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

Add to Goodreads

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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A Lila Review:Yule Planet: Escape from the Holidays by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Sofia Cancino is tired of her mundane life, her artificial environment and her large, boisterous family descending every holiday season. She’s promised herself this year will be different and books a stay on the exclusive—and expensive–holiday-themed resort, Yule Planet. She looks forward to being pampered while reconnecting with Old Earth traditions steeped in the magic and mysticism of nature. Everything will be perfect and she’ll leave as a more authentic human, better connected to her roots.

Naturally, things go horribly wrong. Sofia’s landing pod goes off course and instead of stepping out on the landing pad at the resort, she finds herself in the snow-swept perpetual winter of the planet’s hinterlands. If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s “rescued” by a band of criminals on work release who run deliveries to the resort from far-flung shuttle delivery sites. They refuse to take her, a paying customer, to the resort and insist on dragging her along on their parcel run. Riding giant monsters. In frigid weather. Not to mention, Marta, who handles the monsters, obviously hates her.

If Sofia survives her vacation, she’s definitely yelling at someone’s supervisor until she gets a refund.

Yule Planet is one of those stories in which the romance element seems irrelevant. The world-build for such a short story is amazing, as well as the visualization. It’s easy to feel like part of the action and get involved with all the characters. The relationship between Sofia and Marta would have been better if they have stayed as friends. By the time we get a hint of them looking forward to more, the story is halfway through. I had to re-read the blurb to check if Sofia’s HEA was Marta or Shara.

I did enjoy the amount of diversity in the story and how not all the characters were likable. All their hard backstories added to the overall story. Each individual had a reason to be part of the events, including the chionisaurs. How they related to each other, as couples or co-workers was another unique fact.

This is a very good Holiday story. Very different from traditional Christmas stories, but perfect for the season. Once again, the author shows why she’s one of the best in her genre.

The cover by L.C. Chase goes with the story but feels a bit too contemporary. I wanted a little grit on it.

Sale Link: Amazon | Nook | Mischief Corner

Book Details:
ebook, 154 pages
ASIN: B07LGH3DBT
Published: December 22, 2018, by Mischief Corner Books
Edition Language: English

A Free Dreamer Review : Comply by Lee Manarte

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

“The world is a cruel place…”

No one believes that more than I do. My name is Declan Forester, and I am a Zedian. Part of a different species born with miraculous gifts from the gods, only the humans don’t see it that way. They see us as something to be tamed.
After being captured by the humans and stripped of my abilities, I have little left. With my life in shambles, my thoughts are haunted by my human tormenter. Dr. Adam Davenport. A human male that is everything nightmares are made of.
Now, his unwilling captive in a government-run facility, I am forced to obey his every demand, or be punished. Caught up in a web of lies about gods, the push to help a hot redhead, my high running desires and, oh yeah, the pending apocalypse, I find myself falling apart. And Adam may be the only one to save me…if I comply.

Comply is a bit hard to rate, tbh. There were things I quite liked and things I didn’t care for, so I guess “not so great” is my final impression.

The premise itself is interesting, if not entirely unique. There are people (Zedians) who have amazing gifts and the humans hate and fear them because of those gifts. As the blurb implies, this is a very dark story and that’s something I generally like. And an MC trapped in a facility for inhumane experiments is just the kind of thing that sounds promising to me.

The prologue was the best part of the entire book. It starts off with a very strong Fantasy bang, but the rest of the book didn’t quite life up to that. The bits and pieces of Fantasy were definitely interesting, but too few and far between for me. Also, I found the world building to be a bit lacking. Again, there were bits and pieces, but I kind of missed the bigger picture.

My biggest issue, however, were the relationships in this book. There is no build-up to and suddenly there are very strong feelings involved. I kind of got the feeling that Declan’s feelings for Adam were a Stockholm Syndrome thing. Not very romantic, but understandable.

But what really baffled me were Adam’s feelings. I just didn’t get where they were coming from. I think the author did too good a job of making him seem like an evil jerk at the beginning and then he kind of got a complete change of personality, for no apparent reason. I was convinced Adam was just playing with Declan and that he would betray him eventually.

There weren’t many sex scenes and all but one wasn’t very consensual. And the one consensual scene we do get, was a bit odd. I could have forgiven the lack of condoms, given the circumstances and the fact that Declan isn’t human and has very strong healing abilities, but the lack of lube really put me off. And the time and place they chose to have sex wasn’t very nice either.

Honestly, this book left me confused. There were grammatical errors, which really bothered me, an inconsistent plot and the MCs had zero chemistry. There are a bunch of seemingly useless torture scenes and the relationship was very much dubcon. The idea itself was good and there were some elements I liked, but the ones I didn’t like far outweighed the good parts. I think it definitely shows that this is the author’s first book.

I actually quite like the cover by Jay Aheer, it’s nice and dark. Though I am a bit sick of all those ripped, bare-chested cover models…

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow in Kindle Unlimited
 

Book details: Kindle Edition, 201 pages

Published November 13th 2018