Blog Post and Giveaway for Taking Shield Series by Anna Butler

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Penny Plain

I’m a bit of a nerd, really. I like knowing stuff. I like details and fun facts, and, well, I am a bit of a control freak. I have to have things sorted. Docketed. Filed away for future reference.

No, really. When it came to Taking Shield, I was looking up such wonderfully esoteric things as interferomatic dispersion, what actually happens if an airlock blows out in a vacuum, and sketching out on paper how the Gyrfalcon’s hangars and launch tubes work.

I love research.

Partly for its own sake, because it’s innately satisfying to learn how a naval flag office works or browse through the SF writing handbooks gawking at the inventive methods people have come up with (fictionally, I mean) to overcome Einstein’s pesky limitation that nothing can travel faster than light. But mostly I love it because it helps me visualise and describe the world I’m building, and because I think those worlds are stronger and more vivid from the details I’ve been able to add to them.

This isn’t about that old chestnut of ‘suspending the reader’s disbelief’. It’s quite the opposite: it’s about getting them to believe. There’s far more to being a writer than just sitting down to the keyboard and letting rip – you have to seed that urge to write with research. And then you have to look at all those lovely, juicy things you’ve learned and prune them away, despite the ache in your heart and the tears, to leave just the right amount to thread through your story to make it come alive. To make it tuppence coloured, rather than just penny plain.

The trick is to know what to put in (only just enough) and what to leave out (probably most if it, but I had fun researching). Feed through enough detail to give the created world completeness and coherence and make the narrative three dimensional and rich. Do it right and the little gems of knowledge inform the story, catching at the reader’s attention—hopefully subtly and naturally. It makes the world live. It’s all about balance: blend imagination with all that stuff so painstakingly collected together, and seed the details through the story so quietly and seamlessly the reader just sees the whole, complete world and never has to worry about things like the scaffolding holding it all up in the background.

For me, half the fun is sharing research with readers. I use glossaries, author’s notes, Pinterest, blog posts, website background notes… If I were a little less technologically challenged, I’d probably include animated slideshows and book trailers, too. But I am, so I don’t. The ways of sharing these fascinating world-building snippets have gone well beyond the old days when all a reader got was a fold-out map at the end of a book, if they were lucky.

You’ll find extra snippets of information on Taking Shield at my website. Do explore them to find out fascinating things such which dreadnought heads up the Ninth Flotilla, or how the chain of command of the Albion Defences work, what the medals for valour are and what colour uniform an Infantryman wears. I hope you enjoy reading it all as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link


Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas


Hate buying books in a series until the whole thing is done? Then check out the Rainbow Award-winning Taking Shield series, just released as an e-book boxed set. Not only do you get the entire series, there’s a very nice saving on the cost of the individual books! Anna’s dropped in today to tell us more.


About Taking Shield


Earth’s a dead planet, dark for thousands of years; lost for so long no one even knows where the solar system is. Her last known colony, Albion, has grown to be regional galactic power in its own right. But its drive to expand and found colonies of its own has threatened an alien race, the Maess, against whom Albion is now fighting a last-ditch battle for survival in a war that’s dragged on for generations.


Taking Shield charts the missions and adventures of Shield Captain Bennet, scion of a prominent military family. Bennet, also an analyst with the Military Strategy Unit, uncovers crucial data about the Maess to help with the war effort. Against the demands of his family’s ‘triple goddess’ of Duty, Honour and Service, is set Bennet’s relationships with lovers and family—his difficult relationship with his long term partner, Joss; his estrangement from his father, Caeden, the commander of Fleet’s First Flotilla; and Fleet Lieutenant Flynn, who, over the course of the series, develops into Bennet’s main love interest.


Over the Taking Shield arc, Bennet will see the extremes to which humanity’s enemies, and his own people, will go to win the war. Some days he isn’t able to tell friend from foe. Some days he doubts everything, including himself, as he strives to ensure Albion’s victory. And some days he isn’t sure, any longer, what victory looks like.

Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She lives with her husband in a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside. She’s supported there by the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo, who is assisted by the lovely Mavis, a Yorkie-Bichon cross with a bark several sizes larger than she is but no opinion whatsoever on the placement of semi-colons.

 

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Looking For Your Next Romance Story? Check Out the Blog Tour with Excerpt for Consorts of the Red King by Eden Winters

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Consorts of the Red King

Eden Winters

Gay Romance/Sci-fi/Menage

Release Date: 10.26.19

Cover artist: Perie Wolford

_Kindle

Blurb

In deepest space the ruthless Federation lays waste to one rebel colony after another, leaving comrades-in-arms Van Orskey and Tayn Kassik without family, without a home, and without hope.

With nothing left but each other, they run contraband and smuggle fugitives from the safety of their ship, the Cormorant—with the occasional clandestine mission for the rival Coalition thrown in. Their heists have not gone unnoticed, though even the bounty on their heads doesn’t prevent them from being a thorn in the enemy’s side at every opportunity.

Pissing them off? Big mistake.

From the day of his birth Prince Jorvik of Akiak learned duty, wisdom, and honor from his father, leaving him ill-equipped to withstand betrayal by his Federation-puppet uncle. He has no love for the greedy off-worlders who plunder his world’s natural resources and enslave his people. To defeat his foe, he needs the cunning, fearlessness, and touch of treachery only outlaws can offer.

Two off-world mercenaries make unlikely partners in Jorvik’s quest for vengeance, but the more he learns of them, the more common ground he discovers. In each other’s arms they find passion, heat, and maybe, a reason for living—until their common enemy threatens to tar them apart.

To survive, they must take on the corrupt Federation.

And win.

3D

Excerpt

How dare they assault the king’s son! Where were Father’s advisors? He demanded answers.

Jorvik’s anger crumbled when a familiar figure swept through the door. His heart seized.

His uncle? A moment of relief hit. Uncle would help him.

He stopped himself from stepping from the closet.

What was… The guards turned toward his uncle.

Why was Uncle smiling? He looked so… satisfied, patting a blood-spattered guard’s shoulder. What…

Dear Queen of the Stars. Cold fear captured him in an icy grasp.

Jorvik grabbed the wall to keep from falling, and bent double, struggling to breathe. Air. He needed air.

No help. All alone. Six armed guards.

One Jorvik.

He must get to his father.

What could he use as a weapon? As quietly as possible, he rifled through his clothes, tossing away a belt. No, wouldn’t do. A pin? A boot? His eyes fell to the sex toy he’d dropped on the floor. One kick hid the object beneath a pile of silk.

He’d been taught to fight, more for exercise than self-defense, with a staff, knives, but mostly with his hands. While he’d bested his teacher a few times, he’d not fare well against so many well-trained guards.

Knives! The blade of his dagger glinted from the pile of clothing he’d left on the floor. A grinning man picked up the gleaming blade and slipped it into his waistband. What? No! His father gave him the dagger.

Why hadn’t he hidden more weapons in his room?

His blood boiled, instincts screaming, “Attack! Attack!” He nearly added his own scream, of frustration. No. To do so meant sure death.

He crept away from the door, though not far enough to escape the sight of Sika and Gris, mouths open and eyes staring in his direction.

Just a few moments ago they’d been alive, loving…

His uncle spat on the robed body on the floor. Please let him not see me, please let him not see me. All the while Jorvik’s brain accused, “Coward!”

The dim greenish glow of the crystals gave his uncle an eerie, monstrous look as he crouched down by Gris’s body. “He’s just a whore, but a pretty one. Such a shame he chose the wrong bed to come to.”

One of the guards laughed.

Whore? How dare the traitor call sweet Gris an off-worlder insult! Jorvik’s hard swallow didn’t lessen the burning in this throat. These were his father’s own guards. What were they about? And what were they doing with his uncle?

Worst still, what was his uncle doing?

“Take them! Burn their bodies!” his uncle barked.

The men split up, one each at their victims’ heads and feet, lifting them from the floor, with two trailing behind.

Burning their bodies? No. They must be taken to the caves to join Akiak’s cycle of life, amidst chanting and prayers to the queen of the stars. To be burned…

One guard stopped, glancing toward the closet door. The breath caught in Jorvik’s throat. Please don’t see me. Please don’t see me.

“Come! Now!” his uncle ordered from the hallway.

With one last sweep of the room, the guard spun on his heel and followed the carnage, leaving the door ajar.

A trail of red followed the procession out the door.

Jorvik collapsed against the wall, head in his hands. His heart still pounded. Try as he might he couldn’t get his breathing under control. Nothing made sense. Surely, he slept and wine-induced dreams haunted him.

More cries sounded from the hallway.

He couldn’t cower here. Father! He had to find his father.

Countless lessons drove his actions. At the time he’d thought the caution ridiculous. Who would dare challenge the king?

Yet, his father insisted he train for battle, an ancient art practiced by rulers and guards.

Though he wanted to run to his father straightaway, he’d do as he’d been told and plan for the worse.

Jorvik closed his eyes, opening them again a moment later when visions of two dead men appeared on his eyelids.

Choking down his horror, he forced himself to stand and grabbed a travel case. His hands shook. He must pack quickly, but taking too much might slow him down. These were his things, by the mother. He’d every right to them.

The urge to forget all else and run straight to his father nearly overwhelmed him, but with a threat to the family, his father would send him into hiding. They’d been through the drill. Someone might plot to harm the heir, but who would dare move against the king?

His guards would keep him safe. Wouldn’t they?

Jorvik’s chest ached at the thought of the two dead men. He couldn’t help them now, but he could help others.

If he lived. Living meant taking only what he truly needed.

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You will know Eden Winters by her distinctive white plumage and exuberant cry of “Hey, y’all!” in a Southern US drawl so thick it renders even the simplest of words unrecognizable. Watch out, she hugs!

Driven by insatiable curiosity, she possibly holds the world’s record for curriculum changes to the point that she’s never quite earned a degree but is a force to be reckoned with at Trivial Pursuit. She’s trudged down hallways with police detectives, learned to disarm knife-wielding bad guys, and witnessed the correct way to blow doors off buildings. Her e-mail contains various snippets of forensic wisdom, such as “What would a dead body left in a Mexican drug tunnel look like after six months?” In the process of her adventures she has written twenty gay romance novels, has won several Rainbow Awards, was a Lambda Awards Finalist, and lives in terror of authorities showing up at her door to question her Internet searches.

When not putting characters in dangerous situations she’s a mild-mannered business executive, mother, grandmother, vegetarian, and PFLAG activist. Her natural habitats are airports, coffee shops, and the backs of motorcycles.

Website: edenwinters.com

Email: edenwinter@gmail.com

Twitter: edenwinters1

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

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A MelanieM Review: Something Wild by Anna Martin

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

The South Pacific Archipelago is home to a tiny island community of around three hundred scientists… and twenty thousand dinosaurs. As a paleogeneticist, Kit Sterling leads a team studying the dinosaurs to unlock the unanswered questions of evolution.

But there is something more dangerous than dinosaurs on the islands.

Head ranger Logan Beck discovers evidence of poachers, while rumors of a black market for dinosaur leather swirl around the community. Kit and Logan haven’t always gotten along professionally, though that has nothing to do with their attraction to each other. So when they’re thrown together to save an injured infant dinosaur, their professional disdain turns into a clandestine romance.

With not just the injured dinosaur at risk, but all of the precious dinosaurs on the islands too, Kit and Logan have to figure out how to balance their budding romance without letting their careers go extinct.

I enjoy the writings of Anna Martin and looked forward to something a little different from her latest release, Something Wild.  It has just a smattering of Jurrassic Park about it, however, in this case, there is no genetic tampering but islands that had been discovered with dinosaurs living on them all long somewhere in the Pacific ocean.  Yes, a bit of a stretch but go with it.

A quick moving science fiction romance, it has elements of some action adventure (of course, there’s dinosaurs involved) and espionage, to go along with the romance.  For me the romance is one that you could call “instalove” given that the men themselves go from frenemies (loudly arguing over science papers etc) to lovers in a blink of an eye.  But the characters themselves are so engaging that the jump into bed and a full blown relationship that could get them fired gets an eye roll and then accepted.

I also liked the dinosaurs, Dizzy included, and would have loved to have had this element made more inclusive here.  We get some realistic science work and labs which is then promptly thrown out the window narratively speaking for the sake of the plot and some action adventure.  Neither of which made sense given the intensity of these men’s previous careers and their commitment to them and their jobs.  They start of as highly praised professionals in their fields and then start acting as interns flying about the island.  That sort of puzzled me to no end.

Same for other characters.  Loved the mothers, but the character of one lab assistant/roommate had a personality that first read older, then younger, then older.  No  real foundation to her, although she started out so strong.  A real shame.  That more of less happened throughout the story.  Certain elements or storylines started out of the narrative gate with real appeal or fullness but sort of petered out, leaving holes as the story trudged towards it’s ending.   And then there was that ending.  Oddly unsatisfying.  The epilogue trailed off, with no certain resolutions to specific problems.

Did I enjoy this?  Sure.  Will I remember it?  Hmmm, probably not.  It was fun, but the issues kept stopping me here and there just enough to make me question certain things and I need a steady read all the way through for a total enjoyment in my stories.  How do you all feel about that?  If cute dinosaurs and scientists in love are your thing, check out Something Wild by Anna Martin.

Cover Design: Alexandria Corza.  Come on.  The model looks like Kit so that works but why not at least give us a dinosaur instead of tracks.  Just ok cover.

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 216 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07WN8VWVF

Length: 67,000 words

Review Tour and Giveaway for Something Wild by Anna Martin

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Length: 67,000 words
 
Cover Design: Alexandria Corza
 
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
 
Blurb



The South Pacific Archipelago is home to a tiny island community of around three hundred scientists… and twenty thousand dinosaurs. As a paleogeneticist, Kit Sterling leads a team studying the dinosaurs to unlock the unanswered questions of evolution.


But there is something more dangerous than dinosaurs on the islands.


Head ranger Logan Beck discovers evidence of poachers, while rumors of a black market for dinosaur leather swirl around the community. Kit and Logan haven’t always gotten along professionally, though that has nothing to do with their attraction to each other. So when they’re thrown together to save an injured infant dinosaur, their professional disdain turns into a clandestine romance.


With not just the injured dinosaur at risk, but all of the precious dinosaurs on the islands too, Kit and Logan have to figure out how to balance their budding romance without letting their careers go extinct.

 
Author Bio
 

Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the southwest of England and now lives in the Bristol, a city that embraces her love for the arts. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.


Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, and reading anything thatís put under her nose.


Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, prereading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.


https://www.annamartin-fiction.com/
http://www.facebook.com/annamartinfiction
http://www.pinterest.com/annamartinficti/
http://instagram.com/missannamartin
http://www.twitter.com/missannamartin

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An Alisa Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

A Sci-Regency Novel: sequel to My Regelence Rake 

Opposites don’t just attract… they sizzle.

A lusty special forces soldier who lives by his own set of rules, Dalton Fairfax decided long ago to stop wishing for his father’s love, and he found his calling. Now that he’s back home and between assignments, he finds himself at loose ends. When the opportunity arises to play bodyguard and help out his country, Dalton jumps at the chance. Not only does it keep him busy, but it just so happens that his charge is the man he saw on leave last month and hasn’t been able to get out of his head.

Heir to a dukedom and a conservative politician, Blaise Thompson strives to prove himself worthy of carrying on the family legacy as the next IN Councilman. However, his closest competitor keeps getting in the way and taking credit for Blaise’s ideas. Maintaining his stellar reputation isn’t easy to do while keeping his outrageous younger brother in line and foiling his rival’s personal attacks. He has no time for a guard and even less time for romance.

When a priceless antique goes missing, Blaise and Dalton discover that Regelence has larger problems than just IN plots. Now the only way to stop a scandal that threatens both of them is to compromise, and they are forced to confront the risk of losing everything… even each other.

I was super excited about this book. I have read the original three books more than once and I’ve read all the codas and short stories. I had given up hope that the series would be continued.  Then when I saw the first three were re-releasing I was overjoyed with the prospects of a new book. I went in to this with high hopes.  I’m very happy to say that this met my expectations and then some.
I was initially unsure when I read the blurb because I had figured the book would be about one of the other Townsend brothers. This one is about their cousin Dalton. After I started it I realized it was a great way to stretch out the series and introduce new characters. And, I loved Dalton. Like a lot.
Dalton is more of a handful than any of the other boys and he’s a rake in every way.  But he’s a good guy at heart and once he starts to fall for Blaise he’s totally committed. Blaise was also a really done character. He’s Dalton’s opposite. Blaise is quite proper, is a virgin and very much cares what people think.  I liked that Dalton didn’t try to corrupt or change Blaise. He was very respectful of Blaise’s beliefs. The chemistry between the two jumps off the page. This was more slow burn than the previous books.
There is the ongoing plotline of the corruption in the galactic alliance and there is also a plotline where Dalton & Blaise have their eyes opened to the poverty on their planet.  Both plots were fast paced and entertaining.
It’s a fairly low angst book and the relationship is really sweet and lovely.  There are some very romantic moments between these two.  These two ended up being my favorite couple so far in the series.
For fans of the series I have great news. There’s another book already planned and there is an excerpt at the back of this book. There is also what seems like a set up for another book running through this story. It’s a match up I’m super excited about. I’m not telling you who either couple is though….you’re going to have to read this and find out.
I have no complaints about this story. I loved it from beginning to end and was really glad to be back in this world, with these characters.
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design: I love this cover. I think it’s very eye catching and attractive and the models are a good representation of Dalton and Blaise.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 288 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 164080692X (ISBN13: 9781640806924)
Edition Language English
SeriesSci-Regency #4

A Chaos Moondrawn Review :Royal Guardian (Rise of the Symbionts #1) by Jo Tannah

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Lando is a man genetically bred by machines for security purposes. By the age of 12, he is one of the top 20 security specialists on the planet Oryon based on his intelligence and skill. He is training to be a Royal Guardian assigned to Prince Kallen, a powerful technomage. Prince Kallen was born sickly and is dying. When unknown inhabitants of the planet Nigul sent a distress call to Oryon, they arrive too late to save anyone while the planet is destroyed. Lando finds an egg with a sentient being inside that seems to have empathic abilities. The symbiont, Bobik, attaches itself to the Prince after it hatches, healing him.

There is an eight years age gap between the Prince and Lando. While Lando is in love with his prince, he never thinks anything will come of it. Kallen has other ideas–though he waits until his 18th birthday to make his feelings known. When Kallen names Lando Prince Consort, Lord Commander Militant Cheol, unhappy with the union and the symbiont, resigns his position and leaves with fifteen thousand guardsmen. While Lando hunts Cheol, Kallen leaves for Vespa to study magical protocols for two years. Lando becomes Lord Commander Militant, security and advisor to the King. When the Prince is kidnapped and Bobik is not with him, they fear the worst. Is Cheol involved? Are there other enemies they don’t know about? Many fear the alien Bobik and Kallen is such a powerful technomage already.

Although this was slow to get going, I actually enjoyed this. The love scene is strange as Bobik is involved. Part two will undoubtedly take up the search for Cheol. Lando also found a new egg as part of a mission assigned him by the King. I expect this is how the rise of the symbionts (the subtitle) will happen. I would have preferred this to be a long novel rather than having the story broken up into three novellas. Now I have to know what happens. This was an easy enjoyable read with likeable characters, low angst, and palace intrigue.

I like the cover art by Angela Waters, which communicates the story is science fiction and shows Lando.

Sales Links:       Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 76 pages
Published March 31st 2017 by eXtasy Books Inc
ISBN 1487412029 (ISBN13: 9781487412029)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesRise of the Symbionts #1

An Ali Release Day Review: My Regelence Rake (The Sci-Regency #3) by J.L. Langley

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Second Edition
A Sci-Regency Novel: sequel to The Englor Affair
Sebastian Hastings, Viscount Wentworth, is captain of the Royal Guard by day and scandalous rake by night. To protect the royal family of Regelence from the plots of the Intergalactic Navy, Sebastian makes it his priority to personally oversee their safety.Prince Colton Townsend is done pining after the roguish viscount and focuses his attention on his second love—horses. Following his dream of owning a racehorse breeding farm distracts Colton from his heartache… until Sebastian begins shadowing him.

When a good deed at a horse auction sparks public rumors, Colton just might get the man and the marriage he’s longed for. But Sebastian’s duties and secrets keep him walled off from those who would get close.

To reach Sebastian, Colton takes one last risk that might break his heart….

This was another enjoyable installation to this series.  This one focuses on Colton who we haven’t seen a lot of in the previous books.  I found that I really liked his character and I found both he and Sebastian to be entertaining.
This book was a bit different than the first two stories..  There was less of the IN plot and more focus on the couple and the romance.  We also get to see the previous couples and more of the various side characters.  I enjoyed seeing these other glimpses of characters and it seems to be setting up the future books in the series.
I originally read this many years ago so I don’t remember much from my first read.  I know things have been edited because I noticed a big difference in the first two books between the original and these new ones.  This one though, I just don’t remember enough to be able to compare.
Overall I found this to be a really good read.  It could be read as a standalone but you would miss some of the back story and the connections between the characters.  I do hope that these new re-releases mean that the author is finally going to release more books in this series.
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design I love these new covers.  I think they look great and are very eye catching.  They are a big improvement over the previous covers in my opinion.
Sales Link:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, Second Edition, 300 pages
Expected publication: November 23rd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published October 2nd 2012)
Original Title My Regelence Rake
ISBN 139781640806900
Edition Language English
Series Sci-Regency #3
Characters Colton Townsend, Sebastian Hastings setting Regelence

Kelly Jensen on Soy, Soy Recipes and her new release ‘To See The Sun by Kelly Jensen (guest post and giveaway)

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To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen 

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art by Garrett Leigh

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing  | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kelly Jensen here today talking about farming, soy, and recipes. Welcome, Kelly!

Soy, Soy, and a Little More Soy by Kelly Jensen

Did you know that soybeans are the second most planted field crop in the U.S.? You do now. The only thing we grow more of in North America is corn.

There’s not a lot that will grow in the harsh environment of Alkirak. Bram has a little patch of corn on his farm, but mostly, he grows soybeans, and my ever-practical farmer processes his soy in a number of ways: milk, tempeh, miso, tofu, soy sauce, and soy nuts. He can also simply enjoy the little green beans steamed in the pod and served with salt. In the book, I have him experimenting with soy flour. I mean, who wants to live at the end of the galaxy without pancakes? He also wonders when someone is going to invent a coffee-type drink made of soy. (Hopefully never.)

I enjoyed researching what Bram and Gael might grow and might cook on the farm, because I’m interested in food, and I like to cook. I’m also a fan of soy products. I love eating the steamed fresh beans, I’ve been drinking soy milk for twenty-five years ago, and some of my favorite dishes feature tasty cubes of tofu. So I thought I’d share a couple of favorite recipes, with notes about how Gael would have adapted them to locally available produce!

Hot and Sour Soup

This is hands down my favorite soup. I love the combination of heat and spice, and the competing textures of the mushrooms, tofu, and bean shoots. At home, I’ll have bottles of soy sauce and vinegar on hand to doctor takeout versions, but it’s really easy to make yourself!

Gael would have most of these ingredients on hand, though he’d have to rehydrate mushrooms and onions. I’m not sure about the bamboo shoots, but thinly sliced celery would be an acceptable substitute! As for the sambal, let’s just assume that’s a galaxy-wide condiment, as it should be.

What you’ll need:

8 cups of stock (chicken or vegetable)
2-3 cups of sliced mushrooms (shitake or baby bellas)
¼ cup rice vinegar (more to taste)
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sambal oelek (chili garlic sauce)
¼ cup cornstarch
2 eggs (whisked)
8 oz firm tofu (cubed)
¼ cup green onions (sliced thin)
1 tsp sesame oil
white pepper

What to do:

Reserve ¼ of the stock for later, and add the remaining stock, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and sambal oelek to a large stock pot. Heat over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally.

Whisk the other ¼ cup of stock and cornstarch together in a small bowl until completely smooth.  Once the soup has reached a simmer, stir in the cornstarch mixture and stir for 1 minute or so until the soup has thickened.

Then keep stirring the soup in a circular motion as you drizzle in the eggs. The eggs should create slim streamers as you stir. Add the tofu, about half of the green onions, and sesame oil.  Then season the soup white pepper to taste.  This is when I might add more vinegar. If you like it hot, add more sambal! 

Garnish with extra onions. Makes about 6 servings.

Soy Peanut Noodles

This is another textural favorite—the crunch of the peanuts next to the soft noodles and small cubes of tofu. Combined with the sauce, nuts, and noodles, you can include any vegetables you want, experimenting with flavors and textures.

Gael would have most of these ingredients on hand, but could substitute soy nuts for the peanuts. I don’t think you can make a good peanut butter out of soy nuts, though, so I’m going to propose peanut butter as a galactic condiment along with the sambal.

What you’ll need:

Sauce
1 inch piece of ginger (peeled)
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky, your choice)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp light brown sugar (packed)
½ tsp sambal oelek

Noodles
1 package of noodles
1 package of firm tofu
½ cup peanuts
bean sprouts, match stick carrots, finely sliced celery, green onions.

What to do:

Sauce
In a food processor, pulse the ginger until it’s mashed, then add everything else plus 1/3 cup of water and blend until smooth. If you want the sauce thinner, add more water. Sauce be kept in the fridge for a few days.

Noodles
Whatever is your favorite. You can use udon, rice stick, ramen, or even spaghetti. Just get something noodle-y. Cook according to package directions, making sure to leave them just a bit underdone. They’ll soften in the next step.

Tofu
Dry it (let it sit out on some paper towel and pat it down), dredge in flour, a little salt and pepper, and shallow fry in hot oil until very lightly golden. Set aside to drain.

Vegetables
Except for the beansprouts (if using), steam until tender crisp.

Set a large pan (or wok) over medium heat, spoon in your sauce and top with noodles and vegetables. Reduce the heat and stir until warmed through and combined. A minute or two. Serve topped with peanuts and fried tofu cubes.

I hope I’ve inspired you to try cooking with soy, tofu in particular. Both of these recipes might be a little on the spicy side, but if you are interested in cooking with tofu, the second one can definitely be made without adding the chili (sambal). Also, the above method for preparing tofu can be used for a ton of dishes. The fried cubes are even tasty on their own.

 

 

About To See the Sun

Survival is hard enough in the outer colonies—what chance does love have?

Life can be harsh and lonely in the outer colonies, but miner-turned-farmer Abraham Bauer is living his dream, cultivating crops that will one day turn the unforgiving world of Alkirak into paradise. He wants more, though. A companion—someone quiet like him. Someone to share his days, his bed, and his heart.

Gael Sonnen has never seen the sky, let alone the sun. He’s spent his whole life locked in the undercity beneath Zhemosen, running from one desperate situation to another. For a chance to get out, he’ll do just about anything—even travel to the far end of the galaxy as a mail-order husband. But no plan of Gael’s has ever gone smoothly, and his new start on Alkirak is no exception. Things go wrong from the moment he steps off the shuttle.

Although Gael arrives with unexpected complications, Abraham is prepared to make their relationship work—until Gael’s past catches up with them, threatening Abraham’s livelihood, the freedom Gael gave everything for, and the love neither man ever hoped to find.

 

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of To See the Sun, Kelly is giving away a $25 Riptide credit and some swag stickers and a bracelet! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 18, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

An Ali Review: The Perfect Whore (Storm and Lightning #1) by Josephine Myles

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Being the object of everyone’s sexual fantasies ain’t all it’s cracked up to be…

On a mining colony planet a long way from Earth, bandit Jedd Lightning dreams of making enough money to get his ship spaceworthy again. During a robbery at a high-class brothel, he meets gorgeous alien rentboy Storm and is instantly smitten—but the heist goes south and Jedd has to high-tail it out of there with only half the loot.

Enslaved by a fierce Madam, Storm’s shapeshifting talents make him the most sought after whore on Talmak. He literally can’t stop himself becoming his client’s fantasy lover. Sick of enforced transformations, he wants to escape, but he’s closely guarded and has no experience of the unfamiliar city outside the brothel.

Storm is willing—and eager—to do anything to persuade Jedd to break him out of his gilded prison. Lucky for him the arrogant outlaw needs Storm’s help to free his crewmate, held as hostage by a vicious mob boss who wants Jedd to complete the theft he was hired for. Storm keeps blowing away Jedd’s expectations—but with both the law and the mob against them, they could end up with nowhere left to run.

This was a really unique story.  I’ve read a lot of this author’s books in the past but nothing like this.  Even the writing style seemed different.  I wasn’t sure what to think of this at first.  I didn’t care for Jedd until mid way through the book.  He was a bit obnoxious but he grew on me as the story progressed.  Storm was was engaging from the beginning.  I think my favorite part was the snarking at each other that they did.  There were some pretty funny exchanges between the two.
This is pretty fast paced and it ends with nothing resolved.  It is obvious that this is the first book in the series.  I know that is bothersome to some readers but I didn’t mind how it ended.  I’m curious as to how their story and relationship will progress.
My biggest complaint was I would have liked more world building.  We’re thrown into the middle of a world that’s not really explained.  I had a lot of unanswered questions.
 Overall though, it was a very enjoyable story and it was different which is always a positive thing for me.  I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

This cover was done by Lou Harper and I like it.  I think it is a good representation of how the two MC’s are described and it perfectly captures the vibe of the story.

Sales Links:

Universal Buy Link

Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 201 pages
Published April 26th 2018
ASINB07C7H5ZBX
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStorm and Lightning #1

Release Blitz for The Perfect Whore by Josephine Myles (excerpt and giveaway)

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Cover Design: Lou Harper
 
Length: 58,000 words approx
 
Blurb
 

Being the object of everyone’s sexual fantasies ain’t all it’s cracked up to be…

On a mining colony planet a long way from Earth, bandit Jedd Lightning dreams of making enough money to get his ship spaceworthy again. During a robbery at a high-class brothel, he meets gorgeous alien rentboy Storm and is instantly smitten—but the heist goes south and Jedd has to high-tail it out of there with only half the loot.

Enslaved by a fierce Madam, Storm’s shapeshifting talents make him the most sought after whore on Talmak. He literally can’t stop himself becoming his client’s fantasy lover. Sick of enforced transformations, he wants to escape, but he’s closely guarded and has no experience of the unfamiliar city outside the brothel.

Storm is willing—and eager—to do anything to persuade Jedd to break him out of his gilded prison. Lucky for him the arrogant outlaw needs Storm’s help to free his crewmate, held as hostage by a vicious mob boss who wants Jedd to complete the theft he was hired for. Storm keeps blowing away Jedd’s expectations—but with both the law and the mob against them, they could end up with nowhere left to run.

Excerpt

“Stick ’em up, people. This is a raid. I want all your valuables, right now…” The last words trailed away as Jedd took a really good look at the naked, sweaty couple on the bed. His target, the Right Honorable Senator Artaxico Thrublet, was on his knees behind one of the most gorgeous bodies Jedd had ever clapped eyes on. A body on hands and knees. A most decidedly human and male body…

Shit, had he gotten the wrong room? Jedd squinted at the client, trying to work out if it really was the senator. ’He was definitely Talmaki, with his lizard-like body, orange, hairless skin and bulging eyes . But no, he’d studied footage of Artaxico and recognized his large nose and the ridiculous looking rows of diamond studs up both his pointed ears.

“Hold on, just let me finish. Uh!” Artaxico shuddered to a stop, his belly wobbling as he panted obscenely. Jedd winced at the sight. He knew interspecies mating went on—everyone had heard the tales—but intellectual knowledge wasn’t the same thing as having it thrust in your face. Talmaki just weren’t his idea of sexy. Okay, there had been that one time he’d got drunk enough for a fumble in an alleyway, but the alien’s cock had been kind of scary, and things hadn’t got very far. But maybe the gorgeous young whore was used to those luminous, scaly shafts of meat. Maybe he even enjoyed them. Was he enjoying Talmaki cock right now? He was certainly hard enough.

Right now Jedd couldn’t see the expression on the whore’s face as it was buried in the mattress, but maybe that was for the best. There was no way he could be handsome enough to do that incredible body justice. No wonder the senator had decided to try him as a change from the celebrated Divine. The rentboy moaned through his own orgasm, just moments after the senator, and drenched the sheets below him in spunk.

Artaxico withdrew, revealing an intimidating length of glowing scarlet cock, then collapsed back onto the bed. He reached out to pat a perfectly formed buttock. “Run along now, sthweetie. I wouldn’t want you to get caught up in any of this nasty business.” The lad scooted down to the end of the bed facing Jedd, exposing an equally impressive prick which was filling up again in what must be a record-breaking time.

And as for his face… Suns above! Those were lips Jedd would give anything to see stretched around his dick. But no, he had a job to do, and he wasn’t about to get sidetracked by some hyper-sexed rentboy, no matter how astoundingly gorgeous he was.

“The boy stays,” Jedd ordered. Artaxico gave him a puzzled look, but Jedd pressed on. “I want your datapod and passcode, now!”

“Not a chance in hell. That passcode is top level sthecurity,” Artaxico lisped. “I really don’t imagine there’s anything an ignorant monkey like you could do that could force me to sthpeak.”

Okay, just as he’d feared, but Jedd had his back-up plan. “Oh yeah?” Jedd strode over to the bed and grabbed the lithe young man under the arm. There was a brief moment where he was distracted by the sensation of naked skin against his own, but he couldn’t afford to lose any time so he pulled the whore upright, holding the charge gun to his temple. “Your strumpet gets it if you don’t talk. And don’t think this is a bluff. I never bluff.” He pulled the lad tighter to him for emphasis, but this had the unfortunate effect of bringing more of his own body in contact with those taut muscles, and his face even closer to the thatch of chestnut curls. His nose was on a level with the top of the whore’s head, and he pulled in a lungful of the most divine, arousing musk. Feeling a familiar tightening in his pants where he brushed up against those pert buttocks, Jedd cursed his over-active libido. “I’m warning you! The code, now!”

Artaxico just laughed, a mocking bray that wound Jedd up worse than finding a firebug had crawled into his beer. “Utter nonsense! I’ve stheen killers before – by the sthuns, I employ enough of them, and you really don’t have that look in your eyes. You’re just an overgrown wassat, aren’t you?” The senator twitched his nose in a near perfect imitation of one of the pesky rodents.

Jedd fumed. First a monkey, now a wassat. He turned the gun on the senator. “Okay then, if you don’t give me that passcode this instant, you get it. I mean it!”

“Like you’ll ever be able to get it off me if I’m dead. Does that antique piece of crap even have the power to kill? Looks more like something my wife would carry to stun any overconfident admirers.”

Goddammit, how could the man tell? Jedd waved the gun as threateningly as he could. “You willing to take that risk?”

Artaxico laughed again, getting up to his feet. “What risk? There’s security everywhere in this place, you know? I’m just going to stroll out of here and call the guards, and you’re not going to do a thing to stop me.”

Oh, wasn’t he? Jedd aimed at Artaxico’s head and pulled the trigger. “Ha! Not so clever now, are you?”

“Is he going to be all right? That was just a stun, wasn’t it? “ The godlike young man had a voice to match his physique—a rich and sultry baritone that rumbled against Jedd’s breastbone.

The senator snored before Jedd had a chance to answer, and the lad melted back against him, sighing with what sounded like relief. Their close contact made a certain part of Jedd’s body grow stiffer while the rest seemed to want to melt into a puddle.

Would the rentboy mind sneaking in a quickie? Jedd would even pay if he had to, the lad was that gorgeous. Or would the stun charge have set off the internal alarm system? Probably best not to risk dawdling too long.

Still, seemed a shame to waste a moment like this now that Artaxico was unable to interfere. Jedd loosened his hold and let the young man turn in his arms. Holy fuck, Jedd could feel the whore’s massive erection prodding his thigh.

He took a deep breath, forced it out. Focus. Not here. Not now. Just gather information. “Captain Jedd Lightning, at your service. And who might you be, gorgeous creature?”

The man chuckled, stepping away from him and turning to fix him with a pair of intensely soulful deep green eyes. “My working name’s Divine, but you can call me Storm.”

“Divine? But… You’re meant to be a girl!” Jedd spluttered.

The young man gave a maddening, secretive smile. “Divine can be whoever you want, Captain. Divine is simply the title of your ideal lover.”

“So they swap you around depending on what the johns want? There are other Divines?”

“Something like that. But please, call me Storm.” A plaintive note sounded in his voice and his lower lip jutted in an almost-pout. “No one ever does these days.”

Storm. It suited him, as there was a wildness in those eyes that Jedd thought he recognized, something he glimpsed in his own reflection every morning. Focusing on Storm’s eyes proved a challenge, though, when there was all that naked flesh to feast his gaze on. Smooth, bronzed skin, with just enough hair between those dark nipples to make him want to run his fingers through it. Jedd’s gaze followed the trail down all the way to the most majestic cock he’d ever seen. It reached up invitingly, as if seeking Jedd’s hand.

“You have quite an imagination, don’t you?” Storm said, staring down at himself as if in fascination.

English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. Sheís beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

Joís novel Stuff won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Romance, and her novella Merry Gentlemen won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy. She loves to be busy, and is currently having fun trying to work out how she is going to fit in her love of writing, dressmaking and attending cabaret shows in fabulous clothing around the demands of a preteen with special needs, an incessantly curious pre-schooler, and a bun in the oven!

Website and blog: josephinemyles.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/josephine.myles.author
Twitter: @JosephineMyles
Newsletter: eepurl.com/hrQ4s
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=8383406

 

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