A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Stark Divide (Liminal Sky #1) by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

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.

Every now and again, a story comes along that you wish you could give more than the allotted 5 stars.  The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth is one of those novels. A science fiction saga, the first in a series, it’s giant narrative footprint calls to mind  some of my favorite science fiction authors, from Arthur C. Clarke in it’s clear, forward use of science and up to the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, in it’s all inclusive outlook on humanity,  the sweeping scope and incredible imaginative flair of the author makes this story one of the true highlights of my reading year.

Even more amazing after reading the foreword and discovering how close The Stark Divide came to never even being published at all.  What a journey for both author and novel.  That’s also an author’s note not to be missed.

The Stark Divide is separated into three sections starting with Seed, each transitioning with huge steps in human generation (a family), huge growth (an alive IA earth world/ship), and a vision for the human race.  The Earth is an ecological disaster, the humans left barely surviving on the populated livable land masses after the event known as The Burn which killed millions, leaving the rest scrabbling for their existence.  The hope for the human race lies among the stars and the three living world/ generation ships planned for space, of which the 43 Ariadne, or Forever is one.

Coatsworth takes us through the incredible birth of Forever in Seed, the introduction of the people so important to the beginnings of this saga and the foundation of the story.  Everyone and everything in The Stark Divide grabs at your heart, and your mind, engaging both your curiosity, your imagination, and yes,  pulling at our own fears at the potential for ecological disaster going on now.  Beautifully thought out as well as soaring on the author’s on creativity and extrapolation,  don’t be surprised to feel yourself wanting to be a part of this Utopia and then beginning to fear for it when all the ugliness that killed the Earth finds it’s way to Forever.

As I said, this is only the first story in a series.  I can scarcely wait for the next one to be released.  I need to know where the saga goes next.  You will too once this saga has you hooked as thoroughly as it does me.  If you love science fiction,  grab up a copy now and prepare to sink yourself into a world unlike any other.  It’s incredible, thought provoking, highly imaginative, and easily one of the best books of 2017!

Book One of Liminal Sky

Cover art by Aaron Anderson is perfect, a wonderful artistic rendering of parts of Forever.

Sales Links:

DSP Publications (paperback)DSP Publications (eBook) | AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo iBooksGoodreads | 

 

Book Details:

ebook, 284 pages
Expected publication: October 10th 2017 by DSP Publications
ISBN139781635338331
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Liminal Sky #1

Love SyFy? Here’s a Must Read New Novel! The Stark Divide (Liminal Sky #1) by J. Scott Coatsworth (author interview and excerpt)

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The Stark Divide (Liminal Sky #1) by J. Scott Coatsworth

DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Buy Links:

DSP Publications (paperback)DSP Publications (eBook) | AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo iBooksGoodreads | 

QueeRomance Ink

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have J. Scott Coatsworth here today on his tour for his new release, The Stark Divide.   Welcome, Scott and thanks for agreeing to answer our author questions!

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with J. Scott Coatsworth

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

Hmmm, that’s hard to say – mostly my characters are amalgams of other people I know. But of course, my experiences filter into just about any character I write. Still, I’d say the closest to me is probably Alex in my short story “Flames”, and Alex’s mother is totally my mom. 😛

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Not exactly? Although it’s always easier to write a story set in a fantasy or sci fi setting because you get to make up most of the details. I have written some stories set in real places that did require a fair amount of research – the epitome of this being “Through the Veil”, a post climate change tale set in a half-drowned San Francisco. We drove down there to survey the drowned parts and figure out what would be above water. It was a lot of fun. 😛

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Yes… I’ve had a soft spot for sci fi and fantasy since I started reading adult novels in third grade. I devoured the Lord of the Rings and lived in Pern for a couple months. I spun around the sun inside Rama, and gloried at Psychohistory’s potential. It definitely informed my writing desires as I grew up. I wanted to make those worlds that I used to live in as a kid.

  • Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Hmmm… growing up, it was probably Anne McCaffrey and J.R.R. Tolkien. Both crafted amazingly detailed worlds full of danger and great beauty. I remember asking for “Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern” for Christmas in 1984, and being so thrilled when my Dad (who had no idea what it was) bought it for me.

More recently? Peter F. Hamilton has inspired me with his trains that cross between worlds and his worlds that are living things. And Sheri Tepper, who just recently passed away, wrote stories that left me thinking afterwards for days and weeks.

I’m also finding inspiration lately from Black Mirror, a fantastic sci fi show out of the UK that’s a latter-day Twilight Zone. The way this show projects the now into the future has to be seen to be believed.

  • How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

Um, they choose me? LOL… Seriously, the publishers put them together, but I usually get input. In the case of The Stark Divide, DSPP presented me with two amazing covers by Aaron Anderson, but neither quite captured the feel of Forever, the world in the story. So I asked him to go back to the drawing board, and he came up with the amazing cover (minus a few tweaks) that went on the final book. I love working with artists and seeing how they interpret my writer vision.

  • Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

“Flames.” It’s set in Tucson (my home town). It includes Italian, my second language. The mother is basically my mom. And it’s about marriage equality. It’s one of my most romantic tales.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I’m currently writing the sequel to “The Stark Divide.” If all goes as planned, “The Rising Tide” will come out in October of 2018. I also recently finished “Lander,” the sequel to Skythane. And I plan to release “The River City Chronicles” in print and ebook form early next year.

Blurb

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.

Book One of Liminal Sky

Excerpt

DRESSLER, SCHEMATIC,” Colin McAvery, ship’s captain and a third of the crew, called out to the ship-mind.

A three-dimensional image of the ship appeared above the smooth console. Her five living arms, reaching out from her central core, were lit with a golden glow, and the mechanical bits of instrumentation shone in red. In real life, she was almost two hundred meters from tip to tip.

Between those arms stretched her solar wings, a ghostly green film like the sails of the Flying Dutchman.

“You’re a pretty thing,” he said softly. He loved these ships, their delicate beauty as they floated through the starry void.

“Thank you, Captain.” The ship-mind sounded happy with the compliment—his imagination running wild. Minds didn’t have real emotions, though they sometimes approximated them.

He cross-checked the heading to be sure they remained on course to deliver their payload, the man-sized seed that was being dragged on a tether behind the ship. Humanity’s ticket to the stars at a time when life on Earth was getting rapidly worse.

All of space was spread out before him, seen through the clear expanse of plasform set into the ship’s living walls. His own face, trimmed blond hair, and deep brown eyes, stared back at him, superimposed over the vivid starscape.

At thirty, Colin was in the prime of his career. He was a starship captain, and yet sometimes he felt like little more than a bus driver. After this run… well, he’d have to see what other opportunities might be awaiting him. Maybe the doc was right, and this was the start of a whole new chapter for mankind. They might need a guy like him.

The walls of the bridge emitted a faint but healthy golden glow, providing light for his work at the curved mechanical console that filled half the room. He traced out the T-Line to their destination. “Dressler, we’re looking a little wobbly.” Colin frowned. Some irregularity in the course was common—the ship was constantly adjusting its trajectory—but she usually corrected it before he noticed.

“Affirmative, Captain.” The ship-mind’s miniature chosen likeness appeared above the touch board. She was all professional today, dressed in a standard AmSplor uniform, dark hair pulled back in a bun, and about a third life-sized.

The image was nothing more than a projection of the ship-mind, a fairy tale, but Colin appreciated the effort she took to humanize her appearance. Artificial mind or not, he always treated minds with respect.

“There’s a blockage in arm four. I’ve sent out a scout to correct it.”

The Dressler was well into slowdown now, her pre-arrival phase as she bled off her speed, and they expected to reach 43 Ariadne in another fifteen hours.

Pity no one had yet cracked the whole hyperspace thing. Colin chuckled. Asimov would be disappointed. “Dressler, show me Earth, please.”

A small blue dot appeared in the middle of his screen.

Dressler, three dimensions, a bit larger, please.” The beautiful blue-green world spun before him in all its glory.

Appearances could be deceiving. Even with scrubbers working tirelessly night and day to clean the excess carbon dioxide from the air, the home world was still running dangerously warm.

He watched the image in front of him as the East Coast of the North American Union spun slowly into view. Florida was a sliver of its former self, and where New York City’s lights had once shone, there was now only blue. If it had been night, Fargo, the capital of the Northern States, would have outshone most of the other cities below. The floods that had wiped out many of the world’s coastal cities had also knocked down Earth’s population, which was only now reaching the levels it had seen in the early twenty-first century.

All those new souls had been born into a warm, arid world.

We did it to ourselves. Colin, who had known nothing besides the hot planet he called home, wondered what it had been like those many years before the Heat.

About the Author

Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.

He decided that it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at his local bookstore. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He loves to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

Starting in 2014, Scott has published more than 15 works, including two novels and a number of novellas and short stories.

He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.

Author Links:

A MelanieM Release Week Review: The Great North (A Legendary Love Book 1) by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

 

BOOK 1 in MCB’s House Line “A Legendary Love.”

Dwyn is a young man in the small, isolated town of Manicouga, son of the Minstor, who is betrothed to marry Kessa in a few weeks’ time.

Mael is shepherding the remains of his own village from the north, chased out by a terrible storm that destroyed Land’s End.

Both are trying to find their way in a post-apocalyptic world. When the two meet, their love and attraction may change the course of history.

In The Great North author J. Scott Coatsworth combines mythology, science fiction and romance and comes up with something quite wonderful.   Coatsworth, in an almost stunningly compact story for something of this scope,  provides us with detailed, and vivid world building.  With scenes past, present and future spread here in the story, we get glimpses into this post-apocalyptic world at differing stages.  From the use of small details throughout, we get accurate idea or pictures of where the characters are, filling things in with our own imaginations…none of it pretty of what might have happened to our world.

I really loved the characters down to their descriptions. It showed how quickly civilization had broken down so that even physical characteristics once again had become isolated into “islands” as had earlier gene types. The types of global disaster also drove the leftover population into self isolation with minimum communication with each other.  Coatsworth also worked the rationale for Dwyn village’s religion rejection of “same sex love” into a cautionary tale of birth rates and survival.  So many elements here that are woven into the story that capture the reader’s attention and imagination.

The romance between Mael and Dwyn is caught up is something huge, the mythology building here is as beautifully done as it the scientific groundwork the author laid down.  In fact the imagery and beauty of the cold is striking as it is fearsome, easy to see it both cutting and awe inspiring.  Just as it should be. I don’t really want to go into further details here other than I wish there was more to this part of the story.  However, this is only the beginning of the series.  I hope to find out more about what’s coming, what’s in store of the people there.

I love The Great North.  This whole series holds great promise.  I can’t wait to see where it goes.  But for now I leave you with how it all starts, a story I highly recommend.

“We celebrate Dwyn’s Day as a testament to true love and sacrifice. It’s a remembrance of the way things were and the way they’ve come to be. In the end, let it be a reminder that every one of us has the power to change the course of events through love.”

—Dillon Cooper, New Gods and Monsters, Twenty years After Dwyn

Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay does a good job with the character.

Sales Links:  Mischief Corner Books | Barnes & Noble |  Amazon |  Kobo | iBooks |  Goodreads 

Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 119 pages
Published June 14th 2017 by Mischief Corner Books, LLC
ASIN B07172TL6H

Review Tour: The Great North (A Legendary Love Book 1) byJ. Scott Coatsworth (excerpt)

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The Great North (A Legendary Love Book 1) by J. Scott Coatsworth
Mischief Corner Press
Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay

Available for Sale at Amazon |  Kobo | iBooks |  Goodreads 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J. Scott Coatsworth here today on his tour for The Great North.

 

Blurb

Dwyn is a young man in the small, isolated town of Manicouga, son of the Minstor, who is betrothed to marry Kessa in a few weeks’ time.

Mael is shepherding the remains of his own village from the north, chased out by a terrible storm that destroyed Land’s End.

Both are trying to find their way in a post-apocalyptic world. When the two meet, their love and attraction may change the course of history.

—————

The Great North was inspired by St. Dwynwen’s Day, also known as Welsh Valentines Day:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwynwen

 

Excerpt

“We celebrate Dwyn’s Day as a testament to true love and sacrifice. It’s a remembrance of the way things were and the way they’ve come to be. In the end, let it be a reminder that every one of us has the power to change the course of events through love.”

—Dillon Cooper, New Gods and Monsters, Twenty years After Dwyn

The gray clouds scudded by overhead, blowing in quickly from the east.

Dwyn shivered and pulled on his woolen cap. It was cold out, unusual for so early in the fall. The rains had been heavy this season, the wettest in a generation, and Circle Lake was close to overflowing its banks. If he stretched to look over the rows of corn plants, he could see the waters lapping at the shore far below, as if hungry to consume his village of Manicouga.

His father had consulted the elders, some of whom had seen more than fifty summers, and everyone agreed things were changing. Whether that augured good or ill was anyone’s guess.

He shrugged and moved along the row of plants, breaking off ears of corn and throwing them into the jute sack that hung from his shoulder.

Ahead of him, two of his age-mates, Declan and Baia, were working their way down the next two rows.

Dwyn frowned. He got distracted easily, and he’d let the two of them get a jump on him. That wouldn’t do.

He redoubled his pace. He moved with focus and purpose, and soon he was closing the gap with his friends.

“Someone’s being chased by a lion,” Baia said with a laugh.

“Or a tiger.” Declan grinned, his nice smile only missing one tooth, lost to a fight with one of the Beckham brothers the year before.

Dwyn grinned. “Or a bear?” Dwyn only knew lions and tigers from the fairy tale his mother used to tell them, “The Girl and the Aus.” He had no idea what an Aus was, either.

Bears he knew. The hunters occasionally brought one home, and old Alesser had a five-line scar across his wrinkled face that he claimed came from one of the beasts.

A shout went up from ahead of them. Dwyn craned his neck to see what the ruckus was, but he couldn’t make out anything. “What’s going on?”

Declan, who was half a head taller, looked toward the commotion. “Hard to tell. Something down by the road.”

Dwyn laid down his sack carefully and ran up the hill to one of the old elms that dotted the field. He climbed into the tree, scurrying up through the leaves and branches until he had a clear view of the Old Road. It ran from up north to somewhere down south, maybe near the ruins of old Quebec if the merchant tales held any truth. Hardly anyone from Manicouga ever followed it, but occasionally traders would follow it to town, bringing exotic wares and news from the other villages that were scattered up and down its length.

They swore it went all the way down to the Heat, the great desert that had consumed much of the world after the Reckoning.

“What’s going on down there?” Baia called from below.

Dwyn tried to make sense of it. “There are three wagons coming down the pass. They’re loaded up with all sorts of things. They don’t look like traders though.”

The first of the horse-drawn wagons had just reached the field above the main township. It stopped, and someone hopped off to talk with the villagers who had gathered from the fields.

“We need to get down there,” Dwyn said, scrambling down the tree trunk. “Something’s happening.” Nothing new ever happened in Manicouga, and he wasn’t going to miss it.

He grabbed his sack and sprinted toward the Old Road, not waiting to see if Declan and Baia followed.

Length: 34K
Format: eBook
Release Date: 6/14/17
Pairing: MM
Price: 3.99

 

About the Author 

Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.

He decided that it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at his local bookstore. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He loves to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.

Author Links:

A Paul B Release Day Review: Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

skythane8-1With each book I read from J. Scott Coatsworth, the more I want to read.

His latest book, released today, tells the tale of two young men from different backgrounds, an older woman who serves as a mother figure along the way, and a boy that the three find along their way. 

Xander’s life on Oberon has not been easy.  He is a Skythane, a winged being, among the Lander, humans.  His foster parents were murdered by the Syndicate, the local crime organization.  He was “adopted” by the crime boss, which meant Xander servers a sex slave for him and his friends.  He is rescued by a man named Alix who takes him to Oberon City.  He is getting by and that is good enough for him.  His friend and surrogate mother Quince asks him to pick up a corporate representative wanting a tour of the mines.

Jameson has had a far more comfortable life.  Adopted by one of the founding families of Beta Tau, he has been pampered.  He has followed his family’s Christianist values and it due to be married next year.  He studies to become a psych and has last worked at a mining outpost.  He has been sent to Oberon to meet with representative with OberTech, the company that basically runs the planet of Oberon.  Little does he know he is going to go  for the adventure of his lifetime.

Quince, unbeknownst to Xander, is from Titania.  Titania and Oberon were one planet until the great divide.  Every 750 years, a solar flare from the sun threatens the population of the planets.  Her mission is to guide the two young princes whom she has watched over to help reunite the planet.  So she has arranged for Prince Davyn (Xander) and Prince Lyrin (Jameson) to meet so she can take them from Oberon to Titania to prevent both worlds from being destroyed by combining the two halves of the planet together again, as told by the ancient prophecy.  Along the way, they meet a young boy they name Morgan.  Xander feels he cannot leave the boy behind as he was so many years ago.  Quince thinks he is a demon and should be left behind if not killed.  Only time will tell which of them is correct as they journey against time, corrupt companies, and crime syndicates in order to complete their mission.

Once again Coatsworth has built an entertaining world for his story to take place in.  The idea of a planet being split in half with each behind a veil to the other is interesting.  The only way to get from one side to the other is a portal opened only one time a day.  The relationship between Xander and Jameson is helped along the way by Quince with use of an agent that brings about romantic desire.  Jameson, whose world is basically turned upside down acclimates himself to his new situation well enough.  The ending provides lots of opportunity for a sequel, which I hope there will be. 

The cover by Anne Cain has a young Skythane with his wings hovering over his world.  It fits the book well. 

Sales Links

Dreamspinner – eBook | Dreamspinner – paperback | Amazon – kindle |Amazon – paperback

Barnes & Noble – paperback | Kobo | iBooksGoodreads 

Book Details

Ebook, 244 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  February 17, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN:  978-1-63533-404-3

In Our Science Fiction Spotlight: Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth (guest post and excerpt)

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skythane8-1

Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

 

Available for Purchase by

Dreamspinner – eBook | Dreamspinner – paperback | Amazon – kindle |Amazon – paperback

Barnes & Noble – paperback | Kobo | iBooksGoodreads 

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J. Scott Coatsworth here today talking about writing and his newest science fiction release, Skythane. Welcome, Scott.

✒︎

Writing the Perfect Story by J. Scott Coatsworth

As a writer, you are just one part of the wide and diverse community that makes a book actually happen. Once you type those last two words “the end”, it takes a village to transform your little manuscript into the finished work of art that your readers will hold in their hot little hands.

Chief among these villagers are your alpha and beta readers.

These are both now typically conflated under the title of “beta reader”, but they do mean fairly specific things. An alpha reader is usually the first peson who reads the book after you finish it, and may send you back to the drawing board for things like problems with the overall structure of the book or the storytelling, whereas a beta reader typically gives you a critique that is more limited in scope.

Both of these types of readers are critical to the process – they can help you catch things you are too close to the story to see.

For Skythane, one of my dear writer friends played the role of alpha reader. Her conclusion? That I had the bones of a cool story, but I had to figure out a lot more of the science and background to make it a great one.

Her critique set me back a few months, but in the end it made Skythane a much better story.

It’s a good thing when a pre-submission reader helps you catch errors before the publisher sees your work, but just once, I want to write a story that even my harshest reader thinks is perfect. Or at least in decent enough shape for submission.

The consolation? Once a story has run the gauntlet, it is pretty damned near perfect. And that’s gotta be worth something.

——————

My new novel, Skythane, is just out – and it combines my love of sci fi and secret reveals and MM romance. I hope you enjoy it!

Blurb

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 Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man 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 together.

Excerpt

Rain hit the plas and ran downward in little rivulets, separating and rejoining like branches of time as the storm whipped itself into a frenzy over Oberon City.

Xander Kinnson lay on his bed, head thrown back, watching the tempest with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil and pain. Alix had left him and gone missing. A year had passed, and still he had a hard time accepting that simple fact.

His dark wings with their jet-black feathers were stretched out lazily to each side of his supine form, their tips extending past the edge of the bed. His chest heaved slowly up and down, and he breathed easily, as if he were utterly relaxed.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, his heart beat at a thunderous pace, and his mind raced for answers to Alix’s fate that slipped beyond his grasp.

The handsome trick he’d brought home rested his warm hands on Xander’s thighs, his hot mouth engaged elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep, masculine musk of him, slipping a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousled hair as the rain increased to a thundering downpour against the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimmering light before running quickly out of sight.

A flash of lightning illuminated the room, thunder indicating how close it had been. As the heavy rain pounded against the arco’s walls, Xander rode the wave of pleasure higher and higher. Despite himself, he rose quickly toward climax, drawn up on the tide as the trick worked his cock. Unable to stop himself, he thrust his hips almost angrily upward into the man’s willing throat. Closer, closer….

He reached the crest, a pleasure so intense it burned through him like phosphorous, a white-hot fire.

Lightning flared again across the wet, black sky, followed by thunder so close it shook the bed. The storm had reached a fever pitch outside, and he arched his back in the air one more time, his wings rustling beneath him. As if in concert with the storm, Xander came, the release of his orgasm radiating from his hips along his spinal cord and down through his toes and the tips of his wings.

The rush of elation washed away his cares for a few brief moments. Xander shuddered, shivered, and shuddered again, and it was over.

For a while, he drifted in an oblivion that was blessed in its emptiness. The rain fell in a steady beat against the window, and he forgot to wallow in his pain. His mind floated free, with no responsibilities, nothing to worry about for those brief moments between sex and real life. This was what he needed. This lack of thought, this pleasurable oblivion where he could just be.

When he opened his eyes at last, the nameless trick was staring down at him, expectant.

“You’re still here.”

“I can do more, if you’d like,” the man said with a grin. Like Alix, he had no wings—a lander man.

Xander glared at him, annoyed. He was handsome enough, tall, dark-haired, with blue eyes and a light complexion. Strangely, he reminded Xander of Alix. The hair and eyes were wrong, but there was something about him, and that annoyed the hell out of Xander, for reasons he didn’t care to examine too closely. “Get out,” he said with a dismissive wave.

The man frowned. “I thought—”

“Oh right, your pay.” Xander took the man’s arm and slitted him a hundred crits from the wrist reader embedded in his own. Then he waved the trick away. “We’re square. Now get the fuck out of my flat.”

The man gathered his own clothes, but Xander didn’t give him time to put them on. Instead he hustled the trick out of the irising door, palming it closed on his hurt and angry expression.

I really have become a bastard, he thought, staring at his dim reflection in the shiny black door. It had been a long year.

He tapped the cirq in his temple with his left hand, and called out to his PA. “Ravi, any messages for me?”

 

About the Author

j-scott-coatsworth

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

Authors on Narrators~Last Thoughts on Audiobooks and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Authors on Narrators~Last Thoughts on Audiobooks

 With RJ Scott, J. Scott Coatsworth, and Joe Cosentino

As we wind down our series on audiobooks, I wanted to talk to the authors who write the stories that get narrated.  Find out what they are looking for in a narrator, what they think of their stories being read out loud?  Is it too strange?  Does it seem surreal?  Or just right?  This is what I found, thank you, authors RJ Scott, J. Scott Coatsworth, and Joe Cosentino for helping us out this week…

The Authors  Perspective

♦︎From Author RJ Scott, author of The Heart of Texas audiobook narrated by Sean Crisden and a consistent favorite among our reviewers:

Way back, when I was with Silver, a narrator did The Christmas Throwaway for me. I loved his voice, Sean Crisden, and to date he has done all of my audio books (apart from one short that was with DSP).

I don’t listen to my audiobooks, I have proofers that do that for me to check them. I am also not a listener to audio books.

I think I know why. They go too slow for me, so the one time I have listened to an audio book I listened to it on double speed (LOL). My thoughts about story buzz all over the place, and I get impatient to get to the story. This is the same when I read – I speed read.

I know that audio is a growing market, and i have had requests for my books to go into audio – hence trying the water with the Sanctuary books. This has led to me putting The Heart Of Texas out on audio which has been hugely successful. This is good as there is a huge investment financially in getting the books out there.

♦︎From Author J. Scott Coatsworth, who’s audiobook The Autumn Lands was a real hit with our reviewer Paul B:

♦︎From Joe Cosentino,who has a November audiobook release of a previous book: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland narrated by Joel Leslie our narrator guest of last week and published by Dreamspinner Press.http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

  •   What do you look for in an audiobook narrator?

 Since my books are generally on the theatrical side (like me), I look for an audiobook narrator who is an actor capable of expressing numerous emotions and playing various roles effectively. Since humor is such an important part of books, I seek a performer with a great sense of humor and comic timing evident in their narration. Finally, I seek a narrator who can transport me to amazing places, pluck at my romance heartstrings, and keep me riveted as the plot twists and turns unfold. Michael Gilboe did a great job narrating my Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, published by Lethe Press. His wry sense of humor, spot on comic timing, and ability to inhabit twenty-two characters make that audiobook great fun to hear. It also didn’t hurt that Michael, like Nicky Abbondanza in the series, is a college theatre professor. Though straight himself, Michael was quite comfortable with the gay content in the novel. Coming from the Midwest, Michael also has crystal clear diction, which is so important in an audiobook. Michael was able to build beautifully the tension to the shocking ending, where we find out whodunit and why. When the readers of Divine Magazine chose Drama Queen as their Favorite LGBT Mystery Novel, Humorous Novel, and Contemporary Novel of 2015, I shared the kudos with Michael. I’m hoping he’ll do Drama Muscle, the second Nicky and Noah mystery, which just won a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. Joel Leslie is currently recording an audiobook version of my The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland published by Dreamspinner Press, releasing in November. Also an actor, Joel has a strong connection to his emotions, crisp diction, and the ability to believably play many characters. Having lived in both England and the US, Joel is also able to narrate with an American or British accent, perfect for my gay take on my favorite fairytales.

  •   Do you listen to your audiobooks?

Do I ever! Ask Michael Gilboe, if he’s still speaking to me-hah. I listened to every word of Drama Queen and emailed Michael a number of requested corrections. He was nice enough to make every one. I have to admit, though I wrote the book, when I heard the audiobook I laughed out loud hysterically, and I was shocked by the ending. I am very much looking forward to hearing The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland when it is completed.

  • What made you want to see your books in an audiobook format?

Everyone tells me my books should be made into TV series. It totally agree. Until that time comes, audiobooks, like radio dramas in times past, are the next best thing. If an audiobook is narrated well, the listeners should see the characters and their stories in front of them.

  • Do you listen to audiobooks in general?

I’d better. My spouse is Audible Approved audiobook narrator, Fred Wolinsky, who has quite a following, including me. We decided he wouldn’t do my books to keep our marriage safe. Hah. Actually, I am working with another narrator, Charissa Howe, on my straight (with gay supporting characters) mystery series, the Jana Lane mysteries. Charissa is recording Paper Doll, the first Jana Lane mystery now. She’s amazing actress who embodies Jana (an ex-child star making her movie comeback and solving murder mysteries along the way) and all the quirky characters beautifully. I better go now, I have some correction requests for Charissa. Happy audiobook listening!

Thank you, RJ, Scott, and Joe, for all that wonderful insight.  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words and our listeners/readers look forward to more of your stories, in every format!

A Listener’s Perspective

And finally I asked those that listen,  from two different angles.  One for whom  english is a second language, our Stella and Barb, our Zany Old Lady.

From Stella:

My thoughts on what I like in a audiobook narrator… To me the voice needs to be perfectly clear and let me understand each word. I saw a lot of talks around by not English readers like me, often scared of trying audios because the narrator could be too English or too American, or simply too quick in the narration. I don’t have a lot of audios but before picking the few I have, i went to audible and listen to a LOT of samples. And let me tell you, few narrators do a really great job for what I look in an audio.

From Barb, our Zany Old Lady:

A great narrator is a voice actor—a person who can bring a story to life just by using their voice. 
A great narrator plays the roles of each of the characters in the story, giving each a personality and a voice of his/her own. 
A great narrator knows the story inside and out before recording, and if unsure of a word’s pronunciation, finds out before speaking it.
A great narrator understands the difference between reading a story, telling a story, and living a story. 
A great narrator convinces me that the most important task I need to do today is to stay immersed in this particular story. He (or she) transports me to a place from which I really don’t want to return.
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And in the end, isn’t that what great stories are supposed to do?  Transport us out of our daily lives into other worlds, contemporary, supernatural, fantastical…whatever we may be looking for!  A great narrator tells an author’s story in a manner that make’s us feel it, live it, cry and laugh and yes, maybe even fan ourselves because of that author’s words flowing out to our ears through a particularly memorable voice.   Its a gift.   And when combined with the that of a equally talented author, the result is one that beckons, sparkles and makes the audiobook a deep and moving  experience.  What a joy!

My thanks to Joel Leslie, our narrator last week and guest.  His terrific giveaway of 10 audiobooks is still running.  Please leave a comment today or on the blog last week to be entered.  Contest ends on the  30th of September at midnight.  Don’t forget to leave an email address where you can be reached if chosen.  We are choosing 10 winners!  So get those entries in.   Here is the link to the Joel Leslie Interview/Contest:  http://wp.me/p220KL-8fa

My thanks to RJ Scott, J. Scott Coatsworth, and Joe Cosentino.  Their bios and media information can be found at the end of today’s blog.  Coming up in October?  Another new topic, a spooky Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words reading contest, and much more.  Stay with us!  And now for this week’s schedule.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Sunday, September 25:

  • Authors on Narrators~Last Thoughts on Audiobooks with RJ Scott, J. Scott Coatsworth and Joe Cosentino
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, September 26:

  • Cover Reveal – Snow & Secrets (Stanford Creek #3) by RJ Scott
  • In the Release Day Spotlight: God of Jazz: Fugue, Concord by Varian Krylov (author interview and giveaway)
  • Riptide Tour – Kinky Sprinkles by LA Witt
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Pendulum by L.C. Davis
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Where We Left Off by Roan Parrish

Tuesday, September 27:

  • Blog Tour: Dominique & Other Stories by Brenda Murphy (excerpt and giveaway)
  • Blog Tour & Giveaway: Sean McKissack’s To Be a Different Someone
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Stygian by Santino Hassell
  • A Caryn Review: Out of My Mind by AJ Truman
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Places in Time by Cardeno C
  • A MelanieM Review: Dragon’s Dilemma by Mell Eight

Wednesday, September 28:

  • Dreamspinner Press’ One Pulse Anthology Release Tour and a Interview with Jon Keys, author of A Single Night
  • Book Blitz: DC Juris’s short story, Star’s Embrace (excerpt and giveaway)
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: From the Get Go by Sean Michael
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Making Waves (Wrench Wars #4) by Marie Sexton
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  Kinky Sprinkles by L.A. Witt

Thursday, September 29:

  • In the Spotlight: Jamie Deacon ‘Caught Inside (excerpt and giveaway)
  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Morning My Angel by Sue Brown- (excerpt and giveaway)
  • Beach Rental Anthology Tour and Giveaway
  • An Alisa Review: Night Train To Naples (Night Train #1) by Carolina Valdez
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Cattle Baron’s Bogus Boyfriend by Nicki Bennett and Narrator Rusty Topsfield

Friday, September 30:

  • Cover Reveal Blitz for “Spell Cat” by Tara Lain
  • A Paul B Release Day Review: A Nice Normal Family by John Terry Moore
  • A Free Dreamer Review:Faire Secrets (The Faire Folk #4) by Madeleine Ribbon
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Babe in the Woodshop by Ashlyn Kane, Claudia Mayrant, & CJ Burke

Saturday, October 1:

  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: A Matchless Man by Ariel Tachna
  • A Paul B Review: Flight Anthology by Queer Sci Fi
  • A MelanieM Review: The MCB Quarterly, Vol 5

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~About the Authors~

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J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

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Joe Cosentino

Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (NineStar Press), Drama Queen and Drama MuscleNicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press), An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press) and Porcelain Doll (Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries, and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Paulineeducational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press), Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), and Satin Doll and China Doll Jana Lane mysteries (Wild Rose Press). Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015!

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RJ Scott

RJ Scott is the bestselling gay romance author of over ninety MM romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing. 
 
RJ also writes MF romance under the name Rozenn Scott.
 
The last time she had a weekís break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldnít defeat.
 

A Paul B Audiobook Review: The Autumn Lands by J. Scott Coatsworth and Narrated by Vance Bastian

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

autumn-lands-audioJerrith, a human boy from the Vandis city of Althos, has had a rough life.  His mother died when he was four.  The only thing he has to remember her by now is the leaf pendant he now wears around his neck.  His father has become an alcoholic and abusive since his wife’s death.  The only saving grace for Jerrith has been his apprenticeship at the blacksmith.  However he might have thrown even that away after he is caught kissing an elf boy in the town square.

Caspian has had things just as rough recently.  A prince of the land of Nevis, he has had his wings removed and forced into exile in the land of Vandis.  As part of the exile, Cas’s memories of what forced the exiled have been wiped clean, so he has no idea WHY he is in Vandis.  To make matters worse, members of the royal guard are keeping an eye on him.  He has no idea what compels him to kiss the cute Vanders boy, but he does.  Having been caught and beaten, Cas now awaits his fate in the dungeon.

Learning that the boy he kissed is in trouble and knowing he has no future in Althos once word gets out about him kissing the Nevers boy, Jerrith decides to rescue Cas.  Using what little magic he know chanting “I’m not here” over and over, he makes himself, and anyone in contact with him, disappear from view.  Having broken free, the pair must now travel back to Caspian’s home in the Autumn Lands on Nevis while trying to elude the royal guard on their tail.  Once there, they will have to confront the king as to the reason for Cas’s exile and hopefully stay alive in the process.

I was totally captivated by this story.  The author does a great job of building the worlds of Vandis and Nevis.  The dull drab world of Vandis stands in contrast to the metallic, futuristic world of Nevis.  The mythology of how the Autumn Lands serve not only to tell the history of the two lands but also compels the actions of our two protagonists.  Jerrith has an “Alice in Wonderland” type moment when his first sees the capital city of Nevis.  The happily ever after ending is not quite what the reader/listener would expect but it is satisfying.

Vance Bastian narrates this tale and I really enjoyed his style.  His voice is a little different from the other audiobooks I have listened to in that it is not quite as deep as the others I have heard.  He deftly moves between character voices and gives Jerrith a voice I would imagine him having.  I hope to have an opportunity to listen to more of his narration.

Sales Links

Mischief Corner Books

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Book Details:

Audiobook, 3 hours 12 minutes, 12 chapters
Published:  July 12, 2016 by Mischief Corner Books

Love Fantasy? Check out J. Scott Coatsworth’s ‘The Autumn Lands’, a new MM Romance/sci fi/fantasy (excerpt)

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The Autumn Lands by J. Scott Coatsworth
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay

Release Date: 1/27/16
Goodreads Link

Blurb

Jerrith is running. Kissed by an elf, he can’t remain in his hometown of Althos any more. Not that he wanted to stay.

Caspian still hasn’t figured out why he kissed Jerrith, but he’s running too. Since he was exiled from the Autumn Lands, his past has been hazy, and his future uncertain.

But when a stray memory brings things into focus, the two decide to run toward something together. What they uncover will change how they see the world, and themselves, forever.

Excerpt

Jerrith Ladner ran down Dyer’s Alley in Althos, winded but not daring to stop. He swung left down Chaplain’s Lane where the lanterns cast a crazy patchwork of light across cobbles, uneven enough to give even the Night Guard pause. His lungs hurt, but he didn’t slow down and didn’t dare glance back.

The occasional passerby stared at him as he flashed past, but he ignored them. Several times he stumbled and fell, and blood dripped down his bare leg from a skinned knee. The outskirts of town were silent, with almost everyone already indoors for the night.

His recent past was a blur, with snatches of it flitting by in his head like birds, flapping and confusing him with their unsteady rhythm:

The kiss.

The unexpected shock of it.

The glimpse of the Autumn Lands through the Nevris man’s golden eyes.

At last, exhausted, Jerrith ducked behind a low wall that ran along the fields just outside of town and looked back.

It was quiet. There was nothing but blackness crisscrossed by lamplight at even intervals.

Almost sobbing, he sat down with his back to the wall and curled up into himself, scarcely noticing the pain that traced the lines of his rib cage or even the bright line of red on his leg.

Ever so slowly, his heavy breathing eased and his jumbled mind began to sort things out.

He had been walking to the Smithy in the early morning when the Nevris caravan had passed him by, six wagons of merchandise from the Autumn Lands covered with heavy tarps, crossing through town on its way to the stables on the far side of the village. A stranger had drawn his attention—an outrider for the caravan.

Tall and slender where Jerrith was stocky and muscled, he was a young man, more or less Jerrith’s own age. His blond hair had been pulled back behind his pointed ears, the mark of the Nevris. He moved with a quiet and restrained grace.

His eyes were wide and golden, and they’d met his as Jerrith crossed the town square on the way to ‘prentice to the blacksmith. The man’s gaze had filled Jerrith with something hot and impulsive, a sense of anticipation. Something that he had no name for.

Then he’d been gone.

Jerrith had spent the long, dizzying hours of work in the Smithy, hammering out heated metal into a new plowshare for Farmer Angus, the hot breath of the bellows tempered only by the cool springtime air from outside. Trying to forget those eyes.

The heat of the oven only served to fuel the heat he felt inside, until he thought he might explode.

Sent home at last well after nightfall, he’d heard a whispered voice from the dark alleyway between the Alchemist’s shop and the Rutting Crow. Jerrith had looked around to see if anyone was watching, then slipped into the alley, his heart beating faster and the bulge in his pants stiffening.

The man had kissed him hard and rough, and he’d returned the kiss passionately as the Nevris man pulled him close.

Buy Links

Mischief Corner Books (info only) | Amazon  | KoboBookstrand | ARe | iBooks

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Author Bio

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

A Paul B Review: The Homecoming by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars   ★★★★★

The Homecoming - cover2Aldiss Harrison’s exploration voyage back to Earth became a mission of survival even before it began.  With no hope of returning back to the planet he calls home, will Aldiss and his crew survive the planet their ancestors left over 500 years ago?

The people of Antana had abandoned Earth over 500 years ago.  The ravages of mankind on its home planet had taken their toll.  They have settled on Antara building a new society.  Aldiss Harrison is scheduled on a mission to explore what has happened to earth since their departure.  Aldiss hopes he is more successful than his grandfather, who disappeared without a word on a similar mission.

However, their mission of exploration quickly becomes one of survival as a massive solar flare takes aim at Antara.  The crew of six becomes a crew of four as two of the crewmembers had not arrived in time to launch.  Left behind was Aldiss’ ex Lorin the team archaeologist.  As the team crash-lands into Earth, they realize that their team might be even smaller as one is having trouble coming out of stasis.

Hari is a member of the Blackthorn clan of wolves.  These wolves have two forms.   Their winter form is that of wolves.  Their summer form resembles the two-legged creatures of yore.  Hari is one of the few members of his clan to shift between forms at will.  When Hari sees a streak of light across the sky followed by a loud noise, he sets out to investigate.  When he arrives, he sees an object obviously made by the two legs and a pair of eyes coming from it.  Hari alerts the pack.  Most back off but one, Neru,  goes off alone.  Hari’s mother sends him to keep track of the troublemaker.  When Hari stops the attack on the two leg (Aldiss), Hari finds that he has found his errah, his chosen mate.  Aldiss and Hari must fight dissention among the clan of wolves and make sure the remaining crew members adapt to their new home world in order for them to enjoy their new relationship.

This book clicks on just about every level.  The heartbreak Aldiss feels at the loss of not only his home planet but his ex (even though he states there is nothing romantic between them anymore) is palpable.  The hope of a new home world is quickly set back first by the crash landing and the dangers that caused but also with the troubles of Cat’s illness coming out of stasis.  Add in the inter clan squabbles about what to do with their now returned ancestors and it spells trouble.  Hari is guided not only by his mother but the keh, the spirits of his ancestors.  The two “Law & Order” type twists near the end of the book complete the upheaval.  But the feeling of hope at the end of the book makes the ride worth taking.  This author is new to me and I look forward to reading more from him.

London Burden has come up with one of the most gorgeous covers I have seen this year.  It is drawing of a winter scape, with Hari in his white wolf form, standing on a hill overlooking the crash site that Aldiss’ ship landed.  This cover should make the list of top ten for the year.

Sales Links:   Less Than Three Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book details

Ebook, 71 pages
Edition:  English
Published:  July 29, 2015 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN:   9781620045831