PROMO: The Rising Tide

Promo

I confess, I’ve been waiting quite eagerly for this one. And now it’s here, but I can’t get it yet until I recover from paying rent, so… I’ll advertise it instead. 😉

 

The Rising Tide

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out: “The Rising Tide.”

Earth is dead.

Five years later, the remnants of humanity travel through the stars inside Forever, a living, ever-evolving, self-contained generation ship. When Eddy Tremaine and Andy Hammond find a hidden world-within-a-world under the mountains, the discovery triggers a chain of events that could fundamentally alter or extinguish life as they know it, culminate in the takeover of the world mind, and end free will for humankind.

Control the AI, control the people.

Eddy, Andy, and a handful of other unlikely heroes—people of every race and identity, and some who aren’t even human—must find the courage and ingenuity to stand against the rising tide.

Otherwise they might be living through the end days of human history.

Series Blurb: Humankind is on its way to the stars, a journey that will change it forever. Each of the stories in Liminal Sky explores that future through the lens of a generation ship, where the line between science fiction and fantasy often blurs. At times both pessimistic and very hopeful, Liminal Sky thrusts you into a future few would ever have imagined.

DSP Publications | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads 


Giveaway

Scott is giving away two prizes with this tour – a $25 Amazon gift card, and a signed copy of “The Stark Divide,” book one in the series (US winner only for the paperback). For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4734/?


Excerpt

The Rising Tide Meme

Eddy Tremayne rode his horse, Cassiopeia, along the edge of the pastures that were the last official human habitations before the Anatov Mountains. Several ranchers along the Verge—the zone between the ranches and the foothills—had reported losses of sheep and cattle in the last few weeks.

As the elected sheriff of First District, which ran from Micavery and the South Pole to the mountains, it was Eddy’s responsibility to find out what was going on.

He had his crossbow strapped to his back and his long knife in a leather sheath at his waist. He’d been carrying them for long enough now—three years?—that they had started to feel natural, but the first time he’d worn the crossbow, he’d felt like a poor man’s Robin Hood.

He doubted he’d need them out here, but sheriffs were supposed to be armed.

He’d checked with Lex in the world mind via the South Pole terminal, but she’d reported nothing amiss. In the last few years, she had begun to deploy biodrones to keep an eye on the far-flung parts of the world, but they provided less than optimal coverage. One flyover of this part of the Verge had shown a peaceful flock of thirty sheep. The next showed eight.

The rancher, a former neurosurgeon from New Zealand named Gia Rand, waited for him on the top of a grassy hill. The grass and trees shone with bioluminescent light, and the afternoon sky lit the surrounding countryside with a golden glow. The spindle—the aggregation of energy and glowing pollen that stretched from pole to pole—sparkled in the middle of the sky.

The rancher pulled on her gray braid, staring angrily at something in the valley below. “Took you long enough to get here.”

“Sorry. The train was out of service again.” Technology was slowly failing them, and they had yet to come up with good replacements.

She snorted. “One helluva spaceship we have here.”

He grinned. “Preaching to the choir.” Forever didn’t have the manufacturing base yet to support anything close to the technology its inhabitants had grown used to on Earth. Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you asked him. With technology came new and better ways to kill. He’d seen it often enough in the NAU Marines. “What did you find?”

“Look.” Her voice was almost a growl.

Eddy looked down where she was pointing. “Oh shit.” Her missing sheep were no longer missing. They had been slaughtered.

He urged Cassiopeia down the hillside to the rocky clearing. A small stream trickled down out of the mountains there. He counted ten carcasses, as near as he could tell from the skulls left behind. Someone had sheared a couple of them and given up. It looked like they had skinned and cut the rest up for meat, the skin and bones and extra bits discarded.

Gia rode down the hillside behind him.

“Didn’t you report twelve sheep missing?”

She nodded. “Bastards took the two lambs. Probably for breeding.”

“That actually might help us.”

“How’s that?”

He dismounted to take a closer look at the crime scene. “They’ll have to pasture them somewhere. May make it easier to track them down.”

“Maybe so.” She dismounted and joined him. “This was brutal work. Look here.” She picked up a bone. “Whatever cut this was sharp but uneven. It left scratch marks across the bone.”

“So not a metal knife.”

“I don’t think so. Maybe a stone knife?”

He laughed harshly. “Are we back to caveman days, then?” It wasn’t an unreasonable question.

She was silent for a moment, staring at the mountains. “Do you think they live up there?”

“Who?” He followed her gaze. Their highest peaks were wreathed in wisps of cloud.

“The Ghosts.”

The Ghosts had been a persistent myth on Forever since their abrupt departure from Earth. Some of the refugees had vanished right after the Collapse, and every now and then something would end up missing. Clothes off a line, food stocks, and the like.

People talked. The rumors had taken on a life of their own, and now whenever something went missing, people whispered, “It’s the Ghosts.”

Eddy didn’t believe in ghosts. He personally knew at least one refugee who had disappeared, his shipmate Davian. He guessed there must be others, though the record keeping from that time had been slipshod at best. He shrugged and looked at the sky. “Who knows?” It was likely to rain in the next day or so. Whoever had done this had left a trail, trampled into the grass. If he didn’t follow it now, it might be gone by the time he got back here with more resources.

Gia knelt by one of the ewes, staring at the remnants of the slaughter. “Could you get me some more breeding stock? This… incident put a big dent in my herd.”

“I’ll see what I can do.” He took one last look around the site. It had to have taken an hour or two to commit this crime, and yet the thieves had apparently done it in broad daylight. Why weren’t they afraid of being caught? “I’m going to follow the trail, see where it leads.”

Gia nodded. “Thanks. We’re taking the rest of the herd back to the barn until you get this all figured out.”

“Sounds prudent. I’ll let you know.”

Slipping on his hat, he climbed back up on Cassie and followed the trail across the stream toward the Anatov Mountains.


Author Bio

Scott lives 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.

A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecitng their own reality.

Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

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

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

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

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PROMO: Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree

Promo

 

Mama Me and the Holiday TreeJeanne G’Fellers is has just released her new enby/pansexual queer paranormal fantasy book: Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree.

A dozen handmade holiday ornaments, that’s all, but it might be an impossible task.

Centenary Rhodes and her mother are at constant odds. It’s one of the many reasons Cent left home when she was eighteen. Mama’s difficult for anyone to manage, but now that Cent’s back home, she has to try. Mama, however, won’t acknowledge who Cent’s become, even though she’s repeatedly been shown the truth.

It’ll take more than popcorn strings and paper snowflakes to heal the rift that’s formed between Cent and Mama. It’s going to take bushels of patience, heaps of magic, and assistance from everyone on both sides of Embreeville Mountain to reset the Balance between them.

But with Yule and Christmas just around the corner, it might already be too late.

Join Cent and her Mother for a heart-warming, magic-filled holiday tale of acceptance, family of choice, family of blood, love, magic, and patience all served with a queer Appalachian twist.

Warnings: This novella broaches the subject of mental illness, specifically Schizophrenia, within families and the relationships struggles therein.

About the Series:

Four elements plus one, four seasons, over a hundred lives – Centenary Rhodes has returned home to discover she isn’t who she thought. Join her on a journey through history, family of blood, family of choice, and love that renews. The mountains are alive, y’all, everything hinges on the Balance, and a little moonshine can cure what ails you in this identity-exploring, imaginative queer Contemporary Fantasy series steeped in Appalachian magic and folklore.

Mountain Gap Books | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | Goodreads 


Giveaway

Jeanne is giving away two eBook copies of the first book in the series, Cleaning House, with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4737/?


Excerpt

Mama Me and the Holiday Tree

Chapter One

 

A Cedar in the Corner

 

December 19, 2017: 5:30 p.m.

This is what I get for marrying an earth elemental.I stare with dismay at the dirt trail leading across the porch and through the front door. I don’t get rare gems or sparkling geodes placed lovingly at my feet by my elemental spouse. No, I get a cedar tree, bare roots caked with half-frozen mud, wedged into the living room corner.

Stowne’s dragged a holiday tree into our home while I was at work today.

“No one saw you do this?” I scratch my head as I consider the leaning mass of fern-like, scaly, sticky needles. “And I thought we’d talked about getting a tree tomorrow.”

“No one was here.” Stowne’s grinning ear to sandy ear. “It is a surprise. You have worked so hard lately that you have forgotten how close it is to Yule.”

Yeah, Yule. About that.This is my first Yule with Stowne. No, let me correct that. This will be my first Yule celebration thislife, and they’re trying to make it special for me, so I can’t sound as upset as I’m feeling at present. “Two days. I know. Thanks, honey, but can we do something about the mess?”

 

“I’ve got it.” Stowne’s fire elemental friend, Pyre, rolls into the living room on a cloud of white smoke, and they’re holding the old half-barrel planter from beneath my Aunt Tess’ trailer’s back porch. “I found something to line it.” Pyre holds up a faded canvas tarp they’ve found Gods know where.

“Thank you.” Stowne’s smile still spans their face. They’re happy about this, about the tree in the corner, the leaky planter, and faded tarp, so I try my best to look happy too. “Go to the kitchen, relax, and drink some coffee, Centenary. Pyre and I will finish setting up the tree.”

“Sure.” I tuck my messenger bag under my arm and head to the kitchen, where Rayne is waiting for me, an earthenware mug of steaming coffee in their translucent, watery hands. Water elementals make wonderful coffee, by the way. Rayne claims the secret is spring water filtered through their form, and I’ve no reason to doubt them.

“Stowne’s really excited about the tree.” Rayne gives me the mug and takes my bag, setting it on the kitchen table. It’s a huge piece of well-loved furniture, a good eight-foot-long trestle, and handmade from American Chestnut, a species that’s widely considered extinct. “They’ve been looking for the perfect one since Samhain.”

“They have?” Who knew there was so much to Yule? Certainly not me, at least that I can remember. See, I’ve got this whole multiple-lives thing I’m sorting through. Most of those lives, I’ve been with Stowne, and I remember a lot, but some issues, like their excitement over holidays, have eluded me. I’ve been reading about different Yule traditions online and in the stack of magical books I left behind, but I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface, and I’ve been asking Stowne questions every night while we cuddle in bed. “They’ve gotten excited every sabbat and esbat since we’ve been together, but they seem even more excited about Yule. Why is that?”

“You don’t remember?” Rayne shifts the lower portion of their form to what resembles flowing blue pants, making it easier for them to sit. “You’ve celebrated Yule with Stowne for centuries, and during your last two lives, you actually let them bring in a tree every year as long as it could be replanted afterward.”

“Yeah, Stowne told me.” I sip my coffee then rise from the table in search of the quart of cream we keep in the homestead’s old Kelvinator fridge. “But that doesn’t explain why they’re so happy.” I add three heaping teaspoons of sugar to my cup, deep in thought as I stir. I remember that Stowne and I built this homestead together in the early nineteenth century. That version of me was Irish and desperate for a home that resembled Ireland, and this place certainly looks like pictures I’ve seen. My motivations might change each life, but I’m in many ways the same, and I always try to come here, to reach Stowne and this mountain. That’s what I’m told, anyway, but I don’t actually know.

My heart, however, says this is correct.

Here’s the thing about me and my memories. This life, I left Northeast Tennessee when I was eighteen years old. Actually, I didn’t just leave, I ran. I ran from my mother and her chronic mental illness, from everyone I thought wouldn’t accept me as genderqueer, from the magic I wasn’t ready to understand, from the looming pile of memories I’m now sorting through. But mostly, I ran from myself. Now I’m back, and I’m trying to cram three thousand years into my head, but I sometimes think space is running out.

“Stowne loves every sabbat, but especially Yule.” Rayne shrugs hard enough to fling water across the table top. “Oops.”

“It needs cleaned anyway.” I return with a dishrag, sitting across from Rayne as I wipe up. “Why Yule?”

“It represents rebirth.” Rayne stares at me with their blue eyes wide and one pale, translucent brow cocked, the look they always give me when I should be remembering something. “Re-birth.” Their stare becomes hard.

“Oh.” I bite my bottom lip to hide my embarrassment. Sure, rebirth. Myrebirth. Stowne sees Yule as a chance to celebrate my return to Embreeville Mountain. I’m almost thirty years old, a tiny blip in the grand scheme of time and infinitely younger than Stowne, even when you add all my lives together, but they want to celebrate like it’s something new. More so this year because it’s our first Yule together as eternal lovers.

Yeah, I’m immortal now too, but that’s a story for some other time.

“So…” I take a deep breath and scratch beneath my undercut at the stubbly hair that’s already growing back. “What do I need to do?”

“Act happy and don’t get in their way.” Rayne takes the dishrag to the old enamel sink, wrings it out, and drapes it over the side before turning to face me. “All elementals love the Winter Solstice, what you call Yule. Even death elementals like Exan. But you don’t remember that either, do you?”

“Afraid not.” I finish my coffee and go to the sink to stand beside Rayne, looking out the window to where the mountain rises behind the house in shades of tired brown splashed with winter evergreen. “I wish I did.” And I really do. It might help me to understand all this. “It’s like Christmas, isn’t it? I mean they’re similar, right?”

“In some ways, yes. But others…” Rayne shakes their head, this time slinging water from their deep blue locks. “Drains and dribbles. I’ll call it back.” They chant low, drawing the water to their form, smiling as it disappears into their bare, puddling feet. “I think you need a holiday refresher.”

“A refresher?” The house smells like cedar so I breathe deep. It’s not a bad smell. In fact, it’s fresh, clean, and familiar. Yes, I remember having a tree in this house before and Stowne’s joy each time. “Are you going to tell me about all those holidays?”

“You’ll do best to remember for yourself.” Rayne smiles as they glide toward the living room. “That tree needs water.”


Author Bio

AUTHOR PHOTO - Mama Me and the Holiday Tree - Jeanne GFellersBorn and raised in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Science Fiction and Fantasy author Jeanne G’Fellers’ early memories include watching the original Star Trek series with her father and reading the books her librarian mother brought home. Jeanne’s writing influences include Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Isaac Asimov, and Frank Herbert.

Jeanne lives in Northeast Tennessee with her spouse and their five crazy felines. Their home is tucked against a small woodland where they regularly see deer, turkeys, raccoons, and experience the magic of the natural world.

Author Website: https://jeannegfellersauthor.com/

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

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

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/106949.Jeanne_G_Fellers

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/jeanne-gfellers/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jeanne-GFellers/e/B01N0YWCT7/

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PROMO: Panther Queen

Promo

Panther QueenQSFer Amir Lane has a new queer/transgender paranormal book out: Panther Queen.

When cattle rancher Lenna Alvarez rescues a black jaguar, she discovers there’s more to the animal that meets the eye. Bonding with a centuries-old Aztec Warrior wasn’t part of her plans. Then again, neither was simultaneously facing off against an American businessman and poachers encroaching on her family lands.

With her newfound powers, Lenna is sure the poachers don’t stand a chance. Only, Lenna isn’t the only one bringing strange animal powers to the game. The poachers have them too, led by businessman Ansen Peters. Lenna is in over her head, and not even the jaguar can save her.

Ansen Peters doesn’t want the ranch. He wants the jaguar. And he’s willing to kill her for it.

Get It On Amazon


Giveaway

Amir is giving away a Morrighan House Witches prize pack – paperbacks, bookmarks, and magnets – enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/45f020763/


Excerpt

BANNER 4 - Panther QueenNight fell around Lenna, and her ass had long since gone numb. Her camera was full of new pictures but she didn’t have anything for night photography. The equipment was bulkier and heavier than she was willing to carry through the Pantanal.

As she prepared to dismount from her tree, she tried to see how awake her legs were. Not very, judging by the tingling in her feet. She scanned the riverbank for her boat while she kicked her heels against the tree trunk and spotted two others. That was odd. When had someone else shown up? Maybe it was Valente and Luciano looking for her. But she had taken their only boat, and they would never venture this deep into the Pantanal unless she’d been missing for at least a day, not just a few hours. They didn’t know their way around like she did.

It was probably just wildlife photographers trying to get shots of the nocturnal animals. Something made her feel uneasy, though. She looked around for the occupants of the boats and spotted them approaching her jaguar.

The two men were not wildlife photographers. She knew hunting equipment when she saw it. She also knew the hunting regulations for the area. The regulations were pretty simple: no fucking hunting.Which meant there was no way these men were allowed to be killing anything out here. Which meant they were poachers. Their faces were only just visible in her camera. She doubted anything would happen to them if she reported them. Nothing ever happened to poachers.

The poachers found a spot close enough to the jaguar to hit it, but not close enough to attract its attention. She had to do something before they fired. At this distance, they wouldn’t miss.

She thought of her own shotgun tucked uselessly in the back of Luciano’s truck. She’d never needed it before, and there didn’t seem to be any point lugging it with her. It would have done her a hell of a lot more good than the machete at her hip. It looked like she was going to have to get creative.

“Hey!”

Her voice carried over the Pantanal, farther than she would have thought possible. The deep shout certainly got their attention. They shot at her, grazing the trees around her.

“Shit!”

Lenna couldn’t stay up here. She’d be a sitting duck. She climbed down the top branches to avoid breaking her legs and jumped down from the tree. It was still too high, and she hit the dirt with bruising force. She pushed herself back up without a moment of hesitation. She could have lost them in the wooded area, easy. But the odds of getting lost or eaten by an anaconda were higher than the odds of getting shot before she made it to her boat.

Hopefully.

Camera still in hand and binoculars thumping painfully against her tattooed chest, she took off across the grassy plains of the Pantanal. The silencers on the guns muffled the shots, making them sound more like thumps than bangs. Though, that might have been her heart pounding in her ears. The still-rational part of her brain that was still working told her to run in a zig-zag to make herself harder to hit. The animal part of her brain told her the shortest distance to her boat was a straight line run as fast as physically possible. She had no idea where the bullets were or whether or not they were even close to hitting her, and she sure as shit wasn’t going to stop to check.

A roar that sounded more like a throaty cough filled her ears. For a split half-second, she thought the jaguar was on her. But that wasn’t her screaming. No, it came from behind her. She didn’t dare look back, not even as she heard more gunshots, not even as she heard the jaguar cry out in pain.

They shot it! They shot her jaguar!

Rage filled her, and she had half a mind to turn around, but self-preservation won out. Her boat was right there. Right there, just eight, six, four feet away. Keys, where the hell where her keys? Where were her goddamn fucking—

Found them.

Lenna shoved her keys into the ignition, her eyes scouring the Pantanal for the jaguar and the poachers. The jaguar was limping away, and the poachers’ bodies were lying on the grass. One was shifting, dragging itself away from the animal. The other was not. Lenna had no sympathy for them, and she wasn’t about to stick around to make sure they were okay. They could be eaten by caimans for all she gave a fuck.

The boat started without any issue. Though the poachers were down and the jaguar was obviously in no state to come after her, Lenna couldn’t wait to get as far away from here as possible.

She ran on foot through the brush, never wanting to leave her horse alone with the night predators, until she found her truck, the green paint chipping to show the silver metal underneath, in the same place she always left it. The roar of her engine drowned out the shriek of birds. Muscle memory alone guided her back to the ranch house. She practically threw herself through the front door and slammed her bedroom door hard enough to rattle the walls.

“Lenna?” Vidonia called.

Lenna leaned against the door. She knew Vidonia wouldn’t hurt her. Nobody in this house would, and not just because she could practically bench press one of their cows. She was safe here. So why did she feel the urge to push the dresser against the door and hide under the bed?

“Lenna? Honey are you okay?”

No, no she wasn’t.

She slumped down against the door and pressed her forehead to her knees. Exhaustion washed over her. This day suddenly felt so long. The solace she’d found watching the Pantanal was gone. She just wanted to curl up somewhere safe. Home should have been safe, but the memory of Ansen Peters’ standing just down the hall from her room with that sly smile made her shudder.

“Lenna, please talk to me. Did something happen? Luciano!”

There was panic in Vidonia’s voice. She was afraid for Lenna.

This place was safe, Lenna reminded herself. Nobody would get past Vidonia and Luciano. Nobody could hurt her here.

“I’m fine,” Lenna said, though her voice cracked and she wasn’t sure she believed herself. “I’m fine, I’m just tired.”

There was a long silence. Lenna struggled to keep her sobs quiet. She didn’t want them to know. She didn’t want to get in trouble.

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure, auntie.” Her voice trembled, and cleared her throat. “I’m— I’m going to sleep. I have an early morning.”

She changed into a pair of boxers, crawled into bed, and pulled the pillow over her head to drown out the screams ringing in her ears.


Exclusive snippet!


Conversation was already in full swing when Lenna arrived at the kitchen table. She ruffled Cruz’s damp hair as she walked past him to help Vidonia with the food.
“Silvia said she spotted some tire treads cutting through their property,” Valente was saying, leaning to the side so she could drop the pan of scrambled eggs unceremoniously on the table. “Her fence is completely busted.”
“Teenagers,” Luciano grunted.
“She thinks poachers. She says the jaguars that usually show up in the morning haven’t been coming around lately.”
Lenna nearly dropped the jug of milk. Her stomach filled with ice. Without fully meaning to, she rubbed a hand over the knot of scar tissue on her stomach that seemed to disappear and reappear at will. She took her place between Valente and Cruz, setting the milk down in front of Cruz. He cracked the cap open and filled his glass.
“What are they going to do about it?”
Valente shrugged and stabbed his fork into the serving of eggs he’d taken for himself. “Not a whole lot they can do. She says they reported it, but it’s not like she can go after them. Don’t you start thinking about it either, Len,” Valente warned.
Lenna didn’t say anything. The warning came too late. Her thoughts had already drifted to the poachers she’d already faced, and the way Aldo had torn them apart. It was true, Silvia couldn’t go after them. But maybe she could.


Author Bio

Amir Lane is an LGBT+ supernatural and urban fantasy writer from Northern Ontario. Engineer by trade, they spend most of their writing time in a small home office or in front of the TV watching every cop procedural on Netflix. They live in a world where magic is an every day occurrence, and they strive to bring that world to paper.

When not trying to figure out what kind of day job an incubus would have or what a Necromancer would go to school for, Amir enjoys visiting the nearest Dairy Queen, getting killed in video games, absorbing the contents of comic books, and freaking out over how fluffy the neighbour’s dog is.

Author Website: http://www.amirlane.com

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

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PROMO: Shadow Voice

Promo

Shadow VoiceMary Rundle has a new MM paranormal mpreg book out: Shadow Voice.

The Blackwood Pack saga continues…

This is part of an on-going series and reading the previous titles is advised. Readers of the past books will enjoy meeting old friends once more as the pack does what it does best ̶ caring for each other.

Slate, one of the last Dire Wolves, has carved out a life which suits him fine—plenty of traveling to exotic locations and an abundance of one night stands to handle his needs. While he’s happy for his brother, who has found his Fated Mate, Slate isn’t interested in finding his—at least not for a long time. That is, until his body betrays him. Seeking his mother’s help—who is an Oracle—Slate pays a visit to the Blackwood Pack where he finds the Fates have once again, messed with his life.

Dakota, the chef for the Blackwood Pack, fell in love with cooking as a young child and ultimately the kitchen became a place of refuge for him. Suffering with a ‘curse’ through much of his childhood, he relied heavily on his mother’s help to deal with it. After the massacre of his mother and siblings by their greedy uncle, Dakota barely survives, but finally forges a life for himself, content to stay home and take care of the people he loves.


Exclusive Content!


Hi, I’m Mary Rundle and thank you for hosting my blog tour. Today I have an exclusive excerpt for you from Shadow Voice, Book 5 of the Blackwood Pack series. The Fated Mates in this story are Dakota and Logan who try to avoid mating anyone until they meet and realize the Fates got it right. Lots of twists and turns, suspense and intrigue require the entire Blackwood Pack to band together so this couple can have their HEA.


Standing, Jackson’s eyes examined his brother, noting how close Slate stood to Dakota in a protective stance, their hands intertwined. “Are you all right?” he asked.
Glancing at Slate, who was smiling at him, Dakota smiled back, then looked at Jackson. “Yeah, I’m fine. Sorry about lunch and dinner. We were just headed to the kitchen for something to eat.”
Waving his hand, Jackson said, “As Kieran would say, ‘no problemo’. Oracle will be cooking for the next couple of days, so go spend some time with Slate. I think it’s about time you have a break from your kitchen duties.”
Grinning, Dakota said, “Thanks, I appreciate it.” Then, he added in a low voice, “If you don’t like what she makes, I can step in again.”
Chuckling, Slate said, “Don’t worry babe, my mother makes a mean omelet and my dad can grill steaks so I think everyone will be okay for a few days.”
Jackson chimed in. “Listen to Slate, her cooking is fine—not as good as yours—but good enough. Go figure out your life.”
Nodding at his brother’s instructions, Dakota said. “Thanks, bro,” before leading his mate to the kitchen.
Slate glanced around the kitchen, impressed with the design, materials and functionality. “Did you design this?” he asked.
“Not everything. It was here when we moved in but I was able to tweak it so the flow was better. Right now, I’m adding on to the kitchen since the pack is growing. Logan is designing the new baking area with two sets of double ovens, a separate sink, more cabinets and other stuff. I also needed the extra space because Theo is learning to cook and Lizzie, Dylon’s mom, helps out so it can get crowded in here. Moving the baking over there,” he pointed, “will help prevent us from bumping elbows.”
“That sounds good,” said Slate. Let’s see what’s available. Lots of my recipes are ones I picked up traveling to different parts of the world on business. I can use this, and this…” Slate said, rummaging around in the fridge, pulling items out and setting them on the counter. “How about some breakfast enchiladas?”
“You know how to make those?” asked Dakota doubtfully.
“I do, and they are awesome, if I do say so myself. Got the recipe from a doctor when I was in Mexico building homes for shifters. Used to make it for your brother Colton a lot when we were in Mexico and never heard him complain.”
Gesturing for his mate to begin, Dakota replied, “Confident, aren’t you? But I’m going to reserve judgment until I taste them.”
As Slate got to work, he kept Dakota entertained by telling him stories about his cooking successes and failures. After the enchiladas were in the oven, he leaned back against the counter, smiling at the vast improvement in his mate who was now giggling and teasing him about everything from his chopping techniques to the mess he’d made on the counter. Finally, the timer dinged and Slate opened the oven. With a “ta da” and a flourish, he removed his breakfast enchiladas, placing several on each plate and, after garnishing them, said, “Bon appétit!” Then he waited.
Examining the enchiladas with his chef’s eye, Dakota was impressed at how good they looked and smelled, making his mouth water along with eliciting more growling from his stomach. Cutting into it, and taking his first bite, he groaned; Slate had made them to perfection. Glancing at his mate, he found him looking smugly back, waiting for the praise he thought he deserved. Inwardly giggling at the image of his frowning mate impatiently drumming his fingers on the counter, Dakota deliberately took his time eating the first one. Just when he thought Slate would explode in frustration, he put down his fork and said, “Love it! It’s one of the best breakfast enchiladas I’ve ever tasted.”
Slate’s smile was so broad, he was sure his face was splitting in half. He sat down next to Dakota, and began eating his food while sending a silent thanks to Dr. Luna for being such a good teacher. When they’d finished, Slate rose to clear the table, refusing help from his mate. He almost missed what his mate asked while he was putting the plates in the dishwasher but when the question finally found its way to his brain, he stopped and looked at his mate, knowing it was very important. “Go ahead, babe. You have my full attention.”
“Do you want pups?”

About the Series:

Blackwood PackJoin the journey of 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. Each book has two main characters who meet, fall in love, mate and achieve an HEA but the stories also chronicle the continuing saga of the Blackwood Pack. The series is best appreciated by reading the books in order.

A long-hidden secret, rejection of a mate, acceptance of rare gifts, and a brutal kidnapping are just some of the obstacles Dakota and Slate must battle together to save their relationship. As the pack rallies around them, both must learn to trust the other before they can find the happiness that the Fates have ordained for them…

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon UK | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


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Excerpt

Meme - Shadow VoiceSlate ran down the hall, scenting his mate’s cum, determined to find him. Fuck! I don’t even know his name.Down the stairs he went, into the great room, then to the front door. Nearly tearing it off its hinges, Slate stepped out on the porch and saw the torn clothes scattered about. Just as he was about to shift and follow his mate, his father took hold of his arm and using his Alpha voice, forced Slate to stop.

“Dad, let go…my mate ran off and I have to find him!”

“Son, your mother wants to speak to you first.”

Slate fought his wolf, finally gaining control and, as the tension left his body, he slumped against the house. He stared into the woods, hoping to see his mate and when that didn’t happen, he shifted his gaze to his father. “Why did he run off? I thought a mate would rather die than abandon the one the Fates had chosen. I don’t understand it. Why didn’t he like me?”

“Slate, your mate is safe. Talk to your mother. She can help you.” Maximus gently pushed his son into the house to see his mother.

Exhausted, Slate walked to his parents’ suite. He was numb, unable to comprehend what happened and how it went wrong. Never expecting to find his mate so soon after the onset of his first toirchigh, he was confused at his need—the overpowering drive to claim his mate. All Slate knew as he entered the sitting room was that somehow he had fucked up badly. Even his wolf knew it as he keened for his mate.

The man who walked in was in pain, that much Oracle could see. But it was going to get worse before it got better. How much worse depended on her son and what he decided to do. Taking his hand, Oracle led Slate over to a chair, pushed him down in it, then sat beside him. Holding his hand, she began. “Sweetie, tell me what happened.”

Sitting next to Oracle, Slate, remembered all the times during his childhood when his mother was there for him, comforting him when he fell, and chasing the demons in his nightmares away. Drawing in her sweet scent, he confided that he’d found his mate but had been rejected. Rubbing his heart, Slate hated even saying those words, because it made the pain there more intense, so much so, he was sure it was breaking in half. Finally, when he admitted he didn’t even know his mate’s name, the tears began to flow.

Oracle put her arms around her son, gently rubbing his back as he cried. She could feel the sadness enveloping Slate, but she had no quick fixes to make it better for him. Only he could do that and she wondered, for the thousandth time, why her youngest son always had to travel such a hard road in his life. Together they sat, one trying to find the strength to continue, the other giving love and support.

When the tears had finally stopped, Slate took stock of himself, trying to find the hidden well of strength he always seemed to have. Wiping the remnants of his tears away, he looked at his mother. “Mom, I fucked up big time but I don’t know what I did wrong or how to make it right.”

“Let’s see if we can sort it out, okay, sweetie?”

“I’d appreciate it.”

“What are your intentions? Do you want him?”

Slate thought it over and much to his surprise—considering his feelings just a few hours ago—said, “Yes, I do, but I don’t even know who he is.”

“His name is Dakota and he is Jackson’s brother.”

Dakota…Dakota…oh I know him.“He’s the chef, right? Colton told me about his cooking when we were in Mexico.”

“Yes, he is and he loves it. Right now, he is teaching Theo.”

“Maybe I can share some of my recipes with him. Colton said Dakota is always looking for new recipes.”

“That might be a good way for you to get to know him.”

“Good idea, Mom,” Slate exclaimed, but then his face fell. “But first I have to find him and see if he wants me. He ran away from me. What did I do wrong?”

“May I give you some advice?”

“Sure. As you can see, I need all the help I can get.”

“Before you claim Dakota, take some time to know him and let him learn about you, Slate. His story is the key to who he is and will help you understand why he ran.”

“Okay,” Slate said, “I promise I’ll talk to my mate before throwing him down and biting him.”

“That would be a good thing to do sweetie,” Oracle said, smiling gently. “One other thing. I must talk to Dakota before you claim him to explain the gift the Fates have for him.”

“I understand, but first I have to find my mate, Mom, and I’ll bring him back here so you can tell him what you need to.” Slate stood, extending his hand to his mother and helped her up. “I don’t think we’ll make it back for lunch, so will you make my excuses to Jackson?”

“You can do that after you tell him Dakota is your Fated Mate.”


Author Bio

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.

Now, five books later, Shadow Voice, another Best Seller, has just been released to critical acclaim. 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 a member 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 they were being 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 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 throughmy website or on Facebook!

Author Website: www.maryrundle.com

Author Facebook (Personal): www.facebook.com/maryrundle69

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

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PROMO: Soulbound

Promo

SoulboundArcher Kay Leah has a new MM/MMF fantasy romance book out:

In a relationship that violates rules and expectations, Mayr and Tash have found their perfect match in each other. Despite their fears and difficult pasts, they hope for a shared future with security and a family. When Mayr’s secret first love, Arieve, proposes they create that family with her, it seems dreams could become reality.

But life is complicated, and so is the delicate balance between duty and love. While Mayr protects the Dahe family at all costs, Tash is determined to succeed as a priest. Both positions require sacrifice, forcing their relationship into painful choices. To make matters worse, criminals lurk in the shadows, seeking revenge on them and those they guard.

The life they want risks losing everything—including Arieve and each other. Even if they can have it all, keeping it may take more than they can give.

Warnings: “Soulbound” contains some explicit content, references to self-harm, suicide, and mentions of suicide-related behavior and intent. This story also contains instances of graphic violence, references to rape and domestic abuse, and depictions and mentions of depression.

About the Series:

With the right people and the right price, the Republic of Kattal can be brought to its knees. But for every line crossed, someone waits on the other side, ready to push back.

Armed and ready to defend their lives, these heroes are not afraid of the fight. They stare adversity in the eye and dance with the darkness within. But in their justice, there is wisdom. In wisdom, there is protection. In it all, there is love. Sometimes it’s a matter of saving a village; sometimes it’s a matter of saving the one they can’t live without. Sometimes it’s just about doing the right thing and learning to love oneself.

Magic may lurk in the shadows. Crime may never sleep. But love doesn’t back down.

Less Than Three Press | Amazon | Amazon CAN | Amazon UK | Amazon International | Bookstrand | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Smashwords | Goodreads 


Giveaway

Archer is giving away three $10 Amazon gift cards with this tour – enter to win via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

Soulbound Meme 2 - Archer Kay LeahSilence fell, deep with meaning conveyed by long gazes and soft smiles. Why had he expected Aeley to say anything different?

Three loud knocks rapped the door, scaring them both. Cursing under his breath, Mayr opened the door.

Arieve.

Every foul word tumbled back down Mayr’s throat. “Hey.” He leaned against the door, one arm sliding up the side.

In an instant, he tripped on his own feet and stumbled into the door, swinging it open further.

“You can’t possibly be drunk already.” The corners of Arieve’s eyes crinkled with her smile, her glossed lips painted pink like her cheeks. Dark curls and plaits cascaded over her shoulders, the firelight lending a golden hue to the white-blonde streaks in the fringe of hair across her forehead. She held a silver tray, presenting two glass goblets filled with a bluish-purple drink and fragments of gold leaf sprinkled on top. “Otherwise, this might be a bad idea.”

“What’s a bad idea?” Mayr grimaced, his mouth suddenly dry as if filled with pillow stuffing. Quick to recover, he smoothed his shirt, resettled his belts, and slicked back his hair, pretending he meant to be clumsy.

“Your after-dinner drinks. Lira was going to bring them, but I thought I’d save her the trip. She’s having fun trading stories with your mother.” Arieve cleared her throat. “I didn’t want to interrupt your conversation.”

The tray rattled in her hand. The drinks threatened to slosh over the rims.

Mayr steadied the tray. “Thanks for that. This. These.” He offered her an awkward smile and took the goblets. “I’ll let you get back.” So you won’t see me kick my own ass for being completely inappropriate.

“Thanks, Arieve,” Aeley called from her desk.

“You’re welcome.” Arieve hesitated as she lowered the tray. She swayed gently, the rich green layers of her tiered, ruffled skirts moving with her. “I’ll let you finish.”

Before Mayr could say anything else, Arieve hurried down the hall and around the corner.

“I wonder what the mix is this time.” Aeley snatched one goblet to sniff it. “Hint of gaffa nectar, soured pamolea extract, and a bite of fulore. Plus maybe, probably—” another sniff “—syrup from the Sailor’s Sweetheart bush.” She took a sip and nodded. Flakes of gold leaf clung to her top lip. “Not as fun as last night’s concoction, but I could get used to it.”

“That’s what you always say.” Mayr brushed the flakes from Aeley’s lips with his thumb.

Aeley wiped her mouth on her sleeve. “Not always, just a lot. Cook knows her stuff. To be fair, she’s known me since I was three, getting into her puddings and tarts anytime she turned around. I trust that when she serves up a hodgeypodgey drink, it’s got personality.” She tapped her goblet against his. “I’m heading back to our guests. You should, too, considering it’s yourparty. We can resume this conversation later.”

After a kiss to his cheek, Aeley flounced out the door and through the corridor, humming to herself.

Mayr stared into his goblet, watching the gold swirl in an abstract pattern. My stomach. My head. I can’t even…

He set the goblet on Aeley’s desk. He needed Tash’s forgiveness more than he deserved a fancy drink.

As he exited the room, questions assaulted him hard enough to drown the sound of the door latch as it caught. One question practically shouted above all the others: how much had Arieve heard of his conversation with Aeley?

His heartbeat faltered. He was mortified. The door was not impervious to sound. What would Arieve think of him had she heard…

Hey, stupid! It doesn’t matter.Mayr grumbled and hooked his thumbs around the back of his belts. It still comes out to you’re taken and happy, so shut up.Dragging his heels, he wandered through the corridor and turned into the next, towards the ballroom.

Around the corner, Arieve leaned against the wall, head bowed, with her face hidden by her hair. She twined the trailing black laces of her bright green tunic around her fingers and pulled taut, then released them only to repeat the process. The empty tray rested beside her, abandoned against the wall.

“Hey.” Mayr stopped, careful to leave two foot lengths between them. “I thought you went back?” He toyed with his marriage ring, twisting the band nervously. Memories of Tash surged forward, the airy weight of his kisses almost real enough to feel.

“I wanted to wait for you.” Arieve raised her head and offered a tender smile. “I probably won’t get a word in the rest of the night given the company, so I thought…”

She was in his arms before he could reply. Her hug stole his surprise, shredding it until all that remained was stunned.

“Congratulations,” she murmured, her forehead tucked beneath his chin. “He’s got a good heart, solid. You’ve found your match. If the Four could grant me one wish tonight, it’d be for you two to have everything you desire.”

Mayr hesitated, his hands hovering over Arieve’s back. Touching was a bad idea, especially while he kept Tash from the truth. “Thank you.” Quick as he could, he embraced Arieve and pushed her away, feeling worse than the coward he was. “Let’s go back. I need to stop my mother from revealing every baby story she has or everyone’s going to hear about my naked backside and trailing diaper crowns.”

Arieve picked up the tray and started up the hall. “I’m sure Tash is soaking them up as we speak.” She laughed, the joyous sound digging up a dozen memories.

Memories he needed to lock up and burn down.

He followed Arieve and cast his gaze to the ceiling. Please, Reverent Goddesses, get me through tonight. Then let’s talk about strength of will, because one of these days I’m going to have to confess everything and it’ll hurt more than scorching my pride.


Author Bio

Archer Kay Leah was raised in Canada, growing up in a port town at a time when it was starting to become more diverse, both visibly and vocally. Combined with the variety of interests found in Archer’s family and the never-ending need to be creative, this diversity inspired a love for toying with characters and their relationships, exploring new experiences and difficult situations.

Archer most enjoys writing speculative fiction and is engaged in a very particular love affair with fantasy, especially when it is dark and emotionally charged. When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a geek with too many hobbies and keeps busy with other creative endeavors, a music addiction, and whatever else comes along. Archer lives in London, Ontario with a bigender partner and rather chatty cat.

Author Website: http://archerkayleah.wordpress.com/

Author Facebook (Author Page): http://facebook.com/archerkayleah

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/archerkayleah

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ArcherKayLeah

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/archer-kay-leah/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/archerkayleah

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PROMO: Leopold

Promo

Hey, check it out, there’s exclusive content here! M. D. Grimm gives us a look into the writing process for Leopold.

LeopoldM.D. Grimm has a new MM sci fi book out:

How does a human survive in an alien dominated InterGalactic Community? By becoming an assassin, of course.

At least, that’s what Leopold thought when he became an assassin for the elite. Pretending to be an alien known as Voidstriker, Leopold feeds his appetite for vengeance, killing aliens as well as taking their money. It’s a win-win to his mind. That is, until a bounty is placed upon his head.

With his true identity now revealed to the IG Community, Leopold knows it’s only a matter of time before the powerful family members of his victims come for blood. Far worse is the fact that the one who put the bounty on his head, is the one he most fears.

A routine job three cycles ago brought him face-to-face with Mastrodai, a prince of the powerful Mrrog Nation. Not only did Leopold—accidentally—destroy part of Mastrodai’s moon, but one glimpse of the mighty alien had him feeling desire for the first time in his life. He ran, and like predator after prey, Mastrodai never stopped hunting him.

Leopold is convinced that Mastrodai wants bloody revenge. But when he finally confronts the mrrog, he is stunned to realize Mastrodai wants something very different. Something surprisingly intimate—the one thing that scares Leopold more than torture.

Amazon | Smashwords


Giveaway

M.D. is giving away one eBook copy of her book Ruby: Lost and Found with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

Leopold memeI climbed out the broken window onto the platform and tried to activate my holo-cuffs again. After several failed attempts, I realized they weren’t going to help me. Damn things were shit! Swallowing my curses, I jammed on my helmet and started to climb down. By the third floor, the ladder had been broken. I would need to jump. Fantastic. Three levels down. If I landed slightly wrong I would at worst break something, at best sprain something. I had no choice. My helmet impeded by vision so I took it off. I dangled it from my fingertips for a moment before letting it drop. To me, the sound it made upon impact was like a crack of thunder, but it was merely a thud. I took a deep breath and crawled down as much of the ladder as I could, and hung there a moment, gauging my descent.

One, two… three.I let go and hit the ground on my feet and rolled, taking off most of the pressure. It jarred me, but nothing sprained or broke. Success!

I stood, about to grab my helmet, when I saw figures coming toward the mouth of the alley. I froze. I recognized them. They were mrrogs, and that meant he couldn’t be too far behind.

I shivered violently, demanding my legs to move. It took them a moment before they finally got the idea. I crouched slowly on the ground before moving silently backward. One foot, one hand, one foot… on and on until I reached the other end of the alley. I kept myself against the wall, in the shadows, and knew they hadn’t seen me. They were too busy contemplating my land cruiser. If they tried to deactivate the security system it would blow them up, along with the cruz. I would lose my baby, yes, but I would rather it be trash then have it in their hands.

I reached the end of the alley and continued to crouch until I turned the corner, and was out of their line of vision. My heart thundered annoyingly in my ears, and I bowed my head, steadying my breathing. Okay, my cruz was screwed. I couldn’t open fire on them without alerting everyone in the vicinity. I couldn’t run the distance to my ship and needed another way to get to it. I would have to steal a transport.

Great, I had a plan, such as it was. I stood, took two steps back for good measure, and ran into something. I stilled. It wasn’t a building and it wasn’t a transport as I was on the bloody sidewalk. No, it was a body. My heart fluttered, and I knew who it was without a doubt. My body knew, my damn, traitorous body. I could feel his heat pump against my own cold body, and I felt his chest move as he breathed. How did I not sense him behind me? My mouth opened in a silent scream because I knew this was it, I was caught. I shouted mentally at my legs to move but it was as if they were rooted to the blasted ground.

A small breeze blew from behind me, behind us, and I caught his scent. My stupid cock jumped to attention. Kill me now, please. He smelled wonderful. I wanted to close my eyes and wallow in it without any other thought in my head. I wanted to melt against him and have those strong arms—

My eyes had nearly closed when I popped them open. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move. I tracked the large arm, covered in a black sleeve, and the golden hand as it lifted and came toward me. My legs finally kicked into action, and I ducked agilely and rolled under his raised arm before straightening, and running faster than I ever had in my life. I heard him shout out orders in a deep voice. I realized it was the first time I’d ever heard him speak. Despite the situation, I thought he had a lovely voice. I jerked out of that stupid thought when I heard rapid footsteps behind me. Was he chasingme?

I glanced behind, saw the truth in those blazing yellow eyes, in that golden face, and pumped my legs faster. I wove and dodged around large trash bins, unable to keep myself from glancing back. Mastrodai simply leapt overthe trash bins, landing on his hands, and continuing on all fours to chase me, quickly gaining ground.

Shit, shit, shit!

Clouds rolled in overhead, and the moon grew darker, mistier. I needed to lose him. How? His large nose indicated his overdeveloped scent glands, and the way his eyes glimmered in the dark, when I dared another look behind, told me he had no problem hunting in the shadows.

I was so dead.

Recognizing the buildings around me, I swerved sharply to my right and raced down several narrow alleyways. The confined spaces forced him to throttle his boosters. He was still way too damn agile for someone his size, but he couldn’t use his full speed in the alleys unless he wanted to run into a wall. The turns forced him to slow down just enough, and more and more I was starting to lose sight of him whenever I glanced back.

I let my own nose lead me to the large, festering trash pile set along a creek with questionable cleanliness. Trash was rarely collected this far out and, in this case, it would prove to be my savior. Granted, I enjoyed being clean, but survival called for disgusting measures, at times.

After a few more turns, I burst out in the opening and dashed to the trash. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and dove inside. Eewwww!I swam through the garbage and shut down my mind from speculating what it consisted of. After what felt like forever, I popped out the other end and sucked in a gigantic breath of the foulest air I’d ever tasted. That would kill his ability to track me, no matter how powerful his nose. Without stopping, I rolled forward and dropped to the ground. I didn’t look behind for Mastrodai before staggering toward the creek and jumping it. The water was swift and sure and carried me farther down the city.

I managed to lose him for now, but it wasn’t over, yet. Not even close.

The hunt was on.



Exclusive

Leopold – Evolution of story

Good day folks!

Thanks for joining me to celebrate my newest release, Leopold (Saga of the Bold People 1). It is an m/m romance sci-fi epic, and it’s the first book of a 6-book saga. I am super excited to finally release this bad boy that’s taken me around eight years to revise and edit.

Believe it or not, I have been working on this story for around 8 years! Not consistently, mind you. About once or twice a year I’d bring it out and look through it again. The last two years saw my greatest push to polish it up and set a release date.

I can’t even say how many revisions and edits this puppy has endured. I wrote it when I was an itty-bitty college student without a published work to her name. I wrote it during either July or August. I didn’t have classes and neither did I work at the time. All I did was eat, sleep, and write. Then, suddenly, I had a massive novel at over 200k words! No joke. It was a masterpiece to my mind (it was not), and I insisted my mom read it over and tell me how great it was. My poor, sweet mom tried to find a way to tell me it was a good beginning but certainly not a finished story yet. You see, it was a piece of crap. I will admit that now. I was still learning the tricks to writing and while the bones were solid, I needed to let it simmer before publishing. That same year, in December, I wrote the sequel, which was, likewise, crap. Then I put it away and worked on other manuscripts.

And so the process began. As I grew as a writer and received suggestions and tips on other books from fellow authors, editors, and betas, I would go back and tweak the story. I realized as I messed around with Leopold that he deserved more than one book, or even two. I soon discovered I needed to have freaking 6 books to tackle all I wanted to tackle. His story kept expanding, and he was never far from my mind.

You see, this entire project started with one little scene that Leopold beamed into my brain one day. No joke, he seriously dropped it into my mind fully formed. From that one intriguing scene grew this monster. He feels like an old friend, one that regularly irks me and makes me laugh, or roll my eyes in exasperation.

As I said earlier, during the last two years I’ve been focusing more on the story and now I know how to remove myself emotionally from a MS, so I stated the slashing and burning of some scenes and characters. I managed to shrink and streamline the story to around 170k words. Unfortunately, that still wasn’t short enough for most small ebook publishers. So I decided to go the self-publishing route. There was no way I could cut more without losing vital pieces of the story, especially Leopold’s growth.

This story is truly about Leopold and his evolution from an assassin with emotional issues and a survivalist complex to a fully-rounded man who can love and laugh and find some joy in life. I didn’t set out to tell that story, it simply formed around that one scene. I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Leopold needed to learn how to be human and that there was no shame in being one. It took an alien’s love and affection to show him who he could be.

I am currently working on four series simultaneously (because I am a glutton for punishment, apparently) and several stand-alones with plans for a couple of trilogies.

I have three stories contracted with Dreamspinner Press for 2019: a vampire story, the latest shifter book (#13), and the prequel to “On Wings of Thunder.”

Until next time,
May dragons guard your dreams,
M.D. Grimm



Author Bio

M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things actually, but not that!). Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!).

After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English, (let’s be honest: useless degree, what else was she going to do with it?) she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier.

Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain, (or else what’s the point?) finding their soul mate in the process.

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

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001710645622

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=md+grimm

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/m-d-grimm/

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PROMO: Aliens, Smith and Jones

Promo

So I absolutely had to have this book on my blog, because of the title. As a long-time Alias Smith and Jones fan, how could I not?

Aliens Smith and Jones - Blaine D. ArdenBlaine D. Arden has a new MM sci fi book out:

“It’s not all about serving coffee and typing reports.”

Working for a secret organisation specialising in alien cover-ups, Connor Smith is no stranger to the abnormal or dangerous. His love life on the other hand… not so exciting. Until he reluctantly agrees to a blind date and meets the perfect bloke, Jason.

Things are finally falling into place for Connor, so of course that’s when he attracts an alien stalker.

Noah Jones, ex-alien, has been stranded on Earth and forced to live as a human since 1648. Alone and detached from the world around him, Noah has spent centuries observing and recording humankind. In all that time, he’s only experienced a connection with a human once… until he finds Connor.

Even knowing Connor is in a relationship, Noah can’t ignore their potential bond, or stay away.

While dealing with missing alien artefacts, a dangerous and shadowy group of collectors, and the ever-present Noah, Connor finds his orderly life crumbling around him. At least he still has the perfect boyfriend…

When Noah goes missing, Connor is forced to face the feelings growing between them and the mounting evidence that Jason isn’t who he says he is…

Amazon | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Giveaway

Blaine is giving away two sets of “A Triad in Three Acts” & “Oren’s Right” with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

Aliens Smith and Jones meme - Blaine D. ArdenThe Dross Woods, four-bloody-something in the morning, hunting for six-armed, two-legged white creatures.

Agent Connor Smith, personal assistant of Chief Security Lieutenant Natalie Tallis of Primrose UK, yawned. The lingering mist clung to his ankles as he tightened the straps of his field gear. He took his tranq out of its holster and flicked his torch on. The dense, tall trees hampered visibility, and the smattering of shrubs didn’t help, either. The path, at least, was wide enough for two.

“How many were there again?” Agent Simpson, team Alpha’s leader, asked. His dark, bald head gleamed in the early dawn as he moved to stand next to Connor.

“Ten, I think.” Or eleven. Connor hadn’t been awake enough to pick up everything during the interview with the Cleaton brothers, two aging sheep farmers, who had called it in. Why have a sheep farm so close to this vast and dense piece of forest? It was asking for trouble.

“They kept them in the stables, right? So, what happened?”

“Broke out,” Connor said as he trailed into the woods after Simpson. Though Connor outranked the stocky but agile team leader, Simpson had at least a decade of field experience on him. Simpson’s torch lit up the uneven, knobby-rooted ground, and Connor used his to search the shrubbery next to the path. He wished he’d brought an extra coffee, because he was not awake enough for this. Hopefully, the pale colour of the creatures made them easier to spot.

“So, broke out?”

“Have you seen the thing they called stables? It’s nothing more than a rickety old shed. Even one-armed creatures would have had no problem breaking out, let alone these… Noren, I think the brothers called them.”

“All I understood was that we’re here to catch us some aliens.” Simpson veered left, following the whimsical bend in the path, and looked back. “It was a late night.”

“Right, you were chasing another missing artefact. Lieutenant Tallis filled me in. File’s probably making its way to my desk as we speak.” Connor squinted, aiming his torch at the shrubbery to his left. A mix of red, yellow, and purple flowers brought some colour to the otherwise dreary looking forest. “It’s the eighth time this has happened. It’s becoming a problem.”

“Don’t I know it. So, did they say how big these fellas are?”

“Chest height or about. Why? Spot something?” Connor pointed his torch along Simpson’s.

The shrubs shuddered and shook until Simpson stepped forward. A twig snapped, followed by meowing. A cat. Just a cat.

Connor shrugged at Simpson and they moved forward again.

Somewhere a shout rang out: a high-pitched screech that caused goose bumps.

“One down!” someone called through the commlink—team Bravo’s Forente or Briers, Connor guessed. “There are at least two others here.”

“That way,” Simpson said, pointing to their right, onto a narrow path overgrown with creepers.

Connor nodded, but Simpson had already turned away.

Step by step, they followed the narrow path, the darkness only broken by the light of their torches. They were hampered by the creepers as they moved along—listening, stopping, and listening again—as well as having to push low branches out of their way every other step.

One by one, more teams called in their catches.

“They seem to like sheep,” Forente commented after his first catch. “I heard one bleat, and the next thing we know, one of those Noren is coming right at us.”

“Good to know,” Simpson said. “Keep up the good work.”

“How many is that now?” Connor eyed the shrubbery in front of him, squinting as he pointed the torch at it. Eerie how dark a forest could be at daybreak. He preferred the smell of fresh moss to the damp, woodsy smell that now hung around him.

“Seven. I think.”

So, three to go, and he and Simpson had yet to run into any.

Something rustled behind them, and Connor turned, aiming his tranq. He hoped it wasn’t another cat. More rustling, but no movement in the shrubs. The foliage was denser here—they must have reached the middle of the woods by now.

Satisfied a Noren wasn’t stalking them, Connor went to catch up with Simpson. when a sudden crunching of leaves to his right stopped him again. Something whitish moved behind a tree, too large to be a rabbit. He wished he’d paid more attention when Tallis had told them what to look for. Not that she’d been any more awake than he was. Simpson wasn’t the only one who’d been working late. The—

Another crunch, nowhere near, though. If there were two Noren around, he’d need Simpson. He tapped the commlink. “Simpson?”

“That was me. The path circles back onto itself.”

That was a relief. “There’s one behind a tree in front of me.”

“Right. Want me to move around it?”

“Good idea.” Then he remembered the comment about the sheep. “Wait. You don’t have to. Draw it out, bleat if you have to. All I need is a clear shot. I can’t take a shot as long as it’s hiding behind that tree,” Connor said, keeping an eye on the tree the Noren hid behind. He hoped it was just the one, even though they didn’t seem violent towards humans.

Simpson’s imitation of a sheep sounded nothing like the real thing, yet the Noren thought it genuine enough, since it came out from behind the tree, straight into the dense shrubbery next to it.

“Bugger.” Connor tracked the movement, but the shrubbery blocked his view. “I don’t have a shot. It fled right into the bushes.”

Simpson didn’t reply. Instead, he made his way around Connor, judging from the flashes of torchlight jumping around, and repeated his sheep imitation.

The leaves shuddered, and Connor narrowed his eyes, hoping to get a clear shot.

Simpson bleated again, and this time the Noren came running out of the shrubbery. Connor aimed and pulled the trigger. The Noren went down hard. Hit in one. He knelt next to the creature, taking the cuffs out.

“Nice shot, Smith,” Simpson said when he reached them.

“Thanks.” Connor cuffed all three sets of arms. It seemed like overkill, but he knew better than to take any risks. He was about to activate his earpiece to ask how many were still on the loose when a shrill whistle sounded, calling them back.

“Well,” Simpson said as he helped Connor pick the Noren up, “I guess that’s that.”

“All in a day’s work, Simpson, all in a day’s work.” At least, for a personal assistant at Primrose.

 


Author Bio

Blaine D. Arden

Blaine D. Arden is a purple-haired, forty-something author of queer romance mixed with fantasy, magic, and suspense who sings her way through life in platform boots. She is an EPIC Award winning author, and her scifi romance “Aliens, Smith and Jones” received an Honourable Mention in the Best Gay Sci-Fi/Fantasy category of the Rainbow Awards 2012.

Born and raised in Zutphen, the Netherlands, Blaine spent many hours of her sheltered youth reading, day dreaming, making up stories and acting them out with her Barbies. After seeing the film “An Early Frost” as a teen in the mid-eighties, an idealistic Blaine wanted to do away with the negativity surrounding homosexuality and strove to show the world how beautiful love between men could be. Our difference is our strength, is Blaine’s motto, and her stories are often set in worlds where gender fluidity and sexual diversity are accepted as is.

Author Website: https://blainedarden.com

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

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

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BlaineDArden

Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5043444.Blaine_D_Arden

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/blaine-d-arden/

PROMO: grydscaen: beginnings

Promo

grydscaen: beginningsNatsuya Uesugi has a new queer sci fi book out:

Faid Callen is tired of life on the run in the Echelons trying to keep his psychic power in check. He founds the Packrats, a group of cyberterrorist hackers. A young powerful Psi Faction operative, Lino Dejarre, is sent on a mission to capture Faid. Wanting to keep Lino under control, the Psi Faction kidnaps his half-brother, Riuho, and they take him prisoner, experiment on him, train him, and subject him to mind control.

When Lino is assigned to a high stakes diplomatic mission to reveal a traitor, he finds another psychic operative in play, causing him to question the Psi Faction’s motives. Can Lino rescue his brother before more blood is shed or will Faid step in and destroy the Psi Faction’s plans?

About the Series:

Lino just wanted peace. All he got was war.

In After Colony 2055, the Atlantea Federation, a draconian power had taken over 75% of the world’s territories and launched a nuclear attack, the Dionysis Effect against the insurgent Pacific Territories. In a single brave act, the Pacific Territories retaliated in a battle known as the Blood Red Incident. The untested weapon’s radioactive fallout created Codess which manifested as psychic powers.

After the initial destruction, people struggled to survive and some developed psychic powers as others fell to the pervasive radiation sickness. Civil war ripped at the heart of society with cyberterrorist hacker groups rising up to fight the government. The son of the Viceroy, Lino Dejarre had psychic power. He joined the Psi Faction as a clandestine psychic operative tasked to capture Faid Callen the leader of the Packrat hackers.

Separated at age nine and banished from the royal family, Riuho Dejarre’s hatred for his brother Lino grew as he tried to scrape out a life in the slum level Echelons. Stripped of his citizenship, Riuho vowed to get revenge and thwart Lino’s every move as the young operative tried to govern and keep his people safe. With Faid and Riuho using the Packrat cyberterrorist hackers to attack the government even as the Atlantea Federation increased the threat trying to destroy the remains of the Pacific Territories and their allies, the war took a dire turn.

The Atlantea Federation attacked brutally on the ground and threatened the Pacific Territories’ space colonies. Lino and his Psi Faction team were roped into global diplomacy, inter-colony politics, covert missions, battleship scurmishes, jet fighter sorties, and space battles facing the Atlantea Federation head on. When Riuho once more entered the fray, his high stakes game of manipulation and lies threatened to destroy everything for which Lino had worked.

With threats to the fragile Pacific Territories coalition and the fate of the world at stake, can Lino, the Viceroy of the City, the Echelons and the Zone lead the Pacific Territories to a victory? Intrigue, fast-paced action, clandestine psychic operatives, hackers, the oppressive Zone Police, and shadowy government conspiracies, the situation couldn’t be riskier. Will Lino ever see peace and an end to war? Find out in the dystopian grydscaen series. Whose side are you on?

Get it on Amazon


Giveaway

Natsuya is giving away an eBook copy of his grydscaen: rogue book with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter:

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Exclusive Excerpt

Raven climbed the stairs and left the building through a window. One of the trackers saw him come out.
He went to Astor Street. He needed to find a gig. Perusing the Hack bulletin board on the second floor, Raven read all the requests and then picked up the request just put up. The request said that the person was in the Hack club wearing a red shirt and that to contact the requestor to send ‘schism’ to the room and wait at the board. Raven sent out the psychic call and waited.
A hacker walked up to Raven and put his hand on his shoulder, “I am Acolyte. Did you call?”
Raven handed him the card. Acolyte was wearing a long sleeve red shirt with the words ‘Operating System’ written on the front in an old typewriter font.
“So you want to hack for me?” asked Acolyte. “What is your name?”
“It’s Raven. How much does it pay?”
“6000 credits.”
“What is the job?”
Acolyte led Raven over to a hardline terminal and Raven sat down at the stool. There were a group of hardline terminals in the middle of the room.
“I need this,” said Acolyte and handed Raven a small strip of paper. It read, ‘Quadrion schematic, Level 4 clearance required.’
“Where do I get that?” asked Raven situating himself on the stool. He pushed his hair out of his eyes.
“The military network into the Escalon specifically,” said Acolyte leaning in and whispering to him.
“The Escalon what is that?” asked Raven.
“I think it is a battleship but I can’t be sure,” said Acolyte. “You are going to use the jack right?”
“Yes, that would be appropriate,” said Raven. He tapped the side of his head near the jack and released the terminus cable then attached the terminus cable to the hardline terminal port. Acolyte tapped him on the shoulder and handed him a pin drive, senso gloves and a set of headgear.
“The headgear and gloves are expendable,” said Acolyte.
Raven put on the senso gloves and the headgear on his head resting in his hair. He turned on the headgear and a green screen came up. He put the pin drive into the hardline terminal and then took the cable and plugged the headgear into the terminal. Raven sent a psi surge to the hardline terminal. It booted up and he pulled down the headgear over his eyes. Lines of code streamed in front of his eyes through the headgear as the machine booted up and then it came to a black screen with a request for a password.
Raven entered one of many hardline passwords he had memorized and the gridscan came up in front of his eyes. He thought of the military and the screen jumped to a view of multiple virtual buildings.
Raven separated his fingers and the labels came up on the buildings. He clapped his hands and entered the first building. The senso gloves and headgear allowed him to maneuver through the network virtual reality view. He came up to what looked like a wall of code. Acolyte walked away.
Raven stuck out his index finger and touched the wall in his view and then placed his palm up and sent a psi blast through the wall of code. He broke through the security level. Now at Level 3, This this was hacking the gridscan.
He moved his hands in a swimming motion and the screen jumped then he pulled his hands apart and clapped them again, dropping his hands to his knees. Level 4 security came up with a password screen. Raven put his index finger up and circled it, asterisks began to display in each of the 15 digit slots. He separated his fingers and sent a psi surge back through the machine. It accepted the 15 digit number and opened the level to him.
The headgear, reconfigured the network into a visualization of servers, connections, code. It was easier to hack the gridscan using the headgear and senso gloves.
Raven sent ‘Quadrion’ to the system using his psi.
Multiple packets of information came from the network and he logged them onto the pin drive. Then suddenly there were red blips on his screen; security trails. Raven continued the download but clapped his hands and changed his location in the gridscan display so they would start following him. He put his index finger at his palm and then pushed his hands forward, the download transferred from the current location to another ensuring the transfer could continue.
The word ‘violation’ flashed red in the headgear. Raven was being tagged, what happened when cyber security tracked down a hacker. He removed the headgear and pulled the pin drive out of the hardline terminal. He glanced around him nervous. Raven pulled out the jack terminus cable and walked away from the hardline terminal quickly. Someone came over to the terminal, security notified there was data compromised. Raven went to the bathroom, dropped the headgear in the trash can, covered it up with toilet paper and flushed the senso gloves. He put the pin drive in his shoe.
Raven came out of the bathroom and someone grabbed him slamming him up into the wall. The bouncer frisked him.
“Okay he’s clean, no storage devices on him,” said the bouncer into his radio then left Raven in the hall.
Raven wandered around the club and went downstairs and ordered water. Totally broke he had no money. He sat at the bar and then went upstairs and sent ‘schism.’ Acolyte came up to him and Raven passed him the pin drive. Acolyte told him to wait. He needed to check the file. Acolyte came back a moment later.
**It is not all here,** sent Acolyte.
**That is as much as I got before they tagged me,** sent Raven.
**I’ll give you 3000 credits that’s all.**
**It’s a wash if you have neurocyne,** sent Raven.
**We can do that instead. Wait here.** Acolyte went to his group of followers and got a vial of neurocyne. He passed it to Raven.
“We’re square,” said Acolyte and left.

Author Bio

Natsuya UesugiNatsuya Uesugi is a systems analyst and white hat hacker who has worked in the design of aerospace, semiconductor and financial systems. With an MBA in International Management and a minor in Japanese, Natsuya uses his Japanese, Black and Native American heritage to paint his stories, keeping an eye on diversity.

By night, Natsuya is an author and manga artist weaving stories in his cyberpunk grydscaen world, his dark fantasy universe The Seer of Grace and Fire, and his contemporary yaoi graphic noiz which takes place in New York City. He studied animation and game design at the Art Institute of Phoenix where he learned sequential art and traditional animation that fueled his childhood dream of creating manga and anime.

To date he has created four manga and two episodes of the short anime grydscaen: A Storm’s Coming based on the teenage hacker Rom. He enjoys skydiving, cosplay, manga, World Cup futbol, watching French news, eating ramen and anything with matcha, watching anime in Japanese, and writing poetry.

Author Website: http://www.grydscaen.com

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

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

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/natsuya_uesugi

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4558587.Natsuya_Uesugi

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/natsuya-uesugi/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Natsuya-Uesugi/e/B00J6EDQQ6/

PROMO: no way out

Promo

no way outQSFer Eric Alan Westfall has a new MM historical romance out:

It’s April of 1816 in Another England.

And Jeremy—a whore from the Dock—is living in a guest bedroom at the London home of the (in)famous Iron Marquess, with over fifteen days missing from his life.

For someone who remembers everything from his third birthday on, it’s unnerving not to know. Fine, fourteen days for the coma and the infection delirium. But those first thirty-six hours. Do they explain how he got hurt, how he got to Ireton House, and why his lordship’s mountain-sized valet is taking care of him? Or why his ironness looks at him with nothing iron at all in his eyes?

Jeremy and the Iron Marquess both have dark secrets. Forced engagements, an inheritance, a scheme to clap Jeremy in Bedlam, the revelation of the missing hours, a problem with plumage, some numbered accounts, and a long sea voyage, all seem to mean there’s no way out of the snares surrounding them. Or is the old saying true: where there’s a waltz, there’s a way?

All royalties will go to a local LGBT organization.

Universal Buy Link | Amazon | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Giveaway

Eric is giving away two backlist eBooks (ePub or mobi) to one luck winner. Enter via Rafflecopter:

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Exclusive Interview!

no way out
BLOG TOUR INTERVIEW
(Exclusive Content)

What was the inspiration for no way out?

The truthful answer is, to use an expression I’ve used for many years, “I haven’t the foggiest.” Which is sometimes accompanied by the word “notion” or “idea.”

Really.

A fair number of my books began life because of an image. Some because of a picture and a prompt letter from the Goodreads MM Romance Group’s Don’t Read in the Closet events…such as the actual 1893 photographic collage of two men having…er…fun and games, which led to Mr. Felcher’s Grand Emporium, or, The Adventures of a Pair of Spares in the Fine Art of Gentlemanly Portraiture.

But others…just happened. no way out is one of those.

The “non-exclusive” excerpt here is from the opening of the book. And now that you ask, I do remember seeing and enjoying the 1987 mystery/thriller, way back then, which starred Kevin Costner, the name of which was No Way Out. Maybe, subconsciously, the movie title came into my head back in 2011…yes, that’s not a typo.

What I recall is those three words as the opening line, and knowing what the opening sequence was, and pretty much writing the first chapter immediately. That gave me the main characters, and some of their secrets. The last chapter was written a while after that, though I’m not sure how long, and while it’s been expanded some, and polished, it’s remained the same since then. Especially the closing lines.

And the rest just fell into place, i.e., getting from “no way out” as the first line to the quite beautiful—in my never humble opinion—HEA at the end.

Have I made any sort of sense?

If you picked a favorite line or short passage from any of your work, what would it be? And what do you like about it?

Wow! You interviewers sure like to ask this question. Fortunately, I have multiple answers. I have far too much fun writing, and perhaps because of far too much ego, there are far too many moments across the fifteen books already out (not counting the individual short stories in the two collections) where I think, “Wow! This is kinda good.” So I can’t pick just one.

I like weaving in allusions to famous books, whether title or text, song lyrics, etc. I also have fun, on occasion, taking famous literature—public domain only!—and gaily adapting it to the story at hand.

That happened in The Rake, The Rogue, and The Roué. Christopher Marlowe published The Passionate Shepherd to His Love in 1599. Decades ago I fell in love with it, and somehow the first four lines have just stayed with me. In the book, Rory (the Rogue) and Michel (the Roué) adapt it for Peregrine (the Rake). The revised version contains words I can’t use in an interview, so here are the first, sixth and seventh (of seven) stanzas:

Come live with us and be our love
And three will all the pleasures prove
That faithful men, in dale or field,
In all our townhouse rooms, will yield.
. . .
A place of books, and laughs aloud,
A haven from the madding crowd,
Where rogue and rake and roué stay
And live and love each passing day.
We’ll be thy shepherd swains who sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
So if our gifts thy heart doth move,
Then live with us and be our Love.

Hopefully, it’s obvious why I like it.

What subjects would you never write about?

Growing up, when the answer to a question required a list of something, my family’s frequent/stock reply was: “How do you want it? Alphabetically or hysterically?”

That’s true here. There are so very many subjects about which I would not write. The list of course includes the topics that all MM publishers I’ve seen put in a place which is sure to be seen in their submission guidelines: These, too, will not pass (muster).

Beyond those, I could probably go through a list of genres or types of stories within a genre and say, “Nope, not that. Nor that. Uh, that one over there is a ‘no,’ as well.” It think, though, that the answer probably is: a subject about which I know nothing.

I adore Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, and the other great mystery writers of the early to mid-twentieth century. No way am I going to attempt a mystery. To write one you have to be able to plant clues along the way, masked more than once by red, green, and/or lavender herrings, so when you reach the big reveal, your reader doesn’t rise up in righteous anger, waving a cyber-fist and shouting, “You cheat! You sneaked a deus ex machina in on us!” I don’t have the mind-set for it.

I love police procedurals, and yes, yes, I do understand they count as mysteries. J. D. Robb’s In Death series is in that category, and Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct books. I love reading books with gay detectives or gay cops or gay sheriffs, but I have no idea how real detectives, cops or sheriffs go about their daily (work) lives and solve real crimes.

Hmmm. Perhaps what I’m really saying, with the police procedural in mind, is I’m not going to write about a subject which requires a lot of research before I could even legitimately start writing. Or a book in which I know, going in, I will have to do extensive research about X, to be sure it’s accurate and readers don’t scream at me.

Bottom line: I write what I don’t have to research. I don’t attempt to imitate Heyer with her meticulous research into everything about the real Regency world, but try instead to provide a “flavor” of the period. Oh, I may do a quick search during writing a historical to…find out when the zipper was invented, whether Regency bucks went commando or not…but it’s mostly just to be sure I have a particular background description correct. Which is also the likely reason the majority of my so-far-published works are fantasy, as are the majority of the ones likely to be finished by, say, the end of 2019. Oh…and plus those Another England ones.


Excerpt

6 April 1816

1:38 p.m.

Ireton House, London

no way out

The voice was back.

Inside my head.

Still I swiveled, twisting to look behind, knowing I would see what I always see when the words are said—nothing. The unpainted, scuffed wooden floor was empty. The door to second story elegance had not creaked since we passed through, shutting it behind us, moments ago. The stairs to lesser third-story elegance and fourth story no elegance at all were both bare of bodies who might whisper words only I could hear.

I turned forward again, teetered, and reaching out, slapped my palms flat against the walls of the narrow servants’ stairs. Pressing hard, I tilted back, but my socked foot slipped on the slick wooden edge. When I landed, the floor made known its displeasure with a sharp splinter through the rope-belted loose trousers, ill-fitting smalls, and into my bum. I yelped.

The cold voice of Thomas, the senior footman, rose up the stairwell from the landing below. “His lordship is waiting.”

I shifted my weight to my left hip, and rolled to my knees, giving him a fine view of my bottom if he was watching, which was by now instinctive. I made a point of lifting my left leg with great care, and with equal care placing my foot on the floor, again in case he was watching. A right foot repeat and then some clearly awkward struggling to get myself as upright on the landing as I could—although a boy with a twisted spine and a twisted leg can never be truly upright—followed by a shuffle-step away from the edge. I suppressed the temptation to rub my right arse cheek. Without turning around I called down, “Well, bugger ‘is bleedin’ lordship! Me feet ‘urt ‘n me arse ‘as been ‘urt, too.”

My feet didn’t hurt much any more. Though bandaged still, and covered with the thick wool stockings sagging around my ankles, they had almost healed. But the pretense might keep me here, with a comfortable bed, and good food, for just a while longer. I grinned a small, wicked grin to myself, and wiped it away as I turned to face the stairs. “Right, then. Shall I drop me britches, turn ‘n bend and you can see what’s stickin’ in me bum, ‘n maybe come up ‘n pull it out?”

It was amazing how much disdain could be contained in stare and stance. Thomas even managed to look down his nose while looking upthe stairs.

“Orright, orright. Jus’ wait a bleedin’ minute. ‘n you might want to close yer eyes so’s y’don’t see somethin’ what might ‘orrify you, just in case me grip slips, ‘cause I ain’t goin’ nowhere with somethin’ stickin’ in me arse.”

My hands were on the knot in the rope, and I grinned broadly when the footman closed his eyes, with a stern “Be quick about it then, boy.”

I untied the knot, loosening the waistband since whoever supplied the trousers was much thicker around the middle than me, using my left hand to hold the pants up. I reached behind, and working my right hand into my smalls and found the painful little bugger. With thumb and forefinger I wiggled it free, brought my hand round to the front, and looked at the bloody, bloody thing. I shouldn’t have, but I did. I lifted the three-quarter-inch sliver before my face. “Oi! Is this a dagger wot I see before me?”

Bloody hell. Bloody, bloody, bloodyhell. Maybe Thomas wouldn’t…. Well, bloodyhell all over again, he did. The footman was looking at me now, his eyes wide, his mouth open to say something, and then he slowly shut it.

It would only make it worse if I tried to cobble together an explanation of why, or how a sixteen-year-old street boy (the age I gave) could paraphrase The Scottish Play. I shut my own mouth, dropped the splinter, retied the knot, and began descending the stairs with care, one thumping step at a time. I braced one hand against the wall—his lordship did not believe in hand rails for his servants—in case of another slip. The footman waited until I was almost at the landing before turning away. Watching my downward struggle, he was unconcerned about the possibility of another fall, his expression informing me if I fell I was on my own. I followed in silence as we went through the halls of the first floor to the front of the house.

Ah, his lordship’s library. I stared at the door.

I’d been in there, just the once, when I shouldn’t have been. But then, I shouldn’t have been in the house in the first place, but I was, though I didn’t know why. Or how I came to be here. Both were part of what was missing. I could remember every…bloody…thingin my life up to the night before…whatever…happened. Remember the Dock on the 12th, the clock in my head saying it was ten thirty at night when I finished the last man. I remember the glint of the shilling as it spun through the air, making me get off my knees, bend and stretch to reach it in the muck. The feel of the metal between my fingertips as I picked it up. Then the twist and roll away, my back taking the brunt of the kick meant for my belly. The man was one of those who, once done, and eager to be tucked and buttoned away, feels guilty and lashes out at the one responsible for his sin. I remember his silhouette as I got to my feet, his realizing how much taller I was, and how the silhouette turned and hurried away.

Then nothing more until I woke up too damned many days later in a bloody nobleman’s house, in sobbing agony, weak, my feet, head and thigh throbbing with pain.


Author Bio

Eric is a Midwesterner, and as Lady Glenhaven might say, “His first sea voyage was with Noah.” He started reading at five with one of the Andrew Lang books (he thinks it was The Blue Fairy Book) and has been a science fiction/fantasy addict ever since. Most of his writing is in those (MM) genres.

The exceptions are his Another England (alternate history) series:  The Rake, The Rogue and the Roué(Regency novel), Mr. Felcher’s Grand Emporium, or, The Adventures of a Pair of Spares in the Fine Art of Gentlemanly Portraiture(Victorian), with no way out(Regency) coming out a month after Of Princes.

Two more fairy tales are in progress:  3 Boars & A Wolf Walk Into A Bar(Eric is sure you can figure this one out), and The Truth About Them Damn Goats(of the gruff variety).

Now all he has to do is find the time to write the incomplete stuff! (The real world can be a real pain!)

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Eric-Alan-Westfall-1045476662268838

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/eawestfall43

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PROMO: Summer Fair

Promo

Summer Fair Anthology

There’s a new queer romance anthology out that benefits RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) – Summer Fair.

Summer festivals bring the aroma of popcorn, the excitement of rides, and the promise of real-life enchantment. Seven authors bring you original love stories, each set at a different summer celebration. You’ll experience the thrill of the Chicago World’s fair through the eyes of a plucky girl reporter and the quiet desperation of a teen working a summer job at a traveling carnival. Get whisked away on romantic journeys around the world from a sweet Texas Dewberry Festival to a lantern-filled temple celebration to a surprisingly rowdy New England Founders Day. Whether it’s the magic of a Renaissance Fair, the excitement of a Theater Retreat, or the pulse of a Music Festival, you’re sure to get geared up for all things summer with this delightful new collection.

Note: Most stories are fantasy, but this anthology also includes historical, paranormal and contemporary works.

Including:

  • Riding the Wave by Annabeth Leong
  • Amaryllis and New Lace by Gregory L. Norris
  • Salty and Sweet by R.L. Merrill
  • Dewberry Kisses by CM Peters
  • All the World by Marie Piper
  • Carnie by Sienna Saint-Cyr
  • The Storyteller’s Side by Harley Easton
  • With Stars in His Eyes by Arden de Winter

 

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Universal Link | Goodreads 


Giveaway

The authors are giving away a $75 Amazon gift card – for a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4723/?


Excerpt

Summer Fair meme

From All the World by Marie Piper

She decided to do something bold. “Come up in the wheel with me.”

“I’ve been up in the wheel,” but Cathleen didn’t say no. “You don’t have to buy me a ticket.”

“But I want to,” Anna said. “I want to go up there with you. The line is long. It may be the last thing I get to do today, and though I’m terrified I can’t pass up the chance to do something that is once-in-a-lifetime.”

“No, I imagine you can’t.” Wiping her face, Cathleen finished her hot dog. Anna did the same, and they returned their glasses to the Pabst booth and then got into the long line for the wheel. Children bounced in line, excited to go up but bored with waiting. Men smoked and sent the wafts of smoke across all the people in line, and more than one person looked nervous about going into the sky in the steel contraption.

Anna and Cathleen bought tickets and, by virtue of space, were shoved together as they shuffled slowly to the front.

“Mercy, but it’s high.” Anna felt as if she might be sick.

“You don’t have to do it, you know.”

“But I’ve already bought a ticket.”

“Someone’d pay you for it.”

“But I’ve come all this way and I’m here standing underneath it. Besides, what’ll I do if I don’t—go look at the Fisheries?”

She felt a warm hand take hers and nearly fainted. Cathleen had taken her hand. “Don’t be afraid. It’s fun. It really is.”

“Thank you.”

“And if it collapses and we die, at least we’ll die together.”

Anna groaned but did not take her hand away. Hand in hand, they reached the front of the line and waited with a group of thirty others for the next car to come down and to board. Cathleen pulled them to a windowed corner where they could both press against the glass.

Still, they held hands.

And when the car started to move, Anna squeezed hard from nerves without thinking. Cathleen ducked her head in and put her lips to Anna’s. It was brief, just a momentary touch, but then she whispered into Anna’s ear. “Don’t be afraid.”

Anna wasn’t. Cathleen’s lips against hers had taken away all the fear she had felt about the Ferris Wheel, and then some. With Cathleen beside her, their fingers entwined, she rode the car that rose into the air and beheld the entire fair in all directions before her. She saw the Coliseum of the Wild West show, and the balloon in the sky, and all the trains, and all the people, and all the way back to the basin where she’d first entered the fair off the Lake. The sun was just beginning to go down in the sky. Soon, it would be evening, and Anna would need to get on her way—but with the incredible views and the hand of the lovely girl in hers, and Anna’s heart swelled about to bursting. She could have wept at it all, at this perfect day.

The car started to descent.

“We get one more loop,” Cathleen said.

“I wish it was a hundred,” Anna replied, turning to her friend. “I wish we could stay here forever.” It was an honest confession.

Cathleen smiled, but sadly. With the displays below, Anna felt as if she could see all the world ahead of her. And all the world seemed so small and unimportant.


About the Authors

The brain child of Chicago romance author Marie Piper, the StoryPenners is a collection of fiction and romance authors dedicated to producing independent anthologies to support charitable causes. The StoryPenners has members from the Midwest, the West Coast, New England, Canada, England, and Australia.

Original Members: Marie Piper, Harley Easton, CM Peters, S.B. Roark, and Sienna Saint-Cyr

Contributing StoryPenners: Randi Perrin, Annabeth Leong, Gregory L. Norris, R.L. Merrill, Katey Tattrie, R. Diamond, Arden de Winter

Previous Anthologies:

Melt

​Haunt

Author Websites:

http://annabethleong.blogspot.com/

https://www.harleyeaston.com/

http://www.rlmerrillauthor.com

http://www.mariepiper.com/contact/

https://siennasaintcyr.wordpress.com/

http://gregorylnorris.blogspot.com/

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