in all, this was an interesting concept, a fun and hot read, I enjoyed it.
And I so wanna see more bisexual fiction, and other rainbow fiction aside cis gay and cis lesbian. Let’s get that the diversity going even more 😀
Jane took a long sip from the drink, using it to bide her time before she asked the question on the tip of her tongue.
“What are you, then?”
“I am Xanthian.”
Usnavi stood up straight, zher back tense as zhe moved over to stand in front of Jane.
“Is it really that hard to understand that I am neither man nor woman, male nor female, that I am simply Xanthian and Usnavi?”
Grinding her back teeth together, Jane nodded minutely.
“Sometimes it is. Sometimes it’s not,” she responded.
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
2. What would you say inspired you to write it?
A drunk night at the bar with authors and a massive typo. In all honestly, that’s what inspired it. A friend had a typo in her space opera where an alien accidentally changed sexes (because she’d missed a whole paragraph in her editing), so my other author friend said it would be really cool to write a story with a sex-shifting alien…and voila! Usnavi was born.
3. What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist? What about your antagonist?
Another author’s work and the concept of gender-bending. My antagonist is like any antagonist, annoying and pointedly mean. There really wasn’t much inspiration on that part beyond getting the plot to move in the direction I needed it to go.
4. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it?
I don’t believe in writer’s block, actually. I think if you practice the craft you’ll continue to do the craft. It’s like any other hobby or job—the more you do it, the better you get at it and the less issues you have. I also believe that in order for inspiration to show up, you do have to actually send it an invitation so it knows to come.
5. Your all time favorite book?
All time? Yeeesh, I’m not sure I could name one. I really did enjoy Evangeline Anderson’s series, the Kindred.
6. What made you pick that one above all others?
It’s good fun sci-fi/erotic romance wrapped up into one.
7. What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?
If you’re talking in a day, 17-18 hours straight. If you’re talking a whole novel, this novel was written in about 2 months, but 10 days of actual writing time—that’s the longest for writing. Although…editing took MONTHS.
8. Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?
The only way it changed me was to make me more confident of my work and of the stories I write and have trapped in my head.
9. Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind?
There were a few times during the editing process where I wanted to give up, and certainly after publication, there have been a few times where I wish I hadn’t published, but those thoughts are usually quickly dashed away.
10. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing?
I do a lot of random work around home. I hate to be so non-specific about it—but I have a pen name for a reason.
11. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
I deal with them by complaining to my friends in private messages. Honestly—it’s not good to complain on social media, it just gives people a bad image of you. There’s enough negativity in this world that there’s no reason to bring even more to the floor.
12. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series?
This book is not part of a series; it’s a stand-alone.
13. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series?
I’m working on a werewolf dystopia next. I’m really excited about it. It flips some general concepts upside down, you know, as I tend to do in novels.
1. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?
World peace—I’m so grinning smugly at the computer right now. I’d probably wish for people to learn about of what true respect means and to exercise it.
2. If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
I’d want the longest book on the planet, so I could use it for fire starting.
3. Name your favorite fruit.
4. Coffee or tea?
5. Favorite season?
6. How about fav time of 24 hours?
7. Were you a boyscout/girlscout?
Hell to the no
8. Favorite food for breakfast?
Don’t eat it.
9. Latest book you’ve bought and read?
Bought and read? Ummm…Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility – I know, so thrilling, huh?
10. Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
I college rocks.
11. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
12. Drama or comedy?
13. Have a fav quote or personal motto?
“You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.” A. Einstein
14. Cats or dogs?
15. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?
Candlelight all the way. I’m not much of a people person.
About the Author & Links:
After chasing around puppies and corralling kittens, S.A. Snow flips open her BSG replicated console and enters her mysterious world of imagination. Seeking to escape the rigors of her day jobs, she enters flight mode and powers her engines full-speed ahead.
A prolific writer of non-traditional erotica, S.A. Snow grew up on a small alpaca farm high in the Andes Mountains. A lover of yoga and meditation, she spends her free time constructing alien space stations, organizing werewolf governments, and cataloging all episodes of Star Trek in order of technical soundness. A firm believer that one need not choose between Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas, she also has closely examines all Star Wars movies in order to determine which episode is more factually based.
S.A. Snow writes truth and only truth, factoring in all evidences she can find. She writes only about parallel universes she has personally visited, and believes if something about her books isn’t shocking, she’s not effectively telling the story.