PROMO: Save the World

Promo

Save the World cover

Other Worlds Ink has a new book out in the hopepunk cli-fi Writers Save the World anthology series: Save the World. And there’s a giveaway.

Climate change is no longer a vague future threat. Forests are burning, currents are shifting, and massive storms dump staggering amounts of water in less than 24 hours. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.

We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to save the world from climate change. From the myriad of stories we received, we chose the twenty most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.

Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change via solar mirrors, carbon capture, genetic manipulation, and acts of change both large and small.

The future’s not going to fix itself.

About the Series:

“Writers Save the World” is an annual hopepunk anthology from Other Worlds Ink, featuring hopeful stories by sci-fi writers about ways to solve the world’s problems.

Universal Buy Link | Liminal Fiction |  Goodreads


Giveaway

Other Worlds Ink is giving one lucky winner their choice of $25 Starbucks GC or a $25 donation to the Sierra Club in the winner’s name:

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47244/?


Excerpt

Save the World Meme

No one ate for a full day. At night, they sat around their fires and counted the stars, their boats bobbing in the quiet, dark waters. No electricity was permitted. The drones were shelved. The holo-projectors unplugged. Even the radios were shut off. The next morning, they washed in the invigorating cold of the ocean, and beat their bodies with branches.

This was what Edgard instructed. And what Edgard instructed, everyone obeyed.

The waters seemed bright that morning, despite the depths below. Small dots of sea foam dotted the surface, reflecting the eager light of the new day. The weather was calm, and the ocean peaceful. It was an auspicious morning.

Jason leaned against the rails, elbowing between his crew mates as everyone shuffled for the best view. There was laughter and chatter, some singing, a few rude jokes. The ocean was alive that morning, all the ships of the tribe lining up, energy buzzing across the wide decks.

Then the drumming started, and silence fell. People leaned forward, craning necks.

The canoe emerged from between boats, paddled by a small crew, its painted bow slicing through the water. At the front was Edgard, standing tall. Jason felt someone nudge him, and as he looked over at Amelia, she nodded at the cloak draped over Edgard’s shoulders. The Thunderbird.

The canoe stopped, and Edgard placed a hand in the water. As he rose, he started to sing, lighting a bundle of dried cedar, and waving the smoke over his harpoon. He removed the muscle-shell hooks and wrapped them in cloth, tied rocks around the yew shaft, and placed it in the water. As it sank, his song ended. Edgard turned to face the ships, opened his arms wide, and smiled.

The crews erupted.

It was done.

The harvesting was complete.

—From “Thunder on the Ocean,” by Christopher R. Muscato


Author Bio

Gustavo Bondoni is novelist and short story writer with over three hundred stories published in fifteen countries, in seven languages.  He is a member of Codex and an Active Member of SFWA. His latest novel is Lost Island Rampage (2021). He has also published three other monster books: Ice Station: Death (2019), Jungle Lab Terror (2020) and Test Site Horror (2020), three science fiction novels: Incursion (2017), Outside (2017) and Siege (2016) and an ebook novella entitled Branch. His short fiction is collected in Pale Reflection (2020), Off the Beaten Path (2019) Tenth Orbit and Other Faraway Places (2010) and Virtuoso and Other Stories (2011).  

J. Scott Coatsworth lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were. He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends. A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and the head of its self-publishers committee.

Rachel Hope Crossman is an ex-fry cook, ex-substitute teacher and retired Montessori teacher. Her childhood year in Athens, Greece left indelible imprints of olive groves, pomegranates and the sparkling, turquoise blue of the Mediterranean upon her mind. She is the author of SAVING CINDERELLA: FAIRY TALES & CHILDREN IN THE 21ST CENTURY, (2014) The Apocryhile Press, which examines the world-wide Cinderella story as an archetype and explains the symbolism of rings, knives, birds, pumpkins and more. Her personal heroes are Harold (and his purple crayon), Peggy Hill and Nancy Pelosi.

Jana Denardo is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.

Derek Des Anges is an emerging cross-genre author working in London, who consistently fails to stick to a single format or genre but does at least really consistently write about the queer experience (or some of them, anyway). He’s into fungi, industrial and experimental music, and trying to avoid the climate apocalypse actually flooding his flat too many times, because he has far too many books to consider moving out.

CJ Erick’s stories have appeared in anthologies from WMG Publishing, WordFire Press, and others. He won the FenCon short story competition in 2015. He writes in multiple genres, publishes novels in a space fantasy series, and dabbles in poetry. He’s an MFA student in creative writing at Lindenwood University, and an editorial assistant for the Lindenwood Review. He lives in Dallas area with his wife and their rescue superhero dog Saber-Girl, calls his sourdough bread starter “Ursula” (K. Le Guin), and cooks crazy-good Cajun food for a Midwest Yankee.

J.G. Follansbee’s short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including Others Worlds Ink’s Fix the World. Other publications include Bards and Sages Quarterly, Children, Churches and Daddies, the collection Still Life 2018, and the speculative fiction anthologies Satirica, After the Orange, Spring Into SciFi 2019, Rabbit Hole II, and Sunshine Superhighway. He is the author of the series Tales From A Warming Planet and the trilogy The Future History of the Grail. He has won several awards in the Writers of the Future contest, and he was a finalist in the inaugural Aftermath short story contest. He also has numerous non-fiction book credits. He lives in Seattle.

Geoffrey Hart: Startled by an aggressive dictionary late in her pregnancy, Geoff’s mother was delivered of a child with a precocious antipathy towards users of words. Over time, he transformed this antipathy into a more functional, if equally passive-aggressive, editorial career. After nearly 35 years, the flame burns brightly as ever, leading to an errant, semi-evangelical career ranting against the evils of words from pulpits at any editing or technical writing conference that will have him, seeking new recruits for his cause. In his spare time, he roams the globe, entertaining locals with creative and unrestrained interpretations of their linguistic conventions. He also commits occasional fictions, and has sold 46 stories.

M. J. Holt lives with her husband on their 60-acre family farm with many animals on a peninsula in Puget Sound. She is horrified that the entire world isn’t working to decrease pollution of all kinds. When she was a teenager, she and her mother sat under an ancient crabapple tree and read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Her mother told her that future generations would pay the price for the sins of past generations. That price has increased and now several generations later, some not yet born, will pay the price. Lightning struck that crab tree decades ago. It grew on land her great grandfather bought in 1892. Her great grandmother farmed the land and had the current house, started in 1900, built. The farm passed to her grandfather, and then to her mother. She lives in that house amid the surviving bits of her ancestors’ lives. This generational continuity informs her fiction. Her crime thriller novels, The Devil’s Safe (2021) and its sequel Making Angels (2022) can be found on Amazon. Recent short stories have appeared in the anthologies Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day: An Anthology of Hope, Low Down Dirty Vote Volume II, Alternate Theologies, and her poetry may be found in the poetry anthologies 300K, Timeless Love, and other periodicals. She earned separate undergraduate degrees in History and English Literature, and a Masters in English Literature. She is a member of SFWA, MWA, and other writing organizations.

Jennifer Irani lives and works in southern California. Her story, “Graft,” was inspired by the recent fires in California, Greta Thunberg, and generation Z. A version of this story first appeared in Writing in Place: Stories from a Pandemic. Her work has been published in the anthology Dove Tales Empathy in Art: Embracing the Other. She has published essays in Orange Coast magazine. Her essay, Regeneration, received honorable mention in the Writers Challenge 2021 on Medium.com. Her poem, “Cool Colors Warm the Soul,” was selected for the Connecting Through Color, Art and Poetry exhibit. She is a member of Barbara Demarco’s Literary Posse. 

Andrew Rucker Jones was born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia. No muse heralded his birth, and he has not been writing novels since he was in diapers. He received his Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University in mathematics with minors in computer programming and German. He has always loved reading, so when the time came to choose a new career after twenty years in IT (programmer, system administrator, manager), he decided writing looked like fun. If only it paid. He now lives in Mannheim, Germany, with his Georgian wife, who actually earns money, and their three children, the eldest of whom also earns more than he.

Micháel McCormick likes to write stories in his Batman pajamas. He and his wife also enjoy travel, hiking, Tai Chi, and perplexing cats. They split their time between Saint Paul, Minnesota and Lake Superior. Mike’s work has appeared in Arcanist, Daily SF, DreamForge, Frozen Wavelets, Grievous Angel, Metastellar, Talking Stick, and elsewhere.

Christopher R. Muscato is an adjunct history instructor and writer from Colorado, as well as the former writer-in-residence for the High Plains Library District. He has published over a dozen short stories and is thrilled to be a part of this project.

Masimba Musodza was born in Zimbabwe, and has lived most of his adult life in the United Kingdom. His short stories, mostly in the speculative fiction genre, have appeared in periodicals and anthologies around the world. He has written two novels and a novella in his first language, ChiShona. His collection of science-fiction stories, The Junkyard Rastaman & Other Stories, was published in 2020. Masimba also writes for stage and screen.

M.D. Neu: Growing up in an accepting family. internationally award-winning author M.D. Neu always wondered why there were never stories reflecting our diverse queer society. Surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, he decided to change that and began writing, wanting to tell epic stories that reflect our varied world. When not writing, M.D. Neu works for a non-profit in Silicon Valley, and travels with his husband of twenty plus years.

Jennifer R. Povey: Born in Nottingham, England, Jennifer R. Povey now lives in Northern Virginia, where she writes everything from heroic fantasy to stories for Analog. She has written a number of novels across multiple sub genres. Additionally, she is a writer, editor, and designer of tabletop RPG supplements for a number of companies. Her interests include horseback riding, Doctor Who and attempting to out-weird her various friends and professional colleagues.

NRM Roshak is an award-winning Canadian author and translator. Their stories have appeared in various anthologies and magazines, including Galaxies SF, Daily Science Fiction, and Future Science Fiction Digest, and has been translated into several languages. They live in Ontario, Canada, with a small family and a loud cat.

Holly Schofield travels through time at the rate of one second per second, oscillating between the alternate realities of city and country life. Her stories have appeared in Analog, Lightspeed, Escape Pod, and many other publications throughout the world. She hopes to save the world through science fiction and homegrown heritage tomatoes.

Lisa Short is a Texas-born, Kansas-bred writer of fantasy, science fiction and horror. She has an honorable discharge from the United States Army, a degree in chemical engineering, and twenty years’ experience as a professional engineer. Lisa currently lives in Maryland with her husband, two youngest children, father-in-law and cats. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a Futurescapes 2021 alumnus.

Heather Marie Spitzberg is an environmental author, scientist, and lawyer who lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley with her family. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Other Worlds Ink logo

PROMO: Sapphire

Promo

Sapphire: Home and Abroad

M.D. Grimm has a new MM fantasy book out, Stones of Power book 8: Sapphire: Home and Abroad.

The Dark Mage, Lord Morgorth, and Aishe of the Ravena Tribe, are to become bondmates.

Morgorth is equal parts nervous and excited. He wants to unite with Aishe in the sacred dialen ceremony, to proclaim their devotion to the world, to show everyone that Aishe is his equal and deserving of respect. After all they’ve survived together, why shouldn’t they make the cosmic promise before friends and family? But duty must often come before pleasure. When Morgorth’s estranged mentor, Master Ulezander, comes to him with a time-sensitive mission involving a major stone of power, Morgorth has little choice but to acquiesce.

Aishe knows his mate struggles with the revelation of his true destiny, after a lifetime of defining himself as the future Destroyer of Karishian. All he can do is reassure Morgorth that being the Savior is a far better fate for both of them. But as Morgorth and Aishe leap through worlds and dimensions in pursuit of a stone of power, more pieces to the puzzle of Morgorth’s destiny are revealed. And they form an image of sacrifice and tragedy.

The dark cloud of an ancient enemy looms ever closer, and the path to becoming the Savior might prove more monstrous than that of the Destroyer.

About the Series:

Lord Morgorth is a dark mage on the planet Karishian. His peers consider him a villain, but there is more to him than they choose to understand. Cursed by a dark destiny and tormented by painful memories of the past, Morgorth struggles to find his place in the world. Far from innocent, Morgorth has teetered between embracing his destiny and fighting against it his entire life. A decision that is made easier when Aishe comes into his life. Aishe is a creature of the forest, a warrior and healer. He has the moral compass that Morgorth needs, and Morgorth gives Aishe the companionship he craves. Together, they forge ahead, weathering the storms and fighting the enemies fate puts into their paths.

However, their greatest enemy is not a living being, but gemstones infused with deadly power. They are addictive, seductive, and completely treacherous. Morgorth hates them and is determined to find and imprison all of them. But he soon realizes they are keys to a greater power. He learns his destiny is not all he thought it was. And an even greater enemy stirs in the darkness. Enter the world of “The Stones of Power.”

Universal Buy Link


Excerpt

Sapphire Home and Abroad meme

Morgorth stepped forward and stretched out his arms. He murmured a series of words under his breath and an opaque pinprick of light appeared. I stepped a bit closer, fascinated. The pinprick grew into a swirling, pulsing liquid silver gateway. It was beautiful and ominous. It made no sound, and yet gave off pressure that I felt against my body, and the hair on my arms stood on end.

The few trees bordering the clearing creaked and groaned as they bent away from the portal. I didn’t hear anything—not birds or squirrels, not deer. Nothing was near us, and the poor, stationary trees were doing their best to also get away.

Morgorth fisted his hands and widened his stance, still muttering. His skin glowed, and I silently shifted to his side. His eyes were a burning amber, his expression set in stubborn determination and intense concentration. Sweat slid down his face. The portal pulsed a bit faster, the beat knocking against my ribs. What was he doing?

Then the silver gained a bluish color before darkening to mossy green. Morgorth grunted and lowered his hands, though his magick still glowed.

“Take my hand,” he said in a stiff, strained voice. “And hold on tight, to both me and your bow.”

I swallowed hard and took a deep breath. I clung to my bow as I took his outstretched hand and pressed to his side. His skin was hot to the touch but not burning.

“What can I expect?” I asked.

“Discomfort and weirdness,” he said with a hint of a smile. “Just don’t let go.”

“Never.”

Then Morgorth ran and yanked me with him. We dove into the portal without hesitation, and he was right about the discomfort and weirdness. It wasn’t the emptiness of teleportation nor the whiplash of magickal speed. Morgorth charged through the swirling green, dragging me along. The green slipped over my skin and hair like cold putty and tried to capture my feet in its murk. It seemed to last forever but I was certain it was only a moment or two. Then we were somewhere else.

I caught my breath and stumbled forward, still clinging to Morgorth. He didn’t let go either, his magick still at the surface. He took a cloudy crystal from one of the many pouches at his waist and bent to place it at the base of the portal.

This time, I heard his word of magick.

“Lelleknau.”

Words of magick were supposed to be nonsensical, something each mage created for themselves. It was personal, each new word linked to a spell and used for nothing else. It took both words and hand flourishes for a mage to cast a spell or secure an enchantment. It was different for magick healers like myself. It wasn’t so much magickhealers used, it was our life essence, gifting a part of ourselves to our patients. Give too much and it could kill us. The missing part of our essence would replenish over time, faster if we were happy and balanced.

To open a portal and redirect it was remarkably heavy magick, and my mate never ceased to leave me in awe of his abilities and his continual growth in both strength and intelligence.

“Will the crystal leave the portal open?” I asked.

He nodded. “Only on this side, though. We don’t want anyone or anything following us.”

“I doubt any of Vorgoroth’s creatures want to follow.”

Morgorth shrugged and straightened. “I don’t want to take the chance. And I wasn’t just thinking of my minions.”

He was thinking of our guests. Probably about Lyli.

I sighed. Yes, that girl was fearless and far too curious for her own good. And wherever Lyli went, Olyvre wouldn’t be far behind. Then Elissya would also come.

“This will also prevent any of the creatures here of getting inside. The crystal is also a shield.”

“Clever.”

“Draining,” he said with a sheepish grin. His magick settled into his core, causing his eyes and skin to lose their glow. “It won’t hold for long. In and out, no sightseeing.”

I snorted and glanced at our surroundings. “I don’t think that will be a problem.”

A thick, dense jungle surrounded us, and I was only now noticing the oppressive heat. My skin broke out in sweat and my clothes soon stuck to me in the most uncomfortable way. I exhaled sharply and let go of Morgorth to wipe at my brow.

“Aye, in and out, please.”

Morgorth grimaced as well and readjusted the bag.

“I hope you can track the bloody thing.”

“I don’t sense magick like on Karishian so it shouldn’t be a problem to open my third eye and spot the box. And if for some reason that doesn’t work, I can always try to meditate and find its aura and track it back to its location.”

“Wouldn’t the box shield the stone’s power?”

“Its power but not its signature. According to Melondia, the box doesn’t have enough layers to truly block it. Think about the layers of Geheimnis. A mage could use their third eye but not spot the stones I have in the tower because the barriers are too thick.”

I nodded, and he closed his eyes. This place did feel… empty. Magick was everywhere in Karishian, in the land, the water, in the creatures. In the sky and in the clouds, and in the sun. In the air itself. I didn’t like it here. I shuddered and fingered my bow. The familiar texture of the wood soothed me just enough to unclench my muscles.

I kept an eye on our surroundings as Morgorth once again called to his magick.


Author Bio

M.D. Grimm Logo

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

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

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

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

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

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4574220.M_D_Grimm

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/m-d-grimm/

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

Author Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/M.D.-Grimm/e/B00I0KZMY6/

Other Worlds Ink logo

PROMO: Bed of Rose and Thorns

Promo

Bed of Rose and Thorns - Lee Hunt

Lee Hunt has a new dark fantasy/fairy tale out: Bed of Rose and Thorns. And there’s a giveaway!

Sir Ezra is an Elysian Bell; he has a frightening potential that he keeps hidden deep beneath tight layers of steel armor. He secretly loves a dark Queen whose touch would mean his death.

Banished for brutally slaughtering the Prince of Erle and husband to the Queen, Sir Ezra can only dream of seeing her again. Every night, his soul travels to distant lands, remembering the Queen, her deep convictions, brilliant mind, unending work, hidden loneliness, and a single night of horrific bloodshed.

Recalled to the Queendom after eleven years, Ezra hopes to catch at least a fleeting glimpse of the woman he was sacrificed for. Instead, he finds a nation in rebellion and the Queen to be an elusive phantom. His only friend, Sir Marigold, challenges his presence and tells him that he is not needed in the capitol. Looking for both the truth and the absent Queen, Ezra finds only more secrets and enemies.

Ezra’s armor is dented, scarred, and ruined by friend and enemy alike; his secret potential is about to become unbound.

Amazon | Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

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

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47240/?


Excerpt

Bed of Rose and Thorns meme

A man alone, thirsty, falls asleep.

***

“Where am I?” asks the man. He seems to be bobbing high in clear aquamarine water. All he can see is a vast expanse of ocean and a clear crystalline structure that floats nearby. Something seems familiar. He had been in a desert, travelling with friends, but now he swims upon an endless ocean.

“Have I been here before?” he asks. The tug of oceanic currents and the endless blue horizon pull on some memory . . . something important.

“You are in the sea of Eydos,” says the crystalline structure. It has been floating toward him, quietly, its approach, until then, unnoticed.

“And you are an iceberg,” the man says, smiling, unconcerned, unsurprised by the nearness of the mountainous structure. He does not know what Eydos is, but he thinks he may recognize this vast icy creature. Something tells him that he may have seen her before, though his memory is as difficult to make out as a words written on water.

The iceberg shakes from side to side, creating little ripples and dancing waves. “I suppose that I am.”

“Your sides are so smooth,” says the man. “I like you.”

The iceberg shakes again and glides right up beside the man. He floats high enough in the water that her ripples of laughter do not threaten to drown him. “You are brave, aren’t you?”

“I am not afraid to look upon that which I like. And say so.”

“Look down then, man, and tell me what you see.”

The man dives down a few body lengths, searching. When he resurfaces, he is smiling even more widely than before. “You go down and down, out of sight, beyond light and reckoning.” He shakes his head at her. “Most of you is down below, unknowable. How vast are you?”

“Never ask a lady her size,” the iceberg says, creating even bigger waves as she shakes the waters, laughing. “My size is my depth, and my depth is my size.”

“Well, I like it. I am just a man. Not vast or mysterious like an iceberg.”

“An amusing man, I think,” replies the berg.

The man asks, “Where are you going?”

“On currents that are my own, on purposes that are my own, for reasons that are my own.”

“I don’t know what I am doing here or where I am going,” says the man.

“Typical,” replies the iceberg lightly. “Most do not.”

The man, swimming hard beside her, says, “You are certainly moving fast through this ocean.”

“Indeed,” says the iceberg. “I am an agent of my own destiny.” After a moment, she adds, “If you come around back and swim in my eddy, you will be pulled along. You can rest while we talk.”

The man looks at the smooth surface of the iceberg. “Can I not just slide up onto you and rest there?”

“No!” says the iceberg, firm. “I am hard and cold. I would burn you. If you touch me, you will be undone.” Her voice softens as she adds, “It is nice in my eddy. Swim there, man.”

He shrugs and does as she says.

“Oh, this is nice,” says the man. “I can look at you and talk at the same time.”

“Glad to help you do two things at once,” giggles the iceberg, making tears of water jiggle and parade.

And they talk on through the day, the man endlessly curious about the magnificent creature of the waters.

***

“I love you, iceberg,” declares the man.

“That’s nice, but you don’t even know a tenth of me.”

“Good point,” laughs the man. “I need to dive deeper.” He takes a deep breath and dives into the dark again.

Missing completely the iceberg’s cry of “No!”

The water starts at a clear color, or is it green? Then it turns light blue, and then to deeper and darker shades. The man pushes and kicks, fighting his buoyancy, feeling the weight of water build and build, following the clean lines of ice down into oblivion.

Heavy, crushing pressure begins to squeeze him. It is like the weight of memory, everywhere pushing, everywhere trying to change and deform him from his human shape, trying to make his courage fail and shatter his hope. But he loves the iceberg and he needs to follow her down.

At the utmost point of indigo darkness, he finds a new light. It shines from a clear chamber in the ice where a figure waits. Lungs bursting, he pushes deeper, drawing level to the translucent walls and the woman who lies inside.

She is naked but for her long, tawny hair. Like a lion’s mane, it frames her long, pure face and spills over her delicate, perfect shoulders. She looks at peace. Her eyes are closed, but she is smiling.

This is the heart of the iceberg, the man thinks, in the crushing pressure of the deep. So beautiful.

Then he sees that she rests upon a bed of long, sharp thorns.


Author Bio

Lee Hunt

Born with only one working lung and having had the last rights read to him and dying of an influenza related viral pneumonia, 25-year-old geophysicist Lee Hunt experienced several near-death dreams. The power of communication and the need to both understand and be understood was at the heart of each. He had already found that nothing was more important than being able to cross the distance between people.

Lee’s interests are eclectic. He is an Ironman Triathlete, hiker, traveler, and an enthusiastic sport rock climber. Lee also continues to work as a geophysicist on Carbon Capture and Sequestration projects, and is a writer for BIG-Media.ca.

The dream of understanding and being understood has never left his mind, and Lee continues that in his works of fiction through metaphor. His works include The Dynamicist Trilogy, Last Worst Hopes and Bed of Rose and Thorns.

Author Website: https://www.leehunt.org/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100052376555360

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

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1196106.Lee_Hunt

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

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lee-Hunt/e/B082YFTMCK

Other Worlds Ink logo

COVER REVEAL: Bed of Roses and Thorns

Promo

Bed of Rose and Thorns - Lee Hunt

Lee Hunt has a new dark fantasy/fairy tale out: Bed of Rose and Thorns, and we have the cover reveal! There’s a giveaway too.

Sir Ezra is an Elysian Bell; he has a frightening potential that he keeps hidden deep beneath tight layers of steel armor. He secretly loves a dark Queen whose touch would mean his death.

Banished for brutally slaughtering the Prince of Erle and husband to the Queen, Sir Ezra can only dream of seeing her again. Every night, his soul travels to distant lands, remembering the Queen, her deep convictions, brilliant mind, unending work, hidden loneliness, and a single night of horrific bloodshed.

Recalled to the Queendom after eleven years, Ezra hopes to catch at least a fleeting glimpse of the woman he was sacrificed for. Instead, he finds a nation in rebellion and the Queen to be an elusive phantom. His only friend, Sir Marigold, challenges his presence and tells him that he is not needed in the capitol. Looking for both the truth and the absent Queen, Ezra finds only more secrets and enemies.

Ezra’s armor is dented, scarred, and ruined by friend and enemy alike; his secret potential is about to become unbound.

Amazon | Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

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

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47239/?


Excerpt

Bed of Rose and Thorns meme

A man alone, thirsty, falls asleep.

***

“Where am I?” asks the man. He seems to be bobbing high in clear aquamarine water. All he can see is a vast expanse of ocean and a clear crystalline structure that floats nearby. Something seems familiar. He had been in a desert, travelling with friends, but now he swims upon an endless ocean.

“Have I been here before?” he asks. The tug of oceanic currents and the endless blue horizon pull on some memory . . . something important.

“You are in the sea of Eydos,” says the crystalline structure. It has been floating toward him, quietly, its approach, until then, unnoticed.

“And you are an iceberg,” the man says, smiling, unconcerned, unsurprised by the nearness of the mountainous structure. He does not know what Eydos is, but he thinks he may recognize this vast icy creature. Something tells him that he may have seen her before, though his memory is as difficult to make out as a words written on water.

The iceberg shakes from side to side, creating little ripples and dancing waves. “I suppose that I am.”

“Your sides are so smooth,” says the man. “I like you.”

The iceberg shakes again and glides right up beside the man. He floats high enough in the water that her ripples of laughter do not threaten to drown him. “You are brave, aren’t you?”

“I am not afraid to look upon that which I like. And say so.”

“Look down then, man, and tell me what you see.”

The man dives down a few body lengths, searching. When he resurfaces, he is smiling even more widely than before. “You go down and down, out of sight, beyond light and reckoning.” He shakes his head at her. “Most of you is down below, unknowable. How vast are you?”

“Never ask a lady her size,” the iceberg says, creating even bigger waves as she shakes the waters, laughing. “My size is my depth, and my depth is my size.”

“Well, I like it. I am just a man. Not vast or mysterious like an iceberg.”

“An amusing man, I think,” replies the berg.

The man asks, “Where are you going?”

“On currents that are my own, on purposes that are my own, for reasons that are my own.”

“I don’t know what I am doing here or where I am going,” says the man.

“Typical,” replies the iceberg lightly. “Most do not.”

The man, swimming hard beside her, says, “You are certainly moving fast through this ocean.”

“Indeed,” says the iceberg. “I am an agent of my own destiny.” After a moment, she adds, “If you come around back and swim in my eddy, you will be pulled along. You can rest while we talk.”

The man looks at the smooth surface of the iceberg. “Can I not just slide up onto you and rest there?”

“No!” says the iceberg, firm. “I am hard and cold. I would burn you. If you touch me, you will be undone.” Her voice softens as she adds, “It is nice in my eddy. Swim there, man.”

He shrugs and does as she says.

“Oh, this is nice,” says the man. “I can look at you and talk at the same time.”

“Glad to help you do two things at once,” giggles the iceberg, making tears of water jiggle and parade.

And they talk on through the day, the man endlessly curious about the magnificent creature of the waters.

***

“I love you, iceberg,” declares the man.

“That’s nice, but you don’t even know a tenth of me.”

“Good point,” laughs the man. “I need to dive deeper.” He takes a deep breath and dives into the dark again.

Missing completely the iceberg’s cry of “No!”

The water starts at a clear color, or is it green? Then it turns light blue, and then to deeper and darker shades. The man pushes and kicks, fighting his buoyancy, feeling the weight of water build and build, following the clean lines of ice down into oblivion.

Heavy, crushing pressure begins to squeeze him. It is like the weight of memory, everywhere pushing, everywhere trying to change and deform him from his human shape, trying to make his courage fail and shatter his hope. But he loves the iceberg and he needs to follow her down.

At the utmost point of indigo darkness, he finds a new light. It shines from a clear chamber in the ice where a figure waits. Lungs bursting, he pushes deeper, drawing level to the translucent walls and the woman who lies inside.

She is naked but for her long, tawny hair. Like a lion’s mane, it frames her long, pure face and spills over her delicate, perfect shoulders. She looks at peace. Her eyes are closed, but she is smiling.

This is the heart of the iceberg, the man thinks, in the crushing pressure of the deep. So beautiful.

Then he sees that she rests upon a bed of long, sharp thorns.


Author Bio

Lee Hunt

Born with only one working lung and having had the last rights read to him and dying of an influenza related viral pneumonia, 25-year-old geophysicist Lee Hunt experienced several near-death dreams. The power of communication and the need to both understand and be understood was at the heart of each. He had already found that nothing was more important than being able to cross the distance between people.

Lee’s interests are eclectic. He is an Ironman Triathlete, hiker, traveler, and an enthusiastic sport rock climber. Lee also continues to work as a geophysicist on Carbon Capture and Sequestration projects, and is a writer for BIG-Media.ca.

The dream of understanding and being understood has never left his mind, and Lee continues that in his works of fiction through metaphor. His works include The Dynamicist Trilogy, Last Worst Hopes and Bed of Rose and Thorns.

Author Website: https://www.leehunt.org/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100052376555360

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

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1196106.Lee_Hunt

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

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lee-Hunt/e/B082YFTMCK

Other Worlds Ink logo

PROMO: White Knight

Promo

White Knight Audio - Mary Rundle

Mary Rundle has just released the audiobook version of White Knight (Blackwood Pack book 8), and it’s also available in eBook and paperback. Plus there’s a giveaway!

The Blackwood Pack saga continues…

This is part of an on-going series by Amazon International Bestselling Author, Mary Rundle – catching up on 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 one another and helping shifters everywhere.

Hunter always expected to be the next Alpha of the Rolling Hills Pack until he had to walk away, leaving behind his dream, forced to build a new life for himself and his brothers. Arriving with them to visit his cousins at the Blackwood Pack, he never expects to find his mate there, but when he catches his scent, it’s impossible for him to concentrate on anything else, including a secret he has that will change his cousins’ lives.

From the moment Hunter meets Jackson, tempers flare between the two Alphas as their anger builds about secrets both are keeping. Their distrust of each other grows yet they must struggle to find common ground due to their mutual responsibilities toward Hunter’s mate.

Fionn, a rare white dragon, has fought hard for his independence, believing it will protect him from relatives who want to seize his hoard. As a recent member of the Blackwood Pack, he looks forward to sharing the future with his new family. That is, until he realizes he has a mate. Needing time to sort out his feelings, he flees to his hoard, hiding from Hunter who impatiently waits for him.

Together, Fionn and Hunter must put aside past hurts and disappointments as they try to forge a new world for themselves while facing a dangerous threat to Fionn…and to the rest of the Blackwood Pack.

Long-kept secrets, a treacherous attack, an action-packed rescue, and many unexpected twists and turns make this passionate love story by Mary Rundle impossible to put down once you’ve read the first page.

Amazon (eBook, paperback, audio)

QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Giveaway

Mary is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47237/?


Excerpt

White Knight meme

Jackson’s eyes narrowed as he saw the flaring of Hunter’s nose. No fucking way! Flicking his gaze down at his cousin’s crotch, he found the telltale bulge confirming his suspicions. His cousin’s mate was one of his pack members.What the fuck do I do now? Jackson’s worries about the reason for Hunter’s visit suddenly seemed trivial compared to what he was now facing. Not wanting to see who his cousin was staring at, he rolled out his Alpha power, just enough to bring Hunter’s attention back to him. “It’s been a long time, Cousin.”

Holy Fuck! How did Jackie do that? Forced to look at his cousin, Hunter found himself unable to move. “Yes, it has,” he replied. “I understand congratulations are in order.”

“Congratulations? What for?” asked Jackson.

“Becoming Alpha of the Blackwood Pack, of course,” Hunter answered.

Wondering how much his cousin knew, Jackson decided to ignore it. Instead, he asked, “Are you going to introduce your brothers to me?”

“Sure,” Hunter replied, but anxious to know the name of his mate, he continued, “but that’s quite a welcoming group you have for us, considering you didn’t know we were arriving today. Do you mind introducing them to me first?”

Standing next to Logan on the porch, Kieran watched the two posturing Alphas with amusement. Suddenly, his spirit spoke to him. Breaking away from his mate, he bolted down the steps.

“Babe! Wait! What are you doing?” called Logan, torn between following his mate and obeying Jackson’s orders to remain where he was. Fuck, fuck, fuck!

Macushla, I’m needed! Don’t worry!” Kieran yelled, sprinting towards the motorhome.

Asking their spirit what his mate was doing, Logan gasped, his jaw dropping. Not believing what he heard, he leapt off the porch, shouting, “Wait babe, wait! Jackson, stop Kieran!”

Breaking eye contact with Hunter, Jackson looked over his cousin’s shoulder, catching sight of Kieran opening the motorhome door. “Kieran, stop!” he commanded, upping his Alpha power to force his brother’s mate to obey.

Hunter, following his cousin’s gaze, saw a slender figure about to climb up the steps leading to the inside. What the fuck is going on here? Not knowing who it was, he threw out his Alpha power and ordered, “Stop now!”

Frozen in his tracks as the power from both Alphas temporarily stunned him, Kieran’s spirit took over, breaking him free of their hold, allowing him to scramble up the steps. Once inside, he came face to face with three pairs of eyes staring at him in astonishment. “Hi cousins, nice to meet you but if you don’t mind, can we talk later because I’m needed.” Hurrying to the first door he found, Kieran popped it open. “Hi there, don’t you look fabulous! I love your dress, but can we talk later? Thanks.” Closing the door, he hurried to the next one. Placing his hand on it, he knew this was where he was supposed to be. Quietly slipping inside, he said, “Hi, don’t worry, I’m here to help.”

“Who the fuck was that?” asked Sawyer.

“How did he know?” Robin asked.

“Oh, shit,” Mason said, looking at the big shifter who’d just joined Jackson and Hunter. “This doesn’t look good.”

Stopping next to Jackson, Logan asked, “Why didn’t you stop Kieran?”

“Who’s Kieran?” asked Hunter, “And why did he break into my motorhome?”

“Fuck you, asshole!” Logan snarled.

“Logan, stop,” Jackson ordered.

“Logan?” Hunter asked, astounded at how big his cousin’s twin was. The last time he’d seen Logan, he was a skinny, short kid.

“Logan, meet Hunter, our cousin,” Jackson said.

Giving his cousin an angry glance, Logan turned back to his brother. “Bro, I need to speak to you…alone!”

At a loss for what was going on, Hunter decided to retreat. “I understand. I’ll just be in there, finding out about who decided to invite himself into my motorhome… without permission, I might add.”

“You touch my mate and it’ll be the last thing you ever do,” snarled Logan.

“Your mate? That twink is your mate?” asked Hunter, incredulously.

Seeing red at the implied insult, Logan began to shift, having had enough of his cousin’s attitude towards Kieran.

Glancing at the motorhome, Jackson saw fear and anger in the faces staring back at him. Instantly aware of what would happen if he didn’t put a stop to the brewing conflict, he sent out his Alpha power a bit stronger, waiting until his brother and cousin tilted their heads in submission. “Hunter, stay where you are while I speak to my brother alone. Understand?”

“Yes, Alpha,” Hunter said. Feeling Jackson’s control, he stood still, watching his cousins walk away from him, smirking at their attempt to keep him from listening with his wolf hearing. Shifting his gaze, Hunter sought out the man on the porch who was now tied to him by the Fates, wondering how his cousin would react when he took his mate back east.

Once Jackson felt he and Logan were far enough away from Hunter, he stopped and said, “Okay, what’s Kieran up to now?”

Glancing over his brother’s shoulder to make sure Hunter wasn’t heading for the motorhome, Logan leaned in and whispered into his brother’s ear.

Jerking back, Jackson stared at Logan. “That’s fucking impossible!”

Shaking his head, Logan leaned in again and repeated himself.

The color drained from Jackson’s face as the implications of Logan’s news sank in. Looking toward the porch and zeroing in on his brothers, he thought about how this news would hit them. Then, turning back to Logan, Jackson murmured, “Are you absolutely positive?”

“Yes.”

“Is Kieran okay?”

Logan asked their spirit before answering, “Yes, he’s doing what he can.”

“Get Ian and Colton here but don’t let them know why.”

“Will do, but please protect my mate,” Logan said, before heading for the porch.

Nodding, Jackson strode over to Hunter, blocking his view of the porch and snarled, “What the fuck are you trying to pull? Why didn’t you tell me about this in the first email you sent?”

Waves of powerful anger emanated from Jackson, nearly pushing Hunter to his knees. Forcing himself to stand his ground, he answered, “I did what my mother wanted.”


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: https://www.maryrundle.com

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

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

Author Facebook (Blackwood Pack: https://www.facebook.com/groups/171112140176036

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

Author TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@maryrundleauthor

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

Other Worlds Ink logo

PROMO: Last Worst Hopes

Promo

Last Worst Hopes - Lee Hunt

Lee Hunt has a new epic fantasy out in both eBook/print and audiobook formats, set in the world of the Dynamicist Trilogy: Last Worst Hopes. And there’s a giveaway!

Their world was ending, all the heroes were dead, the leaders confused, and their enemies were head and shoulders above them. But there was no one else; they were the dregs, the last worst hopes.

Nehring Ardgour has summoned Skoll and Hati from hell. They have torn through the proud and ancient country of Engevelen and the angelic Methueyn Knights that protect it. Armies have died, cities have fallen. None of the great remain. No brilliant inventors, no powerful knights, no master wizards.

No heroes.

But it gets worse. Farrah Harbinger has looked into the future and foretells the coming of an enemy worse than all the others, a creature of destruction and entropy like no other. A being who will grind all hopes and memory of civilization into dust: the One, True Devil.

Who can stop it? Who is left to even try?

Surely not Val, an arrogant young wizard who no one takes seriously, or Mick, an old man who can’t even remember his name. Certainly not Dav, who cannot seem to tell left from right or up from down, or Aveline, a squire filled with more questions than courage. No one would pick them to save the world, and yet there is no one else left.

Universal Buy Link | Get it On Amazon


Giveaway

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

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47235/?


Excerpt

They watched, hardly daring to breathe. Then, as if buffeted by a sudden wind, something stirred among the trees. An instant later, the movement resolved into soldiers, running, seven of them, bursting from the trees. It looked like someone in the group might have stumbled and been helped up by others.

The horn called a single note, which cut off almost before fully forming.

“Run!” shouted the major.

“Run!” shouted Havard.

The call echoed up and down the line, but to Mick it did not look like the soldiers were running fast at all. It almost never does, when you’re watching someone impatiently, and absolutely never does when they might die if they’re too slow. He wondered how he knew this.

The image of Sir Valence playing fetch with Fenris blazed like the sun in Mick’s eyes.

Last chances.

Mick did not shout “Run!” but suddenly, unaccountably, he found himself over the line with a pike in his hands, running toward the struggling rangers. He did not remember grabbing the pike or leaping over the wall. He did not remember if landing from the six-foot height had hurt his ancient knees. Mick did not remember his earlier self-doubt, never worried if he would get to the rangers in time, never speculated that he might not be needed, or if his effort was a fool’s errand, the futile histrionics of a mad, old fool from a house of fools, never wondered if he might do more harm than good or fretted that a wall of monsters might come out of the trees and dwarf any effort a hundred of him could muster. He never considered in any way the question of leaping the wall or not. There was no thought or speech involved at all.

He simply ran.

“Mick, get back here!” bellowed Havard. “For knight’s sake, stop!”

But Mick was gone.

The ground sped by quickly as the rangers grew closer and closer. Two huge, strange shapes broke out of the trees, aiming straight for the soldiers. He tightened his grip on the pike, lowered his head, and charged.

The rangers abruptly stopped and formed a semi-circle. One of them limped on as the rest rotated their spears and planted them, gleaming tips pointing up and back toward the trees. An instant later, the skolves hit them, hard, pushing recklessly into the rangers’ spears, swiping at them with their rusty swords. For a moment, the spears held them there, but could not turn them back. Mick could see the skolves shake from side to side, paws, swords and bodies trying to dislodge the spears from the rangers’ hands and get inside their arcuate line.

As Mick rushed toward the battle, one of the spears broke. The rightmost skolve lunged forward with a roar and was immediately hit on its horse-length head by an overhand sword stroke delivered by one of the rangers. The creature reeled back and fell.

Mick broke left for several long strides, then sharply right into the flank of the skolve still held at spear length. “Last chance!” he roared as he lunged and thrust his pike straight into the chest of the beast, taking it off its feet so suddenly that its sword flew out of its huge paw, tracing a spinning arc through the sky before disappearing into the grass. Ferociously, the old man twisted the bladed end of the pike, which had penetrated a foot-and-a-half into the creature’s chest cavity, and step-pulled it out. Dark red blood sloshed out of the ragged wound, but the beast was done. It could only collapse and curl weakly around itself.

The other skolve was struggling under spear thrusts from four of the rangers. With an incomprehensible roar, Mick leaped forward and rammed his spear into the skolve’s head, just missing its eye. It skittered along skull until it caught at the base of where its cheekbone would be. Mick pushed harder, forcing the skolve’s head roughly to the earth, and the haft broke, making him stumble forward with seven feet of wood in his hands. He stepped between the rangers, shifted his grip, and speared the skolve again in the snout with the broken end of the pike haft. It tried to scramble up but collapsed, bleeding from dozens of wounds, but the soldiers kept slashing at it. No one was certain when it would be safe to stop stabbing. Another ranger was rolling around on the ground, hands to his leg, blood seeping between fingers.

“Pick him up,” said one of the rangers at last, a man with a rough goatee.

Mick shouldered his way in, whipped off his belt, slapped the man’s hands away from his leg, and wrapped it tight twice around, just above a large gash oozing red. “I’ll take him,” he wheezed, picking the soldier up and slinging him over his shoulder.

“Run!” a female ranger screamed. “There’s more coming!” Her voice dropped. “All of them.”

Mick did not bother looking back, knew that there was no looking back once over the wall once the chance was taken. There were, however, consequences.

A vast, high-pitched wail passed overhead. A sheet of arrows. Mick knew the sound from somewhere in the distant past. A storm punctuated by the pounding of arrows as they struck their targets. Mick did not look back.

“Look out!” cried the man he was carrying, and an instant later something heavy struck the back of Mick’s leg. He stumbled and went down. The soldier flopped off his shoulders with a scream. “Ahhh. Fuck me,” the man groaned. “Why?” he cried piteously as he rolled weakly, one arm over his face.

Mick staggered back up, hopped, found that his legs still worked, saw nothing was sticking out of himself, shoveled the ranger back up into his arms, and started running again.

“Grandpa,” the ranger whispered. “Grandpa … don’t drop me again.”


Author Bio

Lee Hunt

Born with only one working lung and having had the last rights read to him and dying of an influenza related viral pneumonia, 25-year-old geophysicist Lee Hunt experienced several near-death dreams. The power of communication and the need to both understand and be understood was at the heart of each. He had already found that nothing was more important than being able to cross the distance between people.

Lee’s interests are eclectic. He is an Ironman Triathlete, hiker, traveler, and an enthusiastic sport rock climber. Lee also continues to work as a geophysicist on Carbon Capture and Sequestration projects, and is a writer for BIG-Media.ca.

The dream of understanding and being understood has never left his mind, and Lee continues that in his works of fiction through metaphor. His works include The Dynamicist Trilogy, Last Worst Hopes and Bed of Rose and Thorns.

Author Website: https://www.leehunt.org/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100052376555360

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

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1196106.Lee_Hunt

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): DynamicistAuthor

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lee-Hunt/e/B082YFTMCK

Other Worlds Ink logo

COVER REVEAL: Barons of Oartheca

Promo

Barons of Oartheca - James Siewert

James Siewert has a new MM space opera romance out, The Oarthecan Star Saga book 2: Barons of Oartheca. And we have the cover reveal!

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and your enemies bolder…

Headed in opposite galactic directions, Rowland Hale and Toar Grithrawrscion must find a way to reunite despite the myriad of challenges dogging their every step. An unwelcome surprise finds Rowland picking up the pieces of what he thought was his life, and Toar learns the hard way that the Pryok’tel always settle the score.

Can their blossoming relationship survive, or will it be torn to bits between needle-sharp teeth?

In Barons of Oartheca, the exciting sequel to the one-of-a-kind adventure Allure of Oartheca, James Siewert plunges our two heroes into an epic fight for survival with adversaries both old and new, and asks the question, ‘Is family those you love, or those you trust … with your life?’

Universal Buy Link

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN

Goodreads


Excerpt

Nothing quite like being marched down the hallway by a squad of elite Pryok’tel slavers to put a dampener on your day. Shame, especially since up until now, I was otherwise having a fantastic time aboard the Oarthecan Space Services Navy (OSSN) Grolthon’s Spear.

It’s my sixth, and by all appearances, last day aboard the Spear, and even though during this time I was both a patient recovering from a near-fatal plasma blast and a prisoner in custody for breaking the Oarthecan Decree, I felt like I’d been on a bit of a holiday, really. It’s a misery that it’s come to an end the way it has—we were scheduled to arrive home tomorrow, but that’s all gone up in smoke.

Was looking forward to seeing my Dad, I was. He’d managed, under his authority as the High Baron Grithrawr XXI, to send me a personal message, which, due to my previous conviction in getting the Baron Thursk killed, is technically against the law. However, Dad’s not used to having his will thwarted, and I suspect that my near-death experience bought him the leverage he needed to bend the rules.

The message was genuinely kindly, if somewhat stern, which is a good summation of my baron-father in general. Though he is looking forward to me being home, Dad’s not entirely pleased with my recent escapades. Have the feeling he’s going to be far less pleased with my current ones, however.

Pity about all this, especially since I’m in a much better place health-wise than when I first arrived on the Spear, entirely due to the excellent care of my doctor, Yozthren Letherclan—or due to his penchant for unnecessary needles, Dr. Pokey, if he’s cared for you long enough. I hope he’s all right; it’s been a horrid morning for everyone aboard the Spear, and I’m worried, to a rage, about what these sireless Pryok’tel ghouls have planned for us.

Under Dr. Pokey’s vigilant eye (and still quite talented hands, but that’s just between him and me), I’ve all but made a full recovery from a rifle-shot that burned a fist-sized hole in my left side, just above my hip. I’ve had an intestine graft and a freshly cloned gallbladder installed, and according to yesterday’s medical exam, both have set up shop like they’ve always been there.

And while my two vaporised kidneys and damaged liver were still on my list of things to get sorted, Dr. Pokey told me there’s no desperate need for those, as my remaining two kidneys are handling things well enough and my liver’s at just under eighty percent. An incredible recovery, Dr. Pokey remarked, but it all seems a bit of a waste now.

As for my arrest for having broken the Oarthecan Decree that prevents contact between Oarth and human males (which I most thoroughly, and enjoyably, accomplished)—well, thanks to the kindness of Derrarvral Henthrothsire, captain of the Grolthon’s Spear, that’s been more of a formality than an actuality. Never even saw the brig, so kind he’s been to me.

The Decree, put in place to prevent contact with a human male’s permanent and lethally-charged Allure (that they have no control over, either), is one that is not to be trifled with, yet trifled with it I did: about a week ago, I’d rescued said human male, the incredibly handsome, wondrously intelligent and terrifically brave Rowland Hale, after his ship had been destroyed during a Pryok’tel raid. I then made the decision to help Rowland recover both his kidnapped crew and a stolen VEILLED system, which, had it fallen into the hands of the Pryok’tel, would have resulted in them learning how to turn their ships invisible.

Normally, the punishment for breaking the Decree is essentially life-time imprisonment and being permanently exiled from your family. So far, I’ve only been charged with breaking the Decree, and there’s quite a lot of mitigating circumstances that might save me from being convicted: my meeting Rowland was under an act of mercy, and our subsequent adventure not only prevented the VEILLED technology from being harvested, but also resulted in the rescue of his crew and twenty Oarth. Importantly, two of the rescued Oarth were barons, and one was an embercoat drone, our red-furred cousins who up until that rescue were thought to have been driven to extinction.

So instead of being sent to the brig for my crime, Derrar gave me the Spear’s guest suite, the one that’s usually reserved for high-ranking dignitaries. While not as fine as the Spear’s barons’ quarters, my room was nevertheless quite on the luxurious side. Tastefully decorated and wonderfully spacious, with good, sensible Oarthecan architecture throughout—curved walls, flowing lines, and not a sharp corner in sight.

On my first night, I discovered that I could stand fully upright, even on my tippy-toes, and still have excellent clearance for my head, which was a treat I’d not enjoyed on a spacecraft for quite some time.

That, and my sleeping pit was so large and lush that I could stretch out entirely and not even reach the sides, and sink down deep for a proper sleep. Ah, I’ll miss that, for certain—the Pryok’tel don’t deem us Oarth worthy of proper rest, let alone proper bedding—it’s the cold floor for us drones, if we manage to survive ‘till bedtime, that is.

At this particular moment, I’m being led down the hallways of the Grolthon’s Spear by my nose via a sturdy metal chain that’s attached to a muzzle I’ve been forced to wear, and with the other end in the hands of the lead Pryok’tel raider. It’s not your typical muzzle, like the one you’d use to train a sharp-toothed cretralth, but a custom-built one the Pryok’tel designed specifically for us drones. It’s a full metal casing that fits round our heads and tightly over our nose and mouth, preventing us from using our sharp teeth as weapons, but that’s not the worst of it.


Author Bio

James Siewert

James and his husband live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Part-time office drone, part-time storyteller, full time science-fiction and fantasy aficionado, James couldn’t find enough stories involving characters who are like him and his husband: big men with big hearts! Taking matters into his own hands, James hopes to share stories where brawny blokes with hearts of gold take centre stage. Join him in his worlds and discover authentic characters, gripping scenes, lush imagination, a touch of the mushy stuff and one-of-a-kind heroes in truly daring adventures!

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21531168.James_Siewert

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-Siewert/e/B095T25ZSB

Other Worlds Ink logo

PROMO: Walks With Spirits

Promo

Walks With Spirits - Edale Lane

Edale Lane has a new FF historical romance out: Walks With Spirits. And there’s a giveaway!

Bound by love, separated by circumstances; can two women realize their happy ending?

In a time when people believed everything had a spirit, there was a two-spirit woman who chose the life of a hunter. Human beings live in the physical world, while spirits dwell in the land beyond; Walks with Spirits inhabits both.

Daughter of a shaman and an herbalist-midwife, Laughing Brook holds a prominent place in her society. She is training to be a healer like her mother, but her one wish is to spend her life with Walks with Spirits.

When a misunderstanding crushes their dreams of happiness, both women must learn to face the trials that await them in a land where danger lurks behind every tree and honor means more than life. Will the spirits intervene on their behalf, or are they fated never to manifest their visions of love?

Walks with Spirits is a historical fantasy set in an ancient time. Packed with Native American themes, heart-touching imagery, and an epic love story, Walks with Spirits will immerse you in an inspiring view of life.

Get It At Amazon


Giveaway

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

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47234/?


Excerpt

Walks with Spirits Meme

From Chapter Two of Walks with Spirits

A movement at the front door drew Brook’s attention and in an instant her face lit up and her heart swelled. A tall woman wearing men’s clothing strode in, her head held high, and the energy in the chamber danced. Even Thunder Warrior did not seem so dull.

“That is Walks with Spirits,” he said with a gesture. “She is an odd woman of Nutaula who is coming on the hunt with us tomorrow. The Old Ones and shaman speak of her like she is special, but she can’t do anything that I can’t do. I feel uncomfortable around people of two spirits, don’t you?”

Brook’s smile had become a glow. “That is my Mepoose, my best friend. We grew up together in this house before she moved to your village.”

Thunder Warrior shifted positions and pushed back his free-flowing long hair. “I mean, she is well respected among our community. We are taught it is a blessing from the Creator to be born with two spirits,” he fidgeted. “It is merely something I don’t understand.”

Brook wrenched her gaze from Spirits long enough to study her male guest, a bemused expression on her face. When she said nothing, he continued to explain himself.

“I am a physical man,” he said with a tap to his muscled chest, “who lives in a physical world. I do not put my trust in spirits and legends. My spear, my bow, and the strength of my arm protect me from danger. Many men say one is well served to steer clear of spirits, lest you offend one. They say she talks to them every day.”

As Brook returned her oval eyes to follow Spirits across the room, her heartbeat raced and she sensed a tingle running through her being. “She does,” she affirmed.

She watched Spirits approach the hearth closest to the door where she stopped beside the spot where an old man with a cane sat on a cedar box up close to the fire, a beaver fur cape wrapped around his shoulders. He had deep lines in his leathery face, long gray hair bound by a plain leather band, and one leg stretched out awkwardly to catch the heat. Since Thunder Warrior had stopped talking, she could overhear their exchange.

“It is good to see you, Growling Bear,” Spirits greeted.

He spared her a glance and grunted. “Is it, now? If it were so, maybe you would come around more often.” He pulled his cape tighter and stared into the flames with a sour look on his etched face.

“You know I moved to be with my relatives in Nutaula,” she replied pleasantly. “But all morning I have been praying to the spirits that you will help me out.”

This time he raised suspicious eyes to her, hooded under scrunched brows. “Is that so?”

“It is. You see, I have been so blessed with good fortune that I have caught more game than I know what to do with. I am hoping you can take these two rabbits off my hands.” She extended the better pair toward him.

Growling Bear scowled and lowered his gaze to hands as gnarled as thick, aged vines. “What do I want with those scrawny, worthless rabbits?”

Spirits shrugged. “See, the thing is, I can only offer you the meat. I need the skins for a project I’m working on, so I’d have to skin them before I give them to you. I know they are rather puny, but they are fresh and there is only you to eat them.” She let out a disappointed sigh. “If you don’t take them, I’ll have to toss them to the village dogs, and they may fight over them. I hate it when the dogs fight over food, but… I simply have too much fresh game to keep them.”

Thunder Warrior spun to Brook in outrage. “What is he talking about? Those are fat, fine rabbits. Why is that grouchy old man so ungrateful? He does nothing but sit about and complain. When I am chief, I will not allow anyone like him to live in my longhouse. How can Black Bear tolerate him?”

Brook waited a moment to answer him as she listened to Growling Bear’s reply.

He shifted on his box and rubbed a hand across his knee. “I suppose I could take them if it is going to cause you distress for me to refuse. Maybe Falling Rain can throw them in a pot with some vegetables.”

Spirits smiled. “I will bring them back in a few minutes when I have skinned and cleaned them. Many thanks to you, Growling Bear. You have done me a great service.”

“I do not understand that woman!” Thunder Warrior declared. “He insults her and she thanks him.”

Brook turned to her guest while Spirits made her way slowly around the plank-house greeting everyone. “Do you not know who that old man is?”

“A leach who lives off the charity of others,” he stated in derision.

“No.” Brook explained in gentle and compassionate tones. “Growling Bear was once a great hunter. He feared neither man nor beast. He brought in scores of fish and killed five bears along with countless deer, elk, beaver, and other game. When he married, a reunion was held in his honor and he was Worthy and esteemed.”

“What happened to him then?” Thunder Warrior considered her words with reserved curiosity.

“One falling leaves time, long before I was born, he was on a hunting party in the mountains and they must have wandered too close to where the sasquatch lived. A sasquatch hurled a boulder that started a landslide on the mountain and Growling Bear was caught up in it. When the dust settled, the others found him near the bottom under a pile of rocks. They made a litter and rushed him back to Paupeck for the healer and shaman to help.” In an aside, Brook added, “This was before Black Bear and Rainbow held those titles, but who knows if they could have done better. The healer straightened and set his leg with splints, but it was broken in many places. He was very fortunate to have lived through the ordeal at all.”


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/

Other Worlds Ink logo

COVER REVEAL: Last Worst Hopes

Promo

Last Worst Hopes - Lee Hunt

Lee Hunt has a new epic fantasy coming out in both eBook/print and audiobook formats, set in the world of the Dynamicist Trilogy: Last Worst Hopes. And we have the cover reveal! There’s a giveaway too.

Their world was ending, all the heroes were dead, the leaders confused, and their enemies were head and shoulders above them. But there was no one else; they were the dregs, the last worst hopes.

Nehring Ardgour has summoned Skoll and Hati from hell. They have torn through the proud and ancient country of Engevelen and the angelic Methueyn Knights that protect it. Armies have died, cities have fallen. None of the great remain. No brilliant inventors, no powerful knights, no master wizards.

No heroes.

But it gets worse. Farrah Harbinger has looked into the future and foretells the coming of an enemy worse than all the others, a creature of destruction and entropy like no other. A being who will grind all hopes and memory of civilization into dust: the One, True Devil.

Who can stop it? Who is left to even try?

Surely not Val, an arrogant young wizard who no one takes seriously, or Mick, an old man who can’t even remember his name. Certainly not Dav, who cannot seem to tell left from right or up from down, or Aveline, a squire filled with more questions than courage. No one would pick them to save the world, and yet there is no one else left.

Universal Buy Link | Get it On Amazon


Giveaway

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

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47233/?


Excerpt

They watched, hardly daring to breathe. Then, as if buffeted by a sudden wind, something stirred among the trees. An instant later, the movement resolved into soldiers, running, seven of them, bursting from the trees. It looked like someone in the group might have stumbled and been helped up by others.

The horn called a single note, which cut off almost before fully forming.

“Run!” shouted the major.

“Run!” shouted Havard.

The call echoed up and down the line, but to Mick it did not look like the soldiers were running fast at all. It almost never does, when you’re watching someone impatiently, and absolutely never does when they might die if they’re too slow. He wondered how he knew this.

The image of Sir Valence playing fetch with Fenris blazed like the sun in Mick’s eyes.

Last chances.

Mick did not shout “Run!” but suddenly, unaccountably, he found himself over the line with a pike in his hands, running toward the struggling rangers. He did not remember grabbing the pike or leaping over the wall. He did not remember if landing from the six-foot height had hurt his ancient knees. Mick did not remember his earlier self-doubt, never worried if he would get to the rangers in time, never speculated that he might not be needed, or if his effort was a fool’s errand, the futile histrionics of a mad, old fool from a house of fools, never wondered if he might do more harm than good or fretted that a wall of monsters might come out of the trees and dwarf any effort a hundred of him could muster. He never considered in any way the question of leaping the wall or not. There was no thought or speech involved at all.

He simply ran.

“Mick, get back here!” bellowed Havard. “For knight’s sake, stop!”

But Mick was gone.

The ground sped by quickly as the rangers grew closer and closer. Two huge, strange shapes broke out of the trees, aiming straight for the soldiers. He tightened his grip on the pike, lowered his head, and charged.

The rangers abruptly stopped and formed a semi-circle. One of them limped on as the rest rotated their spears and planted them, gleaming tips pointing up and back toward the trees. An instant later, the skolves hit them, hard, pushing recklessly into the rangers’ spears, swiping at them with their rusty swords. For a moment, the spears held them there, but could not turn them back. Mick could see the skolves shake from side to side, paws, swords and bodies trying to dislodge the spears from the rangers’ hands and get inside their arcuate line.

As Mick rushed toward the battle, one of the spears broke. The rightmost skolve lunged forward with a roar and was immediately hit on its horse-length head by an overhand sword stroke delivered by one of the rangers. The creature reeled back and fell.

Mick broke left for several long strides, then sharply right into the flank of the skolve still held at spear length. “Last chance!” he roared as he lunged and thrust his pike straight into the chest of the beast, taking it off its feet so suddenly that its sword flew out of its huge paw, tracing a spinning arc through the sky before disappearing into the grass. Ferociously, the old man twisted the bladed end of the pike, which had penetrated a foot-and-a-half into the creature’s chest cavity, and step-pulled it out. Dark red blood sloshed out of the ragged wound, but the beast was done. It could only collapse and curl weakly around itself.

The other skolve was struggling under spear thrusts from four of the rangers. With an incomprehensible roar, Mick leaped forward and rammed his spear into the skolve’s head, just missing its eye. It skittered along skull until it caught at the base of where its cheekbone would be. Mick pushed harder, forcing the skolve’s head roughly to the earth, and the haft broke, making him stumble forward with seven feet of wood in his hands. He stepped between the rangers, shifted his grip, and speared the skolve again in the snout with the broken end of the pike haft. It tried to scramble up but collapsed, bleeding from dozens of wounds, but the soldiers kept slashing at it. No one was certain when it would be safe to stop stabbing. Another ranger was rolling around on the ground, hands to his leg, blood seeping between fingers.

“Pick him up,” said one of the rangers at last, a man with a rough goatee.

Mick shouldered his way in, whipped off his belt, slapped the man’s hands away from his leg, and wrapped it tight twice around, just above a large gash oozing red. “I’ll take him,” he wheezed, picking the soldier up and slinging him over his shoulder.

“Run!” a female ranger screamed. “There’s more coming!” Her voice dropped. “All of them.”

Mick did not bother looking back, knew that there was no looking back once over the wall once the chance was taken. There were, however, consequences.

A vast, high-pitched wail passed overhead. A sheet of arrows. Mick knew the sound from somewhere in the distant past. A storm punctuated by the pounding of arrows as they struck their targets. Mick did not look back.

“Look out!” cried the man he was carrying, and an instant later something heavy struck the back of Mick’s leg. He stumbled and went down. The soldier flopped off his shoulders with a scream. “Ahhh. Fuck me,” the man groaned. “Why?” he cried piteously as he rolled weakly, one arm over his face.

Mick staggered back up, hopped, found that his legs still worked, saw nothing was sticking out of himself, shoveled the ranger back up into his arms, and started running again.

“Grandpa,” the ranger whispered. “Grandpa … don’t drop me again.”


Author Bio

Lee Hunt

Born with only one working lung and having had the last rights read to him and dying of an influenza related viral pneumonia, 25-year-old geophysicist Lee Hunt experienced several near-death dreams. The power of communication and the need to both understand and be understood was at the heart of each. He had already found that nothing was more important than being able to cross the distance between people.

Lee’s interests are eclectic. He is an Ironman Triathlete, hiker, traveler, and an enthusiastic sport rock climber. Lee also continues to work as a geophysicist on Carbon Capture and Sequestration projects, and is a writer for BIG-Media.ca.

The dream of understanding and being understood has never left his mind, and Lee continues that in his works of fiction through metaphor. His works include The Dynamicist Trilogy, Last Worst Hopes and Bed of Rose and Thorns.

Author Website: https://www.leehunt.org/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100052376555360

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

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1196106.Lee_Hunt

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

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lee-Hunt/e/B082YFTMCK

Other Worlds Ink logo

COVER REVEAL: Save the World

Promo

Save the World cover

Other Worlds Ink has a new book coming out in the Writers Save the World anthology series, and we have the cover reveal: Save the World! And there’s a big giveaway.

Climate change is no longer a vague future threat. Forests are burning, currents are shifting, and massive storms dump staggering amounts of water in less than 24 hours. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.

We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to save the world from climate change. From the myriad of stories we received, we chose the twenty most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.

Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change via solar mirrors, carbon capture, genetic manipulation, and acts of change both large and small.

The future’s not going to fix itself.

About the Series:

“Writers Save the World” is an annual hopepunk anthology form Other Worlds Ink, featuring hopeful stories by sci-fi writers about ways to solve the world’s problems.

Universal Buy Link | Liminal Fiction |  Goodreads


Giveaway

Scott is giving away 10 eBook copies and 1 paperback copy of book one in this anthology series, “Fix the World.” Enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47232/


Excerpt

Save the World Meme

Joy stuffed the last bite of chocolate into her mouth, snapped her thermos shut and swung her work kit open again. In it were the last of the hundred and thirty 18- inch ice pitons, a battery-driven screw gun and two extra power packs. A clean handkerchief, her last two chocolate bars, and a thermos of coffee rounded out her gear. In her pocket was a water-proof case containing a notebook, a pen, a thickly rolled spliff of cannabis spiked with a few fudgy streaks of hashish, two lighters, and a box of water-proof matches. Just in case.

Bracing a boot, she set another ice stake in place and pulled the trigger, using both hands to hold the weight of the electric gun. That most satisfying sound, a high-speed whir, followed by the solid CHUNK-CLUNK made her smile as the bolt sank into the ice. The work of pinning another bit of the triple-layer cover into place energized her, and she paused for a sip of coffee. It was imperative that she keep her strength up until the end, she reminded herself, ironic though that was. She had a lot of ground to cover but she was not working alone.

Blanketing the Greenland Ice sheet in knitted cozies was no job for shrinking violets and there were none in Joy’s crew. Only wrinkled old ladies with gray hair and bad attitudes. Now the staunchest were working in suicide squads, diving to pin the final covers in place, shielding the precious ice from the merciless rays of the sun.

Even if you flew over Greenland today it would look frozen. The brown, semi-slushy mud and dirty ice squeaking under her boots told the truth: the permafrost was melting fast, and no one knew how the hell to refreeze it. Joy’s project was the next best thing.

All those Senior Strength and Fitness classes at the Y paid off, Joy reflected. All those miles on the spin cycle had been worth the sweat. She felt hale and hearty and full of life; it seemed a shame that hers would end so soon.

Her tandem mate, Esmeralda, was working in the opposite direction. Es was a retired fighter pilot, US Air Force. With six tours of duty under her belt, and over a thousand sky-dives. Joy had been training with her since January, first tandem then solo. Now it was June. Now it was for real.

At 10,000 feet on this glittering blue morning, Joy and Esmeralda had waited in the cabin of the four-seater Cessna for Marty to give the signal and then, with a grin and a grunt, sprang through the open door.

Free fall.

First stage flare.

Second stage flare.

Controlled thump-down, the muscle memory of the safe landings she had practiced a hundred times kicking in for Joy, the stretch into position for minimal impact, the tucked-shoulder roll. And then the dance of untangling from harness and canopy; an embrace ending in a bear hug. A final gaze into the sparkling eyes of her beloved friend before each had set off in opposite directions, unspooling quilt as they went, kneeling every ten feet to sink a spike. At the cliff edge, they would take a final moment to tie up ends of personal business, say goodbye to the crew via radio, and jump.

Joy and Es both had Johann Strauss’ Blue Danube waltz cued up for the moment. Instead of a spliff, Es had brought half a liter of Clase Azul Reposada tequila. Joy was going to crawl under the gigantic cover just long enough to smoke her doobie and write out a final note to her great-granddaughter Alice. Then, in a blissful haze, each would throw off her parka and dive over the sea cliff, blanket unfurling behind, the weight of their own bodies pinning it into place.

If the fall didn’t kill them the cold would.

FZZT-TZZT. It was Hoshi and Grace, calling from the other side of the berg and the sound of their voices further served to exhilarate. It was really happening now, and there was no turning back.

“Joy! Can you hear me? We’ve reached the halfway point; what’s your progress?” In the background Hoshi called out, “Forty-two stakes! Can you beat that old woman?”

Joy heard Grace cackling into the radio, and snorted at the friendly insult.

“Forty-nine, young Chickadee! My boots walked this planet long before you arrived, so call me old at your peril. I’ve won the numbers game already and now you will never make it to your eighth decade! See you in the Great Beyond, girlfriend. Over and out!”

Dropping the little VHF radio back into the side pocket of her quilted pants and smoothing the Velcro closed, Joy trudged on.

—From “Operation Cover-Up (Kamikaze),” by Rachel Hope Crossman


Author Bio

Gustavo Bondoni is novelist and short story writer with over three hundred stories published in fifteen countries, in seven languages.  He is a member of Codex and an Active Member of SFWA. His latest novel is Lost Island Rampage (2021). He has also published three other monster books: Ice Station: Death (2019), Jungle Lab Terror (2020) and Test Site Horror (2020), three science fiction novels: Incursion (2017), Outside (2017) and Siege (2016) and an ebook novella entitled Branch. His short fiction is collected in Pale Reflection (2020), Off the Beaten Path (2019) Tenth Orbit and Other Faraway Places (2010) and Virtuoso and Other Stories (2011).  

J. Scott Coatsworth lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were. He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends. A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and the head of its self-publishers committee.

Rachel Hope Crossman is an ex-fry cook, ex-substitute teacher and retired Montessori teacher. Her childhood year in Athens, Greece left indelible imprints of olive groves, pomegranates and the sparkling, turquoise blue of the Mediterranean upon her mind. She is the author of SAVING CINDERELLA: FAIRY TALES & CHILDREN IN THE 21ST CENTURY, (2014) The Apocryhile Press, which examines the world-wide Cinderella story as an archetype and explains the symbolism of rings, knives, birds, pumpkins and more. Her personal heroes are Harold (and his purple crayon), Peggy Hill and Nancy Pelosi.

Jana Denardo is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.

Derek Des Anges is an emerging cross-genre author working in London, who consistently fails to stick to a single format or genre but does at least really consistently write about the queer experience (or some of them, anyway). He’s into fungi, industrial and experimental music, and trying to avoid the climate apocalypse actually flooding his flat too many times, because he has far too many books to consider moving out.

CJ Erick’s stories have appeared in anthologies from WMG Publishing, WordFire Press, and others. He won the FenCon short story competition in 2015. He writes in multiple genres, publishes novels in a space fantasy series, and dabbles in poetry. He’s an MFA student in creative writing at Lindenwood University, and an editorial assistant for the Lindenwood Review. He lives in Dallas area with his wife and their rescue superhero dog Saber-Girl, calls his sourdough bread starter “Ursula” (K. Le Guin), and cooks crazy-good Cajun food for a Midwest Yankee.

J.G. Follansbee’s short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including Others Worlds Ink’s Fix the World. Other publications include Bards and Sages Quarterly, Children, Churches and Daddies, the collection Still Life 2018, and the speculative fiction anthologies Satirica, After the Orange, Spring Into SciFi 2019, Rabbit Hole II, and Sunshine Superhighway. He is the author of the series Tales From A Warming Planet and the trilogy The Future History of the Grail. He has won several awards in the Writers of the Future contest, and he was a finalist in the inaugural Aftermath short story contest. He also has numerous non-fiction book credits. He lives in Seattle.

Geoffrey Hart: Startled by an aggressive dictionary late in her pregnancy, Geoff’s mother was delivered of a child with a precocious antipathy towards users of words. Over time, he transformed this antipathy into a more functional, if equally passive-aggressive, editorial career. After nearly 35 years, the flame burns brightly as ever, leading to an errant, semi-evangelical career ranting against the evils of words from pulpits at any editing or technical writing conference that will have him, seeking new recruits for his cause. In his spare time, he roams the globe, entertaining locals with creative and unrestrained interpretations of their linguistic conventions. He also commits occasional fictions, and has sold 46 stories.

M. J. Holt lives with her husband on their 60-acre family farm with many animals on a peninsula in Puget Sound. She is horrified that the entire world isn’t working to decrease pollution of all kinds. When she was a teenager, she and her mother sat under an ancient crabapple tree and read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Her mother told her that future generations would pay the price for the sins of past generations. That price has increased and now several generations later, some not yet born, will pay the price. Lightning struck that crab tree decades ago. It grew on land her great grandfather bought in 1892. Her great grandmother farmed the land and had the current house, started in 1900, built. The farm passed to her grandfather, and then to her mother. She lives in that house amid the surviving bits of her ancestors’ lives. This generational continuity informs her fiction. Her crime thriller novels, The Devil’s Safe (2021) and its sequel Making Angels (2022) can be found on Amazon. Recent short stories have appeared in the anthologies Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day: An Anthology of Hope, Low Down Dirty Vote Volume II, Alternate Theologies, and her poetry may be found in the poetry anthologies 300K, Timeless Love, and other periodicals. She earned separate undergraduate degrees in History and English Literature, and a Masters in English Literature. She is a member of SFWA, MWA, and other writing organizations.

Jennifer Irani lives and works in southern California. Her story, “Graft,” was inspired by the recent fires in California, Greta Thunberg, and generation Z. A version of this story first appeared in Writing in Place: Stories from a Pandemic. Her work has been published in the anthology Dove Tales Empathy in Art: Embracing the Other. She has published essays in Orange Coast magazine. Her essay, Regeneration, received honorable mention in the Writers Challenge 2021 on Medium.com. Her poem, “Cool Colors Warm the Soul,” was selected for the Connecting Through Color, Art and Poetry exhibit. She is a member of Barbara Demarco’s Literary Posse. 

Andrew Rucker Jones was born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia. No muse heralded his birth, and he has not been writing novels since he was in diapers. He received his Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University in mathematics with minors in computer programming and German. He has always loved reading, so when the time came to choose a new career after twenty years in IT (programmer, system administrator, manager), he decided writing looked like fun. If only it paid. He now lives in Mannheim, Germany, with his Georgian wife, who actually earns money, and their three children, the eldest of whom also earns more than he.

Micháel McCormick likes to write stories in his Batman pajamas. He and his wife also enjoy travel, hiking, Tai Chi, and perplexing cats. They split their time between Saint Paul, Minnesota and Lake Superior. Mike’s work has appeared in Arcanist, Daily SF, DreamForge, Frozen Wavelets, Grievous Angel, Metastellar, Talking Stick, and elsewhere.

Christopher R. Muscato is an adjunct history instructor and writer from Colorado, as well as the former writer-in-residence for the High Plains Library District. He has published over a dozen short stories and is thrilled to be a part of this project.

Masimba Musodza was born in Zimbabwe, and has lived most of his adult life in the United Kingdom. His short stories, mostly in the speculative fiction genre, have appeared in periodicals and anthologies around the world. He has written two novels and a novella in his first language, ChiShona. His collection of science-fiction stories, The Junkyard Rastaman & Other Stories, was published in 2020. Masimba also writes for stage and screen.

M.D. Neu: Growing up in an accepting family. internationally award-winning author M.D. Neu always wondered why there were never stories reflecting our diverse queer society. Surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, he decided to change that and began writing, wanting to tell epic stories that reflect our varied world. When not writing, M.D. Neu works for a non-profit in Silicon Valley, and travels with his husband of twenty plus years.

Jennifer R. Povey: Born in Nottingham, England, Jennifer R. Povey now lives in Northern Virginia, where she writes everything from heroic fantasy to stories for Analog. She has written a number of novels across multiple sub genres. Additionally, she is a writer, editor, and designer of tabletop RPG supplements for a number of companies. Her interests include horseback riding, Doctor Who and attempting to out-weird her various friends and professional colleagues.

NRM Roshak is an award-winning Canadian author and translator. Their stories have appeared in various anthologies and magazines, including Galaxies SF, Daily Science Fiction, and Future Science Fiction Digest, and has been translated into several languages. They live in Ontario, Canada, with a small family and a loud cat.

Holly Schofield travels through time at the rate of one second per second, oscillating between the alternate realities of city and country life. Her stories have appeared in Analog, Lightspeed, Escape Pod, and many other publications throughout the world. She hopes to save the world through science fiction and homegrown heritage tomatoes.

Lisa Short is a Texas-born, Kansas-bred writer of fantasy, science fiction and horror. She has an honorable discharge from the United States Army, a degree in chemical engineering, and twenty years’ experience as a professional engineer. Lisa currently lives in Maryland with her husband, two youngest children, father-in-law and cats. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a Futurescapes 2021 alumnus.

Heather Marie Spitzberg is an environmental author, scientist, and lawyer who lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley with her family. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Other Worlds Ink logo