An Anthology Special! Check out Contact (Gothika #5) by Kim Fielding , F.E. Feeley Jr. , Jamie Fessenden , and B.G. Thomas (guest post, special excerpt and more)

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Contact (Gothika #5)
by Kim Fielding , F.E. Feeley Jr. , Jamie Fessenden , B.G. Thomas

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have F.E. Feeley, Jr. here today to talk about Contact (Gothika #5), an upcoming anthology from Dreamspinner Press.  Welcome, F.E.

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Hi! I’m F.E. Feeley, Jr., one of the authors in the upcoming anthology Gothika: Contact. This is the fifth installment in the Gothika series, which has featured androids, werewolves, voodoo curses, and ghosts! Contact is about encounters with extraterrestrials and alien abduction, and it includes four stories by me, Kim Fielding, Jamie Fessenden, and B.G. Thomas.

In my story, “My Final Blog,” I explored the idea of extraterrestrials establishing contact not by landing a spaceship in our backyard or making toy monkeys come to life (Why do we have those creepy things, anyway?), but by chatting with us online. We’ve already got a worldwide network where it’s possible—and expected—that people will communicate without revealing their identities. How easy would it be for an alien to establish contact with humans on social media, scope us out, and maybe even establish a form of relationship with us before revealing itself?

Here’s how I handled the idea of alien contact in “My Final Blog.”

Blurb

George is an average guy who’s led an average sort of life.  Always fading in the background, he never garnered much attention. People seemed to pass him by or not notice him. Except, of course, in high school where he was tormented by his sexuality. Finding solace online, George developed a blog early on that helped him maintain his sanity.  It was an anonymous link to the outside world to vent his frustrations and express his creativity. And he gathered quite an audience of similar spirits and allies who stayed with him for over the years. 

Especially one commenter, Universal47. In the spirit of anonymity, George never pushed him to expose who he really was.  And over a period of years, began to have feelings for this faceless person. When George finds himself in a horrible one sided relationship with an abusive and neglectful partner, Universal steps in to help George break up with him.  Devastated by the outcome of his failed relationship, George threatens to withdraw from Universal47 as well unless he tells him who he really is. The answer may be more than George can handle.

Excerpt

We were wandering into dangerously choppy waters. I was defensive over my relationship. I mean, there were good times. Christmases and birthdays were great. But there were times when I could dry up and disappear and Joseph, I don’t think would have cared. As a matter of fact, it was sort of ‘go away, come back’ messages that I received from him that confused me. Which, I must say looking back, was sort of pathetic. But you know what they say about hindsight. It was always fifty/ fifty. I ended up saying goodnight and went about my evening. But his words haunted me.

Yet, fast forward to the night he told me his name, I sat staring at my computer screen as his name flashed in front of me. Elijah. I liked the name. I, of course, understood the biblical reference. Elijah was a prophet that once called down fire from heaven to consume a sacrifice to God.  Or, it was the name of a really blue eyed actor who played Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings movies. I put those two things up for consideration in the chat box and was greeted with a great big LOL for my efforts.

Universal47: Neither. But that’s funny.

I tilted my head for a moment before typing: Will we ever meet?

Universal47: I believe so. Do you want to meet me?

Me: Of course.

Universal47: Why?

Me: To put a face with a name?

Universal47: Is that all?

Me: Sure. Isn’t that enough.

Universal47: And what would we do if we met.

I rolled my eyes hard at that.

Me: Well, you’re not getting laid if that’s what you mean. I could go on GRNDR for that.

Universal47: HAHAHAHA! I’m sure you could. And no, that isn’t what I’m after either.

Me: so you are after something?

Universal47: Companionship? Is that weird?

Me: No. I don’t think so. You must get lonely, too.

Universal47: You have no idea.

Me: Well, if it’s any consolation to you. At night, when I fall asleep, you’re not far from my mind.

Universal47: That’s really the sweetest thing anyone’s ever said to me. But you don’t know what I look like.

Me: No. I guess not.

Universal47: What do you think about when think about me before you fall asleep.

Me: Honestly? You’ve had many faces. But your arms are always the same. Strong.  There. Just like you’ve been all these years. There. That’s what matters to me, Elijah.

He was quiet for a long time after that and before he could reply, I felt my eyes grow heavy. It had been a long couple of days. And since it was Friday night, I had a whole weekend’s worth of work to do. I bid him goodnight and logged out. I hoped I hadn’t said too much. I hope I hadn’t freaked him out. But my ability to bullshit was completely depleted by that time that truth sort of rolled out of me in waves.  That night, as I lay in bed listening to the wind howling over the prairies it was so mournful and so lonesome sounding that I cried myself to sleep.

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Anthology Blurb

Since ancient times, humankind has looked into the night sky and wondered: Are we alone? Are there other civilizations beyond the stars? Will we ever encounter these beings? Who are they, what are they like, and what might they want with us?

These questions are about to be answered, but those who discover the truth might wish they had never asked. On the other hand, some might find salvation in visitors from other planets. For while some aliens are hostile, others are benevolent. Some have little in common with humans, but for others, the need for love and acceptance is universal. Lives will intersect and otherworldly passions will ignite as four acclaimed authors of gay romance explore first contact—and where it can lead.

Buy Links

        

A MelanieM Review: Keep the Stars Running Anthology by Cassandra Pierce, Lexi Ander , Andrea Speed , Talya Andor , Leona Carver

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Keeping the Stars Running AnthologySpace is not always filled with adventures and glory. Not everybody goes racing off to battle evil and save the galaxy. Between the rebels, pirates, royals, and spies are the everyday people who work hard just to get by and ensure everyone gets home safe. Less Than Three Press presents a collection of tales about the ordinary folks who keep the stars running.

The Prince and the Programmer by Cassandra Pierce
The Aurora Conspiracy by Lexi Ander
About a Bot by Andrea Speed
Flight Risk by Talya Andor
Survival by Leona Carver

Take romance, throw it out into space and then gather together some wonderful authors to write their take on this fabulous trope and what do you have?  Keeping The Stars Running Anthology!  And each story couldn’t be more different from each other.  Here they are with my comments and rating in the order they appear in the anthology:

The Prince and the Programmer by Cassandra Pierce.  3.5 stars

Probably the closest story here to a familiar romance plot.  Food service mech/chef? is abducted but soon finds his new situation and “Prince” much more to his liking than his old one.  I thought the characters were charming and the situation sort of funny.  It was a sweet if not totally memorable way to open the anthology.

About a Bot by Andrea Speed. 4 stars out of 5

I loved/was frustrated by this terrific story by Andrea Speed.  Speed creates this complex universe, complete with on going intergalactic war, one in which the humans aren’t doing terribly well.  The main character, Tahir, is the Nebula space station’s mechanic who keeps all their robots in working order.  He also rescues and repairs older bots, giving them names and making them his “pets” with personalities.  In fact, Tahir is far more comfortable with his bots then with the rest of the crew on his station.  I loved this character.  He’s believable, fascinating, and when it comes to his interactions with his bots then Tahir becomes irresistible.  As are  his bots, including Spider and the adorable Bagel bot and Tank.

I loved this story so much that the ending, or perhaps lack of one frustrated me with its tantalizing possibilities.  How I would love to see this made into a full length novel.  Anyone listening?

The Aurora Conspiracy by Lexi Ander.   4 stars out of 5

In the Aurora Conspiracy, Lexi Ander’s takes ecological concerns and mining into space with no less than 2 completely different species and a conspiracy to boot.  Regin Valenta, crane operator for the Aurora Minerals and Rare Metals concern is being interrogated by constables from The Fraternity, a galactic law enforcement agency.  One of them, a Nythlithian, Constable Markari Gan’Sey, shares a painful past with Regin, although only one remembers.  The story becomes a dance between the main characters, as their past returns with its angst-filled memories and their attraction to each other flares back to life amidst an investigation into illegal mining practices on the planet below.   It’s suspenseful, layered, and marvelous.

Flight Risk by Tayla Andor  5 stars out of 5

One of my favorite stories in the anthology.  Again, we have an interplanetary war in progress and an embattled   Kiel Navarro’s work as a mechanic in the Gear hangar, keeping the Gryphon wings in perfect operating order for their pilots.  Andor’s world building is amazing and the author’s attention to detail bring this story and crews to life. Even the smallest touches, such as Kiel being half deaf where as most of the other pilots are deaf because of the noise of the engines and conditions they work in, give the readers a authentic feel for the environment and safety factors of the job Kiel does and the hangers in which he and his coworkers make their living.  And it’s not a very nice one.

The mechanics are being harassed, treated as lowly servants, who hide in their quarters for fear of retaliation.  And its by whom that is so startling.  A new Gryphon pilot, Marco Lafaele, a replacement for a recent death in the squad Wing Bravo, shakes up the status quo by showing an interest in Kiel, something that is just not done). His actions and determination not to follow along with his fellow pilots starts to put  cracks in the SOP in the Hangers. And ripples from the fallout spread throughout Cadlow Station.  I loved that Andors created the mechanic equipment down to the MagLens Kiel is using to augment his failing vision to the derogatory nicknames they earn him.

There is mystery, romance, gritty war time battles, and finally a white knuckle ride to the rescue.  Just an outstanding story on every level.

and finally….

Survival by Leona Carver.  3.5 t0 4.5 rating, really this story confounds me.

Not a romance.  I love Leona Carver so many aspects of this story didn’t surprise me while others absolutely did.   Just when I thought I knew where the author was taking this story, it took off in an unexpected direction.  And ending.  We start off on the Velikaya Knyazhna, a giant colonist ship on its new to a new planet.  Most of its crew is “sleeping” in order to make it to their destination without aging too much.  But an emergency sees the “ship” and its caretakers waking up some of the scientists to examine the cause of the emergency and fix it…before its too late.

Valentin Mashire, was trained to work on the planet, frozen on Earth and then shipped up to the “orbiting giant” in a crates, along with many others.   He’s a botanical scientist, a park technician trained to work in the terrestial parkland on board  that’s necessary to terraform the new planet they will land on.    The length of the voyage?  100 years.  Plenty of time for things to go wrong and they do.  And that’s where ship’s Security officer, Fyodor Bendlin comes in.

I can’t go any further.  To do so, takes away the best of the surprises found within this story.  I loved the descriptions of the park inside the ship and the ship itself.  But the romance I wanted to happen was never going to be part of this story.  No, this is all about Survival.  But it’s the “who” that is trying to survive that will shock you as will the ending.  Did I like this story?  Not really.  But did it fascinate me with its mythology and universe building?  Yes.  And it floored me with the surprising revelations and erotica.

What a great anthology.  I don’t know that I would have ended it with Survival.  I think that Flight Risk would have grounded this anthology better with its more substantial ending.  However, there is such variety, a true smorgasbord of stories, that everyone will find something to love.

I recommend this series to all lovers of science fiction, romance and the possibilities of tomorrow.

Cover art by Aisha Akeju.  Love this cover artist and this cover is another splendid example of their work. Great job.

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

Book Details:

ebook, also available in print
Published May 13th 2015 by Less Than Three Press (first published 2014)
original titleKeep the Stars Running
ISBN139781620045305
edition languageEnglish