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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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: 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


Giveaway

Mary is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

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Direct Link:

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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

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

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:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4731/?


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:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4728/?


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:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

WIP Chapter 3: Calla-hound

Black Eagle Rising, Writing

fallen eagle leaving

Nika pulled the horses to a halt on the rise just outside the city. From up here, near one of  the big watchtowers, she could see everything.
Not pretty.
Behind her, if she chose to look, at least a dozen columns of dark smoke reached for the sky. Funeral pyres. Really big funeral pyres.
To either side, the view was nearly as bleak, although less smoky. This close to the city walls, the big manors of the ultra-wealthy sprawled in safety and splendor, with regular patrols to keep them protected. Or at least that was what used to be there. Now, the big buildings remained, but most of them were vacant, some even smoking hulks where untended fires had run rampant.
Shit.
Her brain felt… numb. The single word took more effort than it was worth.
Resolutely, Nika turned forward, towards the future. The wide, paved road, showing signs of neglect after two years of the Blue Death, stretched ahead of her. She’d never traveled the whole thing, not even close. When she was younger she’d been out in the field, true, but her Division had served the settled lands around the capital. This road ran right out of the Dominion, according to maps. It led through the settled lands, through precincts that long ago had been neighboring countries. In the early days of the Dominion, acquisitive rulers had developed the skills of conflict, taking over the nearby kingdoms and demesnes.
They hadn’t stopped there. They kept going, for hundreds of years, until the Dominion encompassed nearly the entire known world. A long, long way away, straight ahead on the Great North Road, she’d reach the frontier.
But would she make it that far? Whole lot of effort involved in going out of the known world. Might be better to give up, lay down on the side of the road, crawl under a bush and die.
Forward, Nika demanded of herself. She nudged Wraith. The horse obediently stepped forward.
“Forward,” she said aloud, a mere faint and broken whisper. Berry, laden with supplies she’d purchased during the two days it took to get out of the enormous city, stepped into a walk with his buddy Wraith.
Forward,” Nika said again, this time in a real voice, with real determination. She’d decided to live two days ago. Nothing had made her change her mind yet, not for real.
With the horses in motion, Nika kept her focus forward. She didn’t look back at the smoking city. Instead, she remembered how it had looked the last time she entered from this very road.
Huge. Mind-bogglingly huge. Auros held roughly a million people, the largest city in the known world. It had started as a small coastal fishing village, but grown beyond all recognition for nearly a thousand years, ever since the arrival of the first of the Shining Ones. The city spread along the coastline, up and down hills, along the wide and slow River Went. Different neighborhoods showed distinct architectural styles. Walls tried to contain the city, then succumbed, becoming just another part of the architecture. Currently the outer curtain wall served as more decoration than protection, given the estates sprawling outside it.
The horses started down the other side of the hill. Behind them, Auros vanished from sight. Nika sighed with relief, then immediately felt guilty. She shouldn’t feel relieved that her home was left behind for good. It just wasn’t right.
But she did.
Something broke into her sad thoughts, and Nika halted the horses again. What was that?
A sound, a faint scrabble and even fainter whimper.
Nika dismounted. Before she could investigate the sound, her body decided to stretch without her telling it to. Stiff already, even though she’d only been on the road two days. She felt good, though. She felt alive.
Then she dropped to a crouch, trusting the horses to remain standing, and looked under the hedgerow lining the Great North Road. A pair of eyes gleamed back at her.
“Hello,” Nika said, extending her hand.
Another faint whimper, and a dim flash of pink as the animal licked its nose.
“You’re a dog, aren’t you? Come on out, I won’t hurt you.”
A short while and a good bit of coaxing later, a bitch dog crawled out from under a bush. Hesitantly, but with confidence that increased as nothing bad happened, she sniffed at Nika’s extended hand. Big, solidly made, although quite thin. Black, with a big muscular head, short hair…
“You’re a calla-hound, aren’t you?” Nika scratched the bitch’s head, relieved when the nervous creature allowed the touch rather than snapping her hand off. Calla-hounds were a highly prized breed, capable of herding, guarding, and hunting. This one must’ve belonged to one of the big estates along the road.
The bitch whined, then licked Nika’s hand.
“You look hungry. C’mere, I’ll give you some jerky.”
Nika dug some jerky out of her saddlebag, nearly lost her hand after all as the hungry dog lunged for the food, then returned to Wraith’s saddle. Maybe the world wasn’t all that bad, not with horses and now a dog to keep her company on her fool’s quest.
The calla-hound fell into an easy jog beside the horses as though she’d done it all her life, occasionally frisking and looking cute to remind Nika that she would be happy to eat more of the jerky.
“Crazy,” Nika muttered, shaking her head at herself. “The world ends, and you decide to travel and pick up a pet. Absolutely crazy.”
But for all her mutterings, Nika felt better with another four-legged friend by her side.

New Release: FIRESTORM

Promo, Writing

I just finished the convoluted process of getting my new book onto Amazon, which means it may or may not be available on the official release day. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

firestorm_med


There are different kinds of fire in life. The fire of passion, the fire of loss, the fire of the entire world exploding. There is beautiful fire, and ugly fire, and the fire of shame burning through a soul gone astray. And there is the fire wielded by the hand of a mage.

Kai and Jericho have been in charge of the Eternal Empire for several years, now. Life couldn’t be better, as far as Jericho is concerned. He’s got a home,a stable routine, the constant companionship of the man he loves. But Kai wants more. He longs for the excitement of adventure, the uncertainty of life freed from the expectations of others, the challenge of making a difference.

In short, he’d rather be back in the Borderlands.

That’s where all the real fun is. Forget about the stable, civilized, boring Eternal Empire. There are hundreds of worlds, maybe even thousands, where life is little more than abject misery, just waiting for someone to come along and clean them up. But the Imperial Senate won’t allow any of his plans to go into operation. They certainly won’t allow him to do anything about the messes personally. Why bother? Borderlanders don’t matter, not when compared to the perfection that is the Eternal Empire.

Nobody saw the firestorm on the horizon.

What will happen when an explosion shatters the stable, predictable life Kai and Jericho have built for themselves? Will it lead to the end of everything they’ve shared? Will it bring utter madness in its wake? 

From stability, insanity. Dark mages. Demons. Invincible aliens. Powerful change is coming fast. But will Kai and Jericho survive?


Yeah, that’s right, people. It’s coming. And it might just explode your mind along with everything else.

I’ll send out the buy link whenever it goes live.

Free This Week: ETERNAL

Promo

I forgot to post this morning, but that means I can now once again refer to my novel Eternal as a NUMBER 1 BESTSELLER in its category on Amazon! Woohoo!

Of course, it’s only because the book is FREE for the week, but I’ll take it. I love seeing the #1 associated with my work.

So go grab a copy of my bestseller while you can! Eternal will be free Tuesday 8/7 through Saturday 8/11. Get it, read it, and you’ll be all ready for the sequel when Firestorm comes out on 8/13.

Eternal on Amazon

eternalmed