Tag Archives: Science Fiction

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

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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

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Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

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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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Cover Reveal: Exposed by H.L Day

Exposed | H.L Day

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Cover Design: Jay Aheer of Simply Defined Art

Release Date: August 24th, 2020

Buy Link: Amazon US

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Blurb

Sometimes salvation comes from the most unlikely hero.

When Tate Gillespie is marked for death for a crime he didn’t commit, his life crumbles. In a world where ‘justice’ is meted out by a relentless military force, he’s going to need more than a mythical guardian angel.

His life down to seconds, he’s saved by the mysterious X, a knife-wielding man he’s never even met before. But who is X? Is he the man who threatens and kills without a second thought? Or the strangely gentle man who only seems to act that way around Tate?

X is a shadow. A wraith. A man who flits through the city virtually unseen. He’s got no time for people when knives are far more reliable. X does have one weakness though—the man he’s been keeping safe for years who doesn’t even know it. He’d burn the whole world to keep him alive. But what he won’t do is stake his claim. Tate’s not his and he needs to remember that, no matter how close they might become.

With the military in hot pursuit, they’re going to need to rely on X’s skills to keep them both alive. Tate’s feelings are growing with every hour they spend together, but X is a tough nut to crack. Can two people from very different backgrounds really find common ground? Or will one of the many perils they face throughout their long journey drive them apart?

It’s all about survival. Not love. Isn’t it?

Excerpt

I turned in a slow circle, my gaze raking across every nook and cranny in order to try and find out more about my mysterious… friend? Was he a friend? He’d saved my life. There was no disputing the fact. But what that made him, I wasn’t too sure. Did he want something from me? If so, what? I didn’t have anything to give him. I had some money in the bank, but nowhere near enough to make putting himself on the wrong side of the MPG worthwhile. I needed to start demanding answers from him.

Stepping back, my foot brushed something against the wall. I glanced down, expecting to see something innocuous like a rug, although my previous thoughts about soft furnishings should have told me that that wasn’t possible. In the circumstances, the scream that escaped from my throat was unavoidable. I’d barely started though, before a rough hand clamped over my mouth and stopped in its tracks. It held fast as I automatically struggled against the pressure. A hand fastened across my chest, pulling me flush against his body so that we were pressed together. Again. The only difference this time was that my back was to his front. Lips hovered by my ear. “Shhhh… we might be underground but there are vents. If you scream, someone might hear. Nod if you understand.”

Despite the surge of panic still turning my blood to fire, I managed a shaky nod, the hand fastened over my mouth shifting with the motion.

More words were spoken directly into my ear. “I’m going to let go now. Promise you won’t scream.”

I gave another nod, the fingers covering my mouth slowly loosening as X stepped away. My gaze immediately returned to the floor, nausea bubbling away inside me. “There’s a dead body in your house.”

X’s gaze followed mine, raking the prone figure in an unconcerned fashion. “I’m aware of that fact.”

“He doesn’t have a head.”

For a second, the corner of X’s mouth twitched as if he might have been considering a smile. If so, it was a pretty strange thing to find amusing. “That happens when you trespass on someone’s property.”

It all clicked into place. The tripwire. The shotgun. The corpse with the missing head. It still didn’t make it normal though. “And you just left him here?”

X tilted his head to the side. “He wasn’t really up for going for a walk.”

No matter how much I tried not to look at the body, my eyes kept straying back to it. Given the MPG’s brand of justice, I was used to death. But death by laser gun left nothing but a pile of ash. I wasn’t used to seeing bodies with nothing but a ragged stump of flesh where their head used to be. There was a sweet, cloying smell coming from it as well. Only faint, but it was still there.

X walked over to what passed as a sofa, sweeping a covering from it and laying it over the corpse. “Better?”

“Yes.” It was better. At least I could stop looking at it now. I forced myself to walk away from it until I was in the middle of the room. But when my eyes strayed over to the bed in the corner, I almost wished I still had the corpse to stare at. It suddenly struck me that I was trapped. I didn’t know how to deactivate the trip-wire myself so I’d just walked willingly into a place where I couldn’t leave. What if X’s intentions were simple? Abduct someone who wouldn’t be missed. He could keep me as some sort of sex slave. Chain me to the bed and do whatever he wanted to me. The real question though was why that thought wasn’t as repugnant as it should have been.

About the Author

H.L Day juggles teaching and writing. As an avid reader, she decided to give writing a go one day and the rest is History. Her superpower is most definitely procrastination. Every now and again, she musters enough self-discipline to actually get some words onto paper—sometimes they even make sense and are in the right order.

She enjoys writing far too many different sub genres to stick to one thing so writes everything from rom-coms to post-apocalyptic sci-fi.

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Book Blast: 2037: The End of Tolerance by Luke Mauerman

2037: The End of Tolerance | Luke Mauerman

BOOK BLAST

Publisher: Beekman Place Editions

Cover Artist: Mark Anderson

Release Date: May 21, 2019

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 235 pages

It is a standalone book.

Buy Links:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

When Gay Becomes Illegal

A novel about life in a United States gone mad, where the government falls apart, California secedes from the union, and Liberals and Conservatives finally battle each other in the streets.

It’s the Culture War, and it’s coming. Find out what to do when men and women start to get caged up just for being gay; when climate disasters unfold and wreck the economy; when the world falls apart once and for all. It’s ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ but in reverse.

Stephe Stafford, embroiled in this conflict, hopes to preserve his sanity—and even finds love along the way. In 2037 we watch Stephe, orphaned in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 2022, grow up and even blossom into his own.

New technologies and old politics weave together to form amazing possibilities and hopes—and certain dangers, too. Read about the fate of America as we move into a chilling new future. Find out what can we do when the world goes awry.

Excerpt

Republican President Mitch Kellum, elected in 2028, urged calm, but the damage was done. Calls for the election to be overturned sprang from all parts of the country. Kellum denied any wrongdoing. It was the Russians and the Chinese, he claimed, determined to destabilize the U.S.

Democrats had lost all remaining political power and the conservative U.S. Supreme Court upheld the election in predictable fashion, six to three.

It was like a bomb had gone off. Protests turned to riots. Far-right fundamentalists took to the streets in support of the election, and faced off with teeming hordes of furious liberals. A nation that had been savagely divided, blue against red, liberal against conservative for the past thirteen years, would eventually fall into violence. It finally happened in Philadelphia on November 9, 2030. Rioting liberals clashed with Freedom Fighters, neo-Nazis, and Proud Boys on Market Street at the beautiful Philadelphia City Hall building. Fisticuffs, brawls, burning cars. Shots rang out. The police, caught in the middle, fell apart; each officer defected to his or her side of the political divide and joined the fight.

The Culture War had begun.

Battlements were hastily built in the streets of Washington, DC, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, and Minneapolis. It was bedlam. The streets became littered with bodies as street fights broke out: Red versus Blue, Conservative versus Liberal.

People fled the cities only to find skirmishes in the suburbs. Ikea parking lots were battle zones. A Home Depot in Enid, Oklahoma, was burnt to the ground. Fires started everywhere.

The country spasmed in violence, hand to hand, block by block. After thirteen years of political loggerheads, the center could no longer hold. Any attempt at civil discourse fell on deaf ears. It was us against them, everywhere.

A typical confrontation would be as follows: Unarmed Liberals vastly outnumbered armed Freedom Fighters. They’d go toe-to-toe in the streets, yelling and waving signs in confrontation. Fist fights would break out. But then someone would get mad, grab their gun, and start shooting. Others would join in and the unarmed protesters would flee back behind barricades of cars, buses, dumpsters and buildings, leaving the dead and wounded in the street. It was like a form of trench warfare—and this was played out in cities and towns across the country. Attack and retreat. Attack and retreat. And anger—people were incredibly angry. They fought tooth and nail, neighbor against neighbor, family member against family member.

In San Francisco the tens of thousands of liberals lining Market Street day after day eventually found themselves being bludgeoned by Freedom Fighters. Skirmish lines fell into place along the main street and shots were fired. Freedom Fighters were hopelessly outnumbered though and, despite having guns, were quickly overpowered by the throngs of San Franciscans. They fled.

Stephe was there with Nicole. They’d come up from Harrison Street to take part in the demonstration that day. Nicole wound up hitting a neo-Nazi with her shoe, bloodying his face while Stephe—feeling nothing but cold rage—just took his rifle and hit him with it.

The National Guard had to be mobilized to quell the riots, and still it wasn’t enough. The U.S. Army and the Marines were added and took to the streets with water cannons and tear gas.

Finally the main fights in the bigger cities were quelled by force. After six bloody days the spasm ended. Thousands were dead. Many more thousands were arrested by the military and taken to separate camps, red and blue, for disturbing the peace and inciting violence.

Thus began a new Cold War as Americans could no longer speak to one another.

About the Author

Luke Mauerman is a former columnist for Bear and 100% Beef Magazines, and is well into his trilogy of books on time travel. He majored in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and currently resides in Palm Springs.

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