Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!

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Hi guys, we have J. Scott Coatsworth stopping by today with the tour for his new release Skythane, we have a fantastic excerpt, a brilliant $25 Amazon GC giveaway and Shorty’s review, so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~ 

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Skythane

(Liminal Sky: Oberon Cycle 01)
by

J. Scott Coatsworth

Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnson, a handsome, cocky skythane with a troubled past.

Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.

Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them.

.•.•.**❣️ Amazon US | Amazon UK | Publisher ❣️**.•.•.

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The Door and Other Uncanny Tales by Dmetri Kakmi Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

The Door and Other Uncanny Tales

Author: Dmetri Kakmi

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: September 28, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 46800

Genre: Horror, LGBTQIA+, sci-fi/fantasy, paranormal, horror, family-drama, crime gay, lesbian, demisexual, asexual, art/visual, ghost, body horror, prostitution, murder, abortionist, ancient evil

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Synopsis

Living paintings, spectral children, cannibal serial killers, lost souls, haunted houses, and ancient evil proliferate The Door and Other Uncanny Tales. Everywhere reality and fantasy collapse to create a new unstable world, even the body is not what it seems. Combined with Dmetri Kakmi’s gothic imagination and mordant humor, the result is fiction that is as memorable as it is unsettling.

This collection contains three new and three previously published stories, including the acclaimed Haunting Matilda, The Long Lonely Road and The Boy by the Gate.

Excerpt

The Door and Other Uncanny Tales, Dmetri Kakmi © 2020, All Rights Reserved

The Door: Chapter One
“There now,” Orestes said, standing back to admire the painting.

It hung before him from a sturdy hook on the landing of the staircase leading from the darker downstairs part of the house to the lighter upstairs, with rows of small windows and the French doors that opened on a balcony, overlooking narrow Transom Street. This had been after all, in other times, an industrial area, filled with factories, abattoirs, noise, and the stench of hard labor in the shadow of the nearby Convent of the Good Shepherd, by the river. Now the suburb was gentrified and provided accommodation for the likes of himself, Orestes Gallanos, and his partner Simon Cole, artists both, living the inner-city dream in lofty warehouse spaces.

“There now,” Orestes repeated, casting an eye over the artwork he had labored upon for almost five months, in the garage turned studio with its stuffy air and bad light. He folded his arms across a narrow chest, tilted his head to the side, and stepped back to admire the results of his efforts. Not too far back because the hardwood landing was small and he risked falling down the steps to the polished concrete floor below.

It was a splendid work, even if he thought so himself. Very effective. It achieved exactly the outcome he aimed to produce in its creation all along.

It was a door painted with oil on linen. A life-size door, seven feet in height and three feet wide, with an old-fashioned handle that gave off a pleasing brass gleam. The square frosted glass panel above complemented two vertical panels below, and he had found that working with oil allowed him to capture perfectly the desired grain and texture of wood.

He descended the stairs and studied the painting from the entrance hall. From there, should a guest visit, the painting looked like a real door, complete with architrave and wooden step to complete the illusion. Only Orestes knew that, if he should by a miracle manage to open it, there would be nothing on the other side except plasterboard. A guest ascending the stairs and brushing by the painting would assume it was a real door, leading to, presumably, a newly built room on the other side.

At that moment, the front door opened behind Orestes and Simon came in, bringing with him a cold gust of July wind. His hair was cut short and newly dyed blond to accentuate the navy in his deep-set eyes.

“Hello,” Simon said, removing the black plastic raincoat and hanging it with a sprinkle of rainwater on the coat rack. “Why are you in the dark?”

It was four-thirty in the afternoon and almost pitch-black in the hallway. Orestes pointed wordlessly at the painting; a smile played on his lips.

“Oh,” Simon uttered, coming to stand beside him. “It’s terrific. It really is.” He gave Orestes a peck on the proffered cheek. “Congratulations. Are you pleased?”

“I think so…” Orestes cupped his chin and stared at his work for a while.

Simon stepped forward, rested both forearms on the staircase handrail, and gazed at the painting with a contented sigh. Orestes bathed in the way Simon was always so genuinely enthusiastic and encouraging about his work. It gave him confidence, made him feel he was worthwhile after all.

The electric light from upstairs streamed down and fell on the painting with intensity, making it resemble a well-lit stage, set for a play.

“Any moment now the door will open,” Orestes whispered behind Simon, “and the actors will step forward to pronounce the made-up lines meant for made-up lives.”

Simon’s smile was warm when he said, “That’s what I was thinking.” Then he caught the expression on Orestes’s face. “Something’s bothering you.”

“I wondered if I should have the door slightly open.”

Simon was also a painter, of a more esoteric order, and, although slightly younger than Orestes, had strong opinions on this sort of thing.

“No,” he cried, shaking his head and glancing at the painting as if he might have to fight for its right to remain as it was. “That’d be overemphasizing it. Glass is a kind of opening for one’s perceptions even though one’s body remains shut out.”

Orestes considered. “You’re right,” he said finally. “Glass lets your eye enter the other side, but only partially, since it’s not clear glass.”

“Oh, baby,” Simon cried, coming up to Orestes and catching his wiry form in his arms. “This can be the centerpiece for a series of trompe l’oeil for your next exhibition. Imagine a whole room!” Simon twirled happily around the floor with Orestes in his arms, smiling and pressing him to his body. The room spun with them, the glass bricks of the bathroom at one end and the darkness of the garage-studio at the other. “This calls for a celebration.”

“There’s a bottle of Taittinger in the fridge,” Orestes offered.

They went upstairs. Orestes popped the champagne bottle and poured the amber liquid in tall crystal flutes inherited from Simon’s mother, Orestes’s side being poorer and lacking in luxuries and good taste. After watching Laura with Gene Tierney for the umpteenth time, they made quiet, habitual love on the couch and much later still, after watching Farewell, My Lovely for the sixth time, they crossed to the bedroom and slept soundly in their double bed, behind an elaborate wooden Japanese screen.

In the long winter’s night, the building settled with a sigh around them. It resolved its sound angles and determined lines into a world filled with peculiar, shifting disturbances, some fleeting and others lasting, deep in the mortar and concrete of the century-old foundations. The last train raced by unnoticed on the raised tracks a block away, the procession of near-empty windows piercing the night like accusations. In the early hours of the morning, when traffic slowed on nearby Hoddle Street, only the icy wind was left to prowl the empty streets. It slid past the grille pulled over the sturdy front entrance, passed through the barely discernible crack under the door, and set out feelers toward the stairs, from there to reach the painted door with the frosted glass panel and the glistening doorknob. The painting showed faint in the cold silver of a night-light left on halfway down the stairs. If there was anyone at the top of the stairs at that hour, one would have been forgiven for thinking the door looked forlorn on the landing, where people pass but rarely stop. An invitation.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read Universal Link

Meet the Author

Dmetri Kakmi was born in Turkey to Greek parents. His fictionalized memoir Mother Land was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards in Australia; and is published in England and Turkey. Dmetri also edited the acclaimed children’s anthology When We Were Young. His essays and short stories appear in anthologies. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

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Time Lost by C.B. Lewis Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Time Lost

Series: Out of Time, Book Two

Author: C.B. Lewis

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: September 7, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 114600

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+, science fiction, gay, British, detective/police officer, law enforcement, crime procedural, engineer, programmer/decoder, murder, mystery, age gap, interracial, dirty talk, spanking, outrageous flirtation

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Synopsis

A dead intruder. A missing scientist. A terrified child.

No one wants a dramatic case first thing on a Monday morning, but that’s exactly what Detective Inspector Jacob Ofori got. It should be open and shut, but scientist Tom Sanders is nowhere to be found, a dead man seems to have appeared from thin air, and the Temporal Research Institute—Sanders’s company—is strangely uncooperative about assisting with the case.

Jacob’s only source is TRI engineer, Kit Rafferty. He clearly wants to help, but there’s only so much the man can and will tell him. As more and more impossible questions mount up, Jacob finds himself facing a reality that could change his world.

Excerpt

Time Lost, C.B. Lewis © 2020, All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
At first, everyone assumed it was a burglary.

The postman was the first on the scene. He’d arrived early in the morning to make a delivery to the house in question and found the front door wedged open. No one answered when he rang the bell, so he called the police. The two constables arrived to investigate, and they were the ones who found the body.

It escalated after that.

Not even noon, Jacob thought grimly. Hell of a way to start a Monday.

His autopod shuttled along, arcing off from the main highway. As much as he missed manual controls of old-fashioned cars and early autocars, he appreciated the driverless function of the pod because it gave him time to skim through the images from the crime scene en route.

He wouldn’t get a feel for the scene until he got there, but the images let him know what he was about to walk into. There were signs of a struggle in the room where the body was found, and plenty of blood, but the rest of the house seemed undisturbed.

“Control to Delta Seven. ETA to destination?”

Jacob leaned forward and cleared the images from the display on the windscreen, bringing up his location on the map. Beyond it, he could see the country roads through the glass.

“ETA fifteen minutes, Control,” he replied, then muttered under his breath, “Into the backside of nowhere.”

It was half an hour beyond the miles of sprawling suburbs of the city in the middle of green fields and close to a forest. The nearest amenities had to be at least four miles from the building. He shook his head. What kind of person chose to live all the way out there anymore? It wasn’t as if there were a shortage of housing in the city.

A chime indicated another image had been received.

Jacob opened it up and leaned forward, frowning.

A door, barely visible, blended into the pattern of the wall. No handle, no visible hinges.

“You seeing this, sir?” Constable Foley’s voice rang through the speaker.

“I am indeed, Foley,” he said, widening the image. “Is that a safe room?”

“Looks that way, sir,” the constable replied. “The dust in front of it suggests a box was moved and recently. Looks like someone might be in there.”

Smart girl, Jacob thought with approval.

“Any response?”

“Not yet, sir, but if they were attacked—”

“They might not be capable of replying,” Jacob finished. “Keep trying.” He minimised the image and looked out through the windscreen. “I have visual on you, Foley. Be with you soon.”

Ahead of him, the house was visible between the trees. The red brick structure had to be at least two centuries old, but even from a distance, the modern touches were obvious. The windows were thick and secure. The roof had been replaced with faux slate.

The autopod purred to a halt beside the four other vehicles lining the gravel courtyard, and the door slid aside. Jacob stepped out and glanced at the other vehicles. He recognised the coroner’s transport pod, and the standard blue-and-white- patterned squad pod, but the other two were probably the homeowner’s.

Foley opened the front door to greet him.

Half his age, she hadn’t been with the force long enough to be as jaded as him yet. She smiled in greeting. “Morning, sir.”

He winced. “Say afternoon. It makes it a little more bearable.”

She laughed. “You want a summary, sir?”

“I read up on it on the way over. Any word on the owner?”

“Thomas Sanders,” Foley said, leading him toward the house. “Forty-eight. Widower with one young son. He’s a well-reputed scientist and engineer. High up in some kind of historical and scientific research program in the city, the Temporal Research Institution.”

“Have you been able to make contact with him?”

Foley shook her head, her sandy ponytail swinging. She offered him overalls to cover his suit. “We’ve tried his business and private numbers. His colleagues said he’s been on a leave of absence for health reasons for several weeks. Our best bet is the safe room.”

“Any sign of the son?”

“We assume he’s with his father,” Foley replied.

“Do we have an ID for the body yet?”

She hesitated in the hallway. “That’s the strange thing, sir. We can’t find anything on him. His prints aren’t in the system. No DNA trace either. We still need to run facial recognition, but so far, we’ve got nothing.”

“That’s not unusual.”

Foley looked at him. “There’s something off about it all. I’ll show you.”

The house was spacious inside. The lower level was split into four rooms, all branching off from a wide, sunlit hall. Foley led him down the hall and to one of the rooms at the back, her covered boots thumping on the wooden floors.

Jacob stopped in the doorway, taking a moment, then stepped across the threshold. The crime scene team was still at work.

The room appeared to be some kind of laboratory with workbenches running along one wall. Another wall was covered in old-fashioned whiteboards with all kinds of incomprehensible text and codes marked on them in half a dozen colours. Jacob studied all of it for a moment, but whatever Sanders was working on, it was far beyond Jacob’s barely adequate physics A level.

There were little machines here and there, suspended from the boards by wires. Spools of wire and gears were scattered across the floor. Several boxes had been upended from shelves and lay on their sides.

In the middle of it all, the body lay face down on the floor, a bloodied hammer close at hand.

Danni Michaels was working on the body and glanced up with a nod. “Sir.”

“Cause of death?” Jacob said, keeping his eyes off the dead man’s face.

“Looks like blunt force trauma,” Danni replied, nudging her magnifying glasses up her nose with her knuckles. “I don’t think it’s a wild guess to say the weapon was that hammer. It was a single blow, landed here.”

Jacob gritted his teeth and looked. The left side of the man’s forehead was ruptured. His eyes were open, and he had an expression of surprise on his rigid, bloody face. He was young. Maybe thirties. Dark-haired. His eyes were dark, the pupils flared wide open, but death sometimes did that. Blood had spread in a wide, sticky pool around his body. Jacob swallowed down the familiar rising acid.

Christ, he hated the messy ones.

He glanced around the room.

A pair of slippers, several steps away from the blood pool, had left bloody prints on the polished floor. The owner must have kicked them off, and they’d ended up at least three feet from each other. Not good shoes for running, slippers. If he—men’s slippers, size nine approximately—had already knocked down the man on the floor, then there had to be another assailant whom he was running from.

“Any sign of this man’s accomplice?”

“Accomplice?” Foley asked.

Jacob gestured to the slippers. It was easier than looking at the body. “You don’t try and run from an unconscious, nearly dead man. There was someone else here.”

“We haven’t seen any sign of anyone else,” Foley replied. “Sorry, sir. I didn’t even notice that.”

He offered her a brief smile. “That’s why I’m a DI, Foley.” He motioned to the body. “You said there was something off?”

Foley nodded, crouching by the body. “Take a look at his right eye.”

Jacob went down beside her, propping his forearms on his knees. It took him a moment, but then he saw what she was pointing out: The pupil wasn’t blown. There was no iris at all.

“What the hell…” He leaned closer. “Michaels, can I borrow your magnifiers?”

She handed them over and obligingly shone the torch over the man’s eyes. “Clever, isn’t it?”

Jacob peered down and frowned. “A synthetic bionic eyeball? Is that even possible?”

Michaels shook her head. “I’ve heard of people developing them, but I’ve never heard of any successful trials.” She squatted by the body and grinned. “I can’t wait to get it out and see what it’s made of.”

“And there’s one of those images I didn’t need,” Jacob murmured, peering through the magnifier again. The pupil seemed to be a focusing lens. High-quality, high-end technology. “Foley, have you checked anywhere that might carry tech this advanced?”

“We’re putting together a list,” she said. “But from what we’re hearing back, this is off the charts, sir. No one has heard of technology like this before, or if they have, they’re not telling us about it.”

He straightened up. “You said this Sanders was a scientist?”

“Doctor in physics and engineering,” she confirmed.

“Could he have made something like this?”

She hesitated. “From all accounts, he didn’t deal in human biology or bio-artificing.”

“Doesn’t mean he couldn’t.” Jacob ran a hand over his face. “Well, if we can’t find this man by standard identification, maybe we can find him by the eye he doesn’t have. Danni, we need all the information you can get us as soon as possible.”

“Sir,” Danni said at once.

Jacob turned to Foley. “Where’s Singh?”

“Still trying to get into the safe room.” She jerked her head. “This way.”

The safe room was up the stairs in what appeared to be a playroom. Windows lined one of the walls, the others covered in posters and drawings. Kids’ toys and games were scattered all over the place. Singh was working his way along the one blank wall with a scanner.

Jacob took in the mess. “You said Sanders has a son?”

“Ben,” Foley confirmed.

“About eight?”

Foley looked at him in surprise. “Seven and a half. Is this another one of those detective things?”

Jacob chuckled. “This time, it’s one of those dad things.”

Singh glanced over his shoulder at them, sighing in frustration. “Foley, I know you said to scan for a high intensity of fingerprints on the wall, but this whole wall is fingerprints.” He nodded at Jacob. “Afternoon, sir.”

“Singh.” Jacob approached, studying the wall. “It’s very smoothly done, isn’t it?” He rubbed his short beard thoughtfully with his fingertips. “No visible buttons or latches anywhere?”

“None we could find,” Foley said. “I thought it might be a pressure-point system, but seems not. We requested an expert, but they’ve been delayed.”

“I think we need to un-delay them,” Jacob said, touching his earbud to activate it. “If Sanders is wounded and inside there, we need to get him out. If not, we need confirmation, because this could be an abduction.”

While they waited, Jacob had gone down to the laboratory to take another look at the whiteboards. He didn’t see what it had to do with Sanders’s work at the Temporal Research Institution. A quick search suggested the institution specialised in identifying historical discrepancies and confirming historical events. It could be something to do with locating old records and creating algorithms, he supposed. You would need a specialised engineer to do that.

“Sir?”

Jacob turned. “Foley?”

“The smith is here. I thought you might want to be present if he can open the door.”

They headed back up the stairs to the playroom. The body had been removed in the hour before the locksmith arrived, the crime scene unit now working their way out from the house across the grounds, searching for trace evidence of the intruders.

The locksmith was already working on the wall with a scanning device.

“Apparently,” Singh said, joining them, “all safe room doors come installed with a registration chip, in case the mechanism needs to be deactivated in an emergency.”

“Not unlike this,” Jacob observed. “Useful.”

The locksmith glanced over. “It’s a recent make. Give me two minutes.”

In the end, he took less than thirty seconds, and the door swung outward.

Inside, there was a room big enough for a family, but only one person was there. A small tawny-haired boy shrank back into the corner of the room, his arms wrapped around his legs, his face bone-white.

Jacob motioned for the smith and the two constables to back off, and crouched a couple of feet away from the door.

“Hey,” he murmured.

The boy was shivering, and tears rolled down his face from swollen, red-rimmed eyes.

Jacob took out his badge, laid it on the floor, and slid it across to the boy. “It’s okay. I’m a policeman. My name’s Jacob.” He watched as the boy tentatively leaned forward and looked at the badge. “Are you Ben?”

The boy nodded. “Where’s my dad?” His voice shook as much as he was.

“We’re trying to find him now.” Jacob offered a hand. “Do you want to come out? You don’t need to stay in there.”

“Dad told me to stay here.” Ben wrapped his arms tighter around his legs. “He told me to, until he came to get me.”

“I know.” Jacob knelt and sat back on his heels. “We want him to come and get you, too, Ben, but right now, I think he’d want you to be safe, don’t you? How about we keep you safe?”

“P-promise?”

Jacob nodded. “Promise.”

Ben got unsteadily to his feet. His trousers were sodden, and there was vomit on the front of his shirt. The poor kid must have been terrified. Jacob knelt up, offering both his hands, and Ben’s icy fingers wrapped around his.

“There you go,” Jacob said as gently as he could, drawing Ben back out. “You’re safe now.”

The little boy gave a sob and stumbled forward and wrapped his arms around Jacob’s neck, clinging to him. Jacob scooped him up and rose to his feet with the boy in his arms. He rubbed his hand in circles on Ben’s back.

“You’re okay,” he murmured. “You’re okay.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

C.B. Lewis has been making up nonsense since she was able to talk. Now, she puts it into computers and turns it into books. She is chuffed to bits to officially be yet another one of the collective of authors from Edinburgh. Find C.B. Lewis on Facebook.

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Innovation Anthology Blog Tour, Unique Excerpt & Giveaway!

Innovation

Queer Sci Fi’s sixth annual flash fiction anthology is here 

Innovation

and there’s a giveaway too!

IN-NO-VA-TION (Noun)

1) A new idea, method, or device.

2) The introduction of something new.

3) The application of better solutions to meet unarticulated needs.

Three definitions to inspire writers around the world and an unlimited number of possible stories to tell. Here are 120 of our favorites.

Migration features 300-word speculative flash fiction stories from across the rainbow spectrum, from the minds of the writers of Queer Sci Fi.

Other Worlds Ink | Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads


Giveaway

Queer Sci Fi is giving away your choice of a $20 Amazon gift card OR a print copy of four of the other five flash fiction books in the series – Flight, Renewal, Impact, and Migration (US only unless you are willing to pay the shipping outside the US) with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpts

Innovation meme
“The fields are overgrown, have been for years with all the Bios underground. The wind kisses the grass in serpentine patterns long forgotten, patterns the Bios couldn’t imagine anymore. My mechanical hand stores the seed envelope in the mechanical pocket in my androgynous torso. In these suits, there is no gender. Gender is, always has been, in the mind. And I am finally, unequivocally, female.” —Seed, by Val Muller

“No one in the village knew what the Change would bring. They never saw it happen. They only knew what they had been promised: the Change would bestow three gifts.” —A New Way, by Rory Ni Coileain

“The girl kissed her, hard. Then backed away, grinning, teasing, drawing her to the end of the hallway and a flight of stairs leading downward. She took two steps and gazed back up at Lilian, one hand outstretched. Her brilliant red lipstick wasn’t even smudged. Her skin glowed in the harsh white torchlight.” —The Thing With the Bats, by Mary Francis

“Interspecies sex is outlawed on the Freespec Interplanetary Space Station. Politicians call it a safety measure. But I’ve been in the Medical Corps for half my lifecycle, and I call it criminally negligent prudery. Leaders would rather let innocents die needlessly—punctured by sperm darts and dissolved in sacks of voltaic pleasure mucus—than give them the knowledge to express their feelings safely.” — Are My Underwater Sperm Darts Normal?, Brenna Harvey

“The bell’s brassy gong echoes through the flat; the walls blush crimson. See, see! He’s at my door. The live feed shows him sniff his armpit; cup his breath. He wants to impress, but I’m impressed already. His lips softly part; he brushes them with stubby fingers, as he waits. Ugly fingers. Ugly hands. Scrawny neck. Milky eyes. But those lips, see, they’re perfect, just perfect. Plump n’ pale, a slither of my future.” —Just perfect, by Redfern Jon Barrett

“Lekke looked down over the valley, First People’s home for as long as any tales or dreams could tell. Now only Spirit Dreamer Manoot, neither he nor she but both, and Lekke, elder healer, were left. Lifetimes of Long-legs’ raids had driven First People to their deaths—or, some few, to the Way. If there truly was a Way.” —Going Back,” by Sacchi Green

“Savinna limped into her lover’s workshop, her hip still sore from tangling with the marabbecca which had knocked her into its well before she managed to kill it. Such was the life of a monster hunter. Not at all surprised to see Larissa hunched over her bench, hard at work tinkering with something, Savinna ghosted her hand over Larissa’s back.” —Those Who Hunt Monsters, by Jana Denardo

“The baby cried as Freya lowered the bartering bucket into the wishing well. Many had come to the tree-shrouded clearing to make exchanges—a bushel of azure apples for a sword, a woven blanket for a day of rain. The well had been the final creation of a thousand-year-old inventor. But dead wizards often don’t anticipate how their gifts birth consequences.” —The Bartering Bucket, by Diane Callahan


Unique Excerpt

Antlers

by KA Masters

“You will never fit in.”

Tibullo flinched at his father-in-law’s words. Swallowing carefully, he replied, “I don’t care.”

The aged halfhart snorted, pawing the ground in frustration. “A Cerven and a centaur! It just doesn’t happen.”

“It does now,” he shrugged.

“You will trample him in your sleep, you brute!”

Tibullo rolled his eyes. “I am hardly a hand taller than your son, Pricket.”

“You will poison him with your damned Cold Iron horseshoes,” the halfhart added with a sneer.

The centaur raised a hoof in defiance. “The first day I met Luzio, I ripped them off. I only needed them to travel over the mountains to get here. I don’t need them anymore.”

Pricket swished his white tail in aggravation. “You will never give him fawns. His mother and I will never have grandchildren.”

“The forest is full of orphans. Luzio and I want to adopt,” Tibullo countered, waiting a moment before adding, “Whether you and Willow will accept them as grandchildren is up to you.”

“Do you think he will be happy with you?” Pricket asked quietly.

Tibullo’s breath hitched at the sincerity of the question. “He is my soulmate. I will do whatever it takes to make sure he is happy.”

“What about his family? His social status?”

“Whatever it takes,” Tibullo repeated.

Pricket shook his head. “You will never fit in, looking like that. So wear this,” the halfhart added, handing Tibullo a crown of antlers.

Tibullo gasped in surprise. His fingers shook as he fumbled with the knots and laces.

“Here,” Pricket grumbled. Tibullo knelt down so that his father-in-law could help him secure the gift to his temples.

“I…” Tibullo spluttered, undone.

“Everyone in our clan has antlers,” Pricket explained. “Now you do, too.”


Author Bios

120 authors contributed stories for this volume:

  • Adrik Kemp
  • Alex Silver
  • Alex Stargazer
  • Allan Dyen-Shapiro
  • Andi Deacon
  • Andrea Speed
  • Andrew Vaillencourt
  • Ava Kelly
  • Barbara Johnson-Haddad
  • Barbara Krasnoff
  • Beáta Fülöp
  • Benoit Lafortune
  • Blaine D. Arden
  • Bob Milne
  • Brenna Harvey
  • Brooke K. Bell
  • L. McCartney
  • Cassidy Frazee
  • Chet Gottfried
  • Chloe Spencer
  • Chris Bannor
  • Christine Wright
  • Christopher Koehler
  • Clare London
  • J. Clarke
  • M. Rasch
  • David Gerrold
  • Devon Widmer
  • Diane Callahan
  • L. Harrison
  • Romeis
  • D.E. Bell
  • M. Hamill
  • Edie Montreux
  • Elaine Burnes
  • Eloreen Moon
  • Emilia Agrafojo
  • Emma Johnson-Rivard
  • Eric Warren
  • Evelyn Benvie
  • Gareth Worthington
  • Ginger Streusel
  • Howard V. Hendrix
  • Needham
  • Zachary Pike
  • S. Garner
  • Jade Black
  • James Alan Gardner
  • Jamie Lackey
  • Jana Denardo
  • Jasie Gale
  • Jeff Jacobson
  • Jennie L. Morris
  • Jet Lupin
  • Jon Miller
  • Jonathan Fesmire
  • Joshua Ian
  • Julian Maxwell
  • Kitts
  • L. Townsend
  • S. Marsden
  • KA Masters
  • Katelyn Cameron
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  • Kim Fielding
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  • LC Treeheart
  • Lee Jordan
  • Lee Soeburn
  • Lou Sylvre
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  • Maria Zoccola
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  • Mary Francis
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  • Matt Doyle
  • Mere Rain
  • Milo Owen
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  • Nathan Alling Long
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  • Nina Kiriki Hoffman
  • Noah K. Sturdevant
  • Patricia Scott
  • Paul Uebler
  • E. Carr
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  • Raine Norman
  • Ray Lidstone
  • RE Andeen
  • Redfern Jon Barrett
  • Rory Eggleston
  • Rory Ni Coileain
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  • S S Long
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  • Sean Ian O’Meidhir
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  • Shannon Yseult
  • Skip J. Hanford
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Glorious Day by Skye Kilaen Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Glorious Day

Author: Skye Kilaen

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 3, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 23500

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+, sci-fi, lesbian, bisexual, bodyguard, royalty, social unrest, disability, depression, power imbalance

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Synopsis

Elsenna Hazen left spaceport security and ended up a royal bodyguard. She should have known better than to fall in love with a princess.

It’s been two years since one ill-advised kiss in the garden pulled them apart. With uprisings in the streets, the nervous princess transfers Elsenna back into her service. Her Highness has no idea Elsenna is leaking data to the revolutionaries bent on overthrowing the princess’s oppressive father.

Now Elsenna wakes up each day wondering what will happen first: her own execution, or that of the woman she could never stop loving. When rebel attacks escalate and the king plans retaliation, Elsenna discovers that the fights for her love and her life are one and the same.

Excerpt

Glorious Day, Skye Kilaen © 2020, All Rights Reserved

It had been difficult that morning to fit treason in around my duties as vice-captain of the castle complex’s security forces. Every professional conversation had taken twice as long as it should have. When His Majesty, the Most Victorious Born on the 24th Day of Winter, the King of Iospary, was finally overthrown for corruption and tyranny, I would not miss the part of my job where incompetent colleagues argued with me.

Of course I wouldn’t miss it because I’d be dead. With so much blood on my hands since the last change in rulers, I had no illusions. My acts of sedition over the last two years wouldn’t save my soul, let alone my head. Not after serving this king for so long.

By the time I won the latest personnel allotment struggle with my overly promoted counterpart in spaceport security, it was almost the middle of the day. I took a short walk outside. Anyone who saw me found somewhere else to be—a common reaction to the combination of my height and my uniform—so I had privacy to drop the latest data packet to the rebels. I used the comm behind my ear to access a secure channel I could only hope stayed that way. While the packet uploaded, I found a terrace where I could look down at the city. The apartment blocks were overcrowded, the hospitals neglected. Businesses paid extortionate taxes to fund the lavish lifestyles of the king and his favorites. Hopefully not for much longer.

Data sent, I returned to the security center, crowded with surveillance screens and too many desks for the small room, and settled down to work.

“Vice-Captain Hazen,” one of the guards said from behind me. “You have a call.”

“I’ll call them back.” Whoever it was, my patience for bullshit had run out, and the duty roster for this week needed finalizing.

“Ma’am,” the guard said again, nervous this time. “It’s the princess. She asked for you specifically.”

The security center went silent around me. Her Highness, the Most Glorious Born on the 13th Day of Spring, the Crown Princess of Iospary, did not personally call the security center. She had staff for making calls, and assigned bodyguards as well.

I’d been one of them once.

Lest anyone think I was hesitating, I transferred the call to my comm. “Your Highness, this is the vice-captain on duty. What may we do for you?”

“Hello, Elsen—Vice-Captain. Are you free for a short conversation? I hope I’m not interrupting anything crucial. I know you have many more responsibilities now.”

I’d thought to go the rest of my days without hearing that voice again. I was grateful I’d learned long ago not to show my emotions on my face. I couldn’t imagine what would be there now. Two guards near the door had gotten up, ready to move in case of an emergency. I signaled for them to stand down.

“Your Highness,” I replied. “Of course.”

“I wish to ask a favor of you, if I may,” the princess began. Then she paused so long I began to wonder if she was making this call in secret, and someone had walked into the room. Or maybe things were this awkward between us after more than two years with no direct contact. “I have heard rumors of disturbances. I hoped you might provide a briefing. In person.”

I needed a deep breath. I tried to take it silently. Here she was, speaking with me for the first time since our long-ago night in the garden, and she wanted news about the movement to bring her father down.

Not that I would want it to be a personal call. The further apart I kept memories of her from my current activities, the better. During my sleepless nights, I already struggled to avoid imagining what might befall her when the end came. That the rebels would distinguish her innocence from her father’s guilt was unlikely; the chance I would be in any position to change that even smaller.

“Your Highness,” I said once I’d composed myself. “I would be happy to arrange for the appropriate royal advisor—”

“No,” she interrupted, polite but firm. “Thank you, but I would prefer to hear from you. If you…would be so kind.”

All three guards were watching me now, curious.

“Immediately, Your Highness.”

She made a soft noise of disagreement, a sound so familiar, but one I hadn’t heard in what felt like a lifetime. “At your convenience. I have no plans outside my rooms until this evening. Please call when you’re on your way.”

“Yes, Your Highness.”

“Goodbye. Vice-Captain.”

The call disconnected.

I stared down at my screen again, though the schedule I’d been preparing was now a blur. When those around me concluded they’d get no further entertainment, the regular sounds of the security center picked up again: chairs squeaking, guards talking with others in the castle or stationed around the sprawling royal complex, an occasional cough or frustrated mutter.

The king’s staff could advise his daughter in a way he’d find palatable. Surely the princess would have been steered in that direction if she’d expressed misgivings to her own people about whatever she’d overheard. There was no reason for her to call the security center—to call her former bodyguard—directly.

Unless she was in trouble.

The last time I’d seen her, in a corner of the Fall Gardens after her birthday dance, I’d let my heart get the better of me. I’d held her. Kissed her. Would have done more if not for the chasm between her station and mine.

I put away the unfinished guard duty schedule, stood, and pulled on my jacket.

“Vice-Captain,” Mbala said. “We have a vehicle fire in one of the garages near the outer wall. Fire suppressors are malfunctioning. A truck is on its way, but it’s drawing a crowd.”

I wished I could believe this was one of his practical jokes, but not with how this day had been going so far. “Have Proce take a team over.” My fellow vice-captain could stand to get his hands dirty for a change, even if he was off-shift.

“He’s across the river on a personal errand.”

Damn. We were stretched too thin for me to delegate this. I thought about letting the whole thing burn, but that would draw the wrong kind of attention. “I’m on it.”

If the princess was in trouble, hopefully it wouldn’t get worse over the next few hours.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Skye started writing fiction in elementary school on a Smith Corona electric typewriter because that’s all people had back in the early 1980s. She didn’t realize she wanted to read and write romance until much later, when it finally dawned on her that she adored X-Men comics for the soap opera aspect as much as for the superpowers.

Now she writes queer romance, both contemporary and science fiction, that is mostly F/F and F/M with queer main characters. Her work is sometimes polyam and usually at least a bit geeky. After all, she does some of her writing in her local comic book shop.

She is bi, and she currently lives in Austin, Texas because of all the libraries and breakfast tacos.

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A Fine Mess by Angel Martinez Blog Tour, Shax Interview, Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!

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Hiya peeps! We have Angel Martinez stopping by today with the tour for her new release A Fine Mess, we have a brilliant interview with Shax, a great excerpt, a fantastic $25 Mischief Corner Books GC giveaway and we also have Shorty’s review, so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Mel~

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A Fine Mess

(Brimstone 07)
by

Angel Martinez

Beware the demon prince who’s sick and tired of running.

Federico Duomo is dead, to begin with. But this is only the first bit of Shax’s problems resolved. Powerful crime lords and an obscenely wealthy oligarch are still determined to destroy him and his crew, and Fluffy’s original owner may be coming after the Brimstone now, too. It would be splendid to be able to take on one thing at a time.

Adding to the external conflicts, life on board the Brimstone has only grown increasingly stranger. Shax has no idea what to do with the seven partly human children that Heckle rescued from slavers. Heckle himself has grown short-tempered, even with Mac. Someone from Julian’s past catches up to them on Barbary. It’s enough to put a demon off his cinnamon buns.

Shax isn’t panicking, though. In fact he’s had it up to his handsome royal nose with the people he loves having to live in constant fear. The fox has turned at bay and the Brimstone’s enemies are in for a shock. The demon prince of thieves is coming for them.

.•.•.**❣️ Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Apple | B&N ❣️**.•.•.

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Supernova Soul by Matthew J. Metzger Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Matthew J. Metzger stopping by today with his new release Supernova Soul, we have a great excerpt and a fantastic $10 NineStar GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Mel~

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Supernova Soul

(Roche Limit 02)
by

Matthew J. Metzger

The Swift is gone.

Weeks after the catastrophic power failure that triggered the evacuation in the first place, the ship has powered up and taken flight, abandoning its jettisoned escape pods deep in uncharted space. Stranded with dwindling supplies and no way of calling for help, Hélène LeFebvre needs a plan. Or at least somewhere to bury the dead.

Hélène isn’t a people person at the best of times, and trying to build a new comms array on a hostile alien moon is definitely not the best of times. Her only help is a nurse who won’t stop praying, a pilot whose attitude adjustment could take several centuries, three maintenance crew gambling with coffee beans to pass the time, a homicidal cook, and a medical officer convinced that the unseen monsters that stalk their pods at night are there for him personally.

All too aware they’re running out of time, Hélène doesn’t have time for their flaws, or to examine her own. She can’t afford to be human if she’s going to save them.

But perhaps she needs to remember she’s human in order to save herself.

Warning: discussions of homophobia and transphobia, misgendering, a depiction of past child abuse, off-page suicides, and the deaths of side characters

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

Continue reading “Supernova Soul by Matthew J. Metzger Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!”

The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth Blog Tour, Unique Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!

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Hi peeps! We have J. Scott Coatsworth visiting today with the tour for his brand new RE-release The Stark Divide, we have a brilliant unique excerpt, a fantastic $25 Amazon GC, & a signed paperback set of his Oberon Cycle trilogy giveaway and my review, so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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The Stark Divide

(Liminal Sky: Ariadne Cycle Trilogy 01)
by

J. Scott Coatsworth

Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

.•.•.**❣️ Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

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Facets of the Nether by William C. Tracy Blog Tour, Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have William C. Tracy stopping by today with the tour for his new release Facets of the Nether, we have a brilliant guest post, a great excerpt and a fantastic $10 Amazon GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Facets of the Nether

(The Dissolution Cycle 02)
by

William C. Tracy

Sam has saved the Assembly of Species, but at a terrible cost. Locked in his apartment, his memories gone and his best friend abducted, he is once again crippled with anxiety. Meanwhile, Enos struggles to free her brother from imprisonment, alone for the first time in her life. Her true species has been revealed, and there are hints the deadliest of her kind survived an ancient war.

But the Nether contains more secrets. A musical chime disrupts daily life, signaling changes to its very fabric. To solve this mystery, Sam must face his anxiety and confront truths about his memories and unique abilities. Only then can he save his friends from the machinations of the Life Coalition, by understanding the reality behind the Facets of the Nether.

.•.•.**❣️ Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

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The Pet and his Duke by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus Blog Tour, Excerpt & Review!

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Hi guys! We have Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus popping in today with the tour for their new release The Pet and his Duke, we have a fantastic exclusive excerpt and Shorty’s review so check out the post and enjoy! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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The Pet and his Duke

(a Virasana Empire novel)
by

Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus

Robert is a pet, a human pleasure slave, and well past his prime.

So when teenage Duke Thomar of Aylian buys him via mail order, Robert first suspects a dreadful misunderstanding. The duke is young, handsome and headstrong, and the very last thing he needs while struggling to secure his reign over his planet is an aging bargain bin pet by his side.

Only, the more time Robert spends with Thomar, the more he learns that the young duke rarely makes mistakes. Unless, of course, Thomar dashes off on one of his mad adventures, which Robert increasingly becomes a part of…

‘The Pet and his Duke’ is a standalone m/m romance novel in the ‘Virasana Empire’ universe. Written by Rainbow Book Award winners Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus, it is a story of self-determination and love, and Happily-Ever-Afters in the most unlikely places.

.•.•.**❣️ Amazon US | Amazon UK | Publisher | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords ❣️**.•.•.

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Mating the Enemy by Shea Balik Audio Tour, Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Shea Balik has a new MM paranormal dystopian romance out in eBook and audio formats:

Mating the Enemy.

Siberian Tiger shifter, Aleksi Rykov, is amused to watch the enemy chasing one of their own, psy, Seth Tilton, until he realizes it’s his mate. Rescuing his mate isn’t difficult for the powerful Alpha but keeping his mate safe from the war raging between their races may be more difficult.

Seth is taking a chance running to the one man he knows can keep him safe, Aleksi. Seth knows the psy’s secrets and the psy will do anything to get him back but with Aleksi’s help Seth can help turn the tide of the war and uncover the horrible truth. The question is will Aleksi be willing to help the enemy?

Both sides are against their mating and doing their best to tear the two apart but Aleksi and Seth are determined to stay together against all odds. Can Aleksi and Seth manage to find happiness by mating the enemy?

Amazon eBook | Audible Audio | Amazon UK

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Giveaway

Shea is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter:

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Exclusive Excerpt

Mating the Enemy audio meme
With a jerk of his head he silently told his second-in-command and enforcer to leave them alone. He knew they wouldn’t completely leave but they would give them some space. Alek was sure Seth would be embarrassed once the Psy realized he was seeking comfort in his arms.

Sure enough, after a few more minutes, Alek felt Seth’s body stiffen as he pulled away so fast, he almost fell on his ass. Not that Alek would have let that happen, but Seth seemed to be even more embarrassed at his clumsiness.

An adorable blush stained his mate’s face, which Alek was wise enough not to mention. Needing to reassure his mate, Alek reached out once more to Seth, but the man stepped back too quickly. A low growl from deep in his chest rumbled out.

The shocked look in Seth’s eyes tinged with fear pissed Alek’s tiger off. He’d already told the man he was safe. Then to see his mate back away from him set his tiger to pacing in anger. Who was he kidding? It wasn’t just his tiger that was ticked.

“I–I’m so–sorry.”

A steady sound of growls continued to come from Alek with each step Seth took.

“I di–didn’t mean to…” Seth audibly swallowed as his eyes darted around.

Alek didn’t know if he was looking for help or a way to escape, nor did he care. He stalked his mate, his strides much longer than the Psy’s.

When he stood just a hair’s breadth away, Seth said, “I didn’t mean to touch you. Please, I promise not to do it again.”

Alek felt like he’d been sucker punched as he stood there not sure what to say. Part of him was furious Seth could even say he’d never touch Alek again. But more importantly he felt the overwhelming need to prove to his mate just how wrong he was.

Before Seth knew what was happening Alek reached out and pulled Seth against him once again. He heard Seth gasp but before he could say anything, Alek’s mouth captured his, demanding entrance.

As Seth’s lips parted, Alek didn’t waste any time plunging his tongue deep within the recesses of his mouth, making sure the Psy understood who he belonged to. When he heard Seth’s moan of surrender, Alek’s beast nearly purred.

Heaven. This had to be what heaven was. Seth’s taste flooded his senses as he delved into each nook and cranny of his mate’s sweet mouth. Sweeping his tongue along Seth’s bottom lip he slowly pulled away but not letting more than an inch or two separate them, keeping his arms firmly locked around his mate.

“You are mine.” Alek nearly winced at how rough his voice sounded stating that. “And while I would never force you to touch me, I would be greatly disappointed if you didn’t.”

The dazed, confused look on Seth’s face had Alek smiling in pride. He didn’t know how he needed this man so quickly, but Alek wasn’t about to give him up now.

© 2020 Shea Balik


Author Bio

Shea Balik logo
Bestselling author of the Cedar Falls Series, Miracle Series, and Paranormal Wars Series, Shea Balik has always had a vivid imagination with stories running around in her head. Often her stories are taken from observations of other people with her own spin. Traveling is one of her favorite ways of fulfilling her passion of people watching. You never know, one day you may spark her imagination for her next book.

Whether at home or traveling she is usually in front of her computer writing or curled up with a good book. Find Shea at any of the links below!

Author Website: https://www.sheabalik.com

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

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

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sheabalik/

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://queeromaceink.com/author/sheabalik

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Shea-Balik/e/B00LX82KHE

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The Qinali Virus by Valerie J. Mikles Blog Tour, Guest Post & Excerpt!

The Qinali Virus

Valerie J. Mikles has a new queer sci fi book out:

The Qinali Virus

Rage. Poverty. Disease.

They’re gone. Every last one.

The cost was great. The population has been devastated. But for the survivors, utopia has arrived.

Then the suspicious death of a young person forces Amber to question her world like she never has before. The Contentedness Council is after her, determined to protect their perfect society. Now Amber must unbury her city’s repressed past, expose the crimes that led to their utopia, and find a way to stop the Council from killing the world… again.

Join astral-projecting asexual Amber and her telepathic sister as they fight to save the human race from extermination!

Get It on Amazon


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10 Random Things about Amber Delouise

1, Amber is the only person in her city who inherited the power of astral projection. Most of the previous generation who had the ability died in a war with astral beings, who then put up shields to prevent humans from getting to the astral plane. This is why Amber’s astral projections appear as physical bodies.

2, Amber is the oldest of six kids. Only two of her siblings have opted to use gendered pronouns. Amber sometimes wishes that she hadn’t switched to gendered pronouns.

3, Amber loves to read and learn new things. Her family calls her “Book Dragon” because she hoards books. She enjoys “library mining.”

4, Amber prefers eating lunch alone, but she appreciates that her friend Mara always invites her anyway.

5, Amber has realized that the therapy she was forced to go through after the death of her mother may have made her forget something important about her city’s history.

6, Amber has never had a crush.

7, Amber speaks math as a second language.

8, Amber prefers technologically advanced clothes called “basics.” They repel stains and sweat.

9, Amber compares her obliviousness to sexual and romantic signals to colorblindness. She doesn’t notice when people are flirting with her, even when they point it out. What were you doing? And What did you want?

10, Amber’s favorite science is astronomy. She’s happiest when she’s at the telescope, using it to uncover the secrets of the universe. She gets bored at her day job—using telescopes to track space debris.


Excerpt

The Qinali Virus Meme

Jenise gasped. “Don’t do it.”

“Don’t call for help?” Amber asked, setting the tablet aside. “This is an astral injury. Maybe someone back home can help you.”

“No, please,” Jenise whimpered.

Amber felt her body vibrating and heard a ringing in her ears. The world became hazy and she saw her physical body collapsed on the ground. She hadn’t moved, and when she reached to the side, her hands passed through everything. This was how her book had described the astral plane.

“I did it! I’m here,” she squealed. Then she saw Jenise lying on the ground. A needle-like splinter pierced Jenise’s brain, and her aura seemed to ooze from the wound.

“Oh, this… this is bad…” Amber stammered, gathering the oozing essence back toward Jenise. Her hand went right through the glowing ooze and Jenise’s body. “How can I help you if I can’t touch you? What did the book say?”

“She’s coming for me,” Jenise murmured. Her physical form twitched, the red welts spreading as the needle dug deeper into her brain. Amber tried to clamp Jenise’s chin, but Jenise’s body passed through hers, so she grabbed the needle, and suddenly Jenise went still. She saw the needle because Jenise had described the needle. It was a manifestation of an injury; not a physical injury.

“I can manipulate a manifestation,” Amber murmured. Moving gingerly, Amber extracted the needle from her sister’s brain, and Jenise started to scream.

“Do you want me to stop?” Amber asked. Jenise kept screaming, oblivious to the question.

Gritting her teeth, Amber removed more of the needle, and her sister’s essence gushed from the wound. Amber blew gently on the oozing liquid and it seemed to dissolve into her sister’s skin. Once the needle was out, she molded her hands around her sister’s head, trying to close the wound. Her hands kept passing through Jenise’s skull, making her twitch. Amber didn’t like astral surgery, and she hoped she was helping.

“They’re coming,” Jenise murmured, her hands flailing, passing through Amber’s astral body. She felt her form vibrate and a ringing sound filled her ears.

“No. No, I’m not finished!” Amber cried, feeling an anchor pulling her back to her physical form. She curled into a fetal position, fighting to get back to the astral plane.

Jenise rolled onto her side and spooned behind Amber. “We have to run,” she rasped. “Someone’s coming.”

“Who? Is it Parey? Someone from the Council?” Amber asked. Amber heard the truck now, its wheels crushing the dirt and gravel as it came down the road from Highmere.

“I can’t tell,” Jenise rasped. “Don’t give up, Amber. Don’t go back.”

Amber sensed Jenise’s urgency, but when she saw the truck, she felt relieved. Running meant more isolation and uncertainty. What if Jenise wasn’t really better? Going back to Highmere made sense.

“Let’s go home,” Amber said. “You were scared, Jenise. We were scared. We can say… I don’t know. They’ll give us counseling and then we can go back to our lives.”

“I don’t want to go to brainwashing therapy,” Jenise said.

“Stop calling it that,” Amber explained.

“You don’t even know, do you?” Jenise said. “You don’t remember how you were before Cenn died. What “therapy” did to you.”

“It helped,” Amber insisted, looking hopefully at the truck ambling toward them. “I was a mess. I needed to be able to talk to someone without dumping it on all of you.”

“But you stopped feeling,” Jenise argued. “Not just the grief; you stopped feeling joy. You used to make twittering noises when you read books. You used to get so excited about things that Cenn had to sit you down so you wouldn’t pass out.”

“I’ll be fine. I’ll be calm,” Amber said, fighting for a reason to trust her people. “They want the tablet with Chenna’s research. That’s all this is. A misunderstanding.”

“I was almost misunderstood to death!” Jenise cried, kicking at Amber, and rolling out of reach.

“Jenise, unless you can move, we can’t outrun them,” Amber said. “I am not leaving without you. I—oh, no.”

The stress of the argument made her dizzy and she dropped to her knees. A moment later, she was standing by the road, watching the truck roll by. Her voice caught in her throat, but she didn’t need to call out. The husky man in the passenger seat saw her and hollered, and the truck screeched to a stop. She recognized him from the Council—Tobin Wauld.

“I know we’re not supposed to be here. We’re scared. Can you take us home?” she asked. The weight of fear lifted for a moment, but then Wauld hoisted himself out the window, and drew a long-barreled weapon.

“Well, well, Discontent Delouise. This was too easy,” he smirked.

Amber’s lips quivered and her legs froze. She’d never seen a weapon like that in Highmere, but she’d seen them in that zombie movie. Run, you idiot, her brain shouted. She’d muttered it at the characters in the movies often enough.

He shot Amber with an orange-tipped weapon as he stalked past. She felt the sting of the puncture and a thin stream of liquid dripping into her astral form.

“Tobin, you shot her!” his companion cried.

“We came with tranqs for a reason. We don’t have time to argue with discontents,” Wauld said.

Amber still couldn’t believe a councilperson had shot her. Pretending to faint, she turned and dropped, rolling down the embankment. The moment the truck was out of sight, she willed herself back to her physical body.

“How’d it go?” Jenise asked.

“They shot me,” Amber said. Her whole body was trembling from adrenaline and she could feel the spread of the tranquilizer dart pushing against it.

“Misunderstanding?” Jenise taunted.

“Oh, no. Very clear,” Amber said, blinking away the spots in her vision. She had never experienced violence in Highmere, and she didn’t even know her people had dart guns. The feelings of shock and betrayal hit her in waves, as did a profound sense of loss. This wasn’t a short camping trip that ended with a meek return home anymore.


Author Bio

The Qinali Virus - Valerie J Mikles
Valerie loves dancing, writing, astronomy, sci-fi, and grapes. She’s agender, aromantic, and asexual, and even though her labels describe many things she is not, her motto in life is “I can be everything I want, just not all at the same time.”

Although she has yet to get paid to eat grapes, she was delighted to learn that people would pay her to study black holes, and spent much of her twenties as a black hole hunter. She was rewarded with an astronomy PhD, which promptly inspired her to move to L.A. to be a screenwriter. How she ended up working on weather satellites for NOAA, we may never know.

Her passion for story-telling extends back to before she could write, and in fall 2017, she achieved a life dream and published her first book, “The Disappeared.” Valerie currently has six books published in her New Dawn series You can learn more about Valerie’s books on her website: http://www.valeriejmikles.com

An asexual activist, Valerie has written and produced a series of comedic short films featuring asexual characters. You can watch her films online at: http://www.aces-sitcom.com. Her third book ‘Trade Circle’ features an asexual protagonist, and interestingly, she created this character before she even knew there was a word to describe it. She is super-excited about the release of the Qinali Virus, featuring an asexual, aromantic astronomer (and a weather satellite for good measure).

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

Author Facebook (Author Page): http://www.facebook.com/vjmikles

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/valeriebean

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16941635.Valerie_J_Mikles

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Valerie-J-Mikles/e/B074K2QCHG

Author LibraryThing: https://www.librarything.com/author/miklesvaleriej

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Peacemaker by E.M. Hamill Blog Tour, Excerpt, Guest Post, Review & Giveaway!

E.M. Hamill - Peacemaker BANNERPeacemaker - E.M. Hamill

E.M. Hamill has a new queer sci fi book out, book two in the Dalí Tamareia series:

Peacemaker

Third-gender operative Dalí Tamareia thought their life as an ambassador ended when they joined a galactic intelligence agency. When they’re yanked out of the field and tapped to negotiate the surrender of deadly bio-engineered warriors who crashed into hostile territory, Dalí is thrust headfirst back into the tumultuous world of galactic diplomacy.

Dalí has faced Shontavians before, but not like these. The stranded mercenaries are highly intelligent and have an agenda of their own. Dalí can’t afford to be distracted from the negotiations by their own demons or the presence of a charming diplomat with a mysterious past.

As a brewing civil war threatens to derail the entire mission, Dalí must use all their skills to bring this dangerous situation to a peaceful end—but the Shontavians may not be the biggest monsters at the table. Someone is determined to see Dalí and their team dead before they discover the brutal truth hiding in the wreckage.

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


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Guest Post

The Music Behind Peacemaker: A Dalí Tamareia Mission

Because I live in a busy house with three other adults and two vocal pets, I often write with noise canceling headphones and some great, atmospheric music playing. I have to write to instrumental music, because words paint such vivid pictures for me they interfere in my creative process.

My son introduced me to trailer music a few years ago: short, intense pieces of music which create a stunning atmosphere and are often used in movie trailers before the actual soundtrack is written. Two Steps from Hell and Audiomachine provided a lot of inspiration for me for the first book; in fact, one particularly heartbreaking scene had a literal soundtrack in Audiomachine’s “Red Sorrow”. While this particular scene didn’t make its way intact into Dalí, there are many other moods and moments which found footing in some great music.

I listen to a lot of Pandora Journey playlists on YouTube, but these books are gritty and violent. Lovely music doesn’t always provide the right kind of inspiration.  GRV MegaMix: Hybrid War was one of my absolute favorite playlists for writing violent battles and moments of tension in both books.

Some very important moments in Peacemaker  were written to Immortals: Powerful Hybrid Music Mix. This one was in frequent rotation!

Last but not least, Gary Numan’s My Name is Ruin became my unofficial theme song for The Dalí Tamareia Missions. I actually paraphrased one of the chorus lyrics in the book because of the feeling it evoked…see if you can figure out which one. It happens in the most intense moment of the book.

My name is ruin, my name is vengeance
My name is no one, no one is calling
My name is ruin, my name is heartbreak
My name is loving, but sorrows and darkness
My name is ruin, my name is evil
My name’s a war song, I sing you a new one
My name is ruin, my name is broken
My name is shameless, I’ll tear you wide open

I hope some of the music helps inspire your own writing!


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Giveaway

E.M. is giving away a $15 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

Peacemaker
I took a quick turn in the cleanser to rid my skin and hair of the tacky residue left by the decon spray. In the warmth and vibration, I shuddered as the last of the physical characteristics I’d adapted to pass as male shifted back into my neutral, sexless state. My crewmates didn’t expect me to assume a gender, something for which I remained grateful. Without hormone stimulation to drive the change, the process was more painful, and my shoulders complained against the grind of bone and muscle.

I tamed my wavy brown mop as best I could, drawing it into a short, braided queue at the back of my neck before putting on the dress black uniform hanging in my quarters. The white starburst of diplomacy blazed in holographic relief on my left shoulder with the multiarmed spiral of the Remoliad’s sigil on the opposite sleeve.

To be back in the uniform of an ambassador felt strange. Transient reflections in the narrow window showed a me I hadn’t acknowledged in over two years. I barely recognized the echo of who I used to be, a transparent ghost against the stars outside.

The reason I had been pulled out of the field began to make sense, though I still didn’t know what the assignment entailed. Time to find out.

At the closed door of Sumner’s ready room, I tugged at the tunic’s high collar, squared my shoulders, and tapped on the panel to request entry.

“Commander. Permission to enter?”

“Granted.” The door slid aside with his verbal acknowledgment. I stepped through.

Silhouetted by the flicker of busy data screens behind the desk, Sumner wore a black uniform with insignias of diplomatic service similar to mine but without the starburst rank of ambassador. Instead, he wore the pips of an officer in the Remoliad Fleet on the high neck of his collar. He stared at the screen of a PDD, his expression dark and troubled.

Sumner glanced up and a crooked grin formed on his lips as he rose. “Ambassador Tamareia. I haven’t seen you in a while.”

His vocal inflections sounded almost normal, but his eyes still held frost. We were never this formal with each other, a sign of the tension between us.

“I haven’t seen me in a long time either. It feels very strange.” I took a deep breath. “I would like to apologize for my insubordination, especially for what I said in med bay, Commander. I was out of line.” Embarrassment burned in my cheeks, and I lowered my gaze. “I owe Melos and Ziggy more than an apology. I was under the influence on a mission, and I put the lives of my teammates in danger. I will accept the consequences of my actions as you deem appropriate.”

“Grab a chair.” He gestured opposite his desk, and I sat. “I think I owe you an apology as well. I’ve gotten used to autonomy. When some bureaucrat tells me to drop whatever I’m doing and pull my operatives in the middle of a potentially productive mission, it pisses me off. The order to recall you came from so far over my head I got vertigo. The rest is just the frost on the comet, and it pushed me over the line.” He cleared his throat. “I’m sorry for the vendetta remark.”

“No, you were right. I needed to be reminded why I’m here. You promised only that I will be involved when we take them down, not that I would be the instrument.” No matter how badly I wanted the privilege, I had a bigger job to do. “Who told you to recall me?”

His mouth twisted in an ironic smile. “The Remoliad security council.”

My eyebrows threatened to merge with my hairline. “The security council has authority over the Penumbra?”

“Technically. My superior answers to the secretary general, but it’s almost unheard of to receive a direct order from any office.”

“I don’t understand.” I frowned. “Did my mother have anything to do with this?”

“No, Ambassador Urquhart isn’t involved as far as we can tell. We checked since the order was so specific. But I just received more details.” He handed me the data device he’d been scowling at when I came in. “Against all previous declarations of disdain for galactic alliance, the Ursetu recently issued an emergency petition for their planet to become a member of the Remoliad.”

I narrowed my eyes at him and took the PDD. “I saw something about that in my debriefing file. The crown princess is dead?”

“Yes. The queen and her grandson, Prince Razaxha, are still alive.”

“What happened? Was the planet attacked?”

“Yes and no.” He swept his hand and a heads-up display swirled into view between us. “I’ll warn you up front, this is brutal.”

The wreck of some immense ship blighted the forested grounds of a ziggurat-like palace, silhouetted against the backdrop of a sharp black mountain. Columns of smoke and flames traced the outline of warped and twisted debris. The recording lens zoomed in on a section of the disaster where tiny flashes of light sparked and died. As the picture enlarged, I sat forward in shock.

“Enhance this area.” Sumner circled the spot on the heads-up and spread his fingers. The portion of the holovid expanded, grainy, blurred, and blocked by foliage, but I made it out plainly enough. Enormous, gray-skinned figures piled out of the wreckage.

Shontavians.

The four-armed beings appeared unstoppable as they swatted aside the Ursetu and their guns, snatched up the soldiers with their sharp-taloned hands and—

A psychic memory of the taste of blood and entrails hit me so hard I fought the urge to vomit.

“Stop the playback!” I drew heavy breaths through my nose until the nausea passed and my heart stopped pounding. Sumner swept his hand over the enlarged holo, reducing details to a safe distance as my mind attempted to process what I’d seen.

A ship hadn’t crashed in the middle of an Ursetu city. It was the orbiting laboratory where Shontavians were engineered and kept isolated until their sale to whomever bought their mercenary services. It crashed into the planet or was deliberately brought down.

By whom?

The Ursetu faced monsters of their own making—huge, intelligent creatures with the serrated teeth and claws of a predator, created solely for fighting wars. And they had a craving for sentient meat.


Author Bio

E.M. HamillElisabeth “E.M.” Hamill is a nurse by day, unabashed geek, chocoholic, sci fi and fantasy novelist by nights, weekends, and whenever she can steal quality time with her laptop. She lives with her family, a dog, and a cat in the wilds of eastern suburban Kansas, where they fend off flying monkey attacks and prep for the zombie apocalypse.

Her other books include the acclaimed sci fi novel Dalí, the snarky urban fantasy Nectar and Ambrosia, and several short works of fiction. Visit www.elisabethhamill.com for a full list of literary work.

Author Website: https://www.elisabethhamill.com

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

Author Twitter: @songmagick

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16592440.E_M_Hamill

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/e-m-hamill/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00JY0FV8S


E.M. Hamill - Peacemaker MEME4

Review

E.M. Hamill - Peacemaker Cover s 0393knnTitle: Peacemaker

Series: A Dalí Tamareia Mission 02

Author: E.M. Hamill

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: Novel (284pgs)

ISBN: 978-1-951880-58-3

Publisher: NineStar Press (2nd March 2020)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Third-gender operative Dalí Tamareia thought their life as an ambassador ended when they joined a galactic intelligence agency. When they’re yanked out of the field and tapped to negotiate the surrender of deadly bio-engineered warriors who crashed into hostile territory, Dalí is thrust headfirst back into the tumultuous world of galactic diplomacy.

Dalí has faced Shontavians before, but not like these. The stranded mercenaries are highly intelligent and have an agenda of their own. Dalí can’t afford to be distracted from the negotiations by their own demons or the presence of a charming diplomat with a mysterious past.

As a brewing civil war threatens to derail the entire mission, Dalí must use all their skills to bring this dangerous situation to a peaceful end—but the Shontavians may not be the biggest monsters at the table. Someone is determined to see Dalí and their team dead before they discover the brutal truth hidden in the wreckage.

Purchase Link: NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Well that ended with a cliff hanger to end all cliff hangers and totally mind blowing!

This is the second Dalí Tamareia and while they should be read in order I never read the first book and I didn’t feel like I’d missed anything that impacted this book, although I’m going to read it now as this story does hint at events in the first book and I want to know more.

Dalí is throwing themself into their work, taking chances and risking their life with a devil may care attitude. Their teammates straighten them out before they are thrown into a dangerous situation where only Dalí may be able to broker a peaceful resolution.

But as Dalí tries to negotiate with the Shontavians someone on the planet wants total control of the dangerous genetically engineered mercenaries and Dalí’s life hangs in the balance.

Well let me tell you I was hooked from the first chapter, the turmoil that Dalí is going through at the beginning of the book draws you in as you see him taking chances that they don’t need to take. Their attitude brings to mind someone who is close to the edge, dancing with death with the secret wish that death will strike them down.

We are drawn into an incredible story where Dalí is drawn back into their true calling of negotiation, and what a situation they are dropped into.

This is a fast paced story that has danger, intrigue, a dash of sex, and a hell of a twist. The world building is wonderful with richly described settings, we are thrown into situations that you can easily image, and with characters that come to life.

Dalí is third gendered so can switch genders, so male or female partners are both to be expected. There isn’t any romance as such, maybe a slight awakening of awareness of feelings.

Now the ending hits you from nowhere, I seriously didn’t see it coming; it was such a huge betrayal and such a slap in the face that I wanted to hunt the betrayer down myself. Many things are discovered during this story with some of them being tied in to what happened to Dalí’s spouses in book 1, another reason to read book 1 😉

All in all I loved this story and was fascinated with how the story unfolded and developed, I can’t wait for book 3 and look forward to what else E.M. Hamill has to entertain us.

I recommend this story to those who love science fiction, great storylines, and intriguing characters.

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Like the First Moon Landing by Matthew J. Metzger Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Like the First Moon Landing

Series: Roche Limit, Book One

Author: Matthew J. Metzger

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: April 13, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 44800

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+, science fiction, lesbian, intersex, trans, discrimination, mystery

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Synopsis

Stranded and injured in deep space, Maggie McLean has one chance at survival—the ship drifting off her starboard side, refusing to answer her distress calls. The ship the whole universe has been looking for.

Maggie most of all.

The Swift vanished without so much as a cry for help. There have been endless conspiracy theories, from aliens to government corruption to wormholes leading to other dimensions, but one thing was certain. She was gone, with all two hundred and thirty-six crew members on board. Including Maggie’s wife.

Maggie’s going to figure out what happened come hell or high water—but she might not like what she finds.

Excerpt

Like the First Moon Landing
Matthew J. Metzger © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Pain.

It was the first thing Maggie knew. A dull throbbing, starting in the fat weight of her brain at the base of her skull and rippling outwards like stones into still water. There was a stabbing sensation in her shoulder, and when she opened up her lungs to breathe, they spasmed and choked.

Everything hurt.

But pain was good, as Ma used to say. Pain was proof of life.

“You and me, we’re like the first moon landing.”

Maggie ran through the rest of Ma’s wisdom. She flexed her toes in her boots. Fingers in her gloves. Gingerly tensed her neck, and roll—

She stopped dead at the wave of intense nausea and took a moment to just breathe through her nose. Don’t be sick. Don’t be sick. When her stomach eased from a violent jerking to a sluggish, sinister churn, she carefully eased her hips and chest over, perfectly in line with one another, and eased into a recovery position on the metal grating.

The grating.

Urgh, no wonder she hurt. She’d been in the pilot’s seat when the asteroid—or whatever it was—had hit. And belted in too.

“You’ll touch down to feel a little rough ground…”

Her lungs still didn’t want to breathe. The band around her diaphragm was only getting tighter. There was nothing else for it—she needed the drugs. And her medical kit was in the top drawer under the console, so she’d have to get up. Sooner rather than later.

Maggie reached up with her left arm. It was like moving through water or sludge, and her body felt almost drunk on the chaos of clamouring nerves all bidding for her attention first. She didn’t dare open her eyes just yet, so groped blindly above her head. She found the bunk frame. Hell. She’d been thrown from the pilot’s chair to the gap under the bunk, and she was still alive to know it. Suddenly, the pain didn’t seem so bad. Better than a broken neck.

“Pain is proof of life.”

She grunted and turned her boots towards the wall. Braced her feet there and swallowed against the vomit rising up through her chest and neck.

“Pain. Proof.”

She pushed.

The sound of her body sliding out from under the bunk was like a landslide off Mount Olympus. The nausea won out, and Maggie shoved herself up on shaking hands just in time to throw up a gutful of stringy, pink-tinged bile onto the grating. Her stomach punched into her diaphragm like a living thing, furious and intent on revenge, and her head burst like a firework.

“—I’m…here…”

The next thing she knew, the smell of sick was in her hair and nose, and there was a damp patch on her cheek.

“Fuck,” Maggie hissed and pushed away from the pool.

The blackout must have been a little while. The pain was worse, but the puddle of sick cold. The fog in her head had eased a little. She could think better. And breathe better too—mostly.

“Get it together,” she muttered and cracked open her eyes.

It was dark. Blissfully, soothingly dark. The emergency lighting was a low blur of soft blue, almost comfortable, like a hot-water bottle on cold winter nights. Maggie fought to control her quivering limbs and sat down on the bunk with a thump. It jarred, a shock of pain bouncing up her spine, and she leaned forward, opening her mouth, and spat another mouthful of pink vomit into the gap between her boots.

“And you’re out looking for worlds unseen.”

First things first.

She was injured. That much was obvious. But no broken limbs or ribs. There might be an internal bleed in her stomach, but if there was, there wasn’t anything Maggie could do about it. Her head felt like a mess though. Gingerly, she reached up and patted her hair. She had shaved her head when she’d gotten her first shutter job, and never grown it out to more than an inch or two of tight, springy curls since. Which made it easy to find the savage cut, the knotted wad of wet hair keeping a lid on it, and the near-dry fountain of blood that had gushed down the back of her neck and shoulders.

“Great,” she muttered, but at least it explained the pain. Her skull felt intact. Lucky, if she’d met the bulkhead head first.

Her neck was stiffening rapidly. Whiplash. A starburst of pain kept reappearing in her shoulder joint—she’d probably briefly dislocated it when the belt had snapped and flung her across the cockpit—and she could feel, even if she couldn’t see, the violent bruising all across her right side. But just bruises. A bit of bleeding. Nothing that wouldn’t fix itself, given enough time.

All in all, she’d live. Probably.

“You and me, we’re like the first moon landing.”

So, on to the second point. Would her ship live?

Maggie was a shutter. The space equivalent to long-haul truck drivers. She piloted single-crewed transport and haulage ships between stations and colonies, on the move for weeks at a time—but at least the antisocial lifestyle attracted good pay, especially for someone without the proper papers like Maggie. She only had a B license, so she wasn’t qualified to land on moons and planets yet, but she’d done her theory and was booked in for her tests on Barrane when she got back from this run. It was a lonely but very well-paid job—and lonely and well-paid was just what Maggie had wanted when she’d applied in the first place.

But lonely in space could be fatal.

Especially lonely in space on a shortcut.

If the ship was damaged beyond her ability to repair it, or she couldn’t get back to the proper trade route, then she would die out here. The delivery wasn’t due for another two months. And she’d been taking a shortcut through uncharted territory to make it in time after having to replace two of the solar batteries at Barrane. One more late delivery and Maggie would be fired. And she was a good pilot. She’d been flying for years on her own without any incidents at all. She could handle a measly shortcut, right?

Apparently not.

Right now, going on the credit seemed like a much better idea than this stupid shortcut. Maggie had been regretting it from that first crackling comms call.

“You’ll touch down to feel a little rough ground…”

She squinted across the cockpit at her pilot’s chair. The top half of the belt was still attached, the bottom half missing. The chair was crooked, but upright. All the lights on the console were flashing in random patterns, and the viewscreen was out. The comms system was blinking, waiting for her reply.

Most insultingly, the fluffy dice Sam had bought her as a joke when she’d gotten her license were gone.

“Fix it. Fix it, then find the dice.”

She lurched up from the bed.

The grating spun underneath her. The cockpit was barely ten feet of space between bunk and chair, but she fell most of it. She caught at the chair with both hands, and her knees collapsed as the whiplash reminded her that falling in any way was an intolerably bad idea.

When she managed to open her eyes again, a red mist clouded her vision, and the sharp taste of iron lingered on her tongue. Her chest tightened, and the black spots of panic and oxygen deprivation clustered around the edges of her eyes.

The drawer was right there.

“…but I’m right here where I’ve always been…”

She dropped into the chair just as her fingers closed around the plastic tube on top of her medical kit, and that first spray in her mouth and throat tasted like foul ambrosia. At the second, she aspirated it properly and felt her chest beginning to open up again.

“…and you’re out looking for—”

With a smirk, Maggie cancelled the stereo. Silence swept in, as soothing as the low light. Trust the damn stereo to keep playing even through—whatever that had been.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Matthew J. Metzger is an ace, trans author posing as a functional human being in the wilds of Yorkshire, England. Although mainly a writer of contemporary, working-class romance, he also strays into fantasy when the mood strikes. Whatever the genre, the focus is inevitably on queer characters and their relationships, be they familial, platonic, sexual, or romantic.

When not crunching numbers at his day job, or writing books by night, Matthew can be found tweeting from the gym, being used as a pillow by his cat, or trying to keep his website in some semblance of order. You can find Matthew on Twitter.

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Roman – Demon Rising by Hurri Cosmo Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hurri Cosmo has a new MM paranormal/sci fi romance, book one of "Demon Rising Book One": "Roman - Demon Rising."

Hurri Cosmo has a new MM paranormal/sci fi romance, book one of “Demon Rising Book One”: “Roman – Demon Rising.”

I belong to a Demon Lord. His name is Roman. He’s tall, strong, has long dark hair, a deep sexy voice and, let me tell you, absolutely f-ing gorgeous. Yep. I even wear his ring. Third finger, left hand.

Except – its’s not a wedding band. Far from it, actually. It simply means I’m his submissive.

Well – it doesn’t really mean that either, although I wish it did.

No. The ring’s function is only to give me “sight”. Being human, once I had it on, I could suddenly see Roman’s stupid lost legions; very nasty scary things that would as soon kill me as look at me. And because I wear the ring, guess what? It’s now my job to recapture all those creatures for him. Yay me, right?

At least I get to be close to Roman… sometimes.

But, to tell you the truth, I was tricked into putting this damn ring on by Cathy, some random woman I met at a park, who unfortunately likes Roman, too. A whole lot. She brazenly flirts with the demon every chance she gets and right in front of me, too. Crap, it pisses me off. In fact, she brags she was the one who found me, got the ring on me and then offered me up to Roman like I was a T-bone steak or something.

Well – honestly – that part’s okay.

However, there’s something else going on. Something big. Because there’s another gorgeous Demon Lord in our little earth realm and he will stop at nothing to capture Roman’s loose legions for himself. Not only that, seems he’s out to catch me, as well.

Huh. My name is Micah and things just got very interesting.

Painted Hearts Publishing | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Bookstrand | QueeRomance Ink | Smashwords | Goodreads


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Giveaway

Hurri is giving away a $20 Amazon gift certificate with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:

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Excerpt

Excerpt 4

Micah stared at her. What the hell was she thinking he could do? Glancing behind them, having turned down several different corridors, he realized they were completely lost. Even so, the demon/legion/thing from hell was still hot on their trail. Lumbering its thick body up the hall, sliming the walls and floor, the bird lizard bellowed at them, waving its mangy wings, making him cringe. “You want me to fight that? How?” 

“I don’t know. You’re the ring wearer. Just… just suck it into the ring.”

As scared as she seemed to have been before, she stood there, hanging onto his arm, refusing to run another inch. Where was this bravery coming from? They needed to get out. He pried her fingers loose. “You fight it. I’m leaving.” Figuring she would follow, Micah turned and ran.

But of course, he had no idea of where he was going. He needed an outside door. Roman had said to get out of the building. Okay. How?

He flew through another set of double doors, amazed there were no codes to enter to open the them, no security or anything. That’s when he thought briefly about the guard at the entrance and the possibility he was being observed on one or more of the monitors. No way he would be able to explain his behavior. He slowed to a stop.

A nurse or doctor stopped beside him. “Can I help you? You look lost.”

“How do I get outside?”

She pointed back from where he had come. “You’re going the wrong way. You need to go back that way. Just follow the signs that say exit.”

“You mean there’s no way out of the building this way?”

“There’s an exit, but it doesn’t lead to the parking lot. It’s simply an area for patients and staff to relax. I’m assuming you want the parking lot.”

There was a scuffle and a hiss behind him. Damn. He knew if he turned he would see it. Did that thing get Cathy? “No. That actually sounds perfect. How do I get there?”

The woman’s expression was suspicious, like maybe she thought he was some escapee from the psych floor, but she indicated farther down the hall. “There’s a set of double doors at the end of this hallway. Go through them and you’ll see a sign for ‘Courtyard’. Follow that hallway and you can’t miss it.” She nodded, dismissing him, and went on her way.

Okay, courtyard. Perfect. He hurried toward the double doors and pushed through them…

and there the damn bird-thing was. Right in front of him.

“What the hell?”

How in the world was it able to get in front of him? But then why wouldn’t it be able to do that? He had no idea how any of this worked. He turned back, intending on reversing his course, maybe try and see what happened to Cathy, he shouldn’t have just abandoned her, but there was another one coming up the hallway right behind him.

“Fuck!” He was trapped. What did he do now?

An arm came around his neck and he was pulled backwards into a small room and the door shut in front of him. The arm wasn’t tight, he could breath, but he struggled mindlessly anyway. “Let me go!”

The arm left him but then a hand came hard and firm over his mouth and someone whispered fiercely in his ear, “Quiet! And be still. They will hear you.”


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Author Bio

Hi, my name is Hurri Cosmo and I am a happy ending junkie. I always have been. You can be pretty rest assured everything I write will have one. I am not big on angst. I believe we get enough of that in real life so when I go to read something, to make the real world go away for awhile, I will most likely not chose something that will make me cry.

So I write for those people who, at least occasionally, feel the same way. I’m okay with the fact I will probably never write anything “important” but I guess I will have to see where my imagination takes me. I would love it if you would come along.

Author Website: https://www.hurricosmo.com

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

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Jeopardy in Tights by K. Childs Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have K. Childs popping in today with her new release Jeopardy in Tights, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Jeopardy in Tights

(Men of the Pantheon 01)
by

K. Childs

Down on his luck ex-security meets CEO looking for special bodyguard. Fine print: hazardous working conditions.

Errol Mason got fired from his last job and put on a blacklist for a good reason. Now, scraping the bottom of the barrel and desperate for any job, he finally lands an interview with Stardust Global.

Errol’s interviewer, company CEO Nathan Parkes, has a secret, one that might get Errol killed. All Nate wants is a meatshield while he goes on a one-man crusade against a bunch of psycho cultists and tries to rescue his missing stepmother. Errol is the meatshield in this equation.

Things start pear-shaped and only get worse from there. Between military small-arms fire, freeway fisticuffs, and escaping the cult’s secret bases, the duo quickly forms a bond of trust and lust.

Warning: references to a past drinking and drug problem (off page) and some on-page violence

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | B&N | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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Half Light by Matt Doyle Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys, we have Matt Doyle stopping by today with his new lesbian release Half Light, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Half Light

(The Cassie Tam Files 05)
by

Matt Doyle

With Angel Tanner, the android that runs California’s criminal underworld, pulling the strings, PI Cassie Tam finds herself thrust into a conflict with New Hopeland’s biggest and baddest. But working with the murderous AI may be the only way that Cassie can get to the bottom of her home’s greatest mystery: What is New Hopeland City?

As she struggles to balance her dealings with allies and enemies alike, Cassie is left with a difficult choice. She has always straddled the line between light and dark. Now, the time to decide which side she’s on is drawing close…if she can figure out which is which.

Warning: violence, guns, and mentions of past executions of women and children

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | B&N | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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Peacemaker by E.M. Hamill Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi peeps! We have E.M. Hamill visiting today with her new release Peacemaker, we have a great excerpt and a fantastic $10 NineStar GC giveaway, so check out the post guys and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Peacemaker

(Dalí Tamareia 02)
by

E.M. Hamill

Third-gender operative Dalí Tamareia thought their life as an ambassador ended when they joined a galactic intelligence agency. When they’re yanked out of the field and tapped to negotiate the surrender of deadly bio-engineered warriors who crashed into hostile territory, Dalí is thrust headfirst back into the tumultuous world of galactic diplomacy.

Dalí has faced Shontavians before, but not like these. The stranded mercenaries are highly intelligent and have an agenda of their own. Dalí can’t afford to be distracted from the negotiations by their own demons or the presence of a charming diplomat with a mysterious past.

As a brewing civil war threatens to derail the entire mission, Dalí must use all their skills to bring this dangerous situation to a peaceful end—but the Shontavians may not be the biggest monsters at the table. Someone is determined to see Dalí and their team dead before they discover the brutal truth hidden in the wreckage.

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | B&N | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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Rebellion by Hannah Walker

Hannah Walker - Rebellion Cover 4dfmdcdTitle: Rebellion

Series: Rebellion 01

Author: Hannah Walker

Genre: Paranormal, Science Fiction, Space Opera

Length: Novel (435pgs)

Publisher: Hannah Walker (February 12, 2020)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Blurb: Ferido Einadi has worked at the heart of the Barin Alliance. As a Founding Senator, he’s supposed to be in a position to create the change the Alliance needs to improve life for all its citizens. Instead, he finds himself at odds with those in command, those who are desperate to control the Alliance and shape it to their own desires.

Caught working against the corruption, he goes on the run after an assassination attempt, protected by a team of Avanti who are as disgusted as he is by the degeneration of the Alliance. Together, they do the only thing they can— reach out to the resistance and make their way to allies who will help them.

Aristian from Landran, has been a chieftain for most of his adult life. He’s tired and looking for a new challenge. When King Kastain asks him to step up and become a new galactic ambassador for his people, Aristian leaps at the chance to take on the new role.

When a new race becomes the target for the corrupt Alliance, they reach out to the resistance for help. Aristian and Ferido are only too happy to step up and try to bring about change to the universe. Aided by friends, they traverse the cosmos, determined to give what aid they can.
What should have been a simple mission soon becomes fraught with danger, and they find themselves dealing with those who would destroy everything.

Having dedicated their lives to helping people, can Aristian and Ferido take time to focus on their own needs and desires while worlds are at risk around them? Are their ages and species too different to build a future on? And will any of them survive to have it really matter?

ISBN: B084R9MJ9Y

Product Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Lisa

Review: This series is connected to the Avanti Chronicle collection and the Demonic Tales collection. To enjoy the overall story arc I would suggest starting with the first book in the Avanti Chronicles.

Ferido was one the first founding senators for the Alliance. It was pure luck and the help of his avanti protectors that they made it out alive. He was working for the resistance and knew he could help them better. He also knew he could never go home. He is a very special man, more special then many understand. He is a dovrik shifter. A very rare shifter who changes into basically what is called a fire phoenix.

I always knew Aristian was going to have a happy ending and I do mean happy ending. He is ready to retire and enjoy his grandkids. One of his sons is already a leader of another clan and it looks like his youngest might just be the perfect man to lead their tribe. But if he thinks retirement is going to be peaceful he is soon to learn that it is not. Especially when he meets Ferido.

I can’t wait for Tate to find out that Aristian has a mate. He is going to be a blast to listen to. This is one of the best series that I have came across in quite awhile. I love the characters and their banter with each other. The way they stand up and protect those around them is amazing. I love how another planet has joined in the fun, but was sad when one of the guards was killed protecting his king. I could have done without it moving right into a fight. However this author made it work perfectly.

I also loved how the Nendi reacted to the new comers. They were full of questions so you can guess how our guys reacted. It is funny as hell. I had a blast reading this and can’t wait to get my hands on the next story. I can guarantee that this will be one of those stories that will be read many more times.

The Rebel’s Mate by C.W. Gray

C.W. Gray - The Rebel's Mate Cover nscjs8jdTitle: The Rebel’s Mate

Series: The Blue Solace 07

Author: C.W. Gray

Genre: Paranormal, Science Fiction, MPreg

Length: Novel (230 Pages)

Publisher: C.W. Gray (January 24, 2020

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Blurb: Finn Sterling is still adjusting to becoming the lieutenant of the blue fleet of Charybdis Station. As an orphan on Cardinal Hold, he never imagined he would have a position of authority as an adult and the trust his friends put in him makes failure impossible. When he is given the monumental task to find a large number of missing Vextonians, he’ll take all the help he can get. When Finn’s journey brings him to his mate, he discovers that finding the missing is only one part of the quest ahead of him.

Aiden Crow has spent the last year consumed with grief and his search for vengeance. When he meets Finn, he knows instantly that the man is his mate, but what could he possibly offer the beautiful, smiling Cardinal? As the search for the missing draw the two men together, Crow realizes that the greatest risk he faces is losing his heart.

Crow and Finn must work together to gather information so they can find the innocent before they are lost forever.

ISBN: B0846JD2XN

Product Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Lisa

Review: Each book in The Blue Solace collection features a different romantic couple. To enjoy the overall story arc and crossover characters, I would recommend reading the series in sequential order.

When Leti and Draif snuck on board of their ship many things have changed and for the good. Now Finn is lieutenant of the blue fleet. Charybdis station took him in many years ago but his life on Cardinal Hold had not been bad. He has now realized the woman that took him in and raised him, was in fact the only mother he had known and loved. She would never let him sell his body but taught him so much more. Now he was to find all of the slaves sold off and he needed the help of a man that stole and sold things.

Crow’s father had been killed because he did not believe those who had been in charge. He had believed all should be free, but Crow had not wanted to follow him. However when his father had been killed, his mother pretty much gave up on life and he wanted revenge. He helped Charybdis Station with details and in fighting. Now he was to help them find the missing slaves. He had not expected to find his mate. A mate that was leading the expedition.

This has been one of my favorite series to read and enjoy. The banter between all of the characters is full of humor and I had a blast with it. The worlds that was created to produce this story was full of energy, excitement, danger, adventure and lets not forget some hot sexy times. Out of all the characters I truly loved Leti, Sebastian, Fire and Beck the most. However Finn has soon become one of those characters. He was a blast to read and his reaction to meeting his mate was funny as hell. Those two trying to protect each other made for an interesting time. Crow was full of anger and hate for many and it did take him time to catch up with his mating, but you could see in him that he wanted it most of all.

I had a blast reading this and can’t wait to get my hands on the next story by this author. I was sad to hear that this will be the last book of this series but knowing that there would be stories that will connect to this was a plus. I can guarantee that this is one of those series that will be read many times over. I would definitely recommend reading this book.