So when I was looking around on the Loose Id website, I saw other books by Jules Jones, and gave the "Buildup" series a try. It's also set far in the future, although the stories do have human protagonists. I really liked "Buildup: Mindscan." Starship captain meets tortured dissident trying to make a break from a prison ship. I guess some people would find it a little dark, or consider some scenes to not be at all romantic, which was kind of the point of those scenes. Loose Id didn't have a warning on it, though I think a warning might have gone something like (*spoilers*): m/m sexual practices, anonymous sex, multiple partners. I guess I've read enough gay erotica that scenes with those last two don't bother me like they might possibly bother someone who was coming from a purely het romance reading background. Apparently the kind of darkness I like in my stories is that at least one of the protagonists is damaged, but is doing his best to work around the damage, without having self-pity. I'm wondering if there are any more stories coming in the series besides the two there.
I had heard of Sarah Black from the Partners in Crime series. In November, I figured I'd better catch up on the first three Partners in Crime books, since I'd only read "Snowball in Hell" (which I've gushed about in earlier entries and elsewhere) and the first version of "Body Art," which I've gushed about a little, though mostly in private. Mainly about how much I like the protagonists, although the settings are pretty impressive, too. So I got the rest of the Partners in Crime stories in November and December. I think I was spoiled by how much I love the character Nathan Doyle from "Snowball in Hell" -- and Ray and Anton from "Body Art," for that matter. I wasn't blown away to that extent by characters in the other stories, although the stories were worth getting. I liked "Cards on the Table" considerably more than I thought I would from the blurb. That blurb just didn't do anything for me. Tim was a rather appealing protagonist, and very determined to solve the old mystery, although some reviewers complained that he was TSTL (I think that means "Too Stupid To Live") for going swimming by himself when he had uncontrolled epilepsy.
But I'd seen really good reviews for Sarah Black's "Border Roads," so I tried that. The shifting viewpoints threw me somewhat, and there was probably nearly as much hetero sex as there was m/m sex. But the romance between Clayton and Luke was amazingly powerful. *Mild spoiler* Even though Luke had been rendered mute by his war injuries, he still got his points across very firmly. You don't really get things from his viewpoint, but his character is revealed by how the other characters see him, by his actions, the expressions in his eyes, and the things he writes. He's so damaged physically, but he's so tough mentally. I didn't just like Clayton and Luke, either. I liked getting things from Juan's perspective, and I grew to appreciate getting Chris' viewpoint. I think as I started to see how the different viewpoints filled in different pieces of the story, I got more of an appreciation for how it all fitted together. I thought that there were several points in the story that would have made my mother weep uncontrollably. It was really more of a story about how four veterans tried to rebuild their lives after going through a war.
So there are a couple authors who were new to me as of a few months ago, but I'm glad I started reading their books. And, hey, when an author's new to you, but has been around for a while, you have the whole backlist to gradually explore, and that's fun in itself.