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Blog Tour: Diamond Heat by Alex Washoe

Diamond Heat | Alex Washoe

For the Love of the Game #2

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Release Blitz: August 15th 2021

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58406566-diamond-heat

COVER - Diamond Heat

Blurb

Daisy Flowers is a one-time college pitching phenom whose career was sidelined by misogyny and transphobia. For over a decade she’s toiled away in the minor leagues, doing any job she can to stay in the game she loves. But her heart has grown bitter, and every fastball she throws is fueled by rage. When the Majors finally give her the call, she has only one dream left: to take on the entire baseball world and leave it scorched and ruined in her wake.

Jonas Sutton, in his third season in the Majors, is a talented player who has never quite lived up to his potential. Struggling to break through, but thwarted by the secret he can never reveal.

Daisy’s arrival, in the midst of a pennant race, with everything on the line and the bright glare of the spotlight burning all the time, ignites tempers and passion. She’s prepared to fight every inch of the way for the glory she deserves, and Jonas desperately wants to stand by her side.

But no matter how powerfully he’s attracted, Jonas knows Daisy is the fuse on the explosion that could blow his world apart.

Warning: Contains interactions with transphobic characters (mild) and memories of childhood struggles

Excerpt

Now pitching for the Seattle Navigators … Daisy Flowers!

The crowd exploded. People were yelling. Most of the Chicago players came out of the dugout to watch her take the mound. Daisy sprinted across the field. Heff met her at the mound, and they hugged.

I felt a twist of jealousy — I should’ve been the one to greet her out there. I wanted to be beside her at this moment. And at the same time, the idea of all the eyes now focused on her made me want to dig a hole in the field and crawl into it.

When Heff was back behind the mound, she started to throw her warmup pitches, but stopped when the crowd didn’t settle down. She took a deep breath, turned all the way around, surveying the stadium. Like she had the other day, she took off her hat and held it up, with the Pride pen showing.

Daisy. Daisy. Daisy.

She turned back toward home plate. I couldn’t see her face, but her shoulders squared up. She tucked her ponytail back under the cap and began to work.

I’d seen her pitch before, of course. As a teenager, then on TV, and in dozens of magazine photos. As she faced the first Chicago batter, she went into her elaborate wind up. Starting with her hands behind her back, then lifting them over her head, the ball completely hidden in her mitt. Her left leg drew up, until the foot was even with her knee. That’s the picture I had of her on my wall in high school. Those long, powerful legs in tight fitting baseball pants. Poised there, for a long half-second, serene and frozen like a crane, she was still breathtaking. I felt like my chest was cracking open.

Then she exploded outward, her hand shooting toward home. It would be almost impossible to pick up that release. I’ve been thrown at by some of the best pitchers in the game, and I could imagine how that looked to the batter. Like the ball suddenly appeared with a crack halfway there. The fastball seemed to leave shockwaves in the air.  It punctured the center of the zone and all the batter could do was step back.

The force of her pitch spun her around on the mound, and she followed through, ending with her back to the plate. She stood like that for half a second, as if nothing else mattered, as if the catcher and the batter and her teammates didn’t exist.

I thought of two things.

My Grandpa loved to watch old jazz films. His favorite was Miles Davis, who would come out on stage and turn his back to the audience when he played.

“People got pissed,” Grandpa said. “They thought Miles was disrespecting them. Or it was some kind of political statement. But it wasn’t that at all. He just didn’t care about performing, or what they thought. All he cared about was the music.”

Daisy turned back toward the plate. Her eyes brushed across me. She lowered her head just enough to acknowledge me. But that was all I got.

Heff signaled for a change-up outside. She nodded, her hands slipping behind her back again.

The second thought? I had a lit professor in college who loved Emily Dickinson. There was this thing he quoted almost every class. “If I feel physically as if the top of my head has been taken off, I know that is poetry.”

I know a little bit about jazz. Nothing about poetry. But like I said I have been thrown at by some of the best.

I didn’t understand any of that until now.

About The Author

AUTHOR PIC - Diamond Heat - Alex Washoe

Alex Washoe is a nonbinary writer and game designer living in Seattle, Washington. In previous incarnations, they have been a bookseller, an amateur stand-up comedian, a public speaker, a dog walker at a companion animal shelter, a wildlife rehab care assistant, and many other less interesting things.

Alex lives with their best friend and one (and a half) cats. They enjoy reading and writing romance, cozy mysteries, westerns and speculative fiction, all with an LGBTQ+ twist.

Social Media

Website: https://www.alexwashoe.com

Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Alex-Washoe-Author-Page-351907692814938

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Alex-Washoe/e/B06XC351MC/

Giveaway

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Blog Tour: Dropnauts by J. Scott Coatsworth

Dropnauts | J. Scott Coatsworth

The Redemption Cycle #1

BANNER1 - Dropnauts

Release Date: May 10th, 2021

Cover Artist: J. Scott Coatsworth, Sleepy Fox Studios

Length: 130,000

Buy Links:

Other Worlds Ink | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |

Add to Goodreads

COVER - Dropnauts

Blurb

Life after the Crash.

Over a century after the end of the Earth, life goes on in Redemption, the sole remaining Lunar colony, and possibly the last outpost of humankind in the Solar System. But with an existential threat burrowing its way into the Moon’s core, humanity must recolonize the homeworld.

Twenty brave dropnauts set off on a mission to explore the empty planet. Four of them—Rai, Hera, Ghost and Tien—have trained for two-and-a-half years for the Return. They’re bound for Martinez Base, just outside the Old Earth city of San Francisco.

But what awaits them there will turn their assumptions upside down—and in the process, either save or destroy what’s left of humanity.

MEME1 - Dropnauts

Excerpt

We’re going home.

Rai sweated inside his suit, white-knuckling the arms of the retrofitted launch chair under his suit gloves. He watched the Zhenyi’s launch countdown clock.

Sixty, fifty-nine, fifty-eight…

 Outside he was calm, but inside he vibrated like an erhu string, his stomach doing acrobatics in his chest. I’m not ready.

Five teams of dropnauts had strapped themselves into their jumper ships, prepared for the ascent from Redemption on the lunar surface to Launchpad station. Outside his porthole, the blue-green marble of Earth beckoned.

Forty-five, forty-four…

Rai cast a nervous glance at his three teammates. Hera was doing her preflight check, her back to him, sweat dripping down the umber skin of her neck from her short-cropped, curly black hair.

Behind him on his right, Tien’s eyes were closed, and she was still as a golden statue. Zen.

He turned to find Ghost looking at him from behind. His ex grinned, running his hand through his lanky, dirty blond hair, his green eyes twinkling. His skin was as white as Rai’s own, but with a dusting of freckles over the bridge of his nose.

Rai managed a pale imitation of a smile back. –It’s totally safe.- Ghost’s voice pinged in his head, em to em.

-Sure. Easy for you to say.– Ghost had never feared a thing in his life.

Rai sighed. If he had to, he could take the small ship apart and put it back together with his bare hands, a skill learned under Sam’s supervision—the mech was as harsh a taskmaster as any human Rai had ever worked for. Still, he felt like puking. The speeches and adulation of the farewell celebration were over, and now his doubts circled like vultures. I’m not ready.

Thirty-two, thirty-one…

You’ll be ok.– Hera’s determined voice this time. She turned to squeeze his knee, and then fired up the Zhenyi’s hydro-fuel engine. He flashed her a sheepish grin.

A hundred meters away, the Bristol’s takeoff shook the landing pad. Rai watched it rise, carrying Dax, Jess, Ola, and Xiu Ying, the London team, toward the bright stars above. The jumper’s expelled water froze almost instantly, falling as snow over the snaking lava tube that held the city of Redemption. A lunar blizzard whipped by them and shimmered into nothing.

Rai closed his eyes, remembering the night before. Jess, laughing and dancing with him at Heaven, the clear dome of the lunar sky sparkling above them, the heavy beat of the thromb club pulsing through his chest. Dancing like no one was watching.

He rubbed his jaw. It still ached from the fist he’d taken to the face. Wild party. And a wilder night with Ayvin, the jack he’d picked up at the club.

Zhenyi, ready for liftoff in T-Minus ten seconds.” Sam’s voice, coming from Team Five’s ship, the Liánhuā, was cool and collected. Did the mech feel emotion, like the nausea that was boiling in Rai’s guts? His teammates were strong, smart, and prepared for anything. I can do this. Besides, it was too late to back out now.

“Affirmative.” Hera shifted in her seat, her biframes stretching her paralyzed legs for her.

“You’ll do okay, tiger.” Ghost elbowed him in the ribs.

“Six, five, four…” Hera swiped the glossy white control deck, and the launch controls appeared, floating over the white surface.

“Leave him alone.” Rai could hear the icy frown in Tien’s voice.

He closed his eyes, willing his stomach to calm. Here we go. Nothing he could do about it now.

“Three, two, one… hang on.” Hera fired the engines, and the craft lifted on a cloud of steam into the star-filled skies of Luna.

Rai squeezed his armrests again as G-force pushed him hard back in his seat. He was committed now. Poppies, Chinese Houses, Fiddlenecks, Baby Blue Eyes, Yellow Pansies, Star Lilies… Reciting the flowers of the old San Francisco basin helped soothe his abraded nerves as the rumbling of the little craft rattled his bones.

He opened his eyes to see Redemption receding below them. The great lava tube was striped with sparkling bands of solar receptors that let sunlight into the city below. Rail lines snaked out from Redemption to the transit center like roping vines—to the seed launcher at Copernicus Crater, to Renewal colony, and beyond.

As the city shrank below them, his fear turned to sadness, a lump forming in his throat. He’d taken his home for granted, enthralled by the idea of joining humankind’s greatest adventure in a century. Now he might never see it again.

The hydro rocket thrust them up out of Luna’s gravity well into naked space, toward the bright blue skies of the empty Earth above. Rai stared at it, that enigmatic ball in space which no one had visited in over a century. What secrets are you hiding?

The roar cut off as quickly as it had begun, leaving the Zhenyi drifting upward in silence as they slipped out of Luna’s grasp.

Hera’s hands flew across the deck, swapping the launch controls for navigation, and nudged them onto a new course following the Bristol toward the Launchpad.

Rai let go, his breath coming out in a heavy sigh.

“See? That wasn’t so bad.” Ghost unbuckled his seatbelt and stretched, yawning as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

God, he’s beautiful. Pale as his namesake under his mop of dirty blond hair, the engineer’s thick arms were just a suggestion under the bulky suit, but Rai could still see them in his mind. Ghost’s well-toned muscles, the smell of his skin after—

“You okay, buddy?” Ghost was staring at him, one dark eyebrow raised in concern.

Rai bit his lip and looked away. “Just nervous. Wondering if we’ll ever make it back home”

“Hey, if things go well after the drop, maybe you and me could open the first Earthside bar since the Crash.” Ghost leaned over him from behind to stare at the Earth through the porthole, his cheek close to Rai’s

“That’s crazy.” But his spirits lifted. It was idiotic. And just the distraction he needed.

Ghost sank back into his own seat. “Every outpost needs a good bar where the colonists can blow off a little steam, right?”

Rai laughed in spite of himself, warming to the idea. “We could call it ‘The Frontier’.”

“Or ‘The Wild Hookup’.”

“Best beer this side of the planet.”

Only beer!”

Rai snorted. Just like old times. He hadn’t forgiven Ghost, though. Not yet. He looked down at his gloved hands, emblazoned with the leaf-and-orb of Redemption’s space service.

Things had ended badly between them—crash and burn bad. Still, they’d be too busy the next few weeks to think about anything but the drop. The survival of Redemption and the remnants of humanity depended on them.

He could let it go. I have to. He’d managed the launch, after all. I can do this too.

Ghost squeezed his shoulder and closed his eyes, touching his temple and bobbing his head to a song only he could hear.

Rai turned away.

You’re stronger than any of us. Hera had told him that the night before. Still, he didn’t feel strong.

He looked out of the porthole again at the Earth—the same view they’d had from Heaven. And yet somehow, it looked different. More real.

Poppies, Chinese Houses, Fiddlenecks, Baby Blue Eyes, Yellow Pansies, Star Lilies…

He touched his hand to the porthole. Even through the glove, it was cold. We’re going home.

About the Author

AUTHOR AVATAR J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott 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).

AUTHOR PIC - Dropnauts - J. Scott Coatsworth

Social Media

Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

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

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

Twitter: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com/jscoatsworth

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jscottcoatsworth/

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

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

Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

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

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/j-scott-coatsworth

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Giveaway

Scott has a Rafflecopter giveaway with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Blog Tour: Pierced Peony by Dahlia Donovan

Pierced Peony | Dahlia Donovan

Motts Cold Case Mystery #2

BANNER - Pierced Peony

Release Date: May 1st, 2021

Publisher: Tangled Tree Publishing

Cover Artist: Booksmith Design

Word Count: 51,000

Buy Links:

Universal LinkPublisher |  QueeRomance Ink

Add to Goodreads

COVER - Pierced Peony

Blurb

As spring rolls into summer, Motts settles into her cottage. She’s enjoying a daily stroll when a body in the sea destroys her peace and quiet. It brings yet another mystery for her to solve.

How does a woman who vanished from Polperro three years prior wind up battered by waves?

Motts is drawn into the investigation despite her best attempts. She finds a family in turmoil and loads of suspects. With no easy answers, she tumbles further into chaos and ever closer to danger.

Can Motts find the killer before she’s the one put on ice?

Will she survive a bone-chilling brush with death?

On a casual walk along the Cornish Coast, Pineapple “Motts” Mottley stumbles upon a body and a perilous new murder case in the second novel in the Motts Cold Case Mystery series.

MEME2 - Pierced Peony

Excerpt

A cat, a turtle, and a stranger face off in the garden. The stranger blinks first. Right. The joke still needs some work.

“Do you always let your turtle and cat out in the garden together?”

“They’re friends. They like to gossip.” Motts set her trowel to one side and got to her feet. She dusted the grass and dirt off her knees. “They both need fresh air and sun in moderation. Are you lost?”

The man didn’t seem lost despite having popped up beside the back fence around her garden. He looked like a police officer. Though not quite as broad-shouldered, he stood as tall as Teo Herceg, the detective inspector she’d met in April and had been dating for over a month.

“I’m hoping to speak with Pineapple Mottley.” He sounded like a policeman. His suit, while nice, appeared rumpled from driving; his short grey hair, however, was gelled and styled perfectly. “I’m Detective Inspector Dempsey Byrne with the Metropolitan Police’s cold case unit.”

“Cold case?” Motts’s heart stuttered in her chest. She rubbed her fingers together nervously. “Jenny. You’re here about Jenny.”

Jenny Cleverly had been her lone best friend through her early childhood. Motts had stumbled across Jenny’s lifeless body on her way home from primary school while walking through a park, hidden behind a hedge. She still had nightmares about finding her.

The unsolved crime had haunted Motts. She’d developed an obsessive curiosity about cold cases as a result. And at least once a year, she searched online to see if anyone had been arrested for Jenny’s murder.

“Ms Mottley?”

“Motts.” She had a sudden sense of déjà vu; she’d had a similar conversation with Teo in April. He’d been investigating the murder of a Rhona Walters, who’d been buried in the garden behind her cottage. It had been an auspicious start to her life in Polperro. “Cactus.”

Her beloved Sphynx cat had leapt onto the fence and then over to the detective’s shoulder. Detective Inspector Byrne didn’t bat an eyelid. He simply reached up to pat Cactus on his head.

Well, he certainly approves of the random strange man intruding on our afternoon.

Intruding inspector intrudes introspectively.

Introspectively?

Not my best alliteration.

“I don’t often see a flowerless garden.” He glanced slowly around at her rows of fruits and herbs. “None at all?”

“My allergies try to drown me if I’m around them for too long.” Motts kept flowers far away from her cottage. Real ones, in any case. She made and sold origami and quilled floral arrangements as part of her small business, Hollyhock Folded Blooms. “Why don’t you come in for tea? Cold case curiosities can converse comfortably.”

Don’t frighten the fancy London detective with your peculiarities.

The judgmental voice in her head sounded suspiciously like her mum, who meant well but couldn’t always relate to Motts’s more unique traits. She didn’t understand her wayward autistic and asexual daughter. Motts had given up trying to fit into neurotypical moulds.

I am who I am.

Alliterations and all.

Oh, fun accidental alliterations are the best.

“I wouldn’t want to impose.”

“Wouldn’t you?” Motts stared blankly at the man, unable to decide if he was being polite or not. “You drove from London. At least a five-hour drive on a good day. Tea isn’t imposing. Sleeping in my garden and trampling the herbs would be.”

MEME1 - Pierced Peony

About The Author

Dahlia Donovan wrote her first romance series after a crazy dream about shifters and damsels in distress. She prefers irreverent humour and unconventional characters.

An autistic and occasional hermit, her life wouldn’t be complete without her husband and her massive collection of books and video games.

Social Media

Website: http://dahliadonovan.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/dahliadonovan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DahliaDonovan

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dahliadonovanauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8184061.Dahlia_Donovan

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/dahlia-donovan/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dahlia-Donovan/e/B00KFNZFHU/

Giveaway

Dahlia is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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