New Release Tour for Abaddon’s Locusts (A BJ Vinson Mystery #5) by Don Travis

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Abaddon's Locusts - Don Travis

DSP Publications author Don Travis has a new gay mystery book out: Abaddon’s Locusts.

When B. J. Vinson, confidential investigator, learns his young friend, Jazz Penrod, has disappeared and has not been heard from in a month, he discovers some ominous emails. Jazz has been corresponding with a “Juan” through a dating site, and that single clue draws BJ and his significant other, Paul Barton, into the brutal but lucrative world of human trafficking.

Their trail leads to a mysterious Albuquerquean known only as Silver Wings, who protects the Bulgarian cartel that moves people—mostly the young and vulnerable—around the state to be sold into modern-day slavery, sexual and otherwise. Can BJ and Paul locate and expose Silver Wings without putting Jazz’s life in jeopardy? Hell, can they do so without putting themselves at risk? People start dying as BJ, Paul, and Henry Secatero, Jazz’s Navajo half-brother, get too close. To find the answer, bring down the ring, and save Jazz, they’ll need to locate the place where human trafficking ties into the Navajo Nation and the gay underground.

About the Series:

BJ Vinson, a gay former-Marine, ex-cop licensed private investigator tries to pick his cases carefully, but prior loyalties or his sense of justice or something always gets in his way. He finds himself traveling all over his beloved state of New Mexico with his companion Paul Barton to mend other people’s problems.

DSP Publications (eBook) | DSP Publications (paperback) | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Google Play


Giveaway

Don and DSP Publications are giving away a $10 DSPP gift card with this tour. For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:
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Excerpt

Abaddon's Locusts banner

Prologue

Two men gazed down at the sleeping youth sprawled across the mattress. The older, his pleasant features blemished by a glint of cruelty in his dark eyes, smoothed silver wings of luxuriant hair at his temples before handing over a number of $100 bills to a young Hispanic almost as handsome as the boy on the bed.

Now fully clothed, Silver Wings exuded the authority of a player, of someone who counted. “Fucking beautiful. How old did you say he is?”

“Eighteen. Barely. Know that’s older’nyou usually like. But he’s a rare one, no? As lindaas a woman and as macho as a man. He took care of you, huh?”

Silver Wings rubbed his eyes as if remembering the last hour. “Fantastic. Must have worn himself out. Does he usually go comatose?”

“Ah, that is the drug. He claims he gets a bigger bang by charging up. But you benefit as well, no?” He eyed his companion. “He is yours for $25,000.”

Interest flickered and died. “Tempting. But my household isn’t set up for that kind of arrangement. I prefer to call when I feel the need. Even if that means sharing him.”

“You don’t take him, then we move him south.”

“South? To Mexico, you mean? Juárez?” That wouldn’t be too bad. El Paso was a short hop, and Juárez lay just across the border.

“At first, but then we gonna trade him up.”

Silver Wings understood the human trafficking language of trading up, but it was unusual to move members of the “family” out of country these days. “In Juárez? Sounds more like trading him down.”

¡Órale! There’s some big money in Juárez. But a bigwig in the Middle East went apeshitover the kid’s pics. He wants him. And for a lot more than twenty-five. I only give you that price to let you know how much we ’preciateyour help.”

“Middle East, huh?” Silver Wings licked his lips. “Put off that transfer while I see if I can work something out.”

“Two days. Then I gotta move him. You know, easier to ship him overseas from Mexico than from the States.”

Silver Wings’ voice hardened. “You can do better than that. Give me a week to reorder my life. I’d like to visit him a couple of times. Usual fee, of course. That gives you reason enough to hold him here.”

“Okay, but not no more’n a week. I got people to answer to, you know.”

“I’d like him again tomorrow night, but it will have to be late. I have a dinner meeting.”

Hispano lowered his head. “As you wish. All you gotta do is call me.”

Silver Wings left the motel reluctantly. What would take place in that room now that they were alone? Just thinking about it raised a bead of sweat on his upper lip.

His mind returned to the offer he had received. The boy was expensive, and the economy was still struggling to recover from the Great Recession of 2008… but it was only money.

Chapter 1

Monday, August 9, 2010, Albuquerque, New Mexico

I parked the Impala in front of my detached single-car garage and sat for a moment trying to figure out the cacophony on the radio. I’d failed to reset the station after Paul and I went for a rare game of weekend golf at the North Valley Country Club. Paul Barton was the sun in my sky, but I still struggled to understand my companion’s taste in music. Now something called “Alejandro” by a gal proclaiming herself to be Lady Gaga committed assault on my classical-music-loving ears. As I switched off the noise and stepped from the car, a high, uncertain voice snagged my attention.

“Yoo-hoo, Mr. Vinson. BJ!”

Mrs. Gertrude Wardlow, the late-afternoon sun catching in wayward strands of her white hair, waved at me from the foot of her driveway. She had lived in the white brick across the street for as long as I could remember. Mrs. W. and her husband, Herb, had been with the Drug Enforcement Administration from the time it was formed in 1973 until their retirement. Some ten years ago, Herb passed on to his reward—an urn on his widow’s mantelpiece. I walked out to meet her in the middle of Post Oak Drive.

“I’m so glad I caught you.” She fiddled with frilly lace at the neck of her lavender blouse. “A man on a Harley has been driving up and down the street. He stopped at your place twice. Rang the bell and then rode off.”

No doubt she was recalling the time when two thugs on another motorcycle attempted to gun me down. When she’d yelled to distract their murderous attention, they shot up the front of her house, scattering her husband all over the carpet.

I touched her shoulder. “Don’t worry, I’m not involved in any gang disputes at the moment. Not that I know of, anyway.”

Her smile turned impish. “That was an interesting day, wasn’t it? I just thought you should be aware someone was trying to contact you.”

“Thank you, Mrs. W. I’ll be on the lookout.”

After exchanging pleasantries, we parted. I mounted the steps to my front porch and paused to enjoy the welcoming aroma of tea roses my late mother planted. No evidence of a note on the door or in the mailbox. That meant the mysterious biker would probably return. I went inside and forgot the matter as I removed one of Paul’s casseroles from the fridge and got out a pan of rolls. I enjoyed their yeasty aroma almost as much as I liked their yeasty taste. Our household mantra was Paul Barton, freelance journalist, whips up gourmet meals; B. J. Vinson, formerMarineand ex-cop turned confidential investigator, burns toast.

We planned to stay home tonight and watch an episode of a new gumshoe program on the tube called The Glades. Matt Passmore, the guy who played the detective, was a way-cool customer who Paul claimed should be my role model. I’d no sooner set the dishes to heating than a rumble on the street caught my attention. A moment later the doorbell rang.


Author Bio

Don Travis is an Okie turned New Mexican. Each of his B. J. Vinson mystery novels features some region of his beautiful adopted state as prominently as it does his protagonist, a gay former Marine, ex-cop turned confidential investigator. Don never made it to the Marines (three years in the Army instead) and certainly didn’t join the Albuquerque Police Department.

He thought he was a paint artist for a while but ditched that for writing a few years back. A loner, he fulfills his social needs by attending SouthWest Writers meetings and teaching a free weekly writing class called Wordwrights at the North Domingo Multigenerational Center, an Albuquerque community center.

Author Website: http://www.dontravis.com
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/donald.travis.982
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/dontravis3

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Is Sci fi/fantasy a Favorite of Yours? Check out the collection of stories in Spells & Stardust by J. Scott Coatsworth (giveaway)

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Spells & Stardust

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi/fantasy anthology out: Spells & Stardust.

Spells & Stardust is Scott’s first anthology – eight sci fi and fantasy shorts that run the gamut from regeneration to redemption.

The Bear at the Bar: A gay fish out of water tale with a pinch of magic.

Tight: What happens when your lover disappears in midair?

Morgan: The year when everything changed.

Re-Life: What if you were reborn in a strange new future?

A New Year: They met every eleven years. And each time, Hank’s life changed.

Repetition: What if you wanted to go back in the closet?

Gargoyle: Sometimes you get what you deserve. Sometimes it happens on All Hallows Eve.

Avalon: A few bright moments in the sun, stolen from outside time.

Most of these stories have been previously published in various anthologies and journals. This is the first time they have all been collected in one place.

Get It On Amazon


Giveaway

Scott is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

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Unique Excerpt – From “Re-Life”

The taxi from the Re-Life Clinic dropped out of the sky onto a raised landing pad. It alighted twenty feet above ground level like a giant dragonfly. The door lifted, and Eric looked out uncertainly. “The hostel?” he said.

“Down the ramp, on the left,” the taxi told him in a suave, gender-neutral voice.

He clambered out, dragging his shiny duffel bag along, trying hard to ignore its ever-changing ripples of color. It epitomized the gaudy nanotech that seemed to be in everything here. He’d just completed his six-week orientation and rehab at the Clinic. It had taken four weeks just to get used to this new body they’d grown for him using his own DNA. It still didn’t feel entirely… his.

It was finally time to get out into the world. The long weeks of rehab had chaffed at him—he was itching to explore this strange new city, Safris. He couldn’t wait to take a look around and see what had changed. And though he had nothing but a few personal belongings and a credit on his account, he was young and healthy again.

The cancer that had killed him half a millennia earlier was gone.

It had been utterly strange to open his eyes in the clinic for the first time, after he’d had himself frozen on the off chance that someone, sometime in the future would be able to cure him. It had also been traumatic, processing the loss of everything and everyone he had once held dear.

He’d spent a week straight crying and morose, sitting in a dark room and counting all the things he’d lost. All of that is behind me now. I hope.

He looked around. There were few people about, most of them standard-form. The buildings were so unlike those back home—they thrust upward at strange opposing angles, and they went up and up and up. Like the carry sack, some of them changed colors as he watched, and he was half-convinced that one of them moved.

He fought down his panic. It was perfectly normal to feel out of place the first time out, his counselor had told him.

Maybe so, but it was also painful.

He missed many things: Levis, trolley cars, Wild Cherry Pepsi, and the smell of sandalwood.

But he missed David most of all.


Author Bio

Scott lives with his husband of twenty five years in a Sacramento suburb, in a cute little yellow house with a brick fireplace and two pink flamingoes out front.

He inhabits in the space between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into science fiction and fantasy by his mom at the tender age of nine, he quickly finished her entire library. But he soon began to wonder where all the queer people were.

After coming out at twenty three, he started writing the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Crown Books. If there weren’t many queer characters in his favorite genres, he would will them into existence, subverting them to his own ends. And if he was lucky enough, someone else would want to read them.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently than most – he makes connections between ideas that others don’t, and somehow does more in a day than most people manage in a week. Although born an introvert, he forced himself to reach outside himself, and learned to connect with others like him.

Scott’s stories subvert expectations that transform traditional science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something different and unexpected. He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark.

His romance and genre fiction writing brings a queer energy to his stories, filling them with love, beauty and power. He imagines how the world could be – in the process, he hopes to change the world, just a little.

Scott was recognized as one of the top new gay authors in the 2017 Rainbow Awards, and his debut novel “Skythane” received two awards and an honorable mention.

Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ

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Cover Reveal for Ithani by J. Scott Coatsworth (excerpt and giveaway)

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Ithani

On February 19th, J. Scott Coatsworth has the final MM sci fi book in his Oberon Cycle series coming out – Ithani – and we have the cover reveal today!

Time is running out.

After saving the world twice, Xander, Jameson and friends plunge headlong into a new crisis. The ithani–the aliens who broke the world–have reawakened from their hundred millennia-long slumber. When Xander and Jameson disappear in a flash, an already fractured world is thrown into chaos.

The ithani plans, laid a hundred thousand years before, are finally coming to pass, and they threaten all life on Erro. Venin and Alix go on a desperate search for their missing and find more than they bargained for. And Quince, Robin and Jessa discover a secret as old as the skythane themselves.

Will alien technology, unexpected help from the distant past, destiny and some good old-fashioned firepower be enough to defeat an enemy with the power to split a world? The final battle of the epic science fiction adventure that began in Skythane will decide the fate of lander and skythane alike. And in the north, the ithani rise….

Series Blurb:

Oberon is one of the natural wonders of the Universe – a half planet that shouldn’t exist, at least according to the laws of nature.

Oberon is also a nest of secrets. The Skythane – the first human colonists of Oberon – keep some of them, and so do the “landers” who work for OberCorp, the company that is exploiting the planet for its natural resources.

Now Oberon is in danger. A solar flare threatens to end most life on the planet, but an ancient prophecy leads Quince, Xander, Jameson and a small group of landers and skythane on an epic quest to save the planet – and unravel its secrets along the way.

Other challenges await on the horizon, for the world, and its inhabitants. Will they find the answers they need, and their way to each other, in time?

DSP Publications eBook | DSP Publications Paperback


Giveaway

Scott is giving away five eBook copies of the first book in the series, “Skythane.” Enter via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

Venin stood under the dome of the chapel, the waters of the Orn rushing past the small island to crash over the edge of the crater rim, where they fell a thousand meters to the broken city of Errian below.

The Erriani chapel was different from what he was used to back home. The Gaelani chapel in Gaelan had sat at the top of a tall pillar of stone, open to the night sky, a wide space of grass and trees that intertwined in a natural dome through which moonlight filtered down to make dappled shadows on the ground.

This chapel, instead, was a wonder of streaming sunlight, the columns a polished eggshell marble with glimmering seams of gold. Red creeper vines climbed up the columns, festooned with clusters of yellow flowers that gave off a sweet scent.

Both were bright and airy, but the Erriani chapel lay under a dome supported by fluted marble columns, a painted arch of daytime sky and the rose-colored sun blazing overhead.

The last time he’d gone to chapel had been with Tazim, before his untimely death.

Long before the troubles that roiled the world now.

Something drew him back. A need to reconnect with his past. To bridge the gap between then and now, between who he was and who he had become. Taz would have liked this place.

The chapel here had survived the attack, while much of Errian had not. The city below was a jumble of broken corrinder, the multistory plants that were the main building stock for the city. They would grow again, but the sight of the city’s beautiful white towers laid low struck him to the core.

So had Gaelan looked, after the flood.

Venin turned back to the chapel and unlaced his boots, baring his muscular calves before he approached the fountain that splashed at its center. The cool flagstone beneath his feet sent a shiver up his spine, and green moss filled the gaps between the stones.

Some builder whose name was lost to time had tapped into the river itself to make the fountain run, and the water leapt into the air with a manic energy around the golden statue of Erro, before falling back down to the pool.

Venin knelt at the fountain’s edge on one of the well-worn pads, laid his hands in the shallow water, and let his wings rest over himself, making a private place to pray.

Erro and Gael, spare us from danger and lift us up into the sky with your powerful wings. He gave Erro deference, being that this was his chapel, but he hoped Gael would hear him too. The god of his own people had been known to intervene in mortal affairs before, and if what Quince had told them about these ithaniwas true, they would need all the help they could get.

Venin’s wings warmed.

He looked up in astonishment to see the statue of Erro giving off an intense golden glow. His mouth dropped open, and he stood and stared at its beautiful male curves and muscles. Maybe the gods were answering him.

Venin reached up and touched the statue’s outstretched hand. The shock knocked him backward onto his ass, and he hit the ground hard, slamming into one of the marble columns.

Venin groaned, stunned, and reached back to feel his wings and spine. He seemed to be in one piece.

Taz would have laughed his ass off at the whole thing.

After a moment he sat up cautiously. He wrapped his arms around his legs and stared up at the statue, his chin on his knees.

The glow was gone.

Did I imagine it? He stood and felt the back of his head. A lump was already forming there. That’s gonna leave a mark.

Something had changed. Venin didn’t know what yet, but he was sure of that much.

He pulled his boots back on and laced them up. With one last suspicious glare at the statue, he turned and stepped out of the chapel, taking a deep breath of the moisture-laden air.

Then he leapt into the sky to soar down to the broken city.


Author Bio

Scott lives with his husband of twenty five years in a Sacramento suburb, in a cute little yellow house with a brick fireplace and two pink flamingoes out front.

He inhabits in the space between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into science fiction and fantasy by his mom at the tender age of nine, he quickly finished her entire library. But he soon began to wonder where all the queer people were.

After coming out at twenty three, he started writing the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Crown Books. If there weren’t many queer characters in his favorite genres, he would will them into existence, subverting them to his own ends. And if he was lucky enough, someone else would want to read them.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently than most – he makes connections between ideas that others don’t, and somehow does more in a day than most people manage in a week. Although born an introvert, he forced himself to reach outside himself, and learned to connect with others like him.

Scott’s stories subvert expectations that transform traditional science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something different and unexpected. He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark.

His romance and genre fiction writing brings a queer energy to his stories, filling them with love, beauty and power. He imagines how the world could be – in the process, he hopes to change the world, just a little.

Scott was recognized as one of the top new gay authors in the 2017 Rainbow Awards, and his debut novel “Skythane” received two awards and an honorable mention.

You can find him at Dreamspinner here, Goodreads here, on Amazon here, on QueeRomance Ink here, and on Facebook here.

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Love M/M Paranormal Romance? Check out The Cub Club by Ardy Kelly (giveaway)

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COVER - The Cub Club - Ardy Kelly

Ardy Kelly has a new MM paranormal mpreg book out:

What would you do if your adopted son shifted into a wolf cub before your eyes?

For single dad Steven the choice was simple – find the boy’s family and hope they had the answers.

As the alpha of Lone Wolves Ranch, Mack trusted in humans as much as he trusted in love. Not at all. But he has a soft spot for the brave man searching for his son’s relatives. When he discovers Steven is his fated mate, he’s stuck between a soft spot and a hard place.

The Cub Club is a gay wolf shifter romance containing Mpreg and knotting. A complete 65,000-word novel – no cliffhanger!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN


Giveaway

Ardy is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour – for a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

BANNER3- The Cub Club - Adry Kelly

“We got company. There’s a biker at the gate.”

Mack looked up from the paperwork, staring at the walkie-talkie. It was unusual to have visitors. It was even more unusual for Sarge not to handle it on his own. The man was an excellent head of security, but he favored shifting and playing a rabid dog every time someone approached the ranch. It was effective. There wasn’t a repairman within fifty miles who would take their calls.

Mack picked up the radio. “I didn’t hear a motorcycle.”

“He’s on a friggin’ bicycle. Dressed in khakis and a button-down shirt. Who the hell dresses business casual in the Sierra backwoods?”

“Real estate agent?” Mack switched to the security camera feed on his computer. The mystery man stood outside the gate, holding a bicycle. “What’s he want?”

“Won’t say. Says he needs to talk to whoever runs the school here. Says it’s personal.”

Mack took another long look at the screen. If someone wanted to appear non-threatening, this man had it down pat.

“But here’s the weird thing,” Sarge continued. “I can’t smell him. I mean, he had to bicycle three miles down that dirt road, and in this heat I should be able to smell something.”

Sarge was of the old guard. Paranoid about discovery. Distrusting of humans. There was always a perfectly reasonable explanation for any visit, rare as they were. “I’m coming.”

Mack walked out of his office, into the hot afternoon sun. Everybody has a scent, he reasoned. Is Sarge getting a head cold?The gate was less than fifty feet away, and he saw the man waiting patiently.

He locked eyes with the stranger. The gaze he received in return wasn’t threatening or defiant. It held an intense curiosity. Too curious. This wasn’t ranch business.

Mack didn’t need to be any closer to take in the details. His suspicion heightened his senses, and he was on the alert for any potential danger. The man was attractive. Maybe in his mid-thirties, though prematurely gray. He was dressed exactly as Sarge had described, holding a mountain bike.

The only thing odd was what Sarge had already noticed: the man didn’t have a scent. There was something, but no stronger than salty sea air. Considering there wasn’t an ocean for more than a hundred miles, it was the only unique thing about him. Maybe he’s a merman.

Mack amped up his alpha attitude, swaggering the last few steps to the gate, before slapping his hand on the metal bars. “Can I help you?”

The stranger looked exhausted and tense. There were dark circles under his eyes, and his knuckles were white where he gripped the bike. He was covered in dust, much more than was usual. By late summer, the dirt road kicked up thick clouds of the stuff, but this was still June. Where had he bicycled from?

“I need to speak to whoever is in charge,” he said. The voice attempted to sound authoritative but cracked in the middle of the sentence, displaying an undercurrent of fear. Mack thought it strange he couldn’t smell it on him. “It’s about one of your students,” the stranger said.

Great. The man was a local, dressed in his Sunday best. The policy of the ranch was to be respectful but distant from their neighbors. Sometimes it was hard to accomplish that when you had teenagers. “Have they been causing trouble?”

The man shook his head. “No. An old student. Carol Rydell.”

Carol?Mack hadn’t thought of his cousin in years. She had been a rebellious teenager, with an overbearing alpha father. Uncle Jon was the alpha, and the old man didn’t like to be questioned. Carol had been too much like her father and didn’t like to be ordered around. She ran away at sixteen, and no one spoke of her since.

As much as Mack wanted to lie and say, “Never heard of her,” he found himself asking, “What do you want to know?”

The man’s poker face slipped, and worry was written all over it. “Did she have any family?”

“Why?”

He took a breath, and then blurted out, “Because she died thirteen years ago. In childbirth. And I adopted her son.”

If this was a ploy to get Mack to admit the ranch catered to the supernatural, it was a good one. Carol’s son could have come into puberty just in time for the full moon three days ago. And Mack recognized the look in the man’s eyes. Shift-faced.The human had seen the boy change. Or had he? He looked tense. But why can’t I smell his anxiety?

Mack realized he needed to be noncommittal. Get the man to tell him everything, while revealing nothing to him. “What’s your name?”

“Steven.”

Mack didn’t bother introducing himself. He was going to give the stranger the absolute minimum until he knew who he was talking to. “So, you’re raising Carol’s thirteen-year-old boy.” He opened the gate. “I bet you have questions.”

“You have no idea. I mean, I’m hoping you do.”

He wheeled the bike inside, while Sarge closed the gate behind them.

“You can leave that here,” Mack instructed, pointing at the bike.

Sarge stood beside him but Steven hesitated, as if this were his last chance to escape. No one said a word while Mack held his gaze, signaling my turf, my rules. Steven relinquished the handlebars, and Mack’s wolf purred. It’s fun bossing around humans.

The two walked the short distance to Sarge’s shack. It was half-jokingly called the guard house because all business with outsiders was handled here. No strangers got farther than this point without Mack’s approval, and few even made it that far. However, thisconversation needed four walls around it.

Once inside, Mack sat behind the desk. He needed to be intimidating and distant. “So, Carol’s son…” Mack waited to see whether Steven would supply the name of the boy. The long pause let him know he wouldn’t. “Has he recently come into puberty?”

When Steven nodded, Mack gave him a guarded smile. “I assume you’re not here because you caught him masturbating during the full moon.”


Author Bio

Ardy Kelly is my paranormal pen name. I work for one of the top boutique event planning companies in San Francisco, and I can’t risk having our clientele (or my boss) discover my passion for aggressive, sexual, alpha men.

I started writing steamy contemporary romance in 2015 under the name Robyn Kelly. At that time, only virgins seemed to be nabbing troubled billionaires, and I thought it was time to write a book where experience counted for something. When I discovered the Omegaverse last year, I noticed a lot of stories where Omegas were weak little victims, and decided to tackle that issue as well.

Much as I love writing all types of romance I don’t mind poking fun at the genre, too. My books always have a lot of humor, and usually one character is reading or writing a particularly silly romance book.

Author Website: www.robynkellyauthor.comm/ardykellyauthor

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Release Day Blast for Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree by Jeanne G’Fellers (excerpt and giveaway)

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Mama Me and the Holiday Tree

Jeanne G’Fellers is sharing the cover for her new enby/pansexual queer paranormal fantasy book: Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree.

A dozen handmade holiday ornaments, that’s all, but it might be an impossible task.

Centenary Rhodes and her mother are at constant odds. It’s one of the many reasons Cent left home when she was eighteen. Mama’s difficult for anyone to manage, but now that Cent’s back home, she has to try. Mama, however, won’t acknowledge who Cent’s become, even though she’s repeatedly been shown the truth.

It’ll take more than popcorn strings and paper snowflakes to heal the rift that’s formed between Cent and Mama. It’s going to take bushels of patience, heaps of magic, and assistance from everyone on both sides of Embreeville Mountain to reset the Balance between them.

But with Yule and Christmas just around the corner, it might already be too late.

Join Cent and her Mother for a heart-warming, magic-filled holiday tale of acceptance, family of choice, family of blood, love, magic, and patience all served with a queer Appalachian twist.

Warnings: This novella broaches the subject of mental illness, specifically Schizophrenia, within families and the relationships struggles therein.

About the Series:

Four elements plus one, four seasons, over a hundred lives – Centenary Rhodes has returned home to discover she isn’t who she thought. Join her on a journey through history, family of blood, family of choice, and love that renews. The mountains are alive, y’all, everything hinges on the Balance, and a little moonshine can cure what ails you in this identity-exploring, imaginative queer Contemporary Fantasy series steeped in Appalachian magic and folklore.

Mountain Gap Books | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | Goodreads


Giveaway

Jeanne is giving away two eBook copies of the first book in the series, Cleaning House, with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

Mama Me and the Holiday Tree

Chapter One

A Cedar in the Corner

December 19, 2017: 5:30 p.m.

This is what I get for marrying an earth elemental.I stare with dismay at the dirt trail leading across the porch and through the front door. I don’t get rare gems or sparkling geodes placed lovingly at my feet by my elemental spouse. No, I get a cedar tree, bare roots caked with half-frozen mud, wedged into the living room corner.

Stowne’s dragged a holiday tree into our home while I was at work today.

“No one saw you do this?” I scratch my head as I consider the leaning mass of fern-like, scaly, sticky needles. “And I thought we’d talked about getting a tree tomorrow.”

“No one was here.” Stowne’s grinning ear to sandy ear. “It is a surprise. You have worked so hard lately that you have forgotten how close it is to Yule.”

Yeah, Yule. About that.This is my first Yule with Stowne. No, let me correct that. This will be my first Yule celebration thislife, and they’re trying to make it special for me, so I can’t sound as upset as I’m feeling at present. “Two days. I know. Thanks, honey, but can we do something about the mess?”

 

“I’ve got it.” Stowne’s fire elemental friend, Pyre, rolls into the living room on a cloud of white smoke, and they’re holding the old half-barrel planter from beneath my Aunt Tess’ trailer’s back porch. “I found something to line it.” Pyre holds up a faded canvas tarp they’ve found Gods know where.

“Thank you.” Stowne’s smile still spans their face. They’re happy about this, about the tree in the corner, the leaky planter, and faded tarp, so I try my best to look happy too. “Go to the kitchen, relax, and drink some coffee, Centenary. Pyre and I will finish setting up the tree.”

“Sure.” I tuck my messenger bag under my arm and head to the kitchen, where Rayne is waiting for me, an earthenware mug of steaming coffee in their translucent, watery hands. Water elementals make wonderful coffee, by the way. Rayne claims the secret is spring water filtered through their form, and I’ve no reason to doubt them.

“Stowne’s really excited about the tree.” Rayne gives me the mug and takes my bag, setting it on the kitchen table. It’s a huge piece of well-loved furniture, a good eight-foot-long trestle, and handmade from American Chestnut, a species that’s widely considered extinct. “They’ve been looking for the perfect one since Samhain.”

“They have?” Who knew there was so much to Yule? Certainly not me, at least that I can remember. See, I’ve got this whole multiple-lives thing I’m sorting through. Most of those lives, I’ve been with Stowne, and I remember a lot, but some issues, like their excitement over holidays, have eluded me. I’ve been reading about different Yule traditions online and in the stack of magical books I left behind, but I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface, and I’ve been asking Stowne questions every night while we cuddle in bed. “They’ve gotten excited every sabbat and esbat since we’ve been together, but they seem even more excited about Yule. Why is that?”

“You don’t remember?” Rayne shifts the lower portion of their form to what resembles flowing blue pants, making it easier for them to sit. “You’ve celebrated Yule with Stowne for centuries, and during your last two lives, you actually let them bring in a tree every year as long as it could be replanted afterward.”

“Yeah, Stowne told me.” I sip my coffee then rise from the table in search of the quart of cream we keep in the homestead’s old Kelvinator fridge. “But that doesn’t explain why they’re so happy.” I add three heaping teaspoons of sugar to my cup, deep in thought as I stir. I remember that Stowne and I built this homestead together in the early nineteenth century. That version of me was Irish and desperate for a home that resembled Ireland, and this place certainly looks like pictures I’ve seen. My motivations might change each life, but I’m in many ways the same, and I always try to come here, to reach Stowne and this mountain. That’s what I’m told, anyway, but I don’t actually know.

My heart, however, says this is correct.

Here’s the thing about me and my memories. This life, I left Northeast Tennessee when I was eighteen years old. Actually, I didn’t just leave, I ran. I ran from my mother and her chronic mental illness, from everyone I thought wouldn’t accept me as genderqueer, from the magic I wasn’t ready to understand, from the looming pile of memories I’m now sorting through. But mostly, I ran from myself. Now I’m back, and I’m trying to cram three thousand years into my head, but I sometimes think space is running out.

“Stowne loves every sabbat, but especially Yule.” Rayne shrugs hard enough to fling water across the table top. “Oops.”

“It needs cleaned anyway.” I return with a dishrag, sitting across from Rayne as I wipe up. “Why Yule?”

“It represents rebirth.” Rayne stares at me with their blue eyes wide and one pale, translucent brow cocked, the look they always give me when I should be remembering something. “Re-birth.” Their stare becomes hard.

“Oh.” I bite my bottom lip to hide my embarrassment. Sure, rebirth. Myrebirth. Stowne sees Yule as a chance to celebrate my return to Embreeville Mountain. I’m almost thirty years old, a tiny blip in the grand scheme of time and infinitely younger than Stowne, even when you add all my lives together, but they want to celebrate like it’s something new. More so this year because it’s our first Yule together as eternal lovers.

Yeah, I’m immortal now too, but that’s a story for some other time.

“So…” I take a deep breath and scratch beneath my undercut at the stubbly hair that’s already growing back. “What do I need to do?”

“Act happy and don’t get in their way.” Rayne takes the dishrag to the old enamel sink, wrings it out, and drapes it over the side before turning to face me. “All elementals love the Winter Solstice, what you call Yule. Even death elementals like Exan. But you don’t remember that either, do you?”

“Afraid not.” I finish my coffee and go to the sink to stand beside Rayne, looking out the window to where the mountain rises behind the house in shades of tired brown splashed with winter evergreen. “I wish I did.” And I really do. It might help me to understand all this. “It’s like Christmas, isn’t it? I mean they’re similar, right?”

“In some ways, yes. But others…” Rayne shakes their head, this time slinging water from their deep blue locks. “Drains and dribbles. I’ll call it back.” They chant low, drawing the water to their form, smiling as it disappears into their bare, puddling feet. “I think you need a holiday refresher.”

“A refresher?” The house smells like cedar so I breathe deep. It’s not a bad smell. In fact, it’s fresh, clean, and familiar. Yes, I remember having a tree in this house before and Stowne’s joy each time. “Are you going to tell me about all those holidays?”

“You’ll do best to remember for yourself.” Rayne smiles as they glide toward the living room. “That tree needs water.”


Author Bio

AUTHOR PHOTO - Mama Me and the Holiday Tree - Jeanne GFellersBorn and raised in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Science Fiction and Fantasy author Jeanne G’Fellers’ early memories include watching the original Star Trek series with her father and reading the books her librarian mother brought home. Jeanne’s writing influences include Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Isaac Asimov, and Frank Herbert.

Jeanne lives in Northeast Tennessee with her spouse and their five crazy felines. Their home is tucked against a small woodland where they regularly see deer, turkeys, raccoons, and experience the magic of the natural world.

Author Website: https://jeannegfellersauthor.com/

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Jeannegfellersauthor/

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/jlgfellers

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/106949.Jeanne_G_Fellers

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/jeanne-gfellers/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jeanne-GFellers/e/B01N0YWCT7/

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New Releases Tour for Shadow Voice (Blackwood Pack #5) by Mary Rundle (excerpt and giveaway)

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Shadow Voice

Mary Rundle has a new MM paranormal mpreg book out: Shadow Voice.

The Blackwood Pack saga continues…

This is part of an on-going series and reading the previous titles is advised. Readers of the past books will enjoy meeting old friends once more as the pack does what it does best ̶ caring for each other.

Slate, one of the last Dire Wolves, has carved out a life which suits him fine—plenty of traveling to exotic locations and an abundance of one night stands to handle his needs. While he’s happy for his brother, who has found his Fated Mate, Slate isn’t interested in finding his—at least not for a long time. That is, until his body betrays him. Seeking his mother’s help—who is an Oracle—Slate pays a visit to the Blackwood Pack where he finds the Fates have once again, messed with his life.

Dakota, the chef for the Blackwood Pack, fell in love with cooking as a young child and ultimately the kitchen became a place of refuge for him. Suffering with a ‘curse’ through much of his childhood, he relied heavily on his mother’s help to deal with it. After the massacre of his mother and siblings by their greedy uncle, Dakota barely survives, but finally forges a life for himself, content to stay home and take care of the people he loves.

About the Series:

Blackwood Pack

Join the journey of the Blackwood Pack, seven brothers who are gay wolf shifters in search of their fated mates – stories about love at first sight with twists and turns, angst and humor, romance and adventure. Each book has two main characters who meet, fall in love, mate and achieve an HEA but the stories also chronicle the continuing saga of the Blackwood Pack. The series is best appreciated by reading the books in order.

A long-hidden secret, rejection of a mate, acceptance of rare gifts, and a brutal kidnapping are just some of the obstacles Dakota and Slate must battle together to save their relationship. As the pack rallies around them, both must learn to trust the other before they can find the happiness that the Fates have ordained for them…

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon UK | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Giveaway

Mary is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

Meme - Shadow Voice

Slate ran down the hall, scenting his mate’s cum, determined to find him. Fuck! I don’t even know his name.Down the stairs he went, into the great room, then to the front door. Nearly tearing it off its hinges, Slate stepped out on the porch and saw the torn clothes scattered about. Just as he was about to shift and follow his mate, his father took hold of his arm and using his Alpha voice, forced Slate to stop.

“Dad, let go…my mate ran off and I have to find him!”

“Son, your mother wants to speak to you first.”

Slate fought his wolf, finally gaining control and, as the tension left his body, he slumped against the house. He stared into the woods, hoping to see his mate and when that didn’t happen, he shifted his gaze to his father. “Why did he run off? I thought a mate would rather die than abandon the one the Fates had chosen. I don’t understand it. Why didn’t he like me?”

“Slate, your mate is safe. Talk to your mother. She can help you.” Maximus gently pushed his son into the house to see his mother.

Exhausted, Slate walked to his parents’ suite. He was numb, unable to comprehend what happened and how it went wrong. Never expecting to find his mate so soon after the onset of his first toirchigh, he was confused at his need—the overpowering drive to claim his mate. All Slate knew as he entered the sitting room was that somehow he had fucked up badly. Even his wolf knew it as he keened for his mate.

The man who walked in was in pain, that much Oracle could see. But it was going to get worse before it got better. How much worse depended on her son and what he decided to do. Taking his hand, Oracle led Slate over to a chair, pushed him down in it, then sat beside him. Holding his hand, she began. “Sweetie, tell me what happened.”

Sitting next to Oracle, Slate, remembered all the times during his childhood when his mother was there for him, comforting him when he fell, and chasing the demons in his nightmares away. Drawing in her sweet scent, he confided that he’d found his mate but had been rejected. Rubbing his heart, Slate hated even saying those words, because it made the pain there more intense, so much so, he was sure it was breaking in half. Finally, when he admitted he didn’t even know his mate’s name, the tears began to flow.

Oracle put her arms around her son, gently rubbing his back as he cried. She could feel the sadness enveloping Slate, but she had no quick fixes to make it better for him. Only he could do that and she wondered, for the thousandth time, why her youngest son always had to travel such a hard road in his life. Together they sat, one trying to find the strength to continue, the other giving love and support.

When the tears had finally stopped, Slate took stock of himself, trying to find the hidden well of strength he always seemed to have. Wiping the remnants of his tears away, he looked at his mother. “Mom, I fucked up big time but I don’t know what I did wrong or how to make it right.”

“Let’s see if we can sort it out, okay, sweetie?”

“I’d appreciate it.”

“What are your intentions? Do you want him?”

Slate thought it over and much to his surprise—considering his feelings just a few hours ago—said, “Yes, I do, but I don’t even know who he is.”

“His name is Dakota and he is Jackson’s brother.”

Dakota…Dakota…oh I know him.“He’s the chef, right? Colton told me about his cooking when we were in Mexico.”

“Yes, he is and he loves it. Right now, he is teaching Theo.”

“Maybe I can share some of my recipes with him. Colton said Dakota is always looking for new recipes.”

“That might be a good way for you to get to know him.”

“Good idea, Mom,” Slate exclaimed, but then his face fell. “But first I have to find him and see if he wants me. He ran away from me. What did I do wrong?”

“May I give you some advice?”

“Sure. As you can see, I need all the help I can get.”

“Before you claim Dakota, take some time to know him and let him learn about you, Slate. His story is the key to who he is and will help you understand why he ran.”

“Okay,” Slate said, “I promise I’ll talk to my mate before throwing him down and biting him.”

“That would be a good thing to do sweetie,” Oracle said, smiling gently. “One other thing. I must talk to Dakota before you claim him to explain the gift the Fates have for him.”

“I understand, but first I have to find my mate, Mom, and I’ll bring him back here so you can tell him what you need to.” Slate stood, extending his hand to his mother and helped her up. “I don’t think we’ll make it back for lunch, so will you make my excuses to Jackson?”

“You can do that after you tell him Dakota is your Fated Mate.”


Author Bio

The first book I ever wrote was Dire Warning in 2017 and, much to my delight, it became an Amazon Best Seller. Readers loved it and I was on my way to chronicling the Blackwood Pack, seven brothers who are gay wolf shifters in search of their fated mates– stories about love at first sight with twists and turns, angst and humor, romance and adventure and, of course, happy endings.

Now, five books later, Shadow Voice, another Best Seller, has just been released to critical acclaim. I love the M/M paranormal genre because it gives my imagination a lot of territory in which to roam. My mind can really run wild and come up with some amazing stuff when it doesn’t have to stay inside the box.

My readers tell me they feel like they’re a member of the pack as the stories unfold. As if they’re right there in the middle of the action. Others tell me it’s like watching a fast-paced movie. My writing style pulls no punches– readers love it and are always clamoring for the next book.

Stories come to me as if they were being channeled by my characters, all of whom I love (except for a few villains). They are eager to recount their lives, loves and adventures and are not inhibited when it comes to revealing steamy details.

I currently live in the Northeast and love the beautiful change of seasons, my husband, and our quirky calico cat, though not necessarily in that order. I’m always happy to hear from my readers throughmy website or on Facebook!

Author Website: www.maryrundle.com

Author Facebook (Personal): www.facebook.com/maryrundle69

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/mar

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A Paranormal Highlight! Check out Panther Queen (Morrighan House Witches #3) by Amir Lane (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Panther Queen

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Amir Lane 

 Panther Queen by Amir Lane

  • Describe yourself using… ( a food, a book, a song, a movie, an animal, a drink, a place etc)

Not how I would describe myself but a friend of mine calls me 6ft of Anger, after the song by Corroded. The joke is that I’m actually 5’3”, so it’s a shot at my height. I don’t really listen to the sort of music you want to describe yourself as but food-wise, I’d call myself microwave mug cake. Everything you love about cakes, but in a smaller form.

  • When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?

I can’t think of a time when I didn’t want to tell stories. A teacher of mine once said everyone starts out making up stories, most people just grow out of it. I never did grow out of it. I was in, I think, sixth grade when I started putting those stories on paper. It’s always made me happy. As for when I discovered I was good at it, I think it’s not that I discovered I was good but that I got good because I practiced so much. And still, it’s a back and forth of, ‘this is garbage’ and ‘wow this is decent’ that keeps going until the book is good, not me.

  • Do you ever base your characters on real people? If so, what are the pitfalls you’ve run into doing so?

I really try not to base my characters on real life people. I might borrow a trait or a turn of phrase from someone, but I don’t like using whole people. I have borrowed names, usually for throwaway characters who are mentioned in passing or one scene, which has the problem of people I know reading those bits, seeing the name they recognize, and trying to pick out who everyone is supposed to be.

  • What was the hardest part of writing this book?

The hardest part of this book was the research. This book takes place in Brazil, which I’ve never visited, and I wanted to do it right. There wasn’t a scene where I didn’t have to open Google to look something up, or as someone. I’m lucky to have a few friends from Brazil who were happy to help me out. That made it a lot of fun, where they would just tell me the same kind of stories I always love hearing from any of my friends; things like a vacation they took, or a funny thing their siblings did. So, really, it was the most fun part of the book, but it presented a unique challenge because it was an exercise in, ‘you don’t know what you don’t know.’

  • Who did your cover, and what was the design process like?

The cover was done by Daqri Bernardo at Covers by Combs. She’s done all the covers in the Morrighan House Witches series, and I can’t be happier with how they came out. Panther Queen is probably my favourite.

Daqri is super easy to work with. I comment on a lot of the covers she posts in her Facebook group, so I think she’d had a bit of an idea of what I liked before we started on this series. What I did was find the main photo I wanted – the person or, with Panther Queen, the jaguar – and tell her what kind of background I wanted, and the colour I associated with the character. For Panther Queen, I did find a few backgrounds, too, since it’s a less conventional setting. For the rest, I just told her some settings that show up and she did the rest. I try to be pretty hands-off, since I’m not a designer. She does the rest.

  • What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?

I am working on Gift of Curses, the second book in my Barrier Witch Trilogy. The series follows gay witch and detective Fairuz Arshad as she investigates supernatural crimes and tries to take down a dryad gang. The whole series will be out in 2019.

♦︎

QSFer Amir Lane has a new queer/transgender paranormal book out: Panther Queen.

When cattle rancher Lenna Alvarez rescues a black jaguar, she discovers there’s more to the animal that meets the eye. Bonding with a centuries-old Aztec Warrior wasn’t part of her plans. Then again, neither was simultaneously facing off against an American businessman and poachers encroaching on her family lands.

With her newfound powers, Lenna is sure the poachers don’t stand a chance. Only, Lenna isn’t the only one bringing strange animal powers to the game. The poachers have them too, led by businessman Ansen Peters. Lenna is in over her head, and not even the jaguar can save her.

Ansen Peters doesn’t want the ranch. He wants the jaguar. And he’s willing to kill her for it.

Get It On Amazon


Giveaway

Amir is giving away a Morrighan House Witches prize pack – paperbacks, bookmarks, and magnets – enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:

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Excerpt

BANNER 4 - Panther Queen

Night fell around Lenna, and her ass had long since gone numb. Her camera was full of new pictures but she didn’t have anything for night photography. The equipment was bulkier and heavier than she was willing to carry through the Pantanal.

As she prepared to dismount from her tree, she tried to see how awake her legs were. Not very, judging by the tingling in her feet. She scanned the riverbank for her boat while she kicked her heels against the tree trunk and spotted two others. That was odd. When had someone else shown up? Maybe it was Valente and Luciano looking for her. But she had taken their only boat, and they would never venture this deep into the Pantanal unless she’d been missing for at least a day, not just a few hours. They didn’t know their way around like she did.

It was probably just wildlife photographers trying to get shots of the nocturnal animals. Something made her feel uneasy, though. She looked around for the occupants of the boats and spotted them approaching her jaguar.

The two men were not wildlife photographers. She knew hunting equipment when she saw it. She also knew the hunting regulations for the area. The regulations were pretty simple: no fucking hunting.Which meant there was no way these men were allowed to be killing anything out here. Which meant they were poachers. Their faces were only just visible in her camera. She doubted anything would happen to them if she reported them. Nothing ever happened to poachers.

The poachers found a spot close enough to the jaguar to hit it, but not close enough to attract its attention. She had to do something before they fired. At this distance, they wouldn’t miss.

She thought of her own shotgun tucked uselessly in the back of Luciano’s truck. She’d never needed it before, and there didn’t seem to be any point lugging it with her. It would have done her a hell of a lot more good than the machete at her hip. It looked like she was going to have to get creative.

“Hey!”

Her voice carried over the Pantanal, farther than she would have thought possible. The deep shout certainly got their attention. They shot at her, grazing the trees around her.

“Shit!”

Lenna couldn’t stay up here. She’d be a sitting duck. She climbed down the top branches to avoid breaking her legs and jumped down from the tree. It was still too high, and she hit the dirt with bruising force. She pushed herself back up without a moment of hesitation. She could have lost them in the wooded area, easy. But the odds of getting lost or eaten by an anaconda were higher than the odds of getting shot before she made it to her boat.

Hopefully.

Camera still in hand and binoculars thumping painfully against her tattooed chest, she took off across the grassy plains of the Pantanal. The silencers on the guns muffled the shots, making them sound more like thumps than bangs. Though, that might have been her heart pounding in her ears. The still-rational part of her brain that was still working told her to run in a zig-zag to make herself harder to hit. The animal part of her brain told her the shortest distance to her boat was a straight line run as fast as physically possible. She had no idea where the bullets were or whether or not they were even close to hitting her, and she sure as shit wasn’t going to stop to check.

A roar that sounded more like a throaty cough filled her ears. For a split half-second, she thought the jaguar was on her. But that wasn’t her screaming. No, it came from behind her. She didn’t dare look back, not even as she heard more gunshots, not even as she heard the jaguar cry out in pain.

They shot it! They shot her jaguar!

Rage filled her, and she had half a mind to turn around, but self-preservation won out. Her boat was right there. Right there, just eight, six, four feet away. Keys, where the hell where her keys? Where were her goddamn fucking—

Found them.

Lenna shoved her keys into the ignition, her eyes scouring the Pantanal for the jaguar and the poachers. The jaguar was limping away, and the poachers’ bodies were lying on the grass. One was shifting, dragging itself away from the animal. The other was not. Lenna had no sympathy for them, and she wasn’t about to stick around to make sure they were okay. They could be eaten by caimans for all she gave a fuck.

The boat started without any issue. Though the poachers were down and the jaguar was obviously in no state to come after her, Lenna couldn’t wait to get as far away from here as possible.

She ran on foot through the brush, never wanting to leave her horse alone with the night predators, until she found her truck, the green paint chipping to show the silver metal underneath, in the same place she always left it. The roar of her engine drowned out the shriek of birds. Muscle memory alone guided her back to the ranch house. She practically threw herself through the front door and slammed her bedroom door hard enough to rattle the walls.

“Lenna?” Vidonia called.

Lenna leaned against the door. She knew Vidonia wouldn’t hurt her. Nobody in this house would, and not just because she could practically bench press one of their cows. She was safe here. So why did she feel the urge to push the dresser against the door and hide under the bed?

“Lenna? Honey are you okay?”

No, no she wasn’t.

She slumped down against the door and pressed her forehead to her knees. Exhaustion washed over her. This day suddenly felt so long. The solace she’d found watching the Pantanal was gone. She just wanted to curl up somewhere safe. Home should have been safe, but the memory of Ansen Peters’ standing just down the hall from her room with that sly smile made her shudder.

“Lenna, please talk to me. Did something happen? Luciano!”

There was panic in Vidonia’s voice. She was afraid for Lenna.

This place was safe, Lenna reminded herself. Nobody would get past Vidonia and Luciano. Nobody could hurt her here.

“I’m fine,” Lenna said, though her voice cracked and she wasn’t sure she believed herself. “I’m fine, I’m just tired.”

There was a long silence. Lenna struggled to keep her sobs quiet. She didn’t want them to know. She didn’t want to get in trouble.

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure, auntie.” Her voice trembled, and cleared her throat. “I’m— I’m going to sleep. I have an early morning.”

She changed into a pair of boxers, crawled into bed, and pulled the pillow over her head to drown out the screams ringing in her ears.


Author Bio

Amir Lane is an LGBT+ supernatural and urban fantasy writer from Northern Ontario. Engineer by trade, they spend most of their writing time in a small home office or in front of the TV watching every cop procedural on Netflix. They live in a world where magic is an every day occurrence, and they strive to bring that world to paper.

When not trying to figure out what kind of day job an incubus would have or what a Necromancer would go to school for, Amir enjoys visiting the nearest Dairy Queen, getting killed in video games, absorbing the contents of comic books, and freaking out over how fluffy the neighbour’s dog is.

Author Website: http://www.amirlane.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/amirlaneauthor/

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Fantasy Spotlight Special for Soulbound (The Republic #4) by Archer Kay Leah (Playlist, Excerpt and Giveaway!)

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Soulbound

Soulbound (The Republic #4)

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Archer Kay Leah here today on tour for their latest story in The Republic series, Soulbound. Archer has brought along a Soulbound Playlist for all our readers to enjoy. Check it out below.

 

Soulbound Playlist – The Loving, the Hopeful, and the Sensual

Welcome, everyone! I’m Archer Kay Leah, author of LGTBQA+ romances with a fantastical kick (and sometimes even sci fi). Thanks for dropping by, and many thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me today! ❤

One of the things I adore most is music, from way back in the times of Gregorian chant and before that all the way up to what’s new right now. Seriously, it’s my addiction, and it blends with my writing in a big way. Some authors prefer silence or shows/movies while they write, but I’m one who needs the right tunes on hand to ground me in the right moods and feelings while the creative process happens.

In a previous stop on the tour, I shared the major themes from the playlist for Soulbound, but today I’m sharing other sounds of the book, including love songs, the more hope-inspired tracks, and a few sensual tracks that hogged the limelight for a bit… or for at least a quarter of the book, actually.

Darren Hayes — Insatiable

First up is this sensual, seductive track from the lead singer of Savage Garden. The mood, tempo, and (most of) the lyrics are so perfect for Mayr and Tash. They’re a couple that doesn’t want to keep their hands off each other, or lips, or any part of the body, to be honest. They’re happiest when they’re left alone in the same room and just being them, no expectations, no judgment, no nothing to get in the way. This is a song for those who can’t get enough of intimate moments.

Ed Sheeran — Give Me Love

One of my favourite Ed Sheeran songs! I love how it’s put together, with a beautiful blend of music, vocal, and lyric. I can’t help but sing along, with a bit of my heart just sort of being tossed out with it. If Mayr and Tash ever decided to dance together, this would be a song they’d choose. The overall sound is definitely them, even though the lyrics don’t completely match up, but it works well with the constant yearning they have for each other. There’s the soft and tender part of the song, but then towards the end, it goes a bit harder, more… insistent, and plays out into a gentle, pleading end. Then the track switches over into “The Parting Glass,” an old, traditional piece that I also enjoy.

In some ways, this song would’ve been more suited for the second book in the series, Four, where Mayr and Tash first met. Though I think there’s a place for it here, because sometimes — at least in the beginning — even when they have each other, they pine for more because they haven’t quite reached the full force of their relationship. That comes with time, effort, and the willingness to finally surrender completely to what they have.

Enigma — Age of Loneliness & Enigma — Carly’s Song (Remix)

Two versions of the same song that I’ve loved since I was a teenager. Then again, it’s Enigma, which I adore. (It was because of an Enigma album that I fell in love with Gregorian chant!)

This song is a sensual, sexy piece in terms of sound and vibe. It’s always in my repertoire while writing romances or anything with intimate elements, particularly for sex scenes and even sparring scenes. With the original version of the song, “Age of Loneliness,” the rhythm and key kills me, the drums and beats are perfect, the vocals are entrancing and diverse like the music itself, and the way the different tracks are blended together is brilliant, with awesome timing of particular sounds that make the song special. It’s a feast for the ears and brain, one I feed off while writing and really sink into. “Carly’s Song (Remix)” is no less captivating, with its own sound, but never losing that sensual flavour. There were a few scenes in Soulbound that called for both versions, which I tended to alternate. Fun. Times.

Enigma — Return to Innocence

More Enigma, but this one was for the hope it speaks to. The encouragement. Courage. Self-acceptance and being true to oneself, no matter what others think. This song is uplifting, beautiful. It not only brings me to tears, it gives me goosebumps. There have been times when my confidence and self-esteem have hit terrible lows or grief and loss have hit so hard, I’ve cried-sung my way through this a few times to feel better. The music video is also a piece of art, with stunning images that tell a touching story.

This was great for Soulbound when Tash needed a boost of hope. Being in his head… sometimes it’s rough, and his soul just hurts. There are days where he hates himself, hates what he’s done, and fears the future. But there are bright moments, too, where he’s swept away into happy thoughts and devotion and things smooth out for a while, because he’s finding his redemption and peace in those around him. There were other scenes, too, where this song worked perfectly, though I can’t really talk about them without spoilers!

Joseph Trapanese (Insurgent Soundtrack) — Amity

Here’s one of my favourite pieces from the Insurgent soundtrack (second movie of the Divergent franchise), though I love the whole soundtrack, to be honest. Joseph Trapanese is a composer I’ve quickly come to treasure because he’s amazing. “Amity” is only one of his beautiful pieces, where everything is finely placed, the music is wonderfully played, there’s movement, there’s emotion, and it gives me wicked chills, right down through my legs. It makes my heart ache, my eyes tear up, and there’s a powerful force that comes through via the string ensemble, brief instances of percussion, the purr of the bass line, and other sounds mixed in.

With all of that, this song was great for scenes when characters were dealing with heavy emotions and tough choices. When their emotions were being pushed too far, but they kept holding onto hope and the will the fight. It’s a piece that conveys (to me, at least) strength, vulnerability, and determination.

Loreena McKennitt — Samain Night

One of my favourite Loreena McKennitt songs (though, okay, I have many). It kept coming up while I wrote, attaching itself to Mayr and Tash whenever they went into sweet and squishy mode. The song really stuck with them, enough that whenever I listen to it now, I associate it with them.

Maybe it’s the harp that did it, with the violin and the guitar and Loreena’s lovely voice. Maybe it was the lyrics and the title which connects to the Celtic Pagan holiday of Samhain (especially since the religion in The Republic series is inspired by Pagan beliefs and practices). Or maybe it’s just because the song is just so pretty and touching and these characters really couldn’t get enough. Either way, this song leaves me gutted with imagery and romantic notions.

Placebo — Running Up That Hill

Yes. Yes, yes, and yes! Sensual. Darkly sexy. Perfect for scenes where things get steamy.

This is only one of the many covers of Kate Bush’s song in my music library (plus Kate’s original and her remake of it, because I LOVE Kate Bush, always have — she’s brilliant), but this version is the only one with this particular feeling to it. It worked with Mayr and Tash so well, I kept playing it over and over and over… It just didn’t want to stop.

The Weeknd — As You Are

Here’s the first of a few songs by The Weeknd that made it to Soulbound‘s playlist because of their sensual groove. More and more, I’m turning to The Weeknd when I need tunes for intimate, romantic, and downright sexy scenes.

For this book, I tended to associate this song with what was going on between Mayr, Tash, and Arieve — all three of them, together, since they all suffer from a similar worry that they aren’t good enough for their lovers. Mayr and Tash have figured themselves out, for the most part, but Arieve hasn’t been as lucky. She’s struggling with her own relationship issues and some of the lyrics remind me of everything they’ve all gone through. This tune had all the right feels in terms of tone, rhythm, mood, and meaning of the song. They really do take each other as they are, challenges and flaws included.

The Weeknd — Love in the Sky

Easily one of my top favourites of The Weeknd’s, which will end up on several of my playlists because the sound of it is just Mmmm, yes, please. It hits all the right notes. The mood is very Mayr and Tash when they’re in hot-and-heavy mode. The lyrics don’t really apply to them, but I don’t care: the groove is where it’s at. Slow, sensual, delicious… It’s kind of (but so completely not) terrible how much a single track can still inspire me even after I’ve listened to it a few hundred times. Though my characters really don’t care, because they’ll make me listen to it a few more hundred times… and I’ll happily sing along.

The Weeknd — Where You Belong

After I heard this song once, I was hooked — still am, won’t lie. It’s got that lovely dark, delicious feel I adore from The Weeknd and I just can’t… stop… listening. Again, this one’s for when Mayr and Tash are alone and best left that way because they’ve gone X-rated. Though I think I may have had this going during that one time, at the tavern…

And with that little nugget, thank you so much for reading! I love hearing from readers, so feel free to share your thoughts, questions, and comments. And if there are any songs that you particularly love, I’d love to hear about them!

 

 

Archer Kay Leah has a new MM/MMF fantasy romance book out:

In a relationship that violates rules and expectations, Mayr and Tash have found their perfect match in each other. Despite their fears and difficult pasts, they hope for a shared future with security and a family. When Mayr’s secret first love, Arieve, proposes they create that family with her, it seems dreams could become reality.

But life is complicated, and so is the delicate balance between duty and love. While Mayr protects the Dahe family at all costs, Tash is determined to succeed as a priest. Both positions require sacrifice, forcing their relationship into painful choices. To make matters worse, criminals lurk in the shadows, seeking revenge on them and those they guard.

The life they want risks losing everything—including Arieve and each other. Even if they can have it all, keeping it may take more than they can give.

Warnings: “Soulbound” contains some explicit content, references to self-harm, suicide, and mentions of suicide-related behavior and intent. This story also contains instances of graphic violence, references to rape and domestic abuse, and depictions and mentions of depression.

About the Series:

With the right people and the right price, the Republic of Kattal can be brought to its knees. But for every line crossed, someone waits on the other side, ready to push back.

Armed and ready to defend their lives, these heroes are not afraid of the fight. They stare adversity in the eye and dance with the darkness within. But in their justice, there is wisdom. In wisdom, there is protection. In it all, there is love. Sometimes it’s a matter of saving a village; sometimes it’s a matter of saving the one they can’t live without. Sometimes it’s just about doing the right thing and learning to love oneself.

Magic may lurk in the shadows. Crime may never sleep. But love doesn’t back down.

Less Than Three Press | Amazon | Amazon CAN | Amazon UK | Amazon International | Bookstrand | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Smashwords | Goodreads


Giveaway

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Excerpt

Soulbound Meme 2 - Archer Kay Leah

Silence fell, deep with meaning conveyed by long gazes and soft smiles. Why had he expected Aeley to say anything different?

Three loud knocks rapped the door, scaring them both. Cursing under his breath, Mayr opened the door.

Arieve.

Every foul word tumbled back down Mayr’s throat. “Hey.” He leaned against the door, one arm sliding up the side.

In an instant, he tripped on his own feet and stumbled into the door, swinging it open further.

“You can’t possibly be drunk already.” The corners of Arieve’s eyes crinkled with her smile, her glossed lips painted pink like her cheeks. Dark curls and plaits cascaded over her shoulders, the firelight lending a golden hue to the white-blonde streaks in the fringe of hair across her forehead. She held a silver tray, presenting two glass goblets filled with a bluish-purple drink and fragments of gold leaf sprinkled on top. “Otherwise, this might be a bad idea.”

“What’s a bad idea?” Mayr grimaced, his mouth suddenly dry as if filled with pillow stuffing. Quick to recover, he smoothed his shirt, resettled his belts, and slicked back his hair, pretending he meant to be clumsy.

“Your after-dinner drinks. Lira was going to bring them, but I thought I’d save her the trip. She’s having fun trading stories with your mother.” Arieve cleared her throat. “I didn’t want to interrupt your conversation.”

The tray rattled in her hand. The drinks threatened to slosh over the rims.

Mayr steadied the tray. “Thanks for that. This. These.” He offered her an awkward smile and took the goblets. “I’ll let you get back.” So you won’t see me kick my own ass for being completely inappropriate.

“Thanks, Arieve,” Aeley called from her desk.

“You’re welcome.” Arieve hesitated as she lowered the tray. She swayed gently, the rich green layers of her tiered, ruffled skirts moving with her. “I’ll let you finish.”

Before Mayr could say anything else, Arieve hurried down the hall and around the corner.

“I wonder what the mix is this time.” Aeley snatched one goblet to sniff it. “Hint of gaffa nectar, soured pamolea extract, and a bite of fulore. Plus maybe, probably—” another sniff “—syrup from the Sailor’s Sweetheart bush.” She took a sip and nodded. Flakes of gold leaf clung to her top lip. “Not as fun as last night’s concoction, but I could get used to it.”

“That’s what you always say.” Mayr brushed the flakes from Aeley’s lips with his thumb.

Aeley wiped her mouth on her sleeve. “Not always, just a lot. Cook knows her stuff. To be fair, she’s known me since I was three, getting into her puddings and tarts anytime she turned around. I trust that when she serves up a hodgeypodgey drink, it’s got personality.” She tapped her goblet against his. “I’m heading back to our guests. You should, too, considering it’s yourparty. We can resume this conversation later.”

After a kiss to his cheek, Aeley flounced out the door and through the corridor, humming to herself.

Mayr stared into his goblet, watching the gold swirl in an abstract pattern. My stomach. My head. I can’t even…

He set the goblet on Aeley’s desk. He needed Tash’s forgiveness more than he deserved a fancy drink.

As he exited the room, questions assaulted him hard enough to drown the sound of the door latch as it caught. One question practically shouted above all the others: how much had Arieve heard of his conversation with Aeley?

His heartbeat faltered. He was mortified. The door was not impervious to sound. What would Arieve think of him had she heard…

Hey, stupid! It doesn’t matter.Mayr grumbled and hooked his thumbs around the back of his belts. It still comes out to you’re taken and happy, so shut up.Dragging his heels, he wandered through the corridor and turned into the next, towards the ballroom.

Around the corner, Arieve leaned against the wall, head bowed, with her face hidden by her hair. She twined the trailing black laces of her bright green tunic around her fingers and pulled taut, then released them only to repeat the process. The empty tray rested beside her, abandoned against the wall.

“Hey.” Mayr stopped, careful to leave two foot lengths between them. “I thought you went back?” He toyed with his marriage ring, twisting the band nervously. Memories of Tash surged forward, the airy weight of his kisses almost real enough to feel.

“I wanted to wait for you.” Arieve raised her head and offered a tender smile. “I probably won’t get a word in the rest of the night given the company, so I thought…”

She was in his arms before he could reply. Her hug stole his surprise, shredding it until all that remained was stunned.

“Congratulations,” she murmured, her forehead tucked beneath his chin. “He’s got a good heart, solid. You’ve found your match. If the Four could grant me one wish tonight, it’d be for you two to have everything you desire.”

Mayr hesitated, his hands hovering over Arieve’s back. Touching was a bad idea, especially while he kept Tash from the truth. “Thank you.” Quick as he could, he embraced Arieve and pushed her away, feeling worse than the coward he was. “Let’s go back. I need to stop my mother from revealing every baby story she has or everyone’s going to hear about my naked backside and trailing diaper crowns.”

Arieve picked up the tray and started up the hall. “I’m sure Tash is soaking them up as we speak.” She laughed, the joyous sound digging up a dozen memories.

Memories he needed to lock up and burn down.

He followed Arieve and cast his gaze to the ceiling. Please, Reverent Goddesses, get me through tonight. Then let’s talk about strength of will, because one of these days I’m going to have to confess everything and it’ll hurt more than scorching my pride.


Author Bio

Archer Kay Leah was raised in Canada, growing up in a port town at a time when it was starting to become more diverse, both visibly and vocally. Combined with the variety of interests found in Archer’s family and the never-ending need to be creative, this diversity inspired a love for toying with characters and their relationships, exploring new experiences and difficult situations.

Archer most enjoys writing speculative fiction and is engaged in a very particular love affair with fantasy, especially when it is dark and emotionally charged. When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a geek with too many hobbies and keeps busy with other creative endeavors, a music addiction, and whatever else comes along. Archer lives in London, Ontario with a bigender partner and rather chatty cat.

Author Website: http://archerkayleah.wordpress.com/

Author Facebook (Author Page): http://facebook.com/archerkayleah

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/archerkayleah

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ArcherKayLeah

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/archer-kay-leah/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/archerkayleah

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Blog Tour for “no way out” by Eric Alan Westfall (exclusive excerpt and giveaway)

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no way out

QSFer Eric Alan Westfall has a new MM historical romance out:

It’s April of 1816 in Another England.

And Jeremy—a whore from the Dock—is living in a guest bedroom at the London home of the (in)famous Iron Marquess, with over fifteen days missing from his life.

For someone who remembers everything from his third birthday on, it’s unnerving not to know. Fine, fourteen days for the coma and the infection delirium. But those first thirty-six hours. Do they explain how he got hurt, how he got to Ireton House, and why his lordship’s mountain-sized valet is taking care of him? Or why his ironness looks at him with nothing iron at all in his eyes?

Jeremy and the Iron Marquess both have dark secrets. Forced engagements, an inheritance, a scheme to clap Jeremy in Bedlam, the revelation of the missing hours, a problem with plumage, some numbered accounts, and a long sea voyage, all seem to mean there’s no way out of the snares surrounding them. Or is the old saying true: where there’s a waltz, there’s a way?

All royalties will go to a local LGBT organization.

Universal Buy Link | Amazon | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


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(Exclusive Excerpt)

From Chapter 11: The Third Time Is Not A Charm

IRETON

23 April 1816

9: 15 a.m.

Ireton House, London

Geoffrey Hayward-Brown, who had perhaps hyphenated his name to give him a false illusion of gentility, picked up the portfolio and clutched it to his plump bosom.

Inside the outer prosperous, satisfied hog was a sly, thin weasel, not clamoring to get out, but content to hide in the shadows thrown by the solicitor’s falsely bright bonhomie.

Yet both inner weasel and outer fat man were nervous. He glanced away again, and then did whatever version of summoning up the blood and stiffening the sinews weasels do before being forced into battle. Weasels do not willingly fight, but only do so when compelled, or bribed.

The air in my parlor suddenly felt as if a white-gloved finger swiped through it would come away not merely smudged, but fouled. I had not followed through, last time, with my joking reference to the parlor needing a cleaning after the baron’s last visit, but this time, I might.

This was a man who dealt in agreements, in plots and plans which did not merely hover at the farthest edges of the law’s limits, but often went well beyond, though cloaked in seeming propriety. Today was a part of one such agreement.

The baron extended his hand and snapped his fingers. “The documents!”

The weasel looked a bit relieved he might not have to directly deal with me after all. He hurriedly opened the portfolio, and tugged out several documents which he handed to the baron. He in turn glanced at them, presumably to ascertain they were the ones he wanted, and presented them to me. I did not take them.

Instead, I turned to the two constables, and removed a good part of the ironness from my voice. “Gentlemen, may I assume you are here at his—” a very slight head-tilt indicated the baron “—behest?”

The older took a moment to work out the “behest,” before saying, “Y-yes, my lord.” The younger did his best not to look as anguished as he felt. I would not want him to wet himself, so I did not give him any of my attention. The older was, I thought, experienced and strong enough to endure.

“I believe my discussion with these two…gentlemen—” I heard the indignant huff of air, probably from the baron, but ignored it “—needs to be private. As I am confident nothing will occur which would require your services, perhaps you might wait elsewhere? If you would not mind the kitchen, I understand my cook has made some of her quite remarkable lemon tarts, and is, as the saying goes, rather a dab hand with sandwiches and cool ale.”

The older constable’s eyes said, “Oh, Lord, yes, my lord. Thank you!”

What came out of his dutiful mouth was, “I am not sure we should, my lord. It…it is a serious matter we are here about, and—”

“Excuse me, constable, for interrupting. But you are…”

“Um. Constable Howard, my lord. And, uh, this is Constable Stewart.”

“Excellent. I believe your superior is Sergeant Knowlton?”

His jaw dropped, and then he clamped it quickly shut. “You…you know Sergeant Knowlton, my lord?”

I could not in truth say I knew him well, but I had made sure since the information from Somerset House came in, to make the acquaintance of all those in charge of the police stations within a reasonable radius of Ireton House. In person. Inquiring about the nature of their work; their thoughts on how their great services to London might be improved. Making a reasonable, or even a close-but-not-quite-outrageous, donation to the fund which provided assistance to the widows and orphans of policemen who died in the line of duty, and for those who became unable to work for the same reason.

It was not, of course, a bribe. Merely my civic duty. And while I suspected of one “superior” the entirety of my donation would never reach those who managed the fund, it was a matter to be addressed later. Sergeant Knowlton was not that man, and he had impressed me.

“Not well, Constable Howard. But I can in good faith say I believe he would not feel you had been remiss in your duties if you were to allow us this private conversation.”

The relief of both constables was palpable.

It had taken a great deal of courage for Constable Howard, solely in the name of duty, to deny what was a clear command, though couched as a request, from a very high-ranking nobleman. I would have to ensure he was suitably rewarded, in terms of his career, at some later date when it would not appear to be a bribe, even though any assistance I might provide would not in fact be a bribe. Courage in any form should be recognized.

As Brendan’s courage had not been. As it would be, I hoped.

“I must protest, my lord!” the baron said.

Protest away, I thought, but only replied. “If you must, Lord Enderby, if you must. However, I believe these gentlemen understand a private conversation with you and your solicitor” —weasel— “will not result in me scarpering off towards parts unknown, and leaving them and you behind to raise a hue and cry.”

I turned, went to the door, opened it. Carleton was there.

In my younger days, much younger, when I still had fancies and fantasies, I almost believed Carleton was a genie with bottles lurking everywhere, given the speed with which he was present when he was wanted.

“Ah. Carleton. If you would be so kind as to escort the constables to the kitchen? We are going to have a quiet conversation here, and as I have regaled them with the tale of Mrs. Bentley’s lemon tarts and superb sandwiches, I thought it would be an appropriate place for them to wait. I have, you see, promised them I would not run away.”

Carleton naturally did not blink at any of this folderol, but he unquestionably understood the status of the constables had changed from unwanted interlopers to visitors who were to be treated with courtesy and respect. “Of course, my lord.” He looked past me at Howard and Stewart. “Constables. If you would be so kind as to follow me?”

With patent relief on their faces, helped by the generous “be so kind” in lieu of a butlerian command of the type to make constables quake—a relief they did not allow to become visible until their backs were to the baron—they departed. I closed the door behind them, and turned back to the still-standing baron and solicitor.

 

 


Author Bio

Eric is a Midwesterner, and as Lady Glenhaven might say, “His first sea voyage was with Noah.” He started reading at five with one of the Andrew Lang books (he thinks it was The Blue Fairy Book) and has been a science fiction/fantasy addict ever since. Most of his writing is in those (MM) genres.

The exceptions are his Another England (alternate history) series:  The Rake, The Rogue and the Roué(Regency novel), Mr. Felcher’s Grand Emporium, or, The Adventures of a Pair of Spares in the Fine Art of Gentlemanly Portraiture(Victorian), with no way out(Regency) coming out a month after Of Princes.

Two more fairy tales are in progress:  3 Boars & A Wolf Walk Into A Bar(Eric is sure you can figure this one out), and The Truth About Them Damn Goats(of the gruff variety).

Now all he has to do is find the time to write the incomplete stuff! (The real world can be a real pain!)

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Eric-Alan-Westfall-1045476662268838

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/eawestfall43

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Check Out the New Sci Fi Release: grydscaen: Beginnings by Natsuya Uesugi (special ficlet excerpt and giveaway)

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grydscaen: beginnings

Natsuya Uesugi has a new queer sci fi book out:

Faid Callen is tired of life on the run in the Echelons trying to keep his psychic power in check. He founds the Packrats, a group of cyberterrorist hackers. A young powerful Psi Faction operative, Lino Dejarre, is sent on a mission to capture Faid. Wanting to keep Lino under control, the Psi Faction kidnaps his half-brother, Riuho, and they take him prisoner, experiment on him, train him, and subject him to mind control.

When Lino is assigned to a high stakes diplomatic mission to reveal a traitor, he finds another psychic operative in play, causing him to question the Psi Faction’s motives. Can Lino rescue his brother before more blood is shed or will Faid step in and destroy the Psi Faction’s plans?

About the Series:

Lino just wanted peace. All he got was war.

In After Colony 2055, the Atlantea Federation, a draconian power had taken over 75% of the world’s territories and launched a nuclear attack, the Dionysis Effect against the insurgent Pacific Territories. In a single brave act, the Pacific Territories retaliated in a battle known as the Blood Red Incident. The untested weapon’s radioactive fallout created Codess which manifested as psychic powers.

After the initial destruction, people struggled to survive and some developed psychic powers as others fell to the pervasive radiation sickness. Civil war ripped at the heart of society with cyberterrorist hacker groups rising up to fight the government. The son of the Viceroy, Lino Dejarre had psychic power. He joined the Psi Faction as a clandestine psychic operative tasked to capture Faid Callen the leader of the Packrat hackers.

Separated at age nine and banished from the royal family, Riuho Dejarre’s hatred for his brother Lino grew as he tried to scrape out a life in the slum level Echelons. Stripped of his citizenship, Riuho vowed to get revenge and thwart Lino’s every move as the young operative tried to govern and keep his people safe. With Faid and Riuho using the Packrat cyberterrorist hackers to attack the government even as the Atlantea Federation increased the threat trying to destroy the remains of the Pacific Territories and their allies, the war took a dire turn.

The Atlantea Federation attacked brutally on the ground and threatened the Pacific Territories’ space colonies. Lino and his Psi Faction team were roped into global diplomacy, inter-colony politics, covert missions, battleship scurmishes, jet fighter sorties, and space battles facing the Atlantea Federation head on. When Riuho once more entered the fray, his high stakes game of manipulation and lies threatened to destroy everything for which Lino had worked.

With threats to the fragile Pacific Territories coalition and the fate of the world at stake, can Lino, the Viceroy of the City, the Echelons and the Zone lead the Pacific Territories to a victory? Intrigue, fast-paced action, clandestine psychic operatives, hackers, the oppressive Zone Police, and shadowy government conspiracies, the situation couldn’t be riskier. Will Lino ever see peace and an end to war? Find out in the dystopian grydscaen series. Whose side are you on?

Get it on Amazon


Giveaway

Natsuya is giving away an eBook copy of his grydscaen: rogue book with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter:

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—————-

A “Special” for Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

FicLet – “Darklight Time” – grydscaen: beginnings by Natsuya Uesugi

The neon night screamed into the darkness. Signs hocking sex, technology, software glared at Naito as he walked. His dark hair shined in the lights, the glare making the tech fabric of his blue jacket sparkle. The buildings slammed up against each other as he weaved through the crowded streets in the Echelons, the Red Light District. The seedy shops and sex establishments lined the walkway as he passed young male hosts and female prostitutes going about their livelihood, the signs blaring their wares out to the populace.

As he walked the night he felt eyes on him. He passed a line of prostitutes casing the sidewalk. Their pimps at the corner overseeing their work. A woman walked up to him and engaged putting her hand on his shoulder in her red latex mini dress and high heeled stilettos. She tracked to him matching his gait as he walked down the sidewalk.

“Fancy a date? Hey honey, you look like you need a little love tonight. Felicia can give you some love right good…” she said, her voice sultry. Her hair was bushy, a bad perm and it was dark down to her shoulders, her skin tan, eyes bright. Her leopard print heels garishly screamed on her feet, fishnet stockings gracing her legs. Her voice was low, a little too low for a woman. Naito realized he was dealing with a Lady Boy the minute she opened her mouth. He didn’t take the bait.

“Not tonight, gorgeous,” said Naito and kept walking.

She kept pace with him, continuing her pitch.

“What, no love for Felicia? You know I can give you love more than Omnibus. I’ll treat you right. Not her…” she said grabbing Naito’s arm and pulling him to a stop. Naito decided to entertain her for a moment.

“What do you know about Omnibus?” he asked. Naito was a Waste, a drug addicted psychic that played ware games and worshipped gaming culture. A host knowing about Omnibus Darklight was rare.

Felicia brought her hand up to a silver bangle at her right wrist. She pushed the large button on the bangle and suddenly she was surrounded by a hologram. The hologram for Omnibus was standing in her place, the avatar for the Darklight virtual reality online game. The white and blue dress, the long white hair, six arms folded in different poses and the hover board under her feet. Her top two hands with a large holo globe leveled about her head.

Naito took a step back shocked.

“Omnibus?” he questioned.

The prostitute pushed the button on her bracelet and the hologram of for Omnibus disappeared.

“Felicia knows what you want honey. Warehouse 2. Don’t be late now…” She kissed him on the cheek.

“Did the data messenger send you?” asked Naito.

“No honey, check your profile baby.”

Naito quickly went into his pocket and pulled out his handheld and checked his avatar profile. There was a message on the screen. He had done a search for Omnibus on the gridscan. The AI program logged the inquiry sending his unencrypted search to the Zone Police government database. Darklight was an illegal online game. Tournaments that popped up randomly at locations in the Echelons were trolled by the Zone Police and shut down. The game was dangerous. Players who lost were rumored to have died while playing. He hadn’t been masked when he did the search. That had been careless. He knew better.

“I can sort that for you, honey. Give it here…” said Felicia and moved in.

Naito hesitated not wanting to give his handheld to a prostitute to steal it or get into his business. She leaned in and whispered in his ear.

“There is a data sale at the warehouse. That what you after, honey?”

“How did you know that?”

“Same as I know who you are Naito, baby. Just let Felicia fix you up right. You have a stop before you get to where you need to be…”

Naito was on a mission for the Wastes. He did have to get data at the warehouse. This prostitute must have been put on his path to give him intel. He handed her the handheld as they stood on the sidewalk. Naito watched her closely as she engaged the device. She took two minutes with it then handed it back.

“All set, gorgeous. New map for you. Now get on your way,” Felicia smiled and patted him on the backside.

“Thanks,” said Naito.

“Any time, gorgeous. Stay out of trouble…”

Naito continued down the street and took a left into the warehouse district. His meet up would get him the data he needed for the Packrat hackers to continue their push to take down the Elite government.

 

——————-

 

Excerpt

“Why is there a child here?” asked Jai.

“He will be staying here now. He has psi potential. We are giving him to Dr. Ren as a test subject,” said Gailen as they walked down the hall to the Controlling Chambers in the Psi Faction building.

“Where did he come from?” asked Jai.

“His mother sold him to the Psi Faction for a cit card,” informed Gailen.

“People actually do that?” choked out Jai.

“His mother was a prostitute. She sold him and was paid a hefty sum and given a cit card. The child has very high psi potential. We would have requested him if she had not offered.”

There was a maintenance crew in the hall. They were fixing up a room in the back of the Controlling Chambers to make a day care center, a playroom. It was to ensure there was some age appropriate place for the child to be kept during the day. Dr. Ren was in the Controlling Chamber area when they got there.

“How is it going?” asked Gailen coming up to him.

“Oh Gailen. Come in. Come see. It is going rather well. I think this room will be adequate,” said Dr. Ren.

There was an electrician at the wall installing an electrical panel and he handed Dr. Ren a remote control. The electrician finished up and placed the face plate of the panel at the wall and told Dr. Ren the panel was all set.

“The room has a damper, a psi shield and other features that will help to control the child. He has been here for almost six weeks now. We have just started the first level of his psi conditioning. He has been very receptive so far. Would you like to see him?” said Dr. Ren.

Dr. Ren walked with Jai and Gailen to the living quarters. They went to the main observation room with four rooms along the wall with glass windows. Each room had a bed and a dresser and a chair. There was a child in one of the rooms sitting in a chair. Gailen, Dr. Ren and Jai came into the main room with the lights out. The child could not see them through the one way glass.

The child had dull ash brown hair that kind of looked like it was blue since the colour was washed out. The child was rocking back and forth in the chair with his hands on his head.

“What is he doing?” asked Jai.

“We gave him an initial dose of nanomachines to see how they would take. He is reacting to that,” said Dr. Ren.

“Is it a girl or a boy?” asked Gailen.

“It’s a girl. But when I ask her she says she is a boy,” said Dr. Ren.

“She is transgender then?” asked Gailen.

“Yes, that is what it looks like. I did a whole psychological work up on her. We should start calling her he and just get used to that. She also refuses to wear dresses. One of the nurses in the infirmary tried,” said Dr. Ren.

“What is her name? I mean his name,” said Jai.

“Julian Iskafiin,” said Dr. Ren. “But he said he wants to be called Blue.”

“He is only five. How does he know what he wants to be called?” asked Gailen.

“Julian said his mother called him Blue.”

Jai looked over at Blue in the chair. The child stood up and went to the wall and started banging his head on the wall. Dr. Ren lifted up his arm and tapped out some buttons on a metal arm band he had on. A nurse came into the room and started comforting Blue.


Author Bio

Natsuya Uesugi

Natsuya Uesugi is a systems analyst and white hat hacker who has worked in the design of aerospace, semiconductor and financial systems. With an MBA in International Management and a minor in Japanese, Natsuya uses his Japanese, Black and Native American heritage to paint his stories, keeping an eye on diversity.

By night, Natsuya is an author and manga artist weaving stories in his cyberpunk grydscaen world, his dark fantasy universe The Seer of Grace and Fire, and his contemporary yaoi graphic noiz which takes place in New York City. He studied animation and game design at the Art Institute of Phoenix where he learned sequential art and traditional animation that fueled his childhood dream of creating manga and anime.

To date he has created four manga and two episodes of the short anime grydscaen: A Storm’s Coming based on the teenage hacker Rom. He enjoys skydiving, cosplay, manga, World Cup futbol, watching French news, eating ramen and anything with matcha, watching anime in Japanese, and writing poetry.

Author Website: http://www.grydscaen.com

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