Oh yeah, promotional crap…

Promo, Writing

Other authors do this stuff all the time. I always admire their promotional skills, their ability to promote their own work without blushing brighter than an average bonfire. But I tend to hide in a shadowy corner and shove my stories out in the wild and let them stand or fall on their own.

But… that’s hardly a strategy used by successful authors. Instead, they do this thing called “engaging the audience,” and that other thing called “promotion.” Yes, I have indeed used that word several times now, all within two paragraphs. But I’ve got a new release coming soon, and my usual hiding in the shadows approach won’t help it succeed.

So here you go. I’m pushing myself out into the internet’s face, waving around my author flag, and saying Read my stuff! I can write! See? I tell stories!

Cool stories. Fun stories. Remember Eternal? No? Damn, then who bought it and bumped it up to #1 on Amazon for a while?

Well, fine. It wasn’t you. So have a sample.

(excerpt from Eternal)

eternal

The full repair of the drive and all its crystals took three more days. It was exhausting, but so worth it. I learned a lot, as previously mentioned, about history, deep inside those spells. I even fancied I knew the mages who’d assembled this drive and all its component spells. There had been three of them, each with his—or her, one was a woman—own style and signature. Absolutely fascinating work.

Kai watched some of it. Not all, because clearly, for all his potential, he was no mage and couldn’t see most of the good stuff, but some. Like the connections getting re-established in the spell matrices. That had to look pretty cool, a complex, glowing matrix weaving itself out of nothing right there in the air over the drive pedestal. And as soon as I finished repairing the main flight spells, we took off into space. I could work on the others while we flew between planets and D-gates. Most of spaceflight consisted of boring plodding back and forth between planetary systems and the dimensional gates that warped space anyway, might as well use the time for an important purpose, right?

I finished the entire repair shortly before we reached the D-gate. That meant I was atop my cabin, on a sweet little observation deck complete with railing to make it look like a boat, when we approached it. The concept of observation deck took a little getting used to, at first. Because, of course, the containment spells are fully invisible, so it looks like I’m out in the vacuum of space, leaning on a fragile, thin railing, a feeling sure to incite panic in most sensible souls. But I’m hardly all that sensible. I love the feeling of space surrounding me in all its immensity. And more than that, I love watching the stars. This stretch of space is pretty bland and boring, no nebulae or anything interesting like that, but who cares? The stars are enough for me. Of course, now there’s a D-gate to look at, too, and only a fool wouldn’t be fascinated by one of those.

A massive, octagonal metal frame hung in space, a technological monstrosity to build the spell matrix on. An assortment of traffic surrounded it, and a heavily armed Gate Patrol craft hung menacingly over it all, keeping the peace. Every gate in the huge network, Imperial or not, had at least one Gate Patrol boat assigned to it, because no one could ever be allowed to take over a D-gate. The survival of modern civilization required the gates remain neutral, and functional. Otherwise… well, I’m no political genius, but I can see where there would be a big problem if someone started messing with the gates. So the Gate Patrol formed up, a neutral, independent force that protected and maintained the D-gates for all to use. And, of course, collected fees from all users.

The gate spell itself looked like a rainbow of shifting energy. The beautiful, shimmering sheet spread across the physical gate like a soap bubble on a wand right before a child blows it. I wondered if maybe someday I’d get a chance to work on one. Gate maintenance sounded utterly boring to some, I know, but I’d always been attracted by the complexity of the spells. They had to be so generalized, and at the same time so precise! Parameters for touching each and every other gate in the network, for the dimensions ships went to in transit, for protecting human life and the ships themselves, for keeping other entities out of our universe… and so on. Hundreds of complex spells, and every one had to be in perfect working order to let ships pass through safely. Not that I have any say in the matter, but if I ever do get the chance to work for the D-gate service, I’m on it.

Kai appeared on the deck beside me, and I’d been so wrapped up in thoughts of the beautiful gate that I twitched in surprise when I saw him. Starlight and shadows played across his skin, making him look rather magical himself.

Huh. That was an odd thought.

“What’s it look like to you?”

“Um… you mean the gate?”

“Yeah. To me, it’s just a big thing, something to get from one place to another. But what’s a mage see?”

I smiled a little. “Beauty. Complexity. Hundreds of interwoven spells, each depending on the other, each forming a perfect web of functionality.”

“Much more interesting than a shiny patch in space.”

“Yeah.”

“Well, we’ll be going through the thing shortly. We’re number twenty-four in the line.”

“Where we going, anyway?”

“Monrovia.” He grinned at my startled reaction.

“Whatever for?”

“Same thing everyone else goes to Monrovia for. Shopping.” He poked distastefully at my robe, my bland, boring, ordinary as the day is long robe. “Can’t have you running around like that, after all. I’ve got an image to maintain.”

I snorted. Today he wore a full-out Romance outfit, burgundy, cream, and black, complete with poofy sleeves and tights. “Huh. Great. I’ve got no fashion sense, you know. Never even been shopping.”

“Really?”

“Nope, never. Not even once. No money, remember?”

“Huh. No need to worry about that now. I may be an exile, but I’m still smarter than the damn Emperor. He thought he’d do me real damage by exiling me. He even tried to have me declared officially dead, since he couldn’t kill me the ordinary way. But I could see it coming miles away, so I took my accountant’s advice. I liquefied all my assets and had accounts set up out here before he even thought about blocking that sort of thing. The exile didn’t do much except get me out of his sight. Which is probably why there’s so many assassins on my tail these days. Anyway, there’ll never be a need to worry about money.”

“As long as you like me, anyway,” I said, all too aware of how transient good fortune is in my life.

He smiled. “No worries there, either. You’re far too useful to have around. I’m not about to run you off.”

“Good.”

We stood quietly for a moment longer, watching the traffic around the D-gate, then Kai left for the control room. I didn’t. Are you kidding? When there’s a chance to watch a D-gate translation from what amounts to right in the middle of it? I know the containment spells on this ship, which I’d found out is named the Chaos Rider, will hold. Of course they will, I’d done ’em myself. So why pass up the chance to see the translation in action? Most people never saw such a thing, not even mages. Because, of course, most space-going vessels kept passengers safely locked away, with walls in between themselves and the black. One more reason to love a space schooner. There’s nothing that can adequately describe the feeling of flying through space with nothing but invisible spells and a big balloon between me and the stars.

We crept slowly forward, towards the gate, taking our position in line. Well, slow relative to normal space travel. Propelled by freshly-repaired spells, the schooner moved along at a speed utterly impossible in an atmosphere, where the gas-filled envelope kept the ship aloft and air dragged at its bulk.

Watching the variety of other ships out there, each waiting its turn to transit, I wondered what it would be like if we were in one of the other ship types. Boring, I’d bet. They were all so ordinary, more like stereotypes of spacecraft than anything distinctive. Why not do something more interesting with your spacecraft than make it either ovoid, or boxlike? Come on, there’s no drag in space, why not have more creative and fanciful shapes.

Boring or not, the other ships made their transits in smooth succession, and I got to watch the way the spells handled each from the outside, with tendrils reaching out to a ship as it approached, touching and identifying, interfacing with shipboard systems, then pulling the ship in. Then a great flash, and the ship vanished, to come out the other end somewhere else entirely.

Our turn arrived. I saw the seeking tendrils come out, felt one catch onto me, watched them pull us right in. Then came the transit itself. It went fast, but I still managed to catch a glimpse of the pocket dimension we made the transfer in, then the hand-off to the spell-tendrils of the receiving gate. Awesome!

I think I could watch gate transfers all day. I grinned and shook my head at myself. What a ridiculous obsession, a branching off from the whole thing I’d had with transportation as a kid. But whatever, everyone needs some kind of interest to keep them going.

* * * * * * * *

Oh hey, look at that, you made it through the excerpt! Awesome. Have an image. This is, after all, the thing I’m supposed to promote.

firestorm_med

Coming soon, to an Amazon near you. 08/13/18.

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What’s a… FIRESTORM?

Promo, Writing

Hmm. A Firestorm. Well, a personal answer is that it was a musical suite, a seven minute long symphony I played in a long-ago honor band, written to express the horror felt by the composer when he thought about the Allied fire-bombing of Dresden in WWII. Not ’cause the composer was a Nazi sympathizer or anything crappy like that. He wrote it because of all the beautiful art, architecture, music, and history that got destroyed. The word Firestorm, and all the crazy sounds that were rolled into that tiny symphony, have stuck with me since high school.

Okay, none of you care about that, but that’s one answer to the question. The more important answer is that FIRESTORM is the title of the novel I’ve been working on forever now.

Anyone read Eternal? No? Okay, go read it now. I’ll wait a week for you to finish it.

[time passes]

Right. You’ve read it. Now we’re all on the same page. Firestorm is the sequel to Eternal. It takes up the story of Kai and Jericho a few years down the road, eight to be precise. And guess what? After working on this sucker since NaNoWriMo 2016, otherwise known as November, 2016, it’s in the final editing stage. I think I might have even committed myself to a release date. That’s 08/13/18, if you’re curious.

It’s coming. It’s coming soon.

And because I’m feeling moderately evil, I think I’ll put up the cover image. Only… it’s not the cover image. It’s just a teaser. Because I’m a moderately evil author, mwahahahahaha!

firestorm_pre

Promo: River City Chronicles

Promo

COVER-River-City-2

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer magical realism book out:

A group of strangers meets at Ragazzi, an Italian restaurant, for a cooking lesson that will change them all. They quickly become intertwined in each other’s lives, and a bit of magic touches each of them.

Meet Dave, the consultant who lost his partner; Matteo and Diego, the couple who run the restaurant; recently-widowed Carmelina; Marcos, a web designer getting too old for hook-ups; Ben, a trans author writing the Great American Novel; teenager Marissa, kicked out for being bi; and Sam and Brad, a May-September couple who would never have gotten together without a little magic of their own.

Everyone in the River City has a secret, and sooner or later secrets always come out.

Amazon | Amazon Paperback | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads 


Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4710/?


Excerpt

Matteo stared out the restaurant window into the darkness of Folsom Boulevard. It was getting dark earlier as summer edged into fall. Streetlights flickered on as cars drifted by, looking for parking or making the trip out of Midtown toward home.

The sign on the window read “Ragazzi” (the boys), lettered in a beautiful golden script just two months old. Investing in this little restaurant his uncle had left to them when he’d passed away had been their ticket out of Italy. But now with each passing day, as seats sat empty and tomatoes, pasta, and garlic went uneaten, the worry was gnawing ever deeper into Matteo’s gut.

Behind him in the open, modernized kitchen, Diego was busy cooking—his mother’s lasagne, some fresh fish from San Francisco, and some of the newer Italian dishes they’d brought with them from Bologna. The smells of boiling sauce and fresh-cooked pasta that emanated from the kitchen were entrancing.

They’d sent the rest of the staff —Max and Justin—home for the evening. The three customers who had shown up so far didn’t justify the cost of keeping their waiter and busboy on hand.

Matteo stopped at the couple’s table in front of the other window. “Buona sera,” he said, smiling his brightest Italian smile.

“Hi,” the man said, smiling back at him. He was a gentleman in about his mid-fifties, wearing a golf shirt and floppy hat. “Kinda quiet tonight, huh?”

“It always gets busier later,” Matteo lied smoothly. “Pleasure to have you here. Can I get you anything else?”

“A little more wine, please?” the woman said, holding out her glass so the charm bracelet on her wrist jangled.

“Of course.” He bowed and ducked into the kitchen.

He gave Diego a quick peck on the cheek.

His husband and chef waved him off with a snort. “Più tardi. Sto preparando la cena.”

“I can see that. Dinner for a hundred, is it? It’s dead out there again tonight.”

Diego shot him a dirty look.

Matteo retrieved the bottle of wine from the case and returned to fill up his guests’ glasses. “What brings you in tonight?” Maybe they saw our ad.…

“Just walking by and we were hungry. I miss the old place though.… What was it called, honey?”

Her husband scratched his chin. “Little Italy, I think?”

“That’s it! It was the cutest place. Checkered tablecloths, those great Italian bottles with the melted wax… so Italian.”

Matteo groaned inside. “So glad you came in” was all he said with another smile.


Author Bio

J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott lives with his husband Mark in a little yellow bungalow in East Sacramento, with two pink flamingos by the front porch.

He spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. 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 the people like him were.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

He runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own reality.

Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/jscoatsworth

 

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

 

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

 

Author Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ

 

New Releases! …sort of.

Promo, Writing

Now that I’m healthy again, and have an epic amount of time off work, I’ve been shifting all my writings over to Amazon and their Kindle Unlimited thing. Today, I was exceptionally productive, and managed to re-release three short stories. Ghost Rider, Rescue, and Seeking Veritas are now all available for free through KU. Or, if you want, you can buy ’em. I don’t mind a bit.

Promo: Rainbow Romances

Promo

There’s a new short story anthology coming on June 1. It’s called Rainbow Romances, and proceeds will benefit the National AIDS Trust. Check it out!

Pre-order link:

Rainbow Romances

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About the stories:

Eight enchanting stories from seven authors showing that love really is just love.
M/M F/F and Bisexual characters.

Stripped Bare, by G R Lyons:

Though they both work as strippers for the gay nightclub, Matchmakers, Sev is convinced that Ty is out of his league. But that doesn’t stop him from trying to win the little guy’s heart.

Broken Defences, by G R Lyons:

After his work ruined one too many relationships, Beni Thaton has given up on dating, until he meets a very determined new student who pushes all the right buttons.

Online Casanova, by Michael Ferrante:

Michael didn’t believe in online dating. But after going through a few bad relationships he decided what’s the worst that can happen? People say you find the one you love when you least expect it. Well, Michael is certainly going to realise that on his journey to love.

Far Water, by Amir Lane:

Avery is on her way to Ohio after finally turning 18 and leaving foster care. On the bus, she meets a girl who isn’t what she seems.

Something To Hold On To, by Carmilla Voiez:

Jenny is a high-school student who’s in love with her best friend, Lucy. Unfortunately, Lucy likes boys. After numerous failed relationships, will Lucy be willing to redefine her sexuality, and think of Jenny as more than just a friend? Jenny is afraid to make her dreams come true and risk a broken heart.

Bedsitter Christmas, by Melanie Quinlan:

Delivers some fluffy M/M romance, set against the harsh backdrop of bedsitter land in 1980s London.

Until My Dying Day, by Sarah Beth James:

Francis struggles with moving from the reservation into a normal white city school when his mother falls ill. Dealing with bullying, death, homophobia and abuse before he meets the boy of his dreams in Xander. Who does everything he can to bring a little joy into Francis’s life. Cutting between current day, and their relationship with the past and how they got to be where they are. We follow a painful, yet fulfilling journey of how Francis’s life improved.

Selia, by Marolyn Krasner:

Selia is not living her best life. She is young and full of lust for the mail clerk, but she is not doing anything about it. The seeds of her lust start sprouting, forcing Selia to take action to improve her life and seek sexual healing to eradicate the pest threatening her personal ecosystem.

Promo: Elizabeth Coldwell, Guest Author

Promo, Writing

Casting A Love Spell

by Elizabeth Coldwell

 

At the heart of Careful What You Wish For, my story in the Myths, Moons and Mayhem anthology, is a love spell. I don’t remember how the idea first came to me (it’s been a while since I wrote the original version of the story) but it arrived pretty much fully formed, and I knew that I had to create a convincing-sounding spell for Josh, the narrator of the story, to recite.

Josh is trying to conjure up his ideal man, and while the kind of online site offering to provide a love spell that will work immediately wouldn’t stand up to the scrutiny of those who are serious about paganism and wicca, their examples worked for my purposes. As well as the right words, Josh needs certain items to make the spell work – two red roses and a lock of his own hair, tied with red ribbon. Most importantly, he has to perform the ritual “skyclad”, or naked. This isn’t a prerequisite for all magical rituals, but when you’re writing an erotic story, it’s always good to find an excuse for your characters to strip off.

The spell I came up with for Josh is:

A perfect man I summon here
Bringing love to hold so dear
Make our brother see the light
Bring to him his Mr. Right

To his surprise, and that of his roommate Aaron, who’s suggested casting the spell, it brings his dream lover to life. Of course, something like that wouldn’t work in the real world – unless you know better…

MMM Blog Tour Graphic

Excerpt from “Careful What You Wish For” by Elizabeth Coldwell in Myths, Moons, and Mayhem

About “Careful What You Wish For”: Josh dreams of meeting Mr. Right, so his roommate offers help with a love spell. Neither man is prepared for what happens when the spell begins to work.

“Okay, now we’re going to need a lock of your hair,” Aaron said.

“Are you sure about this?” I asked, thinking back to stories I’d read about zombie curses and voodoo dolls. Didn’t you need the hair of the victim for making something like that? Suddenly everything was getting a little too serious for my liking.

“It’s just a bit of harmless fun. Nothing’s going to go wrong, I promise, Josh.”

He’d told me to trust him, and I knew I had to, if we were going to have any success at all. Aaron handed me the scissors and I snipped off a little of my dirty-blond hair, taking it from a spot close to the nape of my neck where it wouldn’t be noticed. Aaron produced a length of red ribbon and tied it round the lock of hair, then placed it in the circle, next to the roses.

“Is that it?” I said.

He shook his head. “One last thing before we start. You have to undress.”

 

About Elizabeth Coldwell

Elizabeth Coldwell is a multi-published author and the former editor of the UK edition of Forum magazine. She was the launch editor of Erotic Stories magazine and one of the co-founders of the Guild of Erotic Authors. She is now an editor at Xcite Books. Find her online at The (Really) Naughty Corner.

 

Promo: Myths, Moons, & Mayhem

Promo, Writing

Myths, Moons & Mayhem

Blog tour and giveaway, Oct 13–Oct. 31

MythsMoonsMayhem-ebookcover_opt copy

Title: Myths, Moons & Mayhem
Editor: Dale Cameron Lowry
Authors: Rebecca Buchanan, Elizabeth Coldwell, Rhidian Brenig Jones, Morgan Elektra, Greg Kosebjorn, Clare London, Dale Cameron Lowry, Carl Redlum, Rob Rosen
Publisher: Sexy Little Pages
Genres: anthology, paranormal, menage, LGBT, MMM romance, MMM erotica
Date of Publication: Oct. 13
Length: 194 pages
ISBN: 9781386972891 (ebook); 978-1977763518 (print)
ASIN: B07654NZQ2
Universal ebook Link: https://books2read.com/mythsmoons
Amazon universal link (paperback): http://getBook.at/mmm
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36368999-myths-moons-and-mayhem
More information: https://dalecameronlowry.com/books/myths-moons-mayhem/

Myths, moons, and mayhem make the perfect threesome—and so do the men in this anthology.
Enjoy nine erotic stories of paranormal ménages a trois fueled by lust and magic, where mystical forces collide with the everyday world and even monsters have their own demons to conquer.
A werewolf gets a lust-fueled lesson on fitting in with the pack, a professor unlocks ancient secrets and two men’s hearts, and a pair of supernaturals find themselves at the erotic mercy of a remarkable human. Ghosts, fairies, aliens, and mere mortals test the boundaries of their desires, creating magic of their own.
Penned by favorite authors such as Rob Rosen and Clare London, as well as by newcomers to the genre, Myths, Moons & Mayhem is an eclectic mix of paranormal lust and polymythic beings that will spark your fantasies and fuel your bonfires.

Inside Man by Clare London—At a London pub, a tear in the veil between the dead and living opens up new possibilities for a ghost who could only ever watch the men he desired, but never touch.
The Secret of the Golden Cup by Rebecca Buchanan—A classics professor finds himself at the center of a magical war. With an unfairly attractive student and a campus janitor as his only allies, can he stave off the forces of evil?
When The Big Moon Shines by Carl Redlum—A college student is intent on hunting down the man who turned him into a werewolf. But his mouthwatering neighbors keep getting in the way.
Careful What You Wish For by Elizabeth Coldwell—Josh dreams of meeting Mr. Right, so his roommate offers help with a love spell. Neither man is prepared for what happens when the spell begins to work.
The Cave by Dale Cameron Lowry—Losing sleep to the sounds of his tent-neighbors’ nightly lovemaking has nature photographer Ethan at his wit’s end. What kind of magic can convince the two men he should join them?
The Endless Knot by Morgan Elektra—The fiery romance between a vampire and a werewolf threatens to burn itself to the ground until a human teaches them to temper the flame.
Squatchin’ by Greg Kosebjorn—Two Bigfoot hunters get more than they bargained for when they set out on an overnight camping trip to trail the legendary beast.
Celyn’s Tale by Rhidian Brenig Jones—A young Welsh farmer is haunted by visions of his future lover, only to discover that the lover is not one, but two—and not exactly human, either.
Close Encounter of the Three-way Kind by Rob Rosen—In this quirky comedy, aliens arrive from another galaxy, but they’re more interested in consensual exploration than invasion. Alien probing never felt so good!

Giveaway

mmmgiveaway4

To celebrate the release of the paranormal gay ménage anthology Myths, Moons & Mayhem, Dale Cameron Lowry is giving away a bunch of paranormal and ménage ebooks for your reading pleasure. Prizes include:

  • Chance & Possibility: Seven Fantastical Tales of Gay Desire, an eclectic selection of Dale’s previously published paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi stories. Chance & Possibility isn’t available to buy anywhere.
  • Pacific Rimming, a contemporary novelette about a middle-aged gay married couple who fall in love with a younger man while vacationing on Canada’s Vancouver Island
  • Love Unmasked, the story of a gay man who’s unlucky in love because, once in a blue moon, he turns into a raccoon.

Enter to win here. (https://dalecameronlowry.com/mmm-giveaway/)

About the Editor

Dale Cameron Lowry’s number one goal in life is getting the cat to stop eating dish towels; number two is to write things that bring people joy. Dale is the author of Falling Hard: Stories of Men in Love and a contributor to more than a dozen anthologies. Find out more at dalecameronlowry.com .

Promo: The Stark Divide, by J. Scott Coatsworth

Promo

The Stark Divide

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out:

Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them. 43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her, a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Book One of Liminal Sky

DSP Publications (eBook) | DSP Publications (paperback) | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Smashwords | Goodreads


Excerpt

DRESSLER, SCHEMATIC, Colin McAvery, ship’s captain and a third of the crew, called out to the ship-mind.

A three-dimensional image of the ship appeared above the smooth console. Her five living arms, reaching out from her central core, were lit with a golden glow, and the mechanical bits of instrumentation shone in red. In real life, she was almost two hundred meters from tip to tip.

Between those arms stretched her solar wings, a ghostly green film like the sails of the Flying Dutchman.

“You’re a pretty thing,” he said softly. He loved these ships, their delicate beauty as they floated through the starry void.

“Thank you, Captain.” The ship-mind sounded happy with the compliment, his imagination running wild. Minds didn’t have real emotions, though they sometimes approximated them.

He cross-checked the heading to be sure they remained on course to deliver their payload, the man-sized seed that was being dragged on a tether behind the ship. Humanity’s ticket to the stars at a time when life on Earth was getting rapidly worse.

All of space was spread out before him, seen through the clear expanse of plasform set into the ship’s living walls. His own face, trimmed blond hair, and deep brown eyes, stared back at him, superimposed over the vivid starscape.

At thirty, Colin was in the prime of his career. He was a starship captain, and yet sometimes he felt like little more than a bus driver. After this run, well, he’d have to see what other opportunities might be awaiting him. Maybe the doc was right, and this was the start of a whole new chapter for mankind. They might need a guy like him.

The walls of the bridge emitted a faint but healthy golden glow, providing light for his work at the curved mechanical console that filled half the room. He traced out the T-Line to their destination. “Dressler, we’re looking a little wobbly.” Colin frowned. Some irregularity in the course was common, the ship was constantly adjusting its trajectory, but she usually corrected it before he noticed.

“Affirmative, Captain.” The ship-mind’s miniature chosen likeness appeared above the touch board. She was all professional today, dressed in a standard AmSplor uniform, dark hair pulled back in a bun, and about a third life-sized.

The image was nothing more than a projection of the ship-mind, a fairy tale, but Colin appreciated the effort she took to humanize her appearance. Artificial mind or not, he always treated minds with respect.

“There’s a blockage in arm four. I’ve sent out a scout to correct it.”

The Dressler was well into slowdown now, her pre-arrival phase as she bled off her speed, and they expected to reach 43 Ariadne in another fifteen hours.

Pity no one had yet cracked the whole hyperspace thing. Colin chuckled. Asimov would be disappointed. “Dressler, show me Earth, please.”

A small blue dot appeared in the middle of his screen.

Dressler, three dimensions, a bit larger, please.” The beautiful blue-green world spun before him in all its glory.

Appearances could be deceiving. Even with scrubbers working tirelessly night and day to clean the excess carbon dioxide from the air, the home world was still running dangerously warm.

He watched the image in front of him as the East Coast of the North American Union spun slowly into view. Florida was a sliver of its former self, and where New York City’s lights had once shone, there was now only blue. If it had been night, Fargo, the capital of the Northern States, would have outshone most of the other cities below. The floods that had wiped out many of the world’s coastal cities had also knocked down Earth’s population, which was only now reaching the levels it had seen in the early twenty-first century.

All those new souls had been born into a warm, arid world.

We did it to ourselves. Colin, who had known nothing besides the hot planet he called home, wondered what it had been like those many years before the Heat.


Author Bio

Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.

He decided that it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at his local bookstore. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently. He sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He loves to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

Starting in 2014, Scott has published more than 15 works, including two novels and a number of novellas and short stories.

He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.