A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Dangerous Times by Isobelle Winter

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

This book starts out with a civil war started by King Taen by appropriating the lands of Lord Mavren, making him an enemy. Really there are huge ideological differences between the two and Mavren speaking out against what they see as issues in their society has lead to this. Lord General Aiomonni is the head of King Taen’s military and Lord Mavren’s previous lover. Mavren becomes King of their own rebel Catalyst forces. The reader is thrown into the mind of a Soldiercaste of the Augment Empire during a battle in which they are captured by the enemy. The Augment are a cybernetic species that need organic tissue for digestion, or a host body to assimilate. They are bipedal, yet insectile. This soldier becomes Nact of Quen and the reader will follow them as they raise up in the Catalyst army after their defection. When Nact and Aiomonni engage in battle beyond the charted galaxy to land on a hostile planet, their only hope of survival lies in cooperation, and maybe more.

I would recommend reading an excerpt to see if this book appeals to you. It is written with agender pronouns (ne/nem/nemself/nir). What makes this so compelling is that Nact’s POV shows what freedom and choice look like to someone who’s never had it. It takes six years for Nact to become a general, due to their skills, not because they were born into it. They channel their anger for how their caste was deprived and ill treated into battling King Taen’s forces. By the time they are sent to capture Aiomonni, my sympathies were engaged with them. But for all their privilege, Aiomonni is as much a captive of the system, of convention, as Nact was. The crash shows Aiomonni that their crew have skills beyond their caste. Alive on a populated planet named Colti, being Augment seems more important than their civil war. Showing Aiomonni’s POV makes them extremely sympathetic. At one point they have a common enemy, Plackart, who the author gives a moment of his own: a chance for the reason to see and understand who he is. (I used the he pronoun here although I have no idea if this species is agender also.) This would have been more poignant and heartbreaking than it is, if it had been explored more so my sympathies lay with him also, but that opportunity passes–it is an intellectual scene showing the psychology of his character rather than an emotional scene where I felt his pain and loss.

I feel like the whole book takes the first 25 percent to set-up until they crash land. Then, it gets really interesting. There are so many ethical issues raised throughout the book: the caste system, ruling by fear, being a parasitic race, acceptable behavior during war, what makes a person a person, the parameters of loyalty, etc. This is obviously not a traditional romance. Intimacy is earned by respect or allegiance, but there are layers to the intimacies they grant and even having larvae together doesn’t guarantee anything approximating love. There is never any doubt that these are alien creatures. The sex is completely alien. The sex scenes show aspects of their culture and personal characters as a normal part of life, however, at least for me, they weren’t terribly erotic. This book captures that forbidden feeling of wanting your political enemy whilst being stuck by duty of birth, oaths, and family obligations. This book is so intriguing because the characters are acting honorably–in their own fashion. Their temporary alliance for the greater good allows them to live in a bubble and indulge themselves, but it is temporary and the vanities of others await–continued war still awaits.

I would have liked to get to know some of the other passing characters more. At first I was not sure about the purpose of the character of Feylc, but they become a good foil and I realized it is something I’ve missed in other books as it’s an underutilized tool these days. Still, they are the only other Augment with a real personality here.

I’m not going to say this wasn’t sometimes a little difficult to fully picture, because it was. I’m not going to say the non-binary language wasn’t sometimes confusing (even having read many non-binary characters previously), because it did get awkward in places since the author still uses we and they. What I will say is that for me the effort was worth it. I liked that the world building was character focused and driven without all the extraneous descriptions of things that have no real bearing on the story. There is little attention placed on the various home worlds, which may annoy readers who expect and enjoy that type of detail. While there is tech involved, this is not hard science fiction in any way. The reader is told that things work, not how they work. The end wraps up in a satisfactory way with a (mostly) HEA, although it was startling to be narratively told, like a voice over, after living in the character’s heads for so long. I have to say I really enjoyed this book. If you like things that are different from the norm, give this a try.

The cover was designed by Aisha Akeju. I suppose it shows the ship going through the wormhole. It really isn’t intriguing enough for this book.

Book Details:
ebook, 214 pages
Published February 15th 2017 by Less Than Three Press
Original Title Dangerous Times
ISBN 1620049554 (ISBN13: 9781620049556)
Edition Language English
Literary Awards Rainbow Award for Best Transgender Debut & for Best Transgender – Sci-Fi / Futuristic, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy & Fantasy Romance (2017)

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Conviction (A New World #2) by M.D. Neu

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

This is book two in a series and really should be read in order. Mi’ko has made his son Mi’cin’ one of his aides and assigns him the task of helping Todd acclimate to the home they have made for him on the main ship. Not everyone is pleased by Todd being there, either amongst the Nentraee or the humans. Once Todd realizes the enormity of the actual task he has been given, it’s too late. He is now firmly between Nentraee politics and Earth politics. There are people who will do anything to control the world as they see fit, regardless of what the rest of its citizens want. Knowing who to trust is crucial moving forward with the plan for the new settlement. Old friends and old enemies no longer seem to matter as people switch alliances based on those who support the Nentraee being on Earth, and those who don’t. Terrorists come out of the woodwork based on fear and hate.

I liked how other countries were being included in both trade and cultural events. The Nentraee, with the Speakers House, ranking members of the House of the People, and any prominent civilians spread out across the globe in order to quell jealousies and charges of favoritism towards the United States that having Todd aboard created. It’s fun to see the different ships and see Todd’s reactions. The cultural exchanges here make the book more accessible with the focus on education and integration. No longer are the Nentraee going to hold themselves apart and let their enemies control the narrative, making it easier for people to fear and hate them. Humans learn about the holidays of the different clans while the Nentraee learn about Earth holidays. Todd plans a Thanksgiving dinner with his family, Mi’ko’s family, Dan, and people from his old job at CRiNE. With Mi’cin’ asking uncomfortable questions in an effort to understand humans and their traditions, tensions run high. These are the first steps and there will be many awkward encounters as the Nentraee start to visit Earth and humans are allowed to start visiting the ships.

Another reason this book is much more emotionally accessible than the first book is the reader gets to know Todd better as he talks to his dead husband Jerry to help him get through tough situations. He is obviously still working out his grief and feeling lonely. Todd uses Dan and Brad as sounding blocks and touchstones to remember his humanity while he is under stress and living in an alien environment. He also grows close to Mi’cin. Watching Todd and Mi’cin date is sweet and oddly funny. I still feel this is a science fiction book rather than a romance because that is a small part and not the main point or focus. The many points of view help round out the plot; I like getting the insights. I also like the juxtaposition of the female dominated culture vs. our male dominated culture.

Trying to work out where Nentraee people will build their nation is problematic and gets solved in an unexpected way due to security issues and violence. I’ll look forward to how they plan their settlement and continued integration with Earth culture. There is a bit of a plot twist with the Nentraee looking backward and forward at the same time as they worry about losing themselves and their traditions as they accommodate Earth for ease of trade and relations. I am surprised not more was done with the cádo. They are like intelligent medium sized talking dogs and considered good judges of character who pick their own providers. This seems a great way for them to help find humans to trust and work with that isn’t being utilized. There is a major plot point that is a little over the top. While it gives Todd the chance to step up, again, proving the faith Mi’ko has placed in him, it also makes Todd less “everyman” and slides into action hero territory. I would also say that although the focus is Todd, the reader is given so many other points of view that I would like to see those expanded. The end leaves the reader with the sense that the danger is not over so I’ll look forward to the next book.

The cover artist is Natasha Snow. This complements the cover of book one and has that space meets terran feel.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published March 25th 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN 139781950412358
Edition Language English
Series A New World :

Contact
Conviction

A Free Dreamer Review: Horizon Points (The Galactic Captains #3) by Harry F. Rey

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The problems of the Outer Verge are stacking up for Ales, now a commander of the Union fleet. From rebellious priests on Jansen to terrifying rips in space sucking matter out into the unknown, not to mention jealous lovers scattered across space, Ales is pulled in infinite directions. Disrupting the Galactic Balance isn’t so simple, and Admiral Turo is also a hard man to please.

While trying to secure a crucial trade deal on the heterosapien world of Nelu, Ales struggles to ignore the stark inequalities cutting through life in the galaxy. If he’s not fighting for a future free from the horrors that blighted his past, what’s the point of living?

With the Outer Verge bitterly divided and factions readying for war, the new horizons Ales dreamed of feel galaxies away.

I was thrilled to see “Horizon Points” pop up in my inbox and couldn’t wait to get back to Ales and everybody else. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

First of all, this is part three of the“The Galactic Captains” series. As such, it really doesn’t work as a stand-alone at all. You definitely need to read the first two parts in order to understand and enjoy this one.

If you have read parts one and two, you know what to expect: Great SciFi with a lot of hot, kinky sex and the author once again delivers all that and more.

Ales has changed and grown and continues to do so during this book. He seems less bitter and hateful and  I think I liked him better than before. He also seems a bit more mature, though he’s still thinking with his dick most of the time, even if said dick is caged. And that’s really the only issue I continue to have with this series. Ales has sex or thinks of sex at the craziest moments, when there should be other, more important, things to worry about.

I was surprised to actually find some hints of a possible blossoming romance. Previously, there was only sex, but no love. Of course it really didn’t turn out the way I’d expected. There were a couple of twists I really didn’t see coming.

It all ends with a horrible cliffhanger, so I’m eagerly anticipating the next installment of this great series.

The cover by Natasha Snow works well for the story. It’s unique enough to be easily distinguishable and yet similar enough to the others to create an overall aesthetic for the series.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 167 pages

Published March 4th 2019 by NineStar Press

The Galactic Captains Series:

Siege Weapons

Forbidden Pursuits

Horizon Points

Don’t Miss Out on the Release Blitz and Giveaway for Memory of Scorpions Series by Aleksandr Voinov

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The Memory of Scorpions series is a gritty military fantasy featuring a very diverse, very queer cast of characters. Political drama, court intrigue, love, loyalty, betrayal and a plot driven story line that will keep you guessing right up to the very end. The beautiful covers were created by Anna Sikorska.

Scorpion, Book 1

You learn your wisest lessons from your enemies. Assuming, of course, you survive the encounter.

Kendras is a casualty of war: injured, penniless, and quite possibly the last surviving member of the only family he’s ever known—the elite fighting force known as the Scorpions. When a steel-eyed stranger offers him medicine and shelter in exchange for submission and a secret task, Kendras has no choice but to accept. He is a Scorpion; he’ll do whatever it takes to survive.

But his true goal is to rebuild the Scorpions. Neither Steel’s possessive nature nor Kendras’s shattered foot can keep him from finding the last of his brothers… or the mysterious leader of the Scorpions, a man who held Kendras’s heart long before Steel tried to take it for himself. The goal is simple, the situation anything but. To rescue his leader and escape from Steel for good, Kendras must fight through a morass of politics and intrigue, where enemies are allies and even allies have hidden agendas.

Goodreads | Amazon | Books2Read

Lying with Scorpions, Book 2

If you lie with scorpions, you’d better have a taste for poison.

Now that Kendras’s lover Adrastes has claimed the throne of Dalman, Kendras is tangled deeper than ever in politics and intrigue. As the new leader of the Scorpions and Adrastes’s one true friend, he and his men stand between Adrastes and those who wish him dead.

And many do. Adrastes openly challenges the ocean priesthood for power while establishing himself at court and brokering with the realm’s various factions. He means for the Scorpions to become a fearsome legion again, but Kendras must first learn how to be a good officer and recruit to replace the fallen. His choices will determine the future of a group steeped in hundreds of years of history and tradition.

As both Kendras and Adrastes settle old scores, a new enemy arises in Commander Graukar, a war hero loyal to the old order. In his formidable mountain fortress, Graukar may hold the balance of power. But while Adrastes aims to either rule or destroy Graukar, Kendras finds himself doubting Adrastes for the first time, and sharing more with Graukar than he ever thought possible.

Goodreads | Amazon | Books2Read

A Taste for Poison, Book 3

Even the hand of a king is stung when it reaches for the scorpion.

After barely surviving an assassination attempt, King Adrastes is a changed man—one who mistrusts even his allies and friends. He readies his empire for war against an enigmatic enemy, the Elder of Vededrin, but not everyone approves. While courtiers dare only to whisper dissent, an outrider called Death foments rebellion in the mountains, aided by a prophecy that promises he’ll stop the Black King.

Kendras—former lover to Adrastes and leader of the Scorpions—is sent with his elite mercenary force to bring Death to justice. But when Kendras learns who’s hiding behind the mask, he must choose between his lover Graukar, newly appointed general to the king—and King Adrastes himself.

With no man to call master, the Scorpions could flee the danger and intrigue. But Kendras cannot abandon the man he once loved—or the man he’s growing to love—without first uncovering the real threat to the Empire.

Goodreads | Amazon | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Aleksandr Voinov is an emigrant German author living near London, where he works as an financial editor, writing coach, and complementary therapist. At 43 years of age, Voinov has written more than two dozen novels and published five novels with German publishers. After many years working in the horror, science fiction, cyberpunk and fantasy genres, Voinov is now primarily writing queer fiction.

Described as a “workaholic speed-writing freak” by fellow writers, a “creative writing class drill sergeant” by his writing ‘padawans’, Voinov is a self-confessed geek and has enlarged his days by 12 secret hours in return for the sacrifice of ten albino virgin pygmy hippos.

Voinov’s style has been called “dynamic to the point of breathlessness” and “disturbingly poetic” by publishers and literary agents. A recurring theme in his fiction is “the triumph of the human spirit” or an individual rising to challenge the status quo in a world gone bad.

Intellectually, he is drawn to the dark side of human nature and history. As a trained historian, he is fascinated by wars, religion and the conflict between the individual and society.

Interests at the moment include WWII, medieval siege warfare, William Marshall, the Golden Age of Piracy, and whale-hunting. These interests are subject to change from one day to the other, and Voinov single-handedly sustains two bookshops in London.

Public Contact Email: vashtan@gmail.com
Website: http://www.aleksandrvoinov.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aleksandr.voinov.12
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vashtan
Goodreads Author Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3074905.Aleksandr_Voinov
Tumblr: http://aleksandrvoinov.tumblr.com/
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/aleksandrvoinov
Newsletter: https://us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=0648aab5d3675b949f1329b38&id=eae6814f9c

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A Free Dreamer Review: Ostakis by Angelica Primm

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Human Planets Collective sent young Ambassador Kaj Deder to the former colony planet Ostakis to establish relations. Without trade with the HPC, the dwindling resources of Ostakis will ultimately end human life on the planet. But his mission faces a huge obstacle in the form of Most Reverend Thyenn Sharr, the head of the Faith Progressive Church, who sees Kaj’s arrival as the beginning of the end of the Church. Kaj’s powerful attraction to Trademaster Klath’s son, Arlan does not smooth relations.

Arlan Klath, the son of the Trademaster of Ostakis, bears in his body the secret that the pious people of his planet want to hide. Born Cursed and inherently sinful, Arlan lives without legal rights or property. It enrages Thyenn Sharr Arlan’s father defiantly refuses to submit his son to a cruel act to “redeem” Arlan’s soul. The stakes ratchet when Arlan and Kaj form a relationship Thyenn Sharr considers ample justification to usurp the Trademaster position through the legal power of his Church.

Can Kaj navigate the treacherous currents of Ostakian politics and religion to save these human descendants of Earth? And must he chose between Arlan or his mission to do so?

“Ostakis” was a very surprising read. Surprising plot-wise and surprising that I enjoyed it as much as I did.

The main focus of the story lies on the diplomacy, which was actually really interesting. It’s told through both MCs’ POV, so we got to see the society of Ostakis through the eyes of a stranger and of a native. That was a very good choice and made for some interesting insights.

At times, I thought Kaj was a bit undiplomatic. His mission is a very dangerous one, potentially lethal, actually. And yet, he made some rather clumsy mistakes. Like during the very first meal, he refuses to eat the meat he’s served. He’s a vegetarian and I can see why he wouldn’t be happy to eat an animal. But under such circumstances, that’s a little rude and probably not a very wise decision. Not the kind of behaviour I’d expect from an experienced diplomat. And he did seem a little bit judgmental as well, though only in private. Of course the oppressive society of Ostakis is horrible, but I’d have expected him to be a little more open-minded.

Arlan was a really sweet young man. But also rather brave and fierce, despite the oppressive society he’s grown up in.

The world building of Ostakis was well done. The world building surrounding Earth in the distant future was barely there, however, and seemed rather utopian. You have to be quite the optimist to expect humanity to let go of all prejudices for good and embrace diversity of any kind and create a completely equal society.

Most surprising of all, however, were the Cursed. They’re pretty much a third gender and there’s something like Mpreg in this story. Now, I hate Mpreg with a passion and would never pick up a story with it. But in this case, it actually worked for me. Maybe because I didn’t really see the Cursed as males and more something like intersex. Kaj and Arlan are real equals, which is not something I’ve seen in stories of this kind before. Plus, there wasn’t a lot of focus on the pregnancy itself and more on the inequality and oppression of the Cursed.

I really liked the idea behind the story and I think there might just be hope that this is the start of a new series. I really hope so, because I’d love to read more about this idea. Maybe on different planets, so we  get to see more of the universe.

The cover by Natasha Snow is very fitting, though maybe a little bit dark.

Sales Links:

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

Book details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published February 18th 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781950412037
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Review: For the Clan by Archer Kay Leah

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Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

Canada, 2165 AD. The Water Wars and a decimated economy have taken their toll. Anyone who doesn’t live in a military-patrolled metropolis lives in a clan. But being in a clan doesn’t mean safety.

And for a Ven like Roan Lee, it doesn’t matter where he lives. Safety is a luxury. So is freedom.

Roan is desperate to escape the governtary’s exploitation and torture. He is nothing to them but 54σK1, an artifact born from a genetic mishap. When the chance to escape arises, he makes a run for it—and encounters the lover from his past, twisting his future into a second chance he never expected.

As leaders of Clan Teach, Jace Ama and his wife, Cayra Diega, have enough difficulty keeping their people safe. When Roan is thrown to their feet as a prisoner, their marriage becomes an additional challenge. Jace still loves Roan, but where does that leave Cayra?

For the Clan” wasn’t my first book by this author, but it was the first MMF book I’ve ever consciously picked up. Not so long ago, I wouldn’t have given it a second glance, simply because of the relationship dynamic. But then I decided to give every book with an interesting blurb a try, no matter the pairing. And I’m so glad I did, because I absolutely loved this book.

Strangely enough, the first word that comes to my mind when I think about this story is “beautiful”. Something about it just made me feel really happy, even though a lot of horrible things happen and life definitely isn’t easy for our protagonists. I think it might be because of the wonderful love story we get to witness. Roan’s situation seems so bleak and utterly hopeless and it was so amazing to watch how love gave him hope again. I loved all three MCs and their dynamic. There was no bitterness or jealousy, even if it wasn’t always easy. They’re strong with and for each other, but they can also be weak and know that the other one will catch them.

The book is incredibly well written. This is actually my fourth book by Archer Kay Leah, but while the three other books I read were something between “okay” and “good, but not great”, this was a masterpiece. It was easy to fall into the world the author created and get lost in it and in the feelings of the MCs. The descriptions are all so vivid and the landscape felt very alive.

But there’s more to this book than just a wonderful love story and some pretty hot sex scenes. The world building was really well done too. There’s an explanation for everything, without ever giving an “info dump” feel. It was woven perfectly into the plot, just like how great world building is done.

There’s a lot of action and fighting going on. I was breathlessly anticipating what would happen next. The plot was very well thought out and had real depth.

If you like dystopian futures with brave heroes in a wonderful relationship and aren’t easily triggered by violence and horrible background stories, then you should read this book. You won’t regret it.

The cover by Natasha Snow is perfect for the story. It’s dark and violent, but also hauntingly beautiful.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book details: ebook, 228 pages

Published May 25th 2016 by Less Than Three Press

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Contact (A New World #1) by M.D. Neu

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Mirtoff is Speaker General of the Nentraee people, who are divided into seven clans. Their home world is gone and now they live in 450 ships, searching for a new home. They have had disastrous experiences with other species so when they find evidence of intelligence on Earth they are wary, but with morale down and ships needing repair they decide to make contact. While Mirtoff may have peaceful intentions, General Gahumed as head of the Nentraee military, does not. Mi’ko is the Vice Speaker and plays a huge role in this book, though his POV is rarely shown. Almost all of the Nentraee POV is shown through Mirtoff. She is a good leader for her people and makes the alien hopes and fears clear and easy to empathize with.

The rest of the book book shows Todd’s POV. Todd’s brother Brad works at NASA and comes to warn them of the aliens’ immediate arrival. While Todd believes him, even though they are estranged, Todd’s husband Jerry is not convinced. Todd and Jerry go to the airport to pick up their friend Dan, former military, who is coming to visit. This is how the reader really gets to know Todd by his reaction to the news and his interactions with those closest to him. They are all together as the President of the United States makes the announcement that we have first contact with an alien race. Although other countries are mentioned and the United Nations plays a role, this is very American centric. As you can imagine, humans panic. I think the relatively peaceful time period after the announcement, supposedly due to good planning with use of the military, shutting down the stock market, and stopping all travel, is optimistic.

The aliens are confused and worried about human violence; they want to limit contact to scientific and diplomatic relations at first, but quickly realize they have to be more social than is customary for them. As with all science fiction, looking at humanity’s strengths and weaknesses through the eyes of an alien race is jarring. Since they are interested in trade and technological advances, Mi’ko focuses on Silicon Valley, wishing to do business with the company Todd works for. Todd becomes an unlikely central figure moving forward.

The depth comes from the author showing the family, friends and coworkers of all the principals. This helps to engage with the story emotionally, but I still felt removed for some reason. I will say although it is mentioned how different the Nentraee are to humans, their thought processes don’t seem different at all–they care and worry about the same things we do. Their history seems similar. The politics have only just begun as everyone vies to gain power and make money. This could really be expanded upon and I expect it will be in future books. I enjoyed this book and would be interested in reading more. That’s a good thing because after all the world building, this ends abruptly with a to be continued. By the way, this is a science fiction book that has a few gay characters, so don’t expect a romance.

The cover art is by Natasha Snow. I like the darkened view of Earth with all the lights on staving off the dark cold of space and the one ship making contact, carrying the hopes of their people.

Sales Links:k NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published January 21st 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN 139781949909883
Edition Language English

Andrew Demcak on Writing, Characters, and his new release Darkfeather (The Elusive Spark #3) by Andrew Demcak (guest blog)

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Darkfeather (The Elusive Spark #3) by Andrew Demcak

Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Andrew Demcak here today talking about his latest novel Darkfeather.  Welcome, Andrew.

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview  with Andrew DemcakDarkfeather (Harmony Ink Press, 2019.)

Q: If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

A: I write GLBTQ YA paranormal and sci-fi, but romance always creeps in. Darkfeather has my most romantic storylines yet. My longest standing couple, James and Paul, are going to break up when James meets someone new, someone really different, someone who stepped right from the pages of Abominable Snowman Casebook. Kiera and Lumen are going to add a third person to their relationship and become a throuple. My gay aliens, EBE and UBE, were reunited in the previous volume of this series (The Elusive Spark), Alpha Wave, and it felt so good. I like bringing reality to these very fanciful characters, it helps make them believable. I don’t think a character could be so flawed as to be unlovable. That’s what make characters interesting, their flaws. It makes them more like us.

What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I love loyalty, even blind loyalty. I also love bumblers. I think it’s really sweet to see a bumbler finally do it right and get his guy.  That’s what I did in Darkfeather with my yeti prince, Falling Star.

Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

Yes – I wrote the beginning of my novel If There’s a Heaven Above (JMS Books) back in 1987, but didn’t look at it again until 2007. It’s a story about my 20-something years in the Los Angeles club/music scene. When I discovered the writing again, I was completely transported to that place and time. I had to write the story and I did.

What’s  the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

I wanted James and Falling Star’s first kiss to be special. It happens in a lake when they are chasing each other underwater. I think I’m the first person to write an underwater yeti kiss, but I hope I’m not the last.

With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write because none of these GLBTQ YA characters or stories existed when I was a teenager in the 1980s. I would have loved to have read them. I’m writing to my 17-year-old self, filling in the emotional blanks, and making up for all that lost time.

Blurb:
James, Keira, Lumen, and Paul—teens with special abilities granted by their alien DNA—bonded over hardship, becoming friends and sometimes more. But now they’re held in Fort Bragg and subjected to painful tests by the evil Dr. Albion, and those ties are coming loose just when they need them the most. Budding romances and family relationships are tested as each teen struggles to choose where to stand and who can be trusted. Reunions with lost family members and the possibility of love with new allies strain already tense relationships, and not every heart will survive unscathed. But the Star Children are the only ones who can command an alien spaceship needed to intercept the Nibiru object—an unidentified celestial mass plummeting toward the planet. If they can’t work together, an unimaginable catastrophe will strike the earth, and they’re the only ones who can stop it.

About the Author

 Andrew Demcak is an American poet and novelist, the author of five poetry collections and six Young Adult novels. His books have been featured by The American Library Association, Verse Daily, The Lambda Literary Foundation, The Best American Poetry, and Poets and Writers. He was a *FINALIST* for the prestigious Dorset Poetry Prizethe Gloria E. Anzaldúa Poetry Prize,  The Crazyhorse Poetry Award, and the Louise Bogan Award for Artistic Merit and Excellence in Poetry.

He has a new collection of flash fiction/prose poems coming out from Nomadic Press in 2019 titled Cryptopedia. His newest YA/Teen GLBTQ2-S novel is Darkfeather, The Elusive Spark series, Book 3, (Harmony Ink Press, 2019).  He recently released two other YA/Teen GLBTQ2-S novels, How Do You Deal with a Dead Girl? (Big 23 Press, 2018) which Kirkus Reviews called “An eerily amusing horror tale that will have readers rooting for the characters,” and Alpha Wave, The Elusive Spark series, Book 2, (Harmony Ink Press, 2018). About his Teen GLBTQ Sci-Fi Coming-Out novel, A Little Bit Langston, The Elusive Spark series, Book 1,  Kirkus Reviews raved “This book really … takes its place in the marginalized-will-lead-us genre, as popularized by The Matrix and the X-Men franchises.” His first Young Adult (YA) novel, Ghost Songs, was published March 13, 2014. His first literary novel, If There’s A Heaven Above, was published January 5, 2013 by JMS Books, and was nominated by The American Library Association as an “Outstanding” novel for older Teens (17+). His first play, The Inevitable Crunch Factor, won the Cal Arts’ New Playwrights Series and was cast and produced in a multi-week run. His fourth book of poetry, Night Chant, was published by Lethe Press. His other poetry books are: A Single Hurt Color, GOSS 183::Casa Menendez Press, 2010, Zero Summer, BlazeVOX [Books], NY, 2009 and his first poetry book, Catching Tigers in Red Weather, three candles press, 2007, which was selected by Joan Larkin to win the Three Candles Press Open Book Award.

To reach Andrew:

Author website:  www.andrewdemcak.org
Social media: Twitter: @andrewdemcak,
Facebook: Andrew Demcak, Vero: Andrew D

A Lila Release Day Review: Escape to Paradise (A Planet Called Wish #4) by Caitlin Ricci

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Rate: 5 stars out of 5

His attraction to men means Kalean is the black sheep of his wealthy and powerful family—but it won’t get him out of attending his brother’s pretentious wedding ceremony. Kalean doesn’t want to go, but if his parents insist, he has a stipulation: he’ll be there with a man on his arm.
On the pleasure planet, Wish, Kalean goes to a brothel to meet some potential escorts. But the man who captures his attention isn’t one of those on offer….


Descani is as surprised as anyone at Kalean’s attraction to him—and at his own interest in the young man. He’s even more perplexed as a bond begins forming between them.


But a murder rips apart Kalean’s family and redefines his role. He’ll be isolated on his cold and barren home world, far from the warm and colorful planet of Wish—and the arms of the man who’s coming to mean so much to him—unless he can find a way to escape the forces separating them.

Escape to Paradise has the perfect combination of sweet and sexy. It’s short but it has enough plot twists to keep the reader engaged. And great characters for everyone to love. It can be read as a standalone but reading the previous three books is worth it. I did want a little more from previous characters.

It’s an easy read with an amazing world-build and people from all around the universe. Everything from technology to food to sexual preferences are part of the plot.

Since the opening scene, the reader gets a connection with Kalean and Descani. Their quick friendship and easy banter are endearing. There’s a lot of promise in those few pages and the author delivers in the end.

The last part of the story felt a bit rushed but that’s expected on a novella. I enjoyed the glance at their future together.

I hope this is not the last book in the series.

The cover by Brooke Albrecht isn’t as beautiful as the previous in the series, but it goes well with the story.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | AmazonKobo

Book Details:

ebook, 145 pages
Published: February 1, 2019, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-64405-108-5
Edition Language: English

Series: A Planet Called Wish
Book #1: To the Highest Bidder
Book #2: Fantasy for a Gentleman
Book #3: Falling into the Black
Book #4: Escape to Paradise

New Release Blitz for Contact (A New World #1) by M.D. Neu (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Contact

Series: A New World, Book One

Author: M.D. Neu

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 21, 2019

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 71800

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Synopsis

A little blue world, the third planet from the sun. It’s home to seven billion people—with all manner of faiths, beliefs, and customs, divided by bigotry and misunderstanding—who will soon be told they are not alone in the universe. Anyone watching from the outside would pass by this fractured and tumultuous world, unless they had no other choice. Todd Landon is one of these people, living and working in a section of the world called the United States of America. His life is similar to those around him: home, family, work, friends, and a husband.

On the cusp of the greatest announcement humankind has ever witnessed, Todd’s personal world is thrown into turmoil when his estranged brother shows up on his front porch with news of ships heading for Earth’s orbit. The ships are holding the Nentraee, a humanoid race who have come to Earth in need of help after fleeing the destruction of their homeworld. How will one man bridge the gap for both the Humans and Nentraee, amongst mistrust, terrorist attacks, and personal loss? Will this be the start of a new age of man or will bigotry and miscommunication bring this small world to its knees and final end?

Excerpt

Contact
M.D. Neu © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Maintenance drones passed the Speaker General’s window as Mirtoff stifled a yawn. How long would they be here this time? The fleet stopped in a holding pattern while repairs were performed, the darkness of space surrounding them. Soft light from the window surround bathed her in a warm glow as she brushed away the few strands of hair that dropped from her tightly braided bun.

The past several months had been difficult, and she’d had little sleep. The suffering of her people weighed heavily on her. Mining Ship 9 had a malfunction in one of its storage bays while on an Ĩ-type asteroid pulling out much-needed water, nickel, cobalt, and platinum. One hundred and fifty people died that day.

She perused her terminal, chairs, conference table, and sofa. At times her office was claustrophobic. It’s bigger than what most of my people have. She gathered her scattered thoughts and sipped from the now warm cup of tuma.

Faa was curled up on the couch. Their gazes met, and a comforting smile filled his face. He closed his big green eyes and nestled his gray, fur-covered head onto one of the sofa’s pillows for a nap. His tail shifted gently back and forth.

He’s calm today.

They’d been inseparable since he was plucked from the wreckage of Agricultural Ship 15 ten years ago when he was a seyas. Perhaps a month old. She had been consoling survivors and reviewing the damage. Twelve people died that day, including her sister-in-law.

Faa still suffered from nightmares, but he had always been a sensitive cádo. If he could communicate his pain and fear better so she might help him, maybe it wouldn’t bother her so much, but the cádo were limited in that manner. She always considered it so unfair to them, particularly Faa.

Sighing, Mirtoff took a final swallow of her tuma, savoring the last of the now warm liquid, preferring it chilled as it should be, but unwilling to cool it again. The sweet, spicy flavors were still there, so the taste was pleasant enough. Turning her attention back to the chaos of her desk and the report-filled datapads, she rubbed her temple. The people and the cádo were weary of traveling through space. It had been too long.

If J’Veesa had intended Mirtoff and the Nentraee people to wander the stars, she would never have created their world, even if it was gone now. They had a home once.

They needed to find somewhere they could build a new life, a new world. They needed off these ships.

She glanced out the window again at the 450 ships carrying her people. How long would it take them to find a home?

Of course, there were other worlds and other civilizations, but none that fit her people and their needs. J’Veesa never meant for the Nentraee to be worshiped like gods; there was only one God, J’Veesa. Many names, yes, but there was only one.

They needed to either find a world void of life or one with a civilization they could work with and learn from. Their first choice was a world with equals on it.

What if they never found one? What if the ships stopped working? What if they were forced to do what some in the military had suggested? What if they had to take advantage of a lesser civilization? Or worse, what if…

“Enough,” she huffed and turned back to the reports.

Faa startled and glanced up at her. “Provider?” he asked in a soft murmur. His speech was poor but understandable.

“It’s nothing, little one. I’m sorry.”

He shook his head and settled back in his chair, his big eyes not leaving her.

She grabbed one of the datapads to review. Agricultural Ship 23 was still under repair, forcing the other agro ships to increase production and require rationing. Again. She sighed.

There was a chirp at the door. Odd. Is it that late? Faa’s eyes didn’t leave her, but his floppy ears perked up.

Her aide, Danu, was gone for the day. The lines of her mouth softened into a smile when the visitor’s image appeared on her desk monitor. She tapped a button on the screen, and then the door opened swiftly and Mi’ko entered.

“Vice speaker, tell me you’ve brought good news,” Mirtoff’s brows raised, and her lips pulled up at the edges. “Would you like a tuma? It’s a little warm, but it’s still good.”

Faa looked at the vice speaker; his eyes softened and his muzzle twitched. If anything happened to her or her family, she wouldn’t be surprised if he chose Mi’ko as his new Provider.

Mi’ko regarded her with his aging, aqua eyes. The wrinkles around his mouth turned up into a smile as he spoke. “No, thank you, Madam Speaker.”

He was still in his traditional gray suit. She wondered if he’d been home yet. His brown hair was neatly groomed and pulled back, past his shoulders. His lopsided tieback was coming loose, which allowed a few wisps of hair to fall free.

“I have news,” Mi’ko said. “The signals we’ve been studying have promise. We locked onto the frequencies, followed them, and found more transmissions.” He typed on his datapad and a three-dimensional holographic image lifted from the screen, revealing a small solar system. He pointed at the third planetoid, and it zoomed in. “I think this might be what we’ve been looking for.”

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Meet the Author

M.D. Neu is a LGBTQA Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man, he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric, his husband of eighteen plus years.

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