Tag Archives: LGBT

Release Blitz: Keeping House by Jeanne G’Fellers

Keeping House | Jeanne G’Fellers

Appalachian Elementals 

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Publisher: Mountain Gap Books

Release Date: Monday, July 8 2019

Buy Links:

Mountain Gap Books

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Smashwords

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Blurb

Centenary Rhodes is caught in a deal she didn’t make. Thanks to her eternal lover, Stowne’s, quick thinking, she’ll live forever, but there’s a hitch. Cent’s now fey, and three months out of the year she’ll live on the other side of Embreeville Mountain among the Hunter Fey, serving their king, Dane Gow.

As Cent begins wading through the anachronisms that come with being a Hunter, she learns that nothing is what it initially seems. Cent shares several past lives with Dane, who wants her back, and Stowne’s lied to Cent so many times that she’s having doubts about their marriage. To make matters worse, the past Hunter Kings are influencing Dane’s behavior, and the youngest Hunter, Brinn, might well be the most dangerous of them all.

It’s going to be a cold, dark spring, and Cent needs to unite both sides of Embreeville mountain before her eternal life, her relationship with Dane, and her marriage to Stowne come permanently undone.

Another rich Contemporary Appalachian tale about fantastic people and the magic they possess, including LGBTQIA+ characters Human and otherwise.

Series Blurb

Come dance with the Appalachian fey and drink a little moonshine under the full moon while you hear Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Death share tales about families of our blood, families of our making, and magic both long ago and flowing through us now.

Warnings: depiction of mental illness including on page psychosis; discussion of gender dysphoria, cutting, and self-harm; discussion of rape and murder; on and off page violence

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Excerpt

I can do this. Cent unzipped the top of her coveralls and lowered her long johns to reveal the halter top beneath them. “Sorry, not sorry to disappoint you, King Dane.” She unfurled her wings and rolled her shoulders to shake them open.

“Just look at all them sigils.” Dane stomped her boots on the circle sands as she laughed, and her men laughed with her. “You look like a doodled-out scratch pad.” She removed her arm from her coat and rolled her sleeve above her bracer to show the sigils tattooed across her plaster-pale bicep. “All us Hunters got them, but ours won’t warsh off with a good scrubbin’, and neither will yours by the time you get back to Stowne.”

“Sigils remain intact even if they cannot be seen by the eye.” Cent’s spouse’s mouth thinned with the stress she knew they were feeling. “If the sigils are applied in perfect love and trust, that is. Rest assured, Centenary’s were.”

“Like I care.” Dane shoved her arm back into her coat. “It’s my turn, you worn-out gravel heap. That was our deal.” She lunged forward to grab Cent by the arm.

“Let go!” Cent wrenched away and moved to stand between Pyre and Exan, her elemental escorts. “I’ll fly with them.” She blew Stowne a kiss and stretched her wings, shivering. “Hold on.” She pulled a pair of striped leg warmers from her pocket and slid them over her arms. They were horribly outdated, but they’d been a cheap thrift shop solution, and she was glad she’d remembered them. Still, they weren’t enough for the current weather.

“Betcha she can’t keep up.” Dane’s guard, Conall, snorted and extended his hand to the guard with the dreadlocks. “Deal, Weeds?”

Weeds knocked his hand away. “Nothing to be gained there because you’re right.” He pulled a red wool chullo hat from his pocket and drew it over his head, topping that with a pair of ski goggles he lowered over his eyes. “She’s not going to get there without help.”

“Manners, boys.” Dane pulled a pair of leather Steampunk-style goggles over her eyes. “Best not judge until we see what she’s got under the hood. Come on. We’re late for a helluva shindig.” She laughed as she took to the air, hovering above the circle until Cent, Pyre, and Exan joined her. Her men took to the air behind them, Weeds pressing ahead while Conall brought up the rear.

We’re sandwiched in. Cent flew as hard as she could, hoping to lessen the distance between her and Dane, but it kept growing.

“Problem?” Conall flew up behind Cent as she struggled to keep speed. “Get movin’.”

“I’m trying!” Cent almost stopped mid-air to confront him, but Pyre grabbed her by the shoulder, pulling her to the right so he flew past.

“Not a good idea.” Pyre hooked their smoky arm through hers, urging her along. “You’re cold.” They sent warmth into her, but she still shivered.

“Let us give you the energy to do this.” A thread of Exan’s black mass wrapped her left arm. “Come along.”

“What’s the holdup?” Dane flew back to face them. “Havin’ trouble keepin’ up, girlie?” She moved closer. “Guess Conall’s right after all. You need him to carry you the rest of the way?” Dane snickered when Conall returned to hover, scowling, behind her. Their beating wings stirred the air more than Cent’s, and her teeth chattered to the point she couldn’t hide it.

“I’ll get there.” But she knew she’d be struggling even with Pyre and Exan’s help, and she was so cold their warming energy wasn’t enough.

“You can’t, admit it.” Dane surged forward to grab Cent around the waist, forcing her wings to roll then tuck as Exan and Pyre’s grips fell away. “Your spirit form can fly, but your real wings are puny. Best hold on, or I’ll let you fall.” She turned Cent outward, holding her with one stout arm as they began to move. “Your eyes ain’t used to this cold and movement combined, so keep them closed until we’re— no. Hey, Weeds.” Dane slowed until he caught up along with Pyre and Exan, who both moved to see Cent’s face.

“I’m fine.” She blinked away the frost that’d collected on her eyelashes. “Let her do the work if she wants.”

“I got stuff to get done, or you’d be suckin’ up the rear, that’s all.” Dane motioned to Weeds. “Give her your goggles.”

“But— yes ma’am.” His dismay spread across his face as he pulled a scarf from his pocket, wrapping it around his head until only his eyes showed.

I’m making a great impression on him.

“Put them on, and let’s get movin’. Much longer up here and our wings’ll start freezin’.” Dane pulled Cent’s coveralls and long johns to her chest and opened her own coat to wrap her in it. “Damn rookie-ass flyer. Next time, wear a hat too.” Dane jerked her welding cap from her pocket, pulling it over Cent’s head as they gained speed.

Air whipped around them as they moved, and it began to sleet, pelting Cent with ice shards and freezing over her goggles by the time they touched down. “Someone get her a blanket!” Dane tore the goggles from Cent’s face and blew warm, tobacco-tainted breath in her face. “And somethin’ hot to drink!” Her voice softened. “You all right, sugar?”

“Let go!” Cent broke away and rushed to Pyre and Exan’s sides before they could fully manifest. “Dane’s being nice,” she whispered as she pulled off the leg warmers then raised her long johns and coveralls. “I don’t know what to do.”

“Take a deep breath and look around.” Pyre kept their voice soft and calm, which frightened Cent all the more.

“She means you no harm this night.” Exan wrapped their arm around her shoulders. “This is Dane’s kingdom, and she is in control of all you see.” They spun her around to view the nearly three-dozen pale Hunter faces, some clearly pissed by her presence, others amused, and a few too clouded in their expression to read, clustered around the bonfire she stood near.

“Welcome back to my world, Centenary Rhodes.” Dane bowed before her then rose wearing a mischievous smile. “Let’s get this party started!”

MEME2 - Keeping House.jpgAbout The Author

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

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

Social Media

Author Website: https://jeannegfellersauthor.com/

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Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/search?q=Jeanne+G%27Fellers

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

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Audio Release Blitz: I Wished For You by Colette Davison & narrated by Piers Ryman

I Wished For You | Colette Davison

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Narrator: Piers Ryman

Release Date: June 6, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: MM Menage

Length: 06 Hours 24 Minutes

Buy Links:

 Amazon US

Amazon UK

Add to Goodreads

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Blurb

Three wishes.

Seb wants to be happy.
Matt wants to find ‘the one.’
Connor wants them.

Two drunken kisses.

Seb didn’t plan to kiss Matt and Connor, but he doesn’t regret it, even if it has changed their friendship forever.

Matt has never considered dating a man before, let alone two. Despite his confusion, being with Seb and Connor feels right.

One uncertain future.

Connor’s potential fate has stopped him living and loving. Can he face his fears to be with the men he loves?

***Contains explicit language and scenes***

Excerpt

“Wow,” Matt breathed as a shooting star shot across the now dark sky, trailing a tail of light behind it.

“That’s awesome,” Seb said. “Hey, aren’t you meant to wish on shooting stars or something?”

Matt stood, watching the sky intently. He’d finished his second can of beer and started on his third before he saw another shooting star.

“I wish I could find the one,” he yelled at the star.

Anything was worth a shot. Every girl he’d dated had held the promise of being the one, but every relationship had fizzled out within weeks or months. He was getting close to believing he’d permanently be shut in the friend zone by every woman he knew.

“My turn,” Seb said, leaping up to stand beside Matt. “Find me a star.”

“There might not be any more,” Connor pointed out.

A glance over his shoulder told Matt that Connor was still sitting, nursing a can of beer in his cupped hands. With their breath frosting on the air in front of them, Matt and Seb kept a fierce watch on the sky.

“There,” Matt said, pointing towards the far right as a star shot across the darkness.

“I wish to be happy again,” Seb yelled.

Matt turned to Connor. “It’s your turn.”

Connor shook his head.

“Why not?”

Connor met Matt’s curious stare. “I’ve already had one wish come true. I figure I’d be pushing my luck to make a second.”

Matt’s eyebrows shot up. “Oh? Do we get to know what this wish of yours was?”

Pink splashed across Connor’s nose and cheeks. He looked down, mumbling his answer. “I wished for friends. Someone I could count on. I met the two of you right after.”

Matt’s chest clenched. He tried to speak, but his voice stuck fast in his throat.

“Really?” Seb asked, staring intently at Connor as he sat in the middle chair.

Connor lifted his eyes again, staring at Seb and then at Matt. “Yeah.” He looked to the sky. “I mean… it was probably a coincidence, but I wished for you, and there you were.”

Tears stung Matt’s eyes. He ran his hand over them and down his face, sniffing loudly. “Well, fuck, Con…” He wasn’t even sure what it was he wanted to say. “I’m glad we met you, too,” he managed. “I’m glad we could help you when you needed us.”

“You still do,” Connor said softly. “Every day.”

“Okay, shut the fuck up now,” Matt said, trying not to cry. He flopped into the third chair. “I’m not nearly drunk enough to be getting this sentimental. More booze!”

Seb handed him a full can, and together, they sat and watched the occasional light show of falling stars as they drank into the night.

Meet the Author

Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster Castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding.

She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the North of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.

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New Release Blitz: The Women Of Dauphine by Deb Jannerson

The Women Of Dauphine | Deb Jannerson

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: June 10, 2019

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 55,500

Buy Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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Blurb

When Cassie’s family moves into a decrepit house in New Orleans, the only upside is her new best friend. Gem is witty, attractive, and sure not to abandon Cassie—after all, she’s been confined to the old house since her murder in the ’60s.

As their connection becomes romantic, Cassie must keep more and more secrets from her religious community, which hates ghosts almost as much as it hates gays. Even if their relationship prevails over volatile parents and brutal conversion therapy, it may not outlast time.

Excerpt

The Women of Dauphine
Deb Jannerson © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
I met Gem the day we moved from the sedate suburbs to downtown New Orleans.

I had recently turned eight, and my first sight of her coincided with our first sight of the Victorian house. I’m not certain if some of my earliest memories are authentic or recreated by photos and hearsay, but that moment made for a striking mental snapshot I’ve never doubted: baroque, crumbling pink-and-ivory walls; a stylish teenaged 1960s brunette perched on the steps. I feasted my eyes upon her in the way only a curious child can. The opportunity delighted me, especially because my parents had forbidden me to stare at the young runaways clogging the sidewalk. The lost children.

I’d be leery of any Crescent City-raised kid who claimed never to have been fascinated by them. The lost children of the city streets were as diverse in origin as they were in countenance. The first I’d seen that morning had been a tap-dancing boy around my own age, gleefully calling to various “cutie-pahs” in an undetermined accent. His joy reached out to me, undisturbed by the morning’s sharp tang of whiskey and street cleaner. I might not have believed he was alone in the world, like the poor souls my parents derided, if not for the layers of sweat marks on his clothes. My parents ignored his dollar-filled top hat and turned my head away in an admonishment. This made me wonder, maybe for the first time, what kind of people they were.

Then, I saw the girl: late teens, stringy sandy hair like frayed rope, weeping with abandon without bothering to hide her face from the tourists and blue-collar shop workers. She seemed “lost,” all right; certainly, more so than the cartoon boys of Peter Pan who had introduced me to the “lost” term in the first place. I remembered the twitch in my father’s face as he snapped the TV’s power button in one fluid motion and turned to explain who the lost children of Louisiana really were.

The girl waiting at our dwelling on Dauphine Street shared a hint of the blonde crier’s defiance, but she also exuded fun. She didn’t bother to sit in the ladylike way I’d learned in church. Still, she jumped up before I reached an angle at which I could see up her green skirt—a fact I noted matter-of-factly, and with some vague sense of disappointment. I continued to examine her clothes anyway, with a youth’s comically bobbing head. I had never seen tights like that before; they were nothing but strings in a diamond pattern. And was that a Boy Scout shirt?

“Hi!” I yelled, unnecessarily since we were barely five feet apart by now. There were chuckles behind me; it seemed like my parents always laughed at me doing normal, serious things. The girl staggered backward, widening her brown-gold eyes. “What’s your name?” She glanced at my parents in something like panic, then back at me, and her face softened.

“I’m Gem.” She glanced behind me again, and I followed her gaze to my mother, situated behind the battered chain-link fence, gazing blankly at our narrow new house. My father caught up, breaking through her reverie as he bustled through the space where a gate should be and pulled our keys out of his suit pocket.

The girl—Gem—stumbled off the stairs and several steps to the right, which is to say, at the edge of the property. Her eyes followed my parents carefully as they entered our new home. Obviously, I didn’t know it at the time, but she was waiting to see if they’d notice her as I had.

Perhaps all houses came with a pretty girl, or maybe she was moving out. “Dad, can Gem come inside?”

My mother turned around in the corridor first. “What, Cassandra?”

“Can she come in with me?” I pointed at Gem and then grabbed her hand. She made a short sound of surprise at my touch.

My mother rolled her eyes elaborately. It didn’t take much to annoy her, especially where I was concerned. She turned to my father, hissing, “Isn’t she a bit old for this?” I could hear the disgust.

My father, unusually jovial today, held up a hand, and my mother went quiet. “It’s okay.” To me: “Sure, little one. Let’s all go in and look around.”

Gem’s expression had gone both stunned and amused. It was a face I’d come to know well and love: the face of a person thrust into a strange scenario she was more than game enough to explore.

“You never told me your name.” Gem flopped into the floral armchair across the room from my bed, then, with a self-conscious glance at me, maneuvered herself into the position my old teacher had promoted as “proper posture.” Unfamiliar furniture crowded the room, from the molded wooden headboard to the dresser’s little blue dollhouse. I missed my room back home, and despite what my father had promised, this didn’t seem “even better” and I could still “remember what came before.” At least I had a new friend already.

“Cassie.” My parents insisted on using the full “Cassandra,” but since they were downstairs, I might as well use the moniker I preferred, the one that hadn’t proved too unwieldy for my classmates to manage.

She nodded. “I’m Gem.”

“You said that already!”

She began to smile, raising her eyebrows. “It’s still true.”

I realized I liked her already. Not only did she dress cool; she struck me as funny, while also, somehow, profound. Had Gem done it on purpose, and anyway, why didn’t people introduce themselves more than once? Even my parents seemed to know she was special, considering they hadn’t made her take off her boots on the rug inside the doorway. Sure, they had ignored her, and so maybe they did not like her, but they must have respect for her. Before this, respect was something I had only seen them demand.

My mind became full of questions, not least of which was why she was talking to someone like me. I settled on the most important-seeming one: “Are you going to stay here?”

Gem smiled again, but this time, one end of her mouth turned down. “Yeah. I’ve been living in this room for a long time, and I’m not about to be driven out.”

“That’s great!” Both hands flew to my mouth, and, sure enough, my mother shouted, equally loudly, from directly below my floor: “Indoor voice, Cassandra!”

“I mean,” I added, “I’ve always wanted a sister.”

“Well, I’m not really your sister.” Gem shrugged and glanced away, her soft brown hair flying in a curtain over her face. “I guess it’ll be like sharing a room with a friend.”

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About the Author

Deb Jannerson is the author of the books of poetry Rabbit Rabbit (Finishing Line Press, 2016) and Thanks for Nothing (Finishing Line Press, 2018), available wherever books are sold. The Women of Dauphine is her debut YA novel.

She won the 2017 So to Speak Nonfiction Contest for an essay about queer intimacy and PTSD, the 2018 Flexible Persona Editors’ Prize (and a Pushcart nomination) for a work of flash fiction about gruesome at-work injuries, and a Two Sisters Publishing prize for a story about switching bodies with her cat.

More than one hundred of her pieces have been featured in anthologies and magazines, including viral articles for Bitch Media. Deb lives in New Orleans with her wife.

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New Release Blitz: Tales From Ardulum by J.S. Fields

Tales From Ardulum | J.S. Fields

Ardulum #4

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: June 10, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 57,800

Buy Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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Blurb

One year after saving the Neek homeworld and redefining the people’s religion, the crew of the Scarlet Lucidity returns to the Charted Systems for a much-needed break. For Nicholas and Yorden, the Systems will always be home, but for Emn and Atalant, too many memories compound with Emn’s strange new illness to provide much relaxation.

TALES FROM ARDULUM continues the journey of Atalant, Emn, Yorden, Nicholas, and Salice as they try to define their place in a galaxy that no longer needs them while battling the artifacts of Ardulan colonization.

Other stories include Yorden’s acquisition of the Mercy’s Pledge (and his grudge against the galaxy), Atalant’s exile from her homeworld, Ekimet and Savath’s romance, and many others.

Excerpt

Tales from Ardulum
J.S. Fields © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Mercy’s Pledge
2030 CE

“Scrub it down. Start with the cockpit, then work your way back. No toilets on this thing, of course, because the astronauts used diapers way back when and most of these old models were just for animals, so that’s a bright side.” The museum curator—a short, thin woman with wavy, brown hair and pinkish skin—produced a half-hearted smile. She tapped a white panel on the starboard flank of the old decommissioned Soviet shuttle. Housed in the warehouse section of some museum in Kaluga, the ship was a Buran model, although it’d been modded so many times since its initial flight that Yorden Kuebrich doubted its insides looked anything like the historic photos.

“Yeah, I got it. No worries.” Yorden ran his fingers through his beard in what he hoped was an endearing gesture rather than a creepy one, smoothed out the wrinkles on his too-tight coveralls, grabbed his cleaning kit, and walked up the shaky platform steps to the entrance of the shuttle. Cleaning the inside was going to take days, which was just fine. After the year he’d had in the Gaza Strip, not to mention the little heist he was planning, a bit of mindless cleaning while he worked out the details was exactly what he needed.

He grimaced at the rank smell of old oil and deteriorating plastic as he squeezed through the narrow walkways of the shuttle. Either the Soviets had been a lot smaller back then or Yorden had put on more weight in the past decade than he’d realized. Didn’t matter. Muscle, fat, facial hair…it was all the same when you woke up every morning from nightmares of a friend killed, a family home destroyed, or a passive-aggressive act of one angry government against another. Who was right, who was wrong—it didn’t matter then, and it didn’t fucking matter now. The world was full of old decay. Religious cousins were still at each other’s throats, although now they used words instead of bombs. And it was all stupid because there were actual aliens, turns out, flying around in space.

Aliens! Yorden snorted as he entered the tiny cockpit and set his cleaning kit down on a metal case. For ten years now, Earth had been part of the Charted Systems. For ten years, fucking aliens had been showing them how to use wormholes and cellulose tech and weird biometals, and here Yorden was, standing in a metal bucket containing a throttle-lever thing and analog controls after having fled yet another country he’d wanted to call home.

His first home, Poland, he’d left because fuck communism and fuck his early memories of the exorbitant price of meat and his family never getting a condo because the lottery was never in their favor. And fuck the lines. He was glad he’d never had kids, never needed to wait in line for twenty-four-plus hours just to buy a damn doll. Anyway, toilet paper was a goddamned miracle he never wanted to live without again.

Things got better in the nineties—but he’d been done. Naturally, Yorden had just managed to trade one tortured ideology for another. Israel. Gaza. He was Jewish, in that ham-eating, post-Soviet way. Still, birthright. Homecoming, sort of. It was enough to pull him in. Enough to convince him to try out settling there. That had failed miserably. It was just a different kind of death out there: a faster one, from bullets and bombs.

That was all over now, though, because of Charted-fucking-Systems-mandated peace, but nothing could erase his memories. Thus, Yorden was back in Eastern Europe, on a dilapidated shuttle, preparing to install the Cell-Tal components hidden under his cleaning kit and in his bag, so he could fly this hunk of metal off Earth and get into the Systems proper. Yorden grinned. Off Earth, out of this solar system, and away from the crush of history. Away from his history. Away from the politics and the false smiles and the lovey-dovey crap everyone spewed now instead of the thinly veiled racist ideology of the past. People didn’t change—Yorden didn’t believe they could, not for a hot minute. Humans sure as hell didn’t change. Aliens might have brought technology based on turning trees into spacefaring biometals, and they might have brought peace, but neither of those came without a price. If he was going to live a lie, then better if he did it on his terms, in space, where it was a hell of a lot easier to avoid everyone.

So, forget Earth. Forget Mars, even. He’d take “diaspora” to a whole new level.

“You doing okay, then?” The curator’s voice reverberated within the metal, making Yorden wince. “Some of that stuff up in there is pretty delicate.”

“Yeah, I got it! I’ll do the gun turret last since it’s not part of the original structure and looks like it wasn’t put on well to begin with. I don’t know what you guys thought you’d need to shoot with this, other than the peace-toting Risalians that came knocking at our solar door ten years ago.” He paused and considered the walls and his very heavy gear bag stuffed with Cell-Tal tech. “I’m going to have to take the wall panels off, too, to clean. I think you’ve got mice.”

An expletive came from the curator, although Yorden wasn’t certain what language it was in. Not Russian or Polish—he was sure of that. Definitely not Yiddish. Since she was already upset but clearly not willing to come in and inspect the “damage,” Yorden added, “Probably best to strip her down to the floor and walls anywhere I can. If you’ve got one nest, you’ve got ten, and I don’t think you want to pay a guy to redo wiring, right?”

“Do what you can and just…make it look right on the outside, okay? No one is ever going to look under the panels. It’s not like this Buran is ever going to fly again. That laser was never even fired, from what I know. It was attached quickly. Apparently, humans didn’t want to give up their guns when the peace treaty was signed. Not that it does any good on a ship that can’t fly.”

“Oh, she’ll fly,” Yorden muttered. He waited until he heard the door to the hangar slam shut, followed by the screeching of the wide bay doors to the warehouse closing, and then peeled a clump of old metal and coated wires from the wall. He would put it all back together again, snug as a bug. He just needed to make a few modifications of his own first.

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About the Author

J.S. Fields is a scientist who has perhaps spent too much time around organic solvents. They enjoy roller derby, woodturning, making chain mail by hand, and cultivating fungi in the backs of minivans. Nonbinary, and always up for a Twitter chat.

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Release Blitz: The Scarecrow & George C by Mia Kerick

The Scarecrow & George C | Mia Kerick

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: June 3, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Length: 65,700

Buy Links:

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Blurb

High school senior Van Liss is barely human. He thinks of himself as a scarecrow—ragged and unnerving, stuck and destined to spend his life cold and alone. If he ever had feelings, they were stomped out long ago by his selfish mother and her lecherous boyfriend. All he’s been left with is bitter contempt, to which he clings.

With a rough exterior long used to keep the world at bay, Van spooks George Curaco, the handsome new fry cook at the diner where he works. But George C senses there is more to the untouchable Van and refuses to stop staring, fascinated by his eccentricity. When Van learns that George C is even more cold, alone, and frightened than himself, Van welcomes him to his empty home. And ends up finding his heart.

Their road to trust is rocky and, at times, even dangerous. And looming evil threatens to keep them apart forever.

Fair warning: You may want to strap in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Excerpt

The Scarecrow & George C
Mia Kerick © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Do us both a favor: check this out before you read

If you’re looking to read a story about a sassy teenage gay boy who refuses to behave until he meets Mr. Wonderful in Senior Honors Physics, and then is dazzled into improved conduct and future monogamy, I highly doubt this is the book for you. Believe me when I say you should close the book right now—drop it into a recycling bin if you’re all about keeping the earth green—and walk away. To this point, my life hasn’t run according to a predictable romantic formula. I don’t see a reason for this status to change.

Maybe you think you’re into something darker, so an unconventional story will suit your offbeat mood. News flash, reader: loners spend significant time in bookstores. I’m aware of the kind of books that consider themselves dark, at least in a carnal sense, and many are categorized as “New Adult,” just like this one. Between lewd front and back covers featuring tits, tats, and torsos, a threadbare plot is woven into a heavy fabric of inspired sex. You’re not likely to find that shit in here, either—but don’t I wish?

By now, you’ve probably noticed I possess a flair for the dramatic. Well, I look at it like this: creating drama staves off boredom. Not that I need to justify myself. But if you’re still with me, you’ve earned a shred of my respect. So on second thought, maybe you should keep reading.

Stick along for the ride if it pops your cork…

Friday
I towel myself off after my second, extremely necessary, shower of the morning. Mom’s cast-off pale pink towel is history thanks to unsightly smudges of black dye. Whatever. I did what I had to do, even if it was messy.

This morning, you see, I woke up and dyed my roots black. The urge to do it had been gathering steam for a few days—ever since the new kid started working at the diner. I picked up the dye on a rather compelling whim at the 24-hour pharmacy on the corner of Depot and Wilder Streets after work on Tuesday night. The rest is well-planned history.

I had to refer to a YouTube video so my roots would appear intentional, rather than a result of lazy grooming. And you may think I seem like a hot mess, but my crime against hair color has been done by careful design. Don’t delude yourself—I wasn’t going for the chic ombré look. Believe me, there’s nothing trendy about me. I want bold black roots with zero transition to the rest of my white-blond hair.

I glance in the mirror over the bathroom sink and see the male reverse of Cruella DeVil. And I smile, having achieved the “what the fuck’s up with his hair?” vibe I desire.

I suppose you want to know why I did it. That’s an easy one, and I think you’re going to appreciate my total candor. Drumroll, please: It’s because even if I’m a loner, I’m not heartless. I’m different, and I flaunt it, which is my way of keeping it real with the world. FYI: “Different” is my PC way of letting the public know I’m strange, frightening, and maybe even slightly dangerous. So, it’s better if that kid at the diner, and everybody else, looks away.

And you know what, boys and girls? I can help with that…

Here’s how: I dress like a Halloween scarecrow. Yeah, yeah… You’re wondering what, exactly, constitutes “scarecrow attire”? Go ahead, bookworm, google it. I did—I’m a visual sort of guy. You’ll see images of rigid figures, some stuffed with hay, others skinny as the barn boards they’re made of, clad in an unfortunate variety of secondhand clothing. I wear plaid flannel button-downs and overalls—yes, even to the wedding of a random second cousin last summer—peplum shirts of coarse fabric, and baggy, worn-out jeans, cinched at the waist by knotted burlap belts. Countless patches, Western bandanas, and an antique, oversized top hat finishes my retro cast-off style.

I laugh as I pull on today’s hokey duds. I’m not what you’d call the picture of fashion. In fact, I’d wager guys rarely fantasize about their boyfriends sporting dirty, patched overalls and a hat like Abraham Lincoln’s. But even if I take the hat off, you’ll see my new jet-black roots—hard as hell to appreciate on a bleached blond. Dedicate the hair color upgrade to that guy at work who won’t look away.

He probably considers himself eclectic and likes to think he appreciates life’s more unusual things. Or maybe he’s merely a Halloween maniac who is turned on by scarecrows with hair like straw. Incidentally, when I stripped my hair of color, I hoped it would further shock those around me into keeping their distance, but it seems to attract a certain fry cook.

I have fifteen minutes before I have to leave for the torture chamber most people refer to as high school, so I kneel in front of the coffee maker and brew a pot. I’ll check over my take-home Euro History quiz while it brews. No, I’m not a nerd, but I want better options for the future than I’ve had in the past.

Before you ask, I have my reasons for wanting to appear shocking to the point of repellant. And for the most part, I’ve gotten my wish. Teachers and students at school, coworkers and customers at the diner, not to mention Mom and Jake downstairs, all glance at the floor when I walk by. But this guy fixes his gaze on me. Maybe my unnatural black roots will scare him off, the way a good scarecrow stuck in a vast cornfield scares away so many crows.

I just don’t understand why he can’t see how frightening I am.

You can see it, can’t you?

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Meet the Author

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one in law school, another at a dance conservatory, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school.

She has published more than twenty books of LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-five years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to NineStar Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine, and have won Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com or visit the below links to see what is going on in Mia’s world.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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New Release Blitz: In The Palm by Elna Holst

In The Palm | Elna Holst

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: May 20, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 25,500

Buy Links:

NineStar Press

Amazon

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Barnes & Noble

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Blurb

Stranded on a tropical island, Dr No-Name has no mobile phone, no wallet, no keys, no passport. No left hand, no shoes and no memory.

What she does have is a blister pack of nicotine gums, two minibar-sized bottles of whisky (consumed), and what appears to be an endless supply of coconuts.

She can’t possibly get into any worse trouble, can she?

Excerpt

In the Palm
Elna Holst © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
I am drunk and about to chop my hand off. There is a correlation between these two states of being, or becoming; but it isn’t that I am crazed and delirious from the alcohol. On this short notice, it’s the only anaesthetic available to me—and the hand needs to go.

Despite my grogginess on first coming to, I recognised the symptoms of a necrotising infection: the tissue death eating away at my digits—the fifth and the second are already black, all but falling off on their own—the red and purple nebulae spreading over the back of my hand, my palm, inching up towards my wrist.

I need to amputate. I need to amputate right now, if there’s even the remotest possibility the bacteria haven’t reached any of my vital organs yet.

There will be time enough for questions later—with a little, or rather a freighter-shipload of luck. Because I do have questions. Like, where am I?

Who am I?

What am I doing here?

Checking that I have my penknife at the ready, I start tightening my primitively devised tourniquet: a stick and a belt. It’s like something out of a survivalist’s wet, apocalyptic nightmare.

Fortunately—incomprehensibly—there were two minibar-sized bottles of whisky in the sorry, debris-filled excuse of a handbag I had slung over my shoulder, caught at my hip, and wound across my chest in a way that restricted my breathing when I regained consciousness. I was alone, drenched and shivering like a stray, on this abandoned strip of beach in No Place.

Maybe I’m a recovering alcoholic. It would explain the blackout. But it seems unlikely, since the spirits performed their magic after just a gulp or two, offering a warm, tingly sensation that managed to put a cap on my agony, strengthening my resolve.

I am not going to get the tourniquet any tighter. My right hand is shaking as I reach for the puny knife, making sure I have the rags I have torn out of my shirt within easy access.

“This is going to hurt so bad.” I tell the knife conversationally—like the drunk I am, at present—and I am struck by a thought that makes me laugh grimly. “I sure hope I’m not a leftie.”

Screaming like a banshee to get my adrenaline pumping, I swing the blade down over my left wrist with as much force as I can muster.

Chapter Two
So hot. So hot, yet so cold, yet so hot, all the same. Stars dance before my eyes, and it could have been delirium, but no: it’s the night sky. An endless, otherworldly expanse vaulting above my head like an exploded piñata, each star a soaring, scintillating scrap of space. I have never seen a night sky like this before; I’m quite certain, though who will take the word of an amnesiac, a fevered amnesiac, lying in the sand—the impossibly fine white sand, like snow (if only it were snow, I muse through the wool in my brain, to cool the flames within) beside her severed hand? How did I manage? How could I have cut through bone with nothing but a penknife, even if it is a high-quality, all-the-trimmings sort of blade? I have bled through my ad hoc bandages—have I? No, they’re good, if grimy.

“Water.” I want to tell the coyly twinkling stars overhead, but my cracked lips won’t cooperate. “Wa-eh,” I actually say, breathe; and tears of hurt—and gratitude, because yes, I am in fact still breathing—stream down my immobile face, pooling in the shells of my ears.

“Need.” I try next and snort because it comes out as “Nee” and this seems funny, somehow; I can’t explain.

I am waging a losing war against unconsciousness. I probably won’t wake again, I think morosely. And then, as the sky looks to be falling…falling on top of me, the very universe ready to claim me as fair game. Oh, but it’s been grand. I can’t remember the particulars, but I think I enjoyed the ride.

About The Author

Often quirky, always queer, Elna Holst is an unapologetic genre-bender who writes anything from stories of sapphic lust and love to the odd existentialist horror piece, reads Tolstoy, and plays contract bridge. Find her on Instagram or Goodreads.


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Release Blitz: Reverb by Anna Zabo

Reverb | Anna Zabo

Twisted Wishes #3

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Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date: (Print & Ebook) May 6th 2019 (E-only at the moment)

Length: (Print & Ebook) 105,000 words

Universal link: books2read.com/u/mgLQD7

Blurb

Twisted Wishes bass player Mish Sullivan is a rock goddess—gorgeous, sexy and comfortable in the spotlight.trig

With fame comes unwanted attention, though: a stalker is desperate to get close. Mish can fend for herself, just as she always has. But after an attack lands her in the hospital, the band reacts, sticking her with a bodyguard she doesn’t need or want.

David Altet has an instant connection with Mish. A certified badass, this ex-army martial arts expert can take down a man twice his size.

But nothing—not living as a trans man, not his intensive military training—prepared him for the challenge of Mish. Sex with her is a distraction neither of them can afford, yet the hot, kink-filled nights keep coming.

When Mish’s stalker ups his game, David must make a choice—lover or bodyguard. He’d rather have Mish alive than in his bed. But Mish wants David, and no one, especially not a stalker, will force her to give him up.

Warnings: Plot revolves around the stalking of a rockstar. Two scenes in a hospital. Short flashback to the start of attempted sexual assault of a minor that is quickly interrupted.

Excerpt

Mish put her hands on her hips. “I could stick you in my pocket!”

“You could try.” He grinned up at her. “But I’m well versed in taking tall people down, I have a couple of black belts, and was in the Army for twelve years. So you might not succeed.”

This time, it was her mouth that twitched up. “Might not?”

“I’m confident in my abilities, but never say never, you know?” He rocked back on the stool. “Besides, I saw the photos of your assailant. You’re tough, Sullivan.”

“Call me Mish.” Her hands were still on her hips, but her smile was wide. “Sounds like I might not need to take care of you.”

He shrugged. “I’m pretty self-sufficient.”

“But never say never?” She winked at him.

He snorted. Yeah, Mish Sullivan was something else. Beautiful. Sexy. Talented. Intelligent. Too bad she was also the job, `cause that kind of woman made his blood heat. “Life is full of surprises.”

With that, Mish stepped back and seemed to loosen up. “All right. He can stay.” She directed that bit at Ray. “But I want to see the shit you’ve been getting about me.”

Ray looked at Adrian, and Adrian raised a brow at David.

Time to earn his keep. “You should share them. Mish deserves to know what’s going on. It’s her life, and she’s right—she can take care of herself.”

“But you’re going to be guarding me.”

“Technically, I’m running security for all of you.” Technically. The threat was to Mish, so he’d be paying the most attention to keeping her safe. Still, he would look out for the whole band.

She shook her head, sending cascades of red curls around her face. “So no personal hot bodyguard just for me?”

Hot? That sent a bolt of awareness straight through him and he shifted on the seat.

Flirting wasn’t a good idea, especially with Ray and the rest of the guys right there, but he couldn’t help himself.

“Princess, if you need a personal bodyguard, I’m sure we can work something out.” He kept his tone light and humorous.

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Anna Zabo talks Reverb

Sometimes protectors need protecting, and there’s no shame in that. It doesn’t make you weak. Sometimes you have to let go of the expectations you’ve carved into yourself to be with someone. Also that the love of family and friends is just as important as romantic love.

About the Author

Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.

Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. They can be easily plied with coffee.

Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Anna uses they/them pronouns and prefers Mx. Zabo as an honorific.

Social Media

https://twitter.com/amergina

https://www.facebook.com/groups/AnnaZabo/

https://annazabo.com/

https://www.instagram.com/amergina/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6571479.Anna_Zabo

https://www.facebook.com/AnnaZabo/

http://eepurl.com/1QCZ9 (newsletter)

 


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