Just in case anyone needs a dose of good queer science fiction, here’s a link to a place where you can find just that! Sign up for the mailing list and you get free books, too!
Tim Rayborn has a new bi urban fantasy book out, book one of the Qwyrk Tales: Qwyrk. And there’s a giveaway!
Qwyrk is having a bad day; several, in fact. One of the Shadow folk tasked with keeping an eye on humanity, she’s ready for a well-earned break in Yorkshire, but now she’s (literally) run into a girl, Jilly, who just saw something quite supernatural and truly awful happen in her town.
As Qwyrk tries to unravel the mystery, layers of villainy are exposed, and she’s stuck with an assortment of unlikely folk that she’d rather not have “helping” her.
Together, they confront ancient magic, medieval conspiracies, and the possible end of the world (that again?). It’s not the holiday Qwyrk was hoping for!
Aboyt the Series: Qwyrk is the first in a series of four novels about the adventures of a group of misfits at the edge of reality in modern northern England, a world of shadows, Nighttime Nasties, sorcery, intergalactic councils, tacky nightclub attire, an abundance of sarcasm, and even elves…though they are a bit silly.
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Booksamillion | Blackwells | Liminal Fiction | Goodreads
Tim is giving away an Amazon gift card with this tour:
Qwyrk and her friends sat on the slanted rooftop of the Ecklesons’ large old home a little later on, quite annoyed. Now they were just trying to avoid all of the clatter and the obnoxious human adults stomping around below. Jimmy’s second outburst had no doubt earned him a grounding for the next month. Mr. Eckleson had let out a few stern words that were decidedly inappropriate for young Jimmy’s ears.
So Qwyrk, and her mates Qwypp and Qwykk, sat and surveyed the scene. It was a nice detached Edwardian home, with a lovely yard. Well, it would have been lovely except that it needed more tending than the Ecklesons were prepared to give it.
An old rosebush had grown to quite a size, such that its thorny branches often grabbed people as they walked by, often to gasps of surprise that then turned to annoyance as new victims found themselves unable to walk any farther until they became untangled. Those that ventured forward to smell the roses risked never being seen again.
At least twice a month, Mr. Eckleson threatened to hack the whole thing down, but somehow, he always got distracted by other weekend activities, such as football on television. And secretly, he harbored a slight fear of the thing, as if it were watching him. He worried that if he cut it down, a mob of rosebushes might return one night to enact a brutal vengeance. Mr. Eckleson needed a bit more fresh air.
Yes, it could have been a charming entryway to an old house, even with the disagreeable rosebush. But the plastic pink flamingos that Mrs. Eckleson had brought back from their Florida holiday and displayed with pride out front ensured that “charming” was not a word on the lips of guests. So did the bright blue ceramic garden gnome.
So, the trio looked down on the yard now: gnomes, flamingos, petulant rosebushes, and all. Humans could only see them as shadows with glowing red eyes, but up here, all alone, they saw each other on their natural form, which was basically like humans, except for their pointed ears. Humans would probably be disappointed by that. The occasional human—like a witch, a druid, a shaman, or some such—who could see them in their true form called them elves or fairies, which the Shadows resented. Elves were pretty silly, after all.
“So… what are we looking at?” Qwypp asked. Her bright red bob haircut clashed with her blue overalls and purple Doc Marten boots in a noticeable way.
“The rosebush,” Qwyrk sighed, as she ran her hands through her short but oh-so-stylish blonde hair.
“The rosebush,” Qwypp repeated. “And we’re looking at this rosebush because…”
“Shhh! Did you see that?” Qwyrk interrupted.
“What?” asked Qwykk, curling a strand of her long, wavy brown hair around her finger, and smoothing out wrinkles in her new designer exercise outfit. She obviously prided herself on being the glamorous one of the three.
“One of the branches moved.”
“Oh. My. Goddess!” Qwypp exclaimed. “You mean they have… wind up here in the north? We got here just in time!”
Qwykk stifled a giggle.
Qwyrk shot both of them an angry look. “It bent a little, like an elbow, you idiots! The rosebush is taking on anthropomorphic qualities. I’m sure I just saw it.”
“Anthro-what?” Qwykk asked.
“It means it’s becoming animated, moving like a bipedal being,” Qwypp answered, looking quite proud of herself, and smiling a smug smile.
“I don’t care what its sexual orientation is! That’s its own private business,” Qwykk answered in an equally snooty voice, clearly trying to sound impressive.
Qwyrk sighed and rolled her eyes. “Look, let’s just focus on it for a while, all right? It may do something else. We have to find out.”
“I wonder how that would work?” Qwykk mused after another minute of the three of them watching in silence.
“How what would work?” Qwyrk knew she’d regret asking.
“I mean, if you was a rosebush, how would you know who you fancied? Like, what if you had a knob with thorns? That wouldn’t be very pleasant! And even if you did know, what could you do about it? I mean… suppose you liked the rosebush on the other side of the street, how would you know if it fancied you back? And even if you knew it did, how would you actually get over there to get a snog? It’s not like you could move or anything. And how would you actually snog? Like, with what? Rosebuds on your branches? And suppose you actually fancied the oak tree next door instead, well, that opens up a whole new set of problems!”
Qwyrk almost put her face in her palms. Almost.
“Why can’t we just go downstairs and do some yoga?” Qwypp interjected, and for once, Qwyrk was glad for her whining.
“I told you…” Qwyrk started.
“You didn’t, though!” Qwypp said, annoyed. “Just that you’ve got a job up here to do, because of some funny reports.”
“Yeah, Qwyrk, what’s up? You dragged us all the way up here from London, when we were going clubbing this weekend, and we have a right to know why.”
Qwyrk assumed a mock pleasant voice. “Look, here it is again, in small words, so you’ll understand: that big rosebush has been doing some strange things over the last couple of weeks. It’s been moving like a human, and people have also been seeing things like ghosts, goblins, strange lights, and apparitions in the neighborhood; there was even a little earthquake a few days ago. When a plant starts moving by itself, it’s usually not a good thing, and if there’re ghosts and goblins involved, and the earth starts rumbling, it doesn’t usually lead to snogs and chocolate. All clear now?”
“But what are we supposed to do about it?” pouted Qwykk. “Now I can’t use my VIP pass to London’s ‘Club Nitro Ibiza Hedonistic Fun Dome’ this weekend.”
“The council wants us to keep an eye on it for a bit, to watch over everything. Our mate Jimmy down there is making that a bit difficult and making me question the wisdom of that order. I’ve a good mind to gag him tomorrow night.”
“The fact that we’re the ones that scare the bejeesus out of most kids who see us is somehow lost on the council, eh?” snarked Qwypp. “I don’t make the rules,” Qwyrk answered. “I just follow them.”
Qwyrk did ponder the irony of it all. “Well, what can I say? Sometimes kids are up far past their bedtimes and spot us. Then they get more scared of us than of the dangers we’re supposed to be watching for.”
It’s time for a change in policy.
Tim Rayborn is a writer and internationally acclaimed musician. He plays dozens of unusual instruments that many people of have never heard of and often can’t pronounce, including medieval instrument reconstructions and folk instruments from Northern Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East.
He has appeared on over forty recordings, and his wanderings and tours have taken him across the US, all over Europe, to Canada and Australia, and to such romantic locations as Marrakech, Istanbul, Renaissance chateaux, medieval churches, and high school gymnasiums.
On the writing side of things, Tim lived in England for nearly seven years and has a PhD from the University of Leeds, which he likes to pretend means that he knows what he’s talking about. He has written several books and magazine articles about music, the arts, history, and business, and undoubtedly will write more (whether anyone likes it or not).
He currently resides in Northern California amid many books, antique music reproduction devices (i.e., CDs), instruments, and with a sometimes-demanding cat. He’s also rather enthusiastic about good wines, single-malt Scotch, and cooking excellent food.
Author Website: https://timrayborn.com/
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/timrayborn
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/TimRaybornMusicandWriting
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tim_Rayborn
Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rayborn.esoterica
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3160656.Tim_Rayborn
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B00DWY5J8E
Some time a zillion years ago, I started a project for this blog on worldbuilding. What I didn’t know at the time was I was about to fall on my face. The day I made the first worldbuilding posr was the first day of several awful months that ended up with me in the hospital.
I never forgot the idea, but I have very little time for stuff, other than mindless gaming. That doesn’t take much effort. 😹
Anyway, I found a solution. I don’t have to do a blog series on worldbuilding, because someone has already done something better!
I’ve barely begun to play around with this shiny new toy, but I love it already. And tonight I’m going to start “moving in” for real. Can’t wait to get home and get busy!
Sionnach Wintergreen has a new MM paranormal historical fantasy romance out, Love Songs for Lost Worlds book 3: Infernal Hope. And there’s a giveaway!
Ex-necromancer Frank Hope risked his life to help his demon lover Kasimir return to his homeland, a dimension humans call Hell and Kasimir calls the Eternal Realm—a beautiful medievalesque land. Now, because Kasimir is the heir apparent to a vast, wealthy kingdom, the two live in luxury in a palace by the sea. But darkness haunts them.
Necromancers, humans sworn to capture and slay demons for Earth’s energy corporations to use as fuel, continue to strike the Eternal Realm. Strife between the Eternals’ kingdoms grows as well.
When war breaks out with a neighboring land, Frank and Kasimir are forced to make hard choices that threaten their relationship—and even their lives. Is their love truly meant to be? Will the universe that once smiled upon them turn against them?
This is the final book in the Love Songs for Lost Worlds trilogy and combines elements of fantasy, paranormal, and gay romance within the framework of an alternate 1980s world.
Warnings: Violence, gay bashing, suicidal ideation, foul language, explicit sex, light bondage, vomiting, suicide attempt and sexual assault
About the Series:
Kasimir, a demon boy, secretly watched a human boy, Frank through an interdimensional window. While Kasimir struggled with an abusive father, Frank grieved his father’s death. Little Kasimir watched…and fell I’m love.
Years later, Frank, who always felt like a loser, discovers he has a special power—commanding demons. That’s a valuable skill to corporations like DemonCo who slay and process demons to be used as fuel. When fate brings Kasimir and Frank together, they meet as enemies, but Kasimir believes they are destined to be lovers.
With themes of redemption, courage, and true love, this paranormal fantasy series is set in an alternate 1980’s Texas and the mystical Eternal Realm.
Sionnach is giving away a $15 Amazon gift card with this tour:
Palace of the Kingdom of the Onyx Moon
I hold Frank in the dark. He still has dreams of his former life, nightmares. He doesn’t usually wake up, he just fights things in his sleep, moving jerkily and making unintelligible noises. I put my arms around him and snuggle him against my chest. After a few minutes, he relaxes.
I relax, as well. I hate whatever things lurk in his past that disturb him so. We are living a beautiful life with each other. He seems happy—ecstatic even. But when he sleeps, he’s still pursued by whatever things haunt him.
Things haunt us here, but he is unaware of them.
He doesn’t know the Vanishings have increased, or that we stopped going to the village because the animosity toward him there had begun to worry me. When someone calls him a Necromancer, he corrects them happily—‘ex-Necromancer.’ He doesn’t realize that doesn’t matter to nearly everyone here. To my mother, Rahvel, Bedon, Varalica, and me, he’s a hero. To everyone else, he’s still a villain. And I know that would break his heart.
I’ve instructed Bedon and Varalica not to discuss the Vanishings in front of Frank. He’s blissfully unaware of how dangerous it is to live beyond the palace’s shields.
The only things he fears are in his dreams, and I will have it that way for as long as possible.
So I hold my beloved, and press my lips to his head, his face, and tell him ‘I’m here,’ in hopes my words create a lifeline to the pleasures he loves so much in our world.
I can’t fully partake in those pleasures myself. I love Frank dearly, but I can’t relax here like he does when he’s awake.
I’m free of my betrothal and want to frolic with Frank for as long as I can. I live in fear of the next time my father wants to forge alliances with my hand. Although I’m allowed a measure of say in such things, I still fear confrontations with my father. Frank has my heart, will always have my heart, but I worry how long our freedom will last.
However much I love being here with Frank, I never wanted this. When I Vanished from the Eternal Realm, when Frank summoned me, I was terrified. Once I learned I would not be processed for fiendium but would be his familiar, instead, I was actually happy. Not only was I with the man I had fallen in love with when we were children, I no longer had to worry about being king. I didn’t have to deal with my father’s constant mocking. All I had to do was love Frank.
Now, it’s all back on my shoulders—all of the responsibility, all of the abuse, and the prospect of being married off to someone else. Sometimes, I almost wish he hadn’t saved me. I wish he had gone to Eden and let me die.
I can’t tell him any of that. He’s haunted by enough without my adding worries. For now, there’s only us and our love.
Next day – The King’s Beach
I flop down on our blanket. “I don’t know if I’ll ever come again,” I tell Kasimir. “I’m all out.”
Kasimir turns over, his dazzling eyes alight with mischief. “Twenty minutes from now you’ll be all over me again.”
“Yeah, well…okay. But right now, I feel completely drained.”
“So do I. I wish it were lunchtime already. I’m famished!” He lifts up on one elbow. “You seemed to quite enjoy that sparkling wine yesterday. Would you like me to ask Bedon to get some more of that for us?”
Before I can answer, a man flies from the cliff above us and lands neatly next to us. He’s wearing the colors of the king, black and emerald green. Livery, I think I’ve heard Kasimir call it. I think he’s a messenger. His skin is darker than Kasimir’s, almost bronze, and his bat wings are nearly black. Like all of the eligos, he’s striking and handsome. And again, I feel like the luckiest guy alive, because Kasimir, surrounded by men who all look like underwear models, has chosen me.
It seems so weird now to think I was ever a Necromancer. That I ever worked for DemonCo and thought about killing Eternals to make fiendium. The human world runs on fiendium, on the lives of the eligos and all of the other inhabitants of this world. It’s just a world, like ours, but we somehow decided it was ours to pillage and justified our greed by saying they were demons, evil incarnate, when they’re actually just people and animals from another world.
I catch my snap, then. I haven’t actually been listening to what Mr. Bronze has been saying, but Kasimir stands up, raining sand, with an alarmed expression on his beautiful face. “I see,” says Kasimir. “I need to change clothes….”
“Wear your armor. They leave in an hour.” He turns toward the cliff and raises his wings as if to fly. “Oh,” he faces Kasimir again. “He said to bring your pet monster.” With that he flaps his wings and flies back toward the cliff.
Awww. Kasimir’s asshole father’s term of endearment for me. Great. What now? “What was that all about?”
“We need to fly back to the palace,” says Kasimir. His wings shoot out behind him. They look like giant hawk’s wings, feathered instead of webbed like most other eligos and copper striped with gold. They’re breathtaking. It doesn’t matter how fucking awesome they are, however, I still hate flying. I endure it, but it still makes me feel faint. I hate heights, which kind of sucks when the love of your life has wings.
“What’s going on?”
He spreads his arms so I can hug him while he carries me. “Father is confronting an army from the Kingdom of the Red Moon. He wants us to ride with him.”
I’m Sionnach (prounced SHUHN ukh) and I’m a trans male author of romance and fantasy. Most of my books are gay romances because they’re so much fun to write. Opposites attract is my favorite trope with hurt/comfort right behind it. Few things are as fun to me as bringing men to life and pushing them into each other’s arms. I love happily ever afters and believe true love is absolutely real.
Before I started writing full time, I volunteered as a grant writer for animal rescue nonprofits. I love animals, and they inevitably find their way into my stories. I share my life with my husband and seven spoiled cats. I’m also the emotional support human to a crazy husky. He/him
Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010515095870
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/everwintergreen
QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/sionnach-wintergreen/
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sionnach-Wintergreen/e/B01FOU8PS4
Dahlia Donovan has a new queer cozy mystery out (ace, biromantic, lesbian), Motts Cold Case Mystery Book 2: Pierced Peony. And there’s a giveaway!
On a casual walk along the Cornish Coast, Pineapple “Motts” Mottley stumbles upon a body and a perilous new murder case in the second novel in the Motts Cold Case Mystery series.
As spring rolls into summer, Motts settles into her cottage. She’s enjoying a daily stroll when a body in the sea destroys her peace and quiet. It brings yet another mystery for her to solve.
How does a woman who vanished from Polperro three years prior wind up battered by waves?
Motts is drawn into the investigation despite her best attempts. She finds a family in turmoil and loads of suspects. With no easy answers, she tumbles further into chaos and ever closer to danger.
Can Motts find the killer before she’s the one put on ice?
Will she survive a bone-chilling brush with death?
Dahlia is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour:
A cat, a turtle, and a stranger face off in the garden. The stranger blinks first. Right. The joke still needs some work.
“Do you always let your turtle and cat out in the garden together?”
“They’re friends. They like to gossip.” Motts set her trowel to one side and got to her feet. She dusted the grass and dirt off her knees. “They both need fresh air and sun in moderation. Are you lost?”
The man didn’t seem lost despite having popped up beside the back fence around her garden. He looked like a police officer. Though not quite as broad-shouldered, he stood as tall as Teo Herceg, the detective inspector she’d met in April and had been dating for over a month.
“I’m hoping to speak with Pineapple Mottley.” He sounded like a policeman. His suit, while nice, appeared rumpled from driving; his short grey hair, however, was gelled and styled perfectly. “I’m Detective Inspector Dempsey Byrne with the Metropolitan Police’s cold case unit.”
“Cold case?” Motts’s heart stuttered in her chest. She rubbed her fingers together nervously. “Jenny. You’re here about Jenny.”
Jenny Cleverly had been her lone best friend through her early childhood. Motts had stumbled across Jenny’s lifeless body on her way home from primary school while walking through a park, hidden behind a hedge. She still had nightmares about finding her.
The unsolved crime had haunted Motts. She’d developed an obsessive curiosity about cold cases as a result. And at least once a year, she searched online to see if anyone had been arrested for Jenny’s murder.
“Motts.” She had a sudden sense of déjà vu; she’d had a similar conversation with Teo in April. He’d been investigating the murder of a Rhona Walters, who’d been buried in the garden behind her cottage. It had been an auspicious start to her life in Polperro. “Cactus.”
Her beloved Sphynx cat had leapt onto the fence and then over to the detective’s shoulder. Detective Inspector Byrne didn’t bat an eyelid. He simply reached up to pat Cactus on his head.
Well, he certainly approves of the random strange man intruding on our afternoon.
Intruding inspector intrudes introspectively.
Not my best alliteration.
“I don’t often see a flowerless garden.” He glanced slowly around at her rows of fruits and herbs. “None at all?”
“My allergies try to drown me if I’m around them for too long.” Motts kept flowers far away from her cottage. Real ones, in any case. She made and sold origami and quilled floral arrangements as part of her small business, Hollyhock Folded Blooms. “Why don’t you come in for tea? Cold case curiosities can converse comfortably.”
Don’t frighten the fancy London detective with your peculiarities.
The judgmental voice in her head sounded suspiciously like her mum, who meant well but couldn’t always relate to Motts’s more unique traits. She didn’t understand her wayward autistic and asexual daughter. Motts had given up trying to fit into neurotypical moulds.
I am who I am.
Alliterations and all.
Oh, fun accidental alliterations are the best.
“I wouldn’t want to impose.”
“Wouldn’t you?” Motts stared blankly at the man, unable to decide if he was being polite or not. “You drove from London. At least a five-hour drive on a good day. Tea isn’t imposing. Sleeping in my garden and trampling the herbs would be.”
Dahlia Donovan wrote her first romance series after a crazy dream about shifters and damsels in distress. She prefers irreverent humour and unconventional characters. An autistic and occasional hermit, her life wouldn’t be complete without her husband and her massive collection of books and video games.
Author Website: http://dahliadonovan.com/
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/dahliadonovan
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/DahliaDonovan
Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dahliadonovanauthor/
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8184061.Dahlia_Donovan
Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/dahlia-donovan/
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dahlia-Donovan/e/B00KFNZFHU/
Other Worlds Ink has a new hopeful sci-fi anthology out: Fix the World. And there’s a giveaway!
We’re a world beset by crises. Climate change, income inequality, racism, pandemics, an almost unmanageable tangle of issues. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.
We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to fix what’s wrong with the world. From the sixty-five stories we received, we chose the twelve most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.
Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change, make war obsolete, switch to alternative forms of energy, and restructure the very foundations of our society,
The future’s not going to fix itself.
OWI is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour:
by J. Scott Coatsworth
The rumbling increased to a roar, and more dark patches appeared in the green lagoon waters. So expensive. So laborious to stabilize what was left. But every bit worth it, in this moment.
A great spume of water sprayed high enough to throw a shimmer of mist across her face as the first part of the old city broke the surface. As the spume cleared, the top of the Campanile di San Marco rose above the water, green roof gleaming like new. A nice touch. The Restoration Guild must have worked overtime on that one. Its golden weathervane was gone, but the bas relief of the lion of St. Mark made her clutch her heart.
“Mamma, what’s the lion for?” She licked chocolate off her hands, desperate to make her afternoon snack last just a little longer.
“It’s the symbol of the city.” Mamma put her hand on Cinzia’s chest, patting it—boom boom, boom boom. “The beating heart of who we are.”
Cinzia stumbled. It felt like yesterday.
“You okay?” Gio’s brow creased.
“I… sorry, yes. So many memories.”
Skipping over the bridges. The bad days of the quarantine. The corner market where mamma used to do her grocery shopping…
Another building broke the surface nearby—the Santa Maria della Salute, the beautiful basilica. Water poured off the gorgeous green domes in a thundering flood. They were mostly intact, though one of the smaller ones had a gaping hole—water poured out of it, cascading down to the lagoon like a waterfall, joining the general uproar of the Rise.
“Look, Kendra. You can see the outlines of the Canal Grande now.” The old waterway—the pulsing artery of the city—snaked away from them like a backwards ’S.’ In the distance, she could make out the edge of the Sestriere Cannaregio, the district where her mamma had lived in a modest apartment in an old stone palazzo that looked out on a concrete courtyard.
Waters rising, as it rained for close on a month, coming ever closer to their own second-floor balcony.
“What if the water doesn’t stop coming?” Cinzia stared out at the concrete courtyard, where the seawater swirled and churned.
“Don’t worry about that, tesoro. The water always stops, eventually. Now come here and help me with dinner.”
She had been lucky. She had survived.
All across the lagoon, the buildings of Venice were rising from the water. Many were broken, piles of bricks and debris covered with algae and surprised fish that flopped around on suddenly exposed land. The outlines of the city were becoming clear as water poured out of the buildings, churning the lagoon into a muddy, frothy mess.
A row of palazzos along the edge of the Canal Grande collapsed, sending up a deafening roar as they crumbled into rubble. Cinzia stepped back instinctively, pulling Kendra with her as the platform rose thirty meters into the air to avoid the cloud of debris that briefly rose above the lagoon before settling back to earth.
“Nothing to be alarmed about. Not all buildings were stabilized prior to the Rise.” Doctor Horvat’s lined face nodded reassuringly from the hovering screen before them, her voice broadcast across the world and to the Lunar colonies far above. “We expected some collapses. We will keep you away from the dangerous areas.”
“What if the city doesn’t stop rising?” Kendra grasped the railing, her gaze locked on the scene below.
Gio knelt next to the girl. “There’s no chance of that. The polyps have a very short lifetime…”
Cinzia was grateful to him. He probably understood the science behind all of this far better than she.
Her mind drifted.
They ate the last of the almond cantucci, savoring the hard cookies even though they were stale. Cinzia was still hungry, but she knew better than to ask for more. There was no more.
Outside, the rain had finally slowed to a constant drizzle.
Mamma ruffled her hair, managing a wan smile. “I need you to stay here, Cinzia. Someone will come for you, I promise. I will find us help.”
The helicopters had stopped coming days before, and the boats that had been plentiful the first few days, with men telling them to stay put, had bypassed their part of the city ever since.
The rumbling subsided.
Cinzia opened her eyes and looked around. For just a moment, there was absolute silence on the traghetto, along the shore, and on the sky board.
She looked over the railing.
Venice—her Venice—lay before her. It was in sad shape. Many of the landmarks she remembered were tarnished or broken. Whole zones of the city had collapsed, and except for Piazza San Marco, a green film covered the risen city. She was a ghost of her former glory.
But she was there, as solid and real as the hand before Cinzia’s face.
Bryan Cebulski is a rural California-based journalist from the Midwest who writes quiet queer speculative and literary fiction.
Scott Coatsworth lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were. He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends. A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).
Rachel Hope Crossman grew up in Athens, Greece and Berkeley, CA as the child of a linguist and an actor. Her imagination, marked by the stones of the Acropolis, the granite slabs of the Sierra Nevadas and the blues of the San Francisco Bay, is the all and everything that fuels her engine. A preschool teacher, then substitute teacher, Rachel ultimately followed her Montessori bliss to teach elementary. Mother of four grown children and author of Saving Cinderella: Fairy tales & Children in the 21st Century, (2014 Apocryphile Press), Rachel currently writes eco-fantasy and science fiction stories.
Jana Denardo is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.
J.G. Follansbee is an award-winning writer of thrillers, fantasy and science fiction novels and short stories with climate change themes. An author of maritime history and travel guides, he has published articles in newspapers, regional and national magazines, and regional and national radio networks, including National Public Radio. He’s also worked in the high-tech and non-profit worlds. He lives in Seattle.
Ingrid Garcia helps selling local wines in a vintage wine shop in Cádiz and writes speculative fiction in her spare time. For years, she was unpublished. But to her utter surprise—after years of receiving nothing but rejections—she’s sold stories to F&SF, and the Ride the Star Wind and Sword and Sonnet anthologies. She tweets as @ingridgarcia253and is busy preparing a personal website and—dog forbid—even thinking about writing that inevitable novel
Jennifer R. Povey was born in Nottingham, England, but she now lives in Northern Virginia, where she writes everything from heroic fantasy to stories for Analog. She has written a number of novels across multiple sub genres. Additionally, she is a writer, editor, and designer of tabletop RPG supplements for a number of companies. Her interests include horseback riding, Doctor Who and attempting to out-weird her various friends and professional colleagues.
Mere Rain is an international nonentity of mystery whose library resides in California. Mere likes travel, food, art, mythology, and you. Feel free to reach out on social media. Mere Rain has published speculative short fiction with The Mad Scientist Journal, Mischief Corner Books, Things in the Well, and Mythical Girls.
D.M. Rasch writes feminist speculative fiction for LGBTQ+ young adults and adults, exploring where the social and political meet the personal. Her characters are often found doing their best in worlds that challenge them to become their best selves. Queer representation and reaching out to LGBTQ+ youth drive her writing, informed by her MFA in Creative Writing from Regis University and two bossy sister kittens who like to edit. She identifies as a genderqueer lesbian, currently writing and working (remotely) in the Denver, CO area as a creative mentor, coach, and editor in her business, Itinerant Creative Content & Coaching LLC.
Holly Schofield travels through time at the rate of one second per second, oscillating between the alternate realities of city and country life. Her stories have appeared in Analog, Lightspeed, Escape Pod, and many other publications throughout the world. She hopes to save the world through science fiction and homegrown heritage tomatoes.
Anthea Sharp is the author of the USA Today bestselling Feyland series, where a high-tech game opens a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie. In addition to the fae fantasy/cyberpunk mashup of Feyland, her current novels are set in the shadowed enchantment of the Darkwood, where dark elves and fairytale elements abound. Anthea lives in sunny Southern California where she writes, hangs out in virtual worlds, plays the Irish fiddle, and spends time with her small-but-good family.
Alex Silver (he/him) grew up mostly in Northern Maine and is now living in Canada with a spouse, two kids, and three birds. Alex is a trans guy who started writing fiction as a child and never stopped. Although there were detours through assisting on a farm and being a pharmacist along the way.
Katherine McIntyre has a new FF contemporary romance out: Confined Desires. And there’s a giveaway!
Sky’s crush on her best friend has always been unrequited… until they’re stuck in quarantine together and sparks fly.
Sky’s high school bestie is moving back to the area and staying with her for a few weeks. Easy, right? Not when she’d held a torch for the woman since high school. The moment Mia walks through Sky’s door, those unrequited feelings return full-force. So, when a spreading virus keeps them confined in Sky’s apartment even longer, Sky is screwed.
Mia returns home after a bad breakup, but Sky is the only one who offers a safe place to land. However, the seven years they spent apart has her looking at her best friend through a different lens, attraction sparking with every inside joke, shared dinner, and cuddle on the couch.
That flare of desire fast turns physical. They can’t get enough of each other. Yet, whenever Mia tries for the “where is this going” talk, Sky dodges. Sky lost her sister in high school, and ever since, she’s become ace at keeping dates at a distance. Yet if she doesn’t manage to push past her own fears, she might lose her one shot at happiness with the woman she’s waited a lifetime for.
Katherine is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour:
Mia twined her arms around Sky and leaned her head against her shoulder. “See, this is why I missed you so damn much.”
Sky froze, unable to move. Part of her melted at this touch, while the other freaked out. The last thing Mia needed was her best friend dumping a lifelong crush on her lap. This close, she could feel the woman’s sleepy heat, and the sweet scent of peaches wafted off her. Sky’s mouth watered—the response instinctual. She forced her hand up to run her fingers through Mia’s silken strands. That was friendly, right?
“Missed you too, babe,” she murmured.
“So, wait, are you working tonight, or no?” Mia asked, pulling away to grab her mug.
“Uh, no,” Sky murmured, mind racing as she tried to come up with an excuse to leave.
Mia tapped the edge of her mug with her fingernail. “Then maybe we could take the day to play catch up?” she asked. When Sky didn’t respond, the words refusing to leave her tongue, Mia’s eyes widened. “I mean, as long as you didn’t have plans or anything. I know I kind of dropped this on you. Fuck, I don’t even know if you’re seeing anyone or who you hang out with anymore.”
“Pitifully single,” Sky responded. “My girlfriend and I split up last year, and I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t been able to get out to the bars or clubs in Philly at all to jump back into the dating scene. Trust me, you haven’t missed much.”
“Bullshit,” Mia said, placing her mug of coffee down. “Get dressed. We’re heading out to Lucky’s, and I’m buying you breakfast.” Her blue eyes twinkled as she doled out the commands, and Sky’s heart thumped harder.
Sky scratched the nape of her neck. “Yes, ma’am.”
She headed to the bedroom, cursing her lack of an excuse. A large part of her was thrilled to be spending all of this time around Mia after so long. Yet the other part of her just wanted to solder metal sheets around her heart.
As if she’d stand a chance with Mia Brownstone living at her house for the next two weeks.
Snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes.
Katherine McIntyre is a feisty chick with a big attitude despite her short stature. She writes stories featuring snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes—and there’s an equally high chance for a passionate speech thrown into the mix. As an eternal geek and tomboy who’s always stepped to her own beat, she’s made it her mission to write stories that represent the broad spectrum of people out there, from different cultures and races to all varieties of men and women.
Author Website: http://www.katherine-mcintyre.com
Author Facebook (Author Page): http://www.facebook.com/kmcintyreauthor
Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pixierants
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Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Katherine-McIntyre/e/B00J8U4VNU
Pat Henshaw has a new MM contemporary romance out: When Heart Becomes Home. And there’s a giveaway!
Is there a time limit on love and forgiveness?
Fifteen years ago, Manny didn’t show up to take Wes to the Shelby High School prom as he promised. Instead, Wes found Manny’s letter jacket at their meeting spot without a note or any explanation.
From college to his current job in Monterey, California, Wes has carted the jacket around as a memento of his teenage love and rejection. This year he decides enough is enough. He’s attending the high school class reunion, returning Manny’s jacket, and going home free to find the real love of his life.
When Manny sees Wes at the reunion tour of the new high school facilities, he’s determined not to let his teenage lover leave without them clearing the air and possibly getting back together.
Through reunion activities such as a quiz bowl, meet-and-greet meals, and a formal banquet with a prom-like ball as well as outside activities like the quinceañera of Manny’s niece, Wes and Manny work through the lies and misunderstandings of the past.
With so much to reconcile and forgive on both sides, will they end up together? Or go their separate ways with only memories of the past?
Pat is giving away two $10 Amazon gift cards with this tour:
Manny and I had never talked about college or the future. We’d been too centered on sex.
Because of all my wanderings through the past, it took me a few seconds to process what he’d told me. He’d written me a letter, and on the night of the prom, he had put it with the jacket at our prearranged meeting place.
He’d left the jacket—for me. He hadn’t crushed it into the ground in some undecipherable message. He’d left it with a note for me.
What had happened? Who’d come along and taken the note? And tried to blot out the jacket? Why hadn’t he or she taken it, too?
There was still a lot of food left on our plates when we both stopped eating and sat staring at each other.
“Okay, please tell me what happened from your side. What did your letter say? I have to make sense of this.”
He put his hand on the table, open for me to grab it with mine. We needed to hold on as we looked down at the rift that had separated us for fifteen years.
“What the letter said was I was stupid and asked you to forgive me. I knew I was gay. You knew I was gay. Hell, most of the town and the class probably knew, too. Everyone but my mother who insisted I wasn’t. According to her, none of the Garcias or the Escobars had ever been. She had read about homosexuality running in family lines. We had no gay men in the family. Therefore, I could not possibly be gay.” His thumb started rubbing over the back of my hand. “But I am. I knew it then. And I know now she knew it.”
The last part was said so low and his thumb over my skin was so seductive the words at first bypassed my brain. He kept speaking, so I had to scramble to keep up.
“Her big ambition for me wasn’t to get into a good college and have a fulfilling career like some parents wanted for their kids. No, it was for me to be a chambelane for as many of the daughters of friends as she could arrange, pick one of the girls, get married, and have as many kids as the girl would allow.” His thumb stopped, and he stared into my eyes.
“All I wanted to do was go on dates with you and for us to go to the prom. Together. As boyfriends. That’s all.”
His soulful eyes reflected the conflict between him and his mother.
“In the end, she won a tiny victory that has nicked away at my soul. When it came time for me to stand like a man, I failed. I cut myself down to her size. I agreed to play her game of life.” He looked away and sighed. “I learned the quinceañera waltz. I partnered her friends’ daughters. She smiled at me and bragged about her dutiful son. She dangled me by the strings she had woven since I was a baby.”
A short silence descended on us. I had nothing to say and knew he had a lot more to tell me.
Pat Henshaw has spent her life surrounded by words: teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs.
Pat was born and raised in Nebraska and since then has lived at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and now Sacramento, California. Over the years, Pat has traveled to Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and Stowe, Vermont, where she now has family.
Author Website: https://www.pathenshaw.com
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Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/pat-henshaw/
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00BPDEDEA
(Sorry, been a while since I had any new release promos. Life happened.)
Mary Rundle has a new MM paranormal romance out, Blackwood Pack book 10: Darkness Master. And there’s a giveaway!
The Blackwood Pack saga continues…
This is part of a continuing series by Amazon International Bestselling Author, Mary Rundle – reading the previous titles is advised. Readers will enjoy catching up with members of the Blackwood Pack and reading about what is happening to them as the pack does what it does best ̶ caring for one another and helping shifters everywhere.
Pursuing his dream, Sawyer heads to LA for some sun, waves and surfing lessons. After a disappointing day of surfing, he heads back to his campsite and meets Alex, his Fated Mate, who runs away, valuing his freedom more than anything else.
After the death of his wealthy, domineering father, Alex can finally shed a lifetime of restrictions. Leaving New York City, he sets out on a long, cross-country RV trip, unaware that an overnight stop in a Los Angeles campground will yield not one Fated Mate, but two! Shocked at meeting Sawyer, Alex rejects him, vowing never to be under the thumb of any Alpha mate.
Glenn, a career secret agent, is also in LA to seek help from his friend, Ghost, a surfing instructor, in his quest to find who is responsible for kidnapping Glenn’s mother and other rare shifters. After meeting up with Ghost, Glenn discovers his Fated Mate is Sawyer, his friend’s current surfing student.
After the three mates finally meet, each has to face up to some hard facts about their past and present lives before coming to an understanding that leads them to find love and happiness with each other.
Astounding surprises, rare and unique gifts, an action-packed mission, and many unexpected twists and turns make this passionate love story by Mary Rundle impossible to put down once you’ve read the first page.
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads
Mary is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card and a Blackwood Pack mug to one lucky winner:
Rolling over, Alex stretched, groaning as a sliver of early morning light hit his eye. Quickly covering his face with a pillow, he lay there for a while, dozing on and off until finally the memories from last night filled his mind. Oh shit! He needed to get going if he was going to escape the control of a mate. Sitting up quickly, he glanced at the time, biting his lower lip when he saw it was after eight in the morning. Moving the curtain aside a hair, he peered out, sighing in relief when he saw no one outside. Thank goodness for that, at least. Scooting out of bed, he headed to the small bathroom to get ready to meet the day.
After a shower, he dressed quickly and then, after securing everything inside the trailer, grabbed a protein bar and a bottle of juice for breakfast. Sitting down at the table, he studied the map of Southern California. There were only two other gay campgrounds, neither of which were close to the one he was presently at. That meant a day of travel. Something Alex wasn’t very happy about but it was a far better alternative than finding himself again under someone’s thumb.
Taking another bite, he chewed slowly while considering the two options, head south to Palm Springs or north to San Francisco. According to his research both were meccas for men like him and both were on his list to visit. His goal was to pick the one he liked most, then buy a house, somewhere he’d be free from the restrictions others had always imposed on him for as long as he could remember.
If there were any doubts about taking off on his cross-country trip, they were gone as Alex began to experience what he’d been robbed of in his youth. Vowing to never fall under another person’s control again, he was quite prepared to live the rest of his life alone, finding pleasure in random hook-ups instead of being crunched under the boot of a mate. Even though he’d heard talk at school about the pleasures guaranteed by finding a fated mate, Alex knew the price was too high, at least for him. His only regret—and it wasn’t a deal breaker—was that his choice would mean accepting a lifetime of loneliness.
Finishing his breakfast, he decided to head south, keeping to his original plan to check out Palm Springs first. Folding up his map, Alex stuffed it back into the folder before gathering up some water and snacks to take with him in the SUV. Glancing around the trailer once more to make sure everything was secured, he opened the door. Lifting his gaze, Alex stopped mid step as his eyes landed on the one person he was hoping to avoid.
Standing naked at the edge of the clearing after shifting, Sawyer stared at the slim man whose face he would never forget. His mate was even more beautiful in the daylight. When he saw Alex’s tongue tentatively licking his lower lip, his body flamed with desire, his now-hardened cock quivering against Sawyer’s stomach, demanding to be sheathed in his mate’s body. Never, in all the time he sought pleasure with strangers, did he ever feel the overpowering need to be one with another as he did now. There wasn’t any way he could deny what his body was telling him. Taking a step forward, Sawyer reached out his hand, wanting to touch his mate’s body…to bury his nose against his mate’s neck…to imprint his mate’s scent in his heart…to mark the man as his.
All of Alex’s plans to flee flew out of his mind as he gazed at the gorgeous, naked man in front of him. Shivers ran up his spine, his cock hardened, his legs trembled. Intense desire ran through his body, overtaking his mind until all he could think of was that man taking him, easing his need, filling him up with cum. Nothing else mattered now…his preparations to leave were replaced by images of him surrendering as the man’s cock entered his body, making Alex his mate. His jeans were too tight, the flannel shirt was suddenly too hot, the urge to tear off his clothes had his fingers reaching for a button but when the man moved towards him it was as if someone had dumped a bucket of ice cold water over his body allowing him to remember his vow to remain free. Panicking now, he held up his hands. “No…don’t come closer. I don’t want you. Leave me alone!” Turning around, he retreated back into the trailer, slamming the door behind him.
The first book I ever wrote was Dire Warning in 2017 and, much to my delight, it became an Amazon Best-Seller. Readers loved it and I was on my way to chronicling the Blackwood Pack, seven brothers who are gay wolf shifters in search of their fated mates—stories about love at first sight with twists and turns, angst and humor, romance and adventure and, of course, happy endings.
As my books began to be translated into other languages, I also became an Amazon International Best-Selling author and then achieved the honor of becoming an Amazon All Star due to their popularity. My tenth book, Darkness Master has just been published and audible versions of the entire series are in progress.
I love the M/M paranormal genre because it gives my imagination a lot of territory in which to roam. My mind can really run wild and come up with some amazing stuff when it doesn’t have to stay inside the box.
My readers tell me they feel like they’re members of the pack as the stories unfold…as if they’re right there in the middle of the action. Others tell me it’s like watching a fast-paced movie. My writing style pulls no punches…readers love it and are always clamoring for the next book.
Stories come to me as if channeled by my characters, all of whom I love (except for a few villains). They are eager to recount their lives, loves and adventures and are not inhibited when it comes to revealing steamy, sexy details.
I currently live in the Northeast and love the beautiful change of seasons, my husband, and our quirky calico cat, though not necessarily in that order. I’m always happy to hear from my readers and can be reached through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, or my website.
Author Website: https://www.maryrundle.com
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Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Rundle/e/B0763CDQQ6
One of my guilds had a housing tour that happened to coincide with a random day off, so I actually got my butt in gear and finished my Thieves’ Oasis. This is the one and only big expensive ESO house that I don’t feel vaguely guilty about, because even though it’s perfectly true that it’s silly to spend big bucks on a digital home in a video game, I don’t care. I love this place! It is the absolutely most awesome home I could ever possibly imagine.
Anyway, I got the decorating job done, and took a bunch of pictures. The house is a shared home for my five current characters, with a guest bed for any new additions. I have two healers, two fighters, and one adventurer. Here they are:
Their names are Callisto Dawn, Serene Wind, Sweet Sunflower, Nythorse the Wylde, and Shorty McCorkle. Please don’t judge until you’ve had to name characters in ESO. 🙂
And here are the finished pictures of my lovely Oasis! Nothing special, it’s not got any kind of theme or anything, it’s just a sanctuary from the heat of the desert.
In the middle of washing a big dirty dog, I just figured out a strategy to keep myself on track with my perennial goals of “more writing” and “more arting.” Art in even months, write in odd!
Now let’s see how long I can stick to it…