Once upon a time, I wrote a short story titled "Pressure Drill." That was around thirty years ago. I didn't even submit it for publication anywhere. I just shoved it in a folder (printed on paper!) and went back to earning a living as a technical writer and, later, a programmer/analyst.
Then I got old and tired, so retired to dig out that story, along with a few others I'd written, but never did anything else. The first story wasn't bad, so I entered it into the keyboard, thus preserving it for posterity. I wrote another story about my character. I subbed them to an on-line ezine, which paid five bucks per, and I became a published author.
Eventually I used the two stories as chapters (with a bit of editing) into a short science fiction book. It was accepted by a very small press, got a cover, and I earned a few bucks. The publisher didn't produce ebooks, only print. How quaint is that in this day and age? I had the ebook rights, so I sent "First Duty" into the internet via Smashwords. When my contract expired with the small publisher, I also created a paperback version of the book.
That would have been the end of it, but all this time, I'd been reading. I discovered that SFR (science fiction romance) sells pretty well. The problem with "First Duty" is there wasn't any sex. I considered it appropriate for any audience (e.g., it was young adult). It took the basic book and added to it. I added the requite sex scenes (hot) and found a lot of other things I could enhance: space battles, hand-to-hand combat, more character development. This new book was almost twice as long. I sought a publisher for "Ultimate Duty" and it was taken by Eternal Press. It's now three years old.
One plot, two books. How is this any different from one plot ground out a dozen or more times by romance writers of the Harlequin variety? Both book are for sale (print links below). If you like SF without the sex, choose "First Duty." If you like SF with a few sex scenes, choose "Ultimate Duty." Think of them as a quarter-pounder burger or a meatier and bigger, double-pounder. The first is cheaper because it's shorter. The second is more expensive because it's longer.
YA SFR - Amazon Matchbook: Buy print, get the ebook free
Nyra Hutchings, a woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where first duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.
Oath or love...What is her ultimate duty? Remy Belieux, a woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her ultimate duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.
Excerpt from Ultimate Duty:
Remy and Garrett arrived at the outer wall path that led to the dock ports. Remy hoped at least one shuttle was still attached to the station. She dropped to the floor and peered down the slope of the passageway. Two guards stood at the entrance to bay 5. Luckily, they faced the opposite direction. Remy slid back and pointed silently, then held up two fingers. Garrett nodded and pointed left and then at himself. Remy nodded.
With no way to get any closer unseen, they must use speed instead. Both stepped back a couple of paces, so they’d hit the corner at full tilt. A nod from Garrett, and they sprinted through the twenty meters separating them from the guards. One guard turned to look only when Remy and Garrett were close enough to attack. The guard yelled, "Halt!" as he raised the barrel of his blaster. The second guard turned with a confused expression and didn’t manage to raise his own weapon before Remy reached him.
Remy felt her mind and body slip into fighting mode. Time slowed for her and she noted every detail of the guard’s stance. She leaped high in the air, her legs coiled like springs. The second guard finally lifted his rifle but never had the chance to fire. Remy drove both feet into his abdomen, slamming him against the wall with the force of her strike. In the low gravity she landed easily on her feet crouched and ready. She crossed her arms against her torso, grabbing the guard’s belt with her left hand and prepared to strike with her right. The man’s eyes widened when Remy’s backhand arced toward him. The force of the blow across his jaw sent him tumbling to the floor.
She glanced over at Garrett and saw he had already disabled the other guard, now curled on the floor moaning. Garrett kicked him in the head with an almost gentle tap. The connection of his shod foot on the guard’s temple did the job, knocking the man unconscious.
Garrett walked over to Remy’s guard and bent down. He pressed two fingers against the side of the man’s neck. "Good. He’ll live."
"If I wanted him dead, he’d be dead," Remy snarled.