Tag Archives: non-binary

Blog Tour: Red Dot by Mike Karpa

Red Dot | Mike Karpa

The Dot Trilogy #1

BANNER-FB - Red Dot

Release Date: November 1st, 2021

Cover Artist: Maria Oglesby

Word Count: 77,483

Buy Links:

Publisher | Amazon

Add to Goodreads

COVER - Red Dot

Blurb

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

Well, other people. Mardy is a 26-year old gay man who dreams of being a full-time machine-tool artist. He brims with ideas, puts in the hours, and has a solid circle of friends—both fellow artists and the artificial intelligences he works with.

But he’s always coming in second to another machine-tool artist at his makerspace. He’s dealing with that, thanks to the highly effective psychotherapy of the future, but then he meets his irritatingly successful rival’s twin—and falls for him hard.

Consequences ensue, and fast, driving Mardy not just to pursue his artistic dreams, but to try to liberate his AI friends from servitude, and find love in the process.

MEME4 - Red Dot

Excerpt

Chapter 1

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

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

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

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

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

One hundred feet, fifty feet. Twenty.

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

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

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

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

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

Phil.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I want it to be a surprise.”

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

“Are you submitting?” Mardy asked.

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

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

Cat gave him a skeptical look.

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

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

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

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

MEME2 - Red Dot

About The Author

AUTHOR PIC - Red Dot - Mike Karpa

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

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

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

Social Media

Website: https://mikekarpa.com

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mumblerspress

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

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

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

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

Giveaway

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MEME3 - Red Dot

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Blog Tour: The Scars That Bind Us by Michele Notaro

The Scars That Bind Us | Michele Notaro

The Magi Accounts #1

BANNER FB - The Scars That Bind Us

Release Date: February 22nd, 2022

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Word Count: 115,631 words

Universal Link: https://mybook.to/ScarsThatBindUs

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59588128-the-scars-that-bind-us

COVER - The Scars That Bind Us

Blurb

Sometimes the worst scars are the ones you can’t see.

Growing up in the magi compound was far from easy. I didn’t think I’d ever get out of that horrid place, but eighteen years ago, my world changed. I was allowed freedoms I’d never had before, although, even today, I was still at the Non-Human Specialties Operations’ beck and call.

Which is how I find myself on a team with my best friend, five shifters, and a human.

Now, I have to figure out a way to work with others—with shifters. I’ve never been one to trust easily, and I don’t see that changing, but this shifter pride has a way of getting past my walls. Unfortunately, all that means is now I have even more people I need to protect against the evils of this world, and I really don’t know how I’m gonna do it.

All three species have been at odds for more than a century, but maybe Cosmo—a lion shifter—and I can put aside our differences to work together and keep everyone safe. And if I’m secretly crushing on the guy, well, I think I’ll keep that to myself.

Trigger Warnings: Violence, mentions of past abuse, hints of past sexual assault (nothing on-page), oppression of magi and shifters.

MEME1 - The Scars That Bind Us

Excerpt

“That sounds nice.” I hesitated, then added, “I’ve never been to a cookout before.”

He froze. “What?”

My brow furrowed. “Uh, I’ve never been to a cookout. It’s not like we had anything like that at the compound, and every mage I know who lives off-base is in an apartment.” I shrugged like it wasn’t a big deal even though I knew it was. Cookouts were a normal thing for humans and shifters. I’d seen enough of them in movies and shows, and read enough about them, to know that I’d love to go to one someday. But that wasn’t really in the cards for me.

“You’ve seriously never been to a cookout? Not even once?”

“Uh, nope. Pretty sure I’d remember something like that.”

A strangled sound came out of his throat before he rubbed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger. “Madeo…”

“What?”

“I… Jesus, I don’t even know what to say to that. I’ll have to have a cookout and invite you, Jude, and Logan.”

My eyebrows rose. “Really?” Despite myself, a strange flutter of hopefulness flitted around my chest. Which was stupid. People said things like that all the time. It didn’t mean they’d follow through.

Cos smiled softly and shoulder-bumped me. “Yeah, cat lover, really.”

I smiled up at him before entering the sandwich shop. I knew what I wanted, so I ordered, then gestured to Cos, saying, “What do you want?”

He was staring at the menu as he ordered a shit-ton of food. When he finished, paid—even though I’d tried to pay for both—and we sat down to wait, I asked, “Are you trying to feed your entire pride?”

He snorted. “No. I’ll finish it all.”

My eyes widened. “How? You’re a big guy, but you have like zero fat on you, and I’ve never seen you eat that much.”

“You’re asking me that? You’re a mage, and you just ordered an extra sandwich for yourself and a bucket of fries that I have no doubt you’ll finish off.”

“I like to save half of the second sandwich for tomorrow.”

He shook his head. “I have no idea where all this food goes on you. But for me, it takes a lot of energy, burns a ton of calories, to shift, and since I shift at least once a day, I eat a lot. I shifted a couple times yesterday and already once this morning, so I need the calories.”

“Gotcha. That makes sense. I wonder if my magic burns up some of the calories I eat?” I shrugged. “Whatever. Doesn’t matter.”

He grinned. “What are your plans for the rest of the day?”

“This is literally the only thing I have to do all day. I’m wide open. Except I don’t want to stray too far from Jude.”

He nodded. “Can I ask you a couple questions about your bond with him?”

“Uh, sure.”

“Can you feel him all the time? Even when you’re far away from each other?”

“Yes. He’s my focus, so we’d be able to find each other anyway, but it’s more than that, too. We’ve been bonded since I was three days old, so it’s completely normal to me to, uh, carry someone else in my chest.” I patted my chest where my heart was. “It’s like I can feel his heart beating right beside mine. And if he has a strong emotion, I feel it there. It’s… kind of hard to explain.”

“That was a pretty good explanation.”

I grinned. “If you say so.”

“I do.” He scratched his cheek. “Are you and Jude… involved in any other way?”

I stared at him for a few seconds, not understanding the question at first. But then I got it, and my eyes widened in horror. “Ew. Are you fucking serious? That’s… that’s… ew. No. Not even a little bit. Not ever. He’s my dyad. He’s the other half of me, and I… I wouldn’t want to date myself, right? Goddess.”

He laughed. “Okay, okay. Sorry. I didn’t realize.”

“So fucking gross.”

“Okay, so you two aren’t romantically involved. Good to know.”

“No, we’re not. Fucking duh.”

He snorted. “Alright, you don’t have to be an ass about it.”

“Pretty sure you already know I’m always an ass.”

With a grin, he reached across the table to flick my hand.

I snatched it away. “Not cool, jerkhole.”

He snorted again, then gestured to the counter. “Looks like our food’s ready. I’ll go grab it.”

“Thanks.” I watched him walk to grab the two trays of food—no way would it all fit on one—and my eyes accidentally-on-purpose strayed down to his ass.

It was a good ass. Like the rest of him, it was muscled and firm. Round. Bitable.

Thinking about biting his glorious buttcheek made me hum in appreciation out loud. And of course, Cos chose that moment to turn around. I didn’t even get the chance to look away and pretend I wasn’t ogling him before he caught me.

He had a huge grin on his smug face when he sat down and passed me my food. We started eating in companionable silence, and I thought he was going to let me get away with it without saying anything.

But then he opened his mouth and said all casual-like, “So you’re an ass man, huh?”

I almost spit out my food. “What? No. Nope.”

“Uh-huh. Real convincing, cat lover.”

I glared. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, kitty cat.”

He just grinned that smug grin at me.

MEME2 - The Scars That Bind Us

About The Author

AUTHOR LOGO - The Scars That Bind Us - Michele Notaro

Michele is married to an awesome guy that puts up with her and all the burnt dinners she makes—hey, sometimes characters are a bit distracting, and who doesn’t plot when they’re supposed to be cooking?

They live together in Baltimore, Maryland with two little monsters, three-legged and four-legged fiends, and a little old man (aka their two sons, their two cats, and their senior dog). She hopes to rescue another cat soon, and if her hubby wouldn’t kill her, she’d get more than one… and maybe a few more dogs as well.

She loves creating worlds filled with lots of love, chosen family, and of course, magic, but she also likes making the characters fight for that happy ending. She hopes to one day write all the stories in her head—even if there are too many to count!

Social Media

Website: https://michelenotaro.com/

Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013432570194

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/author.notaro/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/michelenotaro.author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16187122.Michele_Notaro

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/michelenotaro

MEME3 - The Scars That Bind Us

Giveaway

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BANNER - The Scars That Bind Us

Blog Tour: Triumph’s Ashes by Adam Gaffen

Triumph’s Ashes | Adam Gaffen

The Cassidy Chronicles Vol #5

BANNER - Triumph's Ashes

Release Date: August 15th, 2021

Cover Artist: Emily’s World of Design

Word Count: 143,000

Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UKBarnes & Noble | Kobo | Liminal Fiction | Smashwords

Add to Goodreads

COVER - Triumph's Ashes

Blurb

Viva la revolucion!

The Primus, Vasilia Newling, is facing her worst nightmares:

  • A revolution on Luna.
  • Titan and the Asteroids abandoning the Solarian Union.
  • Defections from within her own government.

All because of those damned Cassidys!

But she’s still as ruthless as ever.

And if Aiyana and Kendra thought she was playing dirty before? They’re going to see how filthy she really can get.

There isn’t room for both the Terran Federation and the Union.

This time, one is going down.

For good.

MEME1 - Triumph's Ashes

Excerpt

Habitat Njord

“Commander? Aren’t you on your honeymoon?”

Commander Daniela Garcia-Kay stopped filling her coffee cup and to stare at the questioner.

“Ma’am,” she belatedly appended.

“Better, Rat,” Garcia-Kay said, finishing the pour. “And for your information, yes, I am, but I need to stay sharp.”

She added, in a much more conversational tone, “Boomer’s been after me as well. He says that he’s still trying to integrate with his new body and I should be flying him, so…”

Rat, Ensign (JG) Judith Bastin, grinned. The Epsilon-class AI’s installed in the Direwolf fighters could be nearly human in their personalities, if encouraged by their human counterparts. A good number of the pilots of Nymeria Squadron did so, reaping the benefits of the enhanced partnership, taking after the lead of their commander.

Daniela, as the first Direwolf pilot, had led the way. She’d investigated the interests the Admiral had in 20th/21st century ‘television’ and ‘movies’, eventually arriving at ‘Boomer’ as a good name for her AI. As a result, his personality tended to be cool, calculating, and confident, with a special knack for engineering his way around problems. His level-headedness complemented Daniela’s more aggressive flying style.

“I heard they salvaged your chair,” Rat said.

“They did,” agreed Daniela. “That was about all, though.”

Her face clouded briefly at the memory. Her prior Direwolf had been ruined by a mid-space collision with another fighter during an exercise in which the other pilot had lost her life. It was the first non-action casualty the squadron had faced and it still stung.

Rat picked up on her discomfort and tried to change the subject. “How’s Boomer doing? Does he like the new ship?”

“He appreciates the new capabilities, but keeps sending me messages about how things just aren’t quite ‘right’ with it. Which is why I’m here at oh six hundred instead of in bed with my husband,” she finished, raising her mug.

“Aye, ma’am,” said Rat, raising her half-empty mug in mock salute. “Do you need a wing? I’m scheduled for the mid-watch CAP, but I have a couple hours.”

“Thanks, Rat, I’m covered. Locksmith is going out with me.”

Rat nodded. Locksmith was the XO of the second Direwolf squadron under Lt. Commander Ashlyn Bontrager. Red Squadron was officially assigned to the TFS Endeavour, but only half the fighters could fit aboard at any one time for away missions if there would be a couple of the older Wolves attached for the duration. The other half remained at Njord and did drills until the Endeavour returned.

“Catch you later, Double Dip,” Rat said and strolled out.

She had to smile. For all that Starfleet was a military organization, the formality and rigidity which plagued longer-established militaries simply didn’t exist. Given the preferences of the Admiral, it probably never would.

Daniela spent the next few minutes with her thoughts before Locksmith arrived.

Lieutenant Lexie Marsh, recently promoted, was nearly a mirror image of Double Dip. She was just as tall and built in a similar, athletic manner. Her hair, which she wore in a single long braid, was dyed a pale green which set off her emerald eyes and dark skin. Her most prominent feature, though, was her smile. It was said in her division that as long as Locksmith was smiling you were doing well. If it flickered, though, you were in trouble. Nobody knew what would happen if it disappeared. Yet.

Today, it was in full force.

“Morning, Danni,” Locksmith said, already carrying her own mug.

“Morning Lexie,” Daniela answered around another sip. “Ready for today?”

“As soon as I finish my cacao.”

“You and Commander Cassidy,” Daniela chuckled. “What is it about that stuff?”

“I could ask you the same,” countered Locksmith. “Coffee, yuck.”

“Just for that I’m going to dust you,” Daniela said.

“Hello? We’re both flying the same bird?”

“Nope. I have the first of the Mark II’s.”

Instantly Locksmith was all business.

“I didn’t think they were going to be in production until next year! That’s why my girlfriend told me, and she should know; she works at HLC, testing.”

“She’s not wrong. But someone has to break them in before they start rolling them out, and since I have the most hours in Direwolves of any pilot in Starfleet, well, the decision was simple. Mine’s one of the two-seaters, too, a training model.”

“Is the scuttlebutt true?”

Daniela laughed. “I hope so! We’ll find out today anyways.”

Locksmith put down her mug, sloshing the contents onto the table, and stood. “What are we waiting for?”

Daniela took a final swallow and led the way to the bay. After they’d done the mandatory walkarounds and pre-flight checks they each climbed into their cockpits.

“About time,” grumped her AI as she settled in.

“It’s my honeymoon,” she grumped right back. “I’m permitted.”

“It’s all well and good for you, you can get out of the ship just by standing up. Me, it takes major mechanical surgery.”

“Sorry, Boomer. Admiral’s orders. I tried to delay the wedding but she wouldn’t allow it.”

“Hmmph.”

She could tell he was somewhat mollified, though, as they ran through the power-up checklists. They’d developed enough of a rapport over the previous months that they could do the tasks almost on automatic while holding a conversation.

“How does she feel?” Daniela asked now.

“It’s different,” Boomer said. “The basic systems are all the same, except where they aren’t. It’s tough to explain.”

“Anything I need to be concerned about? Anything radically different?”

“No. Most of the changes they made are incremental, evolutionary. Like the aiming mechanism on the lasers.”

“We can aim?”

“A little. About two degrees, but it’s enough so we can do some pinpoint shooting at longer ranges.”

“Awesome!”

“If you ask me, though, I’m most impressed with the new reactor, if it works.”

“What do you mean, ‘if it works’?”

“It’s a new design. The old reactor was a laser-pumped design, while the new one is a z-pinch. If it works the way it should, we ought to achieve increased thrust as well as higher power for the other systems.”

“How much increased thrust?”

“Up to 650 g.”

Daniela allowed herself a low whistle. The Mark 1 already had the highest acceleration of any sublight craft in any fleet, 500 g, and a skilled pilot/AI combination could squeeze an extra 10 g or 20 g performance. 650 g, though, was unheard-of.

“What will I feel?” she asked. She knew she could tap her implant to get the information, but one of the reasons she and Boomer were such an effective team was she treated him as a partner. Currently, at max accel, she felt 6 g, which was eight times more than the Federation standard aboard vessels and habitats. Her nanobots prevented the lower gravity from weakening her bones and muscles, but she’d been in Starfleet since the beginning. Three-quarter g felt normal now, hence her concern.

“You’ll love this. Five g.”

About The Author

AUTHOR PIC - Triumph's Ashes - Adam Gaffen

I was born in Maine, didn’t live there for long before my parents figured out that it was too bloody cold and moved south, all the way to Massachusetts. Grew up there and in Connecticut, lived in Maryland and Indiana for a while before moving back to Maine. Lived there for twenty years before I, too, decided the winters were too long. Of course, where do you to get away from long winters? COLORADO! Naturally. Married to a wonderful, inspirational, supportive woman; between us we have five kids, five dogs, and five cats.

As for my writing, well, I’ve thrown a bunch out onto Amazon. There’s a couple Sherlock Holmes stories, a few horror-ish shorts, and then you get to my longer books: Refuge, a time-traveling take on vampire stories, and The Cassidy Chronicles. Triumph’s Ashes is the fifth book in the series and completes the Artemis War story arc.

Like I said, thanks for dropping in! You can find me on Allauthor.com, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on my website www.cassidychronicles.com.This month, I’ll be appearing on the Meet the Author Podcast/Vidcast on November 24th, so tune in and check it out! I

t’s an hour of Cassidyverse talk and it’s at https://indiebooksource.com/podcast/ I love interacting with fans, but be warned: I often add my fans into my books!

Social Media

Website: https://cassidychronicles.com

Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/adam.gaffen

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

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6587896.Adam_Gaffen

Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/adam-gaffen/

Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Adam-Gaffen/e/B009QMIW3K

Giveaway

Adam is giving away a $100 Restaurants.com gift card with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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MEME2 - Triumph's Ashes