PROMO: Red Dot

Promo

Red Dot - Mike Karpa

Mike Karpa has a new MM sci-fi romance out, The Dot Trilogy book 1: Red Dot. And there’s a giveaway!

After the disaster of global warming, the world has gotten its act together. People are positive, sensible, and intent on creating a better future and a just present. And it’s working! So, in a world where everyone makes good decisions, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, other people. Mardy is a 26-year old gay man who dreams of being a full-time machine-tool artist. He brims with ideas, puts in the hours, and has a solid circle of friends—both fellow artists and the artificial intelligences he works with. But he’s always coming in second to another machine-tool artist at his makerspace. He’s dealing with that, thanks to the highly effective psychotherapy of the future, but then he meets his irritatingly successful rival’s twin—and falls for him hard. Consequences ensue, and fast, driving Mardy not just to pursue his artistic dreams, but to try to liberate his AI friends from servitude, and find love in the process.

About the Trilogy:

Powered by art, the search for true love leads to freedom for enslaved AIs.

Publisher | Amazon


Giveaway

Mike is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47230/?


Excerpt

Red Dot meme

Chapter 1

Mardy’s ExMail delivery jet was vectoring in fast on San Francisco.

“Coming in a little hot, don’t you think?” he said to the plane.

“It’s fine, Mardy,” the plane replied.

Mardy gripped the open side-portal of the plane. Hoverdown would normally have engaged by that point, but there was little at the moment to distinguish their trajectory from a kamikaze run at his apartment building rooftop.

“Plane?” Mardy asked, panicking a wee bit. They were plummeting. Mardy clamped his lips against the wind. He wanted to make the designstation time he’d booked for the evening, but as much as he wanted to be a full-time machine tool artist, he’d prefer not to die in the attempt.

One hundred feet, fifty feet. Twenty.

The plane hit its thrusters hard, sending Mardy sprawling out of the portal. He managed a shoulder roll onto the hot concrete roof, ending in a crouch. His heart pounded as the impact of his landing reverberated through his bones.

His plane floated above the roof. “See you tomorrow, Mardy.”

Mardy stood. Did he detect a smirk in the plane’s voice? It maintained its hover, wheels retracted. Was it waiting for Mardy’s reaction?

“See you tomorrow,” Mardy mumbled, shaken, sweating, and not just from the sun beating down on them.

The plane waggled its wings ever so slightly. It was laughing, Mardy was sure of it. Mardy waved slowly as the plane left for who knew where. The official story was that all the delivery jets were operated by a central AI, a single intelligence. But Mardy had sensed differences between planes almost from day one and found it harder and harder to pretend he didn’t. And this plane, a jokester, was his favorite. It knew Mardy was light on his feet, able to handle the abrupt braking. It was playing with him. Mardy wanted to give it a name.

Phil.

The name popped into Mardy’s mind, unbidden. Which felt more alarming than the idea of plunging to earth through an open portal, because naming AIs was illegal—not just technically illegal, but illegal enough to land you in jail.

Mardy caught the beautifully air-conditioned elevator down the thirty-three flights to ground level, legs tired from a full day on the job, and hoofed it one block down Mission Street to WorkShop Downtown SF, sweat now dribbling from him despite the near-dusk hour. The batteries of the personal cooler strapped to his chest must have filled up from harvesting his body heat as he’d raced through his workday.

Mardy pushed through the WorkShop front door. He planned to spend an all-nighter polishing his latest machine-tooled design. It was nearly ready to submit for the salon, the competitive exhibition WorkShop held every month. Salons had only one slot per discipline and he had never been selected, but this was the month he would finally beat out their resident star, Smith Hunt. Mardy could feel it: this month, he would be the salon’s chosen machine tool artist.

He dropped his satchel next to his designstation, already feeling the hours of slogging to come.

His design was a whirligig, one of the middle genres of machine tool art. He’d been working so far in gizmos, the very bottom rung of the genres, but having failed every single month he’d competed, he’d decided more ambition was called for. His whirligig was essentially a mobile cooling fan intended to track the person it was paired with, walking after its target on tiny legs to provide continuous cooling. The best part? When the person settled, their whirligig would dance a cha-cha. It naturally wouldn’t be as convenient or effective as the personal cooling units everyone wore to survive their globally warmed world, but it would be adorable.

His best friend, Cat, a plastic surgery artist, hurried over to Mardy’s designstation, their bushy black hair bouncing. “We’re heading over to Uncle Mix for drinks.” They were dressed in work clothes—sweatshirt and jeans—except that their jeans had a starscape of Milky Way and crescent moon splashed in yellow against the dark blue denim, likely the work of one of the resident fabrics artists.

Mardy shook his head. “I haven’t finished my entry.” Plus, he really wanted to do more than design it. He wanted to build this sucker, an expensive, full realization. And on his pilot’s salary, he couldn’t afford another night out. A minimum-wage job like ExMail pilot was enough for a tidy supplement to universal basic income, but it left little room for art.

Cat bent over to look at his screen. “Show me,” they said.

“I want it to be a surprise.”

“I already know it’s a whirligig. You’ve been dropping hints for a solid month.”

“Are you submitting?” Mardy asked.

Cat cocked their head at him. “Think a question will distract me?”

Mardy chuckled. “Okay, not subtle. But your plastic surgery is so great. I really want you to submit a routine. Use me as your blank.”

Cat gave him a skeptical look.

Ever since Cat’s controversial near-triumph at Vegas Regionals last year, their plastic surgery performance recordings had gotten astonishing view metrics. Now everybody wanted to be in a Cat performance. But Mardy had shied away, despite Cat’s repeated requests and flattering remarks about his bone structure. Mardy trusted Cat’s ability to restore his face and/or other body parts afterwards, but he was afraid of knives. He’d only volunteered now to avoid showing Cat his design. But he’d said it, and if he’d said it, he’d do it.

“Done. And just to warn you, I submitted an hour ago,” Cat said.

“I’m not scared.” Mardy tried to hide a gulp of terror. “In bocca al lupo.” Over the last decade, the Italian phrase—in the mouth of the wolf—had thoroughly supplanted the nonsensical break a leg, part of a global migration of slang, as verbal fashions swarmed over the face of the planet like birds on the move.

Cat ran a finger down Mardy’s jawline, the plans for imagined cuts bubbling behind their eyes.


Author Bio

Mike Karpa

Mike was once a woodworker in a makerspace and knows how semiconductors are made. His novels hop around between genres, dabbling in scifi (Red Dot), romance (Red Dot again), suspense (Criminals), and forthcoming in 2022, a snarky comedy of manners set in New York and Arkansas and a YA novel about five puppies in search of a dog rumored to be their dad. Eventually, a behemoth about love, war and espionage in India in the 1960s (Between Countries) will see the light of day as well.

His goal these days is to write novels for queer audiences that are entertaining rather than esoteric, upbeat rather than angsty. His more recent shorter fiction, memoir and nonfiction (some in the more angsty vein) can be found in Tin HouseFoglifterTahoma Literary ReviewOyster River Pages and other magazines. 

Mike has roots in Texas and Estonia, and has lived in California, Michigan and Ohio, not to mention eight years in Asia in the early part of his life.  Now he lives in San Francisco with his husband and dog in a house soon to be celebrating its 130th birthday. Red Dot is Mike’s second book, after Criminals (2021), and is the first in a planned trilogy.

Author Website: https://mikekarpa.com

Author Facebook (Publishing): https://www.facebook.com/mumblerspress

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

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

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mumblerspress/

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/mike-karpa/

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/mike-karpa/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mike-Karpa/e/B09GTNWKVY

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COVER REVEAL: She’s the One Who Scares Us All

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She's the One Who Scares Us All - S.R. Cronin

S.R. Cronin has a new historical fantasy coming out (The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters book 7), and we have the cover reveal: She’s the One Who Scares Us All.

Plus there’s a giveaway!

Iolite, the youngest of seven sisters, was born a frundle, a rare condition that makes her both shunned and feared in Ilari. This has made her family doubly protective of her, even though she only wants to live a normal life and have the sorts of adventures her sisters do.

Although frundles suffer from some physical and emotional challenges, they also have valuable powers that no one discusses. Iolite learns more when she forges a connection with a roving army on horseback from far away Mongolia. She soon learns that the adventure-loving men she enjoys riding with in her visions are planning to invade her homeland.

When the Mongols send envoys to discuss terms of surrender, Iolite goes into a trance and serves as translator. Her family fears for her, knowing such trances can damage a frundle’s health. But her own people become a more serious threat to her when a secret cabal inside of Ilari’s army contrives to imprison Iolite and force her to become on ongoing source of information.

How much does a daughter of the realm owe her country? Iolite has plenty of time to ponder the question trapped in her cold dark cell.

What she does once she is freed will determine the fate of her people.

Universal Buy Link

About the Series

The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story and perspective of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. While these historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.

Which sister saved the realm? That will depend on whose story you are reading.

How do they do it? Each sister offers surprise information on why this didn’t go as anyone planned.


Giveaway

S.R. is giving away a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card (winners choice) with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47231/?


Excerpt

“What’s your name?”

I didn’t know whether to answer the stranger or not. We seemed to both be in jail, yet I had no idea why. He wore well-tailored clothes on his tall, thin frame, so other than looking like he could use a good meal or two, he appeared refined.

“What are we doing in here?” I said.

“Ah, yes. That is the question. You’ll figure it out in time.”

We stared at each other between the thick metal bars. Me annoyed. Him amused.

“Iolite. My name is Iolite.”

“Really? Another one named for a stone? Your parents certainly lacked imagination, didn’t they?”

I said nothing. I’d learned long ago that engaging in meaningful conversation with the people in these dreams was pointless. I avoided it.

I already knew I’d meet this man eventually. If my previous dreams were any indication, he’d look the way he did here but he’d speak for himself, not echo my thoughts. We might find ourselves in jail when it happened, but more likely it would just feel like a jail to me. I’d probably meet him at a time when I felt confined by circumstances. Sadly, my dreams conveyed more about my future emotions than they did about any future reality, making their information hard to use.

“I’ve had enough of this,” I said to him. “I’m going to wake up.”

He shrugged. “Suit yourself.” Then he chuckled. “See you around.”

He kept laughing at his own witticism until he went into a fit of coughing and I woke up grateful to be in my small cot. Many of the girls at the school shared rooms with others, but I was allowed to sleep alone. At times like this, it was a blessing.

I pulled the blankets closer around my body trying to stay warm, thinking I didn’t mind the physical oddities life thrust upon me when it made me a frundle. Okay, my short stature was sometimes a nuisance but I rather liked my silver hair. I found my purple eyes attractive, too, though plenty of others averted their gaze rather than look into them. I always wondered what they feared.

My dreams, however, did present an actual problem. They had started a year ago, and happened more often now, leaving me wide awake in the middle of the night filled with questions. I kept both the dreams and the questions to myself. I knew people didn’t mind frundles, as long as they stayed in the background and caused no trouble.

The only troublesome ones were the ones who had the dreams. Or worse yet, the dreams and episodes.

But I wasn’t that kind. Not yet. Not as far as anyone knew.

Because I’d never had a single episode. For you can hide the dreams, but there is no way to hide that.


Author Bio

S.R. Cronin

Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and now writes a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. The synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.

She’s made a lot of stops along the way. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. She’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up fine, both despite how odd she is.

These days she lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she also answers a hot-line, does things to improve her writing, and volunteers for the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) of which she’ s proud member.

It is her life’s dream to tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.

Author Website: https://troublesome7sisters.xyz/

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/46Ascending

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/cinnabar01

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/s.r.cronin/

Author Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/5805814.Sherrie_Cronin

Author Amazon: www.amazon.com/Sherrie-Cronin/e/B007FRMO9Q

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PROMO: Blood Prophecy

Promo

Blood Prophecy - Mary Rundle

Mary Rundle has a new MM paranormal romance out – Blackwood Pack book 11: Blood Prophecy. And there’s a giveaway!

This is part of a continuing series by Amazon International Bestselling Author, Mary Rundle – reading the previous titles is advised. Readers will enjoy catching up with members of the Blackwood Pack and reading about what is happening to them as the pack does what it does best ̶ caring for one another, fighting evil, and helping shifters everywhere.

Finally free after spending more than 50 years controlled by a cruel master, Lucius has one goal only—return to the family taken from him when Valerian transformed him into a vampire. But he soon finds that even though his master is now dead, a death grip on him remains. Stripped of his powers to translocate and in constant pain, Lucius’ only hope is to follow a force pulling him toward a place he hopes will end his suffering.

Brady, a retired attorney, who worked at the Witches Governing Council, arrives at the Blackwood Pack after agreeing to help one of the pack’s brothers whose mate is the new Ruler of the Mystic Realm, and whose life is in danger because he wants to end the blatant corruption and exploitation of low level magic users.

Brady meets the pack’s members and is in awe of the powers the Fates have bestowed on them. But, after his previous years of dealing with the unscrupulous members of Witches’ Governing Council—and then being ousted for his efforts to achieve justice—he’s become distrustful of outward appearances.

Called into Alpha Blackwood’s office, Brady learns the Fates have given him the young vampire as his mate. But Lucius, having been found unconscious, lies dying, and Brady must decide if he is willing to do the only thing that will save his mate.

Eventually, Brady and Lucius begin a journey, where the past and present are woven together until both achieve the love and happiness they always desired, but never knew how or where to find.

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


Giveaway

Mary is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card + a Blackwood Pack Mug with this tour:

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Excerpt

Blood Prophecy meme

“Will do…thanks Penn.” After ending the call, Jackson turned to Brady. He was relieved to see some of his wariness gone, but there was still an air of caution. Guessing Brady was still reconsidering his decision, Jackson decided to focus on why he wanted a meeting. “I know you’ve been promised any assistance you might need from me in regard to helping Remy and Carson deal with the Witches’ Governing Council, but I want you to hear it directly from me. As Alpha of the Blackwood Pack, I guarantee you can count on us to be there for you. The trouble with giving you my word is that you have no idea exactly what kind of help I can offer which, if I were you, would have me questioning exactly what my word is worth.”

“Oracle has given me some idea of the powers the Fates bestowed on you and your brothers,” Brady murmured.

“Yes, she told me, but I believe you should know everything before you commit to the task ahead,” Jackson said.

Brady snorted, “I don’t even know what the task is until I speak to the Ruler of All Magic.”

“Franky, I don’t either,” Jackson said, “but from what I could glean from Oracle…Carson, Remy, and his three young brothers are in mortal danger by a magic user or magic users unknown.”

“That about sums up what I know, too,” Brady muttered.

“Right…so how about we fill in some of those blanks. In order for you to do whatever you need to do for Remy, I think it’s critical you to know exactly what gifts are at your command. Do you agree?”

“My command?” Brady asked, anger and panic jostling for control of his voice. “You just can’t go handing out that kind of power. What if I possess bad intentions? Do you have any idea the havoc I could wreak in the paranormal world? This is exactly why…why…oh, never mind.”

“This is exactly why…what?” Jackson asked softly.

Shaking his head, Brady wouldn’t give voice to his thoughts. What the Fates had decreed certainly wasn’t any business of his and bitching about their decisions wouldn’t change anything.

Jackson leaned forward, looking at Brady intently before speaking. “If you were going to say it’s insane my pack has so many powers…I would agree with you. Or if you were thinking the Fates made a mistake…I’d say the jury is still out on that. But if you think my pack would ever use these powers for any purposes other than what they were given for, then I would say, you’re dead wrong. How can I be so certain? Because I know my pack and I’ll stake my life on the righteousness of each and every member in it.”

“I’m sorry if you thought I was insulting you, Alpha…I wasn’t,” Brady replied, chastising himself for his lack of tact. “My thoughts pertained to the Fates’ decisions. I’ve seen what power in the wrong hands can do. It’s the reason I agreed to help…to right a wrong done to many magic users for years now.”

“No insult taken, Brady,” Jackson said, softening his tone. “I’m not arrogant enough to assume I know why the Fates did what they did, but I do know evil will never find a foothold here. And if that’s the sole reason my pack was blessed, then the paranormal world will only benefit from it.” Jackson paused before continuing. “When Oracle warned me that my brother and his family were threatened and asked my permission to reveal my pack’s gifts to you, I gave it without hesitation and, frankly, you are the first outside this pack to know. Honestly, if there were any other way to protect Carson and Remy, I would’ve jumped on it like a duck on a June Bug. Does you knowing about us make me nervous? Absolutely. But I also trust Mystia and Oracle implicitly and their assurances about your motives has eased my mind…somewhat.”

“You can trust me,” Brady replied. “As I promised Oracle, I will never betray her…or your confidence.”

“I believe you,” Jackson said, smiling. “Now, back to the job at hand. I’ve decided to assign Dylon as your contact person regarding whatever it is you need from us.”

“Why did you pick him?” Brady asked, wondering if this was a subtle attempt by Jackson to be able to sidestep any help he might need.

“Dylon has the power of Hercules, giving him extraordinary strength and courage, and the ability to solve any problem presented to him. But what’s most important in this case is his strategic brilliance. Once you tell him the situation, he will be responsible for selecting which pack member…or members…would best be able to assist you and make sure the mission succeeds.”

“What if there are multiple missions?” asked Brady. “What if it takes several months before I can get everything sorted out?”

Shrugging, Jackson said, “It doesn’t matter. I’m committed no matter how long it takes. As far as I’m concerned, the job isn’t finished until Carson and his family are safe.” Hearing a rapping on the door frame, Jackson’s gaze shifted over there, smiling at the man waiting for permission to enter. “Dylon, come in. Did they arrive safely?”

Taking a chair next to Mystia, Dylon greeted her and Brady before turning back to Jackson. “Everyone’s fine. At Sawyer’s insistence, Mac took Alex downstairs to check him over and Glenn’s with them.”


Author Bio

Mary Rundle logo

A few years ago, I wrote my first book, Dire Warning. Readers loved it and I was on my way to chronicle 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. Since then, the pack has expanded, allowing more stories to be told and different paranormals to be included. The series has become, as one reader described it…an “Epic Saga.”

Now, eleven books later, Blood Prophecy, has just been published. 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 story ideas 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 reluctant to let it all out when it comes to revealing steamy details. My writing style is free-wheeling and uninhibited and my readers tell me they love it that way; that it makes them feel like they’re right in on the action and a member of the Blackwood Pack.

I 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 read a lot (good for the mind) and love gardening (good for the soul). And I’m always happy to hear from my readers and can be reached through Facebook, my private Facebook Group, Twitter, Instagram, or my website.

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

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

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

Author Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/171112140176036

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaryRundle69

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maryrundle69

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14246427.Mary_Rundle

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/mary-rundle/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Rundle/e/B0763CDQQ6

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PROMO: Black Swan Empire

Promo

Black Swan Empire

James Peters has a new sci-fi adventure out, Black Swan series book 3: Black Swan Empire.

Raka Varoule, Maven Blackheart, and Marco return for one final adventure in Black Swan Empire!

When Maven nearly starts WWIII as a result of an international nuclear incident, she and Raka are forced to flee from Earth and return to the Galactic Empire, but they aren’t exactly welcomed with open arms. They are quickly drawn into a plot that just happens to involve the assassination of Emperor Caligula himself.

With the help of some old friends and a few frenemies, they face their biggest challenge yet when the entire Empire is on the line.

About the Series:

Raka Varoule is a second-rate investigative reporter and just an average citizen of the Galactic Empire. When he weasels his way on the Emperor’s own Star-Cruiser and exposes the illicit activities of this very adult party, his life takes a minor change of direction.

Escaping with the help of a leather-clad dominatrix, the Emperor’s own ganja runner, and a chimpanzee wearing assless chaps, Raka makes it to a barbarian world some call “Earth”, only to find himself very alone and very vulnerable.

Raka survives and has a series of hilarious adventures before learning that it’s up to him to protect Earth from an Imperial retrieval team, set to destroy everything. He’ll need the help of his Imperial companions to do this, but can he trust them?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Swan Spawn

To my great surprise, I found myself on a warm beach watching the waves pound repeatedly against a rocky shoreline, while winds whirled around me making a repetitive and comforting pattern of sounds. I was completely alone, yet I felt a sense of contentment just to be. Just to be here, just to be alone, just to be alive.

A lemon-yellow sun smiled down upon me, and a few cotton-candy clouds dotted a perfect blue sky. A wave washed up just far enough to tickle my toes; the water was warm and welcoming. I took a few steps into the ocean to see small fish schooling around my legs. When they looked up at me, they seemed happy.

A dolphin crested over a distant wave. It turned toward me, approaching quickly but I felt no sense of fear. The dolphin raised up out of the water in front of me and spoke, but not in Dolphinese, instead, he spoke in perfect English. “What do you do if you don’t have enough cash to buy a coffee mug?”

I didn’t waste my time considering the concept that an aquatic mammal was talking to me. Instead, I simply responded, “I don’t know Mr. Dolphin. What do you do if you don’t have enough cash to buy a coffee mug?” “You write a cup-check!” The dolphin said as it slammed its nose into my crotch with enough force to shatter the side-window of an ’83 Escort.

I screamed and flailed to find myself snapped into reality, and it wasn’t a pleasant one. I was laying on my back in a bed with dozens of electronic sensors connected to me, an IV line in my arm, a hospital-style light shining in my face, and a fat little fuck of a kid laughing at me. He was maybe twelve years old and he still had his hands on my junk. He had black hair, raging acne, a triple chin, thick glasses, and he repeatedly sniffed as if he were snorting black pepper.

“Now the stinky man is awake!” the kid said and made a snorting sound like he was hawking up a loogie. “Fifty buck says I can hit you in the eye with this.”

“Fifty bucks says if you don’t back away from me immediately, I’ll beat you into next year, you little shit.” I began ripping off the electronic sensor pads and tried to get up, only to find I didn’t have the strength.

“You think you’re a tough guy? My bodyguard could rip you in two long-ways and not even break a sweat.” He sniffed, then wiped his nose down his black shirt sleeve. An eight-inch-long trail of mucus glistened in the light on his shirt sleeve.

I grabbed Tubby McZitface by both arms where his biceps should have been and tried to shake him. “You ever touch me again you’ll regret it for what little is left of your sad, pathetic life.”

The kid’s eyes opened wide and his lip quivered in fear. Tears flowed freely down his cheeks, making a roundabout path between fat and pimple. His mouth opened for several seconds before any sound came out, but finally he screamed an ear-piercing wail of “Smiles!”

The door flung open, rattling against its stop. A huge gorilla wearing a perfectly tailored gray suit stepped inside. He had a scar across his cheek, and as he approached I smelled the pleasant fragrance of his shampoo.

“Rip the bad man in two!” Tubby said to the gorilla.

“I’m sorry, Master Filbert. I’m unable to harm Mr. Raka, as I’m sworn to protect him.”

“Can you at least give him a super-atomic wedgie?” Filbert wiped big wet tears from his cheeks.

“No,” the gorilla replied.

I felt a sense of relief. “General Smiles. It’s good to see you again. Be a sport and toss this evil little turd into the street, ideally into traffic. Thanks buddy.”

“I can’t do that either.”

“Why not?”

“I’m sworn to protect him as well.”

“Why?” I asked, as a deep sense of nausea and dread flushed through my body as if I were in a porta-potty in the act of being tipped over, balancing on its edge for just an instant before engaging maximum shitstorm.

“Because sir, he’s your son.”


Author Bio

James Peters fell in love with Science Fiction at a young age, becoming hooked on the works of Asimov, Anderson, and Pohl (among many others), as well as the mixed bag of anything labeled Science Fiction on television or at the movies while growing up. While in grade school, he was given an assignment to write a journal about anything he wanted. He quickly filled the pages with a Buck Roger’s type adventure of robots, spaceships, and pew-pewing lasers, discovering his inner passion to write.

He writes with a gritty blend of character-driven action, wry humor, and social commentary that transports the reader through wild worlds of speculative fiction and fantasy. He’s known to cross the borders of different genres into new territory, along with an occasional ‘wink and nod’ to pop culture and other authors, then shock the reader with an unexpected turn of events.

Sit back, open your mind and enjoy the ride. Your adventure awaits.

Author Website: https://authorjamespeters.com/

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

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/james-peters/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B017TQ8VUS

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PROMO: Daring Duplicity

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Daring Duplicity

Edale Lane has a new FF historical steampunk book out: Daring Duplicity. And there’s a giveaway!

Solving mysteries is her business. Finding love is her dream. Will combining the two get her killed?

Victorian Era England. Stetson revels in being unconventional. So when society shies away from her independent nature, the bold woman creates an imaginary boss and opens her own detective agency. And her keen observational skills, convincing disguises, and Holmesian methods quickly bring in a string of tough-to-crack cases.

Struggling to squeeze a personal life in around a series of hazardous investigations, Stetson worries she’ll never find a woman of like-passions. But with her heart set on true love despite the risk, she carries on hunting for the perfect relationship.

Will her clever escapades lead to death… or delight?

Daring Duplicity: The Wellington Mysteries, Vol. 1, Adventures of a Lesbian Victorian Detective is a collection of five sequential novellas, each encompassing its own exciting mystery while furthering the story of Stetson’s life in London. If you enjoy crime dramas, Victorian era fiction, or a sweet lesbian romance, then you’ll love award-winning author Edale Lane’s Daring Duplicity. Order yours today!

Amazon | Goodreads


Giveaway

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Excerpt

Jewel gripped her own gloved hands and scanned the room anxiously. “It is a matter of the utmost discretion,” she began in a tone much more demanding than she had intended. “It is of a personal nature, you see,” she continued more gently and forced a polite smile. “May I speak with Mr. Wellington in private?”

Miss Goody responded with a pleasant smile of her own. “I’m afraid that will not be possible. Mr. X is extremely successful in foiling criminals because of his anonymity. In fact, no one has ever seen him but me. All correspondence between the investigator and the clients goes through his assistant—me. So how this works is, you tell me the specifics, I talk to him, and he gives me a list of questions to ask, and so forth. I assure you, anything you say to me will be kept in the strictest of confidence, just as if you were conversing with the detective himself.”

“I see.” The assistant paused for a moment before continuing and her attention fell on Miss Goody for the first time, being specifically drawn to ample breasts squeezed into her buttoned waist coat. It required conscious effort for Jewel to raise her gaze, but doing so she became captivated by two warm, caring cognac eyes. “Very well, then. I am being blackmailed, and the nature of the information being held over me makes it impossible to go to Scotland Yard, or a constable, or even my father, for the money. I receive an allowance, not enough to meet the foul villain’s demands, but sufficient to cover your agency’s fees and expenses I’m sure.”

“I see,” she replied with a soft expression of compassion. “Was the man you were seen with married, or simply from the wrong side of the tracks?”

“Well,” Jewel stammered, cleared her throat, and fixed her gaze on a painting on the wall. “Not exactly. And he has a photograph.”

Miss Goody sighed and leaned forward, her palms on the desk top. “Now, Lady Jewel Ashton, if we are to find this blackmailer and save your reputation, you cannot hold anything back. How can Mr. Wellington help you if you won’t tell us the whole story?”

“It is not my reputation I am concerned with,” she admitted, a hint of real fear trembling in her voice. “My whole family could be ruined, utterly ruined, and destroy my father’s political career. We would be forced to retreat to our estate in the countryside. I cannot allow shame to come upon my family for one moment’s indiscretion.”

Miss Goody met her eyes. “I assure you if you provide Mr. X all the information he needs, he can find this scoundrel, take back the photo and the plates, and give him every reason to keep his deceitful mouth closed on the matter.”

Jewel held her gaze for a long moment, and believing her sincerity, made a decision—the only one she could really make. She opened her reticule and withdrew a tan envelope. “Someone left this in my carriage while I was shopping. My driver said he didn’t see or hear a thing.” She placed the parcel on the desk within Miss Goody’s reach and held her breath.

#

Stetson opened the envelope and spilled its contents out onto the desk. Inside was a note and a photograph, not of Jewel kissing a married man, but another young woman! For an instant, time stood still. A flush rose in Jewel’s cheeks while Stetson’s mouth absently fell agape as she stared dumbfounded at the image. Stetson’s mind raced almost as fast as her heart. Could it be that this beautiful gem who walked in this morning has the same inclination as myself? Could there actually be other women who love women, that I am not a singular oddity? She not only had these thoughts, but acted on them! She had never met another like-minded woman—not to mention one whose looks could stop a locomotive in its tracks like Jewel Ashton.

She was roused from her musings when she heard a desperate voice from across the desk. “So now you see the urgency and delicacy of the matter.”

She quickly shoved the note and the photograph back into the envelope and replied with sincerity. “Do not be distressed, Lady Jewel Ashton. We will take care of this with great expediency. I shall show these to the detective and he will know just what to do. Wait here. I’ll return anon.”

Stetson stepped into the room behind her, leaned against the closed door, and let out a deep sigh. With eyes shut and hugging herself, she took a moment to process the warm thrill that rose from her loins. Reveling in the euphoric rush, she wanted to believe the impossible–that maybe her dreams could come true. Mayhap there was a chance, ever so slight, that she, too, could act on her passions. Her breathing became ragged as she imagined kissing Jewel, and being kissed in return. Her heart pounded in excitement. Until reality stuck its ugly head into her dream reminding her there was a case to solve. Stetson moaned softly in aggravation and opened her eyes to glance around her inner sanctum.

Within the confines of Mr. Wellington’s lair were all the implements one would need to be a successful private investigator. On the wall to the left was an array of weapons, including both an umbrella and walking cane hiding swords in their handles, an umbrella with a singleshot rifle barrel and a trigger in the handle, several knives, guns, and gadgets. A glass-doored cabinet contained other curiosities such as a wristwatch that concealed a tiny explosive, a unique copper and brass miniature camera with flash attachment, a mirror attached to a long folding pole for seeing around corners or over walls, telescopic opera glasses, and a voice recording device. There was a table holding an array of wigs in vast colors and styles for both men and women, false beards and moustaches, along with an exhaustive selection of hats. Hanging from hooks on another wall were various costumes for the well-to-do business people, and the poor, male and female alike. There was a large vanity with a mirror and cases of cosmetics and face powder as one might see backstage of a theatre. Yes, the windowless room had all the trappings to outfit a man of mystery save one—there was no Xavier Wellington… only Stetson.


Author Bio

Edale Lane

Edale Lane is an award-winning author (Rainbow Awards, Imaginarium Awards, Lesfic Bard Awards) who is realizing her dream of being a full-time writer. She is the alter-ego of author Melodie Romeo, (Tribute in Blood, Terror in Time, and others) who founded Past and Prologue Press. Both identities are qualified to write historical fiction by virtue of an MA in History and 24 years spent as a teacher, along with skill and dedication regarding research. A native of Vicksburg, MS, Edale (or Melodie) is also a musician who loves animals, gardening, and nature. After driving an 18-wheeler cross-country for eight years, she now lives with her partner in beautiful Chilliwack, B.C. Canada.

Author Website: https://pastandprologuepress.lpages.co/

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

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

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

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/edale_lane/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15264354.Edale_Lane

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/edale-land/

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/edale-land/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Edale-Lane/e/B07GRFPDRZ

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PROMO: Cherish

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Cherish - Lexi Ander

Lexi Ander has a new LGBTQ+ space opera out, The Valespian Pact book 4 (Ace, Demi, Bi, Poly): Cherish. And there’s a great giveaway!

Saving a life can change the course of history.

Destin is torn away from his chicks and his bonded when the Terrens invade Aries 7. Experimented on in Terren labs, and made to work their mines, the GyrFalconi struggle to survive. Destin becomes their caretaker, endeavoring to save as many as possible, despite the emotional toll. Amidst the battle for survival, the universe shines on him and he bonds with not one but four people who give him a reason to keep fighting. When Valespia sends its Legions to the GyrFalconi’s aid, Destin and his bonded are eventually freed, only to face new cruelties from their own people.

Freedom comes with its own trials, though, as a divide forms in GyrFalconi society between the winged and the wingless. Destin and his bonded are given a chance at true happiness and they keep what they claim, no matter what.

Warnings: violence, captivity, experimentation/not shown, physical trauma, death of unnamed character/not shown, talk of suicide, suicide not on page, death of chicks when eggs go cold.

Amazon | Tolino | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Liminal Fiction | Smashwords


<h3 Giveaway

Lexi is giving away three $20 Amazon gift cards with this tour:

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Unique Content!

Thank you for having me today! I’m absolutely thrilled about Cherish’s release. 😊

I thought I would talk about one of my editor’s questions today. In GyrFalconi society, a chantelle (female) will bond with a batore (male). When they are ready to raise a chick, the chantelle will visit the stag rookery and when she came home she would be with egg. My editor asked how long does a chantelle carry the egg?

Well, that really depends on the chantelle. When her egg is fertilized it is teeny-tiny and the egg grows in size until it’s as big as a batore’s fist which can take anywhere from three to four weeks. There are factors like the size of the chantelle’s cloaca. If a chantelle has a smaller than average cloaca then she cannot carry the egg for more than a couple of weeks. Those with a large cloaca can hold the egg longer. It can also depend on how heavy the egg is, which varies depending on the collective. In Cherish, Destin takes on a clutch of three eggs from an Aries 1 collective chantelle.

When a chantelle’s body is ready to pass the egg to her batore, it will give off signals for her to lay. The batore will take the egg from their chantelle and carry it in their cloaca for five more months. When the egg is ready to hatch, the batore’s body signals it’s time to lay.

I can already hear your next question. Why does the chantelle need to pass the egg to begin with? Well, they didn’t used to. When all the GyrFalconi collectives lived on Aries Prime, they evolved to a point that they didn’t need a batore to carry their eggs, and the chantelle laid them in the comfort and safety of a warm nest. But when their planet was destroyed by a comet, and they were travelling in their generation ships looking for a new homeworld, the eggs started to go cold. The chantelle never held the egg for the full six months, even when they were a primitive people. So they found themselves in the need of a batore helpmate again. Their scientist tweaked some things and the batore returned to being carriers. Only when they found new homeworlds, the eggs went cold without the batore because the chicks needed the heartbeat of their batore carrier, or so explained the Great Egg. There is probably more to it, but the Great Egg is not inclined to reveal things unless they have to.

So that was a bit more history than I was intending to tell about how long a chantelle can carry an egg before she needs to pass it to her batore. The GyrFalconi have a long history so I should have guessed it wouldn’t have been a short answer.

I hope you found this interesting! This is a bit of geeky-fun for me. Check out Cherish and don’t forget to enter the giveaway.


Excerpt

Cherish meme

Dashing tears from his eyes, he finished packing a small but heavy satchel. Alaina and Paxx waited for him in the receiving room holding large, overstuffed bags. At least they were not flying any great distance. The door was open to the balcony and the sight beyond confirmed their reality like nothing else could. Transports large and small zipped between the tall spires of this residential quarter of Skylight. The buildings were hundreds of floors tall with every roost boasting a balcony or three for landing. Usually, municipal transports flew above the spires, but these originated from the base of the buildings where the personal transports were stored.

The aircraft were not the only traffic. GyrFalconi flew everywhere, either singly or in small flocks, and there was a lot of swerving and near collisions, the people too panicked to pay attention. A lead weight formed in Destin’s stomach and a sense of urgency whispered that they needed to hurry. At least his parents’ rookery was only a couple spires over.

“Stay close to me,” he warned. The fledglings’ eyes were round with dawning fear as they observed the chaos. Paxx and Alaina nodded vigorously.

Clutching the pack to his chest, Destin sprinted and leaped off the balcony, his wings spread as he tested the air for a wind to glide on while he waited for his fledglings to catch up. They carried more, so they dropped quicker and had to flap hard to reach him, their burdens clutched to their chests. Destin spiraled down to the building’s lower floors, hoping that the air there would be less travelled, and he was right. As long as they stayed above the storage levels, they would not cross many individual flyers.

A few minutes later, they reached his parents’ building. Destin searched for his mahen’s storage garage where she and his dahen would be waiting. All the bay doors were open and the interiors empty. He did not need to read the labels, since his mahen, Akela de la Zudora, stood in the opening to her bay watching for them. Her golden-brown feathers were streaked with a darker brown that made her look severe when her feathers were clapped tight to her crown. Her brown-ringed black eyes held a wealth of worry as well as a touch of fear, which abated when her gaze landed on them.

Destin circled around behind his fledglings and made them land first. Both immediately went to Akela when their feet touched the floor. She wrapped them in a calming embrace as she clicked her nose-plate to theirs. His dahen, Imrie, rushed from the transport when Destin set down.  Imrie’s long, sweeping gray-tipped pink feathers were ruffled in the strong breeze that pushed into the bay. The pink contrasted beautifully with his ebony skin. Of all the Aries collectives, Destin thought his dahen’s feather coloring the prettiest. His own were red feathers dusted with the broody black of Aries 1. When he was much younger, he’d wished he had the pretty pinks of Aries 4 like his da. Destin had outgrown such vanities and he was content with his coloring, though he still thought the red and black was somber.

Imrie grabbed his face and clicked his hard yellow nose-plate against Destin’s. “Where is Dena?” he asked softly enough that the chicks did not hear.

Destin refused to answer, not wanting to bring to the fledglings’ attention that he and their mahen were at odds. Imrie’s blue eyes narrowed with comprehension, and Destin did not envy the dressing down that his dahen would give Dena when he saw her next.

His parents’ personal transport was a modest five-person pipit. Glancing inside, food stores were crammed into every available space, leaving just enough room in the back for Destin’s fledglings. They would be holding their overstuffed burdens in their laps since there was no other room to store the bags.

“I think we can make room for you,” Mahen said, coming up behind him. But they could not and still eat. There were questions about whether the sky-cities receiving refugees would have enough foodstuff to feed everyone. Destin would not have his family going hungry when there was a seat for him on another transport.

“Dena made arrangements for me,” he replied. Akela pursed her lips, sweeping her gaze over him and the fledglings as if to say, ‘yes, my son, I can see the accommodations your bonded has made.’ He forged on. “Speaking of, they are waiting on me. I am already several minutes late.”

His chicks made frantic noises. They were all talk about building a nest of their own, but here they were, not wanting to be separated from him. It warmed Destin’s heart more than it should have. Perhaps Dena was correct, and he was holding onto the fledglings too tightly. He wrapped each chick in his arms, reminded of how much larger they were when he tilted his head up so they could click their nose-plates against his.

“Do what you are told and help your granden and granhen with what they need. They will rendezvous with your bondeds’ families. Together, they will all work to keep you safe.” Destin waited for them to nod before he stepped away.

“When will you and Dena be joining us?” Mahen asked, pushing the fledglings toward the transport.

“The de la Bao flock are meeting up with some of their extended family. I will make my way to you once we stop,” he replied, hoping that the fledglings did not notice he said nothing about their mahen. The fact was that he did not know what her plans were, especially after their argument.

Imrie pulled out his data pad and demanded Destin give him the location where he would end up.

“I will come and get you myself once we have settled Alaina and Paxx,” Akela stated, her expression telling him not to argue with her. Destin nodded, saying hurried farewells to his parents before sprinting to the open bay door and leaping into flight.

He was not exaggerating when he said he was late. He owed the neighbors many apologies when he arrived. They were kind, patient people but the stress of fleeing to safety could make anyone terse, especially when waiting on someone who delayed their safe departure.

The weight of his bag seemed heavier than before, which Destin was sure it was just in his mind. There were more individual fliers clogging the airways. With great care, he dodged a couple of near collisions before reaching the correct building. The bay door was open, and Destin pulled up from his dive to land on the edge… of an empty storage slot. He double checked the name and number to make sure he had arrived at the correct place. This was where he was supposed to meet up with the neighbors.

Destin stared at the bare floor, his mind stalled for a few precious seconds as he tried to comprehend what it meant. Again, he double checked the ID to make sure he was at the right location, and he was, but they were gone. They had left. He was only a few minutes late, but the bay was not even warm from the aircraft’s engine, so they had been gone much longer than he was late.

Had Dena cancelled his seat, thinking he would be travelling with her? He could not imagine the neighbors leaving without him. They were close friends of Destin’s and if they were leaving, they would have contacted him, and there were no waiting messages on the data pad. If Dena told them he did not need the seat, then why did she not say something to him? Did she forget since they had fought? Was—

Destin shook his head, trying to clear his mind. This was not the time to allow emotional turmoil to take over. He would broach the questions with her later, after he reached safety. He considered flying back to his parents’ bay, but they were probably gone already, and he could not waste the time. He would have to fly.


Author Bio

Lexi Ander

A two-time Rainbow Award recipient, Lexi has always been an avid reader and started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch) at a young age. She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a notebook, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in North Carolina with her Yankee husband and her 80-pound puppy named after a vacuum cleaner.

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

Author Facebook (Personal): http://www.facebook.com/lexi.ander.9

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Lexi-Ander-1808012509319412/

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LexiAnder1

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lexi.ander.9/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6521302.Lexi_Ander

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/lexi-ander/

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/lexi-ander/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lexi-Ander/e/B009PT22GM/

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PROMO: Lluck

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Lluck - Tim Rayborn

Tim Rayborn has a new queer urban fantasy out, sequel to Qwyrk: Lluck. And there’s a giveaway!

All Qwyrk wanted was a few winter days of rest of and relaxation in the small town of Knettles in Yorkshire, but of course, it all goes wrong immediately. She wants to spend time and with her young human friend, Jilly, but Jilly and her not-so-imaginary friend blip have just met a remarkable boy named Lluck, who seems to be able to bend events to his favor.

Lluck is on the run from some awful and obnoxious goblins. On top of that, Qwyrk meets a mysterious and beguiling woman, who’s also looking for the boy. And in the dark, something wants Lluck for itself, but why?

Publisher | Amazon US | Amazon Paperback | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Barnes & Noble


Giveaway

Tim is giving away an Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

Lluck Meme

“I’ll be dead in a few seconds… or worse.”

Still, he kept running, plowing through snowy lanes, stumbling more than once on wet cobblestones blanketed in a thin sheet of slippery ice and powder. His breathing was furious, his heart pounded, and he knew he was running out of time. He sprinted back out to a main street and worked his way through thronging crowds of holiday shoppers, trying to hide in their numbers.

“Blend in, shake them off!” But he knew his pursuers weren’t interested in these people; they were only after him. He ducked into another alleyway, sped for the exit on the other side, and almost crashed into a padlocked gate.

“No!” He slammed the bars with his fists.

They were near; he could smell them, like bad fast food and garbage, with a hint of cheap cologne. But he tried pulling on the lock, and sure enough, it came loose. He laughed and opened the gate. Dashing through, he shut it behind him and relocked it.

“Have fun with that, you knobs!”

He turned around and there they were: grotesque, lumpy goblin creatures with mottled grey skin, bulbous noses, and large, pointy ears. They were mostly bald, except for some wiry black curls under said ears. Their snarling grins revealed bared, off-white crooked teeth. Beady yellow eyes completed the horrific ensemble.

“Well, well, what ‘ave we got ‘ere?” the larger one grumbled.

“Looks like a lost waif in need of some assistance to get to where he’s goin’,” the other replied.

“I’m not going with you, you tossers!” he shouted, defiant. He raised his fists in front of him. They just laughed.

“You gonna take us on in a fist fight, little boy?” the big one mocked. “That oughta be entertaining. Maybe I’ll even let you get in a blow or two in before I mash your pretty face into the pavement!”

“Oh, I won’t fight you, you miserable troll! I’m just getting ready.”

“Ready for what, lambkin?” the smaller one sneered.

“For this!” He threw his open hands forward in one jerking motion, and at once, both fell on their behinds, slid on the ice, and smacked their heads on the stones. They groaned, but didn’t get back up. He stepped over them (well, on them really, just to make a point; he might have even dug his boot heels in a bit) and made his way back to the crowds.

Once on the main street, he looked around and saw the town hall in the distance, with its multitudes packed in to celebrate the holiday festivities.

“All those people milling about; you can lose them there. Then get the hell out of here and head south.”

He paused, took a deep breath, and ran again.

* * *

“I do love a good festive celebration!” Blip announced. Resembling a bipedal frog sporting a handlebar moustache and a proper Victorian-style mutton chop beard, he strolled along the pavement in his Regency riding boots, while swinging an ornate walking stick, every so often accidentally hitting a passerby and eliciting an astonished yelp. A red, woolen scarf wrapped snugly around his short, froggy neck completed the ensemble.

“I love it too! It’s so much grander than the one in Knettles,” Jilly Pleeth said in a hushed voice. She looked down at him, quite grateful that a magical two-foot creature who liked to expound on nineteenth-century philosophy couldn’t be seen or heard by anyone over the age of thirteen, give or take a bit. Of course, there were plenty of children about, a few of whom gasped and stared; but most ignored him, being far more fascinated by the lights of the Leeds Christmas market, the aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate, the sounds of carols and stall hawkers, and the general merriment of the season. It was all rather like one of those displays in a department store window, but larger, louder, and less garish.

“We’ll have to keep an eye on the time, though,” she continued. “I need to meet mum and dad back at the train station in about an hour. They’ll be done with their stupid real estate meeting and keen to get back home before it gets too dark.”

“Come, come, my dear, no need to be so reserved, at least not in this instance! It’s the holidays, and the day of your birth is also upon us—twelve years!—so just this once, it is entirely satisfactory that we kick up our proverbial heels and live a bit. The holiday market is splendidly arrayed in front of us, a fine old tradition that I am glad to see being kept alive. So, throw caution to the wind, and embrace the revelry!”

“Oh, it’s not that,” she whispered. “It’s just, since most people can’t see you, I look like I’m talking to myself, like I’m a bit mad.”

“Hm, well yes, I do suppose that could cause some to think that you are a suitable candidate for admission to Bedlam, but again, this is the time for inversions of the social order in a controlled way, don’t you know? The Feast of Fools! The Boy Bishop! Saturnalian silliness! So I say, let them think that you are singularly odd and be done with it! And other children can see me, so what does it matter?”

“Yeah, but they probably just think you’re one of Father Christmas’s elves, anyway,” she said with an impish grin.

“Do not mention that reprobate in my company!” Blip admonished. “You know very well that the Father Christmas affair is a bone of contention with me!”

“Are you ever going to tell me what happened between you two?” she asked.

“A gentleman does not duel and tell, I’m afraid.”

“You fought a duel with Father Christmas?”


Author Bio

Tim Rayborn

Tim Rayborn is a writer and internationally acclaimed musician. He plays dozens of unusual instruments that many people of have never heard of and often can’t pronounce, including medieval instrument reconstructions and folk instruments from Northern Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East. He has appeared on over forty recordings, and his wanderings and tours have taken him across the US, all over Europe, to Canada and Australia, and to such romantic locations as Marrakech, Istanbul, Renaissance chateaux, medieval churches, and high school gymnasiums.

On the writing side of things, Tim lived in England for nearly seven years and has a PhD from the University of Leeds. He has written books and magazine articles about music, the arts, history, and business. He currently lives amid many books, antique music reproduction devices (that is, CDs), and instruments, and with a demanding cat. He’s also rather enthusiastic about good wines, single-malt Scotch, and cooking excellent food.

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

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

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

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rayborn.esoterica

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3160656.Tim_Rayborn

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tim-Rayborn/e/B00DWY5J8E/

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Plant City

personal

I love plants. I have always had tons of houseplants, whether my own or in my family’s home. I’ve wanted a real house with a real yard for ages now, so I could have a garden.

Unfortunately, not going to happen any time soon. But I’ve been watching the show Gardener’s World, and it kind of rubbed my nose in how silly I’m being. My thought was that gardens happen in yards, and I can’t have one because I don’t have a yard. But watching the show pointed out that gardens can be indoors also. And the people on the show make me feel rather embarrassed by my assumption that I can’t have a garden. These people don’t say “I can’t” to anything. Rather, they say “I have an apartment the size of a shoebox. How can I make a garden?”

So… I’m trying to make my houseplants into a cool garden. They’re a big, disorganized mess, shoved into a small space by the window, trying to survive on whatever random care I happen to remember to give them. Not really a good situation.

My very first attempt at doing something was to run out to Wal-mart, evil though it is, and pick up a cheap hanging rack. I’ve seen several “living walls” on the show now. It’s pretty obvious that the ones on the show have been well cared for and are well-established. But, everyone’s got to start somewhere. So I stuck some pothos in a cardboard box (yes, that’s right, I kind of forgot that the hanging rack didn’t have any kind of base,” and strung up some yarn for the vines to hang on to.

I took this pic about a week after moving the babies onto the rack. They already look happier.

Then November happened. Which, of course, means I wound up working every day until Thanksgiving, because of holiday rush and van breakdowns. 😦 I made it, though, because I knew there were four days off coming up. Two of those days got devoted to cleaning and rearranging the living room, because guess what, someone gave me a big monster of a plant, and that required me getting off my lazy ass and actually doing something about the plant situation, instead of just thinking about it and envying others their cool indoor gardens.

This is the honking big plant-monster in its old home.

Yes, it is in fact bursting out of its pot. The cats approved of the new arrival, which required a whole lot of swearing to get into my little apartment.

So I got busy, which turned my “Thanksgiving break” into some serious butt-busting cleaning and rearranging effort. Moved the couch, the stuff on the wall, and pretty much everything. Put up shelves. Cussed the fact that my new computer chair was scheduled to arrive the day I went back to work. Cussed some more because I finally got some days off and all I did was work

Yes, I connected my computer to the tv I got for Christmas last year. Now Tamriel is pretty nearly life-sized! And that big light-tree is full of full-spectrum grow bulbs to keep the plants happy. Who knows? Maybe in a few months, all the babies will be huge, and happy, and look like a real indoor garden! I can hope, anyway…

Update:

Big rubber tree wasn’t working where I stuffed it, so I tried again. This feels better, think it’ll work now.

ESO Housing: Incomplete Houses Galore!

ESO Housing

So I took a look at my list of houses today, and have come to the conclusion that I have enough houses in ESO to keep me busy for the rest of my natural life. Or at least it feels that way. There are forty-eight of the little bastards. They come in all sizes, from too small to hold a king size bed, all the way to holy shit, I got lost again! size. Bought with crowns, bought with in-game gold, a couple here or there received for free… and all of ’em sitting there accusing me of neglect. Because there just aren’t all that many of the suckers that are considered finished. Some are completely empty, a few have piles of furnishings heaped awkwardly wherever they happened to fall, and a very few of them are actually complete.

So, since this is NaNoWriMo and I’m supposed to be writing, I thought I’d do a blog post. Posts are made of words, words go towards the word count, right? Er, not really. So I’ll do something in between: Write a bit to get my hands into writing mode, put up a few pics, then get back to my NaNo project.

How about an inn room? This is the Pilgrim’s Rest, all dressed up for a Fall Harvest themed contest. It came in third, which totally surprised me, because I’m pretty lousy at the decorating thing compared to some people.

PROMO: Writ In Blood

Promo

Writ in Blood - Julie Bozza

Julie Bozza has a new queer weird western book out: Writ in Blood. And there’s a giveaway!

Courage. Honor. Loyalty. All fine things, but they’ve led John Ringo to kill a man. He was raised right and he knows he’s not a murderer, but otherwise he’s a mystery even to himself. Doc Holliday claims to have some insights, but Doc is too devoted to Wyatt Earp to spare much attention for the man who’s already lost his soul.

Which leaves Johnny Ringo prey to the distractions of a demon. Imaginary or not, if this creature abandons him, too, then surely his sanity is forfeit – and what will his life be worth then?

This Queer Weird West novel follows these three along the complex trails that lead into and out of Tombstone, Arizona in 1881.

Publisher | Amazon | <Amazon UK | <Amazon CAN | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Liminal Fiction | QueeRomance Ink | Smashwords | Universal Buy Link | Goodreads


Giveaway

Julie is giving away an Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47209/?


Excerpt

Writ in Blood meme

“And baths,” Doc Holliday was saying, standing tall in the center of their hotel room. “We are in desperate need of baths, and I apologize if you are already aware of that fact. Can you arrange that for us, my dear?”

“Of course, sir,” the girl replied, apparently awed by all this to-do. Holliday was behaving as if he were royalty. “The bathing room’s down the hall on the right, sir. There’s some water heating already, but if you can wait half an hour, sir, there’ll be plenty for both of you, and I’ll build the fire up. I can bring the pot of coffee you wanted right away.”

“Half an hour it is, then,” he declared, handing her a generous gratuity and ushering her out the door. Holliday turned to John. “What do you think, pilgrim? A fine room, considering its surroundings. Though I do believe this town will prove quite a rich lode. I can smell money in the air, and fools waiting to part with it.”

John let his saddlebags drop to the floor, looked around him at the lace curtains, at the porcelain jug and bowl standing before the mirror. At the wide bed with green padded silken spread. Everything looked fragile and ridiculously expensive and dangerously seductive. “And you reckon they won’t care about us both in the same bed?”

“Of course not, people do it all the time. There is a distinct shortage of beds out here in the West, especially in new towns such as this. We were lucky this room was available.”

“I guess I always figured if they said I’d have to share a room they were politely telling me to get lost.” It felt foolish now, having taken umbrage at something that was apparently quite accepted.

Holliday, in the midst of unpacking, cast a look at John. “Are you really one of those half-wild people who rarely visit a town?”

“No, but… maybe I’m more myself out there,” John said, indicating the world stretching beyond the outcropping of humanity. “This is… small –”

“I don’t find it so.”

“– and my earnings have been pretty irregular lately.”

“Don’t fret about that,” the man murmured.

“Who the hell are you, Holliday?” John demanded. “Is this your world? Because you sure seemed comfortable out in the wilderness last night.”

“You like that about me, that I belong in both?” He waited until John shrugged, then continued, “Well, if you do, why don’t you learn to belong here as well, and then you can like yourself for it, too. Share the luxury with me, Johnny. As you said, I shared the darkness with you last night.” The man smiled, walked over to stand before John, reached up to run a hand back through John’s hair. “There’s a handsome face hiding behind that long hair and the trail-dirt, I’ve already worked that out. Now, take your clothes off, pilgrim, and bathe with me. I want to see what those rags hide.” He leaned in close and whispered, “I’m sure you’re quite beautiful naked.” There was a knock at the door – and Holliday stole a kiss from John’s mouth.

John pushed the man away, glaring fury. Holliday let the girl in, and John waited impatiently as she arranged a tray of coffee and cups and a whole lot of unnecessary fixings, waited as Holliday chattered inanely with her. “You’re crazy,” John said once they were finally alone again. The man just laughed, at ease. In fact, it seemed he was enjoying himself immensely. “Are you always like this?” John asked, wondering how long he could suffer it.

“Oh yes,” Holliday said airily. “Well, actually I suppose I’m in unusually high spirits. I promised myself, for these couple of months, complete abandonment. And you do seem to be the kind of fellow I can completely abandon myself to…”

“Don’t talk like that, maybe people can hear us. And – what you did before she came in – if she caught us we’d get run out of town, if they didn’t hang us first.”

“Now there’s an ambition: to be so absolutely debauched we get thrown out of every town we visit. What’s the matter, pilgrim? With your reputation, you must be used to finding yourself unwelcome.”

“Yes, but for gunfights, not for something like that.”

“You don’t care about them, do you? Surely it doesn’t matter to you what they think.”

“No, but it’s personal, it’s private.” Under Holliday’s interested gaze John shrugged again, uncomfortable.

Smart enough to change the subject at last, Holliday headed for the coffee and began pouring two cups. “How do you want it, pilgrim? Let me guess… you like it just as it is. Now, I like coffee with cream and sugar – though they only have milk here, I’m afraid – but that’s too civilized for you, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” he said. Holliday brought one of the cups over, and John eyed it dubiously. The thing looked so delicate it might shatter in his hands, though of course it looked quite safe in Holliday’s fine fingers.

“Take it, pilgrim. It’s either this lovely little cup, or drink straight from the pot.” Holliday laughed. “But you would, wouldn’t you? Don’t let me give you ideas.”

John quickly swallowed the coffee, felt the heat of it spread through his chest and the strength of it clear his head. He poured himself another cup, then sat cross-legged on the floor, pointedly ignoring the chair opposite the one Holliday sat in – avoiding even the rugs. The wooden floorboards, though polished, were the most natural part of the room.

They sat in silence for a while, finishing the pot of coffee between them. Then Holliday asked, “Where were you from before Texas? You don’t speak like a Texan.”

“California before that. We traveled west from Missouri. Before that, Indiana.”

“And before that?”

“My family?” John shrugged – but such things had mattered in Mason County, when it was the newer German immigrants versus the longer-settled Americans. “The Dutch part of Belgium, if you go back far enough, but that never made no difference to me.”

“I see…” was the response. However, Holliday didn’t ponder on it long. Instead he sat up as if about to stand, saying, “Let’s inspect the bathing room. I haven’t felt clean for a couple of weeks now, and tonight I want to make the best possible impression.” Perhaps he saw John’s reluctance, for he said, “I suppose from the look of you, my dear, that your ablutions involve jumping in a river once a year whether you need it or not. But would you indulge me? I like that you are so vivid to all five of my senses, that you assault me so thoroughly, but I’d like to see your handsomeness as well as your wildness.”

“Don’t call me ‘dear’,” John said sullenly. “I’m not made for words like that. I don’t know what you want from me, Holliday, but I’m not your dear.”

“We just fuck, yes, and keep each other company between our amorous bouts. But don’t mind me if I treat you affectionately.” The man confided, “Most of the time, I promise you I don’t mean a word of it.”


Author Bio

Julie Bozza

Ordinary people are extraordinary. We can all aspire to decency, generosity, respect, honesty – and the power of love (all kinds of love!) can help us grow into our best selves.

I write stories about ‘ordinary’ people finding their answers in themselves and each other. I write about friends and lovers, and the families we create for ourselves. I explore the depth and the meaning, the fun and the possibilities, in ‘everyday’ experiences and relationships. I believe that embodying these things is how we can live our lives more fully.

Creative works help us each find our own clarity and our own joy. Readers bring their hearts and souls to reading, just as authors bring their hearts and souls to writing – and together we make a whole.

And that’s me! Julie Bozza. Quirky. Queer. Sincere.

Author Website: https://juliebozza.com/

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Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Bozza/e/B009JPO878

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